Home Soap Businesses – Creating a Marketing Plan

Starting a home soap business can be fun and exciting. Yet, it is also challenging. You can only offer your soap to so many friends and family before you will need a marketing plan to get the word out to others. Here are some ways to create a marketing plan for your soap business so that you will sell so much soap that you will be amazed.

1. Create sample sized soaps to pass out for free. Then create a survey form or sheet that people can complete in order to request a sample. You want to make sure that you never give out samples without having the contact information for the person. Doing this is a complete waste of time and money.

2. Get testimonials from people who have used the soap. How did it feel on their skin? What did they like best about it? If possible, get them to give you these testimonials on video. Share these testimonials everywhere. You can include them in email newsletters, on printed marketing pieces, on Facebook, Twittter, YouTube, etc.

3. Stay focused on marketing 3-6 kinds before you start creating too many scents or kinds of soap. By staying focused on selling a few kinds successfully first, you will then be in a better position to create more later.

4. Ask your first customers to complete a brief survey telling you why they like it and what they would change out it if they could. Use their feedback to help create your marketing plan.

5. Write articles, press releases, blog posts and other content focusing on the best aspects and share them online for potential customers to read.

6. Make a list of who your ideal customers would be. What are their skin problems, health issues, etc? Then create a plan to get your marketing and product in front of them.

7. Consider passing out samples to some doctors, hospitals and other similar facilities. Let the people who work there try it themselves first so that they will be able to help you sell it.

8. Educate people about why they should buy from you instead of from the store. Know why your soap is better and what it can do for the skin and the body. Create tip sheets to share these benefits with people.

9. Use a weekly giveaway on your website and in your marketing plan to attract even more leads. People love to get something for free and this can help spread the word.

10. Seek out advice from other people who have sold similar products and include some of their advice in your marketing plan.

How Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Can Plan For ERP Implementation

Introduction: Proper Planning to Reduce Risks of ERP Failure

In the first article, we discussed how a well-structured system assessment scorecard can help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) mitigate enterprise resource planning (ERP)[1] implementation failure risks at the system acquisition stage.

In this article, we outline certain steps SMEs can take to mitigate ERP implementation failure risks in the subsequent phase of implementation: the planning phase.

Briefly defined, the planning phase is the stage during which the organization prepares to “ERP-ize” its business. An ERP project requires much more than the mere installation of an IT software system. It requires organizational restructuring.

Generally, SMEs have to restructure their operations to satisfy the business flow parameters defined by the ERP software. These days, most ERP software packages are pre-customized to sectors according to certain industry best-practices.

The extent of organizational restructuring that is required depends on the structure of existing business processes, and on the technical and functional requirements imposed by the ERP software.

As with any complex restructuring project, ERP implementation is accompanied by certain risks of project failure. For example, failure can result from a runaway implementation that causes the project to become uneconomical. It can also result from organizational rejection of the restructured environment where such rejection impedes the achievement of the projected efficiencies.

In the following sections, we elaborate on these particular risks of implementation failure and how effective implementation planning can mitigate these risks.

Failure Risk 1: Run-Away Implementation

If an SME is planning to implement ERP, its primary reason for doing so is probably to achieve cost efficiencies. According to 2009 research by the Aberdeen Group, the need to reduce operating and administrative costs continues to be the main driver of ERP acquisition in the SME segment [2].

Since financial reasons drive the decision to implement ERP, it is critical that the implementation be completed within budget. A failure to deliver an economical implementation will mean project failure.

Since this section deals with ERP-related finance, it is important to briefly discuss some of the underlying principles.

The cost side of an ERP budget is based on a total cost of ERP ownership (TCO) calculation. TCO is the sum of the present values of system, maintenance and service costs. System and maintenance costs are fixed and largely determinable in advance.

In contrast, service costs are usually highly variable and difficult to project with accuracy. Further, service costs are proportionately significant. In 2007, service costs accounted for 45% of TCO for SMEs. Put another way, for every $100 an SME spent on ERP software, it spent an additional $81 on service [3]. As you will have probably guessed, service costs mainly reflect implementation costs.

Poor scheduling, improper resource allocation, project delays and scope creep (i.e. unplanned increases to the project’s scope) are the usual culprits for runaway implementation costs. The first three are generally well understood. Scope creep deserves a bit more attention.

During implementation, there is a holy-grail temptation to “ERP-ize” certain business processes that were not included in the original project plan. The rationale supporting a scope increase is that incremental efficiencies will be gained by “ERP-izing” the additional tasks. Implementation seems like the perfect time to widen the scope: the project is underway, consultants are on site and the teams are dedicated.

These temptations must be resisted. Implementation is seldom the right time to widen the scope (except for dealing with unforeseen items that must be addressed).

The reason the temptation must be resisted is because the argument favouring unplanned scope changes only accounts for the benefits side of the financial equation. Incremental costs must also be considered. These costs include direct service costs as well as the opportunity costs of delay. With respect to the latter, every unplanned day that the SME is unable to operate under the new system is a day of lost efficiencies.

It is fair to assume that an ERP project scope is designed to maximize the net ERP benefits (net benefits = cost efficiencies – costs). This means that all components of the project that yield a positive net benefit are accepted. It also means that all components that yield a negative net benefit (where the incremental costs exceed the incremental efficiencies) are rejected. Unplanned scope increases are typically components that would yield negative net benefits, i.e. they would be unprofitable. Since they diminish the return on ERP investment, these components should be rejected.

The following graph (omitted) depicts the relationship between a project’s gross costs, gross efficiencies and net benefits (net benefits = gross efficiencies – gross costs). As seen by the Net Benefits line, the ideal project plan is at Point A. At this point, all profitable components are accepted and all unprofitable components are rejected. Any project plan that lies to the left of Point A would mean that the plan could be profitably expanded. Any project plan to the right of Point A would mean that unprofitable components are being accepted. Scope increases are generally components that lie to the right of Point A.

The above profitability analysis explains why incremental scope changes are both unnecessary and unbeneficial to the project. As time passes, these incremental changes will either be ignored or implemented as part of a profitable optimization plan.

In summary, a well-structured plan can mitigate the financial risks associated with overly broad scope definition and scope creep. Such a plan will help keep the ERP project within budget and on time.

However, even if financial risks are mitigated, other types of failure risk still threaten the project’s success. One such risk is that certain key people will reject the new ERP system and/or the restructured business processes.

Failure Risk 2: Improperly Managed Change

Restructuring is a necessary evil. It causes the SME to undergo significant and disruptive changes. For example, the SME’s organizational and reporting structures will likely change as departments are shifted. Its operations will likely change as business processes are re-engineered. Daily tasks will likely change as manual tasks are automated. All of these changes mean that employees, management and executives will have to unlearn old habits and learn new ways of doing business.

Some people will embrace the challenges and opportunities presented by the change. These people will help move the project forward. However, there will be those who fear the uncertainties associated with change. These people may resist the project and may risk undermining its success.

Change resistors are powerful forces. Even relatively innocuous-seeming resistance can thwart success. Consider, for example, the case of a sales person at a manufacturer who decides not to input an order into the new ERP system. Instead, the employee calls the order into production – the way he had always performed the task under the old system. Although the order is now in the process queue, it was not registered in the ERP planning system.

This one omission can have severe and far-reaching consequences. Automated production planning, shop floor scheduling and material movements planning become inaccurate and unreliable. These inaccuracies will prevent sales people from providing accurate lead time quotations. As a result, sales relationships will become strained and customers will be lost. The unplanned production backlog will also cause an increase in inventory-related costs. Further, real-time performance reporting will become less accurate since the reports fail to include certain transactions. Unreliable reports will negatively impact management’s ability to make important and timely decisions.

In summary, a failure to buy-in to the new system and processes can cause the organization to fail to reap the efficiency and informational benefits of ERP. The result: an uneconomical ERP investment.

The above is but one example of a change resistor. Generally, an organization faces different groups that resist change for different reasons. Common examples of resisting forces include:

· A union that objects because its members’ job functions would change as a result of process re-engineering and automation.

· Employees who object because they have performed the same manual assembly tasks for 20 years and are afraid of or don’t want to learn new processes.

· Managers who object to donating their “A-players” to the implementation team. The loss of key performers would almost certainly have a negative impact on departmental performance.

· Executives who object to short-term business interruptions caused by the restructuring project, notwithstanding the long-term benefits. This moral hazard is caused by an incentive system that rewards the executives for short-term performance. Interruptions may cause the SME to miss compensation targets.

Fortunately, many of the various human capital forces that can sabotage an ERP-driven restructuring can be mitigated at the planning stage.

Good Planning Lessens Failure Risks

A good implementation plan accomplishes two goals:

1. It presents a clearly marked and easy-to-follow roadmap to implement the process changes and ERP system; and

2. It prepares the organization and all potentially affected stakeholders to adapt to the changed environment.

A plan that achieves these twin goals will significantly help the implementation project’s prospects for success.

Although each plan should be customized to meet the SME’s particular needs, there are certain fundamental principles that can frame the design of every project plan. These principles relate to project championship, project plan design and team formation.

Project Championship

Top management is ultimately responsible for allocating time, resources and money to the project. Its collective attitude towards the project filters down and impacts organizational commitment to the project. Consequently, top management support can make the project while its absence of support can break the project.

Given the importance of executive commitment, the project requires a top-level manager to convert the non-believing managers. This person must be both fully committed to the project and capable of influencing others’ commitment. In his capacity as project champion, this person will be responsible for ensuring that the project remains a top priority and is allocated the resources that are required. In other words, the project champion acts as an advocate who drives change, encourages perseverance and manages resistance. Ultimately, it is this person who legitimizes the project and the accompanying organizational change.

Project Plan

The project plan is a formal document that is instrumental in preventing runaway implementations and change resistance.

If done properly, the project plan helps prevent runaway implementations by memorializing the project deliverables on a timeline and allocating a specific budget to each deliverable. Each deliverable should be broken down into manageable and measurable tasks. A well conceived roadmap prevents scope creep, cost overruns and project delays.

The details of the project plan should be (to the extent necessary) transparent throughout the entire organization. Communicating the project plan will diffuse a portion of the organizational anxiety by eliminating ambiguity about the project and the future state of the organization.

In terms of its components, the main project plan should, at a minimum, include the following:

Project Charter:

This is an articulation of the project’s mission and vision. It clearly and unambiguously states the business rationale for the project.

Scope Statement

This defines the parameters of the project. The scope is broken down into measurable success factors and strategic business accomplishments that drive the intended results.

Target Dates and Costs

This sets out individual milestones. Identifiable, manageable and measurable goals are established. Target completion dates are set. Each individual milestone is valued. This step articulates the breakdown of the project into discrete sub-projects.

Project Structure and Staff Requirements

This sets out the project’s reporting structure, and how that reporting structure fits into the larger organizational structure.

The main project plan should be supported by whatever subsidiary plans are necessary. Common examples of subsidiary plans include: IT infrastructure and procurement plan, risk plan, cost and schedule plan, scope management plan, resource management plan, and communications plan. For present purposes, these last three subsidiary plans deserve a bit more attention.

Scope Management Plan

This is a contingency plan that defines the process for identifying, classifying and integrating scope changes into the project.

Resource Management Plan

This sets out individual assignments, project roles, responsibilities and reporting relationships. It also sets out the criteria for back-filling positions and modifying project teams. Further, this plan details human capital development and training plans. Finally, where necessary, it sets out the reward system used to incentivise project performance.

Communications Plan

A communications strategy is critical to manage change resistance. This plan codifies the procedures and responsibilities relating to the periodic dissemination of project-related information to the project teams and throughout the organization. Examples of common channels include email newsletters, press releases and team meetings.

A good project plan is only effective if the project teams are capable of executing the recommendations. For this reason, team formation and training are critical parts of the planning phase.

Team Formation

Successful execution requires an enabling structure. Like many well-structured organizations, an ERP project structure should contain a steering committee that has executive-level strategic responsibilities; a core team that has managerial-level delegation authority; and functional teams that are responsible for implementing the changes.

To facilitate communication and decision-making, each hierarchy level should have a member who is represented on the level below. For example, the ERP project manager should sit on both the steering committee and the core team, and certain key users should sit on both the core team and a given functional team.

The Steering Committee

The project steering committee should be comprised of the chief executive officer, the CIO, executive level business managers, and the ERP project manager. The committee has strategic-level responsibility for reviewing and approving the project plan, making changes to the plan and evaluating project progress.

The Core Team

The core team is responsible for managing the implementation project. It should be comprised of the ERP project manager, functional leads, the outside consultants and certain key end-users.

Functional leads should be top-performers who are reassigned to the implementation project on a full-time basis. They should be experts in their respective departments, should understand other departments’ business processes and should be knowledgeable about industry best practices. In many cases, functional leads will have to be backfilled in their day-to-day jobs.

During the planning phase, the core team is trained on the fundamentals of ERP theory and on the particulars of the ERP software. The purpose of the training is to ensure that the core team is capable of managing the development of the new business processes.

Functional Teams

These teams are responsible for implementing the business process changes in their respective functional departments. Each functional team is comprised of a core team key end-user, select end-users that cover all of the functional unit’s business processes, and a functional consultant with an understanding of the ERP software.

Organizing committed and capable teams is critical to the project’s success. The project teams will be responsible for managing the implementation and helping the organization adapt to the new business environment.


ERP implementation is a complex project that involves significant operational restructuring. The restructuring is accompanied by certain risks of project failure, including runaway implementation and resistance to change.

Fortunately, an SME can mitigate many of the ERP failure risks by properly planning for the project. At a minimum, proper planning requires a project champion to secure executive buy-in, the preparation and communication of a project plan that breaks the project down into manageable sub-projects, and the assembly of strong teams capable of executing the project.

[1] Briefly, an ERP system is intended to electronically integrate an organization’s functional areas, administrative areas, processes and systems.

[2] Jutras, C. (2009). ERP in the Midmarket 2009: Managing the Complexities of a Distributed Environment. Boston: Aberdeen Group.

[3] Jutras, C. (2007). The Total Cost of ERP Ownership in Mid-Sized Companies. Boston: Aberdeen Group.

Market Research Strategies For Small Businesses

Have you ever done any market research? If not, you may be missing some valuable marketing ideas and information that you could capture by doing some research. Market research is a vital part of the process that most small businesses or start-ups neglect to do. However, it could be the single most important thing a new business does prior to formulating their business plan, location or marketing strategy.

Marketing research is the process of gathering data and opinions from consumers, employees, or a specific subgroup within the public, to improve decision making and reducing the risk associated with those decisions. Individuals/businesses can use information gained from marketing research to assess awareness, attitudes, perceptions, or opinions on products, services, advertising, brands, and/or companies. The two types of research are qualitative (words) and quantitative (numbers).

Qualitative research is an in-depth analysis of relatively few respondents, which provides a holistic insight and understanding of the issue at hand. For example, if a company is interested in testing company logos, qualitative methods would provide rich data.

– Focus Groups are an “informal” gathering of 6-10 people from your “target group” to have an in-depth conversation of opinions on your product, brand, advertising, and other areas of your product and/or service.

– Face-to-face interviews typically involve a one-on-one conversation with your consumers or decision-makers. These methods can be more expensive than a traditional survey, but will provide a more comprehensive evaluation.

Quantitative research seeks to summarize data and typically applies some form of statistical analysis. Using this method, for example, a company could measure their customer’s level of satisfaction and then, in turn, make internal changes to increase that satisfaction.

– Researchers should use surveys or questionnaires when trying to measure an audience’s opinions more accurately.

*Telephone surveys are often the most expensive, but are the most effective at getting respondents to complete the survey.

*Mail surveys can be relatively inexpensive, but the response rate on a mail survey is typically 3-10% and takes more time to conduct. These cannot be used when results are needed quickly.

*Online surveys are relatively new, but growing fast in popularity. With online surveys, you can ask survey questions, but also get feedback on things such as logos (using picture files) or commercials (using streaming video).

*Intercept interviews are a tool a company uses when they do not have a list of their customer base, such as a restaurant or a sports team, but would still like to measure their customer’s satisfaction.

For the small business owner it might be helpful to hire a marketing company or market research firm to help with these types of in-depth research however it’s not to say that you couldn’t ask your current clients or contacts as well on your own. Just remember you do not have to do all of this yourself, it’s always good to consult with experts in areas that you are not familiar or experienced with so it’s the best use of your time and it gets done right.

Now what do you do with all that great qualitative and quantitative information when you receive it? It is imperative that you work it into your marketing materials, Web site, correspondence, sales presentations, advertising and many other areas of your marketing plan. When you find out what your target market wants or likes, it is important NOT to ignore those results.

10 Strategy Tools For Smaller Businesses

I come from a background in large blue chip businesses, where I spent a fair amount of time helping predominantly large clients with strategic issues and during the last ten years I’ve started and built a couple of smaller businesses. SME owners and directors need to think about strategy, but they need to concentrate upon those elements that are going to produce the most impact – by all means read the business strategy tomes from cover to cover if you want, but this article aims to give you, a busy SME director, most of what you need to know about strategy and analysis in order to make a start.

1 – 3 Types of Excellence. Many commentators would agree that a company has the option to excel (that means really excel so that the market recognises that excellence) in one or two of three possible areas:

Operational excellence – which means doing things really efficiently and therefore probably being able to deal with higher volumes and therefore passing on cost savings to customers (although it is possible to think of examples where operational excellence was so valued by the customer that she would be prepared to pay a premium for it alone). An example might be EasyJet.

Customer intimacy – which means that you have systems and staff who treat customers as royalty (or at least good friends) and they feel loved and valued by your business. An example might be John Lewis.

Product leadership – which means that your product (or service) is highly differentiated from alternatives and substitutes in ways that customers value. An example might be Apple.

2 – Do a McKinsey. As a start-up or small business you may not be able to afford a McKinsey assignment to address your strategy issues, but you can apply one of their most powerful weapons to your advantage. MECE stands for “mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive” – apply it to your problems and you could see great results. MECE is a useful model for analysing a business problem because it aids clear thinking by ensuring that categories of information do not overlap, and by reducing the possibility of overlooking information by requiring that all of the categories of information taken together should deal with all possible options. Information should be grouped into categories so that each category is separate and distinct without any overlap (mutually exclusive), and all of the categories taken together should deal with all possible options (collectively exhaustive). A “major issues list” should contain no less than two, and no more than five issues, with three being the ideal number. Let’s say that Acme Widgets Ltd use a MECE tree diagram to help them locate the source of declining profitability. The diagram as a whole represents the problem at hand; each branch stemming from the starting node of the tree represents a major issue that needs to be considered; each branch stemming from one of these major issues represents a sub-issue that needs to be considered; and so on. The problem to be addressed in this case is “how can Acme Widget Ltd increase widget sales?”.

You will hopefully find that analysing issues down to the constituent parts using this technique will clarify where the real issues lie and they will now be in more “bite sized chunks” and so be easier to handle.

3 – Markets & Industries. The expressions “What’s your market?” and “What industry are you in?” are thrown around pretty well interchangeably – what exactly do we mean when we say “market” and “industry”. If you use the definitions that I suggest then a great deal more clarity will start to appear around the potential strategy that you should adopt.

I suggest that market should mean – a group of people / organisations who have the desire & ability to buy products to satisfy a certain need or want ie buyers & their needs. Market therefore is not about your product or service (although of course related). I suggest that you spend a reasonable amount of time thinking about who the buyers of your products or services are / could be and what traits or characteristics they share. By being able to describe your market(s) accurately and precisely you will subsequently be able to focus your sales and marketing efforts far more effectively.

When thinking about markets (ie buyers) you should also consider:

* How attractive are your products and services to these buyers

* And how attractive is the market to you – is it clearly defined, growing, shrinking, are external influences going to affect its size in future, are they easy or difficult to persuade to buy, and so on.

I’d suggest that industry should mean – sellers that offer products or services that are similar or substitutes. Sellers sell into markets. So let’s say that you have founded a business offering disposable paper place mats for university canteens where businesses can advertise themselves to students. The classic Dragons Den question is “so what competitors do you have?”. Of course you would be wrong to say “none – we are the only people doing these advertising place-mats”. Rather you need to think about what industry you are in, and the answer is likely to be “the provision of advertising to target students” industry so your competitors would include – Facebook, local radio, advertising hoardings, Google Ads, free magazines etc. The key thing when defining your industry is similar or substitute offerings – you may think that you are unique but if your potential customers consider something else then that something else is in the same industry as you!

When thinking about industry (ie other sellers you should also consider:

* Can you sustain any advantage (indeed do you have any advantage?)

* How attractive is your industry (more on this below)

4 – Attractiveness of an Industry. Of course different industries have different levels of attractiveness and you should be aware of that right at the outset. But it isn’t necessarily the case that you should only operate in attractive industries and disregard unattractive industries. Good business can be created in “unattractive industries” and it is perfectly possible to fail within what would be viewed as an attractive industry. The analysis that you perform to establish that an industry is “attractive” can be carried out by the rest of the business world too, so others might stampede into the industry and change its attractiveness quite quickly. Industry analysis doesn’t ensure that you have picked a winner, it just means that you are well informed about your business environment.

The defining work on industry analysis was carried out by Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School and published in his 1979 book “Competitive Strategy” – Porter’s Five Forces.

Porter’s Five Forces

Competition: How strong is the rivalry posed by the present competition? The various factors, include: the number of firms in the industry, rate of market growth, economies of scale, customer switching costs, levels of product differentiation, diversity of competition, level of exit barriers.

Barriers to entry: What is the threat posed by new players entering the market? The various factors include: capital costs of setting up,highly specialised equipment, level of protection of necessary intellectual property, scale and branding of existing competitors, government regulations.

Substitutes: What is the threat posed by substitute products and services? The various factors include: the cost to customers of switching to a substitute, buyer propensity to substitute; relative price-performance of substitutes, product differentiation.

Supplier bargaining power: How much bargaining power do suppliers have? The various factors include: number of possible suppliers and the strength of competition between them, whether suppliers produce differentiated products, importance of sales volume to the supplier, cost to the buyer of changing suppliers, vertical integration of the supplier or threat to become vertically integrated (ie the degree to which a firm owns its upstream suppliers and its downstream buyers).

Customer bargaining power: How much bargaining power do customers have? Factors that will effect the bargaining power of a customer include: volume of goods or services purchased, number of other customers, brand name strength, product differentiation, availability of substitutes.

5 – Spider diagram. Understanding how your business compares to the competition and to customers perceptions of value is a really key element of strategy. A great way to form a better understanding is to establish the key important dimensions (by asking the people who matter, customers) and then representing them graphically using a “spider diagram” such as below. You can map how your business measures up and how the competition measure up and then it will be readily apparent where areas of competitive advantage / disadvantage lie.

6 – SWOT. Dear old SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) – it hardly needs any introduction

Strengths weaknesses opportunities threats

After a business clearly identifies an objective that it wants to achieve, SWOT analysis involves examining the strengths and weaknesses of the business (internal factors); and considering the opportunities presented and threats posed by business conditions, for example, the strength of the competition (external factors).

Don’t fall into the trap of SWOT becoming two lists – one of “pros” and the other of “cons” and make sure that you use it critically and with clear prioritisation. So for example, weak opportunities shouldn’t balance strong threats.

7 – The Sales Funnel. Strictly speaking this isn’t a pure strategy tool but a very powerful sales strategy analytical tool nonetheless.

If your problem is with generating interest and awareness, then look at your PR – where are your target market seeing you talking about what you do? Are you engaging with your target market? If your problem is with generating leads, then how well are you explaining how you meet your target market’s needs with your products or services? If your problem is with converting leads into serious buyers, how well are you encouraging your buyers to take action? How well are you demonstrating your credibility and expertise to solve their problems? If your problem is with closing the sale, what objections are you hearing from your potential buyers? How are you overcoming these objections?

8 – The 4 P’s. Again the purist might argue that this is marketing strategy rather than pure business strategy – but we don’t mind what you call it because it all helps to being a more successful business. There isn’t the space here to do justice to the 4 P’s of marketing but to skim the surface they are a framework for evaluating the marketing strategy for a product.

Price: the pricing strategy employed by a firm for a particular good or service will have a significant effect on profit.

Product: differentiation is a source of competitive advantage. Product differentiation creates value in the mind of the consumer.

Position / Place: the physical location of a good or service can be a source of competitive advantage.

Promotion: is used to enhance the perception of a good or service in the minds of customers. A promotion will draw peoples attention to any features of a product that they might find attractive.

9 – Strategic Advantage. Following on from his work which resulted in the “Five Forces”, Michael Porter suggested that businesses can adopt one of four generic business strategies, as represented in the diagram below.

Generic strategies

The differentiation and cost leadership strategies seek competitive advantage in a broad range of market or industry segments. By contrast, the differentiation focus and cost focus strategies are adopted in a narrow market or industry.

I will write about this more fully in a strategy for smaller businesses booklet soon to be published, but for now it might be best just to suggest some example companies that might fit into each quadrant:

Cost Leadership: Tesco

Differentiation: Mercedes Benz

Cost Focus: Instore

Differentiation focus: The Perfume Store

Generic Strategies Example Companies

10 – Product & Service Life Cycle. The product lifecycle curve was originally the brainchild of another great management thinker, Theodore Levitt and was first published in the Harvard Business Review in 1965. Again space here does not allow for a full description.

Product Life Cycle Curve

Introduction: As a new product much time will be spent by the organisation to create awareness of it’s presence amongst its target market. Profits are negative or low.

Growth: If consumer clearly feel that this product will benefit them in some ways and they accept it, the organisation will see a period of rapid sales growth.

Maturity: Rapid sales growth cannot last forever. Sales slow down as the product sales reach peak as it has been accepted by most buyers.

Decline: Sales and profits start to decline, the organisation may try to change their pricing strategy to stimulate growth, however the product will either have to be modified, or replaced within the market.

Modern Financial Management Theories & Small Businesses

The following are some examples of modern financial management theories formulated on principles considered as ‘a set of fundamental tenets that form the basis for financial theory and decision-making in finance’ (Emery et al.1991). An attempt would be made to relate the principles behind these concepts to small businesses’ financial management.

Agency Theory

Agency theory deals with the people who own a business enterprise and all others who have interests in it, for example managers, banks, creditors, family members, and employees. The agency theory postulates that the day to day running of a business enterprise is carried out by managers as agents who have been engaged by the owners of the business as principals who are also known as shareholders. The theory is on the notion of the principle of ‘two-sided transactions’ which holds that any financial transactions involve two parties, both acting in their own best interests, but with different expectations.

Problems usually identified with agency theory may include:

i. Information asymmetry- a situation in which agents have information on the financial circumstances and prospects of the enterprise that is not known to principals (Emery et al.1991). For example ‘The Business Roundtable’ emphasised that in planning communications with shareholders and investors, companies should consider never misleading or misinforming stockholders about the corporation’s operations or financial condition. In spite of this principle, there was lack of transparency from Enron’s management leading to its collapse;

ii. Moral hazard-a situation in which agents deliberately take advantage of information asymmetry to redistribute wealth to themselves in an unseen manner which is ultimately to the detriment of principals. A case in point is the failure of the Board of directors of Enron’s compensation committee to ask any question about the award of salaries, perks, annuities, life insurance and rewards to the executive members at a critical point in the life of Enron; with one executive on record to have received a share of ownership of a corporate jet as a reward and also a loan of $77m to the CEO even though the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US bans loans by companies to their executives; and

iii. Adverse selection-this concerns a situation in which agents misrepresent the skills or abilities they bring to an enterprise. As a result of that the principal’s wealth is not maximised (Emery et al.1991).

In response to the inherent risk posed by agents’ quest to make the most of their interests to the disadvantage of principals (i.e. all stakeholders), each stakeholder tries to increase the reward expected in return for participation in the enterprise. Creditors may increase the interest rates they get from the enterprise. Other responses are monitoring and bonding to improve principal’s access to reliable information and devising means to find a common ground for agents and principals respectively.

Emanating from the risks faced in agency theory, researchers on small business financial management contend that in many small enterprises the agency relationship between owners and managers may be absent because the owners are also managers; and that the predominantly nature of SMEs make the usual solutions to agency problems such as monitoring and bonding costly thereby increasing the cost of transactions between various stakeholders (Emery et al.1991).

Nevertheless, the theory provides useful knowledge into many matters in SMEs financial management and shows considerable avenues as to how SMEs financial management should be practiced and perceived. It also enables academic and practitioners to pursue strategies that could help sustain the growth of SMEs.

Signaling Theory

Signaling theory rests on the transfer and interpretation of information at hand about a business enterprise to the capital market, and the impounding of the resulting perceptions into the terms on which finance is made available to the enterprise. In other words, flows of funds between an enterprise and the capital market are dependent on the flow of information between them. (Emery et al, 1991). For example management’s decision to make an acquisition or divest; repurchase outstanding shares; as well as decisions by outsiders like for example an institutional investor deciding to withhold a certain amount of equity or debt finance. The emerging evidence on the relevance of signaling theory to small enterprise financial management is mixed. Until recently, there has been no substantial and reliable empirical evidence that signaling theory accurately represents particular situations in SME financial management, or that it adds insights that are not provided by modern theory (Emery et al.1991).

Keasey et al(1992) writes that of the ability of small enterprises to signal their value to potential investors, only the signal of the disclosure of an earnings forecast were found to be positively and significantly related to enterprise value amongst the following: percentage of equity retained by owners, the net proceeds raised by an equity issue, the choice of financial advisor to an issue (presuming that a more reputable accountant, banker or auditor may cause greater faith to be placed in the prospectus for the float), and the level of under pricing of an issue. Signaling theory is now considered to be more insightful for some aspects of small enterprise financial management than others (Emery et al 1991).

The Pecking-Order Theory or Framework (POF)

This is another financial theory, which is to be considered in relation to SMEs financial management. It is a finance theory which suggests that management prefers to finance first from retained earnings, then with debt, followed by hybrid forms of finance such as convertible loans, and last of all by using externally issued equity; with bankruptcy costs, agency costs, and information asymmetries playing little role in affecting the capital structure policy. A research study carried out by Norton (1991b) found out that 75% of the small enterprises used seemed to make financial structure decisions within a hierarchical or pecking order framework .Holmes et al. (1991) admitted that POF is consistent with small business sectors because they are owner-managed and do not want to dilute their ownership. Owner-managed businesses usually prefer retained profits because they want to maintain the control of assets and business operations.

This is not strange considering the fact that in Ghana, according to empirical evidence, SMEs funding is made up of about 86% of own equity as well as loans from family and friends(See Table 1). Losing this money is like losing one’s own reputation which is considered very serious customarily in Ghana.

Access to capital

The 1971 Bolton report on small firms outlined issues underlying the concept of ‘finance gap’ (this has two components-knowledge gap-debt is restricted due to lack of awareness of appropriate sources, advantages and disadvantages of finance; and supply gap-unavailability of funds or cost of debt to small enterprises exceeds the cost of debt for larger enterprises.) that: there are a set of difficulties which face a small company. Small companies are hit harder by taxation, face higher investigation costs for loans, are generally less well informed of sources of finance and are less able to satisfy loan requirements. Small firms have limited access to the capital and money markets and therefore suffer from chronic undercapitalization. As a result; they are likely to have excessive recourse to expensive funds which act as a brake on their economic development.


This is the term used to describe the converse of gearing which is the proportion of total assets financed by equity and may be called equity to assets ratio. The studies under review in this section on leverage are focused on total debt as a percentage of equity or total assets. There are however, some studies on the relative proportions of different types of debt held by small and large enterprises.

Equity Funds

Equity is also known as owners’ equity, capital, or net worth.

Costand et al (1990) suggests that ‘larger firms will use greater levels of debt financing than small firms. This implies that larger firms will rely relatively less on equity financing than do smaller firms.’ According to the pecking order framework, the small enterprises have two problems when it comes to equity funding [McMahon et al. (1993, pp153)]:

1) Small enterprises usually do not have the option of issuing additional equity to the public.

2) Owner-managers are strongly averse to any dilution of their ownership interest and control. This way they are unlike the managers of large concerns who usually have only a limited degree of control and limited, if any, ownership interest, and are therefore prepared to recognise a broader range of funding options.

Financial Management in SME

With high spate of financial problems contributing to the high rate of failures in small medium enterprises, what do the literature on small business say on financial management in small businesses to combat such failures?

Osteryoung et al (1997) writes that “while financial management is a critical element of the management of a business as a whole, within this function the management of its assets is perhaps the most important. In the long term, the purchase of assets directs the course that the business will take during the life of these assets, but the business will never see the long term if it cannot plan an appropriate policy to effectively manage its working capital.” In effect the poor financial management of owner-managers or lack of financial management altogether is the main cause underlying the problems in SME financial management.

Hall and Young(1991) in a study in the UK of 3 samples of 100 small enterprises that were subject to involuntary liquidation in 1973,1978,and 1983 found out that the reasons given for failure,49.8% were of financial nature. On the perceptions of official receivers interviewed for the same small enterprises, 86.6% of the 247 reasons given were of a financial nature. The positive correlation between poor or nil financial management (including basic accounting) and business failure has well been documented in western countries according to Peacock (1985a).

It is gainsaying the fact that despite the need to manage every aspect of their small enterprises with very little internal and external support, it is often the case that owner-managers only have experience or training in some functional areas.

There is a school of thought that believes “a well-run business enterprise should be as unconscious of its finances as healthy a fit person is of his or her breathing”. It must be possible to undertake production, marketing, distribution and the like, without repeatedly causing, or being hindered by, financial pressures and strains. It does not mean, however, that financial management can be ignored by a small enterprise owner-manager; or as is often done, given to an accountant to take care of. Whether it is obvious or not to the casual observer, in prosperous small enterprises the owner-managers themselves have a firm grasp of the principles of financial management and are actively involved in applying them to their own situation.” McMahon et al. (1993).

Some researchers tried to predict small enterprise failure to mitigate the collapse of small businesses. McNamara et al (1988) developed a model to predict small enterprise failures giving the following four reasons:

– To enable management to respond quickly to changing conditions

– To train lenders in recognising the important factors involved in determining an enterprise’s likelihood of failing

– To assist lending organisations in their marketing by identifying their customer’s financial needs more effectively

– To act as a filter in the credit evaluation process.

They went on to argue that small enterprises are very different from large ones in the area of borrowing by small enterprises, lack of long-term debt finance and different taxation provisions.

For small private companies, these measures are unreliable and textbook methods for judging investment opportunities are not always useful in organisations that are privately owned to give a true and fair view of events taking place in the company.

Thus,modern financial management is not the ultimate answer to every business problem including both large and small businesses.However,it could be argued that there is some food for thought for SMEs concerning every concept considered in this study. For example it could be seen (from the literature reviewed )that, financial records are meant to examine and analyse corporate operations. Return on equity, return on assets, return on investment, and debt to equity ratios are useful yardsticks for measuring the performance of big business and SMEs as well.

The Value of Awards For Small Businesses

As a public relations consultant I have often nominated my clients for awards – and even helped them write their award submissions – but I’ve never put myself forward. Until now.

In 2009 I entered my business in two awards programs and was named a finalist in one. In the process of entering and making submissions for these awards, I learnt a lot about myself as a business person and a woman with aspirations. Without being forced to put my goals, achievements and plans for my business into words I might not have realised how far I have come in the four years I have been a soloist.

As hard as it is to admit, especially to a potential audience of so many, I had to Google myself (does that make me a Meegler?) to find out everything I have done. The process jogged my memory and helped me clarify my successes.

So, even though it took many hours of my time and I wondered several times why I had agreed to enter these awards, here is what I gained from the process:

o I clarified my short- and long-term business and personal goals

o I looked back at my achievements over the past four years

o I can now explain with conviction why I am worthy of receiving an award

o I am very clear on my point of difference from my competitors

o I can relate examples of where I, as a business owner, have excelled in customer service, leadership and communication

o I have a better understanding of the relationships I have built with clients and the media

o I revisited the system I use to retain existing clients and attract new ones

o I looked closer at my financial position to see how the business has improved year-on-year

o I isolated areas of my business that needed work

o I discovered the process is a good excuse to market my business because these awards recognise its value and add credibility to my brand.

Can you say you have the same clarity about these areas in your business? It might be worth spending some time looking at your business goals, unique selling proposition (USP), past achievements and areas in your business that could do with some extra focus. It is a valuable exercise.

Small Business Secret #3 – Seven Documents All Small Businesses Must Have To Be Successful

When many small business owners start out thinking about building a small business, they are often mislead into believing that the only document that they need to succeed is a Business Plan. In fact this plan is only one of seven documents every small business should have if they ever expect to survive let alone succeed.

Let me explain …

Doc 1. Business Plan

The Business plan, which is what most accountants, lawyers and business coaches will say is the only document that you need is the first document you must complete. I certainly do disagree totally that this is the only document you need, because the actual roll of this document is to summarize the other six mandatory documents that you must have.

The size of your Business Plan document will vary depending on the size of your business that you are either buying or building. Your business plan should contain details on how your business will be run, how you will finance the business, what sort of profit you will make, how you will advertise and market your business, what your exit strategy will be from your business, what form you business will take, where it will be located etc.

If you are going to be buying a Business rather than starting up a new one from scratch, always ask the previous owner to see their business plan. This will give you a good insight into the inner workings of the business and how it got to where it is. One thing to note though, always make sure that regardless of whether you are buying an existing business or building your own, that you create your own business plan so you have a clear understanding of where you are going with this business.

Doc 2. Business Model

A Business Model is usually built using tools like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access. The model allows you to apply various scenarios to your business model to see what sort of outcome will occur. This is a fantastic tool for running scenarios and seeing what the outcome would be if certain conditions might occur, like your truck broke down or what would happen to your profit if a certain piece of machinery broke down for a period of time.

The Business Model is also very useful when dealing with organizations like banks or finance institutions. If your business model can show what impacts various factors might have on your business and that you can still survive, then the banks and finance institutions are more likely to give you the money you need.

Doc 3. Marketing Plan

The Marketing Plan document sets out how you are going to market your business. It includes information on the brochures you are going to use, the types of adverts you may use, the frequency of the campaign, the medium you will be using and so forth. The marketing plan provides an in depth look at how you will be marketing your business. Your marketing plan should represent 12 months of operations, that is, you should have developed all of your marketing strategies so that they flow on and build on each previous marketing campaign over a 12 month period.

Doc 4. Operations Plan

Your operations plan is designed to define exactly how your business is to be run. The operations plan should include how to do every task in your organization, checklists on what needs to be done every day, week, month and year. Essentially the Operations Plan defines how your business actually works.

The key advantage of your operations plan is that if at any time you lose a staff member, you can use the operations plan to teach your new staff members the tasks that they need to complete each day.

Doc 5. Sales Plan

The Sales Plan outlines how sales will be undertaken on a day to day basis. How you will be selling your products and services, who your target markets are, your approach techniques to new clients, any clients that you need to contact on a day-to-day basis and what your contact processes are. More so it should define what step-by-step process you follow to convert a prospect into a customer.

The Sales Plan should use flow charts and should also include any letters or marketing material that should be used for a particular sales process.

Doc 6. HR Plan

The HR Plan, sets out the Human Resource structure of your organization. It should include information such as position descriptions, who each person reports to, who they are responsible for, what tasks they are responsible for and any special duties they might have to do during the year.

The HR Plan should also have information in it such as Job Advertisement Templates, approved Position Descriptions and templates, Hourly Rates, Acceptable Work Practices and so forth. The HR Plan sets down how your staff must engage at work and what you define as being acceptable workplace behaviors in your workplace.

Doc 7. Style Manual

The Organizations Style manual sets out how you are going to present yourself to your customers. The style manual includes information on your logos, your business cards, the colors your business will use for its logos, banner layouts, how to place newspaper adverts and what colors must be used, what fonts must be used in Letters or Faxes. The style manual will also set out what information will go onto your business cards, where the logo will sit and what information must be contained.

The Organizations Style manual sets out how you are going to present yourself to the public and what standards you will use. If you have never seen a Style Manual before simply go to any large corporation’s website and type in ‘Style Manual’ and you will generally find one available for review.

After 10 years in small business and a number of small businesses under my belt, the one thing I have learned is that if you do not have these 7 Plans and Documents done prior to creating or building your business, then they will never get done. The simple fact is that small business is incredibly demanding on the small business owner and once the business is up and going, it is highly unusual the owner will ever get the time to go back and create them. Without each and every one of these documents your business will lack focus on what you want to achieve and that is why 70% of all small businesses around the world fail in the first 12 months.

To finish off, I would like to take a moment to summarize the seven documents all small business owners should have before contemplating a small business…

1. Business Plan

2. Business Model

3. Marketing Plan

4. Operations Plan

5. Sales Plan

6. HR Plan

7. Style Manual

Why Is A Local Search Engine Important For Businesses?

“Go Local”… This new mantra to shop local, buy local and go local, etc. has become a game-changer for the businesses. Eight out of ten consumers use search to find local information that means if your business is not optimized for the local search, your business is missing 80% customers. The local search engine is critical if you want your business to grow and expand.

What Makes Local Search Important?

With every search on Google, local search is happening. When someone is searching for any product and services, they search with the “near me” keyword. For e.g. “coffee shop near me” “Thai restaurant near me”.

The below-mentioned statistics suggest how Local Search has become imperative in providing business.

  • 50% of consumers who performed searches through their smartphones have visited the local stores in 24 hours.
  • 35% of people searched through their computer visited the local stores in a day.
  • 73% of the local businesses witnessed a boost in their sales and got unique consumers based on who searched them locally.
  • 68% of people suggested that they prefer searching online for local businesses before visiting them.
  • 92% of users looked online for local businesses in the year 2017 and that number is growing every day.
  • 86% of the people look up the location of the business in the Google Maps

To give you better clarity, let’s pretend my tap broke. I do not want to search whichever websites that Google lines up for me. Rather, I will search for writing “plumber near me” “Plumbing services near me”

The SERPS will get me a bunch of local plumbing services including ratings and testimonials as well as price packages. – Get it? This is how the local search engine works.

How Local B2B Search Can Be A Game Changer?

We understood the power of local search SEO, but if you think who cares? Well, as a matter of fact, your customer cares. Because local consumers will always rely on the local search engine results to find the information. So, how can you make your local search engine better for your business?

The crucial parts of local Search SEO involve:

When it comes to local SEO, it is different from organic practices. When optimizing your business for local search below are the immediate areas you need to focus:

  • Optimize “Google My Business”
  • Improve your internal link structure
  • Create local content
  • Make sure your website is mobile responsive
  • Make sure that your business contact details are updated
  • Engage more on social media platforms by adding daily posts
  • Optimize online directories
  • Add location to your web pages
  • Optimize your meta description, content, title tags, images, and URL

Local search engine results are based on geographical factors. It is impossible to rank based on organic SEO unless you are a huge brand. Especially B2B businesses where competition is stiff, your business can enjoy benefits like:

  • Increased web traffic
  • Increased visibility
  • Build a loyal customer base
  • Enhanced brand awareness
  • Increased business inquiries/leads
  • Your business earns more trust through high page rankings
  • Repeat customers
  • Reduces advertising expenses
  • Get exposure in local business community directories
  • Gets more positive reviews

To Get Rank On Google – You Need Local SEO

You might be wondering what it takes to get first-page ranking on Google? Well, to say least there are literally hundreds of things that go in from best SEO practices to ratings and reviews, optimizing the mobile experience, focusing on user experience, regularly updating and maintaining Google listing, and so on.

Google algorithms are constantly changing to deliver relevant search for the users. Google’s “Venice Update” was one of the first changes that influenced the local search for businesses. The update made it imperative to have landing pages for the businesses for every location they provide service and optimize it with the right keywords.

Another significant rollout was “Google Pigeon Update” which had several makeovers with the recent one including “Local 3 pack” as opposed to how earlier they used to display 8-10 businesses in a pack.

Recently, Google announced another change suggesting that the search results are local and even more relevant.

The top half search result page is covered with the “Paid Ads” and the “local pack listings”. About 86% of the customers use this listing when they are looking for local businesses.

With the right local SEO strategies and practices, your business can come in the top 3 local pack searches.

Algorithms are adapting local “near me” search hence to get your business listing higher on Google page ranking you can’t overlook Local Search SEO.

It’s a step by step process that you need to perform to get on the first page of Google.

Local Search Vs General Search Engine

Search engine giants like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. use hundreds of factors to rank and index in the searches that include SEO keywords, inbound and outbound links, content, to name a few.

Local businesses having a physical office in a specific location will want to rank high in the local search. The user is likely to search for the products/services in a specific location they want to find it nearby and easy to commute to visit. Therefore, it is important for local businesses to show up in local searches.

Can Local Businesses Rank High On Search Engines Like Google?

It is not impossible but tough. Also with every search engine, the algorithm varies, Google competitors like Bing, Yahoo adopt different strategies to place the businesses.

Ideally, multi-location brands have better chances to rank locally as well as organically since they have a website to help boost their ranking when searched.

That is where organic SEO comes into play. Search engine optimization is the process of trying to make sure search engines know which searches your business or website is relevant for. However, there are marketers who manipulate the results using SEO techniques.

Google considers search engine manipulation to be extremely serious and expends substantial resources to try to identify and eliminate it. Hence, Google is now emphasizing more on “local searches”. The local search algorithm update, “Pigeon” is giving importance to the local search results hence benefitting the local business.

Closing Thoughts

Currently, if you have not performed local SEO, we recommend that you devote your time to getting those things done. It is important that your customers find you.

When it comes to Local SEO we are pro at it. If your website is not showing in local searches your business is missing a huge opportunity.

4 Essential SEO Strategy Elements for Service-Based Businesses

Unique Elements Required for a Service-based Business to Rank Properly in the Search Engines.

While big multinational companies employ SEO strategies to gain clients and customers from all over the world, a small business who deals only with customers in its geographic region only wants local leads.

This article looks at what you must have in your SEO strategy if you’re one of those smaller businesses and you’re trying to gain visibility with clients local to you.

1. Your website

Look at your website and see if you can tell where your business is located and who it services.

Your target area should be prevalently noted in the Home page copy, your contact page, as well as in the footer. You can even incorporate it into your business name or URL.

The idea is of course to make sure that when someone gets to your website looking for what you provide, they are also affirmed you service their area.

Put these terms in your META data too. It makes a difference in reaching local customers doing specific searches for your city or business service area. Additionally, when you create individual pages for each service you provide, work the locations serviced into the headlines and copy.

2. Google My Business

If you haven’t already done so you should create a Gmail account for yourself, so you can easily log into all of Google’s apps and products.

Google My Business is one such tool available for free that gets your business pinned on Google Maps and if Google sees the right signals you’ll show up high in the local rank results too. The local rank results are those results you’ll see when Google has understood your search query to be location specific.

Try typing ‘plumbers near me’ into Google and you’ll likely see a few ads and some localized listings before you see the organic search results. This could be 1 – 3 ads or 3 or 4 local listings depending on how competitive the market is.

Those local listings are valuable to your business and by creating and verifying your business with Google you’ll have at least initiated the steps it takes to get listed in those local listings.

Once you have the account, fill in everything you can. Provide photos and use your service and locality keywords in the description and anywhere else you see a sincere opportunity.

3. Local Citations

Local citations are when your business is listed in local directories. You’ll likely only ever need to do this once and it’s very easy.

Just look up your location with the word ‘directories’ after. There are some obvious ones like Yelp but you may find some niche directories for your locality as well as your service too.

Don’t ever pay for these as those paid directories will have already been flagged by Google when it reviews their site. Paying for links or citations will always harm your ranking efforts.

4. Reviews

When it comes to local customers, reviews are golden. They’re testimonials that other potential clients can trust. Requesting these from previous customers is totally fine; however, falsifying them is not.

Don’t have them log into their Gmail account from your computer to leave a review or Google will see that your reviews all come from the same IP address and the reviews then won’t help your rank.

There are plenty of other things you can do as well but those 4 points are staples in any local SEO strategy and if you’re a service-based business you’ll need them in order to get the right traffic.

Of course, if you’re looking to really dominate the rank results and ensure you’ve got a solid strategy you’re going to want to hire someone providing professional search engine optimization. They can take things further as well as actively maintain the efforts needed to let Google know you provide what you do, where you do it, while you spend your time actually providing your service!

Importance of Having Mobile Apps for Small Businesses

The world has gone Mobile. The number of smart phone users globally has grown exponentially over the past 5 years. The number of Android & iOS devices sold globally has crossed a billion mark each. Hence, it is no longer sufficient to have only a website for your business. Any business, small or large must have a mobile app. Let us look at some of the most important reasons why you should opt for a mobile app for your business:

1. Branding – A mobile application is the best way to create brand awareness for your business. You can use your logo, your business’s tag line or a message that you would like your customers to connect with your business to create a brand recall. Every time a customer who has downloaded your mobile apps sees your logo in the form of the mobile app icon on their screen, they will recall you.

2. Increased Reach – Because of the sheer penetration of mobile phones and other mobile devices like tablets and the improved Internet connectivity in most parts of the world, the number of people you can reach through a app has increased tremendously. It is easier for your existing as well as potential customers to find out the right information about your products or services through your mobile app.

3. Create Customer Database & Profile – It is easier to collect customer data in terms of phone number and email id through a mobile apps. You can also allow your app users to login via their social media accounts like Facebook or Google. This will give you access to other valuable data like their areas of interest, their lifestyle choice, their shopping preferences, etc. This data can then be used by your marketing team to send out the right communication.

4. Increased Engagement – By building the right features in your app you can utilize it as a powerful way to increase engagement with your existing and potential customers. You can include features like social sharing and a help desk (for sales and service queries) in the app to improve direct communication with your customers. This will in turn help your business to connect closely with your customers.

5. Push Notifications – This is one of the biggest advantages of having a mobile apps. You can ask your Mobile App Development Solution provider to integrate a push notification feature in your app which will help you with your on-the-go marketing. Through this feature, you can send bulk messages to all the app users or specific messages to a sub-set of your app users based on the message. You can also communicate about the latest offers or discounts you are offering to your customers regularly through push notifications. Best of all, it doesn’t cost you a penny to send out these messages, unlike SMS or Email marketing.

With the above advantages of having a for your business in mind, it is imperative to identify the right Mobile App Development Solutions provider for your business app. Solution Analysts has been helping small businesses globally with their Mobile App Development Services to create great which will add value to their businesses. To get a free quote for your Mobile Application or to know more about us, please visit our website today.

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