Strategies For an Online Job Search

Finding a job used to be a very slow process, but this has drastically changed with the advent of online job search boards. Rather than waiting for the Sunday newspaper to find good jobs to apply for, you can now set up an account with a multitude of online job search agents and have hundreds of leads delivered to you inbox daily. This article will show you how to properly put together an online job search that is efficient and effective.

Online Job Search Strategy – Step 1: Get Your Profile Online

The first step in conducting your online job search is preparing electronic copies of your resumes and cover letters. The major online job boards allow you to create a free profile and upload as many targeted resumes and cover letters as you like. Putting your job search documents in an electronic format makes it super easy to distribute them to potential employers quickly. Once you have put your resume in an electronic format, it’s important to upload it to as many sites as possible. Most importantly, make your resume “searchable” or public to employers. This way when an employer runs a search for specific keywords, your resume will show up without even needing to apply for the job.

Online Job Search Strategy – Step 2: Set Up Automated Job Search Agents

The major online job search sites offer a fantastic automated feature – emailed search results. You can create a free profile that will bring daily leads to your email address. When you create a job search agent, be sure to use as many relevant keywords as possible relating to your field. Don’t just use the title of the position you are looking for, include synonyms and related words to increase the chances of finding leads you are interested in. For example, if you are an accountant, don’t just search for “accountant.” Instead put together a large string of related keywords, such as: “accountant, accounting, general ledger, finance, financial reporting.” You may end up seeing jobs that you are not qualified for, but it’s better to have too many than too few.

Online Job Search Strategy – Step 3: Managing the online application process

It can get pretty cumbersome to manage the application process once you have multiple emailed search agents created. To keep yourself focused, you need to have a good process for organizing the leads. I like to use the daily job application organizer that you can find at JobSearchPower.com. By keeping a list of jobs you are interested in you can be sure you are following up properly on each job you apply for.

Strategies To Find Job Search Success in the New Economy

I read in the news that Apple announced it has sold over five million of its new iPhone 5, just three days after its launch and to sweeten Apple’s products demand, more than 100 million of Apple’s latest operating systems devices have been updated.

Apple’s success is an important indication that the Internet has taken over the new economy. The latest trend of using social media to find job has moved to a dynamic speed. Savvy job seekers knows that they cannot solely rely on traditional means in looking for jobs.

Traditional job search includes strategies such as looking in the newspaper classified advertisements, searching through ‘help wanted’ notices on bulletin boards, going to recruitment or job agencies, and write in for jobs opportunities directly to the companies. All these traditional ways of job search involve an individual reacting to a job that has already been publicly offered.

Although, traditional methods are still necessary, creative, well-informed and socially Internet savvy job seekers will take a step further to stay ahead of their competition by creating an online presence to reach out to more prospective employers. That is because they know that more and more recruiters use the web as a place to search for talent and conduct employment background searches. This trend will set to increase over the years.

Here are 3 ways you can use social media to enhance your job search success:

1) Build your online presence on social network sites.

Make employers find you easily online and thus open doors to more job opportunities. Without an online presence, you will not appear to be as relevant as those who has and you will be passed over for more savvy applicants that have online visibility. Creating online presence include

  • LinkedIn- A networking tool for professional connections. Also used to recommend job candidates, industry experts and business partners. Employers use LinkedIn as a search tool to find talent, and job seekers use it to leverage their network in support of their search.
  • Twitter – Social networking and instant messaging that allows users to post 140- character updates. Employer can use Twitter to post for job opportunities.
  • Facebook – A social network that connects people, to keep up with friends and share ideas. Depending on their privacy level, some job seekers have successfully secured a job through their Facebook network.

2) Create a blog to demonstrate your expertise

Another good way to further boost your image and demonstrate your experience, expertise and passion in a particular field is to create an updated blog. Keep it professional, creative and update it with value add contents for readers. The articles that you post may include tips and advice on issues in your area of expertise, also be mindful that everything you write and post online is up for judgement.

3) YouTube and Pinterest Marketing

Internet savvy job seekers are making use of video marketing to promote themselves. This is a creative approach to job hunting that has become increasingly common in the social media arena. You could create a video resume, such as a short and traditional video that include a general rundown of your work experience, educational background and skills.

While Pinterest is not a networking platform, as it does not allow direct communication, it is becoming increasingly popular with businesses. It is a powerful tool to demonstrate your knowledge, organisational skills, and creativity to prospective employers. You can create boards which relate to specific skills-sets you have and use it as a portal to link to work you want to showcase – like an online portfolio.

4) Online Resume

In the new economy, it has changed the way employers review resumes, the Internet has also made it possible for job seekers to post their resumes online, on their own hosted web sites. This change is particular helpful to those persons whose resume presentation will be greatly enhanced by being able to take advantage of the graphics and interactive capabilities that an online resume on a personal web site can provide.

In a nutshell, in these times, a paper resume is not enough. It is essential to be creative and a well-designed electronic, or online version of your resume combined and linked to a strong social media profile, is usually ideal for a successful job search.

Cost-Effective Marketing Strategies of Small Business Marketing Experts

Whether your business is old or new, you marketing should be dynamic and timely. Often times marketing in small business involves sending several outgoing calls and walk-in customer service satisfaction. But are these small business marketing ideas still operational today? Or is Internet marketing becoming the next norm for small or big business.

Adding to the dilemma is that, these days, the business magazines, newspapers, Internet and even your email Inbox are filled with small business marketing ideas from just anybody. Inexperienced businessmen or women can easily feel lost in these barrages of small business marketing views, advices, strategies, etc. So let me give you more centered strategies that harness one effective small business marketing strategy: Internet marketing.

Six Top Ideas for Internet Marketing

1. Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC)

For a tech-savvy business man or woman, Pay Per Click marketing proves to be a strong business marketing method. But, entrepreneurs using Pay Per Click should know what they’re doing or their cost per conversion could rapidly break unknowingly. The key to a productive Pay Per Click marketing drive is continuous oversight.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Unlike Pay Per Click advertising, Search Engine Optimization pays off slowly but a lasting prospect is feasible. On average, 75% of a business website’s traffic come from organic search engine queries. Remember that search engines wouldn’t mind your advertising budget. What they look into is the SEO strategies you employed on your site What are important are the SEO strategies that you have on your site.

3. Public Relations (PR)

Public relations are perhaps the parent of all small business marketing ideas since advertising campaigns was started. Nailing your offline and your online PR campaign is a very good way to build-up awareness, authority, trust, and loyalty to your business. Online public relation through PR Wire is very cost-effective small business marketing strategy, for example.

4. Twitter and Facebook Places

Adding to the micro blogging and the syndication power of Twitter and Facebook are their new free service to all business marketers: the Twitter and Facebook Places. This application allows you to integrate your Tweets and Facebook updates to display a map where your business is located.

5. Online Business Directories

Today, clients are prepared to junk yellow pages in favor of the more interactive online business directories to find local businesses. If you’re not included on several online business directories, then it means you’re losing on a lot of small business marketing ideas. You’re missing on citation burst that could have tremendous positive impact on search engines.

6. Online Word of Mouth

And the last small business marketing strategy that’s paying huge dividend is online word of mouth. This includes glowing customer reviews on online directories, blogs, and social media sites. Seventy percent of future clients trust online reviews, so it’s time to start looking into ReviewBiz, for example, and start strategizing.

I know that was a lot of online small business marketing ideas to study let alone implement. In fact, imposing and managing all these online marketing ideas can even be time consuming. Don’t worry though because there are solutions you can find on the Internet that should help you implement the marketing strategies above.

In closing, small business marketing ideas such as online directories, etc. are a potent means to reach more local clients. These tried & trusted methods are permanent, and your business will fall if you don’t have these strategies in place.

7 Strategies for Sustained Innovation

The need for constant reinvention is a given in today’s business environment. And while a breakthrough product or concept can catapult an organization ahead of its competitors, in these fast-paced times, that advantage is often short-lived.

While major product or service breakthroughs make headlines, it’s the steady incremental innovations made by employees every day that give an organization the sustained growth it needs.

Sustained innovation comes from developing a collective sense of purpose; from unleashing the creativity of people throughout your organization and from teaching them how to recognize unconventional opportunities.

As innovative ideas surface, a clear sense of mission empowers front-line employees to act on new ideas that further your company’s purpose.

It Starts at the Top

Leaders create the psychological environment that fosters sustained innovation at all levels. The challenge is that as an organization grows, management structures and bureaucracies, designed to channel growth, tend to create barriers to small-scale enhancements.

While there are exceptions, in larger organizations employees tend to feel removed from the function of innovation and are less likely to take independent action or offer revolutionary ideas.

The commitment to establishing the right psychological conditions for innovation needs to start at the top. This means that, as a leader, you need to consider your own assumptions about innovation and their role in creating and changing your organization’s culture.

You need to appreciate the value of incremental as well as major innovations, understand the psychology of innovation and take the lead in promoting an innovative culture. Otherwise, it’s just not going to happen.

While your organization’s innovative capability depends on multiple factors, there are several steps you can take to create the psychological conditions that favor inventive thinking, regardless of your industry or the size of your organization.

Establish A Clear Sense of Direction

Changing cultures involves changing minds, and that takes time. But as with any initiative, a clear sense of the target helps to speed the journey.

Your organization’s mission helps to organize and direct the creativity of its people. What is the purpose of consistent innovation in your enterprise? Is it to add customer value to existing products and services…to speed delivery…to increase on-time arrivals?

Having a clearly articulated message allows everyone to focus on innovation where it can deliver the greatest value. Innovation, as Peter Drucker has defined it, means creating a new dimension of performance. A sense of mission clarifies the direction of performance and helps determine which new ideas to focus on.

Open Communication

Open communication between management and employees sets the stage for an atmosphere of trust. But if you want to establish a new, more trusting culture, you can’t expect employees to take the first step.

Company leadership initiates the process of open communication by sharing information with employees on a regular basis. This includes good news and bad.

Southwest Airlines policy of sharing information enabled the company to weather the sudden increase in fuel costs during the 1990-91 Gulf War. The company kept everyone informed as fuel prices soared. Southwest’s CEO Herb Kelleher sent a memo to pilots asking for their help. Through inventive thinking, the pilots found ways to rapidly drop fuel consumption without compromising safety or service.

Leaders of organizations that sustain innovation offer multiple opportunities for communication.

While not every company can offer an open-door policy for its senior executives, or even a chance for regular face-to-face contact, every organization can institute programs that enable front-line workers to feel heard. From CEO lunches with cross-sections of employees, to monthly division meetings between employees and the general manager, to open intranet forums for idea sharing and feedback, leaders can communicate their openness to hearing innovative ideas from those who are closest to the customer.

Reduce bureaucracy

While larger organizations are often considered less entrepreneurial and inventive than their smaller counterparts, it’s not the size of your company that inhibits innovation — it’s the systems. Bureaucracy slows down action and is a serious impediment to innovation.

Smaller organizations can often move faster on implementing innovative ideas because they have less bureaucracy. When Jack Welch was reengineering General Electric he said, “My goal is to get the small company’s soul and small company’s speed inside our big company.”

Faster implementation encourages further inventive thinking. Think for a minute. If you had an idea for an innovation, and it required 6 weeks to clear channels and another 3 weeks to get funding, would you have lost any impetus for further contribution?

Instill A Sense of Ownership

An ownership mentality creates a powerful incentive for inventive thinking. When an individual is clearly aware of how his or her interests are aligned with those of the company, he or she has a strong reason to “go the extra mile” to further the mission.

Stock ownership is a significant, if not essential, incentive for employees. However on its own, profit-sharing doesn’t guarantee your employees will think like owners.

When employees don’t see how their individual efforts affect company profitability, they tend to be passive and reactive. To encourage greater involvement, make sure each employee knows how his or her work affects company performance.

Southwest gave pilots the freedom to design and implement a plan to reduce fuel consumption because they were in the best position to determine what would be effective. Pilots pitched in enthusiastically because they understood the impact their actions had on the bottom-line and ultimately, on their own futures.

Make Sure Recognition and Rewards are Consistent

While financial rewards are often tied to innovations, rewarding only the individual or team responsible for the “big idea” or its implementation, sets up a subtle competitive atmosphere that discourages the smaller, less dramatic improvements.

Even team-based compensation can be counterproductive if teams are set up to compete with each other for rewards. These incentives discourage the cross functional collaboration so critical to maximal performance.

Companies that successfully foster an innovation culture design rewards that reinforce the culture they want to establish. If your organization values integrated solutions, you cannot compensate team leaders based on unit performance. If your company values development of new leaders, you cannot base rewards on short-term performance.

A Tolerance for Risk and Failure

Tolerating a certain degree of failure as a necessary part of growth is an important part of encouraging innovation. Innovation is a risk. Employees won’t take risks unless they understand goals clearly, have a clear but flexible framework in which to operate and understand that failures are recognized as simply steps in the learning process.

Toyota’s Production System transfers quality management and innovation authority to front-line plant workers. Workers are able to make adjustments in their work if they see an opportunity for improvement. If the innovation works, it’s incorporated into operations, if not, it’s chalked up to experience.

A major psychological benefit of Toyota’s method is the development of trust. Employees who trust their bosses are more likely to take intelligent risks that have potential benefit for the company.

Eliminate Projects and Processes that Don’t Work

As your organization innovates you need to practice what Peter Drucker calls “creative abandonment.” Projects and processes that no longer contribute should be abandoned to make room for new, progressive activities.

While no organization wants to squander financial resources on unprofitable activities, it is actually the irreplaceable resource of time and employee energy that is wasted if a company holds on to the old way of doing things.

Innovation requires optimism. It’s about an attitude of continually reaching for higher performance. You can’t expect employees to maintain an optimistic attitude if they feel compelled to continue in activities that are going nowhere.

© 2007 Dr. Robert Karlsberg & Dr. Jane Adler

Secret Strategies To Generate Money From Amazon To Become Digital Entrepreneur

You may check, if we are trying for making money on online, almost 98% of our efforts or actions will be scammed by well skilled scammer in the name of Online Digital Marketing. Since online money-maker is not a money-maker they are just online money dreamer, unfortunately they are money looser. Even if we earn 0.50$ means someone earned 5$ through us. Over the Internet there are hundreds of online money earning opportunities exist, like Freelancer, Affiliate marketing, paid surveys, ad clicking and ad posting, ad clicking websites, Mobile app Tasks, Daily login and paid online tasks etc. If we consider Time, cost & effort factors, those hundreds of opportunities may fail to bring Passive online Income constantly for us.

For example, if we consider online tasks like “5$ per one survey” just think, is it possible to get daily basis? If yes. Definitely you are the well skilled digital scammer.

One of the well-recognized online money-making technique is Affiliate Marketing. Yes, of course. It is the greatest way to earn money online. Here the problem is you need a well traffic generating Website or Blog to become affiliate earner. Here I have a product to promote and new website. But I don’t have Traffic. For this you may get free traffic sources, but it requires continuous effort over the year without a single penny. In case of paid traffic, it’s so expensive, need certain skills to optimize keyword for your promotion. And those paid traffic may be or may not be generates sales for you. That’s why it’s a good and passive income generator for you, if you are well familiar with Affiliate Marketing Strategic and Skill-set Training otherwise it’s too expensive and like a Gambling.

As a freelancer, I had subscribed membership plan on one of the famous freelance website by paying certain membership fee, and after that I started to search for work. Wow! there are number projects available in my selected category in these websites. But those projects were already bide by hundreds of freelancer like me. I thought that event I bid low price on these projects there is no Guaranteed for availing these projects, why I need to waste my Time, energy and Money on these kinds of Unprofessional things?

Making money online isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. If you want to become a successful online earner, you need to adopt a long-term mindset. Whatever you want to do online, do it through Professionally Le-Earn strategy. For example, if you want to become successful you-tuber having 5 million channel subscriber within a year. As an individual person it’s difficult to achieve this goal card. But it was proven by successful YouTube earner through their back-end strategic training and implementation. Therefore this goal is achievable by strategic learning & obtaining well training from digital experts for free of cost or paid training services also. Definitely this strategy help you to achieve online earning goal will successful on internet.

Regional Marketing Strategies and Master Franchising Conflicts

When entering a master franchise agreement one must pay particular attention to the section on advertising and marketing requirements. Generally speaking franchisors are interested in secure brand name recognition in the assigned master franchise territory (County, State, Country). The franchisor also understands what works best for their business model in attracting new business, and or has probably given careful consideration to how this will affect the master’s franchise sales, and the over-all brand name.

Still, it would be irresponsible to believe that the marketing and advertising that has worked in one region or country will work the same in another. Indeed, there needs to be regional variation’ and often the master franchise buyer will have some decent insight into their own territory. What works one place will not necessarily work everywhere. Therefore the master territory buyer will need to look into the master agreement and may need to negotiate some changes.

Global Franchise had a particularly telling article in their 2016 December issue titled; “Fourteen Questions for a Master Franchisee Buyer” and the well written piece noted that master franchise buyers certainly need to ask themselves; “Who is responsible for advertising in my Territory?” and went on to say: “The master franchise agreement sets forth the parameters of who is responsible for advertising, marketing and related activities. The master franchisee will likely have the obligation to develop and implement a marketing plan for each territory. The franchisor will either require or reserve the right to review and approve the marketing plan and any materials used for advertising purposes.”

One thing I had learned in setting up master franchises for my company was that what worked in California did not work so well in Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Arizona or Colorado. The weather was different, the culture slightly different, and the buyers were not always the same types. And mind you, this is all one-country. As I set up master agreements in other countries the regional variation with advertising, branding and marketing got even more diverse, and that was a good thing too. Had it not, or if I’d forced my master partners to do things the way I’d always done them, I doubt they could have succeeded or stayed on schedule as they developed their cluster of franchisees to extend our brand name.

Let’s face it, as a franchisor, the worst thing that could happen would be for a master franchisee to go out of business and then have burned territory and a tarnished franchise brand name in that territory. It’s hard to pick up the pieces when that happens. Suffice it to say it’s better for all concerned when regional variation is in the mix when it comes to marketing and advertising. So, master agreement signers ought to realize that franchisors ‘get this’ and are often willing to negotiate the terms under these provisions. Think on this.

How to Grow Your Small Business Through Diversification – Three Key Strategies

Small business growth can be achieved through strategic diversification. Why are many businesses not fully leveraging the advantages of diversification? Primarily because the business owners don’t understand the benefits. Increasing profitability and business growth are the two drivers for diversification.

The advantages of diversification can include:

  • Economies of scale: for example, in purchasing, in producing, in supplying;
  • Minimizing sales peaks and valleys: for example, while one product’s seasonality results in slow sales; the other product’s seasonality results in high sales;
  • Production capacity utilization: for example, if your production facility is under-utilized, then adding new products through a diversified strategy can help you fill production capacity;
  • Overall efficiency improvement can be expected: through synergy efforts;
  • Reduction of costs: by sharing resource costs amongst the diversified products, services or markets;
  • Improved labor utilization: by being able to deploy your human resources in a more efficient work flow cycle;
  • Increased opportunities and sales;
  • Competitive advantage: by being able to bundle products or services together that provides unique value and unique differentiation.

There are three key diversification strategies: Concentric Diversification, Horizontal Diversification and Conglomerate Diversification.

  1. Related diversification and/or concentric diversification. Related products or services, where sales, marketing, pricing, distribution, inventory and/or production can be shared. This works with closely related products or services, such as car sales, the extended warranty and the add-ons (e.g. upgraded stereo system, anti-theft devices, roof racks, etc.). Concentric diversification, where new products or services are added to the business to gain new customers.
  2. Horizontal diversification. Adding new products and services to sell to existing customers and markets; the focus is on specific market segments. For example, the book seller who adds coffee services to the store.
  3. Unrelated diversification and/or conglomerate diversification. Products or services that have no relationship to each other however through the addition of new products or services, the business spreads its risk. By diversifying into different products, services or markets, if one product is experiencing slow sales or a soft market than the unrelated product is more likely not to be experiencing the same issue. Conglomerate diversification is somewhat more than unrelated diversification; it is focused on acquiring competitors and growing through that process (with unrelated products and services).

The advantages of diversification in your small business are significant to business growth and success. Diversification can reduce your business risk and it can also maximize your opportunities by growing business operations while leveraging resources, materials, and fixed costs.

Diversification costs are typically funded through capital investment in your business. To invest effectively in diversification strategies you need to identify and focus on your expected outcomes and build business performance measures in place to assess successful strategies.

Some costs associated with diversification are new equipment, inventory, new systems, new staff, new distribution, new marketing programs, and more. Some of the benefits associated with diversification are improved productivity, improved workflow, improved customer services, labor and production cost savings, and more.

Your capital investment needs to leverage diversification, and vice versa. If you invest in new product development ensure that the integrated benefits results in an overall stronger unique value proposition. Develop business performance measures to ensure that your return on investment for diversification meets your expectations and supports your business.

Pricing Strategies for Your Services

What’s the best way to price a product or service? What are the things that you have to take into consideration? Most business owners who are not very sure what to do will simply use their competitor’s pricing and either price below it or above it. The question to ask then is, how would you know that their pricing strategy is right?

Let’s look at the factors you need to take into consideration when pricing. First, you need to determine your pricing objectives. It basically defines what we want to achieve. There are 3 pricing objectives to consider.

1. Revenue-Oriented Pricing

It is setting a price that will maximize revenue from the target market. For example, if your daycare centre is offering something which other daycare centres are not able to offer such as a particular curriculum, then you can consider this objective.

2. Operations-Oriented Pricing

It seeks to balance supply and demand. It introduces cheaper prices during the lull periods (or when demand is low) and raises prices during peak periods (when demand is higher). For example, during the holiday season, when parents do not send their kids in, you can offer short courses / electives.

3. Target Market Pricing

It uses different prices for different target markets. For example, you can offer parents who put more than one child at your daycare centre a discount from parents who only place just one child at your centre.

Next, you need to think about the pricing strategy you are intending to adopt. Pricing strategy defines how you are going to achieve your objective. There are 3 different strategies in which you can adopt.

a. Market skimming

Do you think that your daycare centre or its services generates added value? Do you think your customers will be able to afford it? Are you the only or selected daycare centre that is offering it? If you answer is yes, then you can consider market skimming. It basically involves charging the highest possible price. You will need to decide if whatever you are offering is something which the customer values. For example, you are offering a particular curriculum which other daycare centres are not offering and you think that this value added curriculum is something which your customer will be willing to pay for. Or your centre is the only centre in town that closes at 8pm and it is something which you think your customer values and is willing to pay for. To charge a higher price will also mean that you need to communicate that to your potential customer through effective promotional means.

b. Market penetration

If there are a number of daycare centres and all of you are offering basically the same curriculum or services, then you should consider penetration pricing. It basically means keeping the price low in order to gain a greater market share.

c. Price adaptation

The last and most complicated strategy is price adaptation. It is offering different prices to different target market. For example, parents who places 2 or more children at your daycare centre is offered a discounts. But what happens when one of the sibling becomes of school going age. It might be difficult to revert back to the higher price.

Pricing strategies is something which plague many business owners. Whilst pricing lower might mean higher chances of increasing recruitment, the low prices might mean that you need to cut back on some luxuries such as quality meals or curriculum, which could impact the image of your daycare centre. Therefore, it is important to think very carefully before setting a price because in most instances, it’ll be difficult to reverse that decision.

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.

Smart Diversification Strategies Skyrocket Your Business

Diversify to Manage Risk Effectively

Many factors determine a booming business. Diversification is a strategy commonly adopted by businesses to boost sales and profits from new products and/or markets. Depending on the stage that your business is in, diversification can offer many benefits, such as buffering your company from major fluctuations in the industry. As an example, if your business is only involved in the production and export of corn; an outbreak of plague that affects corn crops would adversely impact your company.

However a diversified company with several unrelated businesses or revenue streams would be better positioned to manage the crisis because its funds and resources are not completely tied up in any one sector.

In addition, diversifying also enables your company to explore new markets and opportunities.

Explore New Opportunities

There are numerous types of diversification undertaken by businesses. Concentric diversification occurs when a firm leverages its existing knowledge and ventures into an industry similar to the one it is already in. Horizontal diversification, on the other hand happens when a business incorporates products or services that are unrelated to its current products to its mix, aimed at attracting current customers. For example, a shampoo manufacturer engaging in horizontal diversification might introduce anti-frizz hair serums to boost sales.

As a real-life case study, Australian owned company Wesfarmers undertook horizontal diversification by establishing Kleenheat Gas in the 1950s. Its earlier operations included wool and wheat merchandising and oil distribution to remote areas. The Kleenheat Gas venture tapped into another aspect of the energy industry and proved successful.

Diversify Wisely

Diversification strategies that are meticulously planned and executed have the potential to deliver great results. Some businesses may opt to diversify (overseas or locally) for several reasons, including a pessimistic outlook on the stability of the established market and improving the adaptability of their company to financially uncertain and difficult times. It may be that your company is “forced” to diversify in response to difficult economic conditions or it could be due to new opportunities that present.

Business diversification varies widely – firms may venture into an industry entirely unrelated to their current specialisation or develop a new product line similar to their existing products. No matter the type of diversification, it is important for companies to consider several factors:

  • Financial Planning
  • Expanding globally or starting a new product line from scratch is costly – does your company have the financial ability to do so? A good tip is to look through your accounts and assess how you can improve your business productivity prior to diversifying.

  • Market Research
  • Thorough market research and analysis is vital to the success of any business venture. The process often reveals important information, such as the profitability and feasibility of your proposed product or service in the target market and the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

  • Competition
  • Who are your biggest competitors in your target market? Sound market research offers insight into your strongest rivals and enables you to tailor your product or service so that your business has a competitive edge.

On the flip side, undertaking diversification without proper planning can lead to great volatility and little benefit overall. It’s easy to spread your capital too thinly when diversifying without proper financial planning and market research.

Acclaimed investor Warren Buffett said, “Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing”. Over diversification may prove to be inefficient, increase a company’s investment cost and lead to below average returns. Certainly, diversifying is not something to be entered into lightly without proper due diligence. However, if the planning and research is sound and the scope for business growth is there, it may well lead to exciting new opportunities.

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