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#1. Upgrade to energy efficient appliances

When it's time to replace an aging furnace, boiler, air conditioner, or water heater, invest in an Energy Star rated appliance. While this does come with a higher upfront cost, you can enjoy long-term savings for the next 10-15 years. Older furnaces use just 65% of the energy you pay for but new energy efficient models use 90% or more of the energy. You can also qualify for rebates from most Pennsylvania utility providers worth up to $300.

Photo: moneycrashers.com

#2. Shop around for car insurance

The average cost for collision and comprehensive auto insurance in Pennsylvania is $1,522 but the premium you pay depends on many factors like where you live, your driving history, your age, gender, and marital status, discounts, and the company. Shopping around for cheap car insurance in PA can help you save hundreds every year.


#3. Make more than the minimum payments on debt

Household debt in the United States is on the rise. The average new vehicle loan is more than $30,000 while the average student loan borrower owes $37,000 at graduation. The average household with credit card debt owes more than $9,000. That's a lot of debt that can hold you back, keep you from saving, and make it difficult to get out from under the debt.

 

 One of the easiest ways to save money is to always pay more than the minimum amount due on your loans, even if it's not a lot. This reduces your interest charges and even paying a little extra can shave years off the loan. If you're ready to get serious about paying off the debt for good, the most effective way is known as the snowball method which focuses on paying down the account with the smallest balance first before moving on to the next.


#4. Spend more time at home

If your budget is broken every month, it's probably due to eating out, going to the movies, parties, and other forms of entertainment outside of the house. Try committing to spending more time at home for a couple of months. Make it fun by hosting potlucks with your friends and movie nights at home. Instead of meeting friends at the bar or restaurant, have a pizza party at the house and make your own pizzas.


#5. Renegotiate your recurring contracts

A large chunk of your income probably goes toward recurring bills like your cell phone, internet, and cable TV. When your contract is close to expiring, negotiate for a better price or shop around. While providers are always running specials for new customers and advertising low rates, these teaser rates usually expire after a year. As an existing customer, you can pay less by simply asking.


#6. Refinance or consolidate debt

All types of debts can be refinanced or consolidated. With a mortgage, it's usually recommended to refinance if you can get a new interest rate at least 1% lower than what you pay now. You may need to pay closing costs upfront but they can also be rolled into your new loan to potentially shave anywhere from $50 to several hundred off your mortgage payment. You can also refinance other types of loans.

 

 With credit card debt, transferring the debt to a new low APR or 0% intro APR credit card can give you time to pay down the debt with no or very low interest charges. Just make sure you do the math with a balance transfer calculator because you may need to pay a balance transfer fee of around 3%. To demonstrate how much you can save, imagine you have a $9,000 balance on a card with a 16% interest rate. You can transfer the balance to a new card with a 0% intro APR for 18 months followed by a 13% interest rate. You have to pay a $270 balance transfer fee (3%) but the debt will be paid off in 48 months instead of 320 months with a savings of $6,749.

You can also consolidate multiple debts, even different types, into a new low interest loan for a single monthly payment and a lower interest rate.

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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Your employees can make or break your business, and that is why you need to spend quite a bit of time on the hiring process. Attracting high-quality employees to your business requires much more than competitive wages. Young professionals want a positive work environment, great benefits, and flexibility. They also want to believe in the products and services that they are selling. Here is a closer look at some steps that business owners can take to find and hire the best employees in the Philadelphia area.


How To Attract High-Quality Employees In Philadelphia

Do Some Research on Salaries


Establishing a fair salary range is more complicated than most business owners realize, and that is one of the reasons why so many struggle to find decent candidates. Instead of basing the pay off your own budget, you should do a little bit of research on the position itself. One of the easiest ways to research a position is to look at local job boards. Once you know what other businesses are willing to pay, you can then set a salary range for your open position.

Offer Unique Perks


In addition to traditional work benefits, you might also want to consider offering unique employee benefits and perks. One of those perks might be allowing your employees to set their own hours within reason. Allowing your employees to come in at 11 a.m. and leave at 7 p.m. could help them avoid rush hour traffic. Some of your employees might also enjoy working from home a few days a week. Those unique benefits won’t cost your company that much money (or any at all), and they will be great bargaining chips when it comes time to negotiate wages.

Emphasize the Company’s Location


Philadelphia is an excellent place to live, and you should try to emphasize all of its best qualities. Candidates from the other side of the country might not realize just how much Philadelphia has to offer. You might want to advertise nearby hiking spots, ski resorts, or high-end restaurants. Most employees are very concerned about their quality of life, and that means their wages aren’t the only thing that you should be advertising. For long-term positions, your job listings should include the state of the housing market as well. Before accepting a position, most candidates will do some research to see if they can afford the move.

Utilize Incentive Programs


Your candidates will be more likely to accept your offers if they have something to look forward to. Contrary to what many business owners believe, incentives don’t necessarily need to be cash bonuses or gift cards. Small gestures, such as offering employees an extra day off at the end of the week for completing a project, can make a big difference. You can also offer in-office incentives like buying lunch after a big sale or giving a particularly efficient employee a better parking spot. Public recognition for a job well done is another simple and inexpensive way to motivate your employees and create a better work environment.

Promote Other Pursuits


Striking the perfect work-life balance is a major concern for most young professionals. When writing your job listings and interviewing candidates, you need to make it clear that you support your employees no matter what they are doing. Some candidates may want to go back to school at some point or start a small business on the side, and they might not accept an offer if they feel like they won’t be supported by their future employer. While pursuing other hobbies and freelance work, your employees are also going to learn invaluable skills that they can bring back to your company.

 

Even though hiring world-class employees will take a little extra time and energy, the results are going to be worth it. Every person that you hire should be thought of as an investment in your company’s future, and you want to be absolutely sure that each investment pays off.


Brett Clawson is a business owner and entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience. In his free time, he enjoys writing and learning about emerging business trends.

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Looking for a change in your life, a place to grow, or the perfect area to raise your kids? Consider the beautiful city of Philadelphia! Philadelphia creates passionate, driven, and confident people. So long as you do not get on the wrong side of a Philadelphia resident, they are friendly and full of love.

 

In this article, you will get to learn what it is like living in Philadelphia. How Cloudamize Yielded 52% a Year for Local Philadelphia Investors

1. Local flavour

Since Philadelphia is one of the largest cities in the country, most of the local events are held there. Some examples of the famous events are the Famous Friday art galleries and Mummers Parade. Every New Year’s day, people wear costumes and listen to good music as they walk down Broad Street. If you are looking for entertainment, you need to visit this town.

 

2. Cuisine

If you want to have peace with Philadelphia residents, do not argue with them about their cheesesteak. The truth is that everyone believes that their cheesesteak place is the best. For the locals, the most popular restaurants are Campo’s Deli and Sonny’s Famous Steaks. On the other hand, places like Geno’s and Pat’s mostly accommodate the tourists. Due to the revolution of food, so many new restaurants are coming up in Philadelphia.

Photo: www.sonnyscheesesteaks.com

3. Nightlife

As a result of a young community, the nightlife in Philadelphia is excellent. One of the most popular entertainment areas is South Street because it has so many restaurants and bars. The old city neighborhood is a beautiful place. This city has got many performing arts with things like ballet and theater.

 

4. Weather

Philadelphia is a huge city that gets to experience all four seasons. During spring and fall, the days are generally perfect. Additionally, winter and summer are also equally brilliant. However, people who have lived in Philadelphia can tell you that summer and winter can become extreme. The good thing is that people are well-equipped for any changes in the weather.

 

5. Crime and safety

Before someone decides to relocate to a specific place, they have to know the security condition. In the past, Philadelphia had a reputation of being a tough city. Thankfully, the rate of crime has dropped drastically. Over the past decade, overall crime has fallen by 11 per cent, while crimes that involve violence have declined by 14 per cent. Therefore, it is safe to say that Philadelphia is a secure city to live in.

 

6. Commute

Even though Philadelphia is a huge city, getting around is easy. Their transport infrastructure is excellent because it has buses, trains, and trolleys that help the locals maneuver their city. Additionally, the interstates in the city of Philadelphia make it very easy to drive around anytime. In the USA, Philadelphia is the fourth most walkable city, meaning you do not need to have a car or any other means of transport to get to wherever you are going. For people who have to drive their vehicles, the average time you can take during rush hour traffic is 30 minutes moving from one point to another. In the city of Philadelphia, most drivers prefer to own jeeps because of availability of spare parts and durability.

Eagles Super Bowl parade!

7. Cost of living

With all the amenities available in Philadelphia, it is shocking that life is affordable. You can buy a house for $100,000, something that is impossible in other big American cities. The cost of living in Philadelphia is only 6 points higher than the national average.

8. Local sports

When it comes to sports, there is a straightforward rule: never argue with a Philadelphia fan. Whether you are discussing teams like the Super Bowl champion Eagles or the Sixers, Philadelphia fans are willing to die for the team they support. They will go out and cheer their teams all year round.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a city to settle in, you should consider living in Philadelphia. This beautiful and culture-rich state has something for everyone, no matter what your personal preferences are.

 

Dawn Castell is a budding entrepreneur. After graduating with her MBA, she spent a few years working in the CPG industry and a few more working in the business tech industry before she set off to start her own business. She has been consulting with businesses, large and small, on the side ever since.

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Photo: sonnysfamouscheesesteaks.com




Entrepreneurship is in nowadays and everyone wants to start their own business. Whether you have firsthand experience at building a business from the ground up or you're completely new to the idea of entrepreneurship, the first hurdle to tackle as an aspiring entrepreneur is learning how to start a business with almost no money.

Broke, but Building a BusinessPhoto: simpleeconomist.com

Entrepreneurs with little to no capital start small businesses all the time. If you're wondering how you can build your new business with no money, read on.

1. Limit Yourself to the Bare Necessities

By focusing on the bare necessities of your business, you'll be able to cut out any superfluous costs and stick to the bare bones. At the very beginning of your new business, keep everything as simple as possible. Wait to hire any employees, try to buy recycled or used office supplies, and only produce items that are within your budget.


While trying to cut back, keep in mind that you will need to cover a few legal expenses. Look into the cheapest options for handling any licensing fees as you set out to create your business. While these expenses are unavoidable, microbusinesses can be started at just $1,000.

2. Start with Self-Employment

You don't have to make the jump to "business owner" immediately. Consider running your new business as a self-employed individual. This time would act as a "warm-up" or buffer period, allowing you to avoid many of the initial costs of starting a business. As you start to pull in some revenue, then you can begin to legitimize your business by filing the necessary paperwork.

3. Outsource and Crowdfund

Outsourcing and crowdfunding are greats way to help you cover your startup costs. With outsourcing, you'll be able to raise capital for your new company relatively easily. Start with people that are close to you like your family and friends to see if they are willing to donate to your new company.


Similarly, you can approach angel investors by offering them stock in your company for startup capital. Venture capitalists are another option as well, as is crowdfunding through the Internet. Applying for grants and loans from the government and banks is also a great funding alternative to consider when looking for capital.

4. Teach Yourself the Basics

Any business today must have the basics of a website, social media, and blog. While you may be tempted to reach out to a professional web designer, you can do all of the basic startup stuff by yourself. With tutorials on the Internet, you can learn the best language for web development and create a stunning website on your own.

5. Start a Business While You're Still Employed

While your burgeoning company may eventually require you to quit your day job, don't do it right away. Keep earning money at your current job as you work to build up your small company. Though it may be difficult to burn the candle at both ends, it will be worth it when the time comes to throw yourself entirely into your new company.

6. Apply for a Credit Line

Many startups combat any initial costs by getting a line of credit. To make this option work for your company, try to find a card that allows for a 60-day payment term rather than the standard 30-day term. Similarly, when using a line of credit for your business, only by the bare necessities to avoid starting your new company off with debt.


Entrepreneurship is challenging but it doesn't always have to be costly. Use these six tips to help you successfully navigate your way through starting your new business with a shoestring budget.


Dawn Castell is a budding entrepreneur. After graduating with her MBA, she spent a few years working in the CPG industry and a few more working in the business tech industry before she set off to start her own business. She has been consulting with businesses, large and small, on the side ever since.

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Photo: simpleeconomist.com



Having a successful business is all about using the proven techniques and strategies that will elevate your brand to a new level. But if you are an entrepreneur, it can seem overwhelming at first having to balance so many different things. To help you, here are six great ways to boost your brand:

 

Set Short Term and Long Term Goals

Your company is only as good as your ability to set quality goals. Goals guide you in the direction that you need to go and inform all the actions and plans down the line. Set short term and long term goals to get more out of your time and energy and avoid chasing the small stuff.

6 Ways to Boost Your Business

 

For short term goals, aim for two or three month spans with achievable metrics that will energize your team. Let them hit a few of the goals without much strain, but have some stretch goals in there as well. For long term goals, make them bigger and more ambitious. They will serve as a shot in the arm to your team and motivate them to higher levels. But be sure that your compensation packages for meeting those bigger goals are representative of the size of the achievement.


Value and Implement the Right HR Team

With so many other things on their plate, some entrepreneurs overlook why HR is important. However, this a big mistake. The right team of HR reps can take over crucial processes and free up your time to focus on the bigger picture.

 

A great HR team should be able to hire the right candidates in line with your overall vision. From there, they can handle onboarding and training, from small time employees to your managers that might move up through the ranks one day. They should also have a lot of attention to detail to ensure that payroll, legal requirements, and PTO are all handled with precision.


Do Team Building Exercises

A team that plays together stays together. How your employees feel about each other will have a big effect on your ability to hit those longer term goals you set above.

 

Arrange for regular team building exercises in and out of the office. Daily games and warm ups can be implemented for the sales team, for instance. But make sure that at least every quarter you take the whole team out for some kind of retreat or gathering where they can connect with each other outside of the office.


Understand Your Marketing Funnel

Marketing and sales are what run any successful business today. The ability to leverage social media, email, and your website conversions is crucial. Make sure to plan out your sales funnel on paper, or your favorite app, to have a clear-cut approach to guiding customers through your process and producing greater revenue.


Get Your Security Right

Don't make the crucial mistake of overlooking security. While it might not seem like you are a target, you have more assets than you think that are attractive to hackers. This includes customer information, credit cards, and trade secrets that you need to protect.


Do Market Research for Other Opportunities

Never stop innovating and looking for new opportunities. Use free tools like Google's Keyword Planner to see search volumes for different keywords, products, and niches. This will inform your marketing strategy as you move forward and allow you to tap into trends that could boost your sales or your visibility in your market. But test your assumptions with validation landing pages and small tests before jumping all the way in.

 

Business owners are always looking for ways to get ahead. However, if you don't use the right tools and tips, then you could be falling into common traps. In this digital era, competition is more fierce than ever before, so don't fall behind by failing to implement the methods above. Put them to work for your business so you can dominate your market for the long run.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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The World Cup is an international sensation every time it rolls around. It is the biggest event in the biggest and most popular sport in the world. It is a huge deal every time. The thing that smart business owners realize is that it is also a great opportunity to market to potential customers. Those who are smart with their marketing ideas and dollars during this special season can really expand their customer base in a significant way. Photo: News.com.au

It Is Not Just For Large Companies

Some of the largest companies in America are indeed using the World Cup as a way to promote themselves and their brands even farther than they already have. However, the World Cup is not just for mega-sized brands to get their message out. Rather, there are plenty of small companies which also may benefit from plastering their name out there while the big game is going on.

 

 It is pretty obvious that a smaller company has to do things a bit differently than a big one due to budgetary restraints. Still, it is not out of the question that a small company could actually come out as the big winner of the World Cup if they are clever in their marketing.

Reward Employees Who Come Up With Great Ideas

Your employees deserve credit when they come up with great ideas. Employee recognition companies may be able to help you come up with creative ways to reward employees who come up with interesting marketing ideas for the World Cup event. You might be surprised by some of the creative ideas that are right there at the surface. Your employees may very well have the Golden Ticket as it were to advertising successfully during the World Cup.

 

The payoff that you reward an employee with may be nothing in comparison to how successful their idea ends up being for your business. Weighing things out like this helps to put them more into prospective. You just might have to figure out how you are going to reward the employee who really helps you bring it home with your advertising.

Be Careful How You Market

There have been some truly awful advertising campaigns that have been cooked up by large companies. MasterCard is one example of this as they were shown to have made a huge mistake when they tried a marketing gimmick in which they pledged to feed ten-thousand children every time a few particular All-Star players scored a goal during the World Cup.

 

That sounds nice until you think about it from a different perspective. It felt as if they were dangling the food above the heads of starving children based on the results of a soccer match. It did not make for a good image, and it opened them up to a lot of criticism. You can imagine that whomever came up with that idea was likely fired shortly thereafter.

 

 All of this is to say that you have to be careful when you advertise around such a huge event. Don't think that you can just slice and dice up any random idea and then run with it. You have to have a lot of intention and purpose to what you are doing. If you fail to do that, then you are just going to end up with a lot of angry people calling for your head.

Get Into The Spirit Of Things

Probably the best way to show people that you are serious about the World Cup is just to get into the spirit of things. This means doing things like engaging on the social media hashtags about the matches and perhaps even incorporating a soccer theme to your website. You can come up with the ideas, but you should make sure they show people that you are serious about wanting to be a part of this whole World Cup obsession.

Dawn Castell is a budding entrepreneur. After graduating with her MBA, she spent a few years working in the CPG industry and a few more working in the business tech industry before she set off to start her own business. She has been consulting with businesses, large and small, on the side ever since.

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Photo: News.com.au



How can you know that you have selected the right employee for the job? The answer is rarely easy. It is often the case that we do not know much about what we are getting ourselves into with a new hire until they are working for us. Luckily, it is possible to find those right hires if you are thinking ahead of time about what you need to do to make this happen.

How To Make Your Employees Better

Defining The Job Ahead Of Time

The truth is, you should have a definition of the job ready to go ahead of time for any potential hire. This might seem like a minor detail, but it is best to let someone know exactly what they are getting themselves into before they dive in head first.

 

The reason for this being that the individual you interview for the job needs to match up well with what is expected of them in the job. As long as they are on the same page as you about what they are getting into then they should be able to figure out if this job sounds like it is right for them or not.

 

Make Your Goals Clear

Once you have settled on the right hire it is important that you maintain a level of clarity about what is expected of them. Employees should always know what the boss wants to get out of any particular project or task that they have been asked to work on. It is only fair that the boss continues to keep the mission obvious to an employee once he or she has taken on the mantle of the job.

 

The goals that a company has need to be clear anyway in order to make sure that the project is being done properly. Someone who goes rouge with a project is wasting time and may not even realize it.

 

Focus On Work-Life Balance

There is new research out that suggests that an employee's productivity is far more important than the exact amount of hours they work. This is a critical finding when you really think about it. The work culture that we have set up in a lot of ways puts an emphasis on the number of hours we put in. However, the value of those hours is far more important to the bottom line of a business.

 

Employers should consider allowing their employees to have more control over their own work schedule and perhaps even allow them to work from home at least some of the time. They should offer a reasonable amount of vacation hours and actually encourage their employees to take those hours (more than half of all Americans left some vacation hours unused in 2015).

 

Have Good Incentives

People obviously go to work to make money, but it is not the only thing that encourages people to get more work done. Rather, a whole laundry list of incentives are helpful to encourage people to work smarter and longer. The fact that companies have access to this information and still do not always use it is mind-blowing.

 

There are things like extra vacation hours that one can dole out to employees who do extra work or do great work on something assigned to them. There are little awards that one might also give to employees that have done a great job. Make sure that you don't make the awards too cheesy but at the same time make them desirable enough that people will want to strive for them.

 

There are a number of ways in which employees can get better at their jobs. Some of those ways are explained at https://employmentboost.com/. It is probably one of the easiest ways for a company to start to make a difference in its own bottom line. If you care about producing the highest quality of work that you possibly can, then you need to focus on making your employees as high quality as possible.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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From hiring to payroll, and marketing to menu creation, and more, you need the right tools and strategies to create a successful restaurant in a big city. The restaurant biz is a tough one, especially in Philly, where the food is amazing. Here are some tips to help you get an edge on the competition.


Menu CreationBuilding A Competitive Restaurant In A Big City

If you want to understand what menu to run with, you need to do a little research. What other restaurants exist in your market? If you are entering a market with a lot of seafood restaurants, for instance, you might want to take a different angle.

Perhaps you have an amazing dish with shrimp, but if you were to lead with that you would get crushed by your competition. Maybe take that item and turn it into a nightly special so that your focus can be on something else. Always use local and fresh ingredients when you can. And keep your menu simple. By following these menu tips you can have a robust variety of dishes that set you apart, save on costs, and keep people coming back.


Limit Theft

Unfortunately, theft can be a huge issue in the restaurant industry. This is a threat to any business, but it is magnified with restaurants due to the already low profit margins. If you find that food is being snuck out or consumed somewhere in the restaurant by employees, you need to put measures in place to stop it.

One way to do this is to offer discounted or even free meals for employees. This can take away their desire to take food that doesn't belong to them and you can plan for these perks and build them into your costs. Another way is to do more thorough background checks. Finally, installing security cameras is a last resort.


Hiring

Knowing how to find potential employees is a problem that many restaurant owners face. Working in a restaurant is not easy work. So if you're going to fill all the roles you have available, from a line cook to a manager to a chef, you need to leverage the right tools.

Consider tapping into your personal network first and foremost. You might be surprised who knows who. Your aunt, your cousin, or your friend might just have a lead on the best person for your next position. In addition, don't overlook social media. Looking on LinkedIn or other social profiles can give you a huge insight into how your candidates would fit in your culture.


Don't Avoid Marketing

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of your business. If your restaurant doesn't have great marketing, people won't know you exist. This will lead them to go to other ones in your area and eventually you will go out of business.

In order to have great marketing, ask yourself what your core brand image is. Whether it is upscale, midscale, or budget food will determine what kind of brand messaging you put out into the world. Marketing is also a part of how you design your interior, who you hire, and what kind of customer experiences you offer. After all, social media can work for or against you. If you make a habit of providing a great meal experience, people will take to the social boards to give you great word of mouth. This is something Chick-Fil-A has absolutely mastered.

The restaurant industry is one of the most dynamic and competitive in the world. If you are going to have success, especially in a big city, you are up against a lot of other businesses that want the same thing. So it is vital that you take the right approach. Otherwise, you could end up wasting time, energy, and money. Use the advice above and soon you'll have a thriving restaurant that everyone wants to go to.

Brett Clawson is a business owner and entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience. In his free time, he enjoys writing and learning about emerging business trends.

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Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Engaging with customers is thus a crucial undertaking of any business. However, many entrepreneurs are not adept at engaging with their customers at a real level. In many instances, companies do not understand the importance of making such connections with their customers and instead seek to shove sales proposals and marketing language down the throat of their customers.Strategies For Real and Deeper Engagement With Customers

 

Not only does a business need to know its customer demographics, but it also needs to know their customers on a personal level. Understanding customer needs, reasons for buying, etc. is paramount to the success of any business. In the traditional business setting, getting one sale from a customer was enough. In recent times, customers have expectations; they expect their relationship with a brand to go beyond simply using the company's products.

 

For a business to have sustained relationships with their customers, it is vital to reevaluate how they engage with customers. This article divulges details on the effective ways to engage with customers.

Create Emotional Connections

Research has shown that strong emotional connections with customers enable businesses to increase customer loyalty and charge premium prices. Companies that seek to build emotional connections with their customers do so by showing the customers that they are dealing with actual people. A company can create emotional connections by developing a way to introduce themselves to a customer, having a brand ambassador, or having brand logos.

Responding to Customer Queries Promptly

One of the most effective tips for engaging with customers on a personal level is guaranteeing timely responses. Customers cite that timely responses make them feel like the product/service is personalized to their preferences. The rule of thumb is that a business should respond to customer emails within twenty-four hours.


The shorter the response time, the more valued a customer feels. Research shows that the chances of converting a new lead into a loyal customer drop by around 400% if a business waits longer than five minutes to contact their leads back. However, numerous businesses overlook the importance of getting back to a customer within a good timeframe and often lose out on numerous opportunities.

Create Communities

Engagement marketing creates an opportunity for businesses to dialogue with customers, and for customers to exchange ideas and views amongst themselves. Communities, as well as online forums, have been an age-old strategy businesses use to influence activity around their brands. Online communities allow businesses to have discussions with customers, share information, answer queries, and deliver updates. Essentially, businesses that engage with customers on social media platforms can utilize such platforms to leverage customer loyalty to the brand.

Meet Customers in Real Life

One effective way to personalize the customer's experience is to request a one-on-one meeting with the customer. Research shows that customers are more likely to agree to buy if you meet face to face. A company can organize events where they meet customers and clarify all questions customers have about the business. Events aim to deepen the bond customers have with a company. When organizing events, the business should seek to grow their partnership with customers even though the event costs money and does not guarantee a short-term profit.

Offer Value for Money

Engagement involves offering "value" as a package as opposed to just products. A firm should seek to advise and enlighten customers and in the process get the opportunity to market its products. Even though a customer eventually purchases a product, it is essential that the customer feels like they have obtained value for money. The customer should look forward to the next interaction with the business.

Rewarding Customers

Acquiring new customers is expensive. Therefore, one of the objectives of a company's customer service goals should be to ensure that current customers are 100% satisfied with the company's services. It is cheaper and easier to retain customers who have already purchased from the company. Additionally, studies have shown that repeat customers spend more money in a business than new clients. Businesses should thus seek to reward their existing customers in different creative ways such as discounts, cash-backs, shopping points, gifts etc.

Inspire People

Inspiring people is a strategy firms can apply to influence the customers' attachment to the vision of the brand. One effective way to inspire people is to show customers your awareness of social issues. When a company positions itself as an agent of positive social change and evokes important debates then it can gain a following.


Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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From high turnover to low performance, a toxic workplace culture can create problems that no business can afford to ignore. Finding new ways to improve morale or attempting to foster and maintain a sense of community within the workplace can have numerous potential benefits. Whether it's adopting a set of shared values or making the extra effort to find professionals that will be better suited to the social atmosphere and environment of the workplace, there are plenty of ways that employers may be able to help create a more positive, productive and beneficial workplace culture.

Photo: Brett Clawson

Placing Values Before Growth

Choosing to prioritize future growth and higher profits above all else can often be self-defeating. The potential gains and advantages of such an approach are often short-lived with the negative impact that may be had on workplace morale could create lasting problems. Determining a set of core values for a business and its associates can provide both drive and clarity in the days to come. Creating a mission statement in order to cement the chosen values of a company, organization or workplace is often the first step towards creating a culture that will be both more beneficial and sustainable.

 

Selecting and Hiring the Right Candidates

Workplace culture begins and ends with employees and businesses who discount the importance of selecting the right candidates during a hiring process may find that any future efforts to improve culture and atmosphere to be an uphill battle. Employees who are unable to work within a group or team often prove to be a serious liability. It is not uncommon to find professionals who feel that possessing a rare talent or a skill set that may be difficult to replace can allow them to act in ways that may be detrimental to others. Knowing which employees to hire and which applicants and candidates to avoid can often make a far greater difference than many businesses might suspect.

 

Rewarding Efforts and Accomplishment

Even the most driven employees may begin to suffer from low morale in the event that their efforts and labors continue to be unrecognized or unrewarded. Employees who can expect nothing more than a wage in exchange for their hard work and dedication are rarely able to sustain an optimal level of performance over the long haul. Even simple efforts to recognize accomplishment or to celebrate both the personal and professional achievements of workers, staff and associates can have a positive impact on morale levels as well as the culture and social atmosphere of the working environment.

 

Soliciting Feedback and Encouraging Participation

Employees who serve as the point-of-contact with workflow and core operational processes often possess unique insight into how a company really operates. Soliciting feedback through an employee engagement survey, use of a suggestion box,  or as part of an interview process during a periodic employee assessment or review can provide valuable insight. Failing to be made aware of any issues that may need to be addressed or being unable to base their decisions on the best information available could leave business owners and employers struggling to enact more lasting or meaningful change.

 

Maintaining a Positive Culture

The culture and social environment of a business is always changing and evolving. Businesses that mistaking assume their existing workplace culture can be maintained without further efforts could be in for a rude surprise. Seeking out new ways to optimize efficiency and boost performance and learning more about the latest social trends and new tools that may be found can go a long way. There are plenty of tips for improving the culture of a business that may have a great deal to offer.


Brett Clawson is a business owner and entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience. In his free time, he enjoys writing and learning about emerging business trends.

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