small business

How Small Businesses are Coping with the COVID-19 Crisis

COVID19 has caused havoc in every single economic sector, globe-wise. Amongst all economic subjects, small businesses have suffered the greatest amounts of damage. Many had to close their doors forever, while others suffered through serious downsizings and large deficits.

So, how can a small business survive the COVID19 crisis, or even break out of it thriving?

Here we’ll talk about inventive ideas and measures you can take to strengthen your small company and avoid those worst-case scenarios during these difficult times.

1. Applying to relevant programs

Small businesses are the backbone of every economy, no matter how big or small. Every government in the world knows this, so there are a plethora of relief programs you can apply to, just make sure you fit the eligibility criteria. Of course, keep in mind that these can take some time to be executed, so it can’t be the only thing you’re relying on.

We suggest you contact your company lawyer to help you find the right program to ensure efficiency and speed. The forms need to be filled out perfectly or otherwise you might be forced to reapply, which can be quite a setback on your road to recovery.

2. Digitalization

Source:linkedin.com

While going through a full-blown digital transformation at your workplace isn’t the cheapest solution to hold on to, you can still digitalize some aspects of your company to help it survive the global financial crisis.

The first thing you can (and should do) is enabling remote work where it’s possible to do so. It’s the perfect time to start focusing on your digital campaigns and investing in software solutions that can help you hold your team together through these unpredictable times.

Again, we know that financial situations in most small companies aren’t exactly stable right now, so we suggest implementing open-source digital software to help you manage your team in a remote setting.

3. Check your insurance

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Make sure to check with your insurance company to see whether there’s any loss that can be covered by their policy. Talk to your accountants and create a sufficient financial plan to keep you going while the crisis is still affecting you.

There’s a small chance your insurance covers instances such as a pandemic, so ensure you’re not missing on any potential coverage. Again, your accountants and your legal team should be able to help you see it through, so don’t forget to brainstorm some ideas together.

If your insurance simply doesn’t cover pandemic losses, you can probably still find something in your policy agreement that can help you salvage your business. Talk to the insurance company until you’ve assessed all possibilities, or else you’ll be missing out on a potential boost to help you keep your business up and running.

4. Reduce monthly costs on non-essential subscriptions and services

Source:ec.europa.eu

As noted at thebizzing.com, one of the best ways to cut costs and save some money during the financial crisis is by canceling various monthly services that you can do without (at least for the time period).

Contact your accountant and go over your monthly expenses together. You might be surprised at the number of services you’re paying for that you rarely even use. Cancel everything that is not essential to your daily business processes, and use that money to get your company out of the tight spot it found itself in.

Cost reduction should be accompanied by profit maximization strategies, but if that’s impossible in the current state of things, just focus on the most essential aspects of running your business.

5. Negotiate wherever you can

Your supply chain can be transformed to acquire maximum efficiency and cut unnecessary costs. You’re not the only one who experiences this crisis, your suppliers can feel it too. So, make sure to go over your usual deals and try to negotiate better terms. All usual economic activity is slowed down, so you have the right to a lower price, in most cases.

When it comes to your own employees, the primary goal should be to save their jobs as well as your company. They’re probably already aware of the situation, and they might be willing to negotiate somewhat lower salaries until the crisis calms down. Naturally, you should provide them with safe work conditions and smaller workloads in return, as the pandemic has been rough on everyone.

6. Enhance your marketing strategy

Source:simplilearn.com

As we’ve mentioned before, now is the perfect time to focus on your digital marketing campaign and try to reach your customers through engaging content online. It’s a cheap way to keep people interested in your products and services, so it should be done even when this entire mess is completely behind us.

Promote yourself and keep your customers and clients interested by offering lower deals. It might seem contra intuitive to lower your prices while you’re suffering through a financial crisis, but it’s the only way you can survive through these difficulties we’re all dealing with.

7. Communication is key

Source:moderndealership.com

Be honest with your employees: you might be forced to cut their salaries down or even fire a couple of them during this crisis. Brainstorm ideas together, as nobody can afford to lose their income while the economic climate is this unstable and unpredictable. Your employees might have some ideas to help you keep your business running: it’s in everyone’s interest. Besides, nobody knows your company better than the people who’ve worked there for years.

Open and honest communication is essential, so don’t try sugarcoating things. Remember: better times are ahead of us, so we all have to be patient and try our hardest until we can breathe freely again.

The bottom line

COVID-19 has affected millions of small businesses all around the world in an incredibly short time span. Even now, when the vaccination processes are slowly taking effect, the economic crisis still lingers. However, small business owners should keep their positivity: there are ways you can salvage your hard work and keep your business up and running during and after the crisis the world is currently going through. Be creative, brainstorm ideas, seek help, and implement digital solutions to help you survive. Your persistence and patience will undoubtedly pay off, so keep it going!

5 Ways Your Small Business Can benefit from Cryptocurrency

Although the idea of ​​implementing a digital financial system on a global level seemed almost impossible at first, it could be said that the current situation is quite different. This concept is gaining more and more popularity in the world and there are more and more individuals but also businessmen who are interested in digital coin mining or trading. Bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies are finding their way to various spheres of human life, so they have recently proven to be a potentially useful tool for improving business results. It is known that no company that has an outdated business policy without the occasional introduction of innovations has great potential for progress in the market. Therefore, it’s necessary to strive for the introduction of changes that will increase the chances for better placement in relation to competitors, and adapting the policy to the cryptosystem could be one of them.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see all the benefits that your small business can achieve by accepting a cryptosystem, now is the right time to understand. We will try to help you gain insight into this by presenting you with a few basic benefits.

1. Attracting potential new customers

Source:mobile-cuisine.com

As we mentioned earlier, the popularity of digital currency continues to grow and is gaining more and more supporters around the world. The community of miners, investors, and traders has acquired a multinational character and continues to expand daily. The desire of each of them is the possibility of paying with digital money when they want it and where they want it.

The fact is that many owners still don’t trust this virtual financial system, which will take time for everyone to reorient their policies. But this is exactly the moment you need to take advantage of to be one step ahead of the rest.

By adopting a cryptocurrency by a small business, you have great potential to increase your base of users who want this payment option. Once you accept this as a legitimate method of payment, there is a great opportunity to attract a large number of new customers who are complete supporters of this concept and thus increase profits.

2. Reduced transaction costs and increased transaction speed

The centralized financial system that is applied in the world today implies charging fees for each completed transaction. Although at first glance the amount of fees doesn’t seem high and seems to significantly affect the company’s budget, after a while it can really become. Moreover, they can lead to losses in profits and therefore this aspect shouldn’t be neglected.

Besides, it happens that one transaction takes too much time, which is a luxury that you often cannot afford.

Looking at things from these aspects, another point goes to the side of adopting a cryptocurrency system as a legal payment method in your small business.

Source:researchleap.com

Decentralized blockchain technology eliminates the presence of regulatory bodies and therefore doesn’t require you to pay a fee for each transaction performed. Just imagine how much savings you can make that way. Also, the average time that will be required for processing is only a few minutes, which is an additional advantage.

3. Enabling secure customer transactions

Source:rancher.com

In addition to being a great tool for multiplying profits, such a system can also help establish your good reputation among users. By this means the ability to provide secure transactions to its users that only they will have insight into, thanks to a decentralized blockchain platform.

Any digital interaction can remain completely anonymous, which will be your great advantage in the eyes of current and potential customers. The explanation is very simple. Many users of traditional payment methods are tired of the constant supervision by the regulatory body when it comes to the transfer of their money. Their wish is to avoid following every step in some way, which you can enable by adapting to this concept.

Considering that you will be one of the few companies and especially small companies that will opt for such innovations, you will leave the competition behind.

4. Possibility of expansion at the international level

The goal of all small businesses is to direct their growth towards an international framework. This can be achieved by attracting international buyers, but for that to be realized, it is first necessary to facilitate the fluctuation of money to facilitate cooperation. If your products or services have so far been available exclusively to the domestic market, switching to a cryptocurrency system gives you the potential to push these boundaries.

The decentralized platform removed all obstacles and threats that could jeopardize unhindered cash flow. When you have no problems in this aspect as a company and when the transaction processing time is optimal, you will easily reach the international market.

Today, there are many virtual currencies from which you can choose the one that seems most reliable for your business. Taking into account that bitcoin has the longest history behind it and is still considered the most reliable, we suggest you consider it. If you have already researched about bitcoin and think you know all about it, maybe some details on d-addicts.com can convince you otherwise.

5. Highlighting the brand in the market

Source:paulshepherd.co

Highlighting in an already sufficiently flooded market can be very challenging. Successfully achieving such a goal may seem impossible when you pay attention to a large number of companies that offer similar products and services. The only way for your brand name to quickly reach the public and attract the attention of many potential customers is by introducing unique innovations.

So you have to be different from others. When you come out in front of the target market with an offer and conditions that are not seen every day, you will quickly become the subject of media interest that will contribute to expanding awareness of your brand.

Switching to a cryptocurrency system can be just your most successful move to get to the top, make yourself noticed in public, and help your brand reach the top.

Innovative ideas are the key to success and implementing a crypto-financial system in your small business could be just the solution you are looking for. Now that you have gained insight into all the benefits you gain from this, you can be sure that you are doing the right thing.

How does the Marketing Automation Work?

In the digital world that we are living in, it is important for businesses to integrate all it has to offer in order to stay marketable and relevant. One such concept is Marketing Automation. It is the practical use of platforms and software for automating repetitive tasks. You use software for automating and simplifying tasks that usually take a lot of effort and time. This includes tasks like follow-up messages, sending email drip campaigns, and posting on social media. With a marketing automation strategy, you can do everything needed for improved customer relationship management. When you have the right platform for marketing automation, you can get your business organized, save a lot of time, improve the customer experience, and increase sales.

Why should you automate marketing?

Source:emarsys.com

If you are not sure whether you should automate marketing, here are a few reasons to help you take a stand on it:

  1. Personalized Customer ExperienceAccording to a study done by Walker, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the end of 2020. Using automated marketing, you can create a better-personalized experience for the customers. Personalization can also uplift your customer’s conversion rates.
  2. Scaled Marketing Campaign You can use automation to make the marketing campaigns scalable that is beyond your team’s limits. Through an extensive campaign series, you can improve the revenue at all stages of the buying cycle.
  3. No Repetitive Tasks – If you are using automated marketing, your team won’t have to perform repetitive marketing tasks. With marketing automation, you will be able to see a significant improvement in sales productivity as the team will be focusing on high impact tasks.
  4. Track Reports – Engagebay’s Marketing automation also provides you with reporting capabilities. With this, your team will become more accountable because you will be able to check how their marketing activities are helping improve sales. Automation reduces the time your team spends on analysis and preparing reports; time that they could spend on formulating strategies for marketing.
  5. Generate Demand – By using Marketing Automation, you will be generating demand, driving conversions, and increasing revenue. It helps you in collecting data that can predict the next step of customers encouraging them to spend more.

How does Marketing Automation work?

Source:soffront.com
  1. Begin with your requirements

Before Marketing automation came into the market, there were other ways in which business did things. Employees had to send each email and post on social media manually. They even used to organize group discussions focused on customer insights.

When you start using Marketing Automation, the first question that you have to answer is what you wish to accomplish. Once you have decided that, there are endless possibilities including automating surveys, analysis, and posting blogs. You can even handle content management, lead generation, and fine-tuning research.

  1. Know your target audience

As a business, you should know what your target market is. Your target audience includes everyone using your services or products and they are the ones benefiting by Marketing Automation. Once you know who your audience is, you have to understand them. By getting an idea of their behaviour, you will know what tasks you have to automate. Furthermore, you should also know where you can find your customers so that you can find the right marketing automation tool. Here are a few factors that can help you in understanding your target market

  • Demographic – This includes characteristics like age, race, gender, career, and education.
  • Geographic – This factor defines the location of the targeted audience. It is further categorized as towns, cities, states, and countries.
  • Behavioural – This factor determines how a customer uses a product and responds. It can be further broken down into mood, price responsiveness, reaction to change, and brand loyalty.
  • Psychographic – These factors are associated with attitudes, personalities, values, and lifestyles.
Source:ovidbell.com
  1. Select the right tool

This step includes learning about the different tools available for Automated Marketing. Your tools will depend on the goals you have. You should know about each instrument’s capabilities and understand how to maximize it for your advantage. Once you have evaluated everything carefully, you can select the marketing tools that will help you achieve your goals.

  1. Implement and Improve

When you are implementing a new strategy, you are bringing changes to your workplace. This is bound to create some undue disruptions for some time. However, this change will also bring new ideas, better ways to handle things, and much more. Here are some factors to consider while implementing this:

  • A Sound Strategy

A proper execution starts with a sound and relevant strategy. It might be hard, but definitely worth all the efforts. Without the right strategy, all efforts that you put into execution will go to waste.

  • The Implementers

These are the employees responsible for putting everything into practice. The employees you put in charge of the implementation process will affect how successful your strategy is. A typical implementers’ team comprises top-level management as well as staff level.

  • Open Communication

Smooth communication between the employees can make implementation a lot easier. Through Marketing Automation, there will be a proper communication channel that explains all the roles and tasks. Also, there should be a discussion of guidelines, policies, and open-mindedness of everyone involved.

Source:marketingland.com
  • Ways of implementation

When you are implementing Marketing Automation, the company will go through different levels of change. This also includes a new way of implementing strategies.

  • Intervention – Introducing new regulations and practices for making adjustments.
  • Participation – Developing a corresponding approach for the current one.
  • Persuasion – Convincing the participants about the results desired by implementing the strategy.
  • Commitment

Without commitment, the strategy is simply a half-baked idea. If the participants are not committed or supporting, then failure is bound to happen. You must have the persistence to see the results of automation efforts.

  1. Monitor the progress

Once you have to implement Marketing Automation, you have to measure its effectiveness and results. Use your preset standards for monitoring your progress. You should also check how you are performing against your competitors.

When it comes to making the routine but important aspects, Marketing Automation can be a real-deal. It can help your business by building relationships, generating leads, and tracking customers. This is indeed a game-changer, especially for small businesses.

Joseph Laforte on Small Business Growth During the Covid19 Pandemic

Joseph Laforte is the sales team leader at Par Funding, a leading SMB capital provider to small and medium-sized businesses. Joseph Laforte is a serial entrepreneur and noted a Small business expert.

Joseph Laforte brings a number of critical skills to the table. He has introduced new technology to struggling small businesses, aiding them in achieving top-level service and financial stability. Not only that, but he also remains familiar with community resources, enabling him to advise small businesses about how to integrate those resources to help them become more stable, consumer-focused industry players. Throughout his years with the company, he has helped generate more than $2 billion in additional profits for the companies he works with.

Thanks to Joseph Laforte’s efforts and his ability to assess and navigate risk, Par Funding has remained highly competitive in an industry where many small factoring firms are struggling. Traditional lenders might have turned away many of the opportunities that Laforte welcomed, but he saw the potential advantage within those risks and used them to help grow both his company and others. Par Funding continues, under his leadership and guidance, to see unprecedented growth.

Joseph Laforte remains very well-known for his professionalism, expertise, and leadership within the finance industry. His stellar reputation precedes him in many circles, enabling him to open doors for himself, his business, and his clients.

Source:vimeo.com

Success in entrepreneurship depends on a lot of things. Having excellent leadership skills, a strong drive, and a solid passion for your business industry are all unique qualities that can contribute to an entrepreneur’s success. Once you’ve become an entrepreneur, you know there is no “easy way out” of problems and situations you may incur along the way. The unprecedented times we are currently experiencing with the coronavirus is undoubtedly one of those problems that’s difficult, if not impossible, to prepare and plan for. After working with hundreds of small businesses owners, when it comes to the coronavirus, I can say that nobody was able to foresee or have a robust risk management plan for these events.

As the founder and leader of a significant SMB finance firm that invests in entrepreneurs, I have helped many businesses expand their visions and grow into larger, more successful firms. Being involved with these firms for so long, I have seen in the past how major economic disruptions have a tangible effect on businesses and leaders. However, many of those economic disruptions were far more predictable. What makes the coronavirus’s impact on businesses so unprecedented nowadays is the fact that nobody saw this coming, making this an unparalleled event. Since so few companies were able to plan for this event successfully, we can see that we all still have a lot to learn.

So, now that we are in the middle of this unprecedented event, what can businesses do to keep on handling things so that they can move forward?

Moving Forward

There are two key things that businesses can focus on when they want to move forward during these trying times:

1.       Putting a Plan in Place

When it comes to putting a plan in place, your business will need to consider first the immediate short term, and then come up with long term plans as well. Depending on what your business industry is, you’ll need that quick short-term plan first. Your immediate short-term plan should focus on how to keep your business going during the coronavirus. That means adapting to the changing times and potentially offering new services.

For example, we’ve seen many significant restaurants adapt to the pandemic crisis using some out-of-the-box strategies that solve their immediate short-term goals. Many restaurants that never offered delivery services before turned some of their out-of-work servers and kitchen workers into delivery drivers. That gave these restaurants an innovative way to use their employees and keep their sales going.

We’ve also seen this development occur with some major retail stores and auto part stores. Many of these places are now offering to deliver products right to customers’ doors when they never offered such services before.

So, for your immediate short-term strategy, you may need to think outside of the box and get a bit more creative with your employees and services. The main principle is to find a way to keep your business services accessible to the public during these trying times. If you are dealing with selling any type of product, your company needs to deliver those products to homes.

What about your long-term solutions, however? After you’ve developed your short term strategy, you can combine what you are doing into a more long-term plan. For instance, many of these restaurants and retail stores will likely continue to offer delivery services even after the pandemic scare ceases. That’s because the pandemic is not only changing businesses; it’s also changing the expectations of the people that purchase things from those businesses.

Source:lorensworld.com

2.       Communicate and Be Vocal

Communication is vital when it comes to effective business practices. If your business is now adapting and offering new services because of the pandemic, make sure to vocalize that to your customers. If your customers aren’t aware that you are offering home delivery services, they may simply just stop buying from you. Keeping your customers informed during these times helps to maintain your business’s customer pool, and that’s key to surviving this pandemic.

You also need to make sure you are communicating effectively with your employees, too. That’s because as businesses are adapting, employees are being given new and different opportunities to try different job positions. These different job positions will require additional training on the part of the business, and that’s also where effective communication comes into play.

Resilience is essential to all entrepreneurs, and staying resilient now is key to surviving the pandemic. I wouldn’t trade my current situation for anything else because I’m grateful to be able to do what I love to do. However, it isn’t easy to be an entrepreneur, and that’s especially true right now. While many people feel that entrepreneurs live carefree lives, that’s not the truth. Being an entrepreneur is more like an obsession, because of everything you’ve invested in your business, like passion, time, and money. And when you work from home or your spouse or family members work with you, you rarely, if ever, leave the office–at least from a mental standpoint

Still, the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur is reliance, and with that comes an innovative thinking process. As long as you can stay creative and adaptable, your business will survive this pandemic. To read more about Joseph LaForte and his work with small business owners Follow him on twitter here.

 

Why Bookkeeping is so Important for a Small Business

So you have started your small company. You have set all things up and are ready to wade the thick waters of entrepreneurship. But, you have one challenge. Bookkeeping seems to be a hard nut to crack, yet you understand it’s the essence. You are not alone.

Many people find the process of maintaining their financial records an uphill battle. Did you know that 82% of businesses fail due to poor management of their accounts?

It doesn’t matter how successful you are. If you don’t take into account the importance of bookkeeping, you might be winding down the road unknowingly.

We don’t want this to happen to you. There are many ways you can find yourself out, but there’s nothing better than enrolling in a dedicated bookkeeping course. To learn more about bookkeeping courses you could check out Performance Funnels. You learn what many corporations don’t want to know and avoid the mistakes they make.

For now, let’s have a look at some of the eight importance of keeping your financial records.

  • Reporting to Investors Becomes Easy

Since investors gave you capital for your business, they’re interested in its performance. And not only that, they want to have better ROI.

Reporting to the investors is always accompanied by a lot of hustling. You have to get all the presentations, charts, and list ready as they need credible information and you have no other choice.

With bookkeeping records on your laptop, the reporting is made a lot easier. Everything is well organized, and no information is lacking.

  • Robust Financial Management

Source:investopedia.com

Trying to determine your company’s financial situation needs a lot to take in. First, you must analyze your cash flows and have a knack of all the financial management practices. But this is easier said than done.

It all begins with proper bookkeeping. It gives you the freedom to peruse through all your transactions and come up with a financial decision when the need arises.

For instance, you can provide invoices at the right time, get to know how and where your money is spent. Once you have this on book, you can make decisions on how to reduce expenditure and maximize sales.

  • Meeting your Tax Obligation

Picture this, for example, the tax year is coming to an end, and it is time to file your tax returns. But since you had a “busy” year, you didn’t get the time for proper bookkeeping. You are running to every cabinet, opening files, and looking for missing paperwork. Pretty stressful, right?

Unfortunately, It’s an abyss many company owners find themselves in, and they risk getting hefty slaps of fines.

This would not have happened if you took the advice of bookkeeping seriously. It makes filling returns smooth and efficient.

Bookkeeping will not only help in filing your business’ returns but also yours. Remember that you are earning from your company, and the taxman will demand to see your paycheck. With bookkeeping, you have all your statements ready in one central place.

Source:tomorrowmakers.com
  • Analyzing business Performance

According to a study done by Researchgate, analyzing financial performance helps in developing funds and encourages external growth of the business.

The main recipe for doing this is in the financial statements. It’s the reference point for the company manager finding and will help a great deal in decision making.

With the financial statements, you can check the cash inflow and outflow and get credible information on which lines of the business are working and which ones aren’t.

After knowing the ins and out of your business, you can freely come up with strategies to meet your goals while strengthening your business’ performance.

  • Keep the Stress of Auditing at Bay

Whenever word goes out that auditors are coming, business owners are thrown into a frenzy, more so those that haven’t kept the financial records.

As a small company, auditors are more interested in your small corporation more than your huge counterparts. Why? There are numerous small corporations where the government generates most of its taxes. Plus, some small business owners fail to pay taxes with the excuse that they are “starting” and haven’t begun minting money yet.

It’s why bookkeeping is crucial here. When you have clear and straightforward books of accounts, the auditors won’t bug you. They’ll be quick to audit you, leaving you more time to enjoy your peace.

  • It Helps in Budgeting

Source:smallbusinessforum.co

The importance of budgeting for a small company cannot be stressed enough. A budget is a framework of what you want to spend in the production process. From there, you can make proper financial decisions.

As a company, spending without budgeting is the greatest vice you can do to your financial performance. However, it’s the scenario when you don’t have a proper record on your accounts.

So it goes without saying how bookkeeping comes in handy when you are drafting your budget for the day, week, or month.

  • Reveals if you are Making Losses or Profits

Operating a company without knowing your profitability is like walking in the dark while blindfolded. As an entrepreneur, your core reason for diving into the venture was to earn money. You need to know if you are meeting this objective or you are in the bandwagon which lacks a destination.

It’s not hard to know your profitability, just that you have a proper financial statement that is retrieved from your bookkeeping.

On your income statement, you’ll know the amount of profits you’ve made and the losses incurred. From there, you can determine if your company is profitable or not.

Other financial records you can retrieve from the bookkeeping are your balance sheet which reflects your business financials status. Plus, you can also make a cash flow that shows where you get most of your income and where most of it goes.

Source:flickr.com

Bottom-line

Bookkeeping plays a significant role in the success of any company. Just be sure that you have all your financial transactions in a book to avoid the stress that comes when you lack it. You shouldn’t wait to hire an accountant to do the task. With a few pieces of training here and there, you are good to go.

 

How to Choose the Right 3PL Services for Your Small Business

More and more businesses are turning to third-party logistics services (3PL) to help them streamline budgets while giving them a wider reach. These types of services have seen massive growth worldwide in the past few decades, in lockstep with the growth of online shopping and e-commerce.

Source:brighterlogistics.com

Today’s online shopping experience wouldn’t be the same without the existence of 3PL services providing vital logistics to small and large businesses alike. Many smaller businesses and startups today are even totally reliant on 3PL services, as they may find it impossible to reach their target levels without outsourcing their logistics to a specialized company.

However, using a 3PL service isn’t without its risks. When a business chooses a logistics company, they are handing off a critical aspect of the company to an outside party. In many cases, this means that the 3PL will be communicating to customers and suppliers on behalf of their clients. 3PL’s may also have processes that are not always completely transparent to their clients. Either of these situations can have serious implications for the branding and bottom-line of the client if these risks are not managed.

This means it’s important for businesses, especially smaller startups, to choose their 3PL providers carefully. Here are some things to look out for when picking a 3PL provider.

1.) Customer service

Source:holisollogistics.com

Your 3PL provider should be ready to address the concerns of your company and those of customers and answer them clearly and concisely. Because the 3PL provider acts on behalf of your company, any errors reflect on your business rather than on theirs. This makes it critical to make sure that whichever assistance you choose delivers acceptable customer service levels.

2.) IT

One of the biggest reasons many larger companies have switched over to 3PL services instead of relying on in-house teams is that 3PL companies often have access to optimized IT systems to handle tracking and other important communications requirements as well as different inventories. More importantly, they have the specialization and expertise to use these IT systems effectively.

Choosing a 3PL service that has good IT systems isn’t just for your business’s convenience. It can help improve your customer’s experience by allowing them to have accurate expectations about their orders.

Source:hollingsworthllc.com

3.) Flexibility

Different businesses will have their unique requirements that may not be properly addressed by a 3PL provider that takes a “one-size-fits-all” approach to logistics. Ideally, your 3PL provider must be willing to work closely with your company to come up with solutions that will benefit both your company and your customers.

4.) Service coverage

Your 3PL provider should be able to operate wherever you want to be able to market. While you can certainly use a different provider to service different markets, it just makes things simpler to have one provider do everything, especially if you’re running a small business.

5.) Overall value

The main point of using a 3PL provider is that they can deliver superior service levels at a lower cost to your company. The one you choose should be within your budget and also provide performance levels that you could not expect to reach working by yourself. If you’re a small business looking for high-quality 3PL services, then check out Red Stag Fulfillment.

Conclusion

Choosing 3PL providers is now a critical part of any small business’s checklist. Picking the right one can help a business expand into virtually any market while keeping expenses low. If anything, partnering with the right 3PL company can be the key to a small business’s success in reaching their intended markets.

 

5 Personal Finance Truths to Live By

The pursuit of money is universal, yet only a small percentage of people ever acquire and grow true wealth. Ultimately, it comes down to smart, informed decision-making, patience, and discipline. And if you study human behavior, you’ll discover that these aren’t innate traits. But in spite of this, there is optimism. Though they may not be inherent, the good news is that these traits can be learned. Are you willing to try?

Source:campuspress.yale.edu

5 Smart Money Truths

It’s hard to pin down a financial belief and call it a universal truth. Every situation is different and people have a wide range of theories and beliefs. But the following five principles are as close to objective truth as you’ll find. Follow them and you’ll almost certainly move closer to wealth:

  1.     Spend Less Than You Make

This seems like a pretty simple and obvious principle, but it’s one that most people don’t follow. In fact, a Pew Research study suggests that 54 percent of households spend more money than they make each month. In other words, the average household is watching its net worth decline each month – a truly scary thought!

The first step to building wealth is to spend less than you make. If your net monthly income is $5,000, this means you should be spending a maximum of $4,999 (though preferably much less). This will likely require you to keep a budget, track expenses, and practice disciplined spending in areas that eat up your money (like eating out or online shopping).

Source:money.usnews.com
  1.     Don’t Be House Poor

The second universal money truth is to avoid being house poor. Only purchase what you can reasonably afford – which probably won’t be the same as what the bank tells you that you can afford.

According to Green Residential, “Your goal is to buy a house that leaves enough room in your monthly budget for you to live a comfortable lifestyle. If the monthly payment is high enough that it strains your resources to make ends meet, you have too much house for your lifestyle.”

In addition to straining your budget, buying too much house comes back to bite you by forcing you to keep up with the Joneses. Research shows that living in an affluent neighborhood makes you more likely to mirror the consumption habits of your neighbors. If you’re living in a million-dollar neighborhood when you should be in an upper middle class neighborhood, you’re going to feel the pressure to buy nicer cars, clothes, and jewelry than you can reasonably afford. You’ll want to send your children to nicer schools, pay more for lawn care, host nicer parties, etc. You can avoid all of these pressures by purchasing a house at the correct price point. 

  1.     Diversify Your Investments
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There are hundreds of unique investment strategies. To say that one strategy is best for all would be foolish. However, the concept of diversification rings true across the board.

As you invest, be sure to stay diversified. From a macro perspective, this means investing in different investment classes – like stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. From a micro perspective, it means diversifying how you invest in each class. (For example, a good retirement portfolio doesn’t consist of one or two stocks. Instead, it contains a variety of mutual funds with varying levels of risk.)

  1.     Avoid Bad Debt

Anyone who tells you that all debt is bad doesn’t fully understand the utility of debt as a vehicle for generating leverage and acquiring wealth. There is, however, a huge difference between good debt and bad debt.

Good debt includes real estate, small business ownership, and loans for education (within reason). Bad debt looks like credit cards, vehicles, and consumable goods (such as jewelry, clothing, boats, and other products that lose value over time).

The goal is to avoid bad debt, while strategically using good debt to opportunistically build wealth. The better you become at differentiating between the two, the more success you’ll have.

  1.     Know the Difference Between a Want and Need

If you’re having trouble practicing smart financial behaviors, it’s probably because you have a skewed understanding of what constitutes a want and a need. Clarifying your position will help you get a hold of your finances.

The truth is that you have very few true needs. You need a roof over your head, food to eat, clothes to keep you warm, healthcare to keep you well, and perhaps a reliable vehicle to help you get around. Outside of this, almost everything is a want – including eating dinner out, shopping on Amazon, and buying a nicer car.

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If you focus on buying what you need and only occasionally delving into wants (as they fit into your budget), you’ll find that wealth suddenly becomes much more attainable.

Practice Patience and Discipline

It’s a common misconception that in order to be financially successful, you have to run around like a crazy man and take significant risks. The reality is that risk will eventually bite you in the rear. The better strategy is to practice patience and discipline – occasionally interspersing calculated risk to amplify your returns.