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Marketing Research
In this post, Business Blog would like to explain why marketing research plays such an important role in any business establishment, growth and audience grabber. Marketing research is an essential practice that all businesses must do before starting out. A successfully implemented marketing research should establish several major points, such as: establish the appropriate target audience using demographics and other criteria, determine required approach, determine the right message, determine the design of the whole message and your company. There are multiple steps in creating marketing research.

First of all, you have to determine what you need to find out, whether it is finding out if you chose the right place for your store, is there a potential for your product or even who your competition is. Marketing research is one of the most important practices that you should perform as it is going to give you an open field to whether you have to start what you are planning or not.
Marketing research encounters multiple practices and tools, it can range anywhere from doing a simple survey, mass email distribution, conducting forums, group meetings, and any other things that might help you gather information to provide the needed data for your research. Be aware that there are times where your findings will be unfavorable to you as they are not what you were hoping to get, even then you have to go with what you have, if not you are risking with misleading the whole research and even worth putting the business at risk as you won’t know the actual situation. With that said, it is important to mention that there are several main marketing research methods and designs:

Two methods:

Qualitative marketing research – is used for exploratory purposes, usually a small number of respondents (sample) is enough to get an idea. It may not be generalizable to the whole population but should be related to your target audience. Statistical significance and confidence is not necessary, therefore is not taken into calculations. As an example we can use: focus groups, in-depth interviews, and projective techniques.

Quantitative marketing research - is used to draw conclusions and hard data where we need the actual result. For example we need to test a specific hypothesis. Random sampling techniques must be used to achieve the most accurate results. Again, we have to sample from the population of our target audience. In order to receive the most accurate result a large number of respondents should be tested - examples include surveys and questionnaires. Techniques to use: choice modelling, maximum difference preference scaling, and covariance analysis.

Marketing research is important and should be done before any major brand, product or service launch to ensure that you are on the right track and there is an interest and need in it.


 
 
cabling toronto
Telecommunications
This post was requested by several readers of Business Blog. On numerous occasions we were ask to share several helpful links to help you determine best possible solution for choosing the right telecom solution for your business. Even though there multiple products available on the market it is still hard to determine which one is the best solution to suit your specific needs. For example the needs of the manufacturing business would be different from someone operating a restaurant chain. Below we'd like to state links that will help you to do a proper research and  buy a good and reliable telecom solution. If you need more assistance, please contact us. Let's start:

Avaya Links:

Avaya Business Phones - an amazing resource where you can see a wide range of Avaya products.
Avaya - Business Communications Systems from the authorized Avaya Partner.
Avaya IP Office systems - one of the most successful business phone systems.
Avaya IP Office - find phone system in Toronto.
Avaya IP Office Learning - lot's of useful info about the Avaya IP Office.

Nortel Links:

Nortel BCM Toronto - all you need to know about Nortel BCM.
Nortel Products - Nortel list of products available in Ontario, Canada.

ShoreTel Links:

ShoreTel Canada - a wide variety of ShoreTel products available across the Canada.

NEC Links:

NEC Toronto - NEC products in Toronto
NEC Phones - variety of NEC phones for your choice.
NEC Phone Systems - SMB and Enterprise size NEC phone systems.

Contact Centre Links:

Call Recording Solutions - offered in Canada.
Workforce Management Solutions - available for your selection.

 
 
Marketing
You need Marketing
For the past hundred or so years marketing has been an inalienable part of many companies. Marketing is one of the main reasons why so many huge companies do well and so many others can’t climb the leader of business success. Every successful business markets!

Marketing is an essential function of the organization that wants to be different and have a selling point that audience will “buy” in order to attract the to them product or service. Successful companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Pepsi, Coke and Nike produce huge amount of products. With the tremendous amount of products being offered they have to make sure that customers know about what’s new, what’s on the regular stock and when hot new arrivals are coming out. 

We can vision marketing as a huge umbrella with many and many different items going under its dome. Marketing has traditional and new “non-traditional” practices, by the way non-traditional will very fast become traditional. Let’s name several items on the list:

·         Direct Mailer
·         Billboard
·         TV and Radio Ads
·         Print Ads (bus, subway, street and any other including magazines, newspapers, etc)
·         Viral Marketing
·         Web Marketing
·         Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEM/SEO)
·         Pay-per-Click Ads
·         Affiliation Marketing
·         Blogs
·         Banners, flash and pop-ups
·         And many others…

As you can see marketing is no single practice at all, it has multiple layers which have to be addressed first before implementing any of the final decisions. There are things like: marketing strategy and tactic, audience targeting and segmentation, marketing plan, research and analysis, goal and objective refining and many more things to make sure that the campaign or whole marketing strategy works out good to benefit the company.


 
 
How to start a business
Start a Business
If you are thinking about starting a business, you are on the right track to freedom from the regular day to day job. Although, opening a business doesn’t mean you won’t place yourself back to the office, rather it’s going to make you the main person in it. Business is a job, however it is more of your own venture which you are responsible for and interested in growing. You’ll be spending many hours on development, generating new connections, finding better deals, resolving issues to enhance business productivity and many other activities dealing with your business growth and stability.

Everything starts with your idea. You have an idea to sell or produce a specific product. You view your office, store or ways to distribute your products or services. The main thing that should help you determine your steps has to be a business plan. Business plan should clearly define your vision, including many aspects such as: competition, product/service description, design and manufacturing, target audience, distribution channels and many other things. Developing a business from a ground up is a very intense practice, it requires individual to have specific skills and set of mind. The person has to be almost cold blooded to work out best deals, see next step and not to stress over failures.

Even though many small businesses fail within their first year, their owners learn from the made mistakes and do their best to succeed in their next business. Life without failure is not possible. Every businessman knows that with failure comes success. Every new lesson has to be learned and applied to the situation. Here are several main steps to follow for business opening:

·         Idea Generation:

        o  Generate an Idea
        o  Speculate on the Idea
        o  Consult and talk to people you trust
        o  Brush out all unnecessary things
        o   Have a solid view of your idea

·         Generate a solid Business Plan

·         Find a financing
        o   Find investors

·         Select physical or online space for your business

·         Market your business

·         Invest into Marketing

·         Launch

Business idea doesn’t have to be one of its kind; you can successfully sell and earn a good profit from the products or services that are offered by your competition. What is more important is that you have to find a unique aspect of yourself to be differentiated from the competition.


 
 
Marketing
Online Marketing
5 Tips on Online Marketing

Every week Business Blog provides you with 5 Tips for increasing your business productivity. This week we’ve decided to touch up on the internet marketing tips and common assumptions that business owners make about the websites and online stores (e-commerce). Please, read below and make any comments you think are appropriate to this post.

1. Don’t assume that if you’ve done search engine optimization at one time it is still valid. SEO landscape changes very quickly and is very unstable with all new releases of Google algorithm updates. Search Engine Optimization is a constant practice that has to be done by professionals and through eligible sources.  You have to stay on top of all optimization that is done to the website. For example, make sure that you know at least several keywords and their exact positions. This will give you an ability to monitor your positions and overall optimization efforts.

2. Currently, there is a huge trend in users accessing websites and spending time online by using their mobile devices. Therefore, you have to make sure you have a mobile optimized website for your current and potential clients. Google has release a great mobile website builder, check it out here: http://www.howtogomo.com. It is a very inexpensive and great tool for creating a simple but very useful mobile website.

 3. Make sure that your website is user optimized. So, let’s say you’ve spent your time and money on online marketing, you finally got a visitor to your site, but the site is not user friendly – you’ve just wasted your time and money. In addition, most likely you’ve lost future customer because he had an unpleasant experience. Your website is a critical first impression tool! Think about it, people visit your website in order to meet you and review your services.

4. In order to keep up with all your online marketing initiatives, please create a schedule and make sure you follow it. It is vital in making sure you are progressing and increasing your marketing reach.

5. Be constant! You don’t have to spend all your time on marketing for your business, you can do a bit but in a constant flow. After several months you’ll see it adding up to a wider funnel of opportunities.

Marketing is a constant practice of reaching out to your target audience and capturing leads from all expected places. As mentioned you don’t have to spend much time, rather you have to be constant on message delivering and all your activities.


 
 
Competition
Competition
How to out power the competition

Every business has competition. Even if you are in the niche market, there can be only a small amount of time until others jump into your market. This is a usual strategy to wait until someone succeeds in the niche market. Being in the competitive environment brings many positive and negative aspects. From the positive side we have several factors that actually help us succeed and develop better business by perfecting products or services. From the negative side we have factors that are not allowing us to gain the higher market share because our competition does things to become better as well. Here are several positive and negative factors about being in competitive environment:

Positive:

·         Better product or service development
·         Enhanced customer service
·         Competitive advantage
·         Marketing strategy
·         Employee engagement

Negative:

·         Tougher to compete
·         Competition does the same
·         Competition advances (more resources)
·         Many players

Competition is one thing that makes it more challenging to any business to survive on the market. Unfortunately, every market has at least several players who are taking out the majority of clients. New businesses have to compete with minimal resources in order to have a chance to become a bigger firm at one point. Company’s growth fully depends on the owner’s ability to strategically rationalize goals and plan out good tactics to achieve them. A good leader must understand the business he is in and needs to understand the competition. It is very important to do a competitive market research in order to establish competitor’s advantages and weaknesses. It is also important to do a competitive analysis on your own business to understand what might be the potential treats and opportunities. SWOT analysis might be very helpful in this situation as it defines: strength, weaknesses, opportunities and treats.

SWOT analysis can be used at any growth stage of the business to rationalize what can be done to strengthen the business. It is important to use competitive research in order to know who you competing against, without knowing you are shooting in the dark.


 
 
increase website traffic
Website Traffic
Increasing website’s traffic and customer flow

I’d like to start by explaining why you as a website owner should be looking into every opportunity to increase your website’s traffic. Being a business owner you should be relying onto several different sources for gathering leads and creating potential customers. One of a very good ways to pick up new customers is to create a lead funnel from your business/corporate website. Employing your website for customer gathering is a very cost effective and useful way. You have to realize that they’ve spent some time looking for a product or service online and were able to find you as a source. At that stage it is very important to keep your customer at your website and make sure he delivers the needed action of conversion.  It is important to understand that every visitor to your website is a potential customer. This is the main reason why you should be increasing the amount of visitors on your website. By increasing your website’s traffic you are increasing your chances to better and higher conversion rates, such as: check-out, newsletter subscription, service subscription and other types of website conversion. There are multiple ways to increase your website’s traffic; the most useful is to perform internet research on the needed topic before implementing any internet marketing. Internet marketing is very broad and holds many different strategies, techniques and practices. Everyone involved in the internet business or even having a website and wanting to be found must employee if not all, at least some techniques to “advertise” online, in order to attract the needed audience.

Here are the most used online internet tactics to increase traffic to your website:

·         Article, PR and online writing
·         PPC and SEO (Search engine optimization)
·         Link building and Blog posts
·         Video making (YouTube)
·         Campaigns and landing pages

Employing all of the above techniques should give you a great chance of increasing the customer’s flow to your website. Please keep in mind that in order to convert your customers into buyers you have to have a good website design and user friendly navigation. As mentioned above there are multiple practices to increasing traffic: you can buy YouTube views, optimize your website in search such as Google and Bing; however in order for those techniques to succeed you have to really optimize your website for user’s benefit. Optimizing your website for user friendly browsing is the key in making customers want to stay on your website. The more time they spend on your pages reading the information the higher chance they will convert to a customer. Different studies have shown that “sticky” content makes reader or visitor willing to come back and interact with you. Even if they don’t buy right now, but they’ve spent some time on your website and theoretically enjoyed it they might come back. Another theory is that when the need for your product/service arises they will be more willing to go back to your website.

Optimizing online marketing activities and optimizing your website are two key components of a successful online business.


 
 
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Internet Research

Internet is one of the best sources to find almost any information that you need. It really doesn’t matter if you are a college student or a business owner. All it matters is that you need to find specific information for your project. Let’s say that you are thinking about exporting some of your goods into a different country and you need to find out who is your competition, what is the competitive product and approximate amount of demand for your product. It is very costly to go out and live for a while in a foreign country to make all those researches, however with the power of the Internet you as a business owner can pretty much answer the majority of questions you have.

Internet research is a practice of researching specific topics that interests you whether for personal or business knowledge with the use of Internet technology. To be able to distinguish between numerous sources of information, you have to spend some time online in order to find appropriate resources. With a rapid internet expansion and higher numbers of internet access than ever before, people create websites and post information of their interest. It is wise to mention that some information might be bias and based only on writer’s opinion. Therefore, the researcher has to make sure that when the information is found it provides the proper data. Also, it is very good if that data is supported by the facts and statistics of the initial researcher.

Market research has to have several sources to deliver the most relevant result to the researcher. Internet research is just one of the sources where one can pick up many helpful sources to broaden a scope of activities.

Use Internet to power your business! Internet technology offers many benefits to the business; therefore it is wise to make sure it doesn’t go to waste. Use internet every time it is possible to gain competitive advantage and to deliver highest possible results for your business. Your business is important for you therefore you have to use what you have.


 
 
Internet for business
Internet for Business
Internet use for Business Operations

Internet provides many different opportunities for business operations. Business can tremendously grow by employing internet means and discovering the full potential of social networking. Every day more and more businesses select internet as their main source for many different practices, such as: contacting customers, offering customer service, generation leads, finding and creating new customer and constantly advertising their services. It is now known that many companies select internet as one of their primer source is for advertising and media relationship building. Traditional forms of advertising such as television, radio and billboards are very expensive and usually can only be afforded by the large organizations. With that said internet offers a much lower price for “its service”. When compared with how much needs to be spent on producing just one TV or radio ad versus internet spending’s one can clearly outline the price difference and the outcomes.

Here are several ways of how the internet can be used to achieve your business goals, strategies and lead generations:

·         Internet marketing
·         Search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Pay-per-Click (PPC)
·         Article and PR writing and distribution
·         Social networking and social media
·         Use of forums, blogs and communities

One of a great ways that internet might help you is by giving you an ability to find out what the client want or need, and the best part is that the internet gives you an option to use it almost for free. You will not be paying money for your online marketing research and target development as internet is not as expensive as traditional forms of marketing research.

Internet offers great ability to find new customer and directly contact them by constantly delivering a unique message that can appeal to the needed market. An ability to develop a good communications message is a MUST, as you have to make sure that you target audience is interested in what you are planning to deliver to them. Internet offers a wide variety of sources to provide business with support they need and bring cost effective solutions.


 
 
Employee Motivation
Motivation Factors
Maximizing office employee productivity

Office productivity is the key element in business life. Without productivity there are no goals, tasks and objectives to achieve. Anyone working for the company must be productive in order to successfully move business as an organization to the new level of business growth and development. If employees are not motivated enough there is a problem as the productivity level won’t be efficient enough to support daily business life and operation. There are several factors playing a major role in human productivity, here they are:

·         Motivation
·         Work tools
·         Achievable goals and objectives
·         Proper time frames
·         Environment
·         Training
·         Ergonomics

All factors play vital role in one’s ability and will to achieve what needs to be done for the company. With all major factors listed above let’s review one by one defining and speculating on how they can be used and what they will do for your company.

Motivation

It is well known that motivated employee does better job in attaining set goals. When your employees are motivated they are willing to spend more time at work and do better job. In addition, as several studies shown employees show more respect to their bosses if boss motivates them and pays his respect to the employees. There are many ways to motivate your employee: going from increasing salary for a good work, giving flexible hours, enhancing workspace, providing free holidays and days off to serving free lunches, taking teams out for fun things and etc. Motivation is a key player in every organization, you can use it to motivate people to work for you or you can use it to make people willing to quit and never come back.

Work Tools  

For any employee to achieve what’s needed for the job you have to provide needed tools. As silly as it might sound by not all employees can provide the right tools for the right employee. For example, you hire a good graphic designer and give him 5 year old software to produce graphics. With that software he will be able to achieve something but it will not be at the same level as if would’ve given them a current version with new features. In addition, it is not ration to even ask to work at the same level without given the right tools to work with. It’s the same as giving a screw driver and telling to screw the nail.

Achievable goals and objective

All tasks that are given to the employee must be achievable and rational. You as a management link in the company have to establish an approximate time of delivery.  It is important to provide your employee with the right task to match his/her abilities. You cannot give tasks that you know your employee will fail as he/she lacks the knowledge in the area. Also, you cannot give tasks that are not related to the person’s area of expertise expecting them to successfully complete it. Make sure that all goals are attainable by the person you’ve selected for the job.

Time frame

When giving person a task make sure the task is set within a set time frame. The time frame has to be measured at the reasonable rate. You can measure time that’s needed to complete the task by reviewing how long it took someone to complete it. If the task is fully new you have to assume time approximation, however it is necessary to keep in mind that employee might take a little bit more time to accomplish it.

Environment

You have to realize that the work environment that one works in fully reflects on his/her ability to be motivated and ability to finish the job. If you place your employee into a friendly environment where people work hard, create friendships, help each other, and stay focused on achieving high goals individual will be motivated to produce at the same level; opposite will happen if the environment shows negative behaviour.

Training

Provide training and learning materials for your employees to stay focused and to learn more about the tasks, industry and skills. With more training people learn more about what can be achievable; in addition they learn how to achieve tasks in shorter time with better outcomes.

Ergonomics

Office ergonomics is extremely important as it provides employees with comfortable place to work at. It is known that well implemented ergonomic practice at the workplace can significantly enhance worker’s productivity. Provide your employees with comfortable workstations for better job performance.

Keep your employees motivated and happy, because they work trying to achieve goals you set.