6 Data-Driven Ideas for Improving Customer Service

Investing in allocating new customers can be up to 25 times more expensive than retaining customers. If you’re constantly losing customers and needing to replace them, are you really getting your money’s worth from your marketing investments? Surely not! This is a symptom of bad customer service. It very well could mean you’re ignoring your customers once they’ve bought your product or service. And you’re likely to keep losing customers if you don’t fix this horrendous money hole. Worry not, fair marketer. We have data-driven information that could vastly improve your customer service. Here’s how to plug that hole. 1. Effective and Efficient Wins the Day Have you ever procrastinated on calling customer service? Why? Are you afraid the caller is going to judge you? Likely not. The most common answer to this question is fear of getting put on hold. Even if you can turn on speaker and ignore […]

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Email Marketing 101: 5 Essential Tips for Doing It Right

Today my wife called me over to her vet clinic to fix her keyboard. I snatched up a spare keyboard from my office, the one missing its left control key, just in case I couldn’t fix my wife’s. When I arrived, I found the old keyboard already unplugged and looking sad with its cord tucked behind its kickstands, keys so tall and bulky they could double as child’s building blocks. I examined the keyboard cord itself, expecting a loose or kinked tube. What I found was a 6-inch PS/2 male connector. This was something I hadn’t seen since 2005. The tines were bent haphazardly and it was obvious my wife had tried to force the plug back in the wrong way not realizing her mistake. The connector was screwed and I had to leave my incomplete yet contemporary USB keyboard with my wife until we could buy her a new […]

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Start Your Business Strong: 5 Things You Need to Become a Tax Preparer

The tax code is 70,000 pages long. That’s 140 Stephen King novels.  Fortunately, as a tax preparer, you don’t need to memorize the tax code. Most of what you need to know is a small subset of the tax code. Why? Because the tax code covers more than individual and small business taxes.  Thus, it’s not as daunting as it seems to become a tax preparer. You don’t even need to be a CPA to start a tax business. You merely need to take the courses and become licensed.  Here are the steps you need to take in order to become a tax preparer. 1. Study Up While it’s true you only need a high school diploma to certify as a tax preparer, you shouldn’t settle for high school education. This doesn’t mean going and getting a college degree (although this will certainly increase your skills and competitive edge). It […]

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Office Space: How to Improve Ergonomics in the Office

Nobody thinks about safety when they’re working in an office. There are no giant machines rumbling about. Nobody is doing labor-intensive work. But according to the CDC, office workers are more than twice as likely to suffer an injury from a fall than non-office workers in more dangerous situations. It’s that lack of awareness and sense of safety an office provides that makes office life so hazardous. This doesn’t mean the office needs to be a place of strict rules. Simple changes in how you arrange the space and interact with it could make all the difference. Here’s how you can make your office ergonomic and safe for everyone. 1. Buy Standing Desks For Everyone For a time, we all thought the exercise ball would be the ergonomic choice of office ergonomics fixes forever. That is, until we saw The Office. Now a new kind of desk is taking office […]

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First-Party Data and Beyond: How to Collect Data for Your Business

First-Party Data and Beyond: How to Collect Data for Your Business Ben Mattice October 15, 2019 What would you do if you could see into the future? Would you warn others of impending danger? Would you become a masked vigilante and save lives? Would you invest in the stock market and become rich? What if I told you there was a way to see into the future? You might be disappointed when I told you it wouldn’t let you see your personal future. You wouldn’t be able to see major historical events or check tomorrow’s stock exchange numbers. But you might be able to see what your leads are going to do and where to catch them in their most vulnerable state. This is called data collection. And if you could see how many data collection programs run on facebook alone, you might not feel so easy about hanging out […]

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Data Management Challenges in Startups

I was working in an office near the end of the cloud data revolution. Networking at my office was still entirely local. The only thing we did in the cloud was email. Today, the only reason to keep a local server is to appease certain government regulations. The internet is as stable as electricity and it’s rare you get an internet outage without a power outage anyway. Therefore, it’s now silly to spend the money on maintaining a local data network when you could secure your valuables in the cloud. But even today, cloud data management can have its challenges. Here are the challenges you might face as an entrepreneur and how to mitigate them in the process. 1. Threats Inside Are Just as Likely Even though you’re storing your data in the cloud, it doesn’t mean you have a license to forget about internal data security. In fact, you […]

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What Are the Pros and Cons of Employee Drug Testing?

I worked with people with disabilities for seven years and never once got drug tested. I could have been high as a kite or drunk out of my mind on certain shifts, and the only people who would have known were my one coworker and my clients who couldn’t speak. You would think in an industry where people’s lives are at stake, where you could kill someone by accidentally giving them the wrong drug or the wrong food, there would be a regular drug testing procedure. Once I made it into a position of moderate influence, I realized the funding wasn’t there. Every dollar went to programs which would directly benefit the clients. And the government clawed what it could from our hands to serve other state programs. I’m certain that, while 99% of our employees were responsible and sober while at work, there was the 0.5-1% who weren’t. And […]

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How to Conduct Effective Business Meetings in Five Simple Steps

Meetings are largely a waste of time. You spend the first few minutes discussing football, the next few minutes deciding whether to wait for Pam (who is chronically late to meetings), and the next few minutes discussing Bob’s irrelevant complaints. By the time you’ve gotten down to business, half the scheduled meeting is over. You’re going to go over time again. And again, you’re going to cut your lunch hour so you can get everything done. It’s a problem across the entire businessphere. People generally spend 40% of their workday dealing with meetings and other distractions from deep work. It would seem these problems would be simple to fix. And really, they are simple to fix. But sometimes simple isn’t easy. Why? Because hacking human behavior is hard. You can’t just push a button and change someone’s behavior. You have to convince people to change and then they have to […]

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Small Business Owners Can Reliably Increase Profit Margins With These 5 Tips

In an era where the customer has more say than ever, it’s easy to get caught up in pleasing the customer. The customer is always right, after all (NOT).  But if you continually sacrifice on your bottom line to please customers, eventually you will end up bleeding money. This is a sure indicator you’ve forgotten one of the reasons you started a business. To make money. If you weren’t in it at least partially for the money, you might as well have started a non-profit. At least then you’d pay less in taxes.  So, how do you increase profits in the age of review sites and customer loyalty programs?  Keep reading to find out. A customer comes in and buys that hard-to-sell high-ticket item. You’re happy, they’re happy. But they never come back again.  Selling single high-priced items or service packages might feel good in the moment. You have a […]

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Make Money While You Sleep in 2020: Five Steps To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

You’re on a beach somewhere in South America. A waiter in a pristine white coat with glinting gold buttons walks up and asks you for your drink order. You think for a moment and order a Mojito, easy on the basil. As he walks away, you pull out your smartphone to find out you just made enough money to pay for your impending drink. Does this sound like the life you want to live? It might not be as easy as it sounds to make money while you sleep or adventure, but it is still possible in 2020? The trick is to be a savvy marketer. If you can manage this, you can make money online in 2020. Here’s how to get started in affiliate marketing this year. 1. How Do You Get Paid? Affiliate marketing skips the product or service management needed to make money online the traditional way. […]

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5 Small Business Startup Insurance Policies That Entrepreneurs Should Buy

Plaintiff lawyers are getting better at their job. In 2018, plaintiffs won 79% of the wage and hour cases against HR departments. That’s up 11 percent from previous years. “But!” you say, “I don’t have any employees yet.” Lawyers aren’t just interested in wage disputation. You could get hit from any angle from clients suing for damages to copyright cases. And lawsuits aren’t the only reason you would need insurance. Here are a few types of insurance you might need as an entrepreneur. 1. General Liability Insurance You’re interacting with people every day when you’re an entrepreneur. People are fairly unpredictable. You need a general-type insurance to protect yourself from the people outside your company. You also need a general-type insurance to protect people outside your company from your services and products. Or, really, to protect you from people suing you for things your products or services may or may […]

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Benefits of Setting Your Business Up in a Portable Office Trailer

Ask yourself this: how much office space do you really need? The answer might be less than you think. In the West, we’ve benefited from an abundance of space. Our continent is over 2000 miles across. When I tell my friends in Europe how long it takes to drive to California from my house, they’re amazed it’s only two states away. But space is getting more expensive every day. The average cost to rent office space in New York City is $14,800. That’s about $6.16 per square foot. So, again, I ask “how much office space do you really need?” Maybe now you’re willing to consider an office trailer instead of a dedicated office space. Here are some reasons why you might consider one. 1. Mobile Means Truly Mobile Likely, the trailers you’ve seen are grey boxes attached to construction sites or grey boxes sitting on crumbling cement blocks hidden […]

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Loyalty Matters: How to Build a Customer Retention Plan That Really Works

Most people follow a three-strike rule when it comes to company patronage. Only about 33% of customers will drop you if you give them bad service once. Excellent news, right? Verily. We’re living in an age of excellent customer service. More than 80% of Americans report that businesses are meeting or even exceeding expectations in customer service. But is 80% enough? Would 80% be enough for you to trust your doctor-recommended birth control? Even that 99.9% success rate birth control sometimes fails. How do you beat the numbers? Customer retention programs, that’s how. Below you’ll find some of the best advice on the net on how to keep them coming back for more. 1. It Begins With Customer Service While customer service historically hurts rather than helps customer retention efforts, it’s still a hole you must plug. You might not gain customer loyalty, but you’ll be less likely to lose […]

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How To Set Up Logistics For Your Startup

You’ve developed an incredible product. It’s been crowdfunded 300% and you’re already through your final prototype and on to production. Your customers are waiting patiently. You have not actualized the most important part of your business. Logistics. How are you going to ship your product to your customers? How are you going to optimize your manufacturing process and gather the materials quickly enough to keep up with the demand? It’s more complicated than you might think. And in the era of Amazon Prime and Walmart.com’s two-day shipping options, it’s not easy to please your customers. “But my customers will wait a decade to get my product in their hands.” That’s the mistake Oculus made out the gate with the Rift back in 2016. HTC beat them to market due to shipping concerns and they lost the lead (which they steadily gained back due to a superior product). No matter how […]

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The Many Ways to Finance a Small Business

With business financing, it’s try and fail and try again. A full 77% of business owners who apply for a loan from a large bank get rejected. If you’re in the 77% boat, you’re likely discouraged. You need the funds to get your business off the ground, but all that work seems like just another mountain to climb. The good news is, there is more than one way to start a business. And with the peer-to-peer economy on the rise, more ways to fund a business are cropping up all the time. Here are some loan and business funding options to help you fly with your business. 1. Crowdfunding This is the least surefire way to fund your business. But if you succeed, you get to say your customers and fans funded you. And then you have the privilege of saying your business is customer-centric from the ground up. How […]

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Office Space Location: 7 Key Tips for Finding the Perfect Office Space

You and your best friend built a small app. You didn’t expect your idea to take off, but people adopted it and made it grow. Now you’re unable to carry the weight on your own shoulders and need employees. But you guys worked out of your home offices. You didn’t even think you’d need an office space. How do you even go about finding, leasing, and organizing an office space? Today we give you a toolset. These tools will empower you in your journey to a functional and perfect office space. Here’s what you need in order to do that. 1. Begin At a Coworking Space The cost of renting office space can be anywhere between $4k and $14k in the United States. And that’s per employee. If you’re lucky, electricity and water are included. If you’re not lucky, you’ll pay extra. Eventually, you will need your own space. You […]

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Four Small Businesses You Can Start In College With Less Than $1000

I mentor Freshmen at a local university. Something I often hear is how much extra time they suddenly have compared to when they were in High School. Usually, my students find ways to fill their time. They join intramurals. They find jobs. They join the orchestra. And then they complain about their sudden lack of free time. If you’re in college, you might not want to fill your free time the conventional way. You’ve got that entrepreneurial itch and you want to use your free time to make money. I’ve got you covered. I’ve collected a list of viable businesses you could start during your four years. Who knows, maybe you’ll drop out and become a successful entrepreneur and I’ll be writing about you someday. Let’s make some money! 1. A Childcare Business The childcare industry grew four percent in the last five years. And if you ask any parent […]

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A Short Guide to Maintaining Your Waterjet Machine

You’re starting a custom metal cutout company. You’ve decided on waterjet over laser but you’re worried you won’t be able to take care of the machine. That’s ok. Waterjet machines aren’t as difficult to maintain as you might think. Keep scrolling for a quick look at how to maintain your waterjet machine. 1. Be Sure Your Environment Is Clean Before Starting Clean is a relative concept. You might think your space is clean but is it free of abrasive particles that might damage your machine? If you’re running a shop, you probably don’t have a clean enough space to perform maintenance on your machine. You might need a “clean room” in the sense of a room that’s filled with clean air and keeps a higher air pressure inside than out. But you want to ensure you have a sufficiently clean space within your shop. Be sure you’ve swept all particles […]

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How Do Big Data Boost Sales? Supercharge Conversions With These Tips

Back in 2015, EMC predicted big data companies will be collecting 1.7 megabytes a second on each individual connected to the internet in 2020. That’s 53,611,200 megabytes or 53.6 terabytes a year. It’s hard to fathom that much information. And it’s kind of a silly number anyways? Is there really that much information about you out there? Likely not. You do have to realize we’re probably talking about website caches and photo and video data. But still, big data takes in a ton of information. What then are companies doing with it all? Are we feeding a supercomputer AI who is going to take over the world? Is Facebook using the data to create a social dystopia? Well, the latter might actually be true, but it’s hard to know. But What’s relevant to us is the fact big data and the patterns they reveal could improve your marketing by a […]

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7 Essential Gifts For The Entrepreneurs and Freelancers In Your Life

Maybe you’re type A. Or maybe you’re just determined. But it’s almost October and Black Friday is going to hit and run before you know it. Thus you’re already shopping for the holiday season. One of your best friends is an entrepreneur. They’ve built serval businesses and they’re the hardest people to shop for in the world. Why? Because they already have everything. But here are a few things you may not have thought about. 1. The Five Minute Journal Did you know that journaling your day could expand your IQ? It’s entirely possible. But do you have time to write down your entire day? Instead of begining with “Dear Journal” why not just jump into what made you happy that day? That’s what the Five Minute Journal Attempts to do. It gives you a quick inspirational challenge each day that will only take five minutes to write out. This […]

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