Every leader has their own version of what the word “good” will mean for them.

As will every employee.

Being a good leader is about more than getting good results – it’s also about team happiness, efficiency, and productivity.

But when your team is faced with a tight deadline, your role as their leader changes, too.

Here is how you can adapt to the situation and still make the most of it.

Have a system in place

The best thing you can do in the first place is to set up a system that all your employees will be familiar with and able to adhere to.

This system needs to encompass everything, including the designated communication channels, attendance and days off, responsibilities, and task delegation – the whole shebang.

The reasoning behind the system is that you, as the team leader, need to be aware of everything that is going on at a glance, without having to make a single call or send out a single email.

This will enable you to predict breached deadlines and the potential for disaster, and allow you to act accordingly as well.

A good project management tool to help you achieve just that is a Gantt chart, which you can customize as much as you need to.

Know your team

Another prep step that leads up to the tight deadline scenario we are discussing, and the most important prerequisite for success in any team, is knowing your players well enough to be able to assemble your starting lineup flawlessly.

Pardon the sporting reference, but you get the picture.

There will be people in your team who are great at what they do and are also great communicators. There will be those who are great at what they do, but have no idea how to communicate. And of course, there will be those who are great team players, but lack the skillset to get the job done at the same level.

Your team needs all of these players, but all of these players need to keep working on what they lack – with your help, of course, and that applies to the best of them, too. And you need to know where each of them stands, and where to place them at a time of crisis.

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Set clear goals and agree on the necessary steps 

When a deadline is tight, the most basic thing will help out the most: a well-laid plan.

Call a team meeting and come to a decision together – you don’t need to come up with the plan yourself. In fact, the more heads involved, the better it will be.

Make sure everyone takes on what they can and what they know. This is where your knowledge from the previous two steps comes in. Don’t let the nice, kind person who always volunteers but never gets anything done on time take on too much. Don’t let the most talented person take on all the work.

You are the leader, so it’s up to you to make the final call. But the more input each individual provides, the better your team will perform.

Communicate

When things are stressful and the repercussions can be significant, it’s important to keep everyone in the loop.

Make it clear with your team that they need to tell you everything, even when they come off bad, or someone else does.

Fearing the consequences, employees tend to hide from their managers when they are struggling with something. And while you will never be able to eliminate this fully, try to enforce a rule that no punishments are handed out as long as the person in question raises the red flag in time.

You can hope to meet any deadline only once everyone is clear on their specific responsibilities and priorities. Your job is to achieve just that. Don’t hand all the info out to everyone: as you hold all the cards, you should know exactly who needs to know what.

Have a Plan B

Deadlines will be missed sometimes. It’s just that simple.

Before that happens, it’s important to have a backup plan in place.

First of all, it’s your job to let the higher-ups know that you won’t be able to do it in said amount of time. But instead of just coming in with the bad news, have a solution ready.

How much extra time will the task take? Can you add in some overtime to get it done sooner? What are the overall outcomes you will have achieved? 

Try to focus on the good, not just the fact that the deadline has been missed.

Depending on the situation, there might be some music to be faced. You will be the one facing it, more likely than not. Don’t take it out on your team, if you are certain they could not have done better. If what it would have taken to meet the deadline is for everyone to perform at a perfect level the entire time, the deadline was never realistic, so don’t forget that.

Wrap up

At the end of the day, when things might feel like they’re getting out of control, always remember to trust yourself like the captain at the helm of a ship. 

Don’t place upon yourself the burden of having to be perfect – good leadership rests on good organization, understanding, and communication. Strive to grow and learn from each experience, and with each new deadline, you’ll be better and better at all of these fields. And your team will definitely appreciate you for it! 

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Buying an existing business is a good idea. If the enterprise has been in business for an impressive number of years, that is a sign of its reputation and stability in the industry. Should you take out your checkbook and issue a downpayment or reservation fee?

No.

When it comes to buying an existing business, don’t take chances and assume everything is in order. Performing due diligence via a financial audit is a smart first step but it is not enough.

Financial records and bank statements will not give you an idea of how the business is perceived by the industry and its market. You should perform an audit on the business’s online presence to learn more about its reputation and approach to managing its activities.

Here are the 6 things that you should look for when performing an online audit on a business:

1. Brand Awareness – Determine the Online Reputation of the Business

You may be surprised by what a simple Google search may yield!

With the Internet accessible to more than 4.5 billion people or 58% of the world’s population, it will be hard to stay hidden for long. News websites, content aggregators, and Internet users regularly upload or share information that captures their interest. 

If the business you are planning to buy engaged in news-worthy shenanigans in the past, trust that your Google search may pull out deal-breaking reports:

  • Was the business engaged in fraudulent activity?
  • Is the business mired in debt? 
  • Is the company facing lawsuits from clients or customers?
  • Is the government after the business for tax evasion?
  • Does the company have a director who is suspected of criminal activity?
  • Are the products of the business the subject of scrutiny regarding their quality?
  • Are the employees treated proper?

You should also check the social media pages of the business.

  • What are they regularly posting about? 
  • What topics or issues appear to be of interest to them?
  • How is the lead-in to the content presented? Is it in a professional manner?
  • How does the company moderator interact with the commenters? 

70% of recruiters screen the social media content of job applicants to assess if the candidate is a good fit for the company. 

You should do the same with a business before you buy it because your company will assume its brand. The message of the brand must align with your business’s purpose, values, and vision.

A good website to visit is Glassdoor.com which allows current and former employees to post reviews, comments, and information on their employer. If the business you are planning to buy is listed in Glassdoor, you may get helpful information about the company.

Of course, there is always the possibility of reading reviews made by disgruntled employees. After going through a few posts, you may have a better idea of what the company’s culture is like. 

2. Uncover the Relationship of the Business with its Customers

One of the greatest benefits of the Internet is that it creates avenues for customers to engage with the business. Among the most popular avenues are social media platforms and chat messaging.

If the business you are planning to buy has social media accounts – and it should – visit their pages. When a business opens a company page, people who follow or like the page will be allowed to post comments. 

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect business. It is not realistic to expect every consumer to like the product or service. Then, there are the unfortunate incidents. No matter how stringent the quality control processes are, mishaps are bound to happen.

The usual course of action is for customers to file a complaint. While some customers will be discreet and choose email or chat messaging as the medium of communication, many will post the complaint on the business’s social media page.

When reviewing the social media page of the business, assess the following:

  • Are the majority of the comments or posts from irate customers?
  • Did the company respond in a respectful manner?
  • Did the company respond within an acceptable time-frame such as 24 to 48 hours?
  • Do the engagements between the customer and the company result in extended communication threads?
  • Was resolution eventually achieved?
  • Did the business provide a process for the customer to follow?

The new term for customer service is relationship management. Businesses should take great care of their relationships with customers. 

A disgruntled customer can become a loyal customer if the issue was dutifully resolved. Excellent relationship management will also strengthen the brand of the business. 

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3. Assess the Scope and Depth of the Business’ Online Presence

The scope and depth of the business’s presence on the Internet should play a factor in determining its true worth. After all, you are buying their brand. 

  • What online activities has the business undertaken to build its brand?
  • How much work has been done to increase brand awareness online?
  • How strong is brand recall? 
  • Does the website attract an impressive amount of traffic?
  • Do the social media pages have a good number of followers?
  • How would you assess the level of engagement in the business’s social media pages? 
  • Which channels of communication are in place? Chat support? Social media moderation? Email? Inbound call service? 
  • How invested is the business in ensuring excellent customer service? 
  • Does the business have a blog page?

If the business has not done much or anything at all to enhance its online presence, that means you will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting to give the brand the traction it needs on the Internet.

All of that heavy lifting may come at a heavy price:

  • If the business does not have a chat support service, you will have to install the feature on the website or on its social media pages.
  • If the business does not have social media pages, you’ll have to set up the accounts yourself. Building a network of followers will take time. 
  • If the business did not blog, you may have to hire a content writer to create compelling blogs.

Building the business’s presence on the Internet will cost you resources in terms of time and money. 

As the saying goes, “Your business is representative of your leadership”. If there is no online presence, you should start to wonder about the people you are dealing with.

4. Existence of Social Proof

You’ve done the feasibility studies, checked the finances, and performed due diligence. In business, there is no such thing as a “sure thing”. Even if the results of the projections are in your favor, it does not mean the business you purchased is a good deal. 

One way to ease your worries about the viability of the business is to look for the existence of social proof.

Social proof is a concept that was introduced by Robert Cialdini, a professor of Marketing at Arizona State University. According to Cialdini, consumers change their behavior based on the actions of others. 

For example, if you see a long line of people outside a donut store, you will be compelled to join the queue because your assumption is that the food must be good. 

Of course, you may end up disappointed when reality falls short of expectation. Still, the presence of an impressive queue was enough to get you to try the donut store – and ring the business owner’s cash register. 

What types of social proof should you look for that attest to the viability of the business you are purchasing?

  • Product or Business Reviews
  • Influencer’s Endorsement
  • User, Client or Customer Testimonials
  • Positive Reviews or Reports From Various Media
  • Social Media Shares of Published Content

When reviewing social proof, take the good with the bad. You can’t please everybody. Consumers have individual tastes and preferences. However, if the feedback is overwhelmingly negative, you might want to re-think your decision to purchase the business. At the very least, use social proof to tilt final negotiations to your favor.

5. Is the Website Responsive?

It’s not enough for the business to have a website. It must be responsive. Otherwise, your business will not be accessible to potential customers who use mobile devices to conduct an Internet search.

How important is it to have a website that is mobile responsive? More than 60% of searches on the Internet are carried out on a mobile device. 

If your website is not mobile responsive it will not set up properly on a smaller screen. The Internet user will not have the patience to zoom-in just to read your content and to navigate around your website. 

What will happen if the website of the business is not mobile responsive?

For the reason that the Internet opens up your business to an ocean of opportunities, you simply will not thrive with a website that is not mobile responsive. Thus, you will have to spend to make the website mobile responsive. 

Similar to building the online presence of the business, you have to bring up the matter of the non-responsive website to the negotiation table. 

6. Is the Business Visible on the Internet?

Does the business post content on its website and social media pages? Blogging is a proven way of building the brand of a business. Its other benefits include driving more traffic to the website, generating leads, improving the search ranking of the website, and enhancing the business’s online presence. 

However, to realize these benefits, the content must be optimized. 

It won’t matter how amazing the blogs read. They won’t be seen unless the content is optimized with the right keywords. 

And it’s not just the blogs. The content on the website must also be optimized. 

Here’s a checklist of what to look for when testing for website optimization:

  • Presence of broken links
  • Optimization of meta tags
  • Page loading time
  • Existence of spelling errors
  • Quality of keywords
  • Assess the quality of the links 

Improving site optimization will take time. If the content published thus far isn’t good quality, then you will have to start from scratch. Poor quality content is described as content that is:

  • Irrelevant
  • Not informative
  • Poorly researched
  • Embedded with irrelevant links
  • Not unique or fresh; risk of plagiarism
  • Presence of spelling and grammatical errors

Poor quality content will affect brand perception. Spelling and grammatical errors will put off readers. Plagiarism will damage the reputation of the business perhaps beyond repair. 

It is strongly advised to run the published content through a plagiarism checker program such as Copyscape before finalizing the decision to purchase the business. 

Conclusion

Buying a business is like buying an old house. 

The value of the property is not on the house itself but on the land it is built on. Of course, the value of the home is considered when calculating the final sale of the property. 

A house that is for sale may look good on the outside but make no mistake, it is a depreciating asset. 

Even if the seller says he spent for repairs, don’t take his word for it. Inspect the house from top to bottom. Bring in an engineer or general contractor to give you a professional opinion. 

If you have to conduct repairs, the cost should be factored in when negotiating for the final price because you will be spending extra money to make the house livable.

Like real estate property, the business you acquired can pay out dividends in the future. However, before buying it you have to ascertain the viability of what you are paying for. 

Otherwise, you end up paying more than it’s worth. If the online reputation is poor and potentially beyond repair, you may never recover the cost of the investment.

Are you thinking of buying a business? Give us a call and we’ll help you run an audit on its website and overall online presence. 

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your community or with someone who is planning to buy a business.

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“The chief business of the American People is business.”

  • Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States of America

Is it surprising that 98% of all businesses registered worldwide are categorized as a small business? The definition of what constitutes a small business may vary from one country to another but the characteristics are the same. In comparison to larger-scale enterprises, small businesses generate smaller revenues, have fewer employees, and operate on a limited scale.

Consequently, the risks facing small business are greater. Studies have shown that if a small business cannot succeed within its first 5 years, the chances of failure increase by more than 50%.

Despite the risks, many entrepreneurs remain undaunted. They dare to dream and work to turn the vision into reality. The entrepreneurial spirit has been responsible for the growth and prosperity of America since the 17th century when the first settlers made their way to the country. 

A Brief History Of Small Business In America

The first settlers were farmers who overcame difficulty and hardship by working on acres of land; growing produce and raising livestock to support their families. In addition to food, the farmers also used the land to manufacture other basic necessities such as soap, toiletries, shoes, and clothes. 

As the population grew, so did the needs of the people. Farmers were growing produce that could be supported by the land they lived in. It wasn’t for long that settlers across regions saw the benefit of trading commodities. Trade made it possible for consumers to avail of new products and acquire services. 

Commodities were subject to the Law of Supply and Demand. There were times when farmers would not have produce to trade because it was not growing season. 

Small businesses came up with a compromise solution by establishing a credit system. Instead of paying for products with cash or produce, businesses accepted credit coins or charge plates which committed payment to be made at a future date. 

By the 20th century, economic activity had grown to a point that small businesses had difficulty producing goods and services sufficient to meet demand. The small business naturally adapted to the changing landscape by expanding the scope of operations. 

Small businesses began hiring more people to increase production output. Likewise, the banking system had evolved to a point that business owners could avail of credit to cover the cost of expansion. 

Departments were created to help organize the additional functions of the business. To manage these new departments, people with the right experience, competencies, and proper education were hired to oversee the performance of all duties and responsibilities.

Hierarchies and workflows were introduced to lend organization and stability to the frenetic pace businesses were moving at. It has been said that the very first incarnation of the American corporation can be traced to the earlier years of the 20th century.

What Can Overseas Small Business Learn From American Small Business?

America has long been referred to as the “Land of Opportunity”. The United States is home to many immigrants who have come from far-off places to carve a new life as nationalized citizens. 

We’ve heard or read many inspiring stories about immigrants who were able to support their families and have a great life with the small business they put up. 

Some immigrants became very successful entrepreneurs in America. Here are a few of them:

  • Thomas Peterffy – Hungarian immigrant who arrived in New York in 1965. Thomas worked as a draftsman and as a computer programmer for a stock trading company. He founded a company that facilitated electronic stock trading with the $200,000 he had saved up. The venture led to his founding of the Interactive Brokers Group. Thomas has an estimated net worth of $12 Billion.
  • Jerry Yang – Jerry came to the United States in 1976 by way of Taiwan. Jerry only knew 1 English word “shoe” but excelled throughout school and eventually graduated from Stanford University. In 1995, Jerry founded Yahoo! When he stepped down from Yahoo! Jerry was worth $1.15 Billion.
  • Andy Grove – Born Andras Istvan Grof in Hungary, Andy escaped Nazi-occupied Germany and came to America in 1967. Andy funded his studies at the City College of New York by working as a busboy. In 1968, Andy moved to California and co-founded Intel. 

Other than immigrants, there are also the Overseas Workers – foreigners who travel to America to find well-paying jobs so they can take care of their families back home. 

The Philippines has the highest number of overseas workers in the world – 2.33 million. 57.1% of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) work in Western Asia. Only 5.4% work in North America. 

OFWs are considered “national heroes” in the Philippines because their remittances contribute $13.7 Billion to the economy. 

The stories of life in America make it back home. The entrepreneurs who made it big and the OWs who were able to support their families with monthly remittances often share their experiences in the great Land of Opportunity.

1. Be Resourceful – Work With What You Have

Small businesses are challenged by the lack of resources available at their disposal. Entrepreneurs are constrained by tight funds, limited materials, and the dearth of talent. 

In most countries, local banks offer business loan programs for start-ups. However, interest rates may be high. You could be looking for a good quality substitute for a key ingredient but the domestic suppliers offer limited choices. 

If you are really desirous with starting a business, be resourceful and work with what you have. 

In the 17th century, the early settlers in America grew produce that could be supported by the land they lived in.  The pioneers were able to manage because they were resourceful and open to working with other settlers.

What is your product or service about? What are the materials or main components of the product? Look for suppliers and ask them to provide sample materials that you can use to create prototypes. Identify the material that delivers the best results.

Determine your budget for the product and negotiate the best terms and price with the supplier. 

Negotiation should always be viewed from a win-win perspective. Suppliers are willing to give you the price and terms you want. However, you must do your part by ordering the agreed-upon volume and paying on time. 

2. Learn to Adapt to the Situation or Changing Conditions

Business conditions are changing rapidly. Digital technology has been a game-changer. Consumers have immediate access to information. Companies can use digital innovations to introduce more efficient processes in operations, finance, marketing, and other key areas of business. 

If you don’t adapt to the changing conditions of business, you will become extinct. There are small businesses in Asia that still use traditional methods of marketing such as flyers, posters, and streamers to promote their enterprise. Many businesses – 63% – still don’t have a website.

A good example is the Philippines. Similar to Thailand and Indonesia, the Philippines has a notorious reputation for having horrendous traffic. Avoiding the inconvenience of traffic is one reason why online shopping is becoming more popular in the country.

Putting up an e-commerce website to complement your brick-and-mortar location can open up a new stream of revenue and give your customers a more convenient way of buying your products. 

Small businesses in the U.S. adapted to changes in the business landscape by keeping track of products and services that were in demand. If they could not produce the item, the small business owner would initiate a trade or propose distributorship arrangements.

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3. Embrace Competition

Free enterprise is an integral component of American small business. A by-product of the free enterprise system is competition. Because of competition, businesses had to focus on producing quality products and providing top-level services. 

Competition also had businesses thinking of their profit margins. Between 2 products with similar features, price became the differentiator for the consumer. A good sign that an industry is booming is increased competition. 

If more players are entering your industry, it means the enterprise is profitable. Don’t shy away from the competition! Embrace it because competition is part of running a small business. 

Competition reminds you to “keep your guard up”; not to be complacent and to consistently look for ways to make your products better and your customers happier. 

4. Develop a Long-Term Plan For Your Business

How do you see your business in 3 to 5 years’ time? Or have you thought that far? Developing a long-term plan for your business may seem gratuitous, especially for a startup small business. But planning for 3 to 5 years gives you the vision to pinpoint where you want your business to be in 1 year’s time. 

Business planning is a step-by-step process. Before you can get to year 5, you must get through years 1 to 4. How will you get to year 2 if you can’t survive year 1? 

The small businesses that thrived during 19th-Century America had the foresight to prepare for the challenges in the 20th-Century. They focused on expanding the production capacity and the volume of output by hiring more people and investing in machinery. 

A good example would be Ray Kroc, the brilliant American entrepreneur who transformed a nondescript hamburger restaurant into the institution that McDonald’s has become. 

Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers and invested in automating the food preparation system to reduce serving time, increase customer turnover, and generate higher revenues. 

The late Ray Kroc had the vision to turn McDonald’s into the biggest fast-food chain in America. He invested in innovation that was unheard of in the food retail industry at the time. By doing so, McDonald’s became a leader in fast-food service not just in the United States, but in the world.

5. Expand Your Value Proposition

In the 1970s and 1980s, more foreign businesses made their way to America’s shores. Many of these foreign businesses were in manufacturing. Carmakers from Germany and Japan started to eat up the market share of U.S automobile companies such as Ford and General Motors. 

In contrast, the small business industry had proven resilient to the challenges posed by foreign corporations. The success of small business America inspired more Americans to become entrepreneurs. 

Because of their smaller scale, it was easier for small businesses to change the business model; offer new products and services and expand the overall value proposition. 

If you have an idea, work on it. The idea may seem like a concept now but in a few months or years, it could set the standards in the industry.

Innovation was the reason why Silicon Valley grew to become the start-up hub of America. Banks and other financial institutions introduced lending programs to assist budding entrepreneurs. Successful businessmen offered to fund startups and started a wave of venture capitalism. 

Conclusion

Today, the small business continues to be at the forefront of America’s economic growth. In 2018, small businesses added 1.9 million jobs to the economy. Since 1998, small businesses have grown by an average of 1.9% per annum and have accounted for 44% of America’s GDP. 

Entrepreneurs have long been hailed as America’s heroes. What starts out as a business idea intended to support a family or a lifestyle can eventually drive an economy from hardship to prosperity. 

The educational institution has acknowledged the role of small businesses in the growth of America that schools have begun offering courses and degrees in Entrepreneurship. 

Likewise, schools in Asia and Europe have followed suit and have included specialized courses in entrepreneurship and business development. 

The foremost proponents of these courses are the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in the Philippines, United International Business Schools (UIBS) in Switzerland, the University of Wollongong (Dubai), Woxsen School of Business (India), and Help University (Malaysia).

A small business may be considered “small” because of its size and scale. However, as a collective, small businesses are big in value – they can move and shake an economy. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to share it with your community. And if you want to know how Mountaintop can drive your small business forward, please give us a call or an email. 

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Since we started Mountaintop Web Design, we have made a conscious effort to seek out the best talent available to help us provide top-notch, world-class services to our clients. 

Talent is never the monopoly of one country or one region. In a truly globalized economy and with the scope and reach of the Internet, you can access talent from different parts of the world. Collaborating with people from other nations and cultures has been a rewarding and enriching experience for us. 

In the years we’ve spent working in the trenches with our friends from Southeast Asia, we made it a point to learn how Asian small businesses differ from Western small businesses when it comes to managing enterprises.

Here are some of the interesting tidbits we learned from working with small businesses in Asia: 

1. Family Comes First

Did you know that the vast majority of family-owned businesses come from Asia-Pacific? 

According to a study funded by Credit Suisse, the family-owned businesses from Asia-Pacific have a total market capitalization of $4 Trillion. As expected, China accounts for the largest slice of the pie with 159 companies and $1.38 Trillion in market capitalization.

The rankings for the most number of family-owned companies are as follows:

  • Asia-Pacific and Japan – 528 companies (53%)
  • Europe – 226 companies (23%)
  • The United States – 121 companies (12%)
  • Latin America – 64 companies (6%)

Why does Asia have so many family-owned businesses? 

For years, we’ve heard or read stories of Asian family-owned enterprises being protective of the business’ succession. 

Is there more to this ideology than just to “keep it (the business) within the family?”

The Credit Suisse study found out that family-owned businesses outperformed non-family-owned businesses in terms of revenue growth and profitability. For example, in Japan, family-owned businesses delivered more than 25% greater Cash Flow Return on Investment (CFROI) than non-family-owned businesses.  

A study conducted by Harvard University on family-owned businesses in the Philippines reveals 2 reasons why these types of businesses perform better than their counterparts.

  • In family-owned businesses, management and family are one and the same. The family is the business. Therefore, they do not experience the standard conflicts between management and the shareholders on issues such as governance, returns, and management pay as do non-family-owned businesses.
  • In a family-owned business, the founders remain deeply involved in the business even after they have gone past retirement age. The founders have taken up a greater role as a symbol of commitment, hard work, and discipline to inspire employees to perform at their best every day at the office.

Generally, while the founders are still alive, the other key role in the organization –  CEO – is delegated to outsiders or non-family members. The reason for this is to create a balance between tradition and the demands of globalization.

In time, when the founders have passed on, the business is carried on by the succeeding generations. 

2. Everyone Starts From The Bottom

As discussed in the previous section, when it comes to family-owned businesses, Asia rules the world. 

In the Philippines, 80% of small businesses are family-owned. If you are a Filipino, you are expected to work for the family business after you have graduated from university.

That does not mean you will walk straight to the Chief Executive’s office the day after you receive your diploma. You have to work your way to the top and that means starting out from the bottom. 

A friend of mine from the Philippines said that when he worked for his father’s ship-staffing agency, he had to start out as a Liaison Officer. The job meant heading off to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) every day to process the documents of the seafarers. 

As a Liaison Officer, days are spent waiting in queues for several hours and going from one department to the next getting signatures and having work contracts approved. 

The job of a Liaison Officer in a recruitment agency is regarded as entry-level. It is usually given to a seafarer who cannot find work and needs to earn money to pay for his expenses while in the city. 

According to my friend, the experience was hard and humbling but gave him a deeper perspective on what overseas Filipino workers go through to find greener pastures in other countries. 

He also gained a better understanding of the culture of the overseas worker. It helped him articulate ideas and establish strong, trustworthy relationships with the seafarer and the shipping principals which were based in Singapore and Malaysia.

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3. Respect Days of Religious/Spiritual Obligation

Asia is a continent where the countries practice a wide range of religions such as Catholicism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, and Taoism. Religion and spiritualism are a big part of life among Asians. 

The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia.  86% of its population is Roman Catholic. The Philippines observes the following religious holidays: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Christmas. 

Filipinos also observe the days of religious obligation as instructed by the Catholic Church. Many businesses do not have work during religious holidays. It is a tradition for employees to be with their families and to maintain the practices that have been handed down for generations. 

For example, during Maundy Thursday, Filipino families visit and pray at 7 churches. On Good Friday, Filipinos troop to Churches at 3:00 pm to hear a special mass and listen to the priest’s rendition of Christ’s “Seven Last Words”. 

Although Asia is home to different religions, spirituality has a big influence on how Asians live their lives and make decisions. Historian Teodoro Agoncillo once described Filipinos as “fatalistic”.  

Filipinos have a favorite phrase “Bahala na” which translated to English means “I leave it to fate”. Another version is “Bahala na si Lord” or “I leave it to our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Applied to business, the Filipino will do his best to succeed but he understands nothing in life is certain. 

The industry can be very competitive and others want to succeed as much as he does. Thus, he will leave the outcome to fate or to his faith in Jesus Christ. If success is for him, it will happen. If not, he will try again. 

Faith gives Asians hope. If everything else fails, he has his beliefs to fall back on. If he succeeds, he gives credit to his faith more than anything else. 

4. Perform Beyond the Value of Your Service

Outsourcing has grown to become a very profitable industry for nearly 20 years. Outsourcing’s jump-off point was the year 2000 when the industry was valued at $45.6 Billion. By 2014, outsourcing hit a high of $104.6 Billion. 

Asia became the global hub of outsourcing. Countries such as the Philippines and India became the primary destinations of companies that wanted to outsource services. 

The biggest benefit of outsourcing for businesses is its ability to lower costs by capitalizing on comparative cost advantages particularly labor. 

For example, hiring a full-time accountant in the United States will cost you $29.63 per hour. In comparison, outsourcing services to an accountant in the Philippines will only cost you $3.33 per hour. 

However, when you outsource to Asia, the saying “You get what you pay for” does not necessarily hold true. The reason why the outsourcing industry continues to thrive in Asia is that the quality of service and deliverables is world-class. 

According to the online job platform UpWork, freelancers from the Philippines are the 3rd highest earners in the world which confirm the continued demand for their services.

In general, Asian businesses do not want to commoditize their services by driving prices to basement-bargain levels. The rates are lower simply because these are in line with industry standards. 

Asian businesses share the belief that once they have proven their worth to the client, requesting for an increase in fees should be within reason. Thus, they provide work that is over and above the monetary value of their services. 

Yes, companies in Asia do respect religious holidays but many will set up small-size workforces to render services to clients during these days of obligation. The businesses don’t mind paying their employees twice their daily wages to make sure the clients’ needs are covered. 

Asian businesses don’t view their clients merely as clients but as strategic partners; one that shares a common interest to succeed in the industry. 

Conclusion

Close-family ties, a strong belief in honorable work, respect for faith and spirituality, and unwavering commitment to provide their best to clients and customers – we learned that Asian small businesses do not separate the enterprise from who they are. 

The popular thought process is to keep life and work separate – who you are at home should not be the person running the business. We should be more professional or formal at work so that our employees will respect us. 

But how is it to be a “professional”? Does wearing a formal tie, dress shoes, a pressed shirt, and slacks and a face-forward appearance fit the bill of a professional business owner? When employees say “Good Morning!” or “Good Afternoon!”, should it be considered as a sign of respect? 

As the popular saying goes, “respect should be earned, not given.” If you manage people and clients from the position of your values – the principles that made you who you are – you are being authentic and truthful to them. 

The employees, clients, end-users, suppliers, and other stakeholders in your business value chain who are aligned with your values would be motivated to help you attain long-term, sustainable growth. 

Put it this way, if you manage your business and attend to the needs of your employees and clients with love in your heart – the same way you feel when you are with family – how can you ever go wrong? 

If you enjoyed this article, please go ahead and share it with your community.

And if you want to learn more about Mountaintop’s services and how we can help your business achieve new levels of success, please feel free to give us a call or an email.

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For your business to grow, you must market and promote it. There are no ifs and buts. How will people know about your business if you stay silent or remain invisible? Especially in highly competitive industries – think logistics, retail, automotive, and technology – you have to be seen or heard to remain top-of-mind of your target market. 

Marketing consultants will recommend that you should set aside 2% to 3% of your annual gross revenues for marketing and promotional activities. 

For example, if your business generates $500,000 in gross sales per year, you should set aside $10,000 to $15,000 to fund marketing expenses for 12 months. That will come out to an average of $833 to $1,250 per month to cover marketing-related expenses. 

Is that a lot of money to spend on marketing?

According to a study conducted by Gartner CMO, businesses in the United States allocated 11.2% of their annual gross revenue for marketing. 

That means a small business in the U.S. which earned $500,000 in gross sales in 2018 will set aside $56,000 to cover all marketing-related expenses for 2019. 

$56,000 per year distributed throughout the year rounds out to $4,666.67 per month for marketing activities. 

If you’re thinking “Wow! That’s a lot of money!” we’re here to inform you that you don’t have to set aside 11.2% of your annual gross revenue to run an effective marketing campaign. 

12 Ways To Market Your Business At Least Cost – Or No Cost At All!

In this section, we will discuss 12 ways you can market your business without breaking the bank and still get high returns on your marketing efforts. 

Most of the strategies that we discuss are Internet-based. There are a few that will require you to roll up your sleeves or to dust off the loafers for a bit of leg work.

1. Blog

Content marketing is one of the fastest-growing strategies for promoting a business. 

A study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMS) showed that businesses allocated 26% of the budget for content marketing. The same study revealed that 90% of B2B marketers have done content marketing in one form or another.

Blogging remains a cornerstone process in a content marketing campaign. 65% of B2B marketers surveyed by the CMI reported that blogging is a mainstay in their content marketing toolbox.

Blogging is a great way to communicate with your audience. It gives you a platform to share your knowledge and hopefully, help readers find solutions to their problems or concerns.

Your only cost in blogging is time -time to do research, write and review your content before posting it on the Internet. 

However, if time is a rare commodity, consider outsourcing blogging to qualified writers. The CMI study indicated that 62% of businesses in the US outsource content writing. 

Blogging is not an expensive strategy but it delivers great results in terms of acquiring followers, building your brand, and moving up in the search results.

2. Stay Active on Social Media

Social media is a proven marketing platform for staying top-of-mind. People spend 136 minutes per day on social media – and there are 3.4 Billion of them!

The social media community is so wide and vast that it presents wonderful opportunities for your marketing and advertising content to be seen by a targeted audience. 

All you have to do is to stay active on social media and you can do this in a number of ways:

  • Post Content Regularly – Keep in mind that not all social media networks function in the same manner. Choose 2 to 3 social media platforms, learn what you can about the network, and create a posting schedule for each one of them.
  • Engage Your Followers – Social media activity is not just about posting blogs and curated content. Engage your followers by “speaking” to them directly. For example, if you are in the business of selling supplements, you can post a daily question such as “How many of you get a good night’s sleep with Melatonin?”
  • Participate In Group Discussions – Networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook have interest groups. Join a group that is relevant to your industry. 

Participate in group discussions and share your expertise. On some occasions, initiate the discussion yourself. 

3. Go Live

Sharing “live” content is a great way to humanize your business. It lets people know – and assures them – that your business is real and authentic. Most importantly, it will encourage your followers to engage with you. 

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson, and Tesla’s Elon Musk are just a few of the big names who do live feed on their social media networks.

If you are in the real estate business, you can stream the launch of a new property development that is pre-selling lots or you can showcase the homes you are selling to your followers. 

4. Grow Your Network Via LinkedIn

LinkedIn is popular among professionals and job-seekers. The content that you find on LinkedIn is much different than those in networks such as Facebook or Google+. 

It is easy to grow your professional network on LinkedIn. Blogging, posting curated content, and engaging in group discussions will get you noticed by other people in your community.

If your posts and types of engagement are consistently relevant and compelling, people will reach out to you and request you to connect with them. 

5. Get Your Followers Involved

Your customers and followers are part of the value chain. Social media not only gives you the platform to stay on top of their minds. It also gives you the medium to keep track of what your customers and followers want and need. 

Why is this important? By knowing the concerns and interests of your customers, you will have a better idea of how to improve your products and service, what to add in your product mix or suite of services, and the types of content to publish.

Invite your customers to post reviews and suggestions on your Facebook Business Page. This shows you value their opinions and your commitment to improving the experience.

Don’t be afraid of getting negative feedback. It is not realistic to expect everyone to love your product. 

You should welcome negative feedback because it can pinpoint a flaw in your product and at the same time give you the opportunity to interact directly with your customer. 

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6. Register Your Business at an Online Directory

Registering your business at an online directory can help you increase sales. This is a proven tactic for businesses that own a brick-and-mortar location.

Consumers are always searching the Internet for businesses that can help them address a particular need. If your business is registered in a popular online directory like GoogleMyBusiness, it will show up in the consumer’s search query. 

Here are 3 key statistics that will encourage you to sign your business up with an online directory:

You can learn about the importance of registering your business at an online directory in our article “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed In Search Engines?”

7. Start a Podcast

One of the best ways to pass time while stuck in traffic or on a long drive is to listen to podcasts. Statistics show that 22% of Americans listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. 

Podcasts feature high-energy discussions because the format is more informal. Feedback is more extemporaneous; even with guidelines, there is less filter and therefore, more authenticity in the content. 

How much will it cost to start a podcast? A good quality microphone will probably cost you $100. To improve audio quality, use free editing software such as Audacity or GarageBand. 

8. Allow Your Followers to Go Behind-the-Scenes

Are you about to launch a new menu item in your restaurant? Take your followers behind-the-scenes and show them how the dish is created – just don’t show them the secret ingredient!

Allowing your followers’ backstage access to what goes on in the making of a product or in the day-to-day operation of your business fosters transparency which eventually, builds trust. 

9. Sign Up Right-Fit Brand Ambassadors

When you sign up an expensive influencer, are you certain of brand loyalty? What will prevent the influencer from patronizing a competitor when you’re not looking? 

You don’t need big-name endorsers to generate more interest in the product you are selling. A better option would be to sign up actual users of your product whose loyalty to your brand is irrefutable. 

These people are called right-fit ambassadors. Not only did they choose your product over the competition; they are consistently promoting it on their social media pages. 

Right-fit ambassadors believe in the value of your product. The power of their belief clearly resonates in how they speak or write about your product –  they come across as authentic, sincere, and honest.

Right-fit ambassadors will not ask for the moon and the stars. The idea of being chosen as an ambassador for your product will be an honor. 

Of course, you can reward them by giving free products, offering affiliate marketing arrangements, and special discounts for loyal patrons. 

 10. Collaborate With Other Businesses

Now, for some old-fashioned legwork! 

Mark an area with a circumference that is 5 kilometers from your business. Put on a pair of comfortable loafers and sneakers. Take a walk around the marked area and note the down other businesses with products or services that are complementary to yours.

Prepare a formal proposal letter and personally deliver it to the shop owner on your next visit. With any luck, the shop owner may be willing to sit down and talk to you about your proposal. 

By collaborating with other businesses, you open up your products to a different market and a new audience. Reciprocate by offering the products of the other business in your store. 

 11. Reach Out to Your Community

You may not have to go further than your own community to market your business. 

If your neighborhood or district has a local association that caters to its residents, schedule a visit and talk to the person-in-charge of community affairs. Find out if you can promote your business through the association.

For example, if you own a gym or a Personal Training business, ask if you can offer free classes at the community center on weekends. In exchange, the local association may allow you to sell memberships on the premises. 

 12. Attend Networking Events

Networking events present wonderful opportunities to build your network and promote your business. 

Find out if there are networking events in your area, how to sign up, and if it’s possible to be given a few minutes to present your business. Trade shows and expositions are also good venues to promote your products. 

You should also consider joining associations or organizations that cater to your particular industry.

Conclusion

Because of the innovations in digital technology and improved accessibility of the Internet, marketing and promoting your business has become more convenient, measurable, and cost-effective.  

Traditional forms of marketing such as print and TV advertising, radio commercial spots, and distribution of Point-of-Purchase materials are not extinct. Within a well-planned and organized marketing campaign, these traditional methods still have value. 

However, the cost of making print, TV, and radio ads is very expensive. These types of ads are not evergreen; within a few months or days, consumers will find them obsolete. 

Likewise, it’s difficult to target your key demographics with traditional marketing methods. How can you be sure that the majority of the people who saw, heard, and read your ad meets your Buyer’s Profile? 

The answer is you can’t. There is no way to find out with 100% surety that your ad hit the target market. 

If you spend more and get underwhelming results, your ROI on the marketing campaign will be very disappointing. 

Your best option would be to go digital. 

There is no cost to using the Internet. Likewise, there is no signup fee for opening a social media account. The costs for blogging, graphic design, and paid ads can be negotiated and customized to fit your budget.

You can monitor the progress and keep track of the results. Digital marketing has the tools to access information in real-time so you can fine-tune your campaign and make data-backed improvements.

Do you have other suggestions on how to lower the cost of marketing a business? Please share in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

And if some of our ideas got you thinking – don’t hesitate to give us a call or an email. We can help you plan a low-cost marketing campaign for your business.

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Have you received a message through Facebook Messenger from an FB Business Page that you follow? And if so, how did you feel and react when you received the message? Chances are you read the message through. After all, why would you follow a Facebook Business page if you weren’t interested in what they were offering? 

Messaging has grown from a simple platform that allowed community members to directly contact one another to a significant factor in growing a business. Put yourself in the shoes of the Facebook Business page owner. 

Messaging gives you the opportunity to communicate directly with your customers and address concerns, comments, and inquiries which they have brought to your attention. 

One-on-One.

Facebook is the biggest social media platform on the Internet with more than 2 Billion monthly users. It is no surprise that its messaging platform, Facebook Messenger, has 1.3 Billion active users every month. 

Given its size and influence, using Facebook Messenger is an effective channel to build your brand and grow your business.

3 Benefits Of Using Facebook Messenger For Your Business

Messaging is not a new concept. In its early days, messaging used to be called “live chat”. The concept was still a work in progress. In many cases, the “live chat” service took several days to respond to a message from a customer. 

Technology companies have ironed out most of the kinks with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) bots that could generate automatic responses, analyze the context of the message and provide possible solutions. 

If you are not using Facebook Messenger, you are missing out on a number of benefits the platform has for your business. 

1. Messaging Has a Higher User Base Than Social Media

A 2016 study conducted by Business Insider Intelligence titled “The Messaging Apps Report” revealed that the user base of the 4 top messaging platforms was bigger than the user base of the top 4 social media networks by a staggering 500 million users.

Another study this time by Pew Research Center showed that messaging was by far the most dominant form of communication preferred by youths aged 13 to 17 years old:

  • Text Messaging – 55%
  • Instant Messaging – 27%
  • In-Person – 25%
  • Social Media Sites – 23%
  • Phone – 19%
  • Messaging Apps – 14%

Previously known as Facebook Chat in 2008, Facebook Messenger has grown in form and function over the last decade. Its platform can be used to book appointments, reservations, purchases, and donate to charities.

2. Messaging Helps Build More Personal Relationships With Customers

The Internet and the popularity of mobile apps have redefined customer service as relationship management. Social media has become the bridge that connects businesses directly with their customers.  

Messaging has taken it one step further – it has personalized relationships by allowing one-on-one interactions with the customer. As the business owner, you can have a direct conversation with your customer. 

Conversation is a powerful tool because it removes filters and reduces the risk of misunderstandings and miscommunication. It creates collaboration with the customer, especially when it comes to resolving disputes. The customer becomes an integral part of the value chain. 

With messaging, the customer will know right away if his message was seen and read. He will not be put on hold. Facebook Messenger is open 24/7. It is good practice to respond within 24 hours from receiving the message.

3. Better Managing of Your Messaging System

Facebook Messenger is a great way to centralize your messaging system. By having Facebook Messenger available on your Facebook Business Page, customers will have a direct channel to relay their concerns. 

They may realize that messaging their complaints directly will merit a faster response time compared to public posting whereby the issue would just get lost with the other messages. 

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How To Use Facebook Messenger To Grow Your Business

1. Give Customers Top-Level Customer Support Services

Customer service is a very important area of growing a business. In a competitive industry, how you manage your reputation could be the difference between achieving success and languishing in failure. 

Today’s consumers are not going to waste time calling your business number to voice out their complaints. They will not waste time writing a letter to send to you via fax, email, or regular mail. 

Instead, they will go to social media.

Social media has given consumers a platform to air their grievances against businesses. 

Whether the complaint has substance or not, there is nothing that will stop the consumer from posting negative messages on your Facebook page. Right or wrong, the business becomes a victim in the “court of social media opinion”.

Before you can address the complaint, the issue has gone viral and shared by other followers of your Facebook page. 

And that’s just one negative post. What if there are others?

Facebook Messenger will not guarantee that customers will not post negative comments on your Facebook page. However, it will give them an option to raise the complaint privately.

The consumer may realize that by posting directly on your Facebook Page, his complaint will get lost among other complaints. By sending his complaint via Facebook Messenger, it will be easier found, identified, and indexed by the business for immediate attention.

A displeased customer is almost always an irate one. He does not want to think he did not get what he paid for. The best way to mollify an irate customer is to attend to the complaint right away and have it resolved as soon as possible. 

Facebook Messenger gives you the opportunity to resolve the issue directly and immediately while building your reputation as a business that cares about its customers. 

2. Get Found Right Away – Share Your Location

A survey conducted by Deluxe revealed that 50% of consumers prioritize location when searching for information on a retailer from their smartphone. Similarly, 38% of consumers want accurate information on a retailer’s location when searching on their PCs. 

Facebook Messenger makes it easy for you to share your location to potential customers:

  • Select the conversation.
  • Click on the 3 dots located at the bottom of the screen.
  • Click “Location”
  • Use the pin to mark your current location or use Messenger’s search function.
  • Click “Send”

Facebook Messenger is a great complement to your online business listing. If the information in your online business listing has not been updated, Messenger will be an effective fall-back option. 

Also, you can send your location to potential clients that you have a scheduled meeting with. 

For example, you are in the real estate business and you asked a prospective buyer to meet at a coffee shop. If the prospective buyer is not aware of the coffee shop or wants to know the specific branch, use Facebook Messenger to send him the exact details of the location.

3. Create Another Medium For Delivering Content

Website opt-ins are an effective way of delivering content to qualified customers. Facebook Messenger provides customers an easy and practical medium for receiving content from your business. 

A study conducted by HubSpot showed that delivering content via Facebook Messenger resulted in an open rate of 80% and a click-through rate of 13%. The numbers represented an improvement of 242% in open rates and 616% in click-through rates over email.

The advantage of using Messenger to deliver content is that you can add a personal touch and further build on establishing a strong, trusting relationship with your customers.

Let’s assume you are in the business of selling succulent plants. A succulent plant grower might send you the following message regarding one of your articles:

“Hi. I am presently trying to grow Faucaria Tigrina. Can you please send me the article you posted on how to water Faucaria Tigrina? Also, I’d like to know what kind of pot I should buy for proper drainage.”

You can respond with a personalized message as follows:

“Here is the article on Faucaria Tigrina which you requested. Thank you for following us on Facebook and good luck growing Tiger’s Jaws! If you have any other concerns, please do not hesitate to message us.”

Customers love it when you give them personalized attention. It shows that you highly appreciate them as people and not just as contributors to your monthly sales quota. 

4. Increase Productivity By Using the Chatbots

Messaging platforms use chatbots – programs that are designed to respond automatically to messages. Chatbots have undergone their own evolution. 

Early in their inception, chatbots were limited to responding with default messages. While default messages was an assurance to customers that their message was received, they did little to improve relationships. 

Over time, chatbots were designed to send messages that were customized based on the keywords indexed from the message. Programmers were able to improve Machine Learning (ML) to a point that the chatbots were able to issue a response that fit the situation.

Today’s chatbots, including those of Facebook Messenger, can do a variety of tasks:

  • Deliver personalized content
  • Respond to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Complete and confirm purchase orders from customers
  • Distribute marketing copy and advertising materials such as promos

By maximizing the use and functionality of chatbots, you can do more things with less time and improve business productivity.

Conclusion – Facebook Messenger Will Help You Build Your Brand

Social media, content, video – these are marketing channels that have been proven to increase awareness on your business, its products, and services. 

Integrating Facebook Messenger will take your digital marketing efforts to another level because nothing builds your brand better than having one-on-one interactions with your customers. 

Facebook Messenger makes your business more accessible to customers. You are literally within reach – at the palm of their hand. It cuts the number of steps needed to reach the customer. 

All you have to do is keep Messenger open and wait for notifications. For faster customer service, use the chatbots to respond immediately. 

If you want to learn more about Facebook Messenger and how to include it in your digital marketing strategy, feel free to give us a call or an email. We will be glad to take you through the in-depth process of using Facebook Messenger for the best results. 

And if you enjoyed this article, please share it with your community!

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In the last 60 years, the credit card has evolved from a status symbol to a mainstay in the wallets of people all over the world. Case in point, in 1970, only 16% of Americans owned a credit card. Today, 70.2 % of Americans own one. 

The number of credit card owners has increased by 4.1% since 2016 and on average, 35% of Americans own 1 to 2 types of plastic. 

The popularity of the use of credit cards grew alongside the development of technology and telecommunications. As innovations in electronic payment systems improved, so did the confidence of retailers to accept the credit card as a method of payment.

Thus, with more than 183 million card-carrying Americans looking around for the best deals in town, it only makes sense to allow credit card payments in your establishment.

However, does it make good business sense to charge customers extra for opting to use their credit card to pay for their purchases?

The Credit Card Conundrum – Boon Or Bane For Customers?

There are a number of good reasons why customers love to use their credit card to pay for goods and services.

  • Convenience – No need to carry around a bulky wallet stuffed with bills and coins or a checkbook. A credit card is valuable when traveling to another country.
  • Safe – If your credit card should get stolen, all you have to do is inform the issuing company about the incident. The card company will suspend your account and conduct a review of the transactions made since the time you reported the crime. After an investigation has been made, the charges can be reversed and a new card issued to you.
  • Cash Flow Management – Did your laptop send its final email before the motherboard kicked the circuit board for good? If your cash is tight but you expect some payments to come in by next month, use your credit card to buy a new laptop. You can pay for the laptop in affordable monthly installments until such time that you can settle the obligation in full.
  • Improve Credit Score – The credit card company will send a record of your transactions to the Credit Bureau. If you are a responsible credit card holder and pay your bills on time, your credit rating will improve.  

In addition to being a business owner, you are most likely a credit cardholder who has enjoyed first-hand the benefits of paying with a Mastercard or Visa instead of cash. 

However, as a business owner, you may have come to realize that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. 

While the use of a credit card gives the customer more convenience, it adds to the cost of business of the entrepreneur. There is a cost to the business owner for having these credit card payments processed. 

Furthermore, the business owner has to pay for the software and hardware that supports the credit card payment system.

All in all, these costs add up to around 4% of the purchase price for the account of the business owner. 

In 2013, new rules were set in place that allowed businesses which accepted credit card payments to apply a surcharge on all card transactions. 

Under the new rules, a retailer could present a specific price for an item but charge higher to customers who opt to pay for the same item via credit card. 

In effect, the additional cost of processing the credit card payment would be passed on to the customer. 

For the business owner, if he priced the item at $50, he is assured of getting paid $50 whether cash or credit card was used to make the purchase. 

The Credit Card Surcharge – Is It A Tax On Convenience?

To be clear, the surcharge is not intended for the business owner to make more money from customers who prefer to pay with a credit card. 

Rather, the purpose of the surcharge is to help the business owner to recover the cost of processing the credit card payment.

And this is where we have a moral dilemma:

Should the customer who chooses to pay for the item with a credit card be made accountable for the business owner’s cost of doing business?

The surcharge creates a conundrum for the use of the credit card: It protects the business interests of the entrepreneur but penalizes the customer for choosing the convenience of paying via credit card. 

The conundrum has triggered multiple discussions on whether applying surcharges is a legalized way of infringing upon the right of the consumer to choose the method of payment. 

Depending on the capability of the retailer, a consumer has the following options to pay for his purchase:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Credit Card
  • Debit Card

The reasons behind the decision to prefer the credit card as the method of payment over cash, check or debit card will vary from one customer to another. 

  • The ATM could be offline; Customer A had no choice but to use his credit card.
  • Customer B has cash flow problems because his clients had not yet paid for his company’s services. 
  • Customer C had his wallet stolen including his ATM card and has asked his wife to pay for the item with her credit card. 
  • Customer D wants to avail of the convenience of paying with a credit card and accumulate reward points from the card issuer. 

In the first 3 examples, the customers’ decisions were influenced by factors beyond their control. It was possible that if they had the opportunity to pay with cash, they would have. However, circumstances dictated otherwise. 

Why should these customers be penalized for the inconveniences that were the fault of others? 

If the surcharge is meant to get consumers to understand the plight of the business owner, should the business owner be made to understand the plight of the consumer?

Obviously, the customer should not be “interrogated” on why he decided to pay for the purchase with his credit card – that is his right to choose as a customer. 

Besides, the obligation of the business owner is to offer products and services. He cannot arbitrarily decide who gets to pay with a credit card and who doesn’t. 

In view of this, the surcharge acts as a tax on the consumer’s right to favor convenience. 

The surcharge is not a sustainable pricing strategy because it protects only the seller but penalizes the buyer for exercising his right to choose the credit card as the method of payment.

From the perspective of the customer, the surcharge negatively impacts consumerism – the protection of the rights and interests of the consumer. 

Sustainable Pricing Strategies – Do They Exist?

Countries such as the United Kingdom and the Philippines have banned the practice of imposing surcharges on credit card transactions. 

Should other countries like the United States – the most powerful economy in the world – follow suit and terminate the practice of surcharging on purchases made with a credit card?

The best solutions are sustainable solutions. This means the proposed solution should benefit all parties – the consumer, the business owner, and the credit card processor. 

Is it possible to come up with sustainable pricing strategies that will protect the interests of the consumer, the business owner, and the credit card processing company?

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1. Single Pricing System 

Since the credit card company has to cover its expenses in processing the credit card transactions, it will pass on the added cost to the business owner. 

As such, the business owner should consider the processing charges as a cost of doing business and factor it in his overall pricing strategy.

By factoring the cost of credit card processing into his pricing matrix, the business owner will be able to come up with a single pricing system that will not discriminate versus the consumer. 

The processing charges can simply be added as part of the pricing matrix’s “Contingency Expenses” – those items which may contribute to the cost of sales such as an increase in the price of materials, foreign exchange rate, and wastage to name a few. 

Under a single-pricing system, there will only be one price posted per item. There will be no distinction if the purchase will be made via cash, check, debit card or credit card. 

A single-pricing system is sustainable because it protects the interests of the parties involved. 

The consumer is not penalized for using his credit card, the credit card processing company covers the added cost and the business owner gets paid in full.

2. Convenience Fees

Convenience Fees are often mistakenly interchanged with surcharge fees. The difference between the 2 fees is that the cost of the surcharge is determined by the credit card company. 

In contrast, the amount of the Convenience Fee is determined by the business owner. However, the purpose is the same – to tax the consumer the convenience of using a credit card so that the business owner can recover his expenses.

The best way to implement the convenience fee is to introduce a different avenue for making a purchase – an avenue whereby the use of the credit card becomes a necessity.

A good example would be to provide online delivery services. When a customer visits the business owner’s website to make a purchase, the only way to facilitate the transaction would be to use a credit card. 

Under this pricing strategy, the business owner can also factor in other expenses in addition to the processing fees. These add-on expenses may include delivery or shipping charges, labor, and warehousing costs.

3. Discounting Policies

Another objective of surcharging is to discourage the customer from using his credit card and instead opt for cash or check payments which do not carry transaction fees.

“To discourage” has a negative connotation. A better approach would be to encourage customers to pay via cash by offering attractive discounts on cash purchases. 

For example, a product may have a single price of $100. However, if a buyer decides to pay cash, he would be given a 4% discount. 

A savvy business owner would already factor in the 4% discount in his pricing matrix. Therefore, he does not lose anything and may gain more customers because of the discount.

The discounting pricing strategy would increase the number of cash sales and any credit card transaction would just pad the business owner’s margins a bit more. 

Conclusion

The credit card was borne out of convenience. In the 1800s, charge plates were extended to farmers which afforded them the time to pay for their bills once their crops were harvested and sold. 

In 1946, the Charg-It card was created to help merchants get paid while the banks – the “middlemen” – collected payment from the customer. By 1950, the first incarnation of the modern-day credit card – the American Express Card – was introduced worldwide.

Today, the credit card has taken new forms to provide more convenience and greater ease of use. The prime example would be Apple Pay, a digital wallet service from Apple, that allows users to pay via the iOS mobile platform or via the Internet. 

Given its history of providing both consumers and business owners convenience, the credit card should be celebrated not chastised. 

The idea of penalizing consumers who exercise their right to use credit as a means of payment is tantamount to imposing a tax on convenience.

At the same time, we should also understand the plight of small business owners who may have tight funds or limited access to capital. 

4% may not sound like much but over time, the numbers will add up and eventually compromise his limited profit margin. 

Instead of a surcharge, businesses are best advised to implement sustainable pricing strategies that provide a win-win-win proposition for all the parties involved.

What is your opinion on the practice of surcharging on credit cards? Do you have other sustainable pricing strategies in mind? Please feel free to share your ideas in our comment section.

If you enjoyed this article and would like similar content for your website, give us a call or an email. Let’s find time to discuss your content marketing strategy!

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Whenever you read the news, you will come across reports about the economy – how the stock market is performing and data on jobs, unemployment, and currency exchange. You will read terms such as “Gross Domestic Product”, “recession”, and “trade balance”. 

For the past few months, the news has given massive coverage on the trade war launched by the United States against China and how it has impacted the bottom line of many U.S. companies in the manufacturing and agricultural sector.

Certainly, these types of news are disconcerting because when companies are in trouble, jobs and consequently, the livelihood and well-being of many families are on the line. 

Thus, in a world that has become increasingly concerned about profit, the idea of a non-profit organization must leave some people scratching their heads. 

What Is A Non-Profit Organization?

By definition, a non-profit organization is an entity that does not funnel its earnings to stockholders or investors. The majority of non-profit organizations are not connected with the government and are private entities. 

However, instead of paying out dividends to its stockholders, a non-profit organization appropriates its income to help the group achieve its goals which are usually philanthropic in nature. 

A non-profit organization can support a variety of causes. Some of the most popular ones include endangered species, preserving the arts, social reform programs, protecting the environment, education, and literacy. 

What Are The Challenges Facing Non-Profit Organizations?

Spearheading a non-profit organization can be a daunting task. With information flowing freely – thanks to the Internet and the advances in digital technology – decisions are more easily influenced by data that is available on the web.

Similar to profit organizations, non-profit organizations face several challenges that may obstruct their efforts to achieve their goals and objectives.

We have identified 3 challenges that non-profit organizations have to contend with in the coming years:

  1. Government Regulations – Changes in government regulations and tax reform laws may affect the decisions of individuals to contribute as well as hinder the ability of non-profit organizations to invoice for their services and generate more funding.
  2. Hiring Volunteers and Recruiting Staff – An increase in the number of jobs available in the market in combination with an upward adjustment in the wage rate has made it more difficult for non-profit organizations to hire and recruit volunteers needed to attend to its various duties and responsibilities. 
  3. Lack of Technological Support – With the decline in available funding, non-profit organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to avail of and utilize technology needed to further its growth and open new avenues for financial support. 

Mountaintop Web Design is not an interest group and neither are we in the recruitment business.

However, we are in the technology business. We understand how digital innovations and the Internet can be utilized to help non-profit organizations meet their goals. 

How Can Non-Profit Organizations Benefit From Digital Marketing?

If you want to know how digital marketing benefits small businesses, please read our blog, “5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need To Invest In A Digital Marketing Strategy”.

The truth is, a non-profit organization also reaps the same benefits from incorporating a digital marketing strategy as a profit organization. 

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1. Low-Cost Method Of Promoting the Organization’s Objectives

Digital marketing is the process of utilizing digital technology – various online tools and platforms – to market and promote a business, it’s products and services. The process is run via online channels foremost of which is the website. 

For the reason that the world is becoming more technology-dependent, all businesses, whether profit or non-profit, should have a website. Here’s a statistic that you should keep in mind:

Of the 7.7 Billion people on our planet, 4.3 Billion are on the Internet every single day. That number accounts for 55.6% of the world’s total population.

If your business is not on the Internet, how would potential customers – or donors – find you? The website is your business address on the Internet. 

The cost of putting up a website will depend on the type, functionality, and design features. At Mountaintop, we can customize a fully-functional, mobile responsive website that will meet your needs and budget.

And if you wish, you can build your own website by using a free design template from WordPress. We have written about it in our blog, “How To Build Your Own Website In 4 Easy Steps”.

Another effective channel for digital marketing is social media. According to a study by Sprout Social, 74% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media content. 

Of the 4.3 billion people on the Internet on a daily basis, more than 3 billion are on social media. Facebook accounts for 2.2 billion of social media’s daily traffic

Setting up a social media account for your non-profit organization will not cost you a cent. There are many social media platforms to choose from – Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube – are the popular ones and have large communities. 

You can choose 2 to 3 social media platforms to post content on a regular basis. With time and by creating useful, engaging, and compelling content, you should see more traffic driven to your website.

2. The Non-Profit Group Becomes Available 24/7

Unlike a shopping mall or a commercial building, the Internet does not close down or take holiday breaks. It is open 24/7.

When you have a website and social media accounts on the Internet, your non-profit organization becomes available 24/7.

  • Potential donors can read about your charitable cause; its purpose, vision, and organizational goals.
  • The use of compelling content delivered through regular blogs and video links are strong influencers which can immediately convert interest into donations.
  • If the site visitor wants to make a contribution, we can integrate a donation system that will easily facilitate the payment.

3. Measure Performance In Real-Time

One of the great advantages of using digital marketing is that you can track its performance in real-time by accessing data known as analytics.

Analytics will provide you key information on your current digital marketing strategy. You will have empirical evidence that will identify the processes which are delivering good ROI. 

Likewise, Analytics will point out the processes that are not delivering results. By determining the processes which result in ROI and those which are not, you can fine-tune the strategy. 

Thus, you can adjust the budget and allocate more resources to high-return processes. By using analytics as a reference tool to manage your budget, your overall digital marketing strategy should deliver higher ROI. 

4. Adapt to Changes In Consumer Behavior

Blogging and social media marketing are platforms that allow your followers to directly engage with you. Some will post comments related to the content you posted. 

Our advice is to respond to these commenters right away – within 24 hours if possible. The reason is these comments are valuable data. They provide keen insights on how your audience thinks, behaves, and processes information. 

When you respond, you create a feedback system between your non-profit organization and the commenter. 

The feedback system will establish communication which can eventually lead to an important component of business development: Relationship building. 

Building a solid market base of end-users and regular patrons will come down to expert relationship management. 

Digital marketing will provide you with the platform, tools, and channels to build a strong following and an enhanced presence on the Internet. 

In the following section, we will discuss 2 case studies of non-profit organizations which greatly benefited from having a website designed and managed by our company.

Case Study No.1 – Severe Weather Shelter Network

Severe Weather Shelter Network is a non-profit organization which partners up with various groups and agencies to provide immediate shelter to people who are living on the streets during harsh weather conditions.

The non-profit group already had an existing website but it was not delivering the expected results. SWSN approached us to redesign the site with the objectives of increasing awareness and improving the process of making donations.

Old website

For the website redesign, we put more focus on the homepage which is the primary landing page on a website. 

You will see the group’s Brand Value Proposition (BVP) right away – “Help Us Make A Difference. Helping the homeless build a community of supporters and providing a place of refuge on freezing nights.”

The BVP is short, direct, and easy to understand. Below the BVP is the Call-to-Action (CTA) which is asking the site visitor to make a contribution through the donation system that we built into the website.

Severe Weather Shelter Network is happy with the site and have seen a large increase in the number of their donations. They have also subscribed to our Extreme WordPress Care Plans to keep their website safe from potential cyber-attacks.  

Case Study No.2: Love In The Name Of Christ

Love In The Name Of Christ is a non-profit organization that works with local churches to help transform the lives of people who were lost and had no direction or purpose through the teachings of Christ.

Similar to Severe Weather Shelter Network, Love In The Name Of Christ had an existing website. However, it had an outdated design and was not functioning very well. 

We gave it a fresher look that was aesthetically beautiful and fully-functional. The BVP on the homepage was effective; it was easy to remember and direct to the point. 

We also included a donation system to facilitate contributions faster and more convenient for donors. 

Love In The Name Of Christ also signed up with our Extreme WordPress Care Plans.

Conclusion

Digital marketing has been proven to be an effective way of helping non-profits achieve their goals. 

Whether you are a profit or non-profit organization, you need to have a strong presence on the Internet. 

Having a website in combination with the right digital marketing tools and processes will help spread the message of non-profit organizations while effectively addressing the challenges they face.

If you are a non-profit organization that is thinking of putting up a website or having your existing one redesigned, please give us a call or drop us an email. 

You can consult with us for free. 

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Investing in a website is a smart first step to building a profitable business. In fact, you are already several steps ahead of the 45% of businesses that still don’t have a website. 

Now that you have taken the first step, what is the next step?

If you are not sure how to use a website to make your business profitable, you are not alone. 

One reason why 45% of small businesses still don’t have a website is that the owners are not sure what it does and how it works to contribute to profitability. 

The truth is, running a small business website is not that difficult or complicated. Yes, there is a learning curve to overcome and it will take some time before you can see the fruits of your labor. 

However, with patience and diligence, your website can become a profit-generating machine for your business. 

So what is the next step? Read the article and find out how to use your website to make your business profitable.

Why Your Website Is The Most Powerful Marketing Tool For Your Business

Unlike a brick-and-mortar business, your website is open 24/7. It can be accessed by millions – even by billions – of people who are on the Internet every day. 

Can you imagine owning a retail store that is open 24/7? You can have sales transactions every hour! People will be buying after close-of-business hours and keep your cash registers ringing. 

This is possible with an online retail or e-commerce store. Your customers will simply click on your URL or website address, land on your homepage, read through your product list, then pay for the transaction at the checkout counter. 

Through it all, you could be playing catch with your son, watching your daughter’s piano recital, having a glass of red wine with the spouse, or in the REM stage of a good night’s sleep. 

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, it’s not! 

There are many online entrepreneurs who are reaping the success of running a profitable Internet-based business.  

These online entrepreneurs are not exceptions to the rule. Anyone can have a dynamic website that helps the business earn considerable income and become highly profitable. 

The key is to learn how to harness the power of your website so you can maximize the opportunities that can be found on the Internet.

1. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Responsive

We have written a good number of articles on the importance of having a mobile responsive website. 

We did not stop there. 

In our other articles on digital marketing and website design, mobile responsive is always mentioned.

Here are 4 statistics-backed reasons why your website should be mobile responsive:

Having a website is a start but complete the project by making sure it is highly mobile responsive. By this, we mean that your website should have no problem setting up on the screen of a mobile device regardless of screen size. 

If your website is not mobile responsive, you will lose business. Worse, not having a mobile responsive website can even prove to be damaging to your business. 

Imagine clicking on a website from your smartphone and having to zoom-in and manually adjust the position of the page on your screen just to be able to read the content. 

You will probably click out of the website.

Coincidentally, that is what your prospective customer will do if your website is not mobile responsive.

2. Optimize Your Website

We have come across websites that are beautiful. They look elegant and the content on the site is very well-written.

Unfortunately, according to the websites’ analytics, very few people have seen them. 

The website cannot be seen because they cannot be found. They cannot be found because the websites are not optimized.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of using techniques and processes that will increase the search visibility of your website on the Internet. 

Without SEO, it does not matter if your website homepage looks like it should be on the Louvre Museum in Paris, France or if the content reads like it was written by Leo Tolstoy.

Hardly anyone will find it unless you have it optimized.

Here are 4 areas that you should look into to have your website optimized for easy search.

  • Keyword Research – Keywords are the most-often used words or phrases when someone launches a search query. Having your website content embedded with the right keywords will make it easier for the search engine crawlers to index your page.
  • Site Navigability – The navigability of a page plays an important factor in User Experience of which Google is big on. If you want your website to convert, you must make it easy for the visitor to use. If the visitor feels like he is trapped in a labyrinth, he will just click out.
  • Meta and Title Tags – Meta and Title tags are the responsibility of the web developer. These are descriptions of your website that are included in its code. Title tags describe what your website is all about and can be seen on the results page. Meta tags are hidden within the code but are used to validate the type of website that you have. 
  • Site Speed – Although it takes 8.66 seconds to download the top ranking websites in Google, Internet searchers still expect a website to download in 3 seconds or less. 53% of users will leave a website if it does not download in under 3 seconds. 

3. Focus On Your Website Homepage

An argument can be made that the Homepage is the most important page on your website. This is because is the page where a visitor will land after he clicks on your URL. 

Having an effective website homepage means having one that is efficient – it should get the job done in no more than 6 seconds. 

If the site visitor does not see anything useful, relevant, and compelling on your website within 6 seconds, he will click out.

What then makes an efficient website homepage?

  • Less Is More – Have you come across a website that has so many things happening on the homepage? There is so much text. The homepage copy feels like reading a long-form blog. 

Likewise, there are too many images and it seems that the color choices were made without thought or purpose. 

When designing a homepage, the rule is less is more. Too much activity on the homepage will only serve to distract the site user not help him find what he is looking for.

  • What Is Your Brand Value Proposition (BVP)? – The Brand Value Proposition or BVP is a statement that tells site visitors what your business can do for them. The BVP is the most important statement on your homepage and perhaps on your entire website. As mentioned, you only have fewer than 6 seconds to catch the interest of the site visitor. This is where the BVP comes in. It must be short, direct-to-the-point, and easily understood. 
  • How Compelling Is Your Call-To-Action (CTA)? – The Call-To-Action (CTA) tells the site visitor what you want him to do. To be effective the CTA must be direct-to-the-point. It should state urgency and the importance of acquiring your products and services right now.

You can make your homepage more compelling by adding testimonies or explainer videos. However, from both a design and functional perspective, less is more. 

We recommend prioritizing the BVO and coming up with an effective CTA. From there, you could consider a slide featuring testimonies from actual clients or customers. 

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4. Blog Actively

People spend 23% of their time online reading blogs. 

That statement should be enough to emphasize our point on the importance of blogging actively for your business. 

However, before you blog actively, it would be best to understand what makes a blog effective.

Blogging is not as simple as writing about a topic you like or specialize in. We have clients who are experts in their field. They create blogs that are packed with information acquired from the years invested in the industry.

Yet, hardly anyone reads them. So, they get discouraged from blogging. By doing so, they fail to realize the benefits of blogging. 

There are 2 reasons why their blogs do not gain traction and fail to deliver the desired results:

  • The blogs are not optimized for search.
  • The blogs are not written for the audience.

Blogging is not the same as writing a college term paper or a piece on a broadsheet. It combines the creativity of writing and the precision of digital technology. 

Yes, you need a good writer who can create compelling pieces that are free of spelling and grammatical errors. However, these must be optimized so that the blogs can be searched and found on the Internet. 

Optimizing a blog involves a number of processes, some of which we will discuss here:

  • Keywords – We mentioned the importance of keywords in optimizing a website. The same can be said for your blogs. In order to be found your blog should contain the most-searched keywords in your industry. Therefore, in addition to topic research, your content creation strategy should include keyword research.
  • Structure – Do you find reading a thickly-worded paragraph a pleasant experience? Not many people do. Too many sentences in a paragraph can turn reading into a tedious experience. To improve readability, the paragraphs should only contain 3-4 sentences. Consequently, each sentence should have no more than 40 words. Ideally, 20-25 words per sentence are best for optimization purposes. 
  • Content – An effective blog should have content that is fresh or unique, relevant, useful, informative, and compelling. It doesn’t matter if you have the best keywords in the right density. If your content does not meet the criteria, it will not be read.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of blogging. However, you need to have blogging done right.

We have published several blogs that have been recognized as among the best in the digital marketing industry. If you need help in blogging, we are the agency to go to!

5. Stay Active Online

The best way to stay top-of-mind on the Internet is to stay active online. 

Let us go back to blogging. 

According to research, you should blog at least 11 times per month in order to achieve the best results in sales conversions and website traffic.

What is the ideal length of a blog post for SEO purposes? According to a study by Search Engine Journal, your blogs should average 1,900 words. 

That is a lot of writing per week!

Then, you have to publish the blogs on various online channels such as social media, blogging communities, and of course, your own website. 

That is a lot of work!

However, you have the option of outsourcing these tasks to third-party agencies such as Mountaintop Web Design. This way, you can free up your time to focus on activities that are directly involved with your business. 

The bottom line is that in order to stay relevant, you have to maintain an active presence online through blogging and frequent posting of content.

6. Fortify Site Security

Last July 2018, search engine giant Google started flagging websites without SSL certificates as “Not Secure”. 

Having your website labeled as “Not Secure” by the Internet’s biggest search engine is enough to drive away interest from your business. 

Google decided to impose SSL certificates to all websites because of the growing threat of cyber-security. As you well know, Google is big on User Experience. 

You can learn more about SSL certificates and their importance for maintaining security for your website in our article “SSL Basics: Why You Need It To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

Encourage site visitors to enter your website by securing it with SSL certificates. It is very easy to get SSL certificates and they will help protect your data from being stolen by cyber-criminals. 

Conclusion

The website is more than just a business address on the Internet. It is your digital hub online where all transactions take place. Because of your website, your products and services can be accessed by a wider audience. It will give you the platform to build your reputation as a reliable resource in the industry.

Once your website goes live, it allows you to capitalize on the opportunities on the Internet that can make your business profitable. 

However, a website will not run on its own.

You have to institute processes and techniques that are designed to drive traffic to your website. If done properly, these processes and techniques – such as the ones discussed in this article – will deliver results and make your business very profitable.

If you like this article, please feel free to share it in your community. And if you want to learn more about our services, let’s discuss it over your favorite brew!

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Email remains the most important medium of communication. It is fast, easy, and very convenient especially in this day and age of mobile technology. You can check your email anywhere and in any place. All you need is an Internet connection. 

If you own a business, you must have an email address. However, should you get a generic email – one that has an address such as @yahoo.com – or should you create an email has your own domain as its address? 

The answer is actually quite easy. You should definitely opt for an email with your own domain name as its address. 

It will not matter that Google is the biggest search engine on the Internet. Having a @gmail.com address will not have the same impact as having a @yourcompanyname.com email address. 

Why? It all comes down to establishing an identity for your own business! 

Here are 5 reasons why you need – and should have – a professional email address.

1. Creates a Strong, Professional Impression

Purchasing a domain name shows that you are deeply invested in your company. You take a professional approach to running your business. 

You want your company to be unique; to stand out from the rest of the competition that still uses common email addresses. 

Put yourself in the position of the recipient of an email. Which one would impress you more? 

  1. [email protected]
  2. [email protected]

There is nothing unique about [email protected]. Once you sign up for a webmail account with an email provider, you automatically get a free address with the provider’s domain name. 

Scammers, cyber-criminals who like to go on phishing expeditions can easily get an email account from Yahoo or Gmail.

However, [email protected] is exclusively only to John Smith as the proprietor of his own company. No one else can have an email address with the domain name @johnscompany unless it is authorized by John Smith. 

2. Enhances the Value of Your Brand

Let us assume that after 6 months of persistent follow-ups, you were finally able to land a meeting with a big-time investor in property development. 

When you get inside the reception area, you see your competitor and he is practicing for his sales presentation. 

You notice that his email is prominently featured in the final PowerPoint slide. His email address reads [email protected]

Meanwhile, your email address reads [email protected]

Given these circumstances, which email would generate the faster recall and longer-lasting impression? Your @gmail.com address or Michael Thorpe’s own professional email address? 

Establishing your brand is very important because it creates recall with your customers, clients, and followers. Your business is your brand. Your brand is your business. You carry your brand wherever you go and in whatever you do. 

A professional email address pushes your branding strategy deeper into the consciousness of your target market. It will make it easier to remember your domain name and to find your website. 

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3. Builds Trust and Confidence in Your Business

Your own car.

Your own house.

Your own business.

What better says that “You’ve Arrived” than ownership?

Ownership implies that you have independence. In order to achieve independence, you should have attained a status that other people have not. Independence makes you different from those who still depend on others.

For prospects, clients, and customers they would feel more confident dealing with someone who has embraced independence in business. An email address that has a common domain name is not unique. 

Let us assume that you decided to run an email campaign. How would prospects respond to an email that had a generic address such as @gmail.com? Chances are it would be ignored or left unopened. 

As we mentioned earlier, scammers and phishers are more prone to use a generic address than their own domain address. 

By using the domain name of your business as your professional email address, you lessen the chances of your communication being ignored as it fosters greater trust and confidence with the recipient.

4. Improves the Level of Communication 

The benefits of having your own domain extend beyond getting a professional email address. Likewise, it will make it easier to manage or organize the different functions of your business. 

For example, if your business has departments for accounting, customer service, IT support, and recruitment, you can assign the following professional email addresses:

By simply designating a specific departmental email address, it will be easier for you to find communication that is related to a function of your company. 

Thus, if you need to find the email thread regarding the latest invoice that was sent to a client, you can simply go to [email protected]

If you want to find out if your team members have any comments or suggestions about the company or the business itself, you can check out [email protected]

5. Encourages Unity and Teamwork

How did you feel when your employer assigned you a company email? We are sure you felt flattered and important. The same can be said about your team members.

Having a common email address encourages unity and teamwork. It makes everyone feel like they are part of your company because the address is unique and specific only to your company. 

Assigning professional email addresses to your team members also makes it easier and more convenient to manage communication within the organization. 

We should note that having your own domain as an email address is one thing. Having a professional local part of your email address is another. 

The local part is the portion of the email that refers to its designated user or the name on the mailbox. 

For example, in the email [email protected], “ted” is the local part. 

When coming up with the local part of your email, choose one that exudes professionalism. The usual practice is to simply use your name – either the full version or just the first name. 

Do not attempt to be cute and funny by coming up with a local part that may be inappropriate. You might end up offending the recipient and giving your company a bad name. 

Conclusion

Working from home or telecommuting is fast becoming the way of employment nowadays. It is not uncommon to meet an entrepreneur working from his home office, his favorite coffee shop, or at the public park. 

If you don’t have your own office space and instead, work from your neighborhood coffee shop, would you give out your business address as The Neighborhood Coffee Shop at XYZ Avenue along 123 Main Street? 

Of course not! In the first place, the coffee shop is not your business address. Secondly, The Neighborhood Coffee Shop is not your business name. 

Therefore, it is important to have your own business name. If you don’t plan on having an office, it is even more important that you should put up a website for your business. This way, the domain name will function as your business address. 

Thus, you can issue calling cards or prepare business collaterals with your domain as the online address of your company. It will greatly enhance your branding strategy as a business that is committed, trustworthy, and legitimate.

Likewise, you can send and receive communication from third parties to and from an email address that has your own domain name on it. This makes you appear more professional to everyone who comes across your communication. 

Before you can have an email address, you need to have your own domain name. We can help you set this up and build a fully-optimized and 100% mobile-responsive website for your business. 

If you want to learn more about our services, give us a call or drop us an email. And if you are in the area, let us discuss your website and digital marketing needs over coffee!

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