2018 was a big year for PPC or Pay-Per-Click Marketing. Google Adwords was re-branded as Google Ads. The change was not all cosmetic. Google Ads was improved with new features, tools, campaign types, and targeting options.

Since branching out to the world of advertising in 2000, Google has leveraged its Internet dominance to generate a staggering US$116.3 Billion in ad revenues in 2018.

The number accounted for 85% of Google’s total revenues in the same year.

Not surprising, other companies saw the success Google had in advertising and followed suit:

  • Bing Ads revamped its offering to include new targeting capabilities, the availability of more reports plus other interesting new features.
  • Bing Ads collaborated with social media platform LinkedIn to introduce LinkedIn Profile Targeting.
  • Amazon’s aggressive push into PPC Marketing as more consumers continue to use its platform to search for more products.

Despite the challenges posed by Bing, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other PPC Marketing platforms. Google Ads remains the gold standard in the industry.

What Is PPC Marketing?

PPC Marketing is a process where the advertiser – you – pays the agency every time someone clicks on your ad.

The great thing about PPC Marketing is that your ad is placed in the sponsored results section of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

For example, you are in the business of selling remote control drones. You decided to use PPC Marketing to post ads on your latest product – remote control drones with high-resolution cameras.

Whenever someone launches a Google search query “remote control drones with high-resolution cameras”, your PPC will appear in the SERP that has all the URLs on the topic.

Thus, with PPC Marketing, the probability is high that your ad will attract a buyer who is genuinely interested in your product.

With PPC Marketing, you can be assured that your ad will be published in full view of targeted customers – those who have a strong intent to purchase your products or services.

Consequently, PPC Marketing can give your website a search ranking boost!

You can read more about PPC Marketing in our article, “SEO vs PPC: Which One Is Better For Your Business?”

The question you must be asking is “Should I invest in PPC Marketing? Will the investment be worth it?”

If you ask the good people at Google, they will tell you, “Yes! By all means, you should invest in PPC Marketing!”

Google has every reason to take a strong stand in favor of PPC Marketing. According to the search engine giant’s 2016 report, advertisers earned an average of $8 for every $1 spent on PPC Marketing.

4 Reasons Why Your PPC Marketing Campaign Is Not Delivering Results

That number should be enough to get your eyes and mouth wide open and give us a call here at Mountaintop Web Design.

However, we would like to emphasize that Google’s reported ROI on PPC Marketing is just an average. There are advertisers who fell short of their goals.

Why is your PPC Marketing campaign falling short of its targets? There are 4 factors that can have a dampening effect on your PPC Marketing campaign.

1. Choice of Keywords Is Too Broad

Similar to online content, your PPC ads have to be optimized. Thus, it is very important to have tightly-focused and precise keyword research.

The keywords that you are using in your PPC ads must match the intent of the target consumer as closely as possible. If your choice of keywords is too broad, your ad will be displayed to a wider or diverse audience many of whom may not be interested in what you are selling.

For example, you are in the business of selling specialized diesel engine pumps. If you used the keywords “Diesel Engine Pump” or “Diesel Fuel Injector Pump” in your ad, it will be placed in SERPs where prospective customers could be looking for just ordinary diesel engine pumps.

However, if you chose “Distributor Fuel Injector Pump” or “Common Rail Fuel Injector Pump”, you would be streamlining the search to consumers who have a need for these specific types of fuel injector pumps.

Thus, the chances of a prospective customer clicking onto your PPC ad will be much higher than if you opted for more generalized keywords.

2. The Message of Your PPC Ad is Disjointed

When creating a PPC ad, your copy must be aligned with the headline and the intent of your target market. Otherwise, the message of your ad will be disjointed and will not resonate with your target market.

Conceptualizing an effective PPC ad is a two-step process. First, the headline you plan to use and the content of the ad copy itself should match or correspond to the keywords you are bidding on.

Second, the message your PPC ad is conveying should provide answers or a clear-cut solution to the needs of your intended market. When a consumer runs an Internet search, he is looking for solutions that can help address a particular problem.

In order to be clicked on, your PPC ad must present itself as a potential solution to the problem or issue that is presently confounding the consumer.

3. Google Gives Your PPC Ad a Low-Quality Score

Google will review your PPC ad and determine your Quality Score or QS. Your score will depend on 2 factors: overall quality and relevance of your ad. Google measures these factors by keeping track of how many people actually click on the ad after it has been displayed on the SERPs.

Essentially, a lower QS means fewer people are clicking on your ad. While Google will measure your QS, it will be up to you if want to implement changes and improve the ad so that more people will click on it.

4. Poorly Designed Website Landing Page

Getting an Internet searcher to click on your ad is one thing. Giving him the best User Experience when he gets to your website landing page is another.

What will the site visitor see when he lands on your page? Will he readily find solutions to his pain points? Will your landing page content provide the answers to his questions?

Your efforts to find a customer do not begin and end with the PPC ad. Likewise, your landing page must be optimized to help increase conversions.

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How Much Will It Cost To Run A PPC Marketing Campaign?

In our article, “How To Setup A Low Cost But Effective Digital Marketing Campaign”, we discussed the ways in which you can run a digital marketing campaign that can deliver results without breaking the bank.

PPC Marketing was not included among the best low cost strategies in the article. However, we mentioned PPC Marketing as an option that you can consider especially if you have a larger budget for marketing.

If you are thinking of including PPC Marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy, for the reasons stated at the beginning of this article, Google Ads would be the best platform to launch your ads.

Google Ads uses a bid system whereby you, the advertiser, will put in a maximum bid that you are willing to pay for every click or cost-per-click (CPC) your ad receives.

The rule is simple: the higher your bid the more advantageous the ad placement will be.

According to Google, the average CPC for advertisers in its platform is $1 to $2 on its Search network.

While this reported average CPC may seem attractive, the true cost of your PPC Marketing campaign will depend on 5 factors:

  • The competitiveness of your industry.
  • The competitiveness of the keywords.
  • Your Quality Score (QS).
  • The bid of your competitors for the keywords.
  • The quality of your competitors’ ads.

Google estimates that small and medium-scale businesses spend an average of $9,000 to $10,000 per month or $108,000 to $120,000 per year on PPC.

According to a study conducted by WebFX, the most expensive keywords come from the following industries:

  • Legal
  • Financial Services
  • Insurance
  • Retail

The financial services and insurance industry combined to spend an average of $1.2Billion in PPC ads every year. Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, averages $50 Million for PPC ads per year.

The WebEx study identified the following keywords as the most expensive:

  • San Antonio Car Wreck Attorney – $670.44
  • Accident Attorney Riverside CA – $626.90
  • Personal Injury Attorney Colorado – $553.08
  • Structure Settlements – $539.82
  • Austin Drug Rehab – $463.05

78% of the most expensive keywords pertain to the legal industry. A far second is about Water Damage at 8% and coming in third at 6% is insurance. Business Services account for only 1% of the most expensive keywords.

However, putting in the highest bid is just one part of the PPC equation if you want to get the best placement. As previously mentioned, Google will consider your QS to determine the placement position of your ad.

Your QS is calculated based on 3 factors:

  • Relevance of your ad to the keywords.
  • Click-Through-Rate or CTR which is the number of clicks your ad generates as a proportion of the number of views it gets.
  • The quality of your landing page.

Using these 3 variables, Google has come up with is Ad Rank formula:

Ad Rank Formula = (Max CPC bid) x (Your Ad’s QS)

For example, if your maximum CPC bid for a keyword is $1.00 and Google gives your ad a QS of 10, your Ad Rank will be 10.

In an auction, the advertiser who ends up with the highest Ad Rank will be awarded the top advertising spot.

Google calculates the amount the advertiser pays per click with this simple formula:

(Ad rank of the ad below yours) / (Your QS) + $0.01

From the above formula, we can see that your QS will have a big impact on the cost of your PPC Marketing campaign. You can actually spend less and still acquire the top advertising position if Google gives you a high QS.

Conclusion

Google Ads is a good PPC Marketing platform to begin with. One of the biggest advantages of using Google Ads is that it gives you 4 ways to stretch your PPC Marketing budget.

First, Google Ads has a feature that allows you to create daily budgets whereby you can allocate more money to campaigns that are focused on promoting your top selling products.

Second, you can set the time and date that you want your PPC Ad to appear. Thus, you can increase your bids only for specific hours of the week.

Third, Google Ads has an interesting feature called geotargeting which lets you set aside more funding to reach target customers in a specific geographic area such as a neighbourhood or city.

Finally, if you believe most of your customers are living the mobile lifestyle, Google Ads has a device targeting feature which lets you use some of your funding to deliver your PPC ad directly to people using a particular type of mobile device.

Is PPC Marketing worth it? The answer is “Yes” provided the following conditions are met:

  • Keyword research is highly-focused and targeted on specific, not broad or generalized keywords.
  • The message of the PPC ad copy must be clear; it must resonate with the intent of the Internet searcher and provide solutions to his concerns.
  • Likewise, the landing page of your website must be optimized and aligned with the message of your PPC ad copy. It should provide the answers the Internet searcher is looking for.

Your focus should be to come up with a PPC ad that will elicit a high QS from Google. The better your QS, the higher the probability of landing the top advertising spot. You can lower the CTC even if your max bid is not the highest.

Are you ready to add PPC Marketing to your digital marketing toolbox? Give us a call and we can set you on the right track to PPC success!

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Spreadsheet programs come and go. One that has stood the test of time and remains an invaluable tool for any business owner is Microsoft Excel.

Introduced in 1987, MS Excel has grown in popularity over the years especially with the release of Version5 in 1993. Version5 was compatible with Windows which made the software easier to use.

Likewise, Version5 provided the user with faster calculations, more advanced features for creating graphs, pivot tables, and the use of a programming language called Visual Basic for Applications.

Today, many regard MS Excel as the gold standard among spreadsheet programs. The fact that MS Excel accounts for 85% of the office market further strengthens this argument.

For many business owners, the use of a spreadsheet program offers many benefits:

  • Organize and store data
  • Tools to analyze data
  • Prepare charts and graphs for presentation
  • Preset formulas for quick and easy calculations
  • Ability to synchronize with other software programs

And MS Excel makes all of these – and more – easier to do! In business, getting organized, tracking your expenses, and analyzing performance are keys to staying profitable.

MS Excel is an indispensable tool that can be literally accessed at the palm of your hand.

Top 10 Microsoft Excel Tricks That Will Help Any Business Owner

Learning its basic functions will go a long way in helping you manage your business. However, here are 10 Microsoft Excel tricks that you should learn so you can take your business to the next level.

1. Conditional Formatting

Storing data in MS Excel is an easy way to organize information that is key to the success of your business. However, as data begins to accumulate, it may be difficult to make sense of all of those numbers.

Conditional Formatting is a feature in Excel that helps you set the parameters of your data. This Excel trick will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for.

Let us assume you are a foreign currency trader who wants to keep track of currencies that are depreciating by 5% every week.

Simply click on “Conditional Formatting” highlight the column where the relevant data has been entered and set the parameter at “less than 5%”. Once you scroll down the data, all the currencies that conform to your search parameter of “less than 5%” will be highlighted in color.

By learning how to use Conditional Formatting, it will be easier for you to evaluate all of the data that you have been collecting.

2. Removing Duplicate Data

When you are constantly uploading massive amounts of data, duplication is always a very real possibility. We will share with you our experience during the content creation process.

Optimization is an important part of content writing. If the blogs are not optimized, it will not be found on the Internet. One of the most important processes in content optimization is keyword research.

A particular topic can yield thousands of keywords. Most of these are duplicates and if the content writer does not clean out the keyword spreadsheet, he may be misled by the discrepancies in search volume between the same keywords.

In order to remove the duplicates, all you have to do is go to “Data”, highlight the columns where there are duplicate data, then click “Remove Duplicates”.

Once the spreadsheet has been cleaned of duplicates, it will be easier to work through the data.

3. Recover Lost Files

For sure this has happened to you before.

You have been uploading and analyzing data for the past hour. Then, without warning, the power goes out. Fortunately, MS Excel has an Auto-Save feature.

Unfortunately, your current MS Excel Auto-Save feature is set at every 20 minutes. You have lost data that you have been uploading the last 20 minutes! Once power is restored, you will have to re-upload all of the data that has been lost.

We will teach you an important MS Excel trick that will help you relax and breath a sigh of relief whenever there is a power outage.

First, go to the “File” menu. Go to “Info”, then click on “Manage Versions”. You will see 2 options. Click on “Recover Unsaved Workbooks”.

This simple tip will help you save productive minutes. When you have power back on, all you have to do is to start where you left off.

4. Paste Special

One of the most common activities you do in MS Excel is to copy and paste. However, you may want to view the data in a different way. For example, you may want to have the data presented in a percentage format.

Paste Special will enable you to change the look of your data with a few easy clicks.

Going back to our example, let us assume you want a column of data converted into percentage format. Highlight the data that you want to convert, click copy, then paste it on another file.

Here is the step-by-step process on how to convert the numbers into percentages:

  • On a separate column, write down “100” since, in order to convert numbers into percentages, these numbers have to be divided by 100.
  • Copy the value of “100”.
  • Highlight the entire column that you want to be converted into percentages.
  • Right click, then choose “Paste Special”.
  • Under “Operation”, choose “Divide”.
  • All of the numbers in the highlighted column will be automatically divided by 100.
  • Click the “%” icon to insert the percentage symbol in all the numbers in the column.
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5. Freeze Panes

After years spent building a solid reputation in the real estate industry, you are finally invited to present your services to one of the state’s biggest and most successful property development companies.

This is an opportunity you cannot pass up! The Vice-President of Business Development wants to know how you target potential buyers for the properties in your list.

You present to the VP your Buyer’s Profile spreadsheet which is a result of years of hard work and consistent data collection.

However, by the time you get to column AA and below row 50, the VP cannot see the header cells. It is hard to appreciate the effectiveness of your system if the main decision maker will not be able to follow its movement.        

The solution is to freeze panes to keep the headers in place while you continue to scroll through the data.

All you have to do is to click to the cell below the header you want to freeze. You can also click to the left of the column you want to be frozen. Go to the “View” tab and choose “Freeze Panes”.

6. Extend Formula Across/Down

Before MS Excel, you had to be familiar with the M+ key on your calculator. This is the key which allows you to store a number that you can use to multiply or divide another value.

With MS Excel, all you need to do is to write down the formula on a cell and copy it across or down in order to repeat the same calculation.

Clicking “Copy” then dragging the formula down or across highlighted cells would be one way of extending the calculation. However, if you have a large amount of data to calculate, simply double click the formula on the cell where you want it to run.

7. Filters

Filters allow you to explore data faster by hiding information that is not relevant to your search.

For example, the value “Fruits and Vegetables” are no longer relevant to your data analysis. MS Excel can filter this value out whenever the program comes across it.

The newer versions of Excel allow you to run filters on numerical values such as percentages or parameters as “is greater than”. Likewise, the current versions of Excel can also filter out cell colors.

8. Print Optimization

Perhaps one of the knocks on MS Excel is that having documents printed out is not always easy. For sure, you know what we mean!  Sometimes you do not get exactly what you wanted to print out. It may take a few tries before you finally get the copy that you want.

The key to optimizing MS Excel’s printing capabilities is to follow a set of steps:

  • Print Preview
  • Fit to One Page
  • Adjust Margins
  • Print Selection
  • Printing Headers
  • Choose Portrait vs. Landscape
  • Spreadsheet Design

It will take some practice to get the hang of printing. However, this will be a task that you should expect to perform several times during the course of your business.

9. Flash Fill

Flash Fill is a feature that was added to the 2013 version of MS Excel. It is a wonderful tool to use for cleaning up and organizing data.

Some users have remarked that the Flash Fill feature is MS Excel thinking on its own. It anticipates your intended action and by simply clicking on the “Flash Fill” button, MS Excel will execute the task.

For example, you have a column of customers’ names that are presented as follows:

Last Name, First Name

Let us say you want to extract only the first names of the customers and copy them on the column beside it.

All you have to do is to write the first name of the first entry on the cell where you want to print the data. Next, go to “Fill” and click on “Flash Fill”.

Just like magic, MS Excel will copy all of the first names on the list to the column and run the data in order of their appearance.

10. Index-Match

Users of MS Excel who have used its VLOOKUP function to sort out data will share a common opinion – INDEX-MATCH is a better feature!

With VLOOKUP, the data will get affected whenever changes in column positions are made. This will not happen with INDEX-MATCH.

INDEX-MATCH is a great feature to use if you want to sort out specific data from your spreadsheet. Simply choose the location where you want the sorted information to appear. Then, set the parameters or conditions of your search in the INDEX-MATCH formula.

Within seconds, MS Excel will retrieve the data you want and present them in the location you chose.

Conclusion

There are other spreadsheet programs that you can consider for your business. For example, Google Sheets is also becoming popular with entrepreneurs. Other noteworthy spreadsheet programs include Numbers by Apple, Open Office Calc by Apache, and Zoho Sheet by Zoho.

However, MS Excel remains the gold standard to which these software programs are measured against and with many good reasons. MS Excel is easy to use, highly-navigable and includes key features that are very important to running a business.

Like all skills, becoming proficient in MS Excel will take time and practice. Working with MS Excel will be time well spent. Do not be intimidated by the commands and features. Keep practicing until MS Excel becomes second nature.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, please feel free to share it with people who may want to learn more about MS Excel.

And if you have other MS Excel tips and tricks that you wish to share with our readers, please feel free to write them down in our comments section.

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A website is a valuable asset to have whether you are a large corporation or a small business. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, a website makes your products and services accessible 24/7.

It gives you a platform to share your expertise and enhance your reputation as an expert in the industry. The website is your storefront window. If it is mobile-responsive, people can access your website wherever they are.

And perhaps that is the problem with most websites – it only talks about the brand, the owners, the products and services, and the company.

Of course, the website is also a way of connecting with your customers through marketing. It can build your followers, generate leads, and convert interest into paying customers.

You have to promote the business and give your visitors important information on what you can do for them.

At Mountaintop, we view the website as more than just a business asset or a marketing tool.

For us, we think of the client’s website as a medium of communication – an avenue which the client should use to connect with the most important participant in the business cycle:

The Customer.

Why You Need A Website That Speaks To Customers

Have you ever had a conversation with a person you just met and all he ever wanted to talk about was himself?

His pronouns were limited to “I”, “Me”, and “Myself”.

We bet the “Exit” sign never looked more inviting!

A conversation involves 2 or more people interacting with each other. Essentially, a conversation has 2 participants – a talker and a listener.

You cannot have a conversation if only one person is talking. There must be an exchange of ideas or opinions. A feedback mechanism must exist for the communication cycle to continue.

In business, communication is a very important quality for the following reasons:

  • Fosters strong, long-lasting relationships
  • Addresses problems, issues, and concerns in a prompt and professional manner
  • Encourages everyone in the value chain to be more involved
  • Minimizes the incidence of misunderstandings
  • Builds loyalty and trust

If you only talk about yourself, how can you establish a relationship with the person you are having a conversation with if you won’t allow him/her to be heard?

The same analogy can be applied to a business website.

If all the business website talks about is its products and services, its history, and its founders, how would it know what the customers need if it doesn’t give them the opportunity to be heard?

Yes, brand-building is important for a business. In fact, we have written an article about it  “Importance Of Having A Strong Brand”.

We recommend giving the article a quick read. It will give you a good idea of why it is important to communicate or “speak” with your customers if you want to successfully build your brand.

Essentially, your brand is a promise. When your customers see it, they know what they are going to get. It encapsulates everything about you; the attributes that best define who you are and your business.

Thus, your brand is you. If you want your brand to resonate with your customer, it should allow feedback or a response.

The customer needs to see their story on your website. It should clearly articulate the following:

  • What your business offers to customers
  • How the business can make the customer’s life better
  • What the customer needs to do in order to purchase your products or service

In short, the customer should be able to see in their story everything that your business does.

The “About Us” page? It does not have to be about you.

The Home Page? The value proposition should not just speak of the brand. It should speak to the customer.

There are other ways to open up the communication channels of your website to your customers. By doing so, you will have a website that sells to customers.

1. Turn the “About Us” Page Into the “About You” Page

The About Us page is used to share information about the founders of the company; its main decision-makers and top managers. It reads like a Bio.

You will find information such as where they graduated from, their work experience, achievements, top skills, and maybe a few details about their personal lives.

An example of an About Us page content would read as follows:

“Albert D. Johnson – Founder, Johnson Manufacturing

I graduated from Princeton University in 1988 and had my first job as Operations Manager at Cartwright and Sons Manufacturing Company. After 25 years as a paid employee, I decided to start Johnson Manufacturing. In my spare time, I enjoy walking my dogs, reading poetry, and wine tasting.”

While the bio is short and concise, how would the information help the customer?

What is the value of the shared information – Albert’s Princeton degree, his first job, the decision to start his own company, and wine tasting – to the customer?

Instead of making the About Us page about you, make it about the customer.

Show the customer why they have come to the right place – that your business understands their concerns and has the products, services, skills, and expertise to help them address their problems.

Here is how we would rewrite Albert Johnson’s About Us bio:

“Hi! I’m Albert Johnson. After 25 years in the manufacturing industry, I decided to put up Johnson Manufacturing. It was my way of addressing all the problems I saw in the companies I worked for.

At Johnson, our products go through a strict 5-tier Quality Control system so that our customers will get what they paid for – and more! We signed up partnerships with logistics and delivery companies such as Argo Transportation and Levingston Logistics to ensure prompt service for you.

Our commitment is to surpass YOUR expectations every time!”

The bio is more conversational. It speaks directly to the customer. From the founder’s own words, you know what the company is all about and how it can help you address your own needs.

2. Make Your Products and Services Page Relevant to Your Customers

The Products and Services page is one of the most popular sections on your website. Customers click on it to see what merchandise you sell or types of services you offer.

Information on product specifications, pricing, production timetable, and delivery dates are fine.

Here is an example of a write up on a running shoe:

Brand:  Thundra

Model: Trail Runner RX77

Product Specifications:

  • Made of graphene
  • Lightweight
  • Available in sizes 7 to 16

Price: $220

The information provided is standard for a running shoe. Again, the question begs to be asked:

How will the information help the customer find the shoe he needs?

Here is a better, more customer-centric write up:

Brand: Thundra

Model: Trail Runner RX77

Product Specifications:

Trail Runner RX77 was designed for runners who love running over rough trail. The shoe is made of Graphene which is the lightest material ever developed but is 200 times stronger than steel!

The RX77 weighs in at only 280gms, the lightest trail shoe on the market. It has an 8mm heel drop which helps stabilize your heels when running up and down mountains.

The shoe is designed for flat-footed runners. However, if you have an arch, Thundra can install a customized support heel for you.

Price: $220

The new and improved write up on the shoe product clearly resonates more with the customer. It contains more specific details about the shoe; its advantages, key selling points, and whom it is for.

3. Highlight Third-Party Validation

Forget celebrities. The customer is the best endorser for your products and services.

Third-party validation such as testimonies, case studies, awards and other forms of recognition are powerful tools that assure the customer that they have come to the right website.

If your business has forged partnerships with other reputable companies, it would be a good idea to include their logos on your website.

Third-party validation act as “emotional triggers”. They give customers a feeling of safety and protection.

Seeing other popular brands affiliated with your company will further encourage your customers to transact with you instead of your competitors.

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4. Contact Information Must Be Complete

How do you react when you come across a website where the contact information does not include an office address or a phone number?

Some companies don’t see the need for including an office address or a phone number because they do business exclusively online.

Customers may think otherwise. A business that does not include key information such as an office address and a phone number may appear dodgy.

If you want to foster trust with your customer, you must be transparent about your business’ information even if you run everything online. It would be a great idea to publish pictures of your office; your managers and staff.

5. Secure Your Website

We have written extensively about the importance of securing your website in our articles “Why It Is More Important To Secure Your Data In 2019” and “SSL Basics: Why You Need To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

For the reason that hacking and other acts of cyber-criminality have been increasing in frequency, consumers have become more cautious in dealing with websites that are not secure.

In response, Google made a game-changing adjustment in its algorithm. The Internet’s largest search engine gave a search ranking boost to websites that have SSL certificates.

In contrast, websites that don’t have SSL certificates will be marked “Not Secure”. If you own a website, would you risk getting marked “Not Secure” by Google?

Getting SSL certificates for your website will offer your customers more safety and protection. Most importantly, they will feel valued by you.

If you want to get SSL certificates for your website, give us a call or an email. We provide this service to our clients. It will be one of the best decisions you can make for your website.

6. Improve User Experience

If they can’t find it, they won’t buy it.

That is a popular adage in sales. Whether you own a department store like Walmart or run an e-commerce business, navigability plays a big role in customer experience.

Your website must be easy for customers to navigate. Unlike a Walmart where a customer won’t mind perusing through multiple aisles before finding what they need, consumers’ online behavior is much different.

If your customer can’t find what he is looking for, he will click out and go to your competitor. All of this can happen within 8 seconds.

Before we make a recommendation for a redesign to our clients, we take the time to study the site’s analytics.

Specifically, we will focus on traffic and usage patterns. We look for trends and base our redesign recommendations on available data. The idea is to make the client’s website as easy to navigate as possible.

Likewise, if you have procedures, list down the process in a step-by-step format with the instructions as clear cut as possible.

What procedures are these?

  • How to order
  • How to reach customer service
  • How to file complaints

The easier it is for customers to use your website, the greater the probability of them patronizing your business.

7. Encourage Your Customers to Give Feedback

The general rule when conceptualizing a business is to create a product or service for your customer. Identify a need then come up with a product or service that provides the solution.

Therefore, it makes sense to get your customers involved in the product development process. Your product must evolve according to the changing needs of your market.

We can integrate feedback forms and email links on your website. Encourage the customer to provide feedback about your business. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews.

In business, you should not expect to please everyone. Negative reviews can help you pinpoint flaws in your products, services, and processes so you can find ways to improve on them.

8. Be Clear About Your CTAs

A Call-To-Action or CTA is an instruction to your customer: What do you want your customer to do?

Customers prefer CTAs that are clear and very definitive in what the business wants them to do. Passive CTAs such as “Learn More” and “Get Started” won’t work.

The CTA can be a powerful button on your website. However, it should come across as more decisive and definitive.

Good examples of decisive CTAs are “Buy Now” and “Sign Up For Our Newsletter”.

Conclusion

For your brand-building strategy to succeed, it should have a constant cycle of communication with your customers.

Your website gives you the platform to communicate with your customers so you can build strong, long-lasting, and productive relationships.

If you are thinking of building a website or want your current one redesigned, give us a call. We will make you a website that will clearly sell to your customers!

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The marketing environment changes every year. New trends and technologies come out that will affect your strategy while consumers adjust to them and tell you which are more effective.

Because the marketing cycle changes, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. You need to adapt quickly and often as you don’t want to miss out on anything that will help your business be more successful and need to keep your audience’s attention. Once one method starts getting poorer results, don’t be afraid to try something new. However, it’s safe to say that email marketing isn’t going anywhere.

You may need to switch some things up, but you’ll find that some aspects of email messages aren’t going anywhere – you’ll just have to tweak them a little bit. Follow this advice to set up your email marketing campaigns in a way that will maximize success.

Speak Directly to Individuals with Personalization

For as long as marketing has been around, marketers have been figuring out ways to make their message resonate with consumers.

In the search to make their appeals more relatable, marketers started segmenting their audience as much as possible.

People with the same interests and ideas usually are drawn to the same areas and activities. This assumption has led to marketers sorting their target audiences according to demographics and psychographics. Creating a targeted audience helps whittle groups down and can make your messages more effective with personalization.

While segmentation still makes consumers feel as though they are one person in a larger group, unique personalization can help you speak directly to each consumer like an individual.

Personalization is also what consumers want: one study showed that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.

Simple emails recommending products the consumer previously viewed on your website makes the user feel as though you value them as a customer. Recommending new items based on previous purchases provides a more relevant experience.

If you need to be even more effective, another study found that personalized calls to action performed more than 200% better than generic ones.

Consumers are more likely to act on personalized messages, which means it is important for your business to invest in data collection and personalization.

Find the Value in Your Existing Audience

The more that you can expand your email list, the more people that your message will reach.

However, email marketing can also grow your existing audience and keep them engaged. There are a few reasons why you should do this.

Retaining a current customer costs less than acquiring a new one. Invesp, a conversion rate optimization company, found that it can be almost 5 times more expensive to gain a new customer. While it is definitely necessary to continue growing your customer base, this growth is useful if no one becomes a buyer.

Invesp also discovered that existing customers are not only 50% more likely to try new products, but tend to spend up to 31% more than new customers. While you may have convinced a new lead to buy one product, they are less likely to buy multiple products from a company they do not know.  

As new buyers, people don’t trust your brand enough yet. However, your existing customers do because they have before and know what to expect.

Finding ways to engage your existing customers can be more profitable than acquiring new customers.

Fine-Tune Your Messaging with A/B Testing

Do you remember the last time someone said no when you asked them for a favor? Ever ask yourself if they might’ve said yes had you phrased your question a little bit differently?

If you had used A/B testing in this previous conversation, you might know how to best appeal to your friend.

As one of the best web design companies in Denver, we use A/B testing on our website to determine what features and UX customers respond to best.

A/B testing can also be a great way for businesses to try out different versions of an email to see which one receives a better response.

A/B testing involves sending two emails out to two groups of active subscribers to track what changes can be made to your message to make it more effective. The changes should be small so that you know exactly how much change that one edit is responsible for. Try switching up the subject line copy to see if you can improve your open rate or move the location of the call to action to see if it’s more compelling in a different spot.

You can use this method for almost every part of your email. Different subjects, images, paragraphs, and calls to action might make a huge difference. Once you find out which changes work best, you can improve your emails little by little.

Utilize A/B testing to figure out what works best in your marketing strategy. It can be useful to see how people respond to different content and copy.

Find Value in Email Marketing

Because inboxes are constantly flooded with email, you need to set up an email marketing campaign that will stand out from the rest.

Using personalization will make consumers more likely to act on your messages. Engage people as much as possible, especially your existing customers: they’re the most valuable ones you have.

Finally, try out multiple versions of your email with A/B testing and editing it accordingly so you will have the most effective email marketing campaign.

Want to find out how one of the leading content marketing agencies in Denver can improve your email marketing campaigns? Check out our portfolio items or contact us. We’re excited to speak with you!

the journey to success is similar to climbing a mountain

Do you want to see the world? If yes, then you should work from home.

How is that even possible? When you say, “Work from home” what it really means is that you are working outside the confines of a formal office.

You don’t have to beat rush hour traffic in the morning and in the afternoon.

You don’t have to clock in and clock out.

You don’t have to wear formal office clothes.

You don’t strictly follow a 9-to-5 schedule with a one-hour lunch break.

Unless you are a telecommuter, you don’t have a boss to directly report to.

Your “home” could be anywhere.

Of course, you could work from your own house. You could also work from your favorite coffee shop, the gym, the supermarket, or at the public park.

You could also travel; see the world while working at the same time. There are no boundaries to where you want to go.

Who Works From Home?

Working from home is a matter of choice: Yours or your company’s.

According to data from the US Small Business Administration (USSBA), 99% of all businesses registered in the US are categorized as “small” and more than 50% of these small businesses work from home.

It makes sense for small businesses to start out from home. As we will discuss shortly, working from home has several advantages for the start-up. However, these advantages will also carry over to more established businesses.

Another study, this time the GEM Entrepreneurship Report, revealed the following statistics:

  • 69% of start-ups work from home
  • 59% of established businesses are home-based

It is not just the start-ups and established entrepreneurs who are taking the home-based route. Freelancers are another component of the home-based economy.

Freelancers are professionals; remote workers who offer their services to companies on a contractual basis.

Here is a typical profile of a freelancer:

  • Well-experienced; put in years working the  9-to-5 shift
  • Knowledgeable and highly-competent in a specific skill or discipline; many are certified or licensed in the field of expertise
  • Good with computers; ability to perform tasks using a variety of software programs

A 2017 report by the New York Times showed that roughly 43% of the US workforce has done freelance work.

The growth of the freelance market has given rise to another segment of the home-based economy: the Telecommuter.

Telecommuters are often confused with freelancers. Although both types of home-based professionals work from a remote location, telecommuters are hired by a company.

Telecommuters start out as FTEs or Full-Time Employees of the company. Eventually, they are transitioned to Telecommuter status by the company for the purposes of cutting cost and increasing productivity.

Yahoo! under Marissa Mayer was one of the first US companies to experiment with telecommuters. Mayer wanted to see if productivity would increase if workers were allowed to work from home.

While Mayer’s telecommuting program produced the desired results during its early years, eventually it fell short of the company’s long-term goals and had to be discontinued.

Yahoo’s failure in telecommuting did not stop other companies from integrating telecommuters in the workforce.

Here is a partial list of US companies that continue to hire telecommuters:

  • VIPKID
  • Appen
  • Conduent
  • Rev
  • LiveOps
  • TTEC
  • Amazon
  • Sykes
  • Dell
  • Working Solutions

It has been projected by market analysts that by 2020, more than 50% of the US workforce will be composed of telecommuters.

7 Benefits Of Working From Home

So what are the benefits of working from home?

1. Higher Level of Productivity

We have often quoted a report by productivity coach, Steve Pavlina, which revealed that out of 480 office minutes, workers are only productive for 90 minutes. That is only 19% productivity.

This finding is substantiated by another report which showed that American companies lose an estimated $1.8 Trillion a year due to low productivity.

What factors affect productivity?

  • Distractions at work – Internet surfing, social media
  • Water cooler chatter
  • The long commute, traffic
  • Sickness

Companies found out that by integrating telecommuters into the workforce, these factors would be mitigated and productivity would improve. A 2-year study conducted by Stanford University confirmed the positive impact of telecommuting on productivity.

Are distractions present when you work from home?

Yes. You will have distractions when you work from home but these factors are easier to manage compared to time spent at the office:

  • Put away the mobile phone; leave a voice message
  • Use a separate PC for work; it should have no access to social media and other non-work related sites
  • Utilize focus blocks; 90 minutes of 100% focus for work followed by a rest period of 30 minutes

2. Lower Attrition Rate

Attrition is a reduction in the workforce whether through resignation or retirement. In the context of Human Resources (HR), attrition is synonymous with the weakening of the workforce.

A company that has a high rate of employee turnover – employees leaving the workforce – has a negative connotation. When a company has a reputation for having high attrition rates, the common assumptions relate to an unhappy workforce.

In its 2018 report, the Work Institute estimates that 1 in 4 Americans will leave the workforce to look for better opportunities. The alarming statistic should be a wakeup call for most employers to meet the demands and expectations of their employees.

A proven way to lower the levels of attrition is to hire remote or home-based workers. Studies have shown that employees who have accepted telecommuting assignments are much happier and productive.

For companies, lower attrition rates mean more savings. They are able to save almost $11,000 per employee in terms of absenteeism, turnover, and overhead costs.

How about work from home entrepreneurs?

Ask home-based entrepreneurs how different it is working from home and an office. Many, if not all will tell you they are happier with the new career direction for the following reasons:

  • They no longer have to worry about rush hour traffic.
  • They don’t have to deal with office politics.
  • As business owners, what they earn equates to their level of productivity. When you are an FTE or Full Time Employee, your salary essentially encapsulates your worth to the company.
  • They set their own work schedule.

Instead of having to worry about traffic, a home-based entrepreneur can get started on work right after having his first mug of coffee!

3. Better Life/Work Balance

As an FTE, your schedule is at the mercy of the Workforce Manager or the Supervisor. If you are asked to put in overtime work to finish a deadline, you can’t say “No” even if it means missing your daughter’s ballet performance or your son’s football game.

In some cases, you may even have to bring work to your home.  Instead of having a nice glass of red wine and a plate of cheese with crackers with the wife on a Friday night, you find yourself crunching numbers or finishing up a report.

Working from home assures you of a better life/work balance because now you have complete control of your schedule. If you are a freelancer, your client may give you deadlines.

However, all the client cares about is that you complete the project on or before the due date. It will not matter how you set your schedule.

When you have a better life/work balance you are happier because you are able to fulfill your obligations to both your clients and family. It makes you feel more fulfilled. You no longer live for work but instead, work to live.

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4. Streamlined Costs of Business

Some entrepreneurs believe that your business should have a brick-and-mortar office. So they look for affordable office space, pay the required security and rental deposits, buy furniture, and make the daily commute to work every day.

Over time they realize that they could have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars every month if they managed their business from home.

In the first place, by working from home, you can save up on the following expenses:

  • Rent
  • Tenant dues
  • Internet service
  • Power
  • Water
  • Telephone

Of course, you can factor in the estimated rental cost on your home office to get a more accurate measure of business performance. However, you don’t really pay actual rent.

Likewise, businesses that outsource work also reap the cost-saving benefits of contracting the services of freelancers, telecommuters, and other third-party service providers.

In our experience, clients save money by contracting Mountaintop to handle website management, digital marketing, and content marketing instead of hiring FTEs. They save up on salaries, employee benefits, rental space, the additional cost of Internet bandwidth, power, water, and office supplies.

5. Stay Fit and Healthy

Stress is one of the leading contributors to heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other dangerous illnesses and conditions. Your career can be a major source of stress.

In addition to overtime work and meeting deadlines, you also have to deal with traffic, office politics, lack of job fulfillment, financial problems, the threat of being laid-off, the absence of a clear career/succession path, and company culture to name a few.

Doctors prescribe regular exercise as the best way to manage stress. Those who work in an office environment say they have “no time to work out” because they are “too busy”.

Working from home will afford you the time to exercise. You don’t even have to go to a gym to get exercise. You can get a few exercise equipment such as dumbbells, resistance bands, a Yoga Mat, and a jump rope to get started.

Or why not take a quick run or a 30-minute stroll at the park?

You can also eat healthier food when working from home. You have complete control over what you eat. Sure it takes time to prepare your meals. But with advanced planning, you can pre-pack your meals and just reheat your food for a few minutes when you want to eat.

Office people tend to patronize bars, restaurants, and the food court for lunch. While some restaurants offer healthier fare, it will be hard to choose a fresh garden salad with olive oil vinaigrette dressing when everyone else is ordering hamburgers with French fries!

Taking frequent naps is another good way to combat the effects of stress. You might be allowed by your employer to take a 10-minute nap during your break. However, taking a 30-minute nap in your own bed or favorite couch is even better.

6. Generate Higher Savings

Working in an office entails daily expenses. Your list of expenses includes gasoline, food, water, and an allowance for contingencies. You will also be tempted to spend more.

Thinking of going to the mall for a quick bite? You might end up buying something else other than just food and drink. Of course, there are the get-togethers with the office mates. It is not uncommon for office mates to have a few drinks at the bar after work hours.

The expenses all seem insignificant until you check the daily balance of your bank account.

You will spend less when you are working from home. First, you don’t have to commute. Second, everything you need – food and water – are already in place. Lastly, unless you watch the shopping network during your break time, there is nothing at home that will tempt you to spend.

Thus, spending less means you can save more of your hard-earned income. The money that you used to spend on gasoline, food, drink, and contingencies will now go to your savings account.

How much money are we talking about?

According to a survey by CareerBuilder, the average American office worker spends $3,500 per year on transportation, food, coffee, water, and contingencies! You can do a lot with $3,500 in your bank account every year.

7. Provides an Environmentally-Friendly Solution

A study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that we could prevent 1.5 billion pounds of gas emissions if all office equipment was Energy Star certified.

The problem is when you set up an office, your priority is to buy equipment that will fit your budget. Oftentimes, these types of office equipment may not be environmentally friendly.

With fewer expenses, you can purchase more environmentally friendly equipment for your home office. For many people, especially the Millennials, creating a sustainable workspace is a big incentive for working at home.

You do not need as much paper and can do away with equipment such as fax machines, printers, and copiers when setting up your home-based office.

Conclusion

Did we convince you about the benefits of working from home? Before you make a decision to move your business from a brick-and-mortar office to your home, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Make sure your home office is conducive for productive work. There should be no distractions within the area. No TV. No refrigerator. The PC should be dedicated for work purposes only.
  • Prepare for contingencies. Be ready to move to another location in case of power failure. If you are not confident of your Internet Service Provider (ISP), consider getting a backup ISP.
  • If you live with other people, ask them to respect your business hours. That includes your kids.
  • Make sure your PC is reliable. That is your bread and butter equipment. Invest in a good, powerful PC that can get the job done.

Do not scrimp on the hardware. If you regularly meet with your clients online, buy the best headset and make sure there is enough capacity to handle audio-visual calls.

Working from home will be a definite change of pace. It may take some time to get used to. However, you will soon realize that transitioning to a home-based office was the right move for your business.

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it. And if you have other tips for those who want to work from home, kindly share them in the comments section.

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ICANN is the acronym for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is a non-profit organization that is responsible for ensuring the stability, integrity, and secure operation of the Internet.

The first step to buying a domain name is to look for a registrar that is accredited by ICANN. Once you buy the domain name, the registrar will be required by the laws and provisions governing ICANN to enter your personal information into its WHOIS database.

The WHOIS database is a directory that is highly searchable. It can be accessed free-of-charge by any person who wants to verify the authenticity and availability of a domain name.

What personal information will be uploaded?

  • Your complete name
  • Email address
  • Business address
  • Contact numbers

If you are the type of person who does not want to give out these types of personal information to public listings, you should register your domain as private.

By choosing private domain registration for your domain name, your personal information in the WHOIS database will be replaced by those of the registrar’s own information.

In fact, some domain name registrars can even come up with a unique email address that will be listed as your contact email address on the WHOIS database. This way, your company or personal email address will remain secure from individuals who have malicious intent.

3 Reasons Why You Should Register Your Domain As Private

Despite the potential risks to personal information, there are businesses that opt for business registration.  

To clarify, business registration means having your personal information listed openly in the ICANN WHOIS database. They want to have their business data publicly accessible for the following reasons:

  • Promote their business
  • Create impressions of trust and transparency
  • Enhance the online presence of the business

We understand the importance of promotion and the value of establishing trust and transparency with the market. However, there are other ways – much safer and lower risk ways – of promoting the business.

That is why at Mountaintop, we always recommend that our clients register their domain name as private.

Is private domain registration an add-on service? Yes, which means opting for it will entail a fee that is separate from the usual cost of registering a domain name. Think of the fee as your insurance premium for keeping your personal information safe from hackers, online criminals, and other unsavory groups on the Internet.  

Here are other reasons why you should register your domain as private:

1. Personal Information Should Be Kept “FYEO”

If your personal information is made public, it is not just the hackers you should worry about. Your information can be used by marketers, suppliers, and competitors to serve their own purposes.

You might find yourself inundated with phone calls from telemarketers. Your inbox could be flooded with product or service offerings from vendors and suppliers. With your key information out, you may leave your business vulnerable to cutthroat strategies from your competitors.

For example, an aggressive but unscrupulous competitor may contract the services of a cyber-criminal to run phishing expeditions on your email. A competitor may try to get spies to procure sensitive information from you via phone.

We will discuss the importance of keeping your email secure toward the end of the article. You may be surprised at the extent of damage you can incur by having your email compromised.

In business, it is always a good practice to keep your sensitive or confidential data as FYEO or For Your Eyes Only. Information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and business address should be given judiciously.

You want to give these types of information only to entities that can directly contribute to the growth of your business such as:

  • Stakeholders – or those who are part of your value chain. This shortlist includes qualified suppliers/ vendors, current and prospective clients, management and select personnel, and business partners.
  • Strategic Partners – Strategic Partners are entities – companies or individuals – where formal arrangements are entered into for the benefit of your business. An example would be an outsourcing agreement between you and an outsourcing service provider.

As we mentioned, you can promote your business without having to disclose personal information. A good example would be to run a Digital Marketing campaign.

A Digital Marketing strategy that incorporates processes such as SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and PPC or Pay-Per-Click Advertising can successfully increase awareness and enhance the Internet profile of your business without revealing your personal information.

learn more about web design with coffee cup on desk in blue

2. Number of Cyber-Attacks Will Continue to Increase

In our article, “Why Is It More Important To Secure Your Data In 2019”, we shared our opinion that acts of cyber-criminality will continue to increase over the next few years.

Cyber-crime has become a lucrative industry. Highly sensitive data such as Social Security and bank account numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates, email addresses, and phone numbers can fetch a good price on the dark web.

All a cyber-criminal needs is a small opening. Once he gets access, your confidential data becomes at risk. Unlike a brick-and-mortar business where access points are doors and windows, the Internet provides multiple points of entry:

  • Outdated plugins
  • Outdated or unused software
  • Obsolete antivirus programs and firewalls
  • Weak passwords
  • Lax administrative processes
  • Opening suspicious emails
  • Accessing suspicious websites

Driven by profit, these cyber-criminals are motivated to stay ahead of the cyber-security experts. In fact, agencies such as the CIA and the FBI are fighting fire-with-fire by hiring hackers to come up with more powerful anti-malware tools and programs.

It is a good idea to err on the side of caution and invest in programs that will protect your personal data.

Last year, we launched our Extreme WordPress Care Plans. These programs are designed to help our clients manage their websites, make sure they are running in perfect condition, and protected from malicious attacks.

As an entrepreneur, your time is best dedicated to the core functions of your business. Leave domain security to us! You can sleep well knowing that your website is under close guard and watch 24/7.

3. Secure Your Email

If there is a singular way or process that best represents our online activity, it would be the email.

Think about it.

We check our emails more than we check our social media accounts. We use our email to sign up for newsletters or gain access to some websites. Whenever you run online banking transactions, chances are your email address is needed to verify your identity.

Online shopping, social media… the list goes on. Your email is the key that allows you to gain entry into these platforms. If someone grabs ahold of your email address, these platforms can be compromised.

Can you imagine what would happen if someone gained access to your webmail? He could easily search and find every website you frequent including your online banking platform. All the hacker needs to do is to request the website for a password reset.

The hacker can also view your Inbox and sent messages. With that information, the hacker can establish your weekly calendar of activities and determine your whereabouts.

The hacker can find out your schedule of online conference calls with clients and eavesdrop on the discussion. If you save work on Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, your documents can be stolen by the hacker.

We bring these scenarios up with clients whenever we discuss the importance of registering their domain as private.

Conclusion

As we mentioned earlier in this article, be judicious when it comes to giving out personal information such as email. On the Internet, you do not know who is searching and watching. Whenever you are venturing into the Internet, always think “safety first”.

As popular and as accessible as the Internet is, it remains The Great Unknown. Keep your assets secure and protected by adding layers of security at every opportunity. Start by registering your domain as private.

Have you experienced any breach in security? Please feel free to share in the comments section. Let our readers know how you dealt with the situation and what you learned from the experience.

If you want to know more about our web design services and our Extreme WordPress Care Plans, please feel free to give us a call or an email.

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

At Mountaintop Web Design, we’re in the business of providing top-notch design services, competitive prices, and consultancy that works with clients through all of their needs and goals. We thrive on helping customers build their companies, and our understanding of what makes sites stand out to audiences has fueled our ascension in the creative and design worlds. 

During our rise to the top of our industry, we’ve collected a few accolades that we want to share with you today: 

Clutch, a B2B research and reviews agency in Washington, D.C., recently published its listing of Denver’s best web design companies, and Mountaintop took home a spot within the top 15 firms. Earning this distinction in a field of nearly 300 competitors speaks highly about our market presence, client service, and industry experience, so we’re very proud to have this recognition of our hard work and talent. 

The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister companies of Clutch, also have praised Mountaintop. Business news website The Manifest, which shares insight about various industries and trends, named us a top-performing SEO company, touting our global outreach. Visual Objects, a portfolio curation platform, likewise applauded us, featuring our experience among the work of other leading design companies

Acclaim from established business sources like Clutch, The Manifest, and Visual Objects means a great deal to our team, but we also wanted to thank our clients for their positive feedback. 

Our website traffic has increased exponentially since we started working with Mountaintop Web Design.,” effused one client, the executive director of a nonprofit. “Their customer service stands out the most. I appreciate their ability to answer questions the same day and how they watch out for our organization … I’ve been quite satisfied and happy with Mountaintop.” 

Their detail-oriented approach sets them apart,” shared another customer, the owner of an events services business. “Highly receptive and accommodating to customer needs, their team is great at listening and providing customized solutions … Mountaintop’s web design services are fantastic.” 

We really appreciate all of the support that we’ve received as we continue to make our mark in the creative and design industries, and Mountaintop is proud to have helped so many customers and companies around the world. If you’re interested in learning more about our approach or experience, please feel free to connect with us here. We look forward to charting out strategies for your development and seeing how we can succeed together!

You’re in a lunch meeting with a representative of a company that could potentially be your biggest client. The company is looking to invest millions in a strategic partnership that could set you up for your retirement years. The representative shares that the company plans to capitalize up to 60% of their investment through borrowings:

“How has the inflation rate been trending the last 6 months?”

You have no idea what to say. It feels like your whole life just flashed before your eyes. More like, your retirement plans.

Why would a company entrust millions of dollars of investments to a partner who is not even updated with the inflation rate? If you don’t know the latest trends and developments on a fundamental concept in macroeconomics, what more about key political issues? Peace and order?

You don’t have to be a business dealing with foreign partners to stay updated on business news. Every business owner regardless of industry or scale should make the news a part of his/her daily work schedule.

Reading the latest business news will not take too much time. You can go through various publications and news websites while having a 30-minute coffee break. It will certainly make your coffee break time a more productive one.

What Does Business News Have To Do With My Private Business?

Everything. For the reason that we are living in a globalized economy, what happens in one region is no longer contained in that region. Instead, it has repercussions in other parts of the world.

Do you remember the Greek Referendum of 2011? Greece held a referendum for the people to decide on whether the country should leave the European Union (EU) or stay.

At stake was an economic bailout package from the EU which could help Greece get back on its feet. However, the bailout package had strict and very harsh austerity measures.

The referendum kept the world on pins and needles. If Greece decided to leave the EU, it would effectively default on its debts. The shockwaves would surely be felt throughout Europe, most notably the biggest lender, Germany.

There were also repercussions worldwide particularly for countries such as the United States which negotiated large-scale trade agreements with the EU.

The Greek Referendum of 2011 has its roots in 2008 when the Euro Zone realized Greece would have difficulty paying off its loans to the EU.

Around this time, a number of multinational companies such as Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and IBM started to pivot away from Europe and began to set up operations in Asia which did not have large exposure in the EU.

In fact, the problems that plagued the Euro Zone helped transform Asia as the world’s new seat of power. Asia is considered by many as the world’s fastest-growing region.

Case Study: The Bakery Owner

Assuming you own a bakery, how would these global events affect my business?

When there are fewer investments in your country, there will be fewer opportunities available in terms of jobs. With more people entering the unemployed, aggregate demand will be reduced. People will be spending less and saving more.

If your country is import-dependent, fewer investments can lead to a weaker currency. The cost of raw materials will be more expensive and will have an impact on your profit margins.

Petroleum is a major factor of production. It is a significant cost component in the manufacturing and transportation of products. If petroleum prices rise, everything rises. There will be a cascading effect – from the prices of raw materials to rental rates. The problem is worse if you have a weak currency.

So what will you do in the face of rising cost of raw materials, rent, and lower aggregate demand? Should you raise prices right away?

An alternative course of action is to change your business model. You can set up an e-commerce website for your bakery where customers can place their orders. This way, you open up a new stream of revenue for your business.

The cost of maintaining an e-commerce website is not much. Also, you can bake on demand and thus, reduce your inventory. If the volume of sales improves, you can put a temporary freeze on any price increase.

Eventually, you can do a comparative cost analysis. The result of the study will help you decide on whether to keep the brick-and-mortar bakery open or become a 100% online bakery business.

5 Reasons Why Business Owners Need To Be Aware Of Business News

As we just showed you, the effects of developments in other parts of the world will have repercussions on other countries and even on small businesses.

With the Greek Referendum of 2011, the businesses that planned their alternative courses of action in 2008-2009, were able to survive and even thrive in the face of worldwide turmoil.

Don’t assume that because you own a small or medium scale business that such major events will not affect you. When it comes to running a business, you must always be prepared to deal with uncertainties.

Keeping yourself updated on the latest developments around the world – and in your own backyard – is a step in the right direction.

Here are 5 reasons why business owners need to be aware of business news:

1. Improves Your Critical Decision-Making Skills

Contrary to what some people think, getting immersed in business news will not make you paranoid. The root of this thinking comes from the popular perception that news only focuses on negative developments.

To a certain extent, there is some truth to this. Media will tend to focus on negative developments because it attracts more interest. When you read business news, your purpose is to analyze the development and assess how it would affect your own business.

For example, if the government increased the minimum wage, how would it affect your cost of operations? Would it affect your profit margins significantly? How would the increase in the minimum wage rate affect your plans to expand your business? Would you consider outsourcing some tasks to streamline costs?

Reading the business news creates a cycle of “Question and Answer” which will help you come up with courses of action that could protect your business when conditions turn adverse in the future.

The key to finding the right information is to patronize only the most reliable and trustworthy websites. For your daily news, we recommend The Morning Brew for the following reasons:

  • The news is delivered straight to the point without fluff or filler content.
  • The articles are very well-written and kept brief and concise.
  • Reporting is generally unbiased and informative.
  • You can find news that fits your business or industry.

We have included the link to The Morning Brew. Get your news hot and fresh off the press every morning – and it is for free!

2. Provides Great Resources For Understanding Your Customer

Because of the Internet, people have more access to information. Your customers can easily be influenced by what they see and read on the Internet. In a few months – even weeks – the demographic that composes your audience may undergo significant changes.

The news also provides content that can help you develop a better understanding of your customer. Some publications and websites frequently share data on changing consumer behavior.

You can come across informative articles that discuss what customers expect from retailers and manufacturers. There are websites that feature opinion pieces from resource people who are attuned with the pulse of the market.

They have the ability to clearly articulate important information that you could use for business planning purposes.

Businesses that are involved in technology would greatly benefit from news about changing demand preferences. What kinds of apps are people looking for? For the reason that sales of PC continue to decline, will you campaign harder for mobile responsive design? What types of hardware for smartphones are in demand?

Creating a buyer’s profile is an important part of running a business. You should always keep track of what your buyers or followers need.

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3. Research Your Industry And Competitors

To run a successful business, you must also keep track of your competitors. Find out how they are performing in the industry. Are they introducing new products and services in the market?

Whenever an innovative product or game-changing service is launched, you can be sure that the news media will cover it. In some cases, the company – your competitor – will pay for the press release announcing the groundbreaking innovation.

Keep in mind that your competitors are also doing research on the industry and possibly, on you. Changes in their business development plans are a result of the investments the company has made on its research efforts.

By conducting research on your industry and competitors, you will also know which products or services are no longer in demand. You can uncover which competitors have closed down. From there, you can find out the reasons which contributed to their downfall.

4. Builds Up Your Analytical Mind

In some ways, keeping a daily schedule of reading the business news is like being in university. You learn new things every day. And if you don’t know some of the terms discussed or if the article appears vague, you will be compelled to do research.

When you were studying in the university, learning concepts such as depreciation, trade and budget deficits, Gross Domestic Product, and deregulation seemed pointless.

Now that you are running a business, you have developed a greater appreciation for economics because you can apply them to real-life situations.

You may have to go back to your old college textbooks to refresh your memory on what depreciation is. However, more than just learning its definition, you will clearly understand what depreciation is and how it can impact your business.

5. Great For Networking

Knowledge is power. That saying is 100% accurate and true. When you are updated in business news, you will never attend a business meeting unprepared. An important rule to remember when reading business news is that it is an exercise in comprehension, not memory work.

Do not memorize terms, names, dates, and events. A more effective approach would be to understand the information in the article; analyze it and apply the data to your own business.

“How will this new development in the news affect my business?”

Likewise, you will function more comfortably in a networking event. For sure, some of the people that you will attempt to connect with would like to find out your opinions on current events and the prevailing issues in the industry.

How you articulate your opinions will definitely influence the outcome of your networking efforts. People who are impressed with your knowledge would certainly want to connect with you and potentially do business in the future.

Conclusion

Although reading the news is usually done during break time or before the commencement of work, it can still qualify as part of the productive time. While you may occasionally skim through the funnies, sports, or entertainment, you must always prioritize business news.

For your business news-reading activity to become more productive, you should follow only the most reliable sources of information. As we suggested earlier, The Morning Brew is a great source of news. Sign up for a free subscription and get your fix of business news with your daily dose of caffeine every morning.

Do you have a particular favorite news website? Please feel free to share your recommendations on the comments section below.

And if you enjoyed this article, give us a call and we can help you write amazing and compelling content that will keep your business top-of-mind.

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The best outsourcing arrangements are those that grow from a client-service provider agreement and into a strategic partnership. After all, there should be mutual interest in order for the outsourcing venture to succeed.

As the client, you want to be assured of high-quality work on a consistent basis. As far as the outsourcing partner is concerned, the objective is to secure a long-term engagement of services.

5-Step Process On How To Choose Your Outsourcing Service Provider

The concept of outsourcing is effective in theory. In every agreement, there are always 2 parties involved. Agreements establish the obligations between the parties.

If companies are defined by their individual values, purpose, and vision then conflicts are very much possible between the parties involved in the agreement.  As in real-life, these conflicts must be mitigated, managed, and resolved for the relationship to succeed.

Thus, you must always qualify your prospective outsourcing service provider before signing on the dotted line.

We have provided you with a time-tested, proven effective 5-step approach to qualifying your potential strategic partner in business development:

1. Define Your Purpose

Why do you want to outsource?

That is the underlying question that you must answer before you pursue the outsourcing option. There are several reasons why companies want to outsource:

  • Reduce Cost – This remains the number one reason why companies outsource. In times of great economic uncertainty and volatility, it is understandable why businesses would prioritize cost-cutting measures.

However, if you put too much emphasis on cost, you might end up commoditizing the process of outsourcing.

One of the biggest mistakes by first-time outsources is to focus on pricing. The process of finding the right outsourcing partner becomes a bidding war. They end up choosing the outsourcing partner based on the lowest price not on capability.

Eventually, the outsourcing arrangement becomes a representative of the saying, “Penny-wise, pound-foolish”. The company could have selected an outsourcing partner that could render better quality work but instead chose one that offered lower rates.

It is perfectly fine to factor in costs in the selection process. However, set parameters and be disciplined about it. In the end, the quality of work must always take precedence over pricing.

  • Increase Business Productivity – To understand how outsourcing increases business productivity, ask yourself, “how much time do you spend filtering email?”

Now, imagine if you outsourced email filtering to a Virtual Assistant? The time that you previously spent filtering email can now be repurposed to managing tasks that are directly related to your business.

Let’s expand the coverage of outsourcing.

In addition to email filtering, outsource calendar management, phone handling, appointment setting, market research, content writing, digital marketing, web management, customer support, graphic design, accounting, payroll preparation, human resources, and SEO.

You get the picture.

You will have more time to manage the tasks that will contribute directly to your business’ bottom-line while ensuring all the other functions are properly attended to.

  • Improve the Quality of Work – Again, let us emphasize the need to contract the services of a qualified third-party service provider.

Finding the right outsourcing partner is similar to finding the right employee for the company. You want to make sure you hire the best person for the job.

When you outsource tasks or services, you have to be 100% sure the prospective outsourcing company has the requisite skills, experience, and expertise to guarantee you top quality work every time.

Thus, outsourcing not only saves you money but it also offers you the opportunity to improve the quality of work because you are hiring experts at a lower cost.

In our case, we have clients who initially hired us to design and develop their websites.

Eventually, we were contracted to manage their websites and protect the assets from hackers, phishing expeditions, and other malicious attacks.

Over time, these clients asked us to run their digital marketing campaigns because they do not have the time or expertise to learn digital marketing.

By outsourcing digital marketing to Mountaintop Web Design, our clients were able to save money, improve the quality of work, and lower the risk of incurring costly mistakes.

  • Integrate New Technologies, Systems, and Techniques – There are businesses that outsource because they want to scale up or improve their business model while limiting capital risk exposure.

The outsourcing partner becomes a “testing laboratory” where systems are designed, developed, and tested. A system is composed of different processes and frameworks.

A company can run any combination of processes and frameworks and assess which ones deliver the best results.

For the reason that outsourcing carries the benefits of comparative cost advantages and economies of scale, capital risk exposure is kept to a minimum.

You can read more about the benefits of outsourcing in our article “How Outsourcing Tasks Can Save You Money – And Build Your Business”.

Is it possible to have more than one reason to outsource? Yes. However, it would be advisable to prioritize the reasons why you plan to outsource. From there, you can prepare a mission statement or an Executive Summary that best encapsulates your purpose.

2. Conduct Comprehensive Research on the Outsourcing Venture

Whether you are thinking of outsourcing to a local or international service provider, you must always do comprehensive research on the potential partners as well as the process itself.

These are excellent sources of information. Our articles are well-researched. Other than the traditional research methodology, we interviewed businesses that have outsourced to verify or closely validate online data. You can be assured that the information you find in these articles closely approximate real-world experiences in outsourcing.

Likewise, you should do your own research and learn as much as you can about outsourcing.

What kind of studies should you come up with?

  1. Market/Industry Study – Find out the trends in the industry; which regions are growing and the functions that are commonly outsourced.
  2. Feasibility Study – Determine the numbers for the project. What are the initial costs? How much cost savings should you expect? What are your revenue targets? What are the risk factors?
  • Talk To Individuals/Companies That Have Outsourced –  One of the best ways to develop a deeper understanding of a concept is to talk to those who have done it.

Review your list of contacts in your email or social media and find out who among them have experience in outsourcing. Reach out and invite them for a 2-hour meeting to discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing.

You can also join business groups in social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Initiate a discussion on outsourcing. For sure, you will get valuable inputs from group members.

  • Contact Agencies – There are agencies that can connect you with potential outsourcing service providers. The advantage of using the services of an agency is that the service providers in their list have already been vetted. You can even request for recommendations from previous clients.

For example, if you plan to outsource services to the Philippines, you can reach out to the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) and the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP) which are the regulating agencies of the outsourcing industry.

CCAP and BPAP can recommend a list of member-outsourcing service providers that are in good standing.

  • Do Due Diligence Work – Outsourcing is a growth industry. Thus, you should expect a few unscrupulous groups to abuse the opportunity and scam unsuspecting companies.

Due diligence should always be part of the research process. Once you have drawn up a shortlist of prospective outsourcing partners, run a quick check to find out if they have an “unsavory” past.

Sometimes a simple Google check will yield “interesting” results. Of course, these pieces of information still have to be verified. At the very least, you can raise a few red flags on a few potential outsourcing partners.

Some companies put up special groups or teams that are tasked to conduct comprehensive research on outsourcing. The research is compiled and organized into report form and distributed to the company’s main decision makers.

In some cases, the company sends a team to visit the region of interest. For example, company “A” may send a small delegation to India to meet with prospective outsourcing partners.

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3. Send Out an RFI or Request For Information Sheet

When you are confident on your list of prospective outsourcing partners, ask them to fill out an RFI or Request For Information sheet.

The RFI will give all the information you need on the experience and capability of the service provider. It should include entries for the following pieces of information:

  • Year Company was Established
  • Number of Clients
  • List of Directors and Officers
  • Website
  • Social Media Pages
  • Core Competencies
  • Current Technology Profile
  • Major Accomplishments
  • Associations
  • Number of Managers
  • Number of Personnel
  • Current Organizational Structure
  • Current Operational Workflow

You should also ask the prospective outsourcing partner to attach a copy of its business papers – SEC Articles of Incorporation – as proof that the company is legitimate.

Are there potential red flags you should look out for?

  • No website
  • Refusal to answer RFI
  • Inactive or dormant social media pages
  • Invalid business papers – not updated
  • Refusal to provide business papers

The RFI is a standard document in outsourcing. Any party that refuses to comply should be scratched out from your list of potential partners.

4. Design and Develop a Partner Qualifying Process

If you were hiring a full-time employee, would you hire the first person who applied for the job? Our advice to you is “No”. It’s not because the first person is the least qualified of all the applicants. However, by hiring right away you forego the opportunity of comparing the candidates.

The same approach should be applied when choosing your outsourcing service provider. You must design and develop a partner qualifying process in order to select the best candidate from the list.

Technically, the RFI is part of the qualifying process. Set aside the candidates that have the most enticing RFI profiles. The next step is to invite the prospective outsourcing partner to an online interview.  You can use Skype, Viber, or any other audio-visual platform that you are comfortable with.

Prepare a list of questions or topics that you want to discuss during the online meeting. These questions should touch on the following:

  • What is the timeline for the commencement of operations?
  • What is their hiring process? How do they source talent?
  • How will the prospect guarantee the protection, security, and integrity of all shared data?
  • What are their disaster recovery plans?
  • Do they have a built-in career and succession planning program in place for their people?
  • Do they have a Process Improvement System in place?
  • How often are personnel re-oriented or re-trained?
  • Do they regularize employees?
  • Do they have a grading and employee evaluation process in place?

If you are considering an outsourcing partner from a remote location such as the Philippines and India, you will have to discuss the issue of language, cultural, and traditional barriers.

5. Cover the Engagement with Contracts

Last but certainly not the least, make sure the engagement is covered by contracts. What contracts are we referring to?

  • Service Level Agreement – Defines the level of service and the guidelines/ standards for maintaining the quality of work.
  • Confidentiality Agreement – This document is intended to protect the interest and all information that is shared between both parties.
  • Memorandum of Agreement – Summarizes the conditions of the agreement between the Client and the Outsourcing Partner. Includes a detailed summary of the obligations of each party.

Make sure the agreements are notarized. A copy must be sent to the Outsourcing partner.

Conclusion: Outsourcing – Your Hedge Versus Uncertainty

While the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line, the same can’t be said about the road to success. There will be steep climbs to make, sharp drops to avoid, and dangerous curves to navigate.

The uncertain nature of business makes success fleeting for many entrepreneurs. If revenue targets are not met and you don’t have deep pockets, it will be difficult to navigate your business through the rough patches.  

The usual course of action is to cut costs. However, once you reach the equilibrium point where every unit of cost that is cut results in diminished quality of output, the cost-cutting measure becomes counter-productive to business.

Instead of cutting costs, streamline them through outsourcing.

Delegate or transfer tasks, responsibilities, even entire departments to qualified third-party service providers who can maintain or improve the quality of output at lower costs.

The keyword is qualified.

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it especially with someone who is thinking about outsourcing.

And if you want to know how outsourcing can help your business grow despite tough times, please feel free to give us a call or an email. We will be more than happy to discuss the benefits of outsourcing with you via a free 30-minute consultation.

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While many employees spend their free time daydreaming of becoming financially independent, the entrepreneur is working to make the dream a reality. That is why entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature.

Entrepreneurs are willing to take that all-important first step of breaking free from the chains of the 9-to-5 grind and take command of their of their own destiny. Instead of driving someone else’s business, they go behind the wheel and follow the course they have charted for their own business success.

Yet, sometimes these very same attributes – ambition, drive, and dedication – can become an entrepreneur’s own worst enemies.

They end up taking on too many tasks most of which are administrative in nature. As a result, a big chunk of their waking hours are spent – rather, wasted – attending to functions that have no direct contribution to their bottom line.

The workday becomes unproductive. The essential tasks or the core functions of the business are left unattended. Goals are not met. Business targets become farther away today compared to yesterday.

By taking on non-essential tasks, the entrepreneur ends up working for his/her business instead of on his/her business. Ironically, the entrepreneur has become an employee of his/her own business.

Is there a way or a process the entrepreneur can use so he/she can focus on the main functions of the business without overlooking the administrative tasks?

The Solution: Outsource Tasks And/Or Services!

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you rather spend 2 hours filtering your Inbox or working on a client’s project?
  • Would you like it if your phone keeps ringing every 30 minutes while you are working on your client’s project?
  • Would it be okay with you if the Internet provider cut its service because you unwittingly forgot to pay the latest invoice?

If you answered “No” to these questions, it is time for you to consider outsourcing tasks of your business.

Outsourcing is the process of delegating or transferring predetermined tasks or functions to a third-party service provider.

You can read more about the benefits of outsourcing in our article “How Outsourcing Tasks Can Save You Tons Of Money – And Build Your Business”. In the article, we presented an accounting of how much money you can save through outsourcing.

Essentially, outsourcing is the ideal strategy for entrepreneurs, especially those in the start-up stage, because it is a low-cost, high-value solution. From the article, you will come to understand that with outsourcing, costs are easily managed.

Outsourcing will present you with options that you can use to stretch your finances without compromising the quality of goods and services.

FTE Vs. Outsourced Talent: Which Is The Better Option?

Cost savings are possible because you are taking advantage of comparative advantages that are generated by outsourcing foremost of which is labor.

With outsourcing, you are not hiring full-time employees or FTEs. Instead, you are contracting the services of qualified people or agencies. This distinction between FTE and contracted services is very important!

Let’s compare the FTE and the outsourced talent:

Particulars:FTE:Outsourced Talent:
Rate/Hour (Minimum)$18$8
Work Hours/Day8Flexible
Work Days/Week5 to 6Flexible
Paid Benefits:YesNo
Total Cost:$27/hour$8

As you can see, flexibility is the key differentiator between an outsourced talent and an FTE. When you contract services, you are not obligated by law to pay a minimum wage or designate the mandated work hours per week.

This makes it possible to be more financially flexible with the outsourced talent compared to hiring an FTE.

Here are some real-world examples:

  • Contract the services of a virtual assistant who can manage your administrative tasks 10 hours a week.
  • Outsource content writing services and pay the outsourced talent on a per word or per productive hour basis.
  • Outsource web development/management services to Mountaintop Web Design and pay fixed charges on a monthly basis.

By agreeing on the conditions for payment, you are assured of higher productivity and better quality of work.

According to a study that was presented by productivity coach Steve Pavlina, the average American office worker only puts in 90 minutes of productive work every day.

That is 90 minutes out of 480 total work minutes every day or a productivity rating of only 19%! Yet, America remains the strongest economy in the world.

What happened to the remaining 390 minutes? According to Pavlina, those hours are spent surfing the Internet, taking extended water cooler/coffee breaks,  napping, checking their cell phones, and reading the news.

Guess what? Those hours are paid. This means every time an FTE chit-chats with a another FTE about the latest Netflix movie, you are paying for those minutes.

By outsourcing, you are also increasing your level of productivity because now you can place greater focus on the main enterprise of your business.

A study presented by the Harvard Business Review showed that at most, people can only maintain 100% focus on a given task for 90 minutes. After completing the task, you have to rest the mind for at least 10 minutes.

Assuming an 8-hour work schedule, this means that by outsourcing tasks, you can target 4 to 5 tasks to accomplish every day. That is 360 minutes out of 480 minutes per day or a productivity rating of 75%!

In contrast, a fully-paid FTE who can tender only 90 minutes of productive time per day will possibly only accomplish 1 task per day.

Which Tasks Should You Outsource?

Hopefully, at this point, we have convinced you of how outsourcing can build your business. The question we will answer in this section is which tasks you should outsource.

In the future, we will present a more detailed and comprehensive article on how to take a strategic approach to outsourcing that can scale up your business. For now, we will show you how to identify the tasks that you should outsource in order to streamline costs and increase productivity.

You will need to answer these questions:

  • Which tasks are non-essential or not directly related to my business’ main enterprise?
  • Which tasks will require a higher level of expertise and greater experience?
  • Which tasks are repetitive in nature?
  • Which tasks do I have the tendency to overlook or forget?
  • Which tasks do I greatly dislike doing?

From there, you will probably come up with the same or similar tasks that we have outlined below:

1. Administrative Tasks

For many entrepreneurs, administrative tasks are the necessary evils of running a business. These tasks are categorized as non-essentials, meaning they are not directly related to your business’ main enterprise. However, they play an essential role because administrative tasks keep your business organized and running.

Examples of administrative tasks that you should outsource:

  • E-mail Filtering
  • Calendar Management
  • Appointment Setting
  • Phone Handling
  • Preparing Reports
  • Limited Research
  • Database or CRM Management
  • Bookings and Reservations
  • Preparation of Limited Communication

2. Technical/Specialized Skills

Your business may need to introduce new products and services that require greater skill, a higher level of expertise, and longer tenure. These are skills that you cannot become proficient at simply by watching YouTube videos or reading a “For Dummies” instructional. Otherwise, the quality of work will suffer.

Examples of technical/specialized skills that you should outsource:

  • Website Design/Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Content Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Software App Development
  • Transcription Services
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3. Customer Support Services

Many businesses stunt their growth because they are only focused on new market development. In so doing, they neglect their current market base or end users of their products or services.

Don’t forget your current end users. They are already your customers. The cost of maintaining them is lower than creating new markets for your products and services. And the returns are much higher because your current end users already made the decision to choose you over the competition.

Having great customer service assures your existing end users that their needs and concerns are always met and addressed right away.

Examples of Customer Support Services that you should outsource:

  • Inbound Phone Support
  • Technical Support Services
  • Email Support
  • After-Sales Surveys or Outbound Call Support
  • Chat Support
  • Content Moderation Services

4. Back-Office Functions

It’s called the back-office because the people who work here are not seen but otherwise play a valuable role in running your business. You can outsource these tasks to qualified third-party service providers and still get great results.

Examples of back-office functions that you should outsource:

  • General Accounting
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Employee Benefits Administration
  • Human Resources Management – Recruitment, interviews, testing, evaluation, and selection

Conclusion

To better understand the value of outsourcing, let’s delve into the mind of the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs or to be more specific, small to medium scale business owners, are limited by their resources. Even the most successful ones do not have the benefit of liquidity compared to large scale businesses. This is, of course, part of the growth process.

As a small business owner, the immediate challenge is to maintain liquidity before achieving profitability. Effective cash flow management is very important. Thus, an entrepreneur strives to keep operations as lean as possible.

Instead of hiring employees to help him/her run the show, they take on most, if not all of the tasks of the business.

Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell there is nothing they can’t do. Like a superhero, an entrepreneur will take on any challenge and believe they can win it. The reality is, victories are only short-term.

Over the long-run, the number of unproductive workdays has accumulated to a point that the business starts to suffer.

Your best option is to outsource specific tasks or functions. Not only will outsourcing services greatly reduce the costs of running a business but the strategy will help you increase productivity without compromising the quality of work.

If you enjoyed this article and know people who would greatly benefit from it, please feel free to share!

And if you would like to know how Mountaintop can help you get started on your own outsourcing solution, please do not hesitate to give us a call. You can consult with us for 30 minutes free of charge.

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