Expansion: To Do Or Not To Do

Posted on August 29th, 2013 by Skye-Lynn Ferch Categories Blog

The decision to expand your business should be based on a number of components, such as financials, logistics and your own emotional readiness. As logic suggests and many have overlooked, only expand your business if you think it will be profitable. If there is an area of town that is not served by competitors or a niche market with unmet needs, then the stage might be set for expansion.

 

Scale Up and Over the Competition

 

Achieving economies of scale should be taken into consideration when debating over whether or not you want to expand your business. As your business grows, it should either lower prices and/or increase profits due to declining costs per unit. Typically, once you increase the volume of your purchases necessary for production, the cost per unit decreases. In addition, cost-per-unit should decline as overhead costs are spread out over more and more units. You should expect to increased value for your customer base as marketing increases and they begin to see more product features.

 

Hands Off Approach

 

Expanding your business will require you to delegate responsibilities that you have been used to doing on your own. You may have to learn some management skills that you did not need when doing things on a smaller skill with fewer or no employees. Investors might be necessary in order to expand and, to many entrepreneurs’ dismay, investors demand some say in how the business is run.

 

Learn more about how to grow your small business with the help of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Click here for information on how to forecast your business’ growth, learn better management techniques and stay competitive.

 

Engagement Increases the Bottom Line

Posted on August 21st, 2013 by Skye-Lynn Ferch Categories Blog

Americans spend an average of 1,700 hours a year working, according to BusinessInsider.com. This is quite a lot of time in a person’s year, so why not make it enjoyable and productive. In fact, a rather recent study by Towers Watson shows that employees that engaged at work are much more productive. Thus, as a business owner, it would behoove you to create a positive and engaging work environment. Take a look at Google’s headquarters for an extreme case of offering employees reason to engage at work. Arcade games, gourmet food, massages on request, nap rooms and swimming pools are a few of the luxuries Googlers enjoy while working for Google. Let’s take a look at how to achieve engagement at the office on a smaller scale.

 

A Caring Culture

 

To make sure employees feel the company cares about them, create one-on-ones between mentors and mentees and group activities focused solely on communicating with one another on a personal basis. If employees feel detached and unsupported then it can threaten quality and productivity. There are four types of effective behavior that were determined by a Harvard Business Study as important for employees:

 

• Giving feedback and reacting to problems with compassion and assistance
• Displaying support for employees and supporting subordinates in alleviating tense situations, keeping everyone informed and disclosing personal information
• Acknowledging good work both publicly and privately
• Requesting the opinions of subordinates and acting on them

 

Trust and Bonding

 
Bonding

Trust in the workplace is often repaid with honesty and employees contributing more hours of work in the long run. As long as the work gets done, allowances can be made in schedules, not necessarily adhering to the 9 to 5 schedule. Find a common ground among team members and arrange an outing or activity that everyone will enjoy doing together. For example, if everyone enjoys art, get everyone together to visit a local art museum one evening.

 

If you would like to find out more on how to actively engage your employees, check out this article in Entrepreneur.com. Make all those hours spent together enjoyable and you will see productivity and office morale jump to new heights!

 

Intern Spotlight: Stephanie Laucho

Posted on August 14th, 2013 by Skye-Lynn Ferch Categories Blog

Stephanie Laucho has been a wonderful addition to The REFUGE Group team over the past couple of months. Consistently improving and putting forth her best effort on a daily basis, Stephanie was determined to learn as much as possible.

Social Media Super Hero

 

Stephanie Laucho

Our clients’ social media pages felt the impact of Stephanie’s superb work while at The REFUGE Group. We quickly noticed increased engagement and new fans and followers once she learned the ropes. Once she learned what is appropriate to post, what prompts engagement and the idiosyncrasies between posting on different social media sites she soared higher and higher. Engagement increased on many of our clients’ social media sites under Stephanie’s command.

 

Analyzing Reports

 

Stephanie began to appreciate the usefulness of report analysis from the start. She learned that reports should be created and analyzed on a weekly basis in order to determine what type of posts tend to increase engagement and which ones do not. It is also a way to conduct marketing research because you have an idea of who is your audience. As Stephanie analyzed these weekly and monthly reports, she altered her posts accordingly, which as noted earlier, were a great success.

 

Blogs

 

Over time, Stephanie learned how to write in the casual writing style used in a blog and support her thoughts with credible sources, often with the use of hyperlinks. The complexity of her writing also improved as she discovered words to avoid and began to treasure the thesaurus as many bloggers do, myself included.

 

We will certainly miss having Stephanie as part of the team and appreciate all the hard work she did during her summer internship. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors and hope she keeps in touch.

Marketing a Business

Posted on August 7th, 2013 by Skye-Lynn Ferch Categories Blog

Marketing has its place in every business. According to the Business Dictionary, “Marketing is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction.” Based on this, a marketer’s job is to prove how a product will satisfy their needs. Putting together a marketing strategy can be expensive and time-consuming, making the task quite challenging. There are two ways you can promote your business, traditional marketing and online marketing. Now, you will probably ask which one is more effective? There is no single answer for this question because both can help you succeed.

 

Traditional Marketing

 

Traditional MarketingTraditional marketing involves using direct mail, print advertising, broadcasting, and referrals and has been around for many years. Print advertising is the oldest of traditional marketing. Its goal is to create awareness through displays on magazines, newspapers or billboards. This type of marketing is usually expensive and targeted towards large businesses. This is also the case for broadcasting which includes radio and television. According to the Houston Chronicle, TV and radio can reach a large audience in a short time period. However, it has a shorter lifetime compared to print advertising. Direct mail creates awareness through catalogs, letters, brochures, etc. If you have a small business you can start with direct mail and referrals, which are less expensive and less time consuming.

  

Online Marketing

 

Online MarketingOnline marketing works through the Internet and mobile devices and its success began around the 2000’s. For small businesses new in the market, online marketing is a great way to increase sales, while quickly gaining exposure. One form of online marketing is social media. Social media sites like, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest are all great ways to communicate your brand message at no cost to the company or you individually. Email marketing is another form of online marketing, but in order for it to be successful, it must be appealing and well planned.

 

The majority of businesses utilize a combination of traditional and online marketing. According to Econsultancy, using these channels together will help you develop a solid plan that draws a desired behavior from the consumer towards your product. Each business is different and should develop the best combination of marketing methods according to what they have to offer and what they think their customers need.

 

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