100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

When you’re a small business owner, time is always working against you. There’s a lot to get done and you typically don’t have a big staff, or a staff at all, to help.

You could try working more hours, but that can actually work against you. You can hire employees, but that’s not always financially feasible.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Or, you can use the time saving tips below to work more efficiently and boost your time management skills.

Prepping for Better Time Management

These time savings tips are more effective when implemented on top of a solid foundation. Here are some ways to get your mind and body ready.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

The Enemies of Time Management

No matter how good your intentions, sometimes things get in your way.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

If you want to make the most of these time saving tips, you need to watch out for the factors that will prevent your success:

Procrastination: Friend or Foe?

Sometimes, it pays to put off an action or decision. In these cases, procrastination can help you.

On the other hand, procrastination can be one of the greatest enemies of time management. Try these tips to get your procrastination under control.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Time Saving Tips

Here’s the first round of tips in this post. Each link leads to a post that will help you improve your time management skills and get more done in your day.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

One More Book

Aside from the book mentioned earlier, the book, Deep Work: Stop Being Shallow With Your Minutes is another resource that “deals with the paradox of time management in the age of social media.”

Time Saving Tips for Social Media

One of the best places to reduce time spent in your small business, without reducing quality or quantity, is with social media.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

There are many ways to save time and become more efficient when using social sites, all without becoming a “social media robot.”

Using Cloud Computing to Save Time

You can also move to the cloud use the cloud to save time on everything from your everyday tasks to more long-term projects.

Using Automation to Save Time

Automation enables you to save time like nothing else. Here are some posts to help you make the most of automation tools.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Next Generation Automation: Chatbots

Chatbots use artificial intelligence and machine learning  to provide customer service and even sales support.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Here’s what you need to know about these time saving tools:

Managing Time Through Delegation

If you’re lucky enough to have employees, you can manage your time, and theirs, using delegation. Here are some time saving tips related to doing just that:

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Managing Time Through Outsourcing

On the other hand, if you’re a solopreneur or have a small staff, outsourcing is a solid way to get more done over the same time period. Here are some time saving tips related to that approach:

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Good Project Management = Time Saved

Using tried and true project management techniques can save time, every time. If you’re looking for a way to implement project management practices, here’s a list of 20 project management tools.

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Time Management Tools and Apps

Happily, you have your pick of online tools and mobile apps to use for managing your time. Check out these posts for suggestions:

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Tracking is the Key to Successful Time Management

It’s hard to understate the importance of time tracking. After all, if you don’t track how you use your time, how can you manage it?

100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses

This article, “100+ Time Saving Tips for Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends

Top 10 Home Office Essentials (Video)

Did you know that 69 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses at home? Or that the share of people doing some or all of their work at home grew from 19 percent in 2003 to 24 percent in 2015?

Combined, these trends have moved the home office from a nice to have to a must-have in a short span of years.

But working from home can be a challenge, especially if your home office lacks one or more of the essentials discussed in the video above.

Home Office Essentials that Support Your Success

When you start working from home, you’re faced with a number of new responsibilities, ones that were handled for you in your previous in-office work life. These include essentials like buying your own office equipment, selecting your own office furniture and making sure you always have the necessary office supplies on hand.

Nailing these home office essentials is key if you want to stay energized and productive. Some can even affect your health. The 10 discussed in the video above break down into three distinct categories:

1. Equipment and Services: When you work from home, you need a way to stay in touch with the outside world. That’s why a reliable, high speed internet connection is key. You’ll also want to protect your office equipment, both to cover your investment and the fact that they’re important to getting your work done, with surge protectors.

2. Mindset: Working from home can get lonely so you need to keep yourself in a positive mood by decorating your office with elements that cheer you up and keep you motivated. In addition, working form home can be distracting so make sure your home office sports a door.

3. Personal health: fitting in exercise (remember, you’re no longer commuting), buying a comfortable, ergonomic chair, and adding plants that freshen the air are all ways to stay healthy in your new office.

If you want to make your new work from home life — well — work, you must stock your office with the 10 home office essentials listed in the video above.

Make sure to also check out the full list of 21 home office must haves.

This article, “Top 10 Home Office Essentials (Video)” was first published on Small Business Trends

Top 10 Home Office Essentials (Video)

Did you know that 69 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses at home? Or that the share of people doing some or all of their work at home grew from 19 percent in 2003 to 24 percent in 2015?

Combined, these trends have moved the home office from a nice to have to a must-have in a short span of years.

But working from home can be a challenge, especially if your home office lacks one or more of the essentials discussed in the video above.

Home Office Essentials that Support Your Success

When you start working from home, you’re faced with a number of new responsibilities, ones that were handled for you in your previous in-office work life. These include essentials like buying your own office equipment, selecting your own office furniture and making sure you always have the necessary office supplies on hand.

Nailing these home office essentials is key if you want to stay energized and productive. Some can even affect your health. The 10 discussed in the video above break down into three distinct categories:

1. Equipment and Services: When you work from home, you need a way to stay in touch with the outside world. That’s why a reliable, high speed internet connection is key. You’ll also want to protect your office equipment, both to cover your investment and the fact that they’re important to getting your work done, with surge protectors.

2. Mindset: Working from home can get lonely so you need to keep yourself in a positive mood by decorating your office with elements that cheer you up and keep you motivated. In addition, working form home can be distracting so make sure your home office sports a door.

3. Personal health: fitting in exercise (remember, you’re no longer commuting), buying a comfortable, ergonomic chair, and adding plants that freshen the air are all ways to stay healthy in your new office.

If you want to make your new work from home life — well — work, you must stock your office with the 10 home office essentials listed in the video above.

Make sure to also check out the full list of 21 home office must haves.

This article, “Top 10 Home Office Essentials (Video)” was first published on Small Business Trends

The Ultimate Collection of Office Ideas for Your Small Business

The Ultimate Collection of Office Ideas for Your Small Business

Whether you work in a traditional office, a home office, or on the road, your productivity and morale can be affected by the way you set up your office.

From choosing your office space to how you decorate and organize it, there are a lot of decisions to make. In addition, there are many things you may not know you need to consider, especially if you’re setting up your first small business office.

So, if you’re looking to get the most from, and inspire your employees, take some time to check out the collection of small business office ideas below.

Office Ideas: Renting and Moving Tips

Before you can set up your office, you need to first find one. If you’re working at home or on the road, this section’s not much use. (There are special sections for you below!) However, if you need to rent or lease a space for your small business, read on.

Securing Your First Office Space

Procuring an office space can be mighty overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. These 21 tips can be used as a starting point and should help you ask the questions you didn’t know you needed to ask. Once you’ve check out that list, take a look at these additional tips for picking out your first office space.

14 Tips for Finding Office Space for Your Growing Team

Growth is great, but it may squeeze your small business out of its current office space. These 14 tips provide actionable options for relieving those growing pains.

Changing Spaces

When the time comes to move your office, it’s important that the move does not detract from everyday businesses. Here are 12 tips that will help you plan a low-impact move and six ways to relieve any move-related stress.

Office Ideas: Setup and Organization Tips

The way your office is configured can make or break employee productivity and collaboration. Plan before you begin and use the additional tips below to discover more office ideas.

What is the Optimal Startup Office Setup?

This post discusses some of the high-level points you should consider as you begin to plan an office space for your startup.

5 Ways to Optimize Your Workspace

Read these five tips for more ideas on how to get the most out of your office space.

Is Bigger Better? Office Politics and Working Real Estate Space

Office politics and position often dictate who gets a corner office or even a door at all. Here are some things to consider when divvying out the spots where each employee will work within the office.

Conference Room Design Ideas for Your Business

One of the most important considerations when planning your small business office space is determining the space where your employees will gather to work together. This handy infographic discusses many topics from the size of your conference space to temperature, color and technology.

10 Tips for Creating the Ultimate Break Room for Your Employees

Working at a startup can be grueling, especially at the beginning when long hours are more the norm than not. Use these break room ideas to create a space for your employees to decompress during and after a hard day’s work.

LED Carpeting May Light the Way to the Future

If you’re going for a futuristic, uncluttered look, you might want to consider using LED carpeting instead of distracting signs and directions.

Open Plan Office

Should your business have an open plan office setup where there are few walls and many places to meet and collaborate? There are many arguments on both sides of this discussion. On the upside, people argue that an open plan office increases employee engagement. On the downside, an open office plan leads to noise and distractions something that can usually be handled by creating rules, but not always.

14 Ways to Use Color to Organize Your Office

This post addresses the use of color at both the office level and at the employee-by-employee level. Both approaches provide useful ideas for using color when setting up and organizing your workspace.

21 Storage and Organization Ideas to Make any Office Run Smoother

Finally, here are 21 tips for organizing your office efficiently. Again, these can be used at both the office level and at the employee-by-employee level depending on what you decide is best for your small business.

Office Ideas: Decor Tips

Decorating your office can be tricky. You want a space that helps your employees reach their peak productivity while, at the same time, you want it to be welcoming to visiting clients and customers. Here are some ideas for accomplishing both goals.

How Color Makes You Work Better

Colors can have a positive and negative affect on productivity and brand perception. Here are 14 tips that will help you use color in your office to achieve the results you want.

Office Decorating Ideas

The two posts below contain 40 office decorating tips for you to consider:

20 Indoor Plants That Can Improve Your Office Environment

Indoor plants are a colorful, and often inexpensive, way to decorate you office. Plants can even increase the health of your employees, clients, and customers. Here’s a list of 20 plants to consider for your office.

Office Ideas: Motivation and Inspiration Tips

The way you set up your small business office can have a real effect on your employees. Here are some office ideas on how to maximize that effect.

20 Power Packed Tips to Create an Inspiring Workspace

If you’re looking to create an inspiring workspace, consider these 20 tips or, watch the video below for the top 10 ways to create an inspiring workplace:

Tickle Your Funny Bone: 20 Desk Toys for the Office

Encouraging both fun and laughter is a great way to keep employee morale high. Here’s a list of 20 desk toys that can help you do just that.

Office Ideas: Green Office Tips

When it comes to your office, there are many reasons to go green. Whichever reason you state, here are some posts that will help you accomplish your eco-friendly goals:

Office Ideas: Standing Desks and Ergonomic Chairs

Before you purchase furniture for your small business office, you may want to read these posts:

Office Ideas: Home Office Tips

There are lots of valid reasons for either your employees or you to work at home. While there are additional considerations (like home based business insurance), in the end, it’s a viable approach for many small businesses. Here are some tips for setting up a home office that works for you.

Setting Up Your Home Office

You want to create the perfect home office setup, with everything you need to be successful every day. Before getting started, you may want to consider these tips from celebrity home office organizers, and don’t forget specialty items like ecommerce shipping supplies if called for.

Finally, if you’re pressed for space, here’s a look at one of the coolest advances in how we use space, Ori Robotic Furniture:

Home Office Printers

In a home office, a printer typically serves three purposes:

  • Printing;
  • Faxing; and
  • Scanning.

Here are 15 printers to consider for your home office plus two more printers to check out if you don’t find anything you like on the first list.

Office Ideas: Mobile Office Tips

If your employees or you are part of the growing group of people who work on the go, then you should consider these tips on how to create a mobile office that enables each of you to be productive while also staying on the move.

Mobile Office Supplies

After reading that post, you may want to check out this list of 19 things you’ll need to take your business mobile as well as these 15 mobile phone signal boosters for business users.

Screen Real Estate and Privacy

If you like using multiple screen when you’re in the office, then you’ll love this DIY idea for creating a three screen laptop. And speaking of screens, since you’ll likely use your laptop and other mobile devices in public, consider one of these 20 privacy screen protectors for your computers and phones.

Charging On the Go

Finally, here are some ideas for keeping your devices juiced and ready when you’re out of the office:

Office Ideas: Alternatives to the Traditional Office

Lastly, here are some non-traditional office alternatives that might suit your business better:

Coworking Spaces

Coworking is just that — sharing an office with other businesses to lower costs and management efforts. Check out these 20 hot coworking spaces for business or watch the video above to discover the top 10 coworking spaces for small businesses:

More Office Alternatives

If you like the convenience of a third-party conference room but want something more than your choice of sterile hotel options, check out the approach Meet At The Apartment takes.

And finally, if you like tiny houses, you might just love one of these unique home office solutions.

Office Design Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Ultimate Collection of Office Ideas for Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

Top 10 Ways to Create an Inspiring Workplace (Video)

Inspiring and motivating your small business employees takes both science and leadership.

On the one hand, there are specific actions you can take to make your office more inspiring on a day-to-day basis.

On the other hand, there are things that only you as the leader of your team can do to motivate your employees to work at their peak performance.

Both sides of the equation are explored in the top 10 ways to create an inspiring workplace video above.

Tips to Create an Inspiring Workplace

The video kicks off by suggesting some ways you can create an inspiring work environment using approaches grounded in science including:

  • Organizing your workspace: de-cluttering your work environment also helps de-clutter your brain. It lowers the number of distractions while enabling your personal processes to work smoothly with nothing in the way.
  • Improving your view: there’s no reason you or your employees should spend the work day staring at pinned-up memos and empty walls. Encourage folks to hang images that motivate them, from inspiration quotes to pictures of family and places they want to visit.
  • Using smell: smells can calm you down or fill you with energy. No matter which you are trying to accomplish, make sure you have something on hand to provide the boost you need.

After the science comes leadership and that’s where you come in. Some ways you can inspire and motivate your small business employees include:

  • Promoting personal growth: show your employees you care about their careers with opportunities to learn new skills. And, this is one employee benefit that will help your company as well.
  • Recognizing achievements: make sure to call out employees when they’ve achieved something. The motivation from such recognition can keep people going for months.
  • Monitoring and measuring: to assure your employees remain inspired, make sure to check in with them every now and then to get their feedback.

All 10 of the ways to create an inspiring workplace discussed in the video above take time and effort, but the payoff is a motivated, productive workforce.

Make sure to also check out the full list of 20 power packed tips to create an inspiring workspace.

This article, “Top 10 Ways to Create an Inspiring Workplace (Video)” was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes

Currently running 27.5 percent of all websites (yes, all of them), WordPress dominates the World Wide Web and is among the best website builders for small businesses.

One of the things that keeps WordPress at the top is the wide variety of both free and premium themes available to use. Themes enable you change the look and feel of your website, and more, with the click of a button and some themes are way more popular than others.

What Separates the Most Popular WordPress Themes from the Others?

This is where the ‘and more’ included in the explanation above plays in. In addition to changing the look and feel of your WordPress website, themes can also provide a framework that enhances the features and functionality of your site including:

  • Content: custom post types such as portfolio items and testimonials.
  • Display: custom widgets, shortcodes, and color pallettes.
  • Layout: text columns, image sliders, and page/post layout.
  • ‘No Coding’ Site Management: the ability to use the above features to customize your site without the help of a web developer or designer.

That isn’t to say that all of the popular WordPress themes provides a framework. Some of the top 10 are popular becuase they come with WordPress by default.

Which Are the Most Popular WordPress Themes?

Over at builtwith.com, you can see a live view of the most popular WordPress themes. At the time of writing, the breakout looks like this:

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes

Let’s take a look at each of the 10 most poplar WordPress themes in more detail.

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework is the brainchild of Brian Clark, founder of the wildly popular (at least with bloggers, content marketers, and copywriters) Copyblogger site. Given that, it’s not surprising that many folks who start their own site opted to use the tool created by the person who taught them how to blog.

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Genesis Framework

Genesis comes packed with goodies including ways to changes the look and feel of your site, customize your header, and custom widgets.

In addition to the basic look and feel shown above, you can also purchase child themes that work on top of the Genesis Framework. Some of these themes also extend the features and functionality of your site with custom post types and layouts. This gives you many ways to customize your site beyond the default so you can make it yours.

Divi

Divi is the ultimate drag-and-drop WordPress theme:

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Divi

Divi is chock-full of features and functionality. You can start with their 20+ templates or just get going from scratch. This theme focuses on the ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ experience. You work right on your site pages, bypassing the regular WordPress editing features. This enables you to see what your page will look like before hitting the publish button, a great feature for non-techies.

Avada

If you really like to tinker with the look and feel of your website, then check out the Avada theme.

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Avada

Avada comes with 22 built-in themes (the one above is Avada Resume), each of which can be customized down to the finest level of detail with no coding needed. From portfolio pages to blog layouts and shortcodes galore, Avada has something for everyone, and then some.

WooFramework

WooFramework come from the same folks as the very popular WooCommerce platform.

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - WooFramework

While you can buy themes like the one above, the place the WooFramework really shines is its ecommerce storefront themes. As you would imagine, those set of themes integrate seamlessly with the WooCommerce platform. So, if you need an online store up and running fast, this is the theme to check out.

Foodie Pro

The only Genesis child theme to make it into the 10 most popular WordPress themes list is Foodie Pro:

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Foodie Pro

As you can see above, this theme has a clean look and feel. Despite the name, the theme can be used for any type of small business. That flexibility is likely the biggest factor in this theme’s popularity.

Enfold

The Enfold theme is another super-flexible theme that can be used by any small business.

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Enfold

Enfold comes with 25 templates, many of which are for specific types of small businesses such as a spa, restaurant, photographer, and even a generic startup company. There are many useful features and functionality built into this theme, not as many as in Avada, but sometime less is more when you need to get work done.

Default WordPress Themes

Since 2010, the WordPress team comes out with a new default theme each year. The four remaining themes in our list fall into that category.

These themes do not come packed with features, they basically control the look and feel and that’s it. But simplicity is nice in it’s own way.

Twenty Twelve

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Twenty Twelve

Click here to download the Twenty Twelve theme.

Twenty Eleven

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Twenty Eleven

Click here to download the Twenty Eleven theme.

Twenty Fourteen

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Twenty Fourteen

Click here to download the Twenty Fourteen theme.

Twenty Ten

10 Most Popular WordPress Themes - Twenty Ten

Click here to download the Twenty Ten theme.

WordPress Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Most Popular WordPress Themes” was first published on Small Business Trends

Top 10 Tea Franchise Opportunities (Video)

While tea, a drink made by soaking leaves in hot water, seems like a straightforward product, the history of the beverage reaches back thousands of years and around the world. There are more types of tea, both straight and blends, than you can imagine, each with fans and detractors.

Almost every culture has its own relationship with tea. Some, like the Japanese, can view teatime as a ritualized, formal occasion. Others, like the English, use teatime to gather and socialize. In the US, many view their cup of tea as a well-deserved reward to relax them after a long day.

No matter what your view of tea, the fact is that tea sales are projected to grow 4.3 percent annually in the US through 2020. If you want to ride that wave, consider one of the top 10 tea franchise opportunities in the video above.

Beyond Teavana

Thanks to its many mall locations, Teavana may be the best known tea chain in the US, but it’s far from the only one out there. Tea franchises keep springing up, some originating regionally in the US and others enter as imports. Many of these shops sell a variety of teas including:

  1. Traditional teas: The four primary types of traditional tea are black, white, oolong and Puer. Teas from different parts of the world can taste different so there’s a lot of variety among just these four types. In addition, with these teas as their base, the art of blending has developed, turning four types of teas into thousands.
  2. Trendy teas: While tea can be traditional, it can also be trendy. One such trend, bubble tea shops, have seen tremendous growth since their introduction in the US. The beverage, made from regular tea with tapioca pearls added, originated in Taiwan and has taken the world by storm.
  3. Experimental teas: Tea enthusiasts continue to search for blends they’ll enjoy. Whether they prepare tea leaves differently or throw in non-tea ingredients such as flowers, their teas are an ever-evolving canvas of flavors.

So, if you’re looking for a business opportunity that’s both interesting and growing, make sure to check out the top 10 tea franchise opportunities in the video above.

Make sure to also check out the full list of 18 tea franchises to challenge Teavana.

Tea Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Top 10 Tea Franchise Opportunities (Video)” was first published on Small Business Trends

The Ultimate Guide to Improving Customer Service

The Ultimate Guide to Improving Customer Service

Customer service is one of the key linchpins of small business success. Do it poorly and you’ll drive your customers away, do it well and it can pay off in ways you never expected.

As a small business owner, you should always work on improving customer service. That means:

  • Understanding the value of good customer service;
  • Keeping an eye on trends and statistics;
  • Building a solid customer service team;
  • Staying on top of the latest tips and tools;
  • Figuring out how to manage your team; and
  • Learning from real-world customer service examples, both positive and negative.

Guide to Improving Customer Service

Small Business Trends has been reporting on the world of customer service for years and has an archive chock-full of the information you need to excel at serving your customers. Below, in one spot, you can find the information you need to improve your customer service.

Understanding the Value of Good Customer Service

No matter how much time and resources you spend improving customer service, you’ll likely make it back in spades. Here are three posts that focus on the value of good customer service.

Customer Service Matters Much More Than You May Think

Here you’ll find three bottom-line examples of the value of customer service. One important takeaway from this post: not all of the effects of good customer service are outward-facing. Some of them impact your employees as well.

Don’t Forget About Real Customer Service

The timeless bottom-line in this anecdotal post is this: you cannot pay lip service to customer service. It underlies critical parts of your business from brand identity to authority and authenticity.

How Much Can Poor Customer Service Cost Your Business? Read On

Finally, here are a few solid statistics on the value your customers put on service and the bottom line impact of not meeting those expectations.

Keeping an Eye on Customer Service Trends and Statistics

As with most facets of your small business, customer service is always changing and evolving. Staying on top of these trends is your key to improving customer service. It also helps to pay attention to the latest customer service statistics. What you learn may be surprising, but almost always useful.

7 Trends Impacting Customer Service in 2016

Thanks to the continued advance of customer service techniques and technologies, these seven trends have become important to success.

Esteban Kolsky of ThinkJar: Customer Service Will Not Exist in 10 Years

Customer service will evolve so much in the next decade that one thought leader believes you won’t even recognize the function after that time has passed.

Leyla Seka of Desk.com: Millennials Would Rather Have a Root Canal Than Call Customer Support

While we hear about how important it is to be a “mobile-first” business today, it’s no more important to the success of a company than being thought of as a service first organization.

Your Customers Want Fast, Human Customer Service

The title may seem like it says it all here however, there’s more at play than speed. Customers also want some human attention.

Nearly One Fourth of Customer Complaints Aren’t Due to Bad Service but to Rudeness

This eye-opening survey revealed why 67 percent of all customer complaints should never really happen. Discover how to avoid them in your business.

Warning: Your Customer Service Isn’t As Great as You Think It Is

You may believe you’re great at customer service, but do your customers? This survey discovered that customers are generally not as happy with the your customer service as you are.

Building a Solid Customer Service Team

At the core of great customer service is a great customer service team. Here’s some links that should help you build a top team of your own.

How to Hire for Customer Support

It all starts with hiring the right people. Here’s are some tips to use when putting your process in place.

20 Tips for Building Your Customer Service Team

Once your team is on board, here are 20 ways to help them be successful.

Lesson.ly Says It Can Train Your Customer Service Team

Employee training is a vital part of improving customer service. Lesson.ly is one tool that you can use to get everyone up to speed.

Rich Pearson of Upwork: Using the Cloud to Spin Up Distributed Customer Support Teams On Demand

Discover how you can use freelance services to hire on-demand customer support agents to handle important customer interactions.

3 Tips for Hiring Millennials to Work in Customer Service

Finally, if you want to add Millennials to your customer service team, here are a few tips for hiring them.

Staying On Top Of the Latest Tips and Tools

Looking for tips outside your own company help you learn new ways of doing things. And speaking of new ways, new tools arrive every day, many of which will come in handy when improving customer service.

20 Tricks of the Trade to Develop Superior Customer Service

Here are 20 “tricks of the trade” to develop superior customer service that will also attract new customers.

5 Customer Service Tips For Modern Businesses

Every person wants to feel important, and like their needs and issues are being met with sincerity and competence.  Here are five ways of doing just that.

Guide to Providing Excellent Customer Service on Etsy and eBay

If you sell on either of these ecommerce platforms, these tips will help you provide a superior customer experience.

How to Calm an Angry Customer In Your Store

The next time you have and angry customer in your store, use these tips to handle the situation.

How to Come Back from a Customer Service FAIL

There are going to be times when you flat-out fail a customer. Here are some tips on how to regain your footing and perhaps even win that customer back.

Using Social Media to Manage Customer Service

Social media can be an invaluable customer service tool, but only if used correctly.

5 Quick Tips for Customer Service Strategy with Social Media

Another post full of advice on how to use social media for customer service.

How to Use Twitter for Customer Service

This post focuses in on, you guessed it, using Twitter to provide customer service.

How to Balance Engagement and Customer Service on Twitter

Since social media can be used for both engagement and customer service, how do you balance the two?

Get Your Customer Service in Shape for the Holidays

The holiday season is an especially busy time and in the rush, customer service can fall by the wayside. Here’s how to prevent that from happening.

Do You Have an eCommerce Customer Service Plan for the Holidays?

Customer service is especially important online where folks don’t have the opportunity to receive much human interaction. Here’s how to compensate for that, especially during the holidays.

10 Creative and Efficient Customer Service Solutions

Here are ten tools that small businesses can use to provide superior customer service.

10 Must Have Amazing Customer Service Apps

Another great list of ten customer service apps for small businesses.

Ten Help Desk Solutions for Better Customer Service

If you’re looking for a help desk solution for your customer service team, one of these might do the trick.

In-App Customer Interaction: A Bold New Service Approach

With the sharp increase of mobile device use recently, the ability to support customer service interactions directly in a mobile app is a clear advantage. Learn more in this post.

Using Live Chat Apps for Customer Service

While it’s an older approach, live chat is still a valuable customer service tool.

7 Ways to Automate Conversations with Your Customers

Automation’s all the rage these days so here are seven touch points where you can automate your customer service.

Use Chatbots to Connect with Customers in a More Personal Way

You can’t bring up automation without mentioning chatbots, a hot technology in customer service today.

Figuring Out How to Manage Your Team

Managing your customer service team is an ongoing process. Here are some posts to help you during the journey.

10 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Customer Service Robot

One of the most important aspect of customer service is authenticity. Here are some tips on helping your team retain theirs.

14 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Measure Customer Service

Good management is all about measurement. Here are several suggested customer service metrics to track.

Customer Service Is Not a Silo

Great customer service is not created in a vacuum. Your team needs to be connected to the rest of your company to be successful.

Customer Service Must be Part of Your Process

Here’s a look at how you can integrate customer service throughout your organization.

The Myth of Customer Service

Part of being a good manager is taking a reality check on a regular basis. Here’s how to do so in regards to customer service.

What Customers Expect is Good Service, What Customers Crave Are Awesome Experiences

Finally, if you’re looking for a good book on customer service, this is one to check out.

Learning from Real-World Customer Service Examples, Both Positive and Negative

Finally, here are some real-world lessons to review when considering what to do, and not to do, when improving customer service:

Customer Service Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Ultimate Guide to Improving Customer Service” was first published on Small Business Trends

Top 10 List of Successful Entrepreneurs With No Experience (Video)

The journey through life is never a straight path.

No matter how many kids want to be doctors, astronauts and movie stars, fate more often takes a hand, leading them to different careers and experiences.

There’s no place you can see this effect more clearly than in the lives of the top 10 successful entrepreneurs with no experience highlighted in the video above.

Not Prepared, But Ready

All of the entrepreneurs featured in the video succeeded in a field for which they had no preparation. However, when opportunity came their way, they hopped on board and road that opportunity to success.

The main theme that runs through these stories remains the fact that none of these entrepreneurs were prepared — in a traditional sense. They had little to no training in the businesses they started. But, they were ready to take action when the time came and that made all the difference.

Think about it. How many times have you heard someone say, “I had that idea first?” Why didn’t that person become wildly successful? Simply because he or she did not act upon the opportunity. By contrast, when the opportunity presented itself  to each of these 10 entrepreneurs, they did.

Another theme present here is that of perception. From Thomas Edison to Russell Simmons to Arianna Huffington, each of the entrepreneurs featured in this video recognized the opportunity when it came his or her way. In the case of Richard Branson, he created the opportunity simply by starting.

Taken together, readiness to take action and recognizing opprtunities when they arise are key skills for any entrepreneur to achieve his or her dreams.

If you take anything away from these success stories, make it this lesson: you should be ready for opportunities when they come your way whether you’re prepared to jump on them yet or not. You may ultimately crash, but you might just fly instead.

Make sure to also check out the full list of 20 successful entrepreneurs with no experience.

Work Experience Photo via Shutterstock, Ansel Adams Photo by J. Malcolm Greany, Public Domain Photo via WikiCommons, Russell SimmonsThomas EdisonAndrew CarnegieAriana HuffingtonCol. SandersSteve MaddenMark EckoWalt DisneyRichard Branson Photos via Shutterstock

This article, “Top 10 List of Successful Entrepreneurs With No Experience (Video)” was first published on Small Business Trends

ECOMMERCE STATISTICS for Small Businesses

ECOMMERCE STATISTICS for Small Businesses

These eCommerce statistics for small businesses have been collected from a variety of sources.

Last updated: January 29, 2017

General Ecommerce Statistics

  • 51 percent of Americans prefer to shop online.
  • Online buying frequency numbers:
    • 95 percent of Americans shop online at least yearly.
    • 80 percent of Americans shop online at least monthly.
    • 30 percent of Americans shop online at least weekly.
    • 5 percent of Americans shop online daily.
  • 48 percent of online shoppers have bought or spent more than planned when shopping online.

Marketing and Conversion eCommerce Statistics

  • Between 2014 and 2015, social media referrals to eCommerce sites increased 198 percent.
  • Almost a quarter of online shoppers (23 percent) are influenced by social media recommendations.
  • Using product videos on eCommerce sites can increase product purchases by 144 percent.
  • The following factors have been shown to influence American shoppers to buy online:

  • While 49 percent of online shoppers cite not being able to touch, feel or try a product as one of their least favorite aspects of online shopping, ecommerce retailers can alleviate some of those frustrations with the following tactics:

Product Returns eCommerce Statistics

Research shows that:

  • At least 30 percent of all products ordered online are returned as compared to 8.89 percent in brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Stated reasons for eCommerce returns:
    • 20 percent of consumers returned items because they received damaged products.
    • 22 percent said they received different products from what they ordered 23 percent said they received wrong item altogether.
    • 35 percent of shoppers return products because of other reasons.

In addition, studies have shown that:

  • 60 percent of shoppers actually read your return policy before completing a sale, and that the return policy ultimately influences 80 percent of the sale.
  • 55.2 percent of consumers disliked online shopping due to products being “difficult to return” or the associated restocking fees and or return shipping fees.

Lost Opportunities eCommerce Statistics

  • 28 percent of online shoppers will abandon their cart if the shipping costs are too high.
  • 74 percent of small business websites have no eCommerce.
  • An estimated 66 percent of online consumers abandon their transactions due to problems during the payment process.
  • 30 percent of mobile shoppers abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimized for mobile.
  • The following factors can negatively influence eCommerce conversions:

Weird eCommerce Statistics

Studies show that:

  • 20 percent of American online shoppers have purchased from the bathroom.
  • 10 percent of Americans shop online when they’re under the influence of alcohol.

Bottom Line

As the statistics above show, eCommerce is a thriving industry. Small businesses that are not participating stand to lose out on both sales and relevancy as the number of online shoppers continues to grow. While it’s important to take customer wants and needs into consideration, the payoff exceeds the cost.

Ready to get started? These posts can help:

Ecommerce Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “ECOMMERCE STATISTICS for Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends