As a small business owner, you understand that there are essential items and practices that will lead to your larger success. However, you may not know exactly what those things might be. Every business is different so the exact application of certain strategies might differ from company to company, but the technique is pretty consistent.

If you’re looking to grow your small business and increase your profit margins, then here are a few ways to do just that.

Get to know your customers better

Your customers are your bread and butter; they’re the ones who buy your products or services and keep the lights on. Yet, it can be difficult to differentiate your customers from the figures in a ledger. To consider your customers nothing more than transactions would be a grave mistake; it’s important to realize that these are people with feelings, thoughts, and most importantly, buying patterns. Ignoring buying patterns can mean a loss in customers, which as you know, it is 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain one. Therefore, getting to know your customers better can allow you to identify possible purchasing trends and use that knowledge to increase your business. For example, say you sell coffee. You know that 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee daily but what you don’t know is what type of coffee they’re buying, in what quantities, and how often they come back. Identifying these trends can help you implement sales and discounts or otherwise incentivize customers to come back into the store.

Identify areas of weakness

Your business is only as strong as its weakest link and identifying that link can help you implement a solution to bring it up to speed. Is your sales team able to meet their quotas and attract new customers? As stated before, knowing your customers can help your sales team approach them with new products and services that align with their purchase history, which makes for an easy (and low-cost) sale. Maybe your marketing department is lacking and you aren’t getting the exposure that you were hoping for. Analyze your current strategy and come up with new alternative methods of getting your company name out there. Direct email, internet marketing, blog posts, event marketing and guerilla marketing are just a few ways to revamp your marketing campaign. Whatever it may be, it’s important to recognize where your company may be lacking and to look for new opportunities and approaches.

Don’t compromise quality for cost

This isn’t really a technique for growing your business but more of a guideline to help you during your growing process. It’s important to maintain the quality of your products and services during your scaling efforts. Failing to do so will simply negate any growth you’ve been trying to achieve. Cutting corners in an attempt to save money will only result in a loss of more money via customer satisfaction. That holds true for most of your business practices as well. For instance, if you own a brick and mortar store that’s at risk for theft and you cut costs by choosing not to pay the average annual salary of almost $30,000 (according to the U.S. Department of Labor) for a security guard, then you’re sure to suffer far more in store losses. While it may seem like a good idea, you should analyze the risk and reward of every business decision you make.

It’s okay to outsource

Cutting costs and looking for better business practices are two very different things. Outsourcing certain departments can ultimately save your small business a lot of money while still maintaining the overall mission and production of your company. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, many companies choose to outsource IT with 31% of IT services being handled by a third-party. However, it’s imperative to find a reputable company to outsource to that won’t diminish the quality of that particular department’s products or services.

There are numerous other tips for both short-term and long-term growth and it’s important to always look for new ways to grow your company. Success isn’t always measured by how much revenue you bring in but by how well you do whatever it is that you do. Customer’s recognize passion, so remember to keep that your top priority.

Being a new mom means you have a host of new responsibilities. For the new mom on the block returning to work after maternity leave can be a challenge, but with the right support from coworkers, supervisors, friends, and family, making the transition can be healthier for new mothers.

A new study conducted by Michigan State and Texas Christian University discovered that new mothers depend on the support from their coworkers over the support from friends and family when it comes to breastfeeding.

The stigma against mothers breastfeeding in public has been a huge source of debate in the United States over the last couple of decades. However, breastfeeding is a necessary practice that demands support in the workplace and the public. In the workplace, a new mother may experience up to 25 people in an office of 100 that do not support her breast pumping.

“If women know that co-workers and supervisors will support them in their breastfeeding efforts, it can make a big difference,” said assistant professor of the College of Nursing at MSU, Joanne Goldbort.

The transition back to work is difficult enough without the threat of hostile coworkers. Taking the time to express your concerns with your boss and close coworkers could mean the difference between stopping breast pumping early and creating healthy food for the baby. Additionally, the U.S. doesn’t have a mandatory paid maternity leave program for its citizens.

Some supportive coworkers have even gone so far as to donate their unused paid time off to mothers on maternity leave. After a new study published by the World Policy Analysis Center revealed that maternity leaves lasting under 12 weeks can result in higher rates of depression, some Americans are donating their vacation days to mothers in need.

To make the transition back to work easier, here are some tips for going back to work with grace.

It’s okay to feel many different emotions

This is the first time you’ll be away from your baby for an extended period of time. It’s also the first time you’ll be back at work after an extended leave. As such, it’s important to calm feelings of getting overwhelmed. Pamper yourself, take a deep breath, and prepare to go through an emotional rollercoaster. Remember that it’s okay to be sad.

Pamper yourself

Even though you’re now in mommy-mode, you did exist as an independent person before your pregnancy. In the stress of taking care of your new baby, you may have let some things fall by the wayside including your dental health and hygiene routine. To prevent becoming one of the 47% of adults who have periodontal disease, visit the dentist and start a new teeth-cleaning regimen.

Get ready to take more time off

Babies are prone to catching a number colds, often back to back because they don’t yet have a strong immune system. Many parents expect to go back to work and stay at work, but it’s up to you and your partner to take your child to one of the many pediatricians or urgent cares in the area if there’s a medical emergency. Children usually catch between six and ten colds per year, and babies are no exception.

Create a planned routine

A family unit will work best when everyone is on the same page and that the duties are clearly laid out. If you have to work at your office until five, it might be better for your partner to pick up the night shift. Do you have a method for doing laundry? How about a sleep schedule for when the baby cries at night? Creating a plan that prioritizes sleep and results in the best communication between you and your partner is a necessity after a baby is born.

Get a solid support network

While you might not have the type of coworkers that are willing to offer you their vacation days, it’s still important to establish a network of support within the home and office. This is a stressful time and without the proper support, you can be left feeling resentful toward others and burnt out. Talk to your friends, your partner, and your boss. Many new mothers often seek therapy for dealing with issues like postpartum depression. There are ways to cope even when you feel like you have no one to turn to.

Going back to work after maternity leave is an intimidating time for the new mother. With these tips, you can get ready to take on the world again.

 

All children should visit the dentist every six months. Visit our sponsor, Little Smiles, in the Ashburn Virginia area.

An American freelance writer will earn an average of $29.62 per hour, making it a viable source of income. If you are a mom and you spend most of your days at home, then writing is a way to supplement your income. The flexibility of this role means that you can do as much work as you like, gaining a little extra cash when you have the time. However, you may be wondering how you can get started. Here’s a little guide to get you started and make even more money online

Research the Industry

A key mistake that many freelance writers make is to start by focusing on their writing skills. The truth is, you don’t need to be an incredible writer to write for a living. As long as you have a firm grasp of the English language and can communicate effectively, then you are able to earn an income in this area. Written content that appears on the web tends to be simple and to the point. There is no need for an extensive vocabulary or complicated punctuation.

Instead, focus your time and energy on getting to know the industry. You should research what blogs are looking for in terms of content and how much they tend to pay. Writing may be your passion, which is no bad thing, but making money as a freelance writer requires more than beautiful prose. You need to be able to provide solid content that will increase a company’s website traffic. Get to know how to use keywords and hyperlinking to improve the SEO of a blog, rather than becoming an expert creative writer.

Start Small and Be Proud

Once the research is done, it’s time to start pitching articles. There are a seemingly endless list of online job boards with companies seeking writers. Search as many as possible and keep applying until you land yourself a job. Earning a steady stream will come in time, but earning anything at all is a win in itself. Getting paid for online content is hard and many aspiring writers don’t even try. If you earn just $5 from your work take pride in your achievement. As you get going, this amount will grow, so be happy to have an income on which to build.

Freelance writing is a great way to earn money for anyone who enjoys writing. You can take a hobby and monetize it by being savvy and getting to know the industry. In time, you’ll become an expert at landing jobs and will be making a decent income without too much time or effort invested.