Email Marketing PracticesMaking your email marketing campaign successful is an art as well as a science. Follow these simple practices to navigate the complexities of the same.
Send Test Emails to YourselfThis helps in ensuring that there are no typo errors and the email looks great both on on both smartphone and desktop applications.
Never SpamNever buy customer lists. Those are associated with a high rate of people who report spam reports and unsubscribe immediately. If you get too many complaints, you could even get banned by the email provider.
Make It Easy and Enticing for People to Subscribe to Your EmailThis can be done in different ways such as tweeting the link, adding the signup form on a Facebook page, or embedding the signup calls-to-action on your blog or website. As a best practice, remember to send the first email within a day of subscription.
Set a ScheduleSchedule your email smartly and decide on the right time of the day to send your emails. This should be done according to your customer set. After deciding on the timing, decide on the frequency of the emails. Though much of it is automated per the customer actions, you should always keep in touch with customers at least once a month. In order to do so successfully, prepare an email calendar corresponding with the event marketing, content marketing, and promotional calendar of your brand.
Details MatterFocus on creating a convincing subject line that entices the customer to open the mail. How will you email stand out from the others waiting to be read in the recipient's inbox? Another important point is to keep a personalized sender name. This is because default sender names with no names are often frustrating and look impersonal. The body of the email should be kept as simple as possible and designed for scansion. You need the reader to immediately understand the who, what and why of your email without having to ponder. Always remember to add the alt text to the email buttons and images. This helps the readers in understanding what they are reading if the HTML does not work properly or if the images are blocked by default by the email client. When it comes to styling you should keep the email colors and font true to your brand and be sure you have a transparent version of your logo that is a small file size so it loads fast. In order to create a successful email marketing strategy, always remember to follow these practices. Delight your readers by providing value in each email and optimizing it for any mistakes before sending them. This will help you in having a great email marketing campaign. Need a Newsletter Provider? Here Are Some with Free Versions Mailchimp: Helps small businesses do big things, with the right tools and guidance every step of the way. Constant Contact: Create branded emails, sell products, build a website, and make it easy for people to find you—all from a single platform. Hubspot: Create, personalize, and optimize your marketing emails without waiting on designers or IT.
What’s Included in Version 1?As a FINSYNC user, you may now login to mobile payments and complete these workflows from your smartphone:
- Add/edit customers
- Create and send an invoice
- Add/edit vendors
- Create and pay a bill
- Review your outstanding and past invoices and bills
How Do I Access Mobile Payments?FINSYNC Mobile Payments is a browser-based mobile experience. You do not have to download an iOS or Android application. You’ll find links to the mobile experience when you head to the traditional FINSYNC login screen, and you may also wish to bookmark or even add a tile to your screen pointing to: http://app.finsync.com/mobile We hope you enjoy the new capabilities, and please be on the lookout for more enhancements as we release future versions.
- Purchase of an item on e-commerce site
- Completing a form or otherwise identifying themselves on a service-based website
- Starting a free trial on a software site
So How Do You Get Your Site Shown?The first step is to be sure that Google is aware of your site and its various pages in the first place. You can check this very easily by opening google and seeing how many of your pages it has indexed. Simply follow the format below: In this example, we asked Google how many pages of the site called “mysite.com” are indexed and it returned 66,100 individual pages. If putting in “site:” followed by your url doesn’t return any results, fear not. Share it to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or other social media and Google will quickly find it and index it.
How Do I Get My Site Ranked on the First Page?Broadly, Google relies on two components to decide what pages should get top placement in its search results: On Page - On page optimization includes many factors that you can improve upon:
- Readability - Is the copy legible, broken up into easy to scan sections, well-written, informative? Google wants to suggest pages that will make the search user happy to be sure your page is easy to read and informative.
- Originality - If your page is a copy of someone else’s, you’ll actually get penalized and other pages within your site may even suffer. Be sure your content is original.
- Load speed - Google will not serve pages that load slowly as users will simply leave and try something else. Be sure you use images that are optimized for the web. You can check the speed of individual pages on your site and get recommendations for free here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- Mobile-friendliness - Web searches are more and more happening on smartphones. Android is the #1 operating system globally. Google wants your page to be responsive: easy to read on a mobile device.
- Tagged Correctly - Google asks you to supply some data points to help it summarize your page: ○Page Title - This is what you see in your browser tabs. Include your company name and a blurb about what this specific page is about. ○Page Description - Expand on the page title by giving the searcher more info about the benefit of the page. Google shows this in the search results. ○Header Tags - Google puts extra emphasis on text you label as H1, your top-level headers so be sure these are informative and specific to the page in question. ○Image tags - In addition to text-based search results, Google returns image results. Be sure to clearly label your images using both the Alt and Title tags to tell Google what the photo contains. ○Navigation - Google wants websites to make it easy on the visitor to get between pages. Use clear navigation to help users get around your page. ○Relevance - Google will rank sites that are continually being updated higher than sites that rarely see updates. Starting a blog is a great way to keep your site relevant.
- Create social media profiles and be sure each profile links to your website.
- Share content to social media and be sure each piece you share links to a specific page of yours.
- Claim your profiles on review sites: Google My Business, Yelp, Tripadvisor, OpenTable, etc. are great places to get profiles that link back to your site and may generate direct conversions of their own.
- Make it easy for visitors to share your content. Installing social share buttons is an easy way to make sharing easier for your site. The more your visitors share, the more links and impressions you get.
Most business closures happen due to poor cash flow management. If you manage a business, you likely already know this. To say that this statistic is an indicator for prioritization would be a bit of understatement. It is a watchtower beacon, a neon arrow, and a spotlight on the most important thing upon which a business should keep focused.
Cash management sounds like something that is left to folks with degrees in finance and accounting. Truth be told, at some point a higher-level skill set is needed to optimize and advance cash management practices within an organization. However, basic practices in cash management can be done with the mathematical education that a 3rd grader receives. The concepts are generally practical and with effort and practice can be well understood. So why do companies suffer so frequently from poor cash flow management?
Well, there is not one answer. Some businesses do not know how to effectively do cash management. Others do but have taken their eyes off cash flow because their attention has been pulled in several directions at once. Often lack of foresight can leave one’s cash position in a place that is insufficient to meet the demands of future business operations. And of course, there is something to be said for bad luck; however, even luck can be heavily mitigated against with proper cash management, insurance, and clear processes. This leads us to some good news.
There are tools and resources available to all sizes of business to help them stay on top of cash management. In the rest of this post, we will cover some high-level facets of cash management and discuss solutions you can utilize to ensure you can efficiently and effectively have this part of your management responsibilities in order.
Know How Much You NeedHaving your finger on the pulse for the money ins and outs is important. Accounts receivable, accounts payable, daily sales, monthly and annual business cycles, salaries of employees, material procurement, operating expenses, and taxes: all these things are related to payment or receiving of cash. Getting a sense for these things will help you understand how much you need at any given time. As the manager of your business, you are the air traffic controller of the cash coming in and going out. Be intimately familiar with the obligations of your company, the timeliness of your customers' payments, and understand how possibilities may impact your cash positions. You can outsource the maintenance of your accounting records, but there is no substitute for knowing the numbers yourself. We recommend that new owners get involved with the bookkeeping process and recruit help to guide them on best practices. Even when you pass the torch for daily bookkeeping to a dedicated person you should require frequent and timely reporting and set aside time to examine the financial results of your business with them. If you need some help understanding what reporting you should be expecting and how to interpret the information, seek out guidance. There are many resources on the internet you can turn to. My go to for helping folks get plain English information is Investopedia.com. Understanding basic principles of financial analysis is not just for folks on Wall Street. Most actionable insights that can be gleaned from a set of financial reports can be analyzed in a very short amount of time, and you do not have to be a mathematician to get it.
Base Your Business Decisions on Cash FlowCash management is not about holding as much cash as possible. Everything has an opportunity cost. When you are in business, you need to capitalize on every opportunity. Holding more cash than required also affects your business profitability. The question is, how? You are holding the cash in lieu of employing it towards helping you make more cash through sales or marketing, investing in cost-saving technologies, or at the very least, setting up a support infrastructure to enable you to work on driving growth, create value, etc. And how will you know if a certain amount of cash is available for investment? Luckily, the answer is again: Cash flow management. As in the previous section, knowing in detail the ins and outs of your regular cash flow will aid in understanding how new pieces of the puzzle may fit into the picture. In the cases of instilling cash into new elements for revenue generation, cost savings, operational efficiency, etc., having this base line will help you overlay the additional cash needed to enact the change. Just as important, it will help you understand if you need to seek additional cash from financing or investors to get the idea off the ground. When you want to make the next step forward into the unknown, starting from an analytical perspective is a must to understand if you are moving in a good direction. There is something to be said for daringly charging into a new vision; however, understanding the consequences and contingencies will help prepare you ahead of time.
Get Processes in PlaceCash management is also related to the smoothness of your business operations. When you have the cash management procedures in line, every person knows what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. If it is inventory management, know the inventory levels; know how much cash is required and how much cash is available. Having an accounts receivable and accounts payable person to stay on top of your aging reports and having them trained on the next steps should a company fall behind or a large payment come due will go a long way to ensure you mitigate the risks of having cash issues. These are just a few examples of how proper, streamlined procedures lead to positive cash management outcomes. Think through the operations of your company in terms of cash management. Are there SOPs in place that will direct the company toward the best course of action? Having this tied down and personnel in position will go a long way to ensuring cash flow will be as smooth as possible.
Wrapping It UpHopefully, you feel better oriented with cash management now. To be sure, if you are relatively new to cash management, there will be more to learn, but our hope is to get your compass pointing in the right direction. To tie out this post, we will leave you with a few tips we have found helpful along the way. Likely you will be able to add to this list if you are a cash management veteran, but these items will certainly provide some tactical guidance for those needing to focus on this part of their business.
Tips for Effective Cash Management
Create a Cash Flow BudgetThe first and foremost thing you can do is create a cash flow budget that lists all your short-term and long-term finances. This means getting all your expected cash inflows and outflows on a timeline and seeing how your cash balances fluctuate over time. Like the first point mentioned above, knowing how much you need is highly important to effective cash management. A budget is a must.
Increase the Speed of CollectionsIn other words, get paid as fast as possible. If you have receivables on your balance sheet, monitor the time it takes to get paid. If there are any barriers in the way to a customer paying you, remove them. You want to make it as easy as possible to get paid, even to the point of making it a joy if possible. The fact of the matter is the sooner you get paid, the sooner you have the cash in the bank. It is common sense and seemingly rudimentary; however, it would be a mistake to not mention this in any list pertaining to cash management.
Get Payment Terms that Favor YouConversely, you should negotiate for payment terms with your vendors that can provide you with as much flexibility as possible. This gives you more room to operate and land those payments on a schedule that comfortably fits your budget. Not every vendor will have negotiable terms. That is ok. But never be shy about asking for terms that fit your needs here.
Have Great Relationships with Sources of FinancingYou should not wait until you are strapped to start talking to you banks and potential investors. In fact, that is the worst time to start. Nobody wants to put money in a company that they never heard of and is teetering over the edge. You should start talking to folks that can connect you with capital now while you are just starting or currently have no immediate need. For one, investors and banks will be familiar with you if you have a cash crunch and will likely be more receptive to your needs. Additionally, you can discuss options ahead of time like lines of credit, term loans, etc. If you already know what you will do in the case of a cash shortfall, you will greatly increase your chances of not being just another statistic.
InsuranceGet insurance. And do not wait. Talk to a broker, and ask them what is right for you. One great way to ward off potential cash issues is having yourself covered well if you need to shell out large amounts of money due to a dispute or should an accident occur. The upside of having insurance far outweighs the savings in premiums you might realize by skimping. Even if you never need to file a claim, clients will often require you to carry proper coverage.
Get the Right ToolsExcel spreadsheets are great. Like all roads leading to Rome, all data winds up on a spreadsheet in some form or another. However, there are times when spreadsheets will not cut it. This is usually when the needs go from a quick reference list or an exploration of data to needing a functional and routine platform to perform important work. Cash management is one such case where a dedicated tool is preferable. PeachBPO recommends those with small businesses use FINSYNC as it is specifically geared to manage accounting and bookkeeping functions with cash flow management in mind. This is a must have tool for any business wanting to make cash flow a priority focus.
Need Additional Help?Depending on your setup and professional background, you may need to get some help getting started or maintaining a great bookkeeping and cash management program. That is why PeachBPO is here. We offer high quality bookkeeping and accounting support for your business at affordable rates, so you can get the attention you need while being free to manage the rest of the business. Additionally, PeachBPO partners with FINSYNC to deliver you the right tools with the right talent. With PeachBPO maintaining your books on the FINSYNC platform, you can see your company’s financial status any time you want.
YouTubeThis video sharing platform (owned by Google) is also the second-largest search platform after Google’s text-based search engine. Billions of video hours are watched every day by people all around the world. YouTube allows you to create and customize your own channel. When you upload videos, users can view, share, comment, and subscribe to your channel. YouTube is known for being one of the best options for creating cost-effective advertising campaigns. Think of it as an affordable alternative to television ads with several different ways to reach your audience.
TikTokTikTok is the newest social media channel. Its popularity has risen since the worldwide lockdown. Currently, it has over 1.5 billion downloads in both the App Store and Google Play Store. The app enables people to make short-form videos in a variety of genres such as education, dance, comedy, etc. The duration of the video varies from 3 to 180 seconds. The app has more recently begun transforming into a marketing and advertising haven.
AlignableThis social media platform is geared towards small business owners. It works similar to a referral network where businesses connect with other small businesses. It enables them to ask for suggestions, refer customers, share expertise, etc. Alignable has two memberships: free and premium. With the free version, business owners can network, create a profile, seek support, etc. Currently, there are over 6 million businesses listed on Alignable.
SnapchatThe Snapchat social media app is a platform that lets users share short videos (snaps) and photos between friends. Snapchat was the first social media platform to use the stories format. Setting up a business account on Snapchat allows users to create several different types of ad campaigns. One thing that sets Snapchat apart is the ability to create ads with augmented reality experiences. Although there are many more social media channels out there, the ones listed here are the most popular and useful for small business. Regardless of how big or small the platform is, select one based on where your target audience is active in order to achieve the best results.
We Worked from HomeGiven that FINSYNC’s cash flow management platform has always lived in the cloud and our clientele interacts with us via connected devices, we were lucky to not have to rethink client interactions as much as more brick-and-mortar oriented companies had to. We already used video conferencing to help our business clients get to know the FINSYNC platform, so moving internal meetings to Zoom or Google Meet was not a totally foreign concept. What we did find required some real creativity was hosting social and team-building activities without physical proximity. To give our team a chance to socialize, we came up with a number of activities:
- A trivia night where teams showed off their obscure knowledge.
- A virtual scavenger hunt that got team members running around their houses to find the best answers to the requested items.
- An ugly sweater creation party. Team members received a kit prior to this virtual event and competed to create the tackiest sweater.
We Assisted with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)Back in the Spring when Covid-19 was starting to ramp up on US shores and businesses were feeling severely disrupted, the first tranche of PPP loan money was approved for distribution by financial institutions with SBA backing. Many financial institutions were accustomed to receiving business loan applications across desks and on paper, a process that would have been impossible with bank branches closed across the country. Our team stepped up, working overtime to deliver a digital PPP loan application connected to our Lender Portal, a tool for bankers to receive, review, and process loans. When the requirements became available, we also produced a fully digital PPP forgiveness application as well. Throughout the process, we could see that the “Digital Transformation” trend that had already been underway for financial institutions seeking to provide more streamlined, paperless experiences simply accelerated. On the financial institution side, bankers were introduced to a new way of doing things (out of necessity) and became comfortable as well. On the business side, owners were so appreciative of the funding and the smooth experience of requesting the loan and subsequent forgiveness. We are already seeing bankers seeking to digitize other aspects of their business client experience.
We Delved Further into MobileMuch like the “Digital Transformation” trend in how financial institutions service their clients, small businesses have been increasingly utilizing mobile devices as part of their core business process. While we already had a mobile time tracking experience for our payroll users, we launched our mobile payments experience. Key capabilities include:
- Generate e-invoices
- Generate e-bills
- Allow clients and vendors to make payments by charge card, ACH, and check
- See the status of all payment transactions
The program is summarized as follows: “No matter what your business needs, Zions Bank is here to help you succeed. BUSINESS COMPLETE connects you with companies that have products and services designed with your small business in mind.” You’ll find FINSYNC in the Tax & Accounting section. Other sections include: HR & Payroll Services, Business Supplies and Marketing & Website Development. The full suite of Business Complete offerings is quite robust and a great resource for small businesses looking for vetted solutions with healthy discounts.
We caught up with one of the executives behind the program, Senior Vice President Wes Barkell, Manager Retail Specialty Products, and asked him why FINSYNC made a great addition to Business Complete. He responded: “Business Complete is a digital marketplace focused on providing current and prospective clients with in-demand business products and services through industry-leading 3rd party providers. FINSYNC offers a robust Accounting and Cash Flow Management solution that is intuitive and efficient. We believe offering FINSYNC through Business Complete will help our business clients save time and allow them to focus on running their business.” If you’re a small business owner in the West or Southwestern United States, we would highly encourage you to take a look at Business Complete and the other offerings the Zions family of banks has to offer.
Less CompetitionOver 100K small businesses have closed due to covid. That means more opportunities to start new ventures in what would typically be a heavily crowded space. Not only that, but new customer needs begin to emerge that haven’t yet been solved. A smaller business pool also means those that are in business are likely offering discounts.
Cheaper Operational CostsRemote-first seems to be the new standard, as offices are not so much of a necessity anymore. What would typically be a large monthly cost can now be applied toward other parts of the business, such as product and people. Not only that, but you also can negotiate better terms and pricing on practically any SaaS tools you need for the business.
Larger and Cheaper Talent PoolWith unemployment rates higher than they’ve ever been and many larger companies reducing headcount, salaries have decreased as well. This has unlocked new opportunities to hire new talent more affordably and from a larger talent pool: the whole world. Great talent that would normally require a higher salary and a very secure position are open-minded. You might consider trading equity for talent as well if you are in startup mode.
More Access to FundingPeople starting businesses have more access to funding sources than ever before. There are many programs such as the SBA, that offer a variety of funding opportunities for small businesses. Assistance varies from loans or grants. Over the last few years, crowdfunding sites have seen a rise in popularity: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and others. Not only do these sites allow you to raise capital, but it’s a great way to begin marketing and showcasing your product. According to statistics, 50% of crowdfunding campaigns raise their full goal amount. While these times may require a leaner operational model, the opportunities for creativity are better than ever. That is why right now is the best time to start a new business. It’s time to identify a “blue ocean” where there is little to no competition and find the resources and talent to get your business going. We’re rooting for you!
Not Having a WebsiteHaving a website enables you to reach a wider range of audiences. In fact, 85% of people research a business or service on the internet prior to making a purchase or decision. One of the most common reasons why entrepreneurs refuse to create a website is they believe they are not “tech-savvy enough.” Surprisingly, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to create a website for your startup. You could choose a drag-n-drop website builder like SquareSpace or Wix and take a DIY approach. There are also many development companies or even freelancers that help with the process, making it a seamless process for you. One of our favorite resources for freelance web development is Fiverr. Fiverr offers reasonable pricing for freelance web services and 24/7 access to support. Websites are an effective way of introducing your customers to your product/services. By having a website you’ll be able to save time by redirecting your customers to visit your website for important information. You’ll be able to provide valuable information in various formats: blog posts, videos, photos, or testimonials. The best part is that websites are available 24/7; your customers are able to reach you at any time.
Waiting Too Long or Hiring Too SoonHiring employees is a critical step in a growing company. Some of the most common indicators that your company is ready for an employee include:
- Needing additional skill sets
- Having to turn down work
- Customers starting to complain about quality or timeliness
- What is your company’s growth forecast? All entrepreneurs need some sort of budget/business plan. Having revenue and growth projections will be vital when determining what you can afford to do or what is needed to get your business where you want it to be.
- Is the work steady enough to support an employee? It’s important to not make drastic decisions just because you may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. First figure out what exactly will the employee be doing, and how will they be bringing in additional revenue to the business.
- Can you afford to hire an employee at this time? There are many cost factors to consider before making the decision of hiring someone such as wages, training, software licenses, payroll costs, insurance, among several other overhead costs.
- Which type of employee would be best for your current situation? As mentioned above, hiring an employee comes with additional costs. Keep in mind you have options based on your budget and required time commitment: freelancer/contractor, part-time, or full time.
Not Listening to What Your Customers Are SayingPaying attention to what your customers are saying helps you improve your business and avoid situations that do not work well. In today’s world, customers have higher expectations than ever before. In a study conducted by PWC, customers said they are willing to pay more for a service or product in exchange for a better customer experience. One of the easiest ways to become more customer service-oriented is to open and formalize listening channels. Customers enjoy answers to their questions in real-time. Some options to consider for communicating with your customers are:
- Live chat
- Help desks
- Social media
Next Gen HQ’s founders, Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella, described their mission as follows:
“WE BELIEVE ENTREPRENEURS CAN AND SHOULD CONTROL THEIR OWN DESTINIES. THAT’S WHY IN 2014, WE STARTED NEXT GEN TO EMPOWER ENTREPRENEURS TO DESIGN THE LIVES THEY WANT TO LIVE AND ACHIEVE THEIR PURPOSE.”You’ll find FINSYNC in the “Resources” section with other software tools that can help business owners scale. In addition, the firm provides other “Tools” categories including an online community, education resources, and mentorship. If you’re a startup founder looking to connect and grow, why not take a look at what they have to offer? NextGenHQ.com
|Cash Flow Management|