18 Tips on Networking To Grow Your Small Business Fast- Explained With Infographics

SWETA DUTT | August 9, 2019

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Running a small business and now looking for easy tips on networking to spread the word about your biz? Hey, you have come to the right place! As a busy entrepreneur, you might not have the time to read a lengthy blog post. That’s why I have taken designed this Infographic which precisely narrates the important networking tricks that can help small businesses.

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Zmags, the shoppable content company, empowers digital marketing and ecommerce professionals to create and publish engaging digital experiences in minutes, without writing a single line of code.

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The best social media platforms for small businesses

Article | March 30, 2020

You probably know social media is an important tool for growing your business, but there’s a good chance you might be a bit overwhelmed with the number of different platforms out there. Not to mention the learning curve involved in trying to master them all! There’s no doubt the world of social media and internet marketing is a fast-changing landscape, but as the internet has begun to mature there are a handful of platforms that can definitely create results for the people who stay the course and try to master them. In this post, we’ll identify four of the big social behemoths, why they have the potential to create a lot of leverage when marketing your business, and which one might be the best for you to focus on.

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How Can Entrepreneurs Capitalize on the Potential of Mobile Technologies

Article | March 30, 2020

The use of smartphone/mobile technology has become the new standard, permeating every area of life. As a result, it gave rise to mobile technology opportunities for businesses. According to Statista, there are currently 3.8 billion smartphone users worldwide, which equates to 48.20% of the world's population owning a smartphone. India, China, and the United States have the most outstanding smartphone penetration rates. Between 2016 and 2020, the global smartphone user base rose by 40%. WARC asserts, by 2025, 72% of all internet users will access the web only through their smartphones. With the primary data and projections, it is abundantly evident that mobile technology represents the future of the corporate world and commercial innovations. On average, in the United States, four hours of each day are spent on mobile devices, which account for more than half of all online traffic. COVID-19 created obstacles for many areas of society; many company owners encountered several difficulties operating their businesses because of the limitations imposed, especially small businesses. But, on the other hand, the pandemic provided an unprecedented boost to mobile technology opportunities in every facet of life. Mobile is gaining traction not just in marketing and retail but also in healthcare and education for convenience and safety reasons, and gradually gaining popularity. Patients could not visit their doctors during the pandemic but could communicate through text, virtual meetings, or phone calls. Similarly, the education sector saw a dramatic shift in its teaching framework when everything went online. With the increased use of mobile to link teachers and students, mobile technology became an unavoidable factor in the education sector. Save Time, Save Money The potential of mobile technology is evident when it saves company owner’s time and money. For example, apps replace paper forms, cloud solutions replace resource-intensive local filing, and scanning and image functionalities assist field-based customer or supply chain personnel. From mobile applications to the operating systems of mobile devices, there are various ways that mobile technology helps businesses save time and money. Here are few benefits of mobile technology how they reduce business expenses and time. Online mobile apps have reduced offline paperwork. Mobile communication does not include any additional expenses, such as those associated with setting up a landline connection. Even without being on-site, you may place or confirm business orders over the phone. You may use mobile banking applications to send and receive paychecks or any other type of payment without visiting clients or banks. Mobile technology is vital in business, from texting to phoning, sending voicemails, or recording them using VoIP. Cashless Payment Options Mobile technology opportunities opened a door for cashless payments. All these years, opting for this mode of payment had been just an option, but it became vital during coronavirus to avoid spreading the virus. Both online and contactless payment methods gained popularity among both company owners and consumers. With social distancing norms in place, more individuals in established and emerging nations began to embrace contactless payments as a safer method to handle their money According to Finaria.it, the worldwide digital payments sector is anticipated to reach a value of $6.6 trillion in 2021, a 40% growth in two years. Furthermore, by 2025, mobile payments are expected to nearly double in size and reach a value of $4.6 trillion. Numerous payment methods exist, including mobile wallets, peer-to-peer mobile payments, real-time payments, and cryptocurrencies. Contactless payments are significantly faster than conventional modes of payment. Mobile payments generate extra data on a user's habits and interests, which might benefit your marketing team. Remodel Shopping Experience The pandemic devastated in-person retail business, and they had to re-establish themselves in the market. Many consumers are comfortable getting access to a personalized in-store experience via mobile devices. In 2016, 209.6 million Americans shopped online at least once, according to Statista. The number of online shoppers is anticipated to reach 230.5 million by the end of 2021, making the US one of the most developed e-commerce industry-friendly countries. Looking at the above statistics and the customers' needs, entrepreneurs must meet consumers' demands and help them research, find, and compare items. However, as rising mobile components alter retail, it is critical for businesses to maintain their privacy. Mobile technology potential is vast and can offer several benefits to consumers. In addition, entrepreneurs can incorporate it into their businesses in an inventive way. Maintain Orderly Physical Spaces QR codes date back to 1994, but they never acquired widespread acceptance or were widely used. However, the pandemic's onset altered the entire situation. Because the COVID-19 standards for maintaining distance, avoiding physical contact, and exchanging anything were deemed hazardous, consumers began to prefer digital connections over physical ones. That is when QR code-based payments became the most convenient payment method, requiring only the use of a mobile device. The pandemic has created unprecedented opportunities for touchless technologies (QR Code being the leading player). According to a recent poll by Statista, an estimated 11 million homes in the United States alone were predicted to have scanned a QR Code in 2020. This shows an increase from the projected 9.76 million scans performed in 2018. QR codes are used to make payments as well as place orders. Elimination of physical touchpoints from your business provides a more seamless experience for your consumers. Winding Up While the utilization of mobile phones or smartphones is not new, the manner they are used has evolved considerably over the previous five years, particularly during the pandemic. Indeed, the mobile phone has evolved into the most helpful tool/asset for information, communication, purchasing goods, and scheduling. Rapid advancements in cloud technology increase corporate use of mobile devices by enabling more flexible working habits and remote access to services. FAQs What is the future of mobile technology for business? The business has a bright future with mobile technologies. Everything is becoming virtual, including the corporate sector, where mobile technology plays a critical role. In addition, mobile technology has aided in the communication of businesses. What are the effects of mobile technology on entrepreneurs? Numerous mobile technologies, such as smartphones, mobile applications, and GPS devices, link everyone and enable company owners to stay connected with their consumers. As a result, mobile marketing is gaining traction and assists small businesses in reaching clients, and contributes to increased sales. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the future of mobile technology for business?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The business has a bright future with mobile technologies. Everything is becoming virtual, including the corporate sector, where mobile technology plays a critical role. In addition, mobile technology has aided in the communication of businesses." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the effects of mobile technology on entrepreneurs?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Numerous mobile technologies, such as smartphones, mobile applications, and GPS devices, link everyone and enable company owners to stay connected with their consumers. As a result, mobile marketing is gaining traction and assists small businesses in reaching clients, and contributes to increased sales." } }] }

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5 ways Artificial Intelligence can help small businesses

Article | March 30, 2020

The most remarkable aspect of the 21st century's technological revolution is how many of the technologies once considered beyond reach are accessible even to the general public. It would be an understatement to say that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is changing how we did business. It is altering the decision-making strategies for enterprises, helping retail chains in finding the best routes in mobilizing their supply chain, etc. Artificial intelligence is helping businesses in ways unimagined.

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The Horeca Sector Cannot Escape the Universal Trends Either

Article | March 30, 2020

The term "Horeca" is an abbreviation of "Hotel", "Restaurant" and "Café". It represents a very diverse sector, i.e. from star-restaurants to catering and canteens to brasseries up to small, local cafes. A small country like Belgium counted end 2017 almost 60.000 horeca-enterprises (7% of all Belgian enterprises), thus showing the importance of this sector. Furthermore with a total revenue (also end 2017) of over 15 billion EUR and more than 75.000 people employed in this sector, it remains an important economical actor for the Belgian economy. It is undisputable that the Covid crisis has been a disaster for this sector. However, now that life gradually returns back to normal, it is likely that the trends which were already launched in the horeca sector before the crisis will be even enforced and accelerated. With new habits come new customer needs related to the horeca. Think about the company canteens. With more people working from home, this sector will have to reinvent itself. Most likely they will start offering also prepared meals directly to consumers via supermarkets and other distribution channels. Obviously, this will force other actors in this market to reinvent themselves, thus launching a chain reaction. Even more pronounced is the impact of take-away and delivery. While a large group of the population was still a bit hesitant to consume take-away, the Covid-confinements also forced this group to start exploring these new services. At the same time, restaurants which were not offering take-away services before were also forced to adapt. As a result, take-away and meal delivery services have known an exponential boost and this trend, although it will know a small set back when the pandemic is fully over, is here to stay. Unfortunately the horeca sector was already a sector with a lot of difficulties before the crisis. The sector historically copes with one of the highest percentages of businesses bankruptcies , especially when looking at the first 5 years following the establishment of the business. This is often caused by the fact that many people consider the horeca as an easy way to entrepreneurship, founding their businesses with a poor of even no business plan. At the same time there is of course the strong dependency on labor. As this sector is very labor intensive, margins are low due to the high labor costs. Furthermore with hard work and irregular and long working hours, horeca businesses have more and more difficulties to find motivated and qualified personnel. Additionally the sector, being so fragmented, often lacks professionalism, not really for the horeca-activity (i.e. the preparation and serving of food and drinks) itself, but rather for the supporting activities like financial management, supply chain management (like good stock management), procurement… This makes that many restaurants have a poor view on the breakdown of their costs and revenues, thus losing a lot of money in inefficiencies like expired stocks due to too large ordering, certain dishes which are not sold at the right price, employees being paid too much expensive overhours, bad negotiations with suppliers… Apart from the above very obvious trends, there are still a lot of other trends. These map perfectly with the 8 universal trends, I described in my earlier blog "Universal trends - Common over all industries?" - https://bankloch.blogspot.com/2021/01/universal-trends-common-over-all.html, i.e. Pressure on margins: margins are historically already low in the horeca sector, but are becoming even more under pressure, due to new forms of competition, like meal boxes (like HelloFresh or Foodbag), prepared meal services (like Mealhero), sharing platforms (like Thuisafgehaald or Menu Next Door), virtual restaurants (also called Dark Kitchens, i.e. restaurants without a physical location, but only serving online delivery platforms), living room and concept restaurants… This forces restaurants to work more professionally and efficiently and find a specific niche (of clientele willing to pay extra for specific product or experience). These efficiency gains can be achieved via digitalization (with regards to personnel management, cash register, stock management…) and new technologies (like 3D printers or cocktail machines like "Tenderone", "Bottletender"…), but also by being more selective on opening hours/days (especially for weekends and holidays), putting less (more specialized) choice on the menu card, making dishes less complex by investing more in the quality of the ingredients, by pushing more self-service (e.g. let the customer cut the food for the whole table, which has as a welcome benefit that it increase the customer experience). Trustworthiness: clients must have confidence (trust) in a horeca place they are visiting. Obviously, the customers must have the feeling of being treated fairly and respectfully (e.g. via a transparent and correct pricing), but they also want to be able to trust the product they are consuming (eating or drinking). This means providing more transparency, like providing more info about each dish and more its ingredients (important for specific diets and allergies), nutritional value and origin of the product (i.e. farm-to-table). Frictionless experience: the customer experience should be at pleasant as possible, meaning any friction should be removed where possible. This consists of frictionless ordering processes, via digital menu cards (providing details of each dish and allowing easy filtering) and direct ordering (directly to the kitchen), all the way to a frictionless checkout, consisting of digitally receiving and paying the bill. A multitude of solutions are available here, like full ERP solutions for horeca businesses (like Apicbase, Horeko, Square for restaurants, HorecaMakers, Growzer…), digital menu card solutions (like Kimeru, Digital Wizards, Futuresto, EasyButler…), ordering terminals and apps (like Futuresto, EasyButler, MyOrder, QCard, PayMyTable…), cash registers (like Lightspeed, RestoMax, Gastrofix, HorecaMakers…). Personalization: the most important trend for the horeca is obviously the personalization. This results in products and services adapted to the specific needs and desires of every customer. Additionally horeca businesses are being converted more and more into "Experience" places (i.e. surprise your customers, by selling them moments and letting them escape from the stress of day-to-day life), i.e. ensure to give the customer a unique, unforgettable experience, not only via the food and service, but also via the texture and color of the dishes, the building, the interior design… More in detail this trend means: New types of restaurants, like living room restaurants (enforcing a more personal touch and home feeling), concept restaurants, food markets, pop-up restaurants… Accommodating for different food and drink choices. Already around 20-25% of people have a specific food choice, meaning restaurants have to accomodate for people wanting to eat vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, paleo, biological… Additionally people want alternatives for the traditional wine-card like different types of water, mocktails, non-alcoholic wine, champagne and spirits (e.g. Seedlip), luxury soft drinks (e.g. Crodino, Finley, Pinky Rose, Fentimans & Fritz-Kola) or special types of tea to drink the meal. Horeca places should become places to socialize, i.e. provide a home-feeling (i.e. a feeling of comfort, stability, trust, intimacy, warmth…), engage socializing between guests via guest tables, street food or sharing plates… Allow customers to compose their dishes themselves, cfr. Subway, Hawaiian Poke Bowl… Democratization: by working more efficiently, more automation and digitalization, it becomes possible to offer certain services and products in higher volumes and at lower costs and thus at a lower pricing. This means certain horeca products, which were before only available to the happy-few cannot be offered to a larger segment of the population. A good example are star-restaurants offering a standardized (simpler) version of their dishes via a take-out or catering service. Authenticity: restaurants are focusing more and more on providing an authentic experience, e.g. by transforming old factories or churches to restaurants, integrating open kitchens where guests can see the cooks preparing the dishes, chefs finishing plates at the customer’s table… Additionally there is a trend towards pure, simple and honest, meaning natural, artisanal and/or high-quality products (ingredients), which are prepared and served in a simple way. A good example of this are also the traditional dishes in a more luxury fashion, e.g. new types of éclairs (Chez Claire), croques (RemorK), hamburgers (Ellis Gourmet burger), meat balls (Balls & Glory)… ESG (Environment, Social and Corporate Governance): with customers being more sensitive about the environment and society, horeca places need to accommodate to this customer desire. Restaurants are working more and more with local, healthy (e.g. use of superfoods, use of less salt and fat…), biological/organic and Fairtrade products, but also with products with a lower ecological footprint, like e.g. replacing meat with insects, soya-based meat replacements or vegetables. Additionally horeca players need to avoid waste, via a no-waste kitchen concept (via e.g. smaller portions, trash cooking, creative usage of waste…), via anti-food-waste platforms (like Too Good To Go) and by reducing/avoiding packaging (e.g. avoiding plastic straws, cups…). Partnerships: as many businesses, a horeca business is more and more integrated in a concept, like incorporated in a shop or combined with an experience (like a horeca place in a brewery). Additionally due to the digital revolution, horeca places need to partner more and more with online ordering and delivery services (like Deliveroo, TakeAway.com or UberEats, potentially integrated via Deliverect), social media (like Facebook and Instagram) and food review platforms (like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, Foursquare…), reservation platforms (like TheFork, Tablebooker, Resto.be…) ordering and payment apps (like Dorst.app or Yummy.app). Additionally new players are coming on the market to help horeca businesses with their typical problems, like procurement (e.g. Tippr or Horeca Direct Shop) or recruitment (e.g. Mise en Place). It is clear that although the horeca sector is already centuries old, it is also undergoing major disruptions. In the end let us hope that all those evolutions can give us an even more enjoyable horeca experience.

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Zmags

Zmags, the shoppable content company, empowers digital marketing and ecommerce professionals to create and publish engaging digital experiences in minutes, without writing a single line of code.

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