How to Come Up With a Winning Restaurant Name

You wouldn’t expect to eat a fantastic cheeseburger at Duchess’s Victorian Tea Room. You’re not likely to get a stack of pancakes at Vicky’s House of Fries.

What’s in a name? Everything. One important thing to keep in mind, restaurants need names that sum up the dining experience your customers will have. For example, your name may tell people they’ve chosen a Middle Eastern or Italian restaurant, or Chipotle Mexican grill.

What is a good name for a restaurant?

Some of the best restaurants have a couple things in common with their names:

  • The owner’s or chef’s name
  • The type of food/cuisine type
  • The location

You can get those key elements into one name, such as Suzie’s Main Street Tea Scones. That tells customers everything they need to know.

But are you likely to easily remember that name? Or would you be more likely to remember a name like Sconehenge?

How do you create a restaurant name?

The best ways to create small business names for a restaurant is by using business name generators, or by brainstorming with friends and family, or both.

In this article, we’ll give you all the specific tips you need for how to create a business name.

18 Ideas to Choose the Perfect Restaurant Name and Get Noticed

These examples of names for restaurants should get your creative juices flowing.

1. Keep it Short

Short names are easy to remember and lend themselves to Apps, your logo and social media. They pop up easily in a search query.

Here are some examples:

  • Spago (an Italian restaurant name, Spago means spaghetti in Italian)
  • Burgrill (grilled burgers)
  • Indulge (all desserts)
  • Fruce (fruit and juice)
  • Kebabsville

2. Include Puns in Restaurant Names

Puns make cool restaurant names and are a top pick in restaurant name ideas. Puns are memorable. Using a pun in a name also conveys that the restaurant may have a certain relaxed atmosphere. As name ideas rate, using a pun is a top choice:

  • Pine and Dine
  • Juan in a Million
  • The Codfather
  • Basic Kneads
  • Lord of the Fries

3. Make Restaurant Names Memorable

Some restaurant names are truly unforgettable. They are unique and convey atmosphere. What do you expect in New York New York from Lox Stock and Bagle?

Here are a few more memorable names:

  • Rusty Pelican
  • Filled of Dreams
  • Hungry’s Kitchen
  • Blue Plate
  • The Little Easy

4. Add Some Humor

The whole world needs more humor, not just restaurants. Restaurateurs obviously have fun with that concept:

  • Sconehenge
  • Planet of the Crepes
  • He’s Not Here
  • Lettuce Be Frank
  • Kale Me Crazy

5. Use a Unique Spelling

Using a unique spelling can be effective, but it can also be tricky. You don’t want to make it difficult for your customers to find you.

But using a unique spelling an really make restaurants stand out from the lineup:

  • Thaitonic
  • Phobidden Fruit
  • Garden of Eat’n
  • Pita Pan

6. Use a Unique Symbol for Your Restaurant

Unique symbols work well as offshoots from restaurant names. They are also memorable as logos on the side of a food truck.

For example, the name of the restaurant can easily “become” the symbol. The unique symbol becomes easily recognized and is part of the restaurants identity:

  • The Red Door
  • The Lazy Bear
  • The Plumed Horse
  • Full Moon
  • Cafe Coyote

7. Encourage Brand Identity and Recognition for Your Restaurant Name

Brand recognition is important. There are restaurant names that lend themselves to brands. Being easily brandable also means that the name is something that’s lends itself to a smooth franchise venture. In other words, the restaurant name can easily become a brand name:

  • The Great Impasta
  • Wok This Way
  • Bite Me Sandwiches
  • Crabby Hut
  • Snacksbar

8. Add Rhyme to Your Restaurant Name

Rhymes in a name make a restaurant establishment easy – and fun – to remember:

  • Oh Dough
  • Pies and Thighs
  • Chops N Hops
  • Cork and Fork
  • Rice and Spice

9. Name Your Restaurant After the Food You Serve

When you name your restaurant after food, that gives people confidence that there expectations will be met. They’ll know before they arrive at your door whether to expect bbq meals or an Italian restaurant, for example.

Here are some names of restaurants that hint at the menu cuisine type inside:

  • Nim Com Soup
  • Sushi Jackies
  • Backyard Bowls
  • Pitaburg
  • The Chocolate Log

10. Name Your Restaurant after a Place or Thing Close to You

Naming a restaurant after a geographic feature makes its location memorable. For example, stand out from other pizza shops by letting your customers know where you are: Bleeker Street Pizza or Montgomery Park Pizza.

You can use a street, neighborhood or area name, such as Banker’s Hill Deli or Fog Harbor Fishhouse.

Maybe you’re a fan of a national sport, such as baseball, or a movie aficionado. You could chose a name such as Starting Lineup or Reel to Real Food. And the restaurant concept would continue with the inside decorations.

11. Make Sure the Restaurant Name is Inclusive

The word Inclusive can be used to describe your restaurant. It means that the full meal is included on your tab, without extra charges. This is typically done by resorts and of course, cruise ships.

Here’s how it usually works. The diner orders a la cart from a menu. The meal can include salad, soup, the main course and dessert.

Items that aren’t always Inclusive are drinks, tips and taxes. If a restaurant offers Inclusive faire, any extra charges that diners may incur should be clearly stated. Otherwise, customers may dine and whine.

12. Use Family Names in Your Restaurant

Using a family name or nickname for your restaurant can give people a feeling of familiarity with it. As business names go, a family name can help establish a family tradition of restaurant ownership. Customers may return for generations as the restaurant is run by successive generations. Here are some solid family restaurant names already in operation for decades:

  • Mario’s
  • Poole’s Diner
  • Duke’s Seafood
  • Norma’s
  • Tiny’s

13. Try Location-Based Restaurant Names

Los Angeles California, Washington D.C, North Carolina, New York New York or Providence, Rhode Island? Customers can easily determine where restaurants are located by the direct reference to a place in their names:

  • Hudson River Eats (New York New York)
  • Helms Bakery District (Los Angeles, California)
  • Busboys and Poets – 14th and V (Washington DC)
  • Providence Oyster Bar (Providence, Rhode Island)

14. Use a Name from a Different Language

Using a different language can be a mistake in restaurant name ideas. How long will it take customers to learn and remember the name? A well-placed article in local media can help as you open your doors.

Yet by the same token, unique restaurant names can be a key to their identities. Here are a few to give you ideas and whet your appetite:

  • Sur un Arbre Perche – Diners sit on swings as they eat.
  • Pot Au Feu – French cuisine
  • Cibo Matto – Translates to “crazy food” in Italian
  • Le Parfait – Desserts are the specialty.

15. Evoke Emotion in Your Customers

Restaurant names can reveal the personality and values of the owner. Restaurant names can be more than a clue to the type of establishment where you’ll be dining:

  • Chill Out Kitchen
  • The Tipsy Cow
  • Rich Table
  • Barefoot Grill
  • Have a Rice Day

16. Play with Words for a Unique Restaurant Business Name

While you shouldn’t play with your food, you can certainly play with words as you choose your restaurant name. Play with words as you’re playing with restaurant name ideas:

  • 16 Handles
  • Tequila Mockingbird Grill
  • Brew’d Awakening
  • Egglectic Dish
  • Wild Thyme Cafe

17. Reflect Your Restaurant Personality

Use descriptive words in your restaurant name to give people a sense of what to expect from the dining experience. What kind of place is it? Family values? Or rowdy bar and grill?

Descriptive words are a big part of a restaurant name.

For example, a diner expects varying experiences from a “kitchen” versus a “Gourmet Boutique.” Restaurants can be bistros, taverns, lodges, cafes, grills, delis, inns and more.

When you’re mulling over restaurant name ideas, remember that one descriptive word can give a sense of what your restaurant is like. There’s a huge difference between Henry’s Inn, where you expect an upscale menu, and Henry’s Kitchen, where you expect comfort food.

18. Ask People from the Local Community And Further Afield

Think of it as free marketing. Having trouble with restaurant name ideas? Involve your future customers and local media in your quest for the perfect name for your restaurant:

  • Have a contest, announce it in an article in local media.
  • Have an open house
  • Have people pick a favorite of several restaurant names
  • Use the internet, social media and a newspaper article to promote the contest
  • Have test runs using various restaurant names

How to Use Restaurant Name Generators

Using restaurant business name generators can yield surprising results. A restaurant name generator result may be a mix of letters – but many successful establishments have gotten their restaurant names from a generator.

It’s a good place to start, and it’s a good place to end when you’re getting stale on restaurant name ideas for your business.

There are many restaurant names generator sites for you to try:

  • Namelix
  • Buzztime Restaurant Name Finder
  • Fantasy Name Generators
  • Kopywriting Kourse
  • BizNameWiz Eatery Names Generator

Let’s review. Make a list of the things that make your restaurant stand out from others. Then use that list and compare it to names you are considering.

Make Sure the Name Reflects Your Restaurant Vision

Do you want your business to be like a down home kitchen, where a traditional dish is the norm, and diners are comfortable in their blue jeans?

Or do you want linen tablecloths, fancy tableware, a wine list, a gourmet dish?

Your name should be in line with which one you are.

Think Carefully about your Target Audience

Will your restaurant be a draw for all age groups or just target one? What hours will you be open?

Having “Bar and Grill” in the name may make families choose another destination.

Make Sure the Name is Original

Check the USPTO database to make sure your restaurant name isn’t already taken.

Make Sure the Name Is Easy to Pronounce

If the name isn’t easy to pronounce, it’s not going to be easy to remember.

Make Sure the Name is Marketable?

A good name makes it easy for you to spread the word about your business. Make sure the name is short, and conveys the type of cuisine you offer.

Steps to Take Before Finalizing Your Restaurant Name

You’ve got your top 5 or so names. Now what?

Brainstorm Your Best Ideas

Now’s the time to involve friends, family and the local community. You may have a favorite, but should consider what the majority of people favor.

Test Your Final Few Names

Before you check your final names, make sure they are available (see below). Now’s the time for the restaurant owner to test the finalists. Have a contest, involve social media. It’s all part of building your opening day hype.

Check the Availability of Your Favorite Name

Check Domain Name Availability

You can use online services such as Namecheckr and NameChk to see if your name has been taken. You can also do a google and social media search.

Check Trademark Availability

Once you’ve checked with USPTO and learned your trademark is available, register it quickly.

You can use the online Trademark Electronic Application System. It’s free to use the online App, put you can expect to pay from $300-900 to register your trademark. The process will take about 6 months. Also, register your logo.

Carry Out Competitor Analysis

Research the history of the restaurants in your area – the ones in operation, and the ones that have failed. What type of cuisine is offered? What’s the style of the place, and the locations? Keeping an eye on competitors is an important step before you open, and it’s an important step as you run your business.

Marketing Your Restaurant

You should make sure your restaurant belongs to various search engines, such as Yelp and Expedia. Some restaurants pay extra to appear first.

The search engines have categories that can help customers decide where to go. For example, categories include offering a deal, good for groups, has tv, good for kids, reservations required (or not), wheel chair accessible, dogs allowed, military/senior discounts.

Popular Restaurant Adjectives

Here’s a list of 10 common restaurant adjectives and phrases:

Fine, finest, gourmet, tasty, home-style, generous portions, cuisine, fine dining, unique, mouth-watering.

Big City Restaurant Name Examples

Let’s have fun with a few more memorable restaurant names from various areas:

You’ll know you’re in Washington D.C if you’re dining at Founding Fathers or DC Noodles.

Life of Pie Bistro and Boutique is a standout with a very clever name! It’s a play of course on Life of Pi, and located in Abilene, Texas.

The California coast is known for its seafood restaurants, such as Hog Island Oyster Company (Marshall, California) and Old Fisherman’s Grotto (Monterey, California).

In big cities, restaurant names often include street or neighborhood names, such as Clinton Street Baking Company, New York City.

North Carolina is diverse, with a sprawling shoreline and mountains. You’ll know where you are at Smoky Mountains Barbeque or Cape Fear Boil Company.

Flying into Toronto? It’s easy to find Richmond Station restaurant. If you’re away from home and in need of home cooking, it’s a sure bet that Grandma Loves You restaurant will fit the bill.

Image: Depositphotos

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4 Steps to Creating A Successful Online Business From Scratch

Today, it’s never been easier to set up an online business, regardless of your professional background or previous entrepreneurial experience. With low start-up costs and instant access to a global audience, there is a lot to gain and not very much to lose.

To put it simply, an online business is one that generates revenue through selling some kind of product or service online, such as:

  • Freelancing services
  • Consultancy and caching
  • eCommerce
  • SaaS (software as a service)
  • Advertising
  • Memberships and subscriptions

The good news is that the digital world is expanding year on year. In fact, NASDAQ anticipates that by 2040, 95 percent of purchases will be made online, emphasizing that now is as good a time as ever to get involved and stake your claim in the digital world.

Creating a Business from Scratch

If you’re ready to get started, here are four steps to building a successful online business from the ground up:

1. Choose a niche that aligns with your passions

Let’s face it, becoming an entrepreneur is hard. Even if you don’t have to deal with renting out an office space or dealing with customers face to face, there are still many challenges involved with establishing an online business. At some point, you are very likely to struggle with motivation, especially once the novelty period wears off and the day-to-day grind is staring you in the face.

This is why it’s highly recommended to come up with a business idea that aligns with your passions. One that matches your values and gives you a reason to get out of bed every day.

As Richard Branson said, “launching a business simply to make money is likely to result in failure. Passion is one of the most effective motivators when it comes to launching a business – and often one of the strongest predictors of whether an idea will lead to success.”

Of course, this is far easier said than done, so if you’re still struggling with ideas, here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  • What do you like to do in your spare time? What excites you?
  • What do you like to read or research by yourself?
  • What topics do you feel passionate about?
  • What is it about the world that you would like to change?
  • What are the areas where you are most skilled?
  • What topics do people come to you for advice on?

2. Do your research and get knowledgeable

Now, before you jump headfirst into the business world with your new idea, it’s important to take a step back first and analyze the situation so you can see if it has the potential to be successful. Here are a few research techniques you need to carry out:

  • Conduct market research    

What industry will you be participating in? Is there a genuine need for your product or service, and if so, what makes your offering different from what is already on the market? What are the current trends, size, life cycle, and growth direction of the industry? The more you know about the sector that your business will operate in, the better.

  • Competitor analysis

To properly assess the market conditions, you must first understand your competition. Make a list of the main competitors in your sector (businesses that will be relative in size to yours and the larger players that dominate the market share). Then, compile a list of their strengths and weaknesses. After you’ve discovered them, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to map your business’s advantages and market position.

  • Seek feedback on your idea

Ask people within your target demographic what they think of your idea. You need honest (and sometimes brutal) feedback at this stage, so make sure you take a survey of people outside of your friends and family.

  • Choose your business model

How are you going to monetize your idea? While it’s still early days, you need to have a firm grasp of how you will turn your traffic into dollars once your website gets rolling.

  • Seek guidance

The road to success in the business world is a difficult one. If this is your first time entering into space, it’s a good idea to seek out coaching or enroll in a course to help you realize your goals.

Mike L. Murphy, Founder of The Visionary Planner, an online course for people who want to monetize their passions and build a successful online business from their current expertise, says, “Just like you’d be crazy to attempt to travel through the wilderness without a map (and preferably a tour guide), you’d be equally crazy to attempt to do something as risky as starting up a business!  That’s why you absolutely must find a process and mentor to save you time, money and heartbreak by doing things the right way, from the get-go.”

3. Set up your website

Many people find setting up their own website to be a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be that way. These days there are tons of tools and guides out there to help you do it on your own (which is the cheapest method). However, if you still don’t fancy taking the project on yourself, you can hire a developer who will create one for you. The rates for this vary depending on the complexity of your site, but you will likely be surprised at how cheap you can get one set up, especially if you use freelancers.

With that said, here are the steps you need to take to get your site up and running.

  • Domain and hosting

Go and buy your domain name and set up a hosting account. If possible, try and secure the domain that is an exact match to your company/brand name.

  • Build your site

You can either build it yourself, use a website builder, or hire a developer.

  • Fill it with copy

Your site is going to need a well-written copy that clearly states the purpose of your website and what the value proposition is to your customers. In other words, tell them what you are offering, why they need it, and how they can purchase it.

  • Start a blog

A blog is a must-have for any business, regardless of industry. Once you establish an audience, you can sell your own products or services, promote affiliate products, and run sponsored campaigns with other brands. It also gives you a platform to demonstrate your expertise and establish authority within your niche.

4. Bring in the traffic

Last but not least, now that you have everything set up and your infrastructure is ready to go, it’s time to start bringing in the customers. With an online business, the only way you can do that is by attracting traffic to your website and converting them into sales. Here are a few of the most popular ways to do that:

  • Blog (SEO)

As we just touched upon, a blog is a fantastic way to build an audience and draw people to your site. The great part about blog traffic is that it is 100% organic, which means that you don’t have to pay a dime for any sort of advertising costs (other than the cost to write the article).

To make the most out of your efforts, you will need to become a proficient writer and learn (at least) the basics of SEO. This will help your website rank for search times in search engines, increasing traffic to your site and giving you more opportunities to generate revenue.

  • Social media

It’s estimated there are around 3.8 billion active social media users today. That’s a whole lot of potential customers that you can gain access to relatively easily. Of course, you are not required to launch on every available platform. However, it’s worth experimenting with most of the popular platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to see which ones perform best for you, and then devote more time to the ones that generate the most interest (such as followers, likes, comments, shares, etc.).

  • PPC campaigns

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing is when you place ads on social networks and search results pages. It’s one of the quickest ways to improve brand awareness and drive traffic to your new website. However, you will need to set aside a marketing budget.

  • Build an email list

Over-relying on one source of traffic is a recipe for disaster. All it takes is one algorithm update or a Facebook moderator to shut down your page, and your ability to generate an income will disappear overnight. This is why it’s important to build an email list, as it gives you direct access to your audience without the need to rely on any sort of third party. Once you’ve accumulated a large enough list, you can send regular marketing emails (such as e-newsletters) to your customers and followers to keep them informed about new products and special offers.

Final word

Now that we have covered all the necessary steps it takes to go out and build your very own digital empire, it’s time to go out and do it. While it may be overwhelming at first, just take one step at a time, and before you know it, you could be the owner of a thriving online business in an industry that you are truly passionate about.

Image: Depositphotos

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How to Handle Different Communication Styles in Business

Have you ever come out of an important meeting feeling confused or frustrated? Was there ever an occasion where you found it difficult to explain yourself to a colleague or customer?

When it comes to communication, there’s no one-size-fits-all style. All of us communicate differently and sometimes this difference can make matters difficult for your business. By understanding different communication styles, you can enhance workplace productivity leading to better business results.

What are communication styles?

Communication styles are our preferred way of interacting with others. Some people may find it easier to articulate confidently how they feel. Others may prefer keeping their opinions to themselves because they want to avoid conflicts.

In every workplace, you will find people with different preferences. A healthy workplace will encourage a good balance of these differences to encourage new ideas and processes.

Why Learn to Handle Different Types of Communication Styles in the Workplace

Successful businesses understand the importance of clear and effective workplace communication. They also understand that it’s tricky because everyone has a preferred style of communicating. But learning to handle these different styles is beneficial for a number of reasons.

  • Improved communication skills: To encourage each team member to share ideas.
  • Improved work-life balance: To avoid miscommunication.
  • Improved teamwork: To get the best out of different team members.
  • Better work relationships: To achieve common goals.
  • Improved self-awareness: To be respectful of different opinions.

What are the 5 communication Styles?

If not managed properly, the differences in our communication styles can cause confusion, misunderstanding and unnecessary stress. To address this challenge and to leverage different learning style, a growing number of businesses are using a tool called DISC.

DISC is a useful tool that can help you better understand people’s behaviors and emotions. It’s designed to provide an insight into why people behave in the way they do. According to this model, there are four distinct personality types:

  • Dominance
  • Influence
  • Steadiness
  • Conscientiousness

Based on this model, there are five communication styles that clearly stand out.

1. Passive Communication Style

Do you know someone who tends to avoid conflicts and prefers to stay under the radar? This is typical of the passive communicators. They don’t mind taking a step back and let the more assertive people lead the way. That’s because they don’t want to get involved in a confrontational situation. To keep peace they may say, “You’re right, let’s go with it.” In doing so, they may avoid sharing their real feelings.

If you observe their body language, you will notice they tend to hold their head down, speak softly and avoid eye contact.

This type of communications style is useful when you need to win small battles. For example, if you have difficult customers only interested in their own ideas, a passive communicator can be brought in to placate them .

How to Handle a Passive Communicator

Dealing with the passive communication style be challenging. If you try to push too much, they may completely shut down. Instead, here are some simple examples of how you can handle them:

  1. Give them space to articulate their opinions and needs
  2. Do not dismiss their ideas
  3. Ask them open ended questions
  4. Engage with them in one-on-one interactions
  5. Do not expect an immediate response

2. Aggressive Communication Style

An aggressive communicator doesn’t believe in staying on the sidelines. In a discussion, aggressive communicators will adopt a loud and hostile demeanor to get their points across. They will also not shy away from rejecting other opinions. It’s therefore not unusual for them to boss around and dismiss other ideas with curt responses like “It’s a terrible article” or “I’m right and you’re wrong.”

Their tone of voice and gestures are all meant to suggest their opinions matter the most and that they’re not interested in what others have to say.

When they don’t get their way, they will scowl or glare at others.

How to handle an Aggressive Communicator

An aggressive person can create a hostile work environment, especially when there are more passive co workers in the team. Here are some ways to handle aggressive communicators:

  1. Do not return the aggression
  2. Explain to them why their behavior is not acceptable
  3. Give them advice on how they should tone down their aggressiveness
  4. Streamline your conversations to stay on topic
  5. Take HR’s help if the situation gets too difficult

3. Passive-Aggressive Communication Style

On the surface, passive-aggressive communicators appear easy-going. In reality, however, they are dissatisfied and angry. Their real emotions come out in the expressions of sarcasm, sly digs and silent treatments.

It’s often challenging to work with passive-aggressive people because they have the same effect as the aggressive communicators. When they cannot get their way, they will look for opportunities to undermine other people. “Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out myself like I always do” or “We’ll work on this if it makes you happy. That’s all they care about anyway.”

It’s their resentment that makes them believe they are powerless in the organization.

How to handle a Passive-Aggressive Communicator

If not handled properly, passive-aggressive individuals can create a toxic team environment.

Here are some examples of how you can manage passive-aggressive team members.

  1. Speak to them privately to understand what motivates their behavior.
  2. Do not react in the same way.
  3. Set boundaries.
  4. Stay calm.
  5. Create an environment where they don’t feel they are underappreciated.

4. Assertive Communication Style

Assertive communication is considered the most effective communications style. Assertive communicators are confident yet not dismissive of other opinions. They can get their message across without hurting people’s feelings. When they want answers they may say, “I’d like to understand your thoughts around the content structure because I don’t think I got it right” or “I felt your edits made my article more generic.”

They excel at both verbal and non-verbal communication. They make direct eye contact and speak with clarity.

An assertive communicator is also a good listener who is firm when dealing with different individuals.

How to handle an Assertive Communicator

Because of their balanced style, assertive communicators are the easiest to handle. Here are some ways to get the most out of these individuals.

  1. Give them space to think.
  2. Come up with solutions.
  3. Listen to their ideas.
  4. Be specific.
  5. Explain the problem clearly.

5. Manipulative Communication Style

Manipulative communicators are shrewd in the way they interact with others. They are skilled at influencing people and getting what they want. If they want a job another colleague is also interested in, they may manipulate them by saying, “I wouldn’t want to be in your position. They couldn’t pay me enough to take this one up.”

Their style of communication is patronizing and aggressive. It is this behavior that often leads to resentment among colleagues. Manipulative communicators, however, have very little regard for what others want or think as long as they get their way.

While their behavior is not ideal, their ability to control people makes them useful in difficult customer interactions.

How to handle a Manipulative Communicator

Managing a manipulative communicator requires some skills because they are good at what they do — controlling others. Here are some simple ways to handle these individuals:

  1. Be cautious when interacting with them.
  2. Stand your ground.
  3. Do not let them sway your opinions.
  4. Be firm but polite.
  5. Stick to the topic at hand.

How are the 5 communication styles different from each other?

Each communications style brings with it a set of opportunities and challenges. With passive communication, it takes a lot of effort to get them to share their feelings with the group. With the aggressive type, having a productive discussion can often seem impossible.

Manipulative and passive-aggressive communication styles involve a shrewd approach in dealing with others. It’s important to call such people out for their behavior. But treating them the way they treat others is not wise. Rather a more direct approach to address their problematic workplace communication styles is the right way to get things done.

5 Methods of Communication to be Aware of in Business

Just as we have a preferred style of communicating with others, we also have preferred or effective communication methods of expressing ourselves. These methods are based on our personalities. For example, a passive communicator eager to stay out of confrontational situations may prefer to use a submissive method of workplace interaction.

A good understanding of these different communication styles can make it easier for you to connect with different individuals and build better relationships.


An analytical person loves data. Feelings-driven statements are too vague and confusing for such a person. Quantifiable data, on the other hand, is easy to decipher. For example, a positive sales outlook is an undefined statement. A 10% growth, however, is concrete information.

With an analytical person, it’s easier to look at things objectively. They can separate feelings from work and provide a more rational perspective in their workplace. But the challenge is such individuals are often perceived as cold and unapproachable in communication.


Those who value human connection and emotion tend to prefer the personal style of communication. These individuals care about people first. They are good listeners and they find great value in understanding how people around them feel. If the sales numbers are poor, they will first try to understand if the team morale is low.

The personal style is important to hold a team together. These people can solve conflicts and find solutions to address unseen issues. However, they find it difficult to come to make quick decisions where logic needs to be applied first.


Submissive people believe other people’s needs and opinions are much more important than their own. They lack self esteem and try their best to avoid conflicts. So they stay away from making decisions that they think will upset others. They are also quick to apologize in a conversation even when it’s not their fault.

It’s not difficult to take advantage of a submissive person. Their low energy can also leave others exasperated.


An intuitive person focuses on the big picture.

They don’t let excessive details get in the way of achieving results. They are action-oriented and much more focused on the result than the process. That’s why, they prefer brief conversations that get straight to the point. For example, a quick conversation about a LinkedIn and email campaign is preferred over a detailed explanation of each step to design and execute the digital content plan.

Because they are able to look at the big picture, intuitive communicators find it easy to come up with innovative, creative solutions. They can get things done quickly because they don’t let the steps come in the way. However, these people end up losing patience when something requires a detailed and long-term approach.


Unlike those who prefer the intuitive style of communication, functional communicators like focusing on details and processes. They like taking their time before coming up with solutions and new ideas. When interacting with them, it’s best to come prepared to answer their questions.

Their detail-oriented approach is helpful when it comes to making project plans, allocating responsibilities and creating timelines.

But it can be a challenge for them to stay focused on the big picture. They can also lose the attention of their audience when they fixate on their methodical style. In other words, it can be quite difficult for them to work well with those who have an intuitive style of communication.

How to Improve Your Communication Style

Clear and effective communication can go a long way in boosting productivity, improving relations and reducing stress. But interacting with people who have different styles than yours can be tricky. By improving your communication skills, you can connect with people more easily. You can also influence them to get your message across.

Here are some simple ways to improve your communication and work well with different styles.

  • Work on your body language: Not all communication is verbal. Physical cues are also important. To communicate clearly, work on your posture, stand straight and avoid slouching.
  • Engage your audience: No matter how important, your message isn’t just about yourself. Engage your audience by asking questions.
  • Focus on your listening skills: A good communicator is also a good listener. Listen to what your audience is telling you, take their opinions into account to earn their trust.
  • Keep your message simple: Use simple language and avoid using jargons that can confuse your audience.
  • Have an open mind: An openminded approach can help when you have to engage with someone whose style is different than yours. It can make things easier especially when you face criticism in the course of a conversation.
  • Request feedback: Are you addressing everyone’s needs when communicating with them? The best way to know this and to improve your style is by asking for feedback. Seek opinions to understand areas where you need to get better.

What is the Best Communication Style in Business?

In business, the assertive communication style is considered the best for a number of reasons. Assertive communicators respect other opinions and needs without neglecting their own. By doing so, they earn the trust and respect of their coworkers and customers.

Assertive communicators are also good at not beating around the bush. They quickly get to the point and are direct when explaining what they need. Their self-awareness is useful especially when dealing with customers.

By improving your assertive communication style, you can influence decisions and make people feel more involved in the process. It’s not always easy, especially when you have to deal with difficult people. But by keeping an open mind when someone is not agreeing with you, you can achieve your goals.

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McAfee and Visa Form Partnership

As cybersecurity breaches continue to lead the news, McAfee and Visa have announced the formation of a new partnership. In this agreement McAfee is going to offer internet security solutions to Visa Business cardholders.

McAfee and Visa Partnership to Protect Small Businesses

The goal of the partnership is to help protect Visa Business cardholders in North America and EMEA. As part of this agreement, Visa Business cardholders will be able to save up to 40% on a two-year subscription.

This is a comprehensive McAfee solution that will safeguard devices from malware and the latest online threats. Additionally, it will also protect sensitive data via email, provide web and firewall protection, and offer mobile VPN.

For small business owners with limited resources, cybersecurity isn’t always a top priority, but it should be. As for Visa Business cardholders who think they have enough protection, it is not always enough with today’s digital threat environment.

Gloria Colgan, global head of card products and platforms, Visa Business Solutions, puts it best in the press release. Colgan says, “With Visa’s Payment Fraud Disruption capabilities inherently protecting all Visa Business cardholders behind the scenes, offering McAfee Total Protection provides an additional layer of security that can help further prevent fraud, which can have an outsized impact on small businesses.”

McAfee will provide protection for several PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android devices to fit specific business sizes and needs. There is also an upgrade offer for Visa Infinite Business cardholders in the U.S. They will be able to save up to 63% and receive access to flexible licensing options, including a one-year subscription to McAfee Total Protection for 5/10/25 devices. They will have different levels of TechMaster call support.

The rest of the U.S., Canada, and EMEA cardholders will have access to two-year licensing options for McAfee Total Protection for 5/10/25 devices.

The offerings are now available to eligible cardholders in North America (U.S. and Canada) and EMEA (England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Finland, Poland, and the Czech Republic).

Timely Alliance

This is a timely alliance that comes as businesses are experiencing increasing ransomware and other forms of cyberattacks. Considering the average cost of a cyberattack on a small business is more than $25K, every available security protocol should be implemented.

Investing in a robust security solution would be much cheaper than the alternative. But beyond buying a solution, small businesses have to establish a culture of cybersecurity awareness. Without having everyone in your company aboard, the best solution can’t protect your company from hackers.

A security protocol with strong and strict governance is absolutely essential. Once you have this in place, you can better prevent and recover from a cyberattack.

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The Best External Hard Drive for a Small Business

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Running out of disk space on your computer when you most need it is frustrating, to say the least. And these days it doesn’t take long to run out of space. From videos to images, and data files small businesses are continuously generating data. External drives solve this problem by providing ample space for your digital storage needs. The best external hard drive for a small business on this list solves multiple storage needs.

In addition to just more storage space, the external hard drive you choose also needs to serve as a reliable backup solution. A virus, hackers, corrupt data, or system failure can paralyze your business. Having an external backup system can quickly get you up and running.

There are many options when it comes to external drives and before you choose one, find out what you need. This way you can find the right external hard drive for you.

Best External Hard Drive for a Small Business


WD 24TB My Cloud 4-Bay Network Attached Storage


Top Pick: This Western Digital external drive provides a centralized storage system you can access anytime and anywhere. And an integrated 1.6 GHz Marvell Armada 388 dual-core processor and 2GB DDR3 memory delivers fast transfer speeds of 114 MB/s upload and 108 MB/s download.

Once you have your system installed, you can use WD Sync to synchronize media and files across all your computers and My Cloud device automatically. This lets you share your data with your staff, customers, and vendors on PC or Mac computers.

This line of WD storage offers from 8TB to 56TB, so you have many options. The unit is 9.13 x 7.56 x 6.69 inches and weighs 2.43 pounds. Higher-capacity storage is considerably heavier, the 56TB unit weighs 18.46 pounds.

WD 24TB My Cloud EX4100 Expert Series 4-Bay Network Attached Storage

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Seagate Expansion Desktop 16TB External Hard Drive


Runner Up: At 16TB this Seagate hooks up directly to your computer with a USB 3.0. This allows a maximum transfer rate of 160Mbs. If you have a Windows computer just connect it to your computer and it will recognize it automatically. You can also use it on a Mac computer, but you will have to reformat it before you can start using it.

The Seagate drive is 6.93 x 4.75 x 1.44 inches, weighs 2.09 pounds and it comes with a 1-year limited warranty and 1-year rescue data recovery services.

Seagate Expansion Desktop 16TB External Hard Drive HDD – USB 3.0 for PC & Laptop

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Toshiba 6TB Canvio for Desktop


Best Value: If you are in the market for a middle-of-the-road hard drive, the Toshiba 6TB Canvio is a great choice. It delivers value for the price from a reliable company. The Canvio is powered by a 7200 RPM drive and USB 3.0 to transfer your data quickly and effectively. It is Windows compatible but requires reformatting for a Mac.

This unit is 6.57 x 5.1 x 1.63 inches, weighs 2.20 and Toshiba includes a 2-year standard limited warranty

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LaCie d2 Professional, USB 3.1 Type C, 3.5E, 16TB


The LaCie d2 Professional is compatible with Windows and Mac-based computers. It delivers transfer speed rates of up to 260Mbs with its USB-C USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity. The d2 Professional comes equipped with BarraCuda Pro enterprise-class drive to ensure reliability and performance.

This drive is 7.42 x 2.36 x 5.12 inches and weighs 3.09 pounds. LaCie includes a five-year limited warranty including Rescue Data Recovery Services.

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BUFFALO LinkStation 16TB Storage


BUFFALO gives you an affordable network storage solution with a Hexa-core processor and native 2.5GbE port. This allows it to handle high data load operations with speed and stability. It comes with a pre-configured RAID for an out-of-the-box experience. All you have to do is plug it into your router for instant network access.

It is Windows and Mac compatible along with synching capability with Dropbox/OneDrive/Azure for Hybrid Cloud.

This drive is 8.1 x 3.6 x 5 inches and weighs 7.00 pounds. Buffalo includes a 3-Year warranty and Simple Logical Data Recovery.

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SanDisk 4TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD


While the price of SSD is coming down, it is still much more expensive than HDD. However, the technology is a must for many users. This 4TB SSD from SanDisk has an NVMe solid-state performance with up to 2000MB/s read/write speeds. It supports USB-C and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connectivity.

This storage is housed in a forged aluminum chassis-silicon shell combo that provides up to two-meter drop protection and IP55 water and dust resistance.

At 0.41 x 2.28 x 4.36 inches and weighing a mere 2.75 ounces, this is a solid portable storage solution. Moreover, SanDisk includes a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty and password protection featuring 256?bit AES hardware encryption.

SanDisk 4TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD – Up to 2000MB/s – USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 – External Solid State Drive

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iStorage diskAshur2 HDD 2TB


If you need additional protection for the data in your external drive, iStorage has a solution. The diskAshur2 provides 2TB of storage with USB 3.2 and up to 160MB/s read speeds and up to 143MB/s write speeds. And it is compatible with: MS Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Android, Thin Clients, Zero Clients, Embedded Systems, Citrix, and VMware.

When it comes to security, you have to enter a 7-15-digit PIN to authenticate and use it as a normal portable HDD. All the data is encrypted using AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption without additional software incorporating a Common Criteria EAL 5+ (Hardware Certified) secure microprocessor. All data transferred to the drive is encrypted in real-time. Even if the device is lost or stolen It is protected from unauthorized access.

The diskAshur2 ensures your data is compliant with regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA. Furthermore, it has a rugged construction that makes it dust and splashproof (IP56 certified). The diskAshur2 is 4.72 x 3.15 x 0.59 inches and weighs 7.62 ounces.  

iStorage diskAshur2 HDD 2TB Black – Secure portable hard drive – Password protected, dust and water-resistant

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Features to Consider

With so many use cases and options, there are some key considerations you should put on top of your list before you buy an external hard drive for your small business. 

  • Capacity: There is no doubt you will eventually need more storage; the question is how much. A good place to start is adding up all your data and estimating how much more you will be creating. This of course will depend on the type of business you run.
  • Compatibility: When choosing a hard drive read the specification sheet to see if it is compatible with your device. This includes operating systems, Windows, Mac, or Linux.
  • Read/write speed: With a 7200 RPM HDD, you will get read/write speeds of 80-100Mbs. On the other hand, SSDs can get read/write speeds of up to 550Mbs.
  • Transfer speed: Beyond the read/write speed, you also need fast transfer speeds. This will depend on the connectivity. The old USB 2.0 standard has a max transfer speed of just 480Mbs. You get 5Gbps with USB 3.0, and 10Gbps with USB 3.1 Gen2 and USB 3.2 Gen2. The latest protocol 3.2 2×2, can get transfer rates up to 20Gbps.
  • Security: Most drives are compatible with software encryption solutions, which is enough for regular use. However, if your data demands more security, you need to look at storage with hardware encryption.
  • Network-attached storage (NAS): A NAS device or NAS server is basically an external drive that connects to a network and offers storage space to all devices on the network at the same time. This allows you to backup files from a network computer and share data over the internet. You can also stream digital content to network players and download files.

Difference Between HDD and an SSD

Traditional Hard Disk Drive or HDD has been around for a long time, and it uses a physical magnetic disk to store your data. It uses mechanical platters and a moving read/write head to access data. All of these moving parts make it susceptible to failure much sooner than a Solid State Drive or SSD.

An SSD drive stores your data on instantly accessible interconnected flash-memory chips. This technology is faster, smaller, and more expensive. While the price of SSDs has been coming down, it is still considerably more expensive than HDD. But considering they last almost twice as long as HDD, they are well worth the investment. 

Desktop or Portable Hard Drive?

If the hard drive you are getting is strictly for the office and you need a lot of storage, a desktop unit is a right choice. Depending on the amount of storage you get, you can also use it for other storage solutions for your business.

On the other hand, if you need storage while on the go, a portable storage drive will do fine. If you are a photographer, videographer, or traveling business person recording content, the extra storage will come in handy. You can plug them into your laptop, tablets, smartphones, or cameras and access terabytes of storage instantly.  


You can get HDD or SSD external hard drives, but when it comes to durability, there is a huge difference. The HDD has moving parts, which means they will eventually fail. And generally, it is anywhere between three to five years. With SSDs the average is around 10 years before they start failing. Another thing to consider with SSDs is the amount of time it can be overwritten. Rewriting over the flash memory will lower that 10-year average.


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Spotlight: How This Founder Brings Passion and Experience to Mobile Music and Education for Kids

Some entrepreneurs go into business to make money. Others aim to make a difference in the lives of their customers. Mobile Music and Education for Kids is a passion project that falls into the latter category.

The founder uses her background in music and education to provide a unique approach to learning. Read about the philosophy and the organization in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides music and overall education for the whole child.

Founder Wanda Micheal told Small Business Trends, “A whole child approach to education is defined by policies, practices, and relationships that ensure each child, in each school, in each community is healthy and safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long term success.”

Business Niche

Providing a fun and creative way to learn.

Micheal says, “We educate kids through the arts and fitness!”

How the Business Got Started

To use unique skills to help children in need.

Micheal explains, “I majored in both music and early childhood education. I opened a learning center with hopes of helping children with disabilities.”

Biggest Win

Creating an educational game for kids.

Micheal says, “I am in the last process of my educational game hitting stores. A representative from Mattel toy company told me to submit my idea to them before releasing it to the public. I used the game for several years, only to realize how much kids were retaining, and how much fun they were having while learning!”

Biggest Risk

Running a nonprofit instead of a business.

Micheal adds, “I love children, and I don’t want to see any child do without because of their parents income. I would turn down contracts that were requesting my services to those that didn’t need it. My vision is to help those that less fortunate, and those that are doing without because of money.”

Lesson Learned

Never stop dreaming.

Micheal explains, “I would take my concept nationwide! I have a daughter that’s an educator, so I’m hoping she will carry the torch when I’m done!”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Purchasing musical instruments, fitness equipment, books, and supplies.

Favorite Quote

“A Good Student Is One Who Will Teach You Something.” -Irving Kaplansky.

* * * * *

Image: Mobile Music and Education for Kids, Wanda Micheal

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Internal Customer Service: What You Must Know

Internal customer service involves everything an organization can do to help their employees fulfill their duties, reach their goals and enjoy their work. It covers how different departments communicate with each other and how individuals interact with their colleagues, subordinates and superiors. It is a vital aspect of modern business as it creates the environment within which a company is most likely to succeed.

Here is a complete guide to everything you need to know about internal customer service.

Why is Internal Customer Service Important?

The importance of internal customer service cannot be overstated, especially for a department such as human resources where internal interactions are part and parcel of their daily duties. There are multiple benefits to cultivating good internal customer service as one of your business goals, so it is easy to why it is such a valued aspect of modern business.

The benefits include:

  • Boosting staff productivity.
  • Increasing employee satisfaction with their work experience.
  • Creating clear communication channels.
  • Encouraging staff loyalty.
  • Solving problems quicker.
  • Improving external customer service.

18 Internal Customer Service Tips

There are a lot of tips and customer service best practices that can be implemented within a company to develop excellent internal customer service. Creating a program that consists of all or most of these elements can have a huge impact on productivity and staff morale.

Here are 18 of the most reliable ways to make sure your internal customer service is up there with the best.

1. Label Employees as Internal Customers

Every employee should be considered an internal customer as it will improve the communication an training protocols. This is especially important to HR, as it is their role to serve other departments, either via recruiting, communicating or disciplining. They also provide services such as mediation and other employee relations, as well as training and staff benefits.

2. Be Sure to Show Respect

Respect inspires respect and openly exhibiting this aspect throughout the organization will greatly increase the quality of a company’s communication and teamwork. With a program of respecting the needs of each individual as well as each department, a business can thrive thanks to the cohesion and support the workforce offers each other.

3. Decide on a Communication Schedule that Fits Both Parties

Staff morale can decrease dramatically when they feel like they are not being listened to. Problems that need solving for individuals and departments shouldn’t be ignored just because they are not the highest priority when it comes to the bottom line. Good customer service involves creating a communication schedule where everybody gets the chance to be heard.

4. Have Multiple Communication Channels to Contact Your Internal Customer Service Departments

As communication is the key to so much about good internal customer service, it is also important to program multiple communication channels that employees can use to discuss issues of importance. This means an openness to face-to-face contact, as well as emails, phone numbers and even a choice of superiors to discuss issues with.

5. Know the Organization Structure and Visualize it with a Chart

An organizational structure enables employees to know exactly who to talk to about any given issue, regardless of the teams they are assigned to in the organization. For example, a mail room attendant needs to know who they can talk to about an issue with sorting mail, while the same company’s marketing team or sales department will need a different communication channel for their particular issues. The CEO may be the most authoritative role, but they don’t need to be involved in every internal issue as there are managers lower down the ladder who are content to handle the job issues being communicated by their subordinates.

6. Make Sure Everyone Fully Understands Their Roles and Responsibilities

A lesser obvious part of internal customer service is developing a program of pre-emptive problem-solving. This means making sure every employee is aware of the full content of their role and responsibilities. This prevents confusion and clashes over who is supposed to be doing what task.

7. Maintain Two Way Transparency

It is not just the subordinates who must be transparent with their actions at work, it is also good for the managers and directors to show their worth to the company too. Employees who don’t understand the unique content of their superior’s role can consciously or subconsciously lose respect for the authority of that role.

8. Create a Rewarding Company Culture of Service

People need to feel valued as it is an inherent part of our natural inclination towards building communities and teams. This instinct is significantly enhanced in the workplace, so a company culture where cultivating customer loyalty is a priority means having a program to reward effort and good work. This culture program of boosting employee morale creates a happier work experience for productive employees doing their best to drive the company forward in unison with their co-workers.

9. Always Have a Positive Attitude

Positivity isn’t just about smiles and encouraging words, but also about creating a program to provide timely solutions to problems and making sure each team and individual employee has everything they need to do the best job they can. When inevitable problems arise, a good service is proactive in finding a solution to improve the working experience.

10. Get Feedback from Internal Customers – and Act on it

With the communication channels already established, it is important to listen to the feedback and information from the teams of employees and their experience in the workplace. They are the internal customers and the audiences with the most valuable input, so any adjustments to the procedures and processes they suggest because of their experience should be taken seriously by those in charge. Such feedback response is a vital component of a happy and productive workplace.

11. Have a Clear Set of Expectations and Service Standards

You should eliminate any possibility that an internal customer can claim they didn’t understand what was expected of them, especially when it comes to customer interactions. All types of standards must have a clear definition and all employees fully aware of their responsibility to maintain those standards.

12. Reiterate Expectations Often

Following on from making expectations and company standards clear for employees in the first place, is the regular reiteration of the relevant standards. Some basic common standards won’t necessarily need regular reminders, but there will be some that do, such as a sales team’s attitude and demeanor when speaking with clients. It may also be something like the aforementioned positivity and proactive problem-solving that should be kept at the forefront of every internal customer’s mind.

13. Let Team Members know You’ve Received Emails

If one of the communication channels between teams of employees is via their email address, then this has the potential to cause issues if replies to internal customer queries are not forthcoming. That’s why every email sent from a company’s email address should be replied as soon as possible even if the query is not yet able to be answered. Just letting the sender of the email know their message has been received and is being taken care of will improve internal customer satisfaction.

14. Solve Problems Quickly and Efficiently

One of the best practices of good internal customer service for all companies is quick problem-solving. When teams or a single internal customer has a complaint, it should be heard and the information acted upon as quickly as possible. By leaving such problems highlighted by employees unsolved, it creates a bad atmosphere and lowers staff morale.

15. Always Inform Customers of the Project Progress

The progress of company projects should not just be something for CEOs and other higher-ups of companies to experience. Everybody in the company plays a part either directly or indirectly regardless of their relation to the products or services the firm provides, and it is rewarding and morale-boosting for each member of the team to receive news of progress. Such news and information regarding the overall business goals and success of the products, services and brands is good product management and fosters an excellent team spirit and togetherness, and lets everyone on the team know their efforts are valued.

16. Get to Know your Internal Customers

By knowing your internal customers on a more personal level, a customer service team can cultivate a better working relationship by understanding each individual’s needs. Internal customers with young families, for example, are less likely to be able to work weekends than an employee who is single.

Other internal customers may also be more ambitious than others and seek a program with training opportunities to increase their responsibilities. Other small details like having the phone number of every worker and how much privacy each one prefers during their daily routine can be beneficial to the overall employee experience.

17. Give Frequent Customer Service Training

Similar to setting out a program of company standards and expectations, it is also important that staff knows the best customer service practices and receives frequent customer service training so they can develop their experience. Develop a philosophy of customer service that every internal customer understands and knows how to implement.

18. Train Employees About Other Jobs Within the Company

Training employees in skills beyond what they need for their usual daily tasks can empower them. It obviously helps the company as well by ensuring employees can cover different departments in a business for each other should there be absences, but it also makes each employee feel valued.

What is internal customer service?

Internal customer service involves multiple departments within a business coordinating together to achieve the aims of the company.

For example, the recruitment process isn’t just a job for one employee or even one department. Someone will be responsible for advertising the job, another for screening and interviewing candidates at a service desk. HR will then on-board the successful candidate and provide orientation. The accounts department will then enter them into the system so that they can be paid. You may also involve the IT department or other industry experts who must ensure the new employee has the equipment they need all set-up and ready to go on their first day.

This requires a lot of cross-team communication and inter-departmental teamwork, all of which falls under the umbrella of internal customer service.

What are examples of internal customers?

Internal customers are anybody that has a relationship with or a role within a company.

Internal customer examples include:

  • Employees
  • Suppliers
  • Partners
  • Stakeholders
  • Shareholders

What are examples of external customers?

External customers are anyone paying for the products or services a company provides but is otherwise not part of the company.

Such external customers include those:

  • Buying a product
  • Using a service
  • Customers renting or hiring a product
  • Clients paying for a provided service

What is the difference between internal and external customers?

External customers have been the driving force behind business ventures since business began, while the concept of internal customers is fairly new and ultimately a method for creating a positive and productive work environment.

External customers are the ones businesses are trying to attract to pay for their products or services, while internal customer service is about creating a positive and productive work environment for the people who provide the product to external customers.

How do you build relationships with internal customers?

There are a number of tried and trusted ways to build better relationships with internal customers.

These methods include:

  • Show respect and you will get respect in return.
  • Build trust in character and ability.
  • Open clear lines of communication.
  • Respond to feedback.

What effect does poor internal customer service have?

Allowing poor internal customer service to foster in your company means running the risk of losing your best talent as they become dissatisfied with their work experience.

Often the best employees are left picking up the slack from poorly trained employees who lack the abilities or knowledge to perform their duties correctly. This lowers morale, decreases motivation and ultimately inhibits productivity.

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10 Documents Business Leaders Should Always Keep Physical Copies on Hand

Digital receipts, online bank statements and cloud-based document storage are the norm in today’s business world. Some business owners may wonder whether they truly need physical copies of any documents at all these days. However, some important documents should always exist in both physical and digital form.

To that end, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question:

“While moving all your business files to the cloud or other digital storage may seem more convenient or secure, what is one example of a document you want to make sure you have a handy physical copy of, and why?”

Here are some of the documents worth keeping around.

1. Articles of Incorporation

“Having a physical copy of the articles of incorporation for the business is something I find important. While this document is technically on file with the state, having it on hand is the only proof I have that I own the business if, for any reason, it’s called into question or I need to access important information about the business when dealing with banks or government entities.” ~ Richard Fong,

2. Business Certifications

“You want to have hard copies of certifications and licenses that your business requires for regular operations. Certain facilities need certification for food preparation or manufacturing, as one example, and if they vanish in cyberspace then you can potentially violate regulations.” ~ Duran Inci, Optimum7

3. Tax Documents

“Tax documents should be available in all forms as much as possible. It is a must to have a handy physical copy of your tax return, especially during an emergency.” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish

4. Password Lists

“It is probably best to keep master passwords offline and in secure or hidden areas. Keeping a copy of them online is easier, but it can lead to password lists getting ‘out in the wild.’ It is better to go old school and keep them under lock and key in the physical world.” ~ Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

5. Contracts and Permits

“With the rise of cloud computing, documents are stored on servers across the world instead of in the office space of your business. There are many benefits of doing business this way. But documents that are important for running the company have to have physical backups as well. I’ll say that contracts and permits are very good examples of such documents.” ~ Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

6. Your Business License

“Many companies today only have their business license and other key business documents in digital format. But electronic systems can fail, and some regulations actually require that documents be kept on the premises. You should always keep physical copies on hand. Not to mention, having certain documents like your business license on display builds credibility with customers and employees.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

7. Your Business Plan

“When moving your business files, make sure you keep a physical copy of your business plan handy. Your business plan is the blueprint for how your brand will grow and how to get from one step to the next. It’s important to keep it safe while having a copy on hand that you can access in case anything happens during the file transfer.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

8. Awards and Diplomas

“Yes, you may want to keep hard copies of tax documents, employee contracts and other contracts, but don’t forget to keep hard copies of any awards or diplomas! A framed hard copy of your diploma is a great way to visually remind your clients (and you) why you’re so amazing. You can coordinate certificate frames to match your office colors as an extra touch.” ~ Shu Saito, All Filters

9. Insurance Documents

“When moving to the cloud, keep hard copies of important financial records and insurance documents. These would be most damaging to have fallen into the wrong hands should there be a security breach or the possibility of data losses. Your business plan should be dynamic and easy to recreate, in multiple places, but the finances and insurance should be stored as hard copies in a safe place.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

10. Business Operating Agreements

“You should always keep a physical copy of important business documents. In most states, for instance, you’re legally required to keep a physical copy of your operating agreement if your business is an LLC. You should also keep physical copies of your business licenses and permits to ensure you’re compliant with regulations.” ~ Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

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How to Start a Hop Farm

It’s no secret that the popularity of craft beers is on the rise. In fact, it’s something better described as an explosion in popularity.

Hops have two purposes in beer production. Hops preserve beer and provide flavor.

All craft beer brewers need to continuously order hops. As the number of craft beer drinkers continues its growth, the need for hops in great variety grows right along with it.

What is a Hop Farm?

Hops are the female flowers (cones) of a plant. All types are perennial plants.

There are hundreds of varieties of hops, and each variety has a unique flavor. A hop farm can be as small as two acres but large-scale operations are much larger, even 100 acres and more.

On the farm, hops are planted and grown on structures called trellises. Hops are climbers that grow from 16 to 20 feet tall.

Why You Should Start a Hop Farm Business

Due to the demand for craft beers, there is a demand for more hops suppliers. According to the US Brewers Association, there are more than 400 new craft breweries each year. And the popularity amongst young consumers is especially high, Millenials love craft beer.

Compared to other agricultural crops, not much land is needed.

NEED TO KNOW: Many states have laws that require craft brewers to use locally sourced ingredients.

The Hop Industry in the United States

In 1648 colonists established a hops farm to supply a brewery in Massachusetts.

Although that’s the earliest known location of a hop farm in the US, by the 1900s Wisconsin and the Pacific Northwest were the leading producers of hops.

Today Washington leads hops production, commanding 70% of the market. Idaho chips in with 14% and Oregon with 13%. Massachusetts, New York and other states have 4% of the market.

Products You Can Create from Hop Production

Wet Hops – This is a niche. Hops cones must be dried and processed before they are shipped, but cones can also be used before they are dried, as “wet.” If shipped “wet” they must be used within 24 hours.

Bittering Hops – These are added early in the brewing process. Bittering hops have antibacterial properties.

Aroma Hops – These are the hops that add flavor. There are hundreds. Among the most popular are the citrus flavors, which hold more than 80% of the market.

“Non-beer” Uses – Hops are used for medicinal purposes. Hops cones can be used as food, chopped and sprinkled on salads and even French fries. In food recipes, hops can replace basil.

Foundation of Craft Beer – Use the hops you grow in your craft brewing business.

How to Start a Hop Farm: 12 Important Steps

Here’s more information about the steps:

1. Understanding the Basics of Running a Hop Farm or Hop Yard

The planting and “trellis training” are important to the success of the hops. These are important parts of running the hop farm but care of hops at harvest is most important.

The quality of the hops is directly connected to how they are dried, cooled, bailed and pelletized.

2. Learning the Resources Needed for Running Hop Farms

The equipment associated with harvest is expensive. There are regional hop growing associations in many states, and members of these may be able to share resources. Most commonly, harvest equipment is shared.

What’s needed:

Trellis Systems – Hops can grow 20 feet in six weeks. Newcomers can construct the trellises in the off season.

Drip irrigation system – These systems can cost about $4,000 per acres.

Overhead sprinklers – The cost is about 1,000 per acres.

Harvesters – You can harvest hops by hand. When plants are thoroughly producing you’ll need a hops picker. The largest can cost up to $35,000, and can process more than 6 vines per minute.

Hops Bailers – Hops are compressed into 200-pound, burlap-wrapped bales.

Tractors – Harvesters and bailers are run by the PTO system on tractors.

3. Learning the Plant Varieties

The citrus flavors are the most popular hop varieties. In 2012 citrus flavors held 40% of the market. Today citrus flavors hold 80% of the market.

There are hundreds of flavors, with the majority in the citrus-type.

Learning your target market is part of learning the varieties. There are specialized types that are growing in popularity.

One of these is Hallertauer. As it sounds, it’s a German hop prized for lagers and ales. Bittering hops also hold a growing part of the market. Golding is a British hop, known for its mild spice and used for bittering.

4. Ordering the Plant Stock and Timing Delivery

They are planted in the spring. It’s a perennial that has a five-year life, with its best years of production from 3-5 years.

Depending on your spacing, you’ll need 800 to 1200 plants per acres.

You can plant Rhizomes, which are pieces of root from the female plant. Or you can plant Crowns, which is the entire plant.

Rhizomes are readily available in the fall. You can purchase them then and store in a cold, dark place to be planted in the spring.

5. Planting the Rootstock

The way both Rhizomes and Crowns are planted is by hand. You should prep the soil by plowing or tilling.

6. Caring for Hop Plants

Water supply amount and pest and nutrient management are important.

You’ll need about 150-pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer per acres. The timing of application is important.

The plants must be manually “trained” to grow up the trellis.

During the growing season, the plants need 30 inches of precipitation. Since that’s not usually attainable, you’ll use your drip irrigation system.

You’ll need IPM (Integrated Pest Management) to control the pests. The main pests are Hop aphids and tw0-spotted spider mites.

Be ready with a fungicide if needed as a way to prevent or treat powdery mildew and downy mildew.

7. Harvesting Hop Plants

The hop plant is cut low and the vine goes through the hop picker to separate the female flowers.

8. Drying Hops

The dryness of hops is tested by a moisture meter. The desired level of moisture is no less than 6%.

If the hops aren’t dry enough, they will mold. If they’re too dry, the hops will shatter and loose quality.

Kilns are expensive and many hops growers send their product to companies that specialize in drying.

9. Storing Hops

Dried hops should be kept away from heat and light. The colder, the better – cold helps hops retain aroma and quality.

10. Learning the Brewing Process for Craft Brewers

The main ingredients are water, hops, barley (malt) and yeast.

Here are the steps:

  1. Mashing – Grains and ingredients are added with hot water, becoming Wort.
  2. Boiling – Wort is transferred to a kettle and boiled. Bittering hops are added early, and aroma hops later in the process.
  3. Fermentation – The boil is cooled and yeast is added. Yeast will convert the sugars to alcohol.
  4. Filtering and pouring into barrels or bottles.

11. Marketing Your Hop Business

If you’re marketing your hops, a first step is joining your local or regional hop growing association via its website.

If you’re brewing craft beer, use social media and a website for promotion. Have tastings and other events and collect an email address from each attendee.

12. Selling

Don’t lose sight of the fact that even if you’re in the east, you are competing with established growers in the Pacific Northwest. The product is light and inexpensive to ship.

Use the harvest yourself in your craft brews business. Or sell to local beer makers, commercial and home-based, using your website and other promotions to build orders.

How Much do Hop Farmers Make?

Hop Growers of America has developed a number of sample budgets for a hop farm of varying size.

Income is affected by two main factors:

  1. The length of time you’ve been in business. Profits are eaten up the first year or two by the cost of capital investment, and the length of time it takes for hop plants to mature (3 years).
  2. The size in acreage of your farm.

Hop Growers of America has all the questions answered for newcomers. Basically, hops sell at from $3-15 per pound. When plants are mature, the yield can be 1,800 pounds per acre.

Most craft breweries contract for 90% of the hops they use. It can be hard for newcomers to edge in on long-established contracts.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Hop Business

Hops need a 120-day growing season. Roots are left in the ground after harvest. If the temperatures get colder than -20, the plant likely won’t survive. They grow best in USDA hardiness zones 3-8.

Site Selection

Pick an area with rich, well-draining soil where plants will get 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.

Climate and Environment

The soil pH content should be 6-7.5. The best climate is one with a hot, moist summer.

That’s why the Pacific Northwest is a leading area.

Environmental Permits

Environmental permits vary by state. In some states, additional permits, licensing and approvals are needed.

Special licensing is required in New York.

Your Target Market

Established growers have established contracts for their product. These contracts are usually for several years, based on the prime production years of the hops plant.

Your research should target learning information about long-term relationships between producers and buyers. Also your area association can be a source of information.

Who are your customers? What type are they likely to order? Are they in the beverage industry, food industry or home brewers? These are points to consider.


Much of the labor is seasonal help. Workers are needed during planting and also during the critical “trellis training” times. Permanent staff is needed to monitor for pests and fungus, and water supply.


Farms are specific insurance needs. For example, you can get crop insurance which helps cover you for crop loss due to weather disasters. You also need typical business insurance, such as coverage for buildings, farm machinery and vehicles.


If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need an EIN number. You’ll need to estimate taxes, and pay quarterly. This is important since your income will basically occur during one month of the year at harvest.

Growing Hops in New York

The Cornell Small Farms Program seeks to aid hop growers. The program provides research and advice, as well as educational videos and training. The program greatly helps with planning.

In New York, you’ll need a 20-C license from the NY Department of Agriculture. The state also requires that drying, grinding, pelletizing and vacuum sealing processes be done at licensed facilities.

Although those requirements may seem restrictive, they free small scale growers from the need to buy expensive equipment. The requirement can help small scale growers get started with the product without being saddled by a huge investment of capital costs.

How much does it cost to start growing hops?

The estimate for start-up costs is $200,000 for ten acres.

How much is an acre of hops worth?

It depends on location and market. But, in general:

You can have 1,200 plants per acre

Each plant can produce a crop of 1-2 pounds of dried product

You can get $3 to $15 per pound depending on market prices.

At one pound per plant, you can get between $3,600 and $18,000 for your acre.

How many acres of hops are profitable?

Even if you sell $18,000 worth for one acre, you may net only $1,000 per acre your first year.

That’s due to the costs of the trellis system and other farm machinery. Also, your plants have not matured to their top producing capabilities when harvesting at one or two years old.

The more acres, the more trellises you need. But the equipment needs don’t change.

How many acres do you need to grow hops?

According to a 2020 Cornell study, the cost per acre to get established is $12,000-15,000 per acre.

According to the same study, 10-15 acres should yield $12,000-15,000 per acre income.

Once you’re established with equipment, the variations in profit are connected to the age of the plant. Keeping the farm in peak production mode requires planning.

Image: Depositphotos

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Online Craft Classes for Handmade Entrepreneurs

If you run a handmade products business, one of the best ways to grow your business is to offer customers new and innovative products.

By taking online craft classes, you can not only create more products for your business, but learn new skills that can help you come up with craft ideas to sell. In this article, we’ll look at some of best craft classes for entrepreneurs to help you grow your business and use your new skills towards your craft business.

What are Online Craft Classes?

Online craft classes are usually dedicated to teaching you a new skill. This could include watching pre-recorded sessions where a teacher takes you through a specific skill, or watching a live demonstration via Zoom or other channels.

There are many different types of craft lessons available depending on what you’re looking to learn, and you can find all kinds of classes that you can take from the comfort of your home.

Why You Should Take Online Craft Courses

Online craft courses can be incredibly beneficial for you as a maker. It helps you hone your skills, and build on your knowledge. Plus, classes give you an opportunity to learn new techniques and get inspired with new ideas.

You’ll be able to learn from experts and the best of the industry, and strengthen your fundamentals to help your small craft business ideas flourish.

There are many types of craft lessons available that can help you enhance your skills as a handmade entrepreneur, including:

  • Photography classes
  • Painting
  • Jewelry making
  • Paper crafts
  • Food craft
  • Drawing
  • Knitting
  • Embroidery

10 Best Places to Find Online Craft Classes

Luckily, there are many places to find the best online lessons for crafts, and we’ve rounded up some of the best options available for craft tutorials and demonstrations. We’ll look at some of the key factors that go into online craft classes and why they can benefit small business owners.

1. Skillshare

Types of Classes Offered: Skillshare offers a vast variety of classes across different art disciplines and skills. You can find classes such as painting, crochet, drawing, knitting, photography and much more.

Whether you have a hobby that you are trying to grow into a business, or an established business that needs innovation, Skillshare can help. The platform offers both pre-recorded and live classes, with some being one-off classes and others with more of a community feel.

Skillshare Pricing: Skillshare offers two membership plans, Annual and Monthly. The annual plan is $30 annually, or $2.49 a month. Monthly pricing is $8 a month. Each option comes with a 7-day free trial.

2. Creativebug

Types of Classes Offered: Creativebug offers classes in areas such as art and design, sewing, quilting, paper crafts, food and home, and much more.

Most classes are one-off rather than a structured curriculum, and are pre-recorded videos. The videos can vary in length, so you can choose to invest as much time as you want to take classes.

Creativebug Pricing: There are three membership tiers available. The Unlimited plan is $7.95, the Unlimited Plus plan $9.95 and the Annual Unlimited Plus plan is $71.40, or $5.95 a month. All plans come with a 7-day free trial, and include access to videos. The higher-tier plans include value adds such as storing videos and exclusive discounts.

3. Creative Live

Types of Classes Offered: Creative Live offers live lessons for free across subjects such as photography, art, music and video, craft classes as well as business classes.

You can pay per class, and each one has a varied price and time, making it easier to choose what works with your schedule. Teachers include familiar faces such as famous entrepreneurs and creatives, as well as experienced individuals.

Creative Live Pricing: Some classes are offered free, however, Creative Live works on a pay-as-you-go model. Teachers set their own price for lessons, and you don’t need to pay subscription fees. Simply pay for the class you are interested in, whenever you would like.

4. Craftsy

Types of Classes Offered: Built for creatives, Craftsy is all about the crafts. Classes are based around a hobby, such as quilting, knitting, sewing, food crafts, gardening, photography, painting, and cooking among others.

The online learning is divided into structured classes with several sessions, allowing you to learn skills in a more in-depth way and start a project of your own. Live sessions are also offered.

Craftsy Pricing: You can pay for classes individually, or subscribe to gain access to all sessions. There are two subscription tiers available at $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year.

5. Michaels

Types of Classes Offered: Michaels is known for their crafting supplies, but it also offers online classes for adults.

Their community classroom online sessions are run by instructors via Zoom so you can learn new skills and ask questions as needed. The classes range from food crafts to traditional paper and arts, allowing you to explore a wide range.

Michaels Pricing: Classes are currently being offered for free in different categories. All you’ll need to do is book ahead of time using the scheduling page on the Michaels crafting class website.

6. Domestika

Types of Classes Offered: Domestika is designed for creatives, with courses ranging from illustration, photography and video, crafts, as well as business-oriented courses such as marketing.

Craft classes available on Domestika include crocheting, furniture design, cake design, jewelry design, ceramics, and much more.

There is a wide variety available in instructors and experience, allowing you to explore a full range of options. The courses are structured into multiple sessions, allowing you to start and finish projects and learn from experts.

Domestika Pricing: Prices are set by instructors, so they could range from $10 to more. However, you can also choose to buy a Domestika Pro subscription that gives you an additional 20% discount on courses for $59.99 a year.

7. Udemy

Types of Classes Offered: Udemy offers classes in crafting and other subject areas on demand, making it a convenient and easy option.

You can find classes that will help improve your crafting, while also finding courses to help grow your business in different areas.

Udemy courses tend to be structured into multiple sessions, allowing you to go deeper into subject areas and there is a wide variety to choose from.

Udemy Pricing: Course prices are set by instructors, so the costs can vary from $10 and up depending on the level of depth of the course and instructor experience. All courses come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

8. We Are Knitters

Types of Classes Offered: As the name might suggest, We Are Knitters offers pre-recorded video classes in fiber art.

This includes knitting, macrame, crochet, embroidery, hand dying, weaving, and other types of crafting. Classes include basic and beginner level courses as well as advanced techniques.

We Are Knitters Pricing: No subscription is needed for We Are Knitters, all classes are available for free. The videos also include written instructions for those that prefer to learn by reading rather than watching.

9. Purl

Types of Classes Offered: Purl offers classes in knitting, sewing, crochet, embroidery, weaving, and other crafts such as woodworking.

Lessons are held in Purl’s physical location in Soho, New York. While some classes are single events, other classes may have 3-5 sessions.

Purl Pricing: There is no subscription fees with Purl, pricing is for individual classes. Pricing can vary from $100-250 depending on the time required and supplies needed, but prices generally include materials.

10. Bluprint

Types of Classes Offered: Bluprint, as it was formerly known is another craft learning website. However, Bluprint and Craftsy have since merged. If you had a Bluprint account in the past, you will be able to access previous classes from Craftsy.

Bluprint Pricing: Bluprint no longer offers classes as it operates under Craftsy now. Craftsy offers two plans, available at $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year.

Free Online Craft Classes

There are some great options available if you are looking for free online craft classes in different subjects areas, including:

  1. We Are Knitters: Great free classes for fiber arts such as knitting, crochet, and embroidery to help you learn both advanced and basic techniques.
  2. Michaels: Best free option for live classes via Zoom in different subjects from experts that you can book in adcance.
  3. Creative Live: Free and pay-as-you-go live classes in crafts as well as business areas so that you can develop different skills in crafting as well as operations such as marketing and finance.
  4. Creativebug: While they do not offer free classes as such, Creativebug does include a week long trial so that you can watch videos in different art and crafting areas for free before committing
  5. Craftsy: Similar to Creativebug, Craftsy does not include free classes. However, they do provide a free trial prior to membership so you can explore different subject areas for free
  6. Skillshare: One of the benefits of Skillshare is that it has a low entry price point and also offers a 7-day free trial so that you can get a sense of the classes and videos before paying rather than offering free videos only.

How do I start an online crafting class?

You can create your own online crafting class by using some of the platforms mentioned above.

Depending on the option you choose, you can create either a one-off class to help people start new projects, or do structured sessions to provide more in-depth learning.

Does Michaels have online classes?

Michaels does offer online classes.

Currently, they are offering free live classes via Zoom with instructors across different crafts including baking and sewing among others.

Is Creativebug free?

Creativebug offers a 7-day free trial, but it is not free. Creativebug offers three different membership tiers, ranging from $7.95 a month to $5.95 with an annual plan that all grant access to videos.

Is Bluprint worth the membership?

Bluprint has now closed as of 2020 and acquired by Craftsy. Craftsy memberships can definitely be worth it if you want to learn from experts through videos, and take a craft class to develop your business further.

What crafts are most profitable?

There are many crafts you can build into a successful business, and a craft class can help you with this goal.

The crafts that are most profitable in 2021 include jewelry design, art such as paintings, photography, candle-making and fiber-based crafts such as knitted goods and embroidery.

Image: Depositphotos

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