Emerging Business Trends

The business world is one that faces constant innovation and evolution. Functions and processes are always changing across industries around the world. This is true especially when it concerns sales and marketing, considering that new avenues are constantly opening up for business owners and consumers alike. As this is the case globally, it would be wise to know the latest when it concerns the ever-growing world of business. The following are some of the things that may be advantageous for your enterprise, covering everything from contracting an overseas back office to engaging customers through the web and other means.

Businesses of all sizes from all industries across different parts of the globe have different priorities. Although this is the case, one priority shared by all is customer service and interaction. Consumers are, after all, the ones who drive sales and push money into your company by buying the products and services you offer. Acquiring and servicing customers efficiently is of utmost importance, and to achieve this goal, it is important that you engage in personal, call, and web interaction with your target market. Here are some of the different and best ways to make this possible.

Tapping into Social Media

The internet is constantly shaping and reshaping the way people interact with businesses. You need to keep up with the times and maintain an online presence to keep customers engaged and in touch with your enterprise. The best way to do this is by creating and maintaining a useful and functional website. Use this platform to keep all current and potential customers informed about the products and services you offer. A website is of great significance given the fact that more than 90% of consumers search the web before making any purchases and other relevant transactions.

It would also be wise to set up and maintain accounts on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Hundreds of millions of consumers use these networks to get the latest about things they are interested in. Using it to plug and promote what you offer will help reap fantastic rewards.

Sales Pitches and Customer Engagement through Telemarketing

Another proven way of keeping customers engaged is through telemarketing. Although internet marketing now reigns supreme, there is still no denying the wide reach of this more traditional form of sales. When it comes to sales, many companies now choose to set up a contact centre (sales outsourcing) in overseas locations where the cost of labour is significantly less expensive than it is in western countries. Whether you want a sales team making pitches or a customer service team taking in calls regarding inquiries and complaints, outsourcing the job is the best way to go about it.

Setting Up a Back Office

Much like the establishment of a contact centre for sales and marketing, setting up a back office is also ideal for businesses whose operational costs are way too high for simple functions. Some of the most popular examples of functions relegated to an overseas back office include information technology support and human resources. This is a common in major conglomerates and other businesses across the globe.

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Business Reality – 7 Top Ways to See If Your Dream Business is Right For You

Do you long to start your own entrepreneurial business? This could be an internet based business which is usually a home based business, or a business that has a physical location. You might even have an idea of the type of business you want to start. Even if you do, think your idea all the way through first. Here’s a good tip; if you’re working now, start finding out all about your business before you quit your job.

Here are seven ideas of actions you can take to help you know if you really want to start the business you think about or not. Each these steps offer some real action ideas that let you “try out” the business before starting it.

1. Start by studying everything you can about the business you want to own. Read about it in business magazines each month, visit as many similar sites, either online or off, that you can. This is a good idea because the places you visit online or off line will be updated with ideas on new technology and ways to market for your potential new business. Go to the nearest library or book store and take time to read and make notes about the business you want to run.

2. Write your short business plan. Start with a short, 5 to 10 page business plan for their business. Talk about a business and put the concept of the idea on paper. When you actually start to see the figures for your business, you will begin to get a sense of reality of how much it will take to financially start and run a business. You don’t have to do a lot of writing; just get the main ideas down so you have a plan to move in as you get started. You can grow this plan later if you decide to push ahead.

3. Get real life experience. This is the big step. If you really want to get an idea of how your dream business operates, see if you can get real life experience at the business of you dream in your spare time or on your day off. Two ways to do this are:

  • Get part-time work at a similar business on your day off if you’re working or just for a few hours if you’re not
  • Go through a temporary job agency to try several types of businesses or jobs like the business you want to start

4. Be a volunteer to get a feel for a business operation. If you don’t have time to actually work in a business, volunteer to help out at the business or with an event given by the business to see what it involves from start to finish. You might even try to join a board of directors and really get involved in the whole business process.

5. If you have a very creative idea of a business or service that does not yet exist, find something as close as possible to your idea to study. Find something similar and maybe look into multiple types of ideas to get a real feel for what you want to develop. This will also give the reality check that starting a brand new concept can be very time consuming and often frustrating if there is a lack of real information on a new idea. Do this while the idea is still a sweet dream for you so you will go into it with the best intentions possible.

6. Do research if needed for new concepts. Look for new business trends. Now that there’s an economic downturn going on, consumers will have new wants and needs in the marketplace. Study if what you want to do represents a new trend of not. Look into trends such as alternative energy, solar energy, or green products and services.

7. Write about your new ideas without giving away your real concept. If you are looking at a new trend, start doing some research and put together an initial information product. You can use this as a hand out when you go to networking meetings to see if people are interested in the idea. Create an information product for the Internet and see if people download it. Being one of the first to get published on a new topic helps to make you the expert in the field and gives you a better chance of succeeding in a new area once you start a new business.

Put these 7 steps into action to help you see if you really want to pursue more information or not on the business you dream about. You can use these ideas to help you confront some of the real issues you could encounter in the business you feel is right for you. When you get a real-life experience by writing about and working in the business you love, you will learn that you really want to put in the effort to do this type of business or not. You will know if you want to take the time, effort, money, and stress to turn the dream into reality.

Starting a Business: Pet Business Trends

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, spending on pets has increased year after year, and that trend shows no sign of ending. Because owners love their domesticated creatures, they want to provide for them like they would a family member – which has spurred the development of a variety of pet businesses. These services include pet care and boarding, mobile grooming and spa services, waste cleanup, dog training and entertainment, dog walking, product supply stores and even pet food delivery.

To come up with a successful animal-related business idea, entrepreneurs should find work that they enjoy doing and combine that with trends that they see going on in the pet industry. Trends form to fulfill customer needs. Therefore, if you focus on current trends, you are likely to attract lots of customers.

When you design your product and services around active trends, this can help your company stay competitive in the marketplace. As trends evolve, so can your business.

Here are some trends going on in the field of pet products and services right now:

More Specialized and High End Services

People who have money want to treat their pets well. In addition to animal boarding and sitting services, now we are seeing luxury pet hotels which provide more amenities for a higher price tag. Some groomers are going one step further and offering all-natural treatments in a high-end spa-like atmosphere.

Even those on a budget want to do special things for their pet, but they do not want to do all the work themselves. For example, Zoom Room offers all sorts of dog training programs, but they have differentiated themselves from the dog training market by also hosting dog birthday parties. They handle all set up and clean up and provide the event facilities. With the work taken out, pet owners can have fun alongside their pets.

Increased Interest in Health

As owners become more educated in animal health, the market shows that many consumers are interested in specialized items that strengthen the immune system and promote vitality. For example, organic and all-natural pet food and treats are hitting the store shelves. There are even holistic pet centers selling healthy food exclusively.

There are also several online pet pharmacies. Besides selling medicine and treatments for disease symptoms, these companies are stocking multi-vitamins, antioxidants and digestive enzymes not commonly seen before.

Time-Saving Conveniences

In today’s busy society, animal owners may not be able to spend the quality time with their loved ones that they would like. There is a growing group of consumers willing to pay to keep their animals happy and entertained with services like dog walking and dog day care. A company called Adventure Pet not only walks dogs but takes them on “field trips” to keep them active and entertained.

Animal businesses are also going mobile. For example, some companies offers mobile grooming. Dogs/cats and their owners do not have to leave their homes but still get the services they want.

Trends Worth Billions – Consumer Demand Drives the Speed of Business (Part 3 of a 3-Part Series)

With our daily time frames accelerating and demographics shifting, the need for businesses to get on top of their game becomes ever more important. For example, while the pizza trend took a couple of decades to get firmly rooted in our culture, consider how quickly the cell phone has become an essential ‘gotta have one’ product. And camera phones, the next stage in positioning the trend, are moving even faster. Introduced four years ago in Japan, 57 million camera phones were sold by 2003, with expected sales of 338 million by 2008. If a non-essential trend product such as camera phones can foster that much growth, how will the growth of more essential products and services that serve an aging population fare?

Understanding trends gives you a profile of the marketplace, both what is beginning to appear now and what will be happening in the near and far distant future. They serve as an early predictor of how consumers are feeling, what products and services they will be seeking, and how businesses can respond to the anticipated needs. The best time to position a business is before the trend is well established. After all, market position is vital to the long-term success of a business.

Trend marketing is the foundation of future growth. It is the ability to pinpoint and respond to the changing needs of the customer and do so better than anyone else. While traditional marketing activities, such as customer service, branding, advertising and promotions are vitally important, unless you have identified your future customer, all these activities have no point. Before you can market, you have to know your market. Doesn’t that make sense?

While conventional marketing competes over a limited market, trend marketing assumes the growth of a market because of changing demographics. The epitome of trend marketing is to be where the customer is looking before they know they’ll be looking there. In other words, developing a business and marketing strategy based on how demographics will impact the marketplace in the future.

One advantage of trend marketing is the ability to reach the customer by narrowcasting the marketing message. Narrowcasting – delivering the message only to the desired market – is possible when the target market is isolated from the whole. This is in sharp contrast to traditional broadcast marketing, which has become considerably more elusive, extraordinarily expensive and wasteful of our natural and human resources.

A few years ago, conventional wisdom pointed to a reduction of paper usage based on the growing ability to store information electronically. Reality has a different face. Instead of conservation, the convenience of printing devices prompts us to print a ‘hard copy’ of just about everything. And with the convenience of the ‘cc’, documents are circulated (and printed) at an every increasing – and wasteful – rate. How much literature arrives in your mailbox that is trashed because it is has no relevance to you?

This is the attitude inherent in broadcast marketing – send the message to everyone. It is a lazy, expensive activity used by businesses that do not know their market. It may have worked in the old mechanical economy but we’re not there anymore and our time-strapped, information overloaded consumer is looking for relief. Unlike Henry Ford’s ‘any color as long as it is black’ marketing strategy, today’s consumers have a myriad of options.

These are extraordinary times to be in business. It requires intelligent planning. The uncertainty and chaos of the marketplace will only increase, particularly for businesses that continue to use yesterday’s tools to reach tomorrow’s customers.

As in all living systems, the business environment must move through cycles of change to stay healthy. During the 1920s and 30s, it was the growth of department stores that changed traditional shopping and sent shoppers downtown. The growth of suburban malls of the 1950s and 60s pulled shoppers out of the downtown core. The franchising boom of the 1970s and 80s steamrolled many ‘ma and pa’ shops. In the 1990s and on, the big box retailers forced businesses to rethink competition. How business owners responds to this next cycle will depend on their willingness to see change as an opportunity.

Consumer demand drives the speed of business and defines how products and services will be delivered. Ultimately, the consumer is in charge. Knowing what they want, when they want it, and treating them with awesome respect is still the road to business success.