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An Introduction to Contracts With Customers

An Introduction to Contracts With Customers
Do you remember the first sale that you ever booked or made on your own? It was probably pretty exciting — that feeling of elation and top-of-the-mountain. You suddenly realize that you might understand how this whole business thing works and you might be able to do this. But of course there are practicalities to consider when you make a sale. It can be tempting to recognize revenue right away, but there’s always a risk. What if the sale cancels, for example? What if it costs more to create the product or service than you’ve booked? It just can be a difficult process to learn the ins and outs of recognizing revenue. Standards to Recognize Revenue Fortunately there are standards to use that others have figured out. These standards are a great way for companies to make sure that people understand what they are doing is on the up and up. Non-accountants must be aware of the concept of recognizing revenue from contracts with customers. Because payments are often not a straightforward affair, accountants have to allocate revenue using specific standards set by national and international accounting boards. While this information doesn’t seem important for non-accountants to understand, it is. Knowing when revenue can be recognized in your company’s financials affects everyone, from the salesperson’s commission to the marketing budget next quarter. What are those standards and what are the takeaways from them? This graphic explains it.   To understand and accomplish the new revenue recognition standards, businesses should complete the following five steps:  1. Identify the contract with your customers Clearly identify the goods or services provided and describe each party’s right to them   2. Identify your performance obligations Specify exactly what you owe your customers and explain what defines “good performance.”   3. Determine the price of your products or services When doing so, don’t forget to consider promotions and other discounts.   4. Allocate a transaction price to the obligations specified in the contract Align the price of your services with your compnay’s performance obligations   5. Recognize revenue as performance obligations are satisfied   Sales people also must understand the difference between booking and revenue. A booking is when the customer makes a commitment via a contract to buy your services or product. Revenue is when the revenue “counts” on the books – When accounting can account for the revenue as being...
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Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business

Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business
Here’s to New Beginnings: Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business   When you have a great business idea and strive to achieve financial independence, you might be thinking about launching a small business. Every huge corporation started with a small business, so why not? While you can definitely achieve success in the business world, keeping your small business successful for at least 2 to 5 years is a huge work. This game is worth the candle, though. So, if you’re trying to start a small business, here’s your handy guide to help you out:   Start your journey with research Perhaps, you’ve already come up with a unique – or any – business idea, but is it going to bring you success? Does your business idea have many competitors? Before you take any step, do your own research. Consider running your idea through a simple validation process that will help you to figure out the future of that idea. First of all, your business idea should offer something – be it a service or a product – that the modern market needs these days.   There are many ways to find out if a business idea will be successful, such as focus groups, deep research, and in most cases, trial and error. But before you go through trial and error ask yourself:   Does the market need your product/service? Who are the people who will want to use your product/service? What are the companies that offer similar or the same product/service? Will you be able to compete with them? It’s important to ask confidently without any fear or disappointment.   Create a business plan Any business idea requires a powerful business plan, which will become your guide during the process of establishment and business growth. There are many types of business plans, so choose the one that will suit your idea.   If you’re looking for financial support from a financial institution or an investor, creating a basic business plan is essential. This business plan is usually thorough and long, and contains a set of sections that banks and investors check out when they’re validating a business idea. In case, you’re not looking for any financial support and you’re going to invest in your startup yourself, it may be enough to create a simple and short business plan just to give you the initial steps you should take. You can also come up with a working business plan on a piece of paper and change it as you start working on it.   Consider your finances Generally, a startup doesn’t need too many investments, yet you’ll need some money to cover a number of expenses during the first months or even a year before your business will earn a profit. Calculate the one-time startup expenses like property leases, permits and licenses, legal fees, equipment, branding, insurance, inventory, market research, opening events, trademarking, etc. Then, calculate how much money you will need to keep your startup running for a year (your own paycheck, employee paychecks, utilities, rent, advertising, marketing, travel expenses, supplies, etc.)   As soon as you find out an approximate amount of money, think about the ways to find them. You can either save money or borrow from family or friends. Many new entrepreneurs also apply for an SBA loan. Filling out an SBA personal financial statement may be tricky, but here’s a guide to help you out.   Select a business structure Whether it is a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, a sole proprietorship, or even a corporation, your next step is to select a business structure. Your business structure will affect a lot...
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How To Measure Instagram Marketing ROI

How To Measure Instagram Marketing ROI
How To Measure Instagram Marketing ROI & Establish If It’s Worth Your Money Instagram can be a highly effective addition to your business. As a marketing tool, it’s great for driving engagement, increasing sales, boosting brand recognition, and much more.  But looking beyond all the fuss, how do you know if it’s actually worth it for your business? Read on to discover how you can measure your Instagram marketing ROI and determine if it’s worth your money in 2019.  Recommended reading: Which Digital Channels Deliver the Best ROI?   What is ROI on Instagram? It has historically been difficult to measure the ROI of social media in general, and Instagram is no exception. However, it is possible to get a good idea of how successful your Instagram marketing actually is by comparing the initial costs against your SMART objectives. The initial costs of Instagram marketing are relatively simple, in their most basic terms:   Time: the working hours needed to administer your Instagram strategy. Cost-per-click: this will vary depending on how much you want to pay to get your sponsored posts ad seen (and even if you want to go for a paid ad campaign).   While the costs of an Instagram marketing campaign are fairly easy to track, monitoring the outcomes are a little less straightforward. With most social platforms, results are viewed in terms of likes, shares, and comments — rarely as actual sales. And while Instagram’s Shoppable posts make it easy for you to track, it’s less easy to monitor sales from outside the platform but informed by your Instagram marketing.   However, using SMART goals can help you evaluate your Instagram ROI with a firm footing. These goals are: Specific: what is your goal? do you want more mentions? Followers? Increased sales? It’s down to you, but be specific about the end result you want to achieve. Measurable: how will you measure your goal? Think about the metrics you will use to identify this. Achievable: what do you need to achieve your goal? What resources, tools, and skills are required? Relevant: is your goal aligned with the overall goals of your business? It should be relevant to your brand. Time: how long will your Instagram marketing campaign take? Set a clear deadline so you know when you should begin measuring your success.     Setting SMART objectives as outlined above gives you a strong idea of how successful your Instagram marketing actually is overall. SMART objectives Let’s break down your SMART objectives in terms of Instagram and establish how you can measure your Instagram marketing ROI. Specific Before you do anything else, you should establish exactly what goal it is you want to achieve. Without this, you won’t know the steps you need to take to achieve it. The goals you might be working towards include: Followers Mentions Sales Email subscriptions Of course, these are just a few potential goals you might choose to work towards. There is no right or wrong goal — just choose the one that best serves your business needs. Measurable Once you’ve established your goal, how will you measure this? This is largely tied to your specific goal, and it might be easier for some goals than others. For example, if you want to get more followers, there’s really only one way to measure that. If your follower count increases, then you’ve nailed it. But let’s say you want to see increased sales. In this instance, you’ll need to determine where the sales will come from (in-app or through your online store), if you want to see sales for a certain product or across the board, and so on. Instagram...
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What Small Businesses Need to Know About Developing a Brand

What Small Businesses Need to Know About Developing a Brand
What Small Businesses Need to Know About Developing a Brand? If I asked you the name of your business, you could probably respond without a second thought. But what if I were to ask you about your brand? What is the story you would tell, the mission you want to achieve, and the unique characteristics that set your business apart from your competitors? You’d probably need a bit more time, but it would be time well spent. Branding is a powerful tool. It can turn first-time customers into loyal followers and long-time customers into word-of-mouth marketers. Branding, when done masterfully, is the reason we apply “Chapstick” to soothe dry lips, eat “Popsicles” to cool down on a hot day, and “Google” the answer to life’s most pressing questions. Needless to say, brand identity is an important component to your business.     Picture Courtesy : 4 Compelling Brand Stories You Should Be Telling   How Can You Grow Your Brand? Its clear brand development is important, but how do you build it into your marketing efforts? There are numerous answers to that question, but the following often represent the most common and impactful way to increase brand awareness: Content Marketing: In many circles, content is considered the leading way to do everything from improving organic search results to, as you guessed it, increase brand awareness. Through this method, well-curated articles, blog posts, videos, white papers, etc. are used to increase brand credibility. Content is then distributed through various channels, including email, social media, and on the brand’s website or blog.     Picture Courtesy: 18 Types of Content Marketing You Can Use To Grow Your Business Ultimately content works to show your brand as a source of knowledge, whether it pertains to industry trends or customer needs.   Social Media Advertising: Social media allows business owners to leverage posts, shares, stories, and comments to engage directly with existing and potential customers. While much of that interaction is free, there are additional paid advertising options that can help small business owners take advantage of social media advertising to increase reach.   Picture Courtesy: Best Social Media Management Tools – No More Social Media Babysitting Many social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat offer paid advertising opportunities that base ad placement on user data. This can place your brand in front of a specific audience base or target user.   Charitable Initiatives: Companies like PetSmart, TOMs, and REI have long attracted customers through their dedication to philanthropic initiatives. By doing so, they’ve associated their brands with a specific mission – helping pets, clothing children, or saving the environment. When “giving” initiatives are leveraged correctly, they highlight your brand’s mission and show your commitment to goodwill. As such, your brand gains notoriety among audiences that share similar interests or philanthropic goals.     Picture Courtesy: Top 10 Best Free SEO Tools To instantly Improve Your Google Ranking in 2019   Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Today, SEM refers to any type of paid search efforts and has become an umbrella term used to refer to pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-click (CPC) marketing strategies. Through this method, you purchase ad space on search engine result pages (SERPS) on Google, Bing, etc. Instead of ranking organically for specific keywords, SEM allows your brand to show up at the top of a SERP, presenting your brand to highly targeted audiences. You Know How to Grow It, But How Do You Pay for It? While each of these methods can help you increase brand awareness, they often come at a price. Social media and SEM ads are often paid promotions that are based on the number of clicks. Content...
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Which Digital Channels Deliver the Best ROI

Which Digital Channels Deliver the Best ROI
Which Digital Channels Deliver the Best ROI ? Are you in the process of finalizing your digital marketing strategy for 2019? Are you contemplating on the budget to be invested across digital marketing channels? Then read on… Before you decide which digital marketing channels you should focus on, it is but imperative that you completely understand how each one has performed for the past recent years. Just as you wanted to utilize the channels that will get you the most out of your time, you also want to make sure that you will only be investing in channels that will deliver the maximum  ROI for your money as possible.   Selecting the right combination of channels is crucial for ensuring the success of your overall digital marketing campaign. Disruptive Shift In Digital Strategy – A Study by Ignite Visibility San Diego-based Ignite Visibility recently released a new study which highlights a growing shift in digital marketing. The study surveyed businesses in six revenue brackets – under 1 million, 1 to 5 million, 5 to 10 million, 10 to 20 million, 20 to 50 million and over 50 million – in order to gain insight into how they would be investing in digital marketing over the next two years. Additionally, the study analyzed which digital marketing channels would be most popular. “It’s incredibly important to be forecasting ahead and making sure you have the right digital strategy,” says Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln. “ We’re dedicated to bringing best-in-class insights to the industry so marketers can have the most effective strategy in place.”     The findings reveal an overall shift toward online marketing channels across all business categories. They also reveal that many smaller businesses still struggle to effectively measure ROI and conversion rates. Furthermore, social media is by far the hardest channel for businesses to manage. “We’re seeing a large shift from offline to online because digital channels are more trackable and generally produce a higher ROI,” continued Lincoln. In the study, we also say clear divisions in the business size and type of digital marketing channel they liked the most. But overall, social media marketing seemed to be a big pain point for all marketers.” To view the full study visit Ignite Visibility (New Study) 300 Marketers Reveal Disruptive Shift In Digital Strategy – Ignite Visibility Study reveals key findings in how marketers will shift marketing dollars through 2021. Key analysts: Karen Schwartzman, Content Manager Ignite Visibility John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility In this study, Ignite Visibility interviewed 300 marketers categorized by business sizes of under 1 million, 1 to 5 million, 5 to 10 million, 10 to 20 million,…   Blogging remains as the top content marketing strategy 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority. The most successful marketers spend 40% of their total marketing budget on content marketing. The average for all respondents is 26%. Content marketing revenue will exceed $300 billion by 2019. Here are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to content and email marketing. Limited internal resources 28%, lack of strategy 28% and lack of content 23%.     Paid Search and Mobile Marketing As of July 2018, 90.46% of people use Google as a search engine. Bing is 3.13% and Yahoo is 2.21%. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. 18% of local searches done on mobile devices lead to a sale within a day. In 2017, 48% of 1,200 global digital marketers say on-page SEO is still considered to be the most effective SEO tactic.     Facebook Advertising There are now more than 50 million small businesses using Facebook...
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