Four Stages of Business Growth

1st Stage-Initiation:

There can be varied reasons for a business start-up but the main values in running the business are of those who are the founders. We can see that company exhibits the main skills of the founder in its spirits, for example, if the founder is an engineer, he will emphasize in production rather than sales and marketing which should not be neglected. Main efforts are centered on the acceptability of the product in the market. If the owner can provide the demands of business i.e. time, energy, and finances, he/she can move to the second stage. Otherwise, he/she will have to wind up their business as there is limited time for the company to stay at one stage. Here the main focus changes to establish the company and earn profits. With this financial push company will need to formalize the system and start record keeping, an unskilled manager can’t handle this all. After this, there will be demand for change in administration’s style because of increased activity in his business.

2nd Stage-Growth:

The moment a company moves forward to the expansion stage it should be able to earn a decent profit, but that profit will not go to the owner. This is because it will be invested in the business in order to assist in the capital demands of the company. It demands time for coordinating functional managerial activities; it demands complicated organizational structure mainly focusing on functional lines. Now research and development will be established in order to increase product range. At the start, it will be on a smaller scale because of lack of capital. If management continues changing its environment, the company can stay at this stage for some time. In many cases, owners sell their business at this stage for substantial benefits. The increase of new markets and product will demand more finances. This stage faces larger competitors who deal the situation by putting stress on emerging firm; this stress can be in the form of very low prices as well. At this stage over trading is the biggest threat if not handled properly it can lead the business to demise. As the company grows it need to extend geographical trading and distribution, so ‘supervised supervision’ will be required at this stage. If new competitors enter the market and the owner wants to maintain his shares, he will have to put more capital by himself or attract some partners.

3rd Stage-Expansion:

This stage demands proper management reports, budget control, and dispersed authority, along with a formal accounting system. Basic adaptation at this stage will be to systemize administrative roles which are keys to survival through this stage. The expansion stage demands stable long term funds which will be important and if there is not plan for partners then this stage must be considered right now. Although retained earnings are major forms of funds but dividends are the special attraction to the investors; at this stage these are inevitable. Now company’s track record will help in gaining long term loans but the company will have to give security in the form of assets.

4th Stage-Maturity:

At this stage main issues are about expense control, search for growth opportunities and productivity. The direction of authority can be towards functional lines or it is reorganized with production lines. As there is severe price competition, therefore, productions department should be the center of focus and authorities should emphasize on innovative moves towards betterment.

Now basic investments are in sales and marketing struggles and maintenance and plant up gradation. The company grows up to a level that income is sufficient to tackle this but occasionally more long term load prove to be a support. At this level firm may limit its operations or move on, normally acquisition or floatation in order to become a large corporation.

5 Effective Ways to Reduce Field Service Costs

There are five ways an organization can reduce their cost of field operations and delight the customers at the same time.

1. Go Mobile:
According to a recent Mobile Analytics Report released by Citrix, the total number of enterprise mobile devices worldwide had increased by 72% last year. Without mobility, service organizations can’t overcome some of the critical challenges like lack of real-time information, reduction in productivity, profitability and overall customer satisfaction. Customers, service managers, and field technicians can effectively use a single mobile platform for raising a case, managing work orders and invoices and get a real-time visibility of field support processes. Developing a customized app can streamline the workforce and push the productivity even further. Internet connection is mandatory to get the real-time visibility through mobile.

2. Minimizing fuel cost:
Fuel price is increasing every year globally. Every time a field technician covers longer distance, organizations have to bear the cost of fuel which reduces the profitability. With map integration, technicians can prioritize tasks based on distance, which helps to cut down on fuel costs. In a day, field technicians have to visit multiple places depending on the task assigned by service managers. Map integration not only helps field technicians to track the locations but also it helps customer and service managers to track the particular technician on the field as well. Map intelligence makes a big difference in travel optimization and cost reduction.

3. Knowledgebase integration:
It’s quite possible that field technicians may not be aware of a particular issue every time raised by any customer. Any unresolved issue generally leads to lower customer satisfaction. Organizations should integrate a knowledge base with the present application to look at similar issues and see how they were resolved. This knowledge base can be enriched every time when technicians face a critical and unique case and share their experience in the portal. Parallelly, customers can also have access to the knowledge base which helps the customer to resolve the less critical cases by themselves. It eventually leads to the reduction of service requests and overall cost.

4. Parts Management:
Effective parts management also plays a crucial role while it comes to the reduction of costs and productivity improvement. Most of the spare parts used in the day to day field service are quite expensive. A parts management application integrated with the current application can help organizations to enlist the relevant parts related to the particular products. It can also help to get the list of available parts of the warehouse, enable the field technician with the right tools and skill required. A knowledgeable and skilful service technician makes all the difference when it comes to customer delight and ensures service department with high first-time fix rate.

5. Timely alerts and notifications:
Alerts and notifications feature should be there in service manager console of the particular application which organization is using currently. It can play a major role when it comes to cost reduction and overall customer satisfaction. A manager should be informed of the cases which are not been resolved or an SLA is not met. It should also notify technicians when a new task is assigned or the task priority is changed. It helps to save ample amount of time and increase the overall service efficiency.

The key to managing service operations effectively is to assign the right technician with the job. Mobility can help with faster issue resolution, reducing time and cost for the organization. Customized solutions with the consideration of the above factors can improve the response time. It creates a positive impact for service managers, technicians, customers and overall organization.

Why Your Business Should Invest Into Direct Mail

Like any good entrepreneur, I’m always thinking of ways that I can develop and grow our businesses and brands. One of the best marketing strategies does not occur in the digital world. Each week, one of my companies sends out over 1,000 pieces of direct mail. We have an excellent response rate, even with a younger demographic target audience.

Think about it; people are deluged with emails, social media posts and instant messaging. In the digital world, it’s a novelty to receive a great piece of direct response material in the mail. However, there are a few differences in what we do in our direct mail than what was done in the old school days.

We experiment with all types of colorful pieces.
We rarely send any letter.
The pieces are always vibrant with images and very little copy.

There are a couple of reasons why your business should consider direct response to prospect and grow your business.

Response Rate: Last year, Compu-mail noted, “Direct mail household response rate is 5.1% (compared to.6% email,.6% paid search,.2 online display,.4% social media). This is the highest response rate the DMA has ever reported, since coming out with the Response Rate Report in 2003.
Personalization: When your prospects receive mail (not including bills), particularly those who are of Generation X or older, there is a familiar feeling. The older generations still like to receive something in the mail with their names on it. They can touch the piece, and there’s something novel about it in today’s world.
Generational Myth: Believe it or not, a sizable portion of Millennials also like direct response because it’s something they too can touch and hold. According to a Forbes article, 36 percent of people under the age of 30 like to check their mailboxes, and 95 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 have a favorable view of mail, such as personalized cards.
QR Codes and PURLs: Companies have been experimenting with testing QR and PURLs (personal URLs), which redirects a person who receives a piece of mail back into the digital age. Since most people now have a smartphone, these codes can be scanned by the target audience for more information.
Messaging: If you’re doing a particular project or sale, consider using direct mail to bolster the urgency. My team and I have gotten high response rates to direct mail pieces that have had a deadline to partner with our companies. One of the key reasons we have seen this work is because with all of the emails people receive, lots of times they are dismissing this form of communication quickly just to get through their email box.
Multi-channel Marketing: Direct response is an excellent way to support your digital marketing efforts. We know that people have to see your brand and logo multiple times for it to begin to “stick” in their minds. Direct mail helps reinforce your brand’s digital efforts. Prospects not only see you in the digital world but also in the “real world.”
Testing: Direct mail provides your business with an opportunity to test another method for reaching out to your prospects. We’ve tested direct response with high-level prospects in our target audience, and the new accounts we’ve obtained has paid for the mailing expenses
Easy Analytics: Direct mail results are straightforward to understand. You don’t need to have anyone on your team sign-into a digital platform to pull a report for you. Direct response provides you an easy way to see how much you spent against the amount of new business you achieved.
Credibility: Direct mail, because it’s familiar and tactile, gives the recipients an automatic sense of your credibility. We live in a world of “fake news” and raging social media debates about content in the digital space that is authentic and real. Direct response cuts through the noise and instantly gives credibility because of the investment and its familiarity.
Creativity: Direct response is an excellent way to experiment with color, size, shape and different packaging for your pieces. Sophisticated marketers are experimenting with many different types of mailings to stand out from a regular sized and traditional letter and envelope, which encourages people to look at the piece.

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) has reported that direct mail has declined. However, in a digital world where people are inundated with massive amounts of content, direct mail stands out as a creative way to cut through the noise. At the very least, direct mail is an excellent complement your digital efforts, and at best, it’s a great way to obtain new business.