10 tips for growing your business


When it comes to growing your business, there are about a million different things that you could do, but let’s break it down to 10 simple tips that you can follow to grow your business from the ground up.

1:
Develop a mission that you and your team can stand behind. It’s important to have this as part of your company’s DNA or your brand’s DNA that you can build on. It’s really foundational to your company to have a mission you can stand behind. At CloudBooks, for example, we have a mission of helping small businesses grow. Very simple, but that’s our mission, and we know that by doing that, we feel like we make the world a better place because businesses can hire people, they can help improve their communities, they can donate to local charities and all these things because they’re doing well as a business and they’re growing. So that’s our core mission. What’s yours?

2:
Invest in marketing. That is so crucial. Bill Gates once said that if you had $10,000 to start a business, you should invest $9,000 in marketing, and that’s so true because you could have the greatest product or service in the whole world, but if nobody hears about it, then you’re not going to do very well, you’re not going to grow your business. So it’s important to invest in marketing to develop a marketing budget that you can start with and then plan on growing that budget as you grow the revenue of your company. The Harvard Business School says you should invest anywhere from 7% and 15% of your revenue back into marketing to propel future growth.

That tip has been very successful throughout the years. We’ve seen that be successful with countless small businesses, so make sure that you’re investing in marketing. And then when you’re marketing, make sure that you cover all areas, make sure you’re multichannel, which would be to dominate search for your best keywords, social for your best demographics, local for the maps and local listings and reputation. If you do well in those areas, you’re going to grow your brand from a marketing perspective.

3:
Passionate about sales. There’s this saying in sport that winning is the best deodorant because it covers up the stinky spots. Well, that’s sales for a business. If you’re doing well with sales, it really covers up a lot of weak patches for you. It pushes you through and helps you continually grow. But if your sales aren’t doing well, even if you have everything locked in solid on the backend, you’re not going to see that growth. So make sure that you’re working on sales. Focus on sales. Have people that are passionate about sales leading your sales team. Measure things like opening ratio, what percentage of the leads are you opening and turning into sales and always work to optimize and improve upon that. If you have a culture that’s passionate about sales, you have a culture that’s passionate about the growth and really taking advantage of your marketing most effectively to have the highest return on investment and making sure that you as a brand can achieve your mission.

4:
Growing your business is to have scalable and repeatable processes. Processes are so crucial. That’s one thing we’ve known throughout the years is that we have to have processes and those processes have to constantly be optimized as you grow. What works with 10 people won’t necessarily work with 20, what works with 20 won’t work with 100. So as you grow your brand, grow your company, make sure that you’re constantly fine-tuning and optimizing your processes, make sure that you have processes, they’re documented processes, and you can measure to those processes. If you don’t have a standardized process, you don’t have a process at all, which means you’re free for all. So to have a scalable company that’s just as efficient when you have 100 people as when you had 10, you have to really focus on repeatable and scalable processes.

5:
Hire people that have the culture fit that you’re looking for, not the experience fit that you’re looking for. Culture alignment is so much more powerful than experience because if you have standardized processes, you can train people on those processes. They don’t necessarily have to have previous experience. It might take them a little bit longer to ramp up, but ultimately, you’ll end up with a better person if they fit your culture and they align with your mission over the experience that you might be looking for in the door.

6:
Measure the performance of people, but also to measure their attitude and their effort. It’s not always about performance. If you have somebody that’s not performing that well but they have a great attitude and they put forth great effort, their performance will probably get there if you give them some time and give them some coaching. So it’d be long-suffering in that situation. At the same time though, if you have somebody that’s performing very well but they’re struggling with regards to their attitude or their effort, this is probably not somebody that’s going to be a positive influence on your company and on your brand and on your culture, so you may want to consider replacing them if they’re not going to improve in those areas. So make sure that you measure people based on attitude, effort, performance. Try to have A/B players in all three of those buckets across the board and you’re going to be successful.

7:
Listen to feedback from your team and also your customers and make adjustments accordingly. We do something here as a company which is called the 410, which is we close at 4:00, so we say from 4:00 to 4:10, at the beginning of every month, submit a 410 survey, which is just a very short online form that basically allows people to submit shout outs for their teammates, build some positive reinforcement there, submit training tips and recommendations for process improvement that they might have and also submit other ideas for maybe products that we should introduce, additional services that we could offer. This is a great way to capture feedback once a month from your internal team, which speaks on behalf of your customers as well, so it’s almost like killing two birds with one stone. You get the feedback from your team on behalf of your customers so that you can make adjustments as needed, as you grow to offer new products, generate more revenue, increase and improve upon processes that you’ve laid in over the years. So listen to this feedback.

Also, read online reviews from your customers, reply to those reviews, you capture feedback there, and you can also do customer surveys maybe biannually or annually to capture feedback. The key is capturing feedback and then actually doing something with it, taking action so that you can improve.

8:
Hold an all-hands meeting with your team once a week and at minimum, once a month. At this all-hands meeting, everybody should be there. It can be a stand format. They don’t need to be seated. Just a short five to 10-minute meeting, and talk about transparency within your company. Where do you stand for a goal? What areas can you improve? What changes are on the horizon? Be honest with your team and be transparent with your team so that they’re on the same page. Communication is the key to growth. And if everybody’s on the same page and they know the good, the bad and the ugly, they’re going to be aligned with the mission and the goals moving forward as a brand. This is going to help you grow tremendously, so take advantage of this and don’t be afraid to do it.

9:
Constantly building future leaders for your company. As you grow as a company, leadership is going to be essential to your success. You can’t possibly be the leader forever as a business owner, so you need to continually build additional leaders. And you’re going to lose people for all kinds of reasons. It could have a family that could move out of town, they could find another opportunity, and so don’t let that beat you up. If you’re constantly building and harvesting future leaders, they’re going to step right in and you’re going to be successful as a brand. So work on leadership development, communication, and coaching of your entire team, not just your leadership team, so that you’re continually building future leaders for your company.

10:
Remember, nothing’s as good as it seems and nothing’s as bad as it seems, but somewhere in the middle lies reality. So never get too excited or never get too down. Always stay kind of even keel there. Stay cool, stay calm, and just keep working hard towards your mission. Keep making adjustments and improving along the way. Growing looks like this, right? It’s not a straight line. So just stay level set and that will help your team stay that way as well so they don’t panic in bad situations or get too overly confident in good situations. Just stay the line, stay the course, and eventually, if you stay at it long enough, you’re going to be successful. You’re going to grow your business.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully, these 10 tips on growing your business are helpful to you. If you have additional tips, please leave a comment with those power tips so our community can see those as well.

Translation Agency As A Small Business


Nowadays, starting a small business is much easier than it used. Besides, you can start an online business without having any kind of prior experience, so a translation agency will be quite easy to maintain. Here’s everything you need to know about having a translation agency as a small business.

Make a Plan

First, you will need to put together a plan that will guide you. It is a common practice to have a business plan before you actually start your business. You will need to do some market research to make sure that there is a demand for the services you want to provide (in your case, it’s translation services).

Think of who your potential customers will be and what their demands and needs are. Carefully calculate your budget in order to be aware of all the expenses you will have. You want to be sure that you know what you are doing rather than going into it completely blind.

Sort Out Translation

Next, you will need to think of the more technical and practical aspects of having a translation agency. Obviously, your primary services will include translation, but you might want to expand this a bit further too. Think of the languages you will be translating from and to as well as the types of texts you will translate.

In addition to that, you might decide to outsource the translation. In this case, use an online translation service like PickWriters to do the job for you while you find clients and promote your agency.

Form a Legal Entity

Now, you will need to form a legal entity such as an LLC. This will prevent you from being personally liable in case your agency gets sued for some reason. Alternatively, consider forming a corporation or a DBA if you don’t want to form an LLC.

Think of whether or not you want to be using a registered agent who will help you protect your privacy and stay compliant. It’s an important aspect of forming a legal entity, so keep that in mind.

Register for Taxes

It is very important that you register for taxes. Otherwise, this might get you in trouble at some point. You have to register for a variety of federal and state taxes before you will be able to open for business.

Apply for an EIN before registering for taxes. You can do this by registering (for free) through the IRS website, by email, or via fax. An EIN will greatly benefit you especially if you formed an LLC.

Set Up Accounting

The next thing you want to do is set up your accounting. First, you will need to open a business bank account and get a credit card. This is essential for protecting your personal assets. This means that if your agency issued, your home, car, and other personal assets won’t be at risk.

Second, you will need to make sure that you have your accounting sorted. This will allow you to keep a record of all the transactions including payments and expenses. You can use an accountant for this or simply do it yourself through an accounting app.

Obtain Licenses

Then, you will need to obtain all the necessary licenses and permits in order to be able to run your translation agency smoothly. If you don’t do this, you might end up with huge fines and your business can even get shut down eventually.

You will need a business license, but there might also be some local licensing requirements that apply to you. Do your research on the subject and possibly get in touch with an expert who can guide you through the process.

Get Insurance

This is not exactly a mandatory step, but it is highly recommended as most entrepreneurs decide to get business insurance. This will help you get out of unexpected and unwanted situations, so consider it.

For example, if you hire employees at some point rather than doing everything yourself, you will need to have workers compensation insurance as a requirement in some of the states. Once again, think about this carefully.

Start Acting

Lastly, you will need to start acting and launch your business. It is crucial to start promoting your translation agency early on so that you get as much exposure as possible. Think about your marketing campaign and create a plan for yourself.

The Internet is the best place to advertise your services, so digital marketing will be quite suitable for you. Establish yourself online and you will definitely have clients throughout the whole year rather than struggling with it offline.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, by following the steps outlined in this article, you will be able to successfully start your own translation agency and maintain it as a small business. Use the advice provided here to get the most out of your company.

BIO:

Donald Fomby is a communications professional with more than five years of experience. Donald runs his own blog BestWritersOnline and is proud of his uncanny ability to explain the most complex subject in simple terms.

What’s the Deal with Unclaimed Tax Refunds?


Each year, billions of dollars go unclaimed as unfiled income tax returns. The IRS reported $1.4 billion in unclaimed refunds for 2015 alone. While that might seem like an unrealistic number, all that money came from an estimated 1.2 million taxpayers who failed to file their tax returns. Unfortunately, the IRS keeps the unclaimed refunds after three years, but if you were one of the millions of taxpayers not to file a tax return in 2018, it’s not too late to claim your tax refund in 2020.  

What is an unclaimed tax refund?

An unclaimed tax refund happens when someone fails to file a federal income tax return. It can happen for many reasons. Sometimes an unfiled tax return is caused by a death or illness of the taxpayer, or through a lack of understanding or experience with the tax return process. Part-time workers might think that they are not eligible for a tax return because they earned below a certain threshold. While that might be the case, it’s better to double-check with the IRS whether or not a tax return is required for the year. If you are unsure, you can use the Minimum Income Requirements to determine if you need to file a tax return this year. 


Unclaimed refunds can also come in the form of mailed checks that may not reach the intended taxpayer. Most of these errors are caused by typos on the filed tax return or a change of address since the return was received. Incorrect bank information on the filed tax return can also cause canceled direct deposits. In either of these cases, you can call the IRS to have your address or bank information updated.

How can you get your unclaimed tax refund? 

The IRS allows up to three years to file a return on any unclaimed tax refunds. But since it’s not the responsibility of the IRS to find your unclaimed tax refund, you will have to file your tax return to claim it. First, you need to locate all of your necessary documents for the year in question. That could include W-2s, 1099s,1098s, receipts, or bank statements. If you have lost any critical forms, you can request copies from the IRS using a 4506-T form. Waiting for the forms might take extra time, but it’s better than trying to file your tax return with incomplete or incorrect information.

No matter how you are preparing your taxes, either on a mail-in form or electronically, you will have to find the correct tax return form for the year you need to file. If you are using a software program to prepare your taxes, you can typically find the correct forms online. However, if you want to file taxes traditionally, you will have to use a 1040 Form for the given year. From there, you can fill out your tax return as you normally would. If you prepared your taxes electronically, you will have to print them out and mail them to the IRS, since they only accept late returns in paper form. If you don’t want to mail your tax return, you can hand-deliver them to your nearest IRS office

Since you are filing back taxes for a year you missed, you could face a penalty and interest for the taxes you owed. If you did submit your taxes previously but didn’t pay any taxes owed, you will still have to pay fees and interest. Your fee could be as high as .25% of your tax bill for every month it was late. If you filed your return before the due date that year, the percentage could be less. On the other hand, if you didn’t owe any more taxes to the IRS and will be getting a refund, you will have no penalties or interest to pay. 

How long does it take to receive your unclaimed tax refund? 

If you opted to get your refund check mailed to you, it could take up to 2 months. If you are in a hurry to get your unclaimed tax refund, consider having it directly deposited into a checking account without fees. Not only will this speed up the payment process of your tax refund by a few weeks, but you won’t have to deal with maintenance or overdraft fees when you go to spend your refund. Plus, you don’t have to worry about a refund check getting lost in the mail or delivered to the wrong address. 

Even though filing back taxes means extra work at tax time, it can mean a big refund check. By failing to file a tax return each year, you risk harsh penalties, compounding interest, audits, and even prosecution. The simplest way to avoid trouble with the IRS is to submit your tax return on time. It will save you a lot of time, money, and stress in the years to come.