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Cash Flow Strategy Is The Lifeblood of Any Business

Business owners often underestimate their needs by assuming cash will come in sooner or that bills are going to come in later.

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, but especially so for smaller operations—it’s what keeps the doors open. We see cash flow as fuel for your business. If you run out of fuel, you’re not going anywhere. Cash flow is essential for growth. There’s not a single business that has been able to grow without it.

Yet, as integral as cash flow is to success, many small business owners mishandle this aspect of their operations—a mistake that puts businesses at serious risk. Owners often underestimate needs by assuming cash will come in sooner than it actually does or that bills are going to come in later than they do. It’s also common for owners to not properly manage their line of credit or access to loans. It’s often better to take advantage of credit with low-interest rates when it’s not needed, rather than seek it when you’re up against a time-sensitive situation. Another concern is confusing cash flow with profitability. People think if they made a sale and that it’s profitable, then everything is great. But what they really should be looking at is the cash flow behind the sale.

When it comes to cash flow, timing is everything. You might make a nice profit on a particular contract, but what if that contract doesn’t pay until 90 days after the work is completed? How are you going to pay your bills in the meantime? If you’re not careful, small mistakes can wipe out your profits.

As you evaluate your strategy, be sure to:

  • Consider how much cash is coming in. Create a simple cash flow model to illustrate when cash is coming in and when bills are due. Prepare this weekly. Remember, there will always be a percentage of accounts receivables that come in late.
  • Take advantage of the credit. Get situated credit-wise before you need it.
  • Examine cash flow before you hire. Never hire ahead of cash flow.
  • Incentivize customers to pay on time. Offer lower pricing if customers pay on delivery, and add a surcharge if they want to pay later.

Managing cash flow takes awareness, organization, and preparedness. But if you’re caught off guard and you think there’s going to be a cash flow problem, don’t automatically take out a loan. Evaluate if there are other strategies you can deploy first. Negotiating with vendors. For example, if you’ve been paying upon delivery, see if they’ll allow you to pay in 30 days. Additionally, if cash flow is becoming a chronic issue, take a look at your pricing—it may be too low.

Above all, don’t let cash flow cause repeated panic, and use it as a starting point to control what you can and prepare for the unknown. When small business owners get intimidated, they tend to ignore what’s intimidating them. But ignoring cash flow could do you in. A business could actually be on a path to growth and they could still have to shut their doors because they didn’t manage their cash flow.

Manta

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Good things happen to those who hustle

Quote of the day

Good things happen to those who hustle. Chuck Noll

Some days, you just need to be reminded why you started in the first place.

What drives you to get up in the morning and chase your dreams? Why are you working 80 hour weeks? Why are you at home working when you could be out partying or hanging out with friends? It’s easy to get lost in your own head and allow procrastination to put your dreams in a standstill. Always remember why you started in the first place.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Are You Using The Right Apps?

Evaluation new technology? Make sure you focus on what’s most helpful to your business.

For many small business owners, getting a handle on the right technology for their specific business seems a complicated task that requires time, research and careful analysis. While true, there are two no-brainer technologies all small business owners should embrace—smartphones loaded with relevant apps, and security and storage software.

Let’s start with apps. The sheer volume available for small businesses is enough to make your head spin; apps for marketing needs, scheduling, bookkeeping, communication, and every other business-related necessity. We have mobile banking, mobile payments, mobile video conferencing, and mobile you-name-it. Yet, according to a number of telecom industry experts, most small businesses utilize less than 30 percent of their smartphones’ capabilities.

The key is to streamline what’s most helpful for you and your business. And the first step is to get to know your phone—you might be surprised by the functionality and what you already have available at your fingertips. After phone mastery, take a cautious approach to apps.

  • Think about your needs and the needs of your business. What could you work on when you’re out of the office or on the sales floor and can’t fire up your laptop? How might employees work more efficiently if given the power of mobile accessibility?
  • Based on these needs, determine what apps would enable a more efficient processor or organized the system. Not sure? Ask other business owners in and out of your industry, locally and online (ask an industry group on LinkedIn or people you connect with on other social media).
  • Remember, the objective is to use the most appropriate apps for your business and employees, not collecting the most apps.

In addition to gaining efficiency with the right apps, it’s essential to protect customer and business data from hackers. You must have a minimum level of security on your computers; although a smarter approach would be to keep that data in the cloud. That way, if there’s a natural or man-made disaster that affects your business, you won’t lose all the data on your computers. Additionally, the cloud company you choose will most likely provide data security.

As for storage and security, if you decide to go the software route, you should take considerable time to research the product and the company providing it. But for all the reasons previously mentioned, We recommend opting for cloud-based solutions. The biggest piece of advice I can give to business owners about their technology is to maintain it like they would their cars or homes. Check your computers, smartphones and other devices regularly to ensure they’re running as efficiently as possible. And make sure your employees are trained in the software that runs your business. Don’t let an untrained employee accidentally wreak havoc because they didn’t know what they were doing.

Holi

History of Holi

Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the "festival of colors" or the "festival of love". The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.  It lasts for two days starting on the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar month of Phalgun, which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. The first day is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the second as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan.

Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colors.

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Increase Your Sales

How is the best way to increase your sales? Should you advertise more? Perhaps a new website is needed. Is there some product improvement necessary? Or should you reduce your prices? Does your staff need sales training? Which should you do first, or do you have to do everything at once?

The answer to all these questions is in your Sales Pipeline. Every Sales Pipeline has a bottleneck, and often more than one. The first step is to identify the biggest bottleneck which is where you will get the biggest bang for your buck.

When you analyze your sales pipeline, look first at your inquiries. Are you getting all the inquiries you can handle? Is the conversion rate to sales greater than 80%? Is it close to 100%? (If so, you are too cheap, and the easiest way to increase your sales is to increase your prices!) If your conversion rate is very high, then yes, increasing your inquiries through targeted promotion is likely to be the priority.

What if your conversion rate is below 50%? There could be one of two reasons for that. Either your marketing is poorly targeted, or there are problems downstream of inquiry generation.

When looking at your marketing, it pays to segment the inquiries to determine which parts are well targeted and which parts are unproductive. One marketing executive once famously said: “I know 50% of my marketing budget is wasted, I just don’t know which half.”

When looking downstream of your marketing, it’s important to define each step of the Sales Pipeline, for example, Initial Enquiry, Initial Consultation, Quote, Close. Each step should flow naturally to the next increasing the commitment of the buyer and the perceived value of your offer. A rush to the quote stage without establishing value is a recipe for rejection.

Where in your pipeline are you losing buyers, and why are you losing them? How well are the initial inquiries being handled? Are buyers too focused on price? What are you doing to establish value before you answer the price question? How do you present your quote, and how do you close the sale?

Examples of how to improve your Sales Pipeline are having a script for the initial enquiry which both qualifies the buyer and reveals value in the new relationship, having a process in the next stages to determine customer needs and creating desire for your solution even before presenting a proposal or quote, and of course having some simple closes to get the sale.

By analyzing your pipeline, the priorities becomes readily visible and low hanging fruit can be grasped for a relatively little effort generating substantial boosts to your sales.

Of course, when the biggest bottleneck has been removed, your pipeline will reveal the next one to be removed for your next sales boost.

How well defined is your Sales Pipeline? Can you see the bottlenecks?

By Chapman

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

How To Design a Great Website

These simple tips will help you build a small business website that can attract and convert customers.

You don’t have to be a web design expert to understand that effective sites don’t just happen. Simply building one won’t create marketing magic and draw in customers. The good news is that knocking out a home run with your website (and engaging customers) probably isn’t as tough as you might think.

Here are some simple tips to improved your site.

Have a call-to-action offer near the top or on the sidebar of every page.
The offer can be the same throughout, but make it compelling enough that visitors willingly leave their contact information.

Update on a regular basis.
Don’t treat your site like a static digital brochure. Instead, think of it as a dynamic communication tool. Regularly injecting new content will keep the conversation between you and your visitors flowing.

Make sure your design is responsive to mobile devices.
Most people surf the Web on their phones, so don’t miss opportunities due to a poor mobile experience.

Aim for a clean design.
A professional-looking logo is a must—nothing drives away traffic faster (never to return) than a cluttered website and lackluster logo.

Link to social media sites (and vice versa).
Don’t isolate visitors—utilize traffic and sharing behavior using social media links.

Traffic reporting and analytics tools are also vital to make sure the site is working for visitors and your business and to help uncover potential breakdowns and opportunities for improvement. There are effective options available for free that, in most cases, only require adding a line of code. Reporting is often just as simple and provides unique insights that can inform critical tweaks that can lead to more engagement and sales.

Identifying the outcomes or conversions you want, such as form submissions, sales or phone calls, is also important. Tracking form submissions typically require adding a ‘thank you’ page and an additional element in the form’s code. (You may need help with this, but it’s worth it.) To track sales, your shopping cart system will usually have an option to integrate with Google Analytics and automatically take care of reporting. For phone calls, services like Callrail or LogMyCalls have integration tools to set up tracking numbers that will integrate with Google Analytics.

Finally, don’t overlook the key role content plays in generating the statistics you hope to see, particularly having the right amount of content. Also too much content will drive traffic away, but too little will have visitors questioning your legitimacy. Your website should have all of the information the media would need to write a story about you and your business: who, what, when, where, why and how.

Lastly, take particular care with the ‘about’ page. Although the ‘product,’ ‘services’ and ‘contact’ pages are obviously important, this page is the most critical. It tells your story—and can play a significant role in transforming prospects into customers.

Have A Great Weekend

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Storytelling Strategy

It was a slow Thursday evening at the sportswear store. There were more sales assistants than customers silently wandering through the displays across polished black tiles. Alan decided to approach a customer who had just picked up a premium shoe, turning it over to check out the price.

‘Can I help you?’ he said.
‘No, I’m just looking, thanks.’ she replied.
‘It would be good to get out of those Nikes. Have your tried our SuperBOOST shoes?’ said Alan.
‘No.’ said the customer, as she hastily put the shoe back.
‘They’re really comfortable and last longer.’ Alan said to the customer as she started to walk away.

We would never say half of the things we say or ask many of the questions we ask if we stopped for a second to think how the customer was likely to respond. What if instead of following a script that leads us to a dead end, we anticipated where our questions would lead the customer? We know that 99% of the time the response to, ‘Can I help you?’, will be, ‘No.’ So how can we do better?

An if-then storytelling strategy invites us to be more empathetic towards the customer and more discerning with our questions.

If the customer is browsing for more than a few minutes, then I will ask how I can help.
If the customer is looking at running shoes, then I will ask her what kind of training she does.
If the customer picks up an item, then I will ask her if she’d like to try her size.
If the customer asks for her size, then I will try getting to know more about what she needs from her shoes.

Better brand stories, marketing, and sales conversations always start with understanding what unmet need or unspoken desire brought the customer to us, rather than with our need to say something when it’s convenient.

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A Concise History of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Below is a brief history of how the Day has evolved.

History
  •  1909

    The first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers' strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.

  •  1910

    The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women's Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women's rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the Finnish Parliament. No fixed date was selected for the observance.

  •  1911

    As a result of the Copenhagen initiative, International Women's Day was marked for the first time (19 March) in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded women's rights to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.

  •  1913-1914

    International Women's Day also became a mechanism for protesting World War I. As part of the peace movement, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with other activists.

  •  1917

    Against the backdrop of the war, women in Russia again chose to protest and strike for 'Bread and Peace' on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.

  •  1975

    The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975.

  •  1977

    In December 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by the Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

     

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Instagram Has Created Two New Apps To Help Your Business

Instagram has created 2 mobile apps that allow you to do more with your photos and videos in less time - from your phone! You can highlight a favorite menu item with Layout or show customers a behind-the-scenes time-lapse video of your business with Hyperlapse.

 

LESSONS ON LAYOUT

Layout—an app by Instagram—lets you combine, flip and mirror multiple photos into a single image for a fun, one-of-a-kind take on your photos. You can do it all from your phone.

Tips for Success
  • Get started: Upload up to 9 photos for your Layout from your camera roll, or take them directly within the app.
  • Format it: Select the format for your photos. Resize the borders of each photo.
  • Have some fun: Play around with the mirror, flip, and border effects. These affects can be applied to the entire Layout or individual photos within the Layout.
  • Share it out: Upload directly to your Instagram or Facebook account within the Layout app or save your photo and add it to your Instagram Story.
HOW TO HYPERLAPSE
Forget bulky tripods and expensive equipment, with Hyperlapse—an app from Instagram—you can create smooth time lapse videos where shaky footage is fixed for you. That way, even the most common of subjects can turn into a cool, well-made video.
Tips for Success
  • Get started: Decide what you want to shoot before you get started.
  • Choose the speed: You can speed up your video up to 12x. You can also keep it at 1x like any other video, but with Hyperlapse your video is stabilized automatically—making for a less shaky shot.
  • Share it out: Upload directly to your Instagram or Facebook account within the Hyperlapse app or save your video and add it to your Instagram Story.
  • Bonus Tip: Before capturing the video, you can quadrupole tap the screen with four fingers to reveal a secret menu. From there you can choose your video resolution, frame rate and speeds up to 40x.
Download the apps today and start creating photos and videos to showcase your business.

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Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all... good design must primarily serve people. Let's start serving you.

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Lets get social. We would love to meet you! We Are Currently Open Monday-Sunday 8am-11pm Christopher@FivensonStudios.Com

Name: Christopher
Phone: (734) 224-9696
Address: 1214 S. University Ave Unit 4075 Ann Arbor, MI 48104

734-224-9696