How Surveys Can Improve Your Business Strategy

A survey is a cost-effective way of data collection in which people in a population of interest are asked a set of questions about a particular topic. The answers to survey questions are used to investigate opinions, behaviors, beliefs, and characteristics of the population. Conducting a survey can be beneficial for answering questions pertaining to social, political, and business topics, among other things. Surveys are often used in the academic field, market research, and the workplace.

Surveys can be conducted a variety of ways: in person verbally or using pencil and paper, over the telephone, and online. Business owners can use a survey creator, such as Survey King, and implement online surveys into the way their businesses operate, especially if one of their strategies for increasing their business productivity and sales is to improve customer service and focus on customer feedback.

How are surveys used?

Surveys are used in the academic field to get student opinions on their professors’ performance, and other aspects of their courses and their life on campus. By answering survey questions, students can give their input on what works and does not work at their university, and describe what they want more of and what they want less of on their campus. Allowing students to give feedback can improve campus life as well as improve how classes are taught.

The same principle can be followed in business. Business owners can implement surveys for employees to participate in and surveys for customers to participate in. Through surveys, employers and managers of a company can conduct employee evaluations and allow employees to voice their satisfaction and opinions about the company they work for, their work environment, and their position in the company. Employee satisfaction feedback surveys give business owners insight into what aspects of the workplace culture are successful, and what aspects need to be changed. This is important because employee satisfaction is relevant to customer satisfaction, especially in businesses that require a high amount of interaction between employees and customers, such as food service and retail. Employees that have to interact with customers face to face, on the telephone, or online, are more likely to provide customers with a positive experience if they enjoy the work they do and are happy in the workplace.

Create customer satisfaction surveys

To prioritize customer and consumer needs and improve customer service, businesses should create surveys for customers and consumers to participate in. Consumer product feedback surveys can reveal to business owners the demographics and characteristics of customers who buy their company’s products and use it’s offered services, as well as what products are most in demand, and how satisfied customers are with the products they buy. In addition to close-ended questions, open-ended questions can be included on a survey to give customers the opportunity to describe in detail what they like or dislike about a certain product, and give any suggestions about what aspects of a product should be changed or remain the same.

Customers who have just had an experience interacting with a customer service representative or using a live chat on a company’s website for assistance in finding a product, returning a product, or exchanging a product for another one are more likely to respond to a survey about their customer service interaction soon after the interaction, rather than later on. For this reason, business owners should prioritize the timing of when they request customer participation in surveys to make them more effective.

Surveys can improve customer retention. A well-timed, well-designed, relevant survey can make a good impression on customers, because it shows them that companies want to stay in contact with them and that their opinions and experiences as a customer are valued. Business owners should consider the important outcomes of customer feedback when they design surveys. Surveys questions should be targeted to the specific population of interest and they should not be misleading or persuasive. Additionally, surveys should not be time-consuming. A survey that is detailed, yet short and concise is more likely to be completed by participating customers. Surveys can be used to improve customer retention and provide information and insight into past successful sales, which enables businesses to not only repeat successful sales, but increase sales.

3 Business Tasks You Could Be Outsourcing

When you own your own business, you have a lot of things to think about. You’re in charge of the day-to-day operations as well as the big picture, but you can take a few tasks off your to-do list. Outsourcing some of your job will help your company run more efficiently and will give you the time you need to really focus on making your business thrive. Here are three business tasks you should outsource. 

Customer service

If your business relies on customers, then you need to have the best possible customer service. Businesses lose more than $75 billion a year because of poor customer service. If you don’t want your business to be a part of this statistic, implement an inbound call center. This will help you provide your customers with one centralized location to contact for anything they need that isn’t your personal cell phone. 

Since this call center operates digitally, you will be able to hire excellent customer service representatives who can help your customers with whatever they need. This omnichannel software allows your callers to switch between modes of communication, whether it’s a phone call, text message, video chat, or instant message. This means you will always be able to help your customers, no matter how busy they are. Being able to give your customers the best possible customer service means they will continue to support your business, and this call center allows you to focus on other important tasks and not spend hours answering the phone.   

Payments

Are you currently writing checks to your employees and your supplies? Not only is this not a great business plan, but it costs you an enormous amount of time. With Smart Payables Outsource Payment Processing, you don’t have to worry about keeping track of your checks and accounts. The system will create reports and handle all the little details of writing the checks, including keeping the security tight. The last thing you want to worry about is fraud or theft, and using SmartPayables helps you keep everything in order. 

SmartPayables does same-day printing, so you never have to stress about last-minute payments, as well as USPS tracking. You can rest assured knowing your employees and vendors are being paid on time and with secure checks. After all, your business can’t run without the people who help it continue. Eliminating the stress of paying each person with a handwritten check will help you feel more relaxed and more secure. 

Marketing

Maybe you started your business thinking you would do the marketing yourself or you would hire someone you know to handle it. This is a great plan for a new business, but after a while, it makes more sense to outsource your marketing. If you realize your marketing plan never works out the way you intend, it might be time to find someone else to handle it. 

Outsourcing your marketing will give you time to focus on other aspects of your business and will leave this task to the professionals. You need to make sure your marketing is given the time it deserves, because marketing is essential for the success of your business. By outsourcing it, you’ll ensure your marketing strategy is always working and your outsourced marketing team will be able to really focus on your business and what it needs. Don’t let marketing fall behind as your business grows. Use your new resources and revenue to hire the right people for the job and watch your business continue to grow.

When you own a business, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to help it grow and thrive. Outsourcing some of the tasks you now do is an excellent way to continue to work towards your amazing goals. 

The Ultimate List of Tax Forms for Small Businesses

Starting your own business is an exciting time, but it can also be quite stressful. There’s a million things that you have to do; and there’s always a ton of paperwork to deal with, including numerous tax forms. Filling out all those tax forms can be a pain, but it’s necessary when establishing your own business. You want to make sure everything is above board after all. And not having all of your tax forms properly filled out may cause problems down the line with your business. Businesses big and small are required to go through this process, and you’ll later learn just how important it is once you get your business up and running. 

Here’s some important tax-related information you should know when starting a new business, as well as a list of some of the key tax forms you’ll need to fill out. 

Important Information On Federal Taxes That New Business Owners Should Know

  • Is it a hobby or a business? This is a key piece of information that the Internal Revenue Service would need to know about your new enterprise. According to the IRS, a business is created specifically to make a profit, whereas a hobby is something you engage in solely for sport or recreation. It’s imperative that you base this determination on all of the facts and circumstances. 
  • Choosing a Business Structure — When you launch a new business, you need to decide what form of business entity it will be. Your business structure determines which tax return form you need to file. The most common forms are sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and S corporations. Visit the IRS website to learn more about selecting the correct business structure. 
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) –All business owners, no matter how big or small the business, need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN is a 9-digit number that’s assigned to employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, certain individuals, and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes. The type of EIN form you use is determined by how your business is organized.
  • Income Taxes — With the exception of partnerships, every business must file an annual income tax return. (Partnerships file an information return.) The tax form you use is determined by how your business is organized. You are required to pay the federal income tax as you earn or receive income during the year. Also, in many small businesses, the owner is personally responsible for paying the income tax and not the business itself.
  • Record-keeping — As a business owner, it’s always wise to keep good records. This will help you better prepare your tax returns; monitor the progress of your business; prepare your financial statements; keep track of deductible expenses; identify sources of income; and keep track of your basis in property.
  • When Do You Start Your Tax Year? You will need to determine your taxable income on a tax-year basis. The IRS describes a “tax year” as a yearly accounting period for maintaining records and reporting income and expenses. Also, it should be noted that an annual accounting period does not include a short tax year.

Some of The Tax Forms You Will Need When Operating a Business (includes Sole Proprietorship, Corporation, Partnership, or a Limited Liability Company) 

  • Form SS-4, Application for Employment Identification Number (EIN)
  • Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals 
  • Form 1120-W, Estimated Tax for Corporations
  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election: This tax form allows owners to 

elect how they want their business to be classified for federal tax purposes (a corporation, partnership or an entity disregarded as separate from its owner)

  •  Information Returns Forms (W-2, 1099-A, 1099-MISC, 1099-R, etc.)
  • State Tax (Forms and Information)

There are many reputable places to find printed tax forms. For instance, The Mines Press offers a wide variety of preprinted tax forms. The business-to-business printing service carries IRS-approved tax forms that can be used in nearly any software program.

Health & Wellness Business Ideas for 2019

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, perhaps you’ve considered tapping into the health and wellness industry. The global wellness economy is currently worth over $4.2 trillion. If it continues to grow, it is a great idea to try to get in on that revenue. Not to mention, promoting health and wellness is an ethical way to make money.

There are many different sectors in the health and wellness industry, including exercise and fitness, weight loss, mind-body health, personal beauty, spas, and nutrition. With all these different avenues to flourish within the industry, you’ll never be at a loss for ideas.

However, if you are at a loss and you want some fresh perspectives, keep reading for the top health and wellness industry ideas for 2019.

Tap into the supplement market

Supplements are extremely popular in the United States. As of 2018, 75 percent of adults take dietary supplements regularly to get more vitamins and minerals into their diet. That’s a very large audience that already exists for supplements, so there’s a high rate of success in the industry.

And the audience is varied in demographics. For instance, the customer who uses a collagen hair treatment supplement for aesthetic purposes and ingesting protein powder before high-intensity workouts may not be the same as the customer who takes fish oil to lower their blood pressure. In order to tap into that supplement market, you want to make sure your business practices are sharp.

Make sure you collaborate with a reputable manufacturer to ensure your private label supplements are of the highest quality they can be. Having a proven, high-quality product is a great way to set yourself apart in the supplement business.

Go au naturel with your products

Natural products, especially ones like essential oils with multiple uses and benefits, have blown up in the health and wellness industry. Integrating the sale of fine essential oils into your business can be a great way to keep up with the trends and appeal to wider audiences.

This is because oils, like pure rose oil for instance, have benefits both when applied topically to skin and hair and when ingested through other means. As a result, they can be marketed in different ways. Cosmetically, oils like rose, rosehip, and tea tree have been proven to fight acne and aging. Lavender oil has been used to reduce stress and aid in sleep.

Getting into the essential oil market can be a great way to open your business up to new audiences and keep up with the health and wellness trends.

Utilize tech to promote fitness

One last idea to kickstart or revitalize your business in the health and wellness field is to consider utilizing tech to promote fitness activities. The combination of personalized fitness and exercise with technology and smartphone applications is a proven method for engagement, with things like MyFitnessPal, FitBit, and even the Apple Health app.

However, you can capitalize on the lucrative personal trainer industry and address the issue of people not knowing the best ways to work out by introducing a virtual personal training application. This could be a successful way to promote fitness as it allows people the flexibility and privacy of having a personal trainer on their phone rather than in the physical world.

Whatever direction you take, there’s never been a better time to jump into the health and wellness industry.