This post was originally published on Feb. 16, 2018, and was updated on Dec. 30, 2021.
When you’re running a business, image is important. One of our first instincts as human beings is to judge what we see. Perception is key, and the validity of your business might be riding on more factors than you know. For instance, have you thought about how people perceive your business when you hand them a business card and your email address ends with gmail.com? If so, it might be time to look at Microsoft Outlook email.
5 reasons to use Microsoft Outlook email
Imagine if you contacted a company you were thinking of making a purchase from, and you receive an email ending with anything other than their domain. What would you assume about that company? Wouldn’t you think it’s simply spam? These perceptions would shape your view of that company in a negative way.
Still not convinced that Microsoft 365 can help boost your business’s perception? Here are five reasons to consider using Microsoft Outlook email:
- It’s scalable and grows with your business.
- Work remotely anytime, anywhere.
- Your tech stays up-to-date.
- The technology continues to evolve.
- A safe and secure email experience.
You want to set the right first impression with your customers. Keep reading to see why Microsoft Outlook email is the solution.
1. It’s scalable and grows with your business
Microsoft 365 from GoDaddy is a powerful platform that combines corporate-class email and productivity tools in one solution. And, beyond being a powerful all-in-one solution, Microsoft 365 is the standard in the corporate world. Most importantly, though, Microsoft 365 can be scaled up as your business grows.
Living the solopreneur life? A single email address can help you do it all. Looking into hiring some additional employees? Individual email boxes can be added (or removed!) at any time.
In today’s rapidly-evolving business climate, the ability to be flexible is key. And Microsoft 365 is there to help you at any stage of your business journey.
2. Work remotely anytime, anywhere
With the evolving business landscape in mind, working remotely has skyrocketed out of necessity over the last two years. Having your email and documents available from anywhere is a strict requirement for remote work.
With Microsoft Outlook email, you are able to instantly access your email from multiple devices. Email is pushed to your devices as soon as it hits the server — enabling you to get that important email right away. It’s not only email, either. Microsoft 365 also syncs your contacts, calendars and tasks.
Beyond email, the Business Professional tier of Microsoft 365 through GoDaddy includes the full Office suite for up to five devices. This means that any Office document is within reach anytime, anywhere because of its seamless integration with OneDrive, Microsoft 365’s secure cloud storage service. Store all your files using OneDrive and you’ll be able to access online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint to view, share or modify your files on the go.
Best of all, it works the same on a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone.
Additionally, since your documents exist in the cloud, you can collaborate with other users in real-time, giving your business the flexibility needed for the on-the-go business environment.
3. Your tech stays up-to-date
Technology and compliance rules continue to innovate and evolve at breakneck speeds. The problem with this rapid innovation, though, is that it seems like you blink and you’re suddenly out of date.
By investing in the Microsoft 365 Business Professional plan through GoDaddy, you are not only getting credibility and establishing the professionalism that comes with having domain-based email, but you also get the latest version of Microsoft software. The sweetest thing? When a new version comes out, it will automatically update on all your devices. Simple as that.
It’s not just software that needs to be kept up-to-date, however. The laws surrounding privacy and compliance change rapidly as well.
To help businesses with this, Microsoft 365 includes add-ons to keep up with compliance rules.
If your business involves medical records, for example, you may need to ensure that your email services comply with HIPAA. Microsoft Outlook email offers this functionality without a learning curve. Microsoft 365 HIPAA compliant email works just like regular email, all of the security features run seamlessly behind the scenes.
4. The technology continues to evolve
We live in a world where technology like Microsoft Outlook email establishes the professional and credible brand businesses are working so hard to build, while also providing the software needed to run a business. As great as that sounds, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Microsoft always has their ear to the ground for their corporate and small business owners. As technology and business needs evolve, Microsoft adds and improves their offerings with Microsoft 365.
Need an easy way for your customers to schedule an appointment with you on your website and have it automatically sync those appointments to your calendar? Microsoft Bookings does exactly that.
Efficient communication with your customers is an obvious need, but how about interoffice productivity? What tools do you use to back up information and get to it on the go? OneDrive allows you to backup everything, and it can be used on both computers and your mobile devices. To make things easier, when you access an Office document on your OneDrive, it will open in your browser without you having to download the file.
Productivity doesn’t need to begin and end with a computer. With Microsoft 365, you can be efficient anywhere.
5. A safe and secure email experience
These days, news about organizations being hacked is an almost daily occurrence. In fact, over 50% of the security incidents that businesses dealt with over the last year were due to business email compromises.
Microsoft Outlook email, however, provides a secure email environment for businesses, whether they’re remote or in-office.
Given that a majority of security incidents are related to users being fooled into giving their passwords away, having multifactor authentication is important for keeping a business secure. Additionally, since these types of attacks usually originate from phishing emails, Microsoft Outlook email also offers robust spam filtering settings by default, with additional options available to allow businesses to fully customize spam filtering to fit your needs.
Perception is important.
With a business-class email from Microsoft 365, you’re immediately putting your best foot forward, branding your communications with the same name as your business.
And with powerful anti-spam tools and up-to-date technology, your business can remain secure as well.
Now that you know all the benefits of Microsoft Outlook email, there’s no reason to keep using that free email address.
What to keep in mind when updating your business plan
Did you know updating your business plan should be a part of your regular business practices? If not, don’t worry — a lot of people skip this step. But it could benefit you to make this effort.
Read on to learn why updating your business plan is so important, how to tackle this task, how often you should make updates, and key things to keep in mind.
Let’s get to it!
Why should you update your business plan?
Outside of updating your business plan as a standard course of doing business (which we’ll discuss in detail shortly), there are a few noteworthy situations that warrant a full business plan overhaul:
You need to raise funds
If you need capital to make tech upgrades, grow your team, or expand operations, you’ll likely need to raise funds. Before you can reach out to new investors, however, your business plan must be up-to-date and reflect your company’s current financial situation, including operating costs, cash flow, business goals, and income projections.
Related: 10 small business funding options
You want to refinance
Similar to potential fundraising moves, refinancing your business loans requires an updated business plan because it outlines operating costs, your company’s challenges, and forecasted revenue. No lender will entertain refinancing or even new loans without an updated business plan and financials.
You want to launch a new product
Big business moves necessitate an updated business plan and launching a new product or service qualifies. A new product means new potential revenue, so updating your business plan to reflect that fresh revenue stream is critical. Be sure to include everything you would’ve when writing your business plan the first time around — like costs, vendors, time frames, target demographic/segmentation, and financial projections.
You want to expand your company
Company expansion can take many forms. Perhaps you’d like to open up a second location in another city. Maybe you want to purchase more warehouse space for your products. Large technological upgrades are considered expansions, too. No matter what type of growth you have in mind for your business, updating your business plan to reflect this intention to grow is a key step before reaching out to investors and potential lenders.
You’ve changed your supply chain
Supply chain issues have become an acute problem since 2020. However, there has always been a need to update business plans to reflect changes in the supply chain and/or a change in the vendors you decide to use. Any time you make changes to your vendor list, put updating your business plan on your schedule.
You have new competitors
If a new major competitor enters your industry, it’s likely to affect how you do business. Whether that means your share of the industry “pie,” so to speak, decreases, or it means a new brand changes the expectations for your industry and you need to now follow suit — a business plan update is in the cards to reflect these changes.
When and how often should you update your business plan?
As you can likely see by now, updating your business plan is an essential part of having a business plan in the first place.
It’s a dynamic document that needs to be updated to meet where your business is at right now.
Though you don’t need to update your business plan to reflect every little change, making regular updates is a solid business practice.
If your company is chugging along with no major changes, giving your business plan the once-over at least once a year should be sufficient for updating financial data and projections. However, if your company undergoes a major shift, you’ll want to update your business model when you expect that change to occur.
How to update your business plan
Now that you have a sense of how often you should update your business plan and why you need to do so in the first place, let’s turn our attention to the real meat of this article: how to update your business plan. Here are six key things to keep in mind when updating this most important document.
1. Make updating your business plan part of your regular review process
One of the biggest obstacles to updating a business plan is scheduling the time to do it. Business owners are busy people, and it’s all too tempting to leave these sorts of tasks until tomorrow. However, you can get around this by simply incorporating a business model review into other processes you already complete.
If your company does quarterly financial reviews, add in a business plan review during this time. You’ll already be taking time away from day-to-day business operations to complete the financial review, so you might as well spend a couple of extra hours updating your business plan.
You could even schedule it for when you do your taxes or prep documents to send to your accountant. Add the business plan update to your to-do list for those days.
2. Include your team in the process
If you have any kind of team for your business, you must include them in this process. They are likely involved with the day-to-day functions of operating your business and can provide key insights into what the future of your company looks like. For example:
- Ask the marketing team for reports on trends they’ve noticed over the past six months or so.
- Ask sales about any demographic shifts they’re noticing in the customer base.
Those who are doing work within your industry daily are going to feel the subtle shifts within the market before anybody else. And they might have insights into what projections look like — things that you might not come up with on your own.
Leveraging your team means getting a more complete picture of what your company has accomplished, how it’s currently positioned, and where it will go from here.
Pro tip: You can manage these tasks directly in Microsoft 365 as well. Sharing documents is a snap and you can collaborate on your business plan in real-time.
3. Note regulatory changes
When updating your business strategy, take some time to research any regulatory changes that have taken place in your industry. New rules, regulations and laws are passed all the time and many can have a direct impact on how you do business.
For instance, payment processors now must report your earnings to the IRS. This change could affect how you report income and change your relationship with contractors. The implementation of sales tax on internet sales made in the state where your business is located is another example from the past that had a profound effect on companies doing business online.
Such changes can impact your financial reporting and/or make your business more competitive, and less competitive, and otherwise change your approach to how you do business.
4. Note vendor/supply chain changes
Another factor to take into consideration when updating your business plan is any vendor or supply chain issues or changes that have occurred since your last plan update. If a vendor suddenly changed their billing system or adjusted their fees, you might need to account for this in your business plan as it could cut into your profit margin projections.
Or, if the supply chain has made it so you need to use multiple vendors to meet your company’s needs without experiencing disruptions, your business plan should make note of this change — and even indicate that supply chain issues are an ongoing problem.
5. Keep broader economics in mind
The overall state of the economy can directly affect your company’s performance. And while economic downturns can leave some industries untouched, it’s rather rare. But even if your company is lucky and hasn’t been affected by broader economic fluctuations as of yet, keep updating your business plan on your radar.
The economy as a whole can impact your vendors, shipping, packing, contractors and other services related to how you do business. It can also affect staffing and the accessibility of talent. So even if your company hasn’t experienced negative effects, acknowledge the general state of the economy in your business plan and include contingency plans should issues arise.
6. Follow demographic changes
We’re currently in the midst of huge demographic changes in the United States and all over the world, which will have a direct impact on how you do business and what the future might bring to your company.
As of 2022, the median income among the middle class is going down, the income of the very wealthy continues to go up, and the median age of workers is going up, too. People are having babies later in life and at lower rates than in the previous generation.
All of these factors can directly impact your revenue potential as well as who your target demographic or ideal customer even is. And this means you need to update your business plan to account for these shifts. Continue to revisit demographic data and projections a couple of times per year to ensure your internal projections still apply and to see if your processes need updating and track your actual results. If so, a business plan update is in order, too.
What to do next
If you haven’t even so much as glanced at your business plan in a bit, now’s the time to dust off the document and give it a once-over. Times are changing — seemingly faster than ever before — so it would behoove you to set aside some time to update your business plan sooner rather than later.
4 Tips for Starting an Industrial Business
The industrial sector is a broad category that covers businesses involved in the manufacturing, production, and distribution of goods. Small industrial companies are growing across the country and there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to get involved in this sector.
As with any type of business, there are certain things you need to do to set yourself up for success. Here are four tips for starting an industrial business:
1. Do Your Research
Market research means figuring out who your target customers are and what they want or need. There are a number of different ways to do this, but some of the most common include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observation.
Surveys can give you a good overview of customer opinions while interviews or focus groups can help you to delve deeper into specific issues. Observing potential customers in their natural environment can also be helpful in understanding their behavior and needs.
2. Choose the Right Niche
When it comes to starting an industrial business, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right niche. There are a number of factors to consider when making this choice, and it’s important to do your research before settling on a particular industry.
First, you’ll need to identify the needs of your potential customer base, such as the products or services they need. Once you have a good understanding of the market, you can then start to narrow down your options. Consider the competition in each niche and decide which one offers the best opportunity for success. When making your final decision, it’s essential to choose a niche that you’re passionate about.
3. Create a Business Plan
In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s more important than ever to choose the right niche for your industrial business. When you specialize in a specific industry or type of product, you can better meet the needs of your target market and stand out from the competition. How do you know what niche is right for your business? Here are a few things to consider:
First, think about your strengths. What does your company do better than anyone else? What unique skills or experience do you bring to the table? Use these strengths to narrow down your focus and choose a niche that you’re passionate about.
Next, consider your target market. Who are you trying to reach with your products or services? What needs do they have that you can address? When you choose a target market and understand their needs, you’ll be better able to choose a niche that meets their demands.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Trying new things is essential for any business, so don’t be afraid to test out different niches to see what works best for you. By keeping these tips in mind, you can be sure to choose the right niche for your industrial business.
4. Optimize Your Processes
Through industrial control engineering, you will be able to identify opportunities for improvement and design solutions that achieve the desired results. In many cases, these solutions involve the use of automation and other advanced technologies.
By optimizing industrial business processes, industrial control engineers can help to improve efficiency and increase productivity. In addition, they can also help to improve safety conditions by reducing the potential for accidents. As industries continue to grow and become more complex, the demand for qualified industrial control engineers is likely to increase.
With an increased demand for industrial operations and manufacturing, there has never been a better time to start an industrial business. By following these four tips, you can be sure to set your business up for success.