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What Makes a Company “Future Ready”?



The pandemic put companies under a tremendous amount of stress. It revealed who is ready for the many changes the near future will bring — and who is not. In times of crisis, this type readiness doubles as a source of resilience. It reflects how companies can adapt, the robustness of their internal capabilities, and how capable of finding new sources of growth they really are. And the more uncertain the world seems to be, the more important for companies to become future ready.

Consider how fashion brands and retailers have navigated the past two years. Executives have been talking for more than a decade now about how retail is moving toward direct-to-consumer, omnichannel, and personalized offerings. Then the pandemic hit. The winners have been the ones who have scaled such capabilities ahead of their competition. Stock prices at Hermes, Nike, and Target have hit all-time highs as they have pivoted to e-commerce, in stark contrast to the parade of bankruptcies among some of retail’s most iconic names: Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, and JC Penny.

The automotive industry offers another example of the importance of becoming future ready — specifically, in cultivating mastery of software and electronics. While major carmakers have made strides to pivot to electric vehicles, the ongoing semiconductor shortage has forced companies like VW and GM to halt their production lines. Tesla, on the other hand, was able to “substitute alternative chips, and then write the firmware in a matter of weeks,” explained Elon Musk. This process required quickly rewriting the car’s software, which was possible because of Tesla’s in-house mastery, and helped Tesla deliver 308,600 vehicles in the fourth quarter — up from 180,667 the previous year — achieving a “trophy-case” performance.

Becoming future ready means scaling up capabilities relevant to future competition. In previous research, we found that a company must make regular shifts in its know-how in order to stay ahead of competitors over the long run. If a company’s know-how stagnates, it will face competition from copycats, fall behind in advancements, and eventually fail.

Who’s the Most Future Ready and How They Do It

At IMD, we’ve compiled a future-readiness indicator, which measures a company’s preparedness. We ranked the top players in each industry based on seven equally weighted factors. We evaluated the financial fundamentals of a company’s ongoing business, as investing in the future requires a healthy cash flow; we also looked at cash and debts. We measured a company’s growth prospects, looking at investors’ expectations and the intensity of a company’s investment in startups or new ventures. Because executive teams need to see beyond their day-to-day operations, we also looked for diversity in the management board, taking note of gender and nationality as well as the industry backgrounds of a company’s top leadership. When possible, we gauge a company’s productivity by measures such as operating revenue per employee. Finally, we monitor the trajectory of new product rollouts — openness to new ideas and the early results of innovation.

The resulting industry rankings are based on hard data. They include financial reporting, investors’ calls, LinkedIn profiles of the management team, CrunchBase, Factiva, and other publicly available reporting, all of which we used to produce a balanced composite score. Our measures are selected based on prior management literature. Using more than a decade of data (2010 to 2021), we also compared the choices and outlooks between the top- and bottom-ranking companies to highlight how top-ranking companies behave.

The rankings analyze 86 top companies (as measured by revenue) across four industries. What we found is that, while each industry has its own playbook, there are universal managerial behaviors and cognitive outlooks that are common across top-performing companies. For each, we’ve identified an industry-specific insight and a universal behavior that can help guide other companies to become more future ready. 

Industry Insight 1: Don’t Play the Zero-Sum Game with Disruptors

Two thousand twenty-one was a year for fintech innovation. Electronic payments took off as people shopped online. Many managed their finances online rather than going to bank branches. These have permanently shifted consumer behavior. While fintech disruptors PayPal and Block (formerly Square) were near the head of the pack, the leading incumbents are the legacy infrastructure builders: Mastercard and Visa.

How did these companies prosper when Apple Pay and Google Wallet seemed poised to make plastic cards obsolete? Instead of trying to outrun fintech disruptors and tech giants, Mastercard and Visa partnered with their rivals, to the benefit of all involved. Specifically, they invested heavily in a wide range of application programming interfaces (APIs). An API is a set of official rules and guidelines that lets software exchange information with one another. This allows third parties to tap into Visa and Mastercard’s infrastructure in a way that is both secure and easily accessible.

This strategy helped protect Mastercard and Visa from disruption. Not only do Apple and Google work with the two credit card companies; so do PayPal, Block, Samsung Pay, Facebook Credits, Stripe, and even Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange.

The major insight here, then, is that a product’s best feature may not be invented in-house. Visa and Mastercard realized that killer apps were being invented by third parties, who are closer to their customers. Sometimes you compete, sometimes you cooperate, but it’s never a zero-sum game. That’s the new playbook.

Universal Behavior 1: Explore Early-to-Exploit Know-How Sooner

The success of Mastercard and Visa wasn’t predetermined. A decade ago, American Express was the largest payment company (now ranked 20th) and had several major advantages: It issues credit and processes its own transactions, earns both interests and transaction fees, and has a closed-loop operation. Unlike Mastercard and Visa, it doesn’t need the backing of JP Morgan Chase or HSBC to underwrite cards. What happened to produce such a reversal for these companies?

By our analysis, American Express’s digital operation had improved over the last decade. But, when compared with its main rivals, Amex’s relative position fell behind. Where Visa and Mastercard surpassed American Express was in exploring new areas while exploiting existing opportunities; American Express, on the other hand, focused largely on short-term exploitation. As a result, it got trapped in its legacy business model, trying to get customers to spend more and stay loyal.

In the pursuit of a new business model, the opportunity to learn is fleeting. Once your competitors explore enough, they will pivot to exploit that new knowledge base to their advantage. So, at all times, you must maintain a healthy portion of activities dedicated to exploring the new, even when early evidence remains unclear, and commit yourself to difficult choices and tough tradeoffs guided by a vision about the future when evidence becomes compelling.

Industry Insight 2: When Everyone Digitalizes, Going “Deep” Differentiates

For a consumer brand, digitalization is not merely about the front-end, online experience — there are a lot of make-or-break technologies to master behind the scenes. Consumers today want to personalize their goods online and have them shipped in days. To make this happen, and to do it profitably at scale, a company must digitalize its entire supply chain. It must automate all the tracking and coordination with external partners. All these facets require new learning.

To keep up with fickle consumer demands, Nike, for instance, leverages advanced data analytics to gather insights around the clock. A cross-channel prediction at the local level allows the company to make markdown and promotion decisions instantly and to move inventories across the country. That’s how consumers can find what they’re most interested in wherever they are.

Meanwhile, Nike’s retail stores increasingly resemble an immersive gallery. Shoes are displayed like art pieces. But far beyond a mere luxury boutique, customers can use the Nike App in the store to gain access to limited release items, fun facts, and reward schemes. This is a prime example of a future-ready brand in sportswear. It employs a digital, direct-to-consumer, and data-driven approach, which annihilates the boundary between the online and physical world.

Universal Behavior 2: Learn Aggressively with a Strong Viewpoint

Companies like Nike, Lululemon, and Hermes rely on a strong viewpoint about the future to guide their learning, exhibiting a high degree of certainty. This set of behaviors — high learning and high certainty — may sound paradoxical, but that’s how visionary leaders update their mental model when new data emerge. These are strong opinions loosely held. We find such outlook associates with a high level of shareholders’ return over the last ten years. These are companies open to experimentation. If pivoting is required, they pivot. And, based on evidence, they commit at scale.

As for Lululemon, its robust digital channel is built upon innovation beyond apparel design. The company holds patents in well-being metrics, a biometric sensor belt, and a three-dimensional texture for the surface of a yoga mat. Then there’s the acquisition of Mirror in 2020: Lululemon bought the startup that sells a $1,500 tech-enabled mirror with a camera and speakers so people can tune into live yoga and fitness classes at home. All the direct-to-consumer relationships helps the company better discern consumer taste and detect new behaviors.

These are big bets that are difficult to commit to — unless, of course, you have a high learning attitude and a top management team aligned with a shared viewpoint about the future.

Industry Insight 3: In a High-Speed Sector, Branch Out Even Faster

It’s an understatement that technology companies are the “fruit flies” of the modern economy. The tech sector operates at a rapid velocity, and executives must pivot quickly to avoid being left behind. Top-ranking technology companies don’t only invest in new technologies; they are biased toward action in branching out to new offerings or entering new verticals. They are willing to acquire new capabilities and wade into the unknown. The subsector of semiconductors in technology illustrates this.

Intel doesn’t rank well at 16th. It has got stuck making microprocessors for PCs, laptops, and servers while its competitors, most notably Nvidia, have capitalized on the surging demands in chipsets for applications in machine learning, autonomous driving, natural language processing, and other A.I. applications.

Intel’s conservatism is understandable; it is the only player in the semiconductor sector that has an enormous footprint of factories, but with that comes the baggage of risk avoidance. It can’t branch out into new businesses without the worry that its factories might stand idle if new products aren’t blockbusters.

Asset-heavy companies are always more conservative, and, paradoxically, when others are asset-light and you are not, you end up being disadvantaged.

Meanwhile, Nvidia has evolved beyond deploying graphic processors only in the gaming sector. AMD, which used to be an underdog on the brink of bankruptcy in 2014, now provides the industry with some of the most powerful processors. Nvidia and AMD both rely heavily on Taiwan’s TSMC to manufacture their leading-edge products. And, because they don’t have factories or fabs, they don’t inherit any sunk cost. They are asset-light compared with Intel and can therefore afford to be agile.

Universal Behavior 3: To Move Quickly, Be Clear with Your Decision Type

Knowing how to make decisions quickly is essential to surviving in a fast-paced industry. But, to do so, you need to identify which decisions are reversible. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos calls such decisions “two-way doors.” You can back out later if you don’t like what you see, so you can go fast on them. The trouble is, as an organization grows bigger, managers tend to uniformly use a heavy-handed approach to scrutinize every decision and slow down the company.

Having a clear distinction in which kind of decision you’re making is the key when change is constant. This distinction is what separates the successful turnaround of Microsoft from the less successful one at IBM when both companies were pursuing cloud computing and A.I. on their enterprise client base.

Microsoft won the day because it harbored a healthy bias for action but remained unfailingly realistic. Its executives focused on preventing catastrophe while they were scaling new businesses, such as cloud computing, augmented reality, and its own line of tablets. A healthy paranoia of what could go wrong guided its decision making, and yet it didn’t stop the company from trying new things. It kept learning in the face of uncertainty. Conversely, IBM was less able to make fast decisions among managers across all levels than Microsoft. That meant that well-intentioned initiatives got prematurely scaled, resulting in offerings ahead of the market or before the underlying technology became robust enough.

Industry Insight 4: Ask How Vertical Integration Can Help You Stand Out

At the Palo Alto headquarters, visitors at Tesla can marvel the dramatic use of vertical integration. Tesla has used integration in places where the automotive ecosystem has underperformed. In the battery technologies, for example, Tesla designed and produced battery suitable for super-charging vehicles with coolant running throughout the entire pack.

More critically, Tesla uses the software muscle to take over more functionalities that used to be located in purpose-built hardware. Elon Musk seeks to work directly with TSMC and Samsung instead of outsourcing electronic components to the conventional Tier 1 suppliers. It tackles technical problems that the existing ecosystem cannot resolve fast enough. It goes beyond the conventional role of an automaker to integrate the hardest problem that needs to get solved.

Universal Behavior 4: Worry Less About Keeping Up and More About Finding a New Viewpoint

Little wonder why automotive possesses the least optimism as a sector. It’s an industry unaccustomed to exploration and experimentation, a conservative sector filled with managers with similar backgrounds. That’s how companies become fixated with keeping pace with the competitor next to them and lose sight of what’s on the horizon.

A good number of automakers still possess a healthy balance sheet to fund new investment. But to move away from mechanical engineering as the dominant know-how and to replace it with knowledge in software and electronics requires a shared viewpoint at the highest level. It also requires experts coming from very different backgrounds. Nike has succeeded in doing this, and so have Visa and Mastercard.

The fear of losing in the near term is very real. But the threat of losing relevance looms even larger. That’s why becoming future ready is straightforward. But it takes courage to drive it.


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Growing a Business

5 Ways to Control Your Inventory So It Doesn’t Control You



Managing inventory is a task that can make or break your small business. With too much inventory, profits suffer and storerooms overflow. With too little, items get back-ordered, customers get frustrated and business is lost. And striking a balance is hard, especially with disruptions to the global supply chain in the last few years causing delayed deliveries.

While you can’t control the supply chain, you can take steps to prevent common problems like product shortages and excess stock. Here’s how.

1. Stick to the story

Donna Daniel owns and operates three connected small businesses in Claremont, California: The Grove Clothing, The Grove Home and The Outdoor Store, which sell women’s clothing, home goods and unisex adventure-themed gear, respectively. To run all three of her stores, Daniel needs to keep an impressive variety and quantity of inventory in stock — and ensure it moves quickly to make room for seasonal items and new shipments.

To keep her inventory cohesive within each store, she arranges it in themed displays — or what she calls “stories” — which tie together dozens of different items to appeal to a color, season or activity.

“I don’t buy anything outside of the stories,” she says, which helps her collect data on sales and seasonal trends, and keeps her stock to what’s most likely to sell.

She keeps most of her inventory on the shop floor, with stock in each store’s backroom and larger items in a nearby storage unit. In the backrooms and warehouse, she stores items according to product type and size — not by story — so employees can easily restock displays and substitute a similar item if necessary.

2. Double down on your reliable inventory

“Just-in-time inventory is much more difficult to do today,” says Mark Baxa, president and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, a global trade association for supply chain professionals. Baxa adds that since the supply chain is less stable than it was pre-pandemic, businesses may need to lean on their most reliable products and vendors.

Courtney Cowan, owner and founder of Los Angeles bakery Milk Jar Cookies, keeps supply needs and consumer demand stable with a very consistent product line. Her 16-flavor menu has “changed very little” in the bakery’s nine-year history, though she leaves room for a rare seasonal standout to join the rotation. Since her store pre-mixes and preserves dough in a deep freezer, she can ensure that her bestsellers are always in stock.

Though some businesses may prefer a bit more variety, in uncertain times — over-ordering on go-to products with a dependable profit margin can help fill the gaps and keep sales steady.

3. Keep products moving

Longtime retailers know that while running out of inventory is bad, having too much can be worse. “Too much backstock eats up all your capital,” Daniel says. She prevents this from happening by planning ahead and using sales sections to make room for new merchandise.

Daniel reorders seasonal inventory as far as a year ahead by using recent sales reports as a baseline. But with this commitment to hundreds of new products arriving every month, she makes sure that items don’t sit on shelves for more than a few weeks.

“I do not like merchandise hanging around,” she says, explaining that if an item isn’t clearing out quickly enough, she’ll move it to the sales rack and discount it until it’s gone.

Though selling an item for a fraction of its original price may seem painful, it may be worth doing to keep inventory moving and keep customers coming back for new products.

4. Get to know your supply chain

Especially in periods of supply chain disruption, getting to know your vendors can make a big difference in your day-to-day operations. “Hold your supplier base accountable,” Baxa says. He suggests finding the “shortest path” possible, including finding local and sustainable suppliers, to help ensure consistent, reliable supply.

Daniel follows the same principle, sourcing her inventory from mostly local vendors so she can pick up items instead of shipping. She weighs several factors, including production time, available quantity and shelf life to figure out how much to order and how often.

Cowan’s inventory is perishable, so she needs her wholesale ingredients to arrive on a tight schedule. Her bakery receives truck deliveries directly from the restaurant supplier Sysco and wholesale store Costco, which keeps her supply chain close to home.

“We keep it as centralized as possible,” Cowan says. For special ingredients like nuts and candy, she places advance orders with small online vendors.

Clear communication with vendors can help business owners figure out limitations, plan ahead and mitigate risk.

5. Use a point-of-sale system with inventory management tools

For the past five years, Daniel has been using Lightspeed, a POS system with standout inventory management tools. The software can track her inventory across all three of her stores, and it generates reports that help her analyze seasonal sales data and follow her businesses’ growth.

This data is essential for her to plan reorder points and determine which items will reliably sell. Especially with a small staff and multiple locations, an all-in-one POS system can help minimize costs and labor.

Best POS for inventory management

Lightspeed Retail POS

Cost: Software $69 per month (billed annually) and up. Hardware quote-based.

Lightspeed’s retail point-of-sale system is built for inventory management. It can keep detailed records of your products across multiple locations and set automatic reorder points, so you don’t run out. The software also offers employee and customer relationship management tools, as well as advanced analytics features on its higher-priced plans.

You have the option to use a third-party payment processor, or Lightspeed’s in-house processor with per-transaction fees at 2.6% plus 10 cents for swipe, dip and contactless payments and 2.6% plus 30 cents for keyed-in transactions.

Square for Retail

Cost: Software free and up. Hardware from free card reader to $799 terminal and up.

Square’s retail-specific POS software offers inventory management tools and multi-location capabilities as well. The free version has a variety of other useful features including reporting tools, customer and employee management. Email marketing, loyalty programs and payroll are available with a higher-priced plan or as a paid add-on.

Though its inventory management isn’t quite as deep as Lightspeed’s, Square’s user-friendly interface and accessible pricing make it a great choice for most retail businesses. Payment processing fees vary per plan, but with the free retail plan, costs are 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction, 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction and 3.5% plus 15 cents per keyed transaction.

Shopify POS

Cost: Software $29 to $299 and up. Hardware $49 and up.

Shopify’s point-of-sale system is geared for businesses that primarily sell online. The software tracks inventory, hides out-of-stock products on your website and offers basic inventory analysis. It also facilitates drop-shipping, curbside pickup and local delivery options, plus access to vendors and third-party applications.

Shopify helps businesses manage inventory across online and in-store locations. Its Pro version can create purchase orders, run inventory counts, perform advanced inventory analysis and generate low-stock reports. However, it’s not ideal for a business that only sells in store. Payment processing varies by plan, with in-person fees starting at 2.4% with Shopify POS Lite.


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Growing a Business

14 community management tips for meaningful connections with customers



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Community building blocks

The idea for sharing community management tips came to me about a year ago. That’s when I synced up with the GoDaddy Community team to host a webinar for small business owners. As hundreds of attendees rolled into the Zoom, I had a realization: “GoDaddy has a strong community.”

Behind every good brand and business, there’s a solid community of supporters, stakeholders, and sometimes, even haters.

But building a community and maintaining connections is one of the most misunderstood and least talked about topics within the small business world. For a business with fewer than five employees and a handful of customers, community building might seem like just another marketing tactic that is just out of reach.

To help small businesses build and manage an online community, I asked other business owners and marketers what community management tips they had for creating meaningful connections with customers.

14 community management tips to create meaningful customer connections

Given that creating and maintaining a strong community can help retain and attract customers, consider following these 14 community management tips:

  1. Be quick to address negative experiences
  2. Filter out spam
  3. Showcase success
  4. Send a postcard
  5. Get your customers involved in important decisions
  6. Bring Up topics that encourage engagement
  7. Provide talking points and engage with your community
  8. Engage regularly
  9. Be the face of your brand
  10. Choose a channel that works
  11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs
  12. Consider a brand ambassador program
  13. Reward loyalty
  14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

Read on to learn more.

1. Be quick to address negative experiences

A bad customer experience can quickly escalate to a brand reputation crisis, and the company’s response must be fast to revert the situation.

Monitoring social channel mentions is an easy way to keep an eye on conversations surrounding your brand and detect potential concerns.

Once a customer posts a comment that threatens your brand reputation, listen, honestly apologize and be willing to solve the issue in the best possible way. Your unsatisfied customer will feel appreciated and perhaps even become a brand advocate.

-Rebeca Sena,

2. Filter out spam

The most important thing you should be doing in regards to community management is interacting with your community, and you cannot do that properly if you have to work through a bunch of spam. There are many programs out there, even some within the different social media sites, that can filter out spam in your comments and messages so you can focus on addressing your community. Plus, getting rid of the spam and moderating harmful comments creates a better space for your community to contact you through.

-Jacob Dayan, Community Tax

3. Showcase success

Develop case studies from your successful community members. This is a practical way of propagating the core values of your online community and encouraging new users to join your community.

The more these members contribute to the community, the more impact these case studies have. You can start by creating basic reports to identify the members who are actively contributing high-quality content, assisting other members, and elevating the community.

-Hasan Farahani, Yocale

4. Send a postcard

postcard with other travel items

Many of my customers spend $15–$20K on medical care in Latin America. I send my customers handwritten postcards to remind them of their journey, thank them for their business, and to stay engaged while they recover from procedures like dental implants or plastic surgery.

The cost in time and money is very low, but a human touch in the healthcare space is increasingly rare.

-Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel

5. Get your customers involved in important decisions

Taking the time to follow up with your most active customers and getting their insights on important decisions makes them feel like their opinions are truly valued and cared for.

In the long run, this forges a strong connection between you and your audience that relies on more than simply a transaction.

An added benefit of doing this is that you may even get some eye-opening suggestions and creative ideas that could end up benefiting your business.

-Harry Morton, Lower Street 

6. Bring up topics that encourage engagement

Meaningful connections need to originate from a common source that offers a moment of relatability, which can further build brand trust. Social platforms offer numerous opportunities for these types of exchanges. When managing your social community, bring up topics that encourage engagement so you can connect on a level that goes beyond the basic company/customer relationship. In doing so, the consumer will feel more at ease to comment, ask questions and even provide more detailed feedback.

-Lindsay McCormick, Bite 

7. Provide talking points and engage with your community

It’s important to recognize that community management is an ongoing responsibility. If you want to see your community thrive, you must create opportunities for customers to voice their opinion, communicate with other community members and provide you with feedback. Finding success is contingent on your ability to encourage participation from users, so you must provide talking points and give them plenty of avenues to stay involved.

If you leave your community dormant without your administrative oversight, engagement will start to dwindle as fewer users initiate conversations and take part.

Communities rarely function autonomously, so be sure to play an active role as you connect with and safeguard your community.

This gives you a chance to speak with your customers on a personal level, helping you learn about their likes, dislikes, objections and pain points directly—all of which are crucial in building meaningful connections with customers.

-Mike Grossman, GoodHire

8. Engage regularly

The best community management tip is to engage regularly and don’t neglect questions or threads you didn’t start—even better if they aren’t getting a lot of feedback. If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to regularly interact with your customers, make sure you’re commenting often and have a badge next to your name letting them know you’re a moderator or part of the company. That will really cement that feeling of connection and letting members feel heard. Plus, we’ve found that a community manager can really breathe life into a topic by offering input and pushing it to the front of that community for more engagement.

-Sylvia Kang, Mira

9. Be the face of your brand

Revealing the human side of your brand is without a shadow of a doubt an efficient strategy to boost your customers’ connection. It conveys transparency and accountability, building a stronger human bond. Consumers tend to trust people more than a company, and showcasing real people will make you and your brand easier to remember and trust.

-Chiara Sternardi,

10. Choose a channel that works

social media apps on iphone

The best way to build an authentic community is to have everyone communicate using the same social media platform. Make that a crucial part of your strategy.

If it’s a professional audience that you’re going after, choose LinkedIn. If it’s a broader audience, use Facebook or Instagram. If it’s a young audience, try Snapchat or WhatsApp. If it’s a politically charged audience, maybe try Twitter.

YouTube is a great way to encourage people to watch videos that provide clear instructions on how a product or service works.

Users flock to YouTube for instructions on everything from how to change batteries on a device to playing scales on a guitar. The comment section can be useful for feedback purposes, and it also can be a way for customers to communicate with one another.

-Joel Jackson, Lifeforce

11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs

By creating audience and buyer personas based on different client categories, content marketers can create social content that speaks to people rather than just industries. Learn where your customers hang out online using your social media demographics. Then, narrow those results using audience research to help you define a specific audience and channel. You can then customize communications by researching the LinkedIn profiles of potential customers. Doing so will allow you to identify different stakeholders within the organization and determine their pain points. You can then create better content that addresses their challenges. But it’s all about finding an interesting angle for each segment.

Content that is too broad won’t result in authentic engagement with your followers.

Social media posts that offer helpful information are guaranteed to stand out in your clients’ feeds, resulting in more likes, shares and leads.

-Daniel Tejada, Straight Up Growth

12. Consider a brand ambassador program

A great way to create authentic connections with customers is with an acquisition and advocacy program like a brand ambassador program. For example, if a user can get five people to sign up for a service or product, they become an ambassador.

These brand ambassadors can help your business acquire new users. You can reward them with swag and access to special products or services … maybe even a special event!

-Jennifer Pieniazek, Resume Now

13. Reward loyalty

You can create meaningful connections by rewarding loyal customers to show how much you appreciate them. Just like any relationship, whether it’s personal or professional, people appreciate rewards. Show your customers that they matter and are top of mind in your decision-making. That’s how you create a stronger, more loyal customer base—one that will continue to pay attention for new initiatives and future rewards.

-Alyssa Berman-Waugh, Level Home, Inc.

14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

To create meaningful connections with customers, recognize and accept diversities within your community. Each of your customers will differ in terms of their culture, orientation, ability and life experience. It’s imperative that you celebrate these differences and welcome input from individuals of all walks of life as you advocate for equity and inclusivity. This will develop your community’s reputation and attract diverse groups in greater numbers.

Communities that cater to just one group of people almost always become echo chambers, creating a suboptimal environment for connections to form and important discussions to take place.

By listening, asking questions, and welcoming input from diverse groups of individuals, you’ll cement your community as a welcoming place for diversity and insight to flourish.

In doing so, your ability to build a rapport and create meaningful, lasting connections with your customers will blossom.

-Patrick Casey, Felix

The community management tips used in this article were gathered using Terkel.
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at to answer questions and get published.

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Growing a Business

How Online Presence Makes Your Business More Trustworthy



Have you ever made a dining decision based on a review you saw on the internet? You may have picked a product because it seemed “more trustworthy” online. It’s also a deal breaker if it isn’t handled correctly.

Customers are more inclined to believe in your company if it presents itself well on the internet. Whether a startup or a large corporation, your online appearance and behaviour matter to your consumers if you own an offline or online company.

Online presence

Why Should Your Business Go Online?

In addition to being available for your consumers, here are other reasons to consider your online presence.

It Improves Your Company’s Accessibility

When you don’t sell anything online, a solid online presence can help you make more money from the internet if you aren’t engaged on social media.

Before making a purchase, most consumers do internet research to learn more about the company and the goods. Being at the right place at the right time is simply good business.

It Takes Care of Your Marketing and Branding

An internet presence provides a steady supply of customers for your company. Customer feedback and social media participation may help boost purchases. It’s easier for consumers to identify your online presence with a website or social media account.

It May Boosts Your Company’s Credibility

Having an online presence is essential for your organisation to be taken seriously. A startup might have difficulty being accepted as a legitimate organisation in its early stages. It’s essential to have a strong internet presence before people take you seriously. It’s easier to get quick loans at to expand your company.

It Aids in the Comprehension of Your Target Market

When you have an online presence, you can engage with your audience in a two-way conversation to get valuable feedback or evaluations. In addition, it helps you learn more about your prospective consumers and the things they’re looking for. If a restaurant uses polls on its Facebook page, it may determine which specials and goods are most popular with its patrons.

Businesswoman building an online presence

How Can You Evaluate and Enhance Your Company’s Web Presence?

Analysing your online reputation simply means monitoring what others say about you online. Then you make it work for you.

You can monitor and enhance your company’s online appearance by following these three steps.:

Monitor Mentions of Your Business

Monitoring your company’s internet mentions can help you track what’s being said about you and mitigate unfavourable publicity. This can also help you identify communication gaps.

Google Alerts can help you track online references of your company. Set up notifications for your business/product name and relevant keywords, and you’ll be alerted promptly whenever you’re mentioned anyplace online.

Analyse Your Website Traffic

The source of your traffic (and how much) might assist you in evaluating your internet presence. It may be necessary to expand your internet activities beyond your website. For example, low social media traffic might imply a poor social presence.

Tracking your website’s traffic with Google Analytics might reveal secret traffic sources that your Google search may have overlooked. It will also help you find unnoticed remarks or backlinks.

Assess Your Social Media Engagement

Your social media presence affects your online reputation as well. Active consumers on your social media platforms help build trust and confidence.

Consider checking a company’s and a competitor’s Facebook accounts. You may observe that one firm interacts with clients while the other has a few likes but no comments. Which do you prefer?

Social media presence for startup

Bottom Line

An active social media presence gives the impression of reliability while also conveying a sense of humanity and authenticity. Your audience will be more engaged as your social media presence improves.

To keep up with your target audience, you need to be one step ahead of them online. The first step is to become well-versed in everything your consumers discover about your company through the internet. Your internet presence must be understood, monitored, and improved to reach this goal.

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