The Marketing Huddle — Top Marketing Blog for Small Business

We are in the post Covid-19 era and let me be really honest with you — Marketing is no longer the same. Many of us are affected badly with the turn outs from Covid-19 and we even see many small businesses closing down / downsizing across the globe.

I'm going to sugar coat it because it is already bad. There must be something that small business owners can do right now, right?

The truth is, yes. If you are affordable, you can work with digital marketing agencies with your marketing needs. Or you can spend time and effort to learn more about digital marketing.

Either way, you need to do something and right now ... to keep your business afloat long enough.


Introducing The Marketing Huddle

I came across TheMarketingHuddle.com in expired domains and I was intrigued to build my blog database. What other thing can I do than to create a marketing blog dedicated for small business owners?

As you can see, this blog is brand new (with less than 10 posts) and I have no plans to place any ads on it for now. Yes, a few affiliate links and that's much about it.

And hey, it is not running on WordPress!

The Marketing Huddle is created on Ghost CMS (works just like Medium) and I'm loving it right now.


What can I expect from The Marketing Huddle?

The Marketing Huddle is created as a marketing blog for small business owners. As a consultant myself, I came across dozens of entrepreneurs and business owners who are struggling to keep up with the latest marketing related news.

The blog serves as a free publication site focusing on marketing related matters with some detailed case study write ups (like this case study on WaaS business model).

Apart from that, there are also free content such as daily, weekly and monthly online marketing tips specially crafted for small business owners.

It doesn't matter if you are doing it inhouse or want to train your team, this is one blog not to be missed!

What To Do If Your Employer Goes Bankrupt

Life is full of uncertainties, but sometimes, we are caught off-guard. Take the example of your employer declaring bankruptcy. Most of the time, nothing prepares an employee for their employer to go out of business. When this happens, employees are left wondering what they should do moving forward. The good news is that as an employee, there are steps that you can take when your employer is affected by insolvency proceedings. It pays to be in the know, and this article helps you understand the steps you can take when your employer declares bankruptcy.

What Happens When an Employer Declares Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy occurs in a situation where a company or employer can no longer pay its debts. The debtor can voluntarily declare bankruptcy. Alternatively, they can be forced into it by one of the creditors of the business. If this happens, they hand over their non-exempt property to a licensed insolvency trustee (LIT) who is tasked with selling and distributing the money to Creditors.

A majority of bankruptcies fall under consumer bankruptcies, meaning that most of the debts are not business-related. If the debtor's assets are worth below $15,000, the case is processed under summary administration. This kind of situation is easy to handle because creditors do not need to meet. Creditors cannot take a debtor to a court or continue any hearings if the case is dealt with as a summary administration. Secured creditors can take ownership of assets that they hold a security. While there are clear paths for creditors to follow when dealing with a bankrupt business, many employees have no idea where to go if their employer declares bankruptcy.

What Happens to Employees?

Before a company considers filing for bankruptcy, the employer must have gone over a list of options regarding what they can do. Many companies consider finding a trustee that will help them evaluate their situation, so they know what they will lose once they file for insolvency. With a trustee, the employer understands what will happen to their employees and even the contractors in detail.

The first step that takes place once an employer declares bankruptcy is that a trustee is appointed over the company that faces insolvency. This trustee has several duties, including liquidation of the employer’s estate, so that the creditors can be paid. The creditors are notified of the bankruptcy as well, and the assets of the bankrupt person are protected. The trustee then runs the company, even though it is insolvent. Many times, contracts with third parties and employees end up terminated. Interestingly, some key employees may retain their positions or get rehired because they are essential to running the company or safeguarding their critical assets.

What Should the Employee Know?

As an employee of a bankrupt business, you are protected under the Wage Earner Protection Program. Debts are paid to creditors according to the federally legislated BIA. If the employees have a wage claim, they are considered to be creditors. The steps to be taken next depend on whether these employees are in a union or not. If it’s there, they will be represented by the union, and the matter is solved. If the employee were not part of a union, the employee would have to deal directly with the trustee appointed for the company.

The Wage Earner Protection Program is responsible for the reimbursement of eligible employees for any unpaid and deserved monies including wages, vacation pay, termination pay and severance pay that the employer owed them after the declaration of bankruptcy.

As an employee, the first step would be to file a proof of claim with the company’s trustee, and the request should be filed with Service Canada within 56 days of the bankruptcy date. Service Canada is the body responsible for making payments under WEPP. The trustee is not liable to make any payments to the employee.

Service Canada is also entitled to the dividend payments that the receiver or trustee makes to the employee on the amounts paid by Service Canada. The federal program compensates employees for amounts of up to $3,000. Wages include salaries, commissions, vacation pay, compensation for services, and severance pay. Payments that fall within ss 81.3 and 81.4 of the BIA should be considered when considering employees who should be compensated upon bankruptcy.

Declaring bankruptcy comes as a shocker for many employees. It is mostly unclear to the public about what should happen to the employees once their employer declares bankruptcy. While the stipulations are clear for creditors, it is not so clear for employees. In this article, however, an employee learns how the law protects them and how they can claim compensation that should be theirs.

Technological Innovations That Have Transformed Business

Technological innovation has been the driving force behind business throughout history but advancements in the last two decades have really transformed the way businesses operate. Online services, communications, and software are an integral part of every one of our business operations and have enabled big companies to fully synchronize their multiple business locations. Even small businesses use an enormous amount of technology in their day to day operations that would have been unthinkable in previous years. In this article, we explore three of the most innovative technological developments that have transformed modern businesses.

1. Cloud-Based Digital Signage

Digital signage has a huge number of benefits for all kinds of businesses and organizations as they can be used as digital menus, to advertise products and services, to create a seasonal atmosphere or announce upcoming events, and especially to advertise new promotions or sales. Traditionally, shops, restaurants, bars, and other establishments would just use paper posters or banners to announce special deals and promotions but digital signs displayed on giant monitors provide far more effective messaging. Whilst these have been around for a few years, businesses with multiple monitors or even multiple locations are now using cloud-based services to synchronize all their digital signs. This has opened up a huge number of avenues that were previously closed to businesses. 

To understand how it works, consider the Black Friday Sales. Previously, retail businesses would have had to prepare all of the promotional material weeks in advance in order to get it designed, printed, distributed to the various stores which would then have had to be decorated. The experts at www.yodeck.com/raspberry-pi explained that with the introduction of cloud storage linked to digital signage devices, businesses can upload a huge range of multimedia advertising material, seasonal branding, and eye-catching promotional banners, and with just the click of a button, display it on all the monitors in every one of their stores. Not only does this save a huge amount of time and money, but it also enables businesses to instantly change from one promotion or season to the next without a massive overhaul of each individual store.

2. Web Conferencing Technology

Web conferencing technology has totally transformed the way that businesses communicate with their clients, employees, and business partners. Modern companies use web conferencing technology to hold international or inter-organizational meetings, to conduct training programs simultaneously in multiple locations, and to host webinars and workshops. Whilst major corporations have been using web conferencing for quite a few years, the CoronaVirus Pandemic made the use of web conferencing widespread amongst companies of all sizes and areas of business. In every country in the world, companies were forced to shut their offices and their employees tasked to work from home, and web conferencing provided an ideal solution for companies to stay operational whilst lockdown and social distancing measures were in place. 

It is often difficult to predict which technological innovations will become mainstream, particularly in business applications, but it seems very likely now that the success of web conferencing during the CoronaVirus Pandemic will lead to a major shift in business culture. Many businesses were previously skeptical about whether levels of productivity could be sustained if the majority of their employees were operating from home, but it seems inevitable that this will become more and more common in the coming years.

3. Automated Warehouse Systems

The incredible rise of Amazon and other enormous e-commerce companies has revolutionized the world of retail. These days as much as 25% of all purchases are made online and that percentage is increasing every year. Whilst Amazon is often criticized for the working conditions in its warehouses, these criticisms may eventually become irrelevant as automated warehouse systems are becoming increasingly popular and widely used. 

These warehouses totally cut out any need for humans at any stage of the retail process chain. The customer chooses their products online, the retail company’s computer systems identify which of their warehouses is closest or most convenient to ship the product to the customer, and then the product is packed by robots. For now, at least, the product still has to be delivered to the customer by a human delivery driver, but this may change in the future with the development of driverless vehicles.

The advancements that are being made in every area of technology are truly incredible and there is no aspect of our lives that aren’t constantly being affected by innovation. Technology has become such an integral part of our businesses that even small companies rely heavily on it for advertising, communications, and orders. As technology becomes more and more advanced, it is fascinating to predict how the face of business will change as we move into this new decade. 

4 Alternative Investments Investors and Analysts Should Know

Alternative investments have been on the rise and have become popular. Any investor and financial analyst would understand that traditional investment assets are cash in stocks and cash in bonds. They earn money through interest payments, dividends, or appreciation. Interest payments are usually gained from loans, where the interest would be the amount earned by the moneylender. Dividends are payments made to investors by private businesses that an investor may have shares or equity in.

Appreciation here refers to the increase in asset value. In general investing in securing your money with the expectation of having a benefit in the future. Experts are now telling you there are other ways to invest your money. If you are a high profile investor then you might consider having alternative options to invest in your money. 

Alternative investments, allow investors and analysts to diversify their financial portfolios. These investments could be in assets that are tangible or financial assets or private equity. Let’s have a look at these alternative investment methods:

Arts and Wine

Investing in the Art Industry has become one of the hottest investments in the world of business. And this proves that art can do more than just making a living or a working space aesthetic. Collectors of art like paintings or sculptures purchase these pieces along with the goal of adding investment to their personal accounting portfolio. Like traditional investments in bonds or stocks, the value of an art piece increases.

If the artist responsible for a certain piece of artwork that you invested in advances in his career and becomes successful, your investment will definitely grow because the cash value of his works will increase. Art investment is long-term, so you should be a patient investor. 

Similarly, wine investment focuses on the acquisition of products whose value increases over time. In this kind of investment, you are keeping purchased wine bottles and selling them in due time at a higher price. In deciding to invest in wines, you need to understand more details about the type of wine that you are investing in. Bear in mind that wines that have higher value are those that are rare or vintage.

Hedge Funds

Similar to other types of investment funds, such as mutual funds, hedge funds are a pool of investments from a limited number of investors. The investments are being managed by an investment manager who decides carefully and wisely where to invest the funds. This type of funds lets the investors engage into multiple assets and complex groups. While this type is known to have high returns, the rise of these funds is usually associated with bull markets found in the United States. Investors who can afford this, however should be cautious because not all are volatile and high-risk. Overall, hedge funds’ target is to minimize the risks and maximize profits. 

Peer-to-Peer Loans

During the past years, investors were looking for another way of investing because of the fact that savings and bonds continued to be a disappointment due to the slow market value growth. Until a wide range of opportunities were brought about by P2P lending, a new alternative and yield-seeking type of investment.

This is differentiated from bank loans because in the process, the middle man, which is “ the bank” in the traditional bank loan processes, is no longer involved. Rather than people investing their funds in a bank, they directly invest through a loan that is usually taken by money borrowers on p2p platforms. So when a borrower decides to apply for a loan from a peer-to-peer platform, the information from these platforms is given to investors, and this is where the investor decides where to invest in.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies have been pretty much a hot topic in discussion over the past year. We have always heard stories of people who became millionaires over the night and on the other side people who have also lost big amounts of money who tried the risk of investing in cryptocurrencies.

If you are a smart investor, this alternative way can be profitable for you. To make a profit, you need to have a thorough research about it as well as the coins. If you have the proper knowledge, especially knowing more about the coins, then, you will know where to invest your money. Don’t just decide based on what other people talk about, but you need to be careful not just to gamble just to earn money. Making money in the crypto market is not a simple play, you will need patience and all the knowledge to be able to succeed with whatever decision you have.

With all these mentioned alternatives to investing, any investor should be very careful enough with making the right choice of where to invest. It is true that having alternative ways can make your portfolio keep earning for financial gains. You just need to make sure that this will be ready to take the risk and accept the fact that these can be longer terms of investing. You can always seek help and guidance from your financial adviser where needed.

Advertising Through Custom Vehicle Wraps: How Effective Is It?

Creativity is something you need in order to have immense success in your business. Even without the help of online marketing and modern advertising, people have been so creative in promoting their brand and letting their business known to a great number of people in the population. One of the simplest, most cost-efficient ways is custom vehicle wraps that are proven to increase brand exposure. It is the perfect solution for you especially if your business will profit from the local exposure you will gain through this kind of advertisement.

No matter where you are, you must have seen a vehicle with graphics all around it, promoting a product and with ways to get in touch with the provider or business. Even if you didn't bother to get the details, it might have left an impression on you that the next time you see the car, it will be all too familiar. ​

Consequently, it can be something that will pop in your mind when a need arises so you would pay more attention to its details the next time you see it. It seems so simple but this type of classic advertisement can boost your business and open up a lot of opportunities for you. 

What is a Vehicle Wrap

A vehicle wrap is also known as wrap advertising. It has been hugely popular especially before the internet was widely and commonly used. Initially, people designed trains to distinguish their locomotives and railcars from other companies. They painted first their own name and company logo. This idea has then been adopted by busses wherein they were turned into mobile billboards that allowed its passengers to still see out using see-through graphics. The most noteworthy milestone that launched wrap vehicles as a form of advertisement is when a large cola company used it to promote their drink.

Vehicles bearing its name and logo were everywhere and the product grew larger with the help of small businesses and the direct exposure it impacted its consumers. Vinyl was seen as the best material because it allows the vehicle to be wrapped while leaving the surface underneath unscathed. There were still challenges initially especially with the application of vinyl but as technology improved, the material can now be easier to install and even reposition when needed. 

Effectiveness of Wrap Vehicle Advertising

Wrap advertising is one of the cheapest ways of doing advertising. Research has found out that vehicle advertising can generate an impression of up to 70,000 because of how effective this strategy is. They work all the time, they get exposed to people and they even work even when they are just parked somewhere. The larger vehicles would need large format graphics to better get in touch with people who are going to see it.

They are also more effective in getting the attention of more people than the most common billboards. This is the reason why small business owners that operate locally can really benefit from this type of advertisement, contrary to the common belief that only big companies are able to do this. And even if you don't own a car or a fleet, you can rent out cars and trucks where you can paint your advertisement.

The quality of commercial graphics affects greatly the attitude of people towards the product and the company. It is also considered to be one of the most effective home advertisements which means that it can reach more homes than other types.

How to Customize a Vehicle Wrap

The most important factor you need to start with any project first is to get to know the vehicle you are working on. Since it would require that you get the right measurements and dimensions, you need to make sure that the technical aspect is taken care of accurately. Start by determining how large you want the wrap would be and what parts of the vehicles you want to be covered. The best areas are the sides and the front because these are the largest and most visible to the people. You can also wrap the whole vehicle or go for a more minimalist approach.  The most important thing is that you include the most important details like the company name, product name, contact number, address, and even special promotions you have. 

The image you will put on the car is another story. Here, you have to ensure that you only aim for the highest quality in terms of image resolution and design. You can enlist a professional graphic designer to do this for you. Make sure that the colors are striking but not too much and that the details of the company and product stand out. Since this is still commonly done today, make sure that your advertisement will have an edge against other competitors.

You can also try for a more modern way like putting witty ads that will surely make people pay more attention. Your main goal here is to make people look at your vehicle wrap because that establishes the first engagement with them. Let the magic work its way as time passes by and as more and more people are reached.

Other Benefits

Even if you do not own a company or business and work as a creative or freelance, you can use your vehicle to promote your work. This greatly helps in the exposure of your brand, This is especially true for a creative to showcase their art. Furthermore, vehicle wraps are great in protecting the paint of your car so you can be sure that it will preserve the integrity of its surface even when you peel the vinyl away.

The reason why custom vehicle wraps exist today is because of its proven effectiveness in advertising. It does not just help in piquing the interest of people in the community but also in getting your brand recognized by more people. Aside from being creative, it serves its purpose well while also being one of the most cost-efficient ways to get your business out there. 

How Businesses Can Benefit From Cloud Technology?

When you think about how the business world was like 50 years ago, you could see a major difference in the basic procedures and processes between then and now. All of the changes we see today are thanks to technology and focusing on shifting to the digital world. One of the ways to do so is by incorporating cloud technology into your business processes. Every business needs to know about these benefits, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read on if you want to learn more about how businesses can benefit from cloud technology.

Improvement in Security 

Did you know that switching to the cloud can guarantee you an improvement in security? Statistics have shown that 94% of companies have confirmed that the cloud can improve their security procedures significantly. Not to mention that 91% of these companies have also confirmed that these improvements helped them meet their government compliance requirements.

This is quite appealing because not only will you have an easier time legally with your government, but you will also have an efficient protection system that can keep your data, files, and programs secured. 

The cloud is designed to monitor your files and processes carefully and constantly. Having it is much more convenient and effective than any in-house system that your company could have. The encryption features the cloud provides lessen the possibility of any data theft internally or from hackers trying to breach your system.  

Excellent Reliability and Response Time

You can expect excellent response times and reliability when it comes to cloud technology. Numerous businesses and especially ones that operate heavily in finance and accounting have a huge need for the cloud. Because of the recent Coronavirus outbreak, many businesses are making the move to cloud technology because it can help significantly during tough times.

Whenever a business faces challenging periods similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, having a reliable system that implements the cloud can give it an easier time dealing with most obstacles in its way. It is a crucial system to have if you want to succeed during these tough times because it’s highly available anytime and anywhere.

You don’t have to worry about downtime because cloud hosting eliminates any negative constraints that can cause downtime for a business. You will have a reliable system and consistent performance with excellent uptime. 

Reduced Costs

It’s amazing how cloud technology can lead to reduced costs for your business. It will save you money because it offers you value and automated procedures that don’t make you spend more on constant maintenance, power, office space, physical security, utility bills, insurance, and so much more.

Also, the costs of implementing the cloud system shouldn’t dissuade anyone because the overall price doesn’t matter. You will save so much money in the long run that it will be completely worth it because of the sheer value that the cloud provides. Moreover, the system is designed to make you pay as you go. 

So, you won’t have to worry about paying for a feature that your company will not need. That is the beauty of the cloud; you can make it specific to your needs.  

Better Competitive Advantages

You will gain compelling and strategic competitive advantages thanks to the cloud. The sad part about the business world is that some small companies don’t have the capabilities to compete with bigger corporations.

They don’t have the same infrastructure or finances to keep up. However, using cloud computing technologies can give smaller companies a chance to compete and be on the same level as other bigger businesses. Whenever you feel that your company is at a competitive disadvantage, you can rely on the cloud to get you on the same level as the playing field of numerous other corporations.

We’ve mentioned before that this type of technology can reduce costs, so that means that you won’t have to invest high amounts of money to have a competitive advantage. Also, if your rivals didn’t adopt this type of technology, then you will surely come out on top with increased customer awareness and satisfaction.

Flexibility

Your employees will have the flexibility to work anywhere and anytime with the cloud. You can access your data remotely and achieve different daily tasks without being physically in the office. This is a great advantage because you can reduce the number of employees in the workplace during the coronavirus and still have your business operational. Everyone can collaborate and share files instantly in real-time together.

You can also have reliable and effective conferencing and online meetings anywhere whenever you want. So, you can work from home and not delay any operations accordingly.

Increased Productivity

You will see a huge increase in your productivity levels with cloud computing. We all know how technology can automate most of your procedures and daily tasks. This means less manpower, reduced time, and minimal mistakes. The task your employees used to finish in one week can now be done in one day or less depending on the specific task. But you can expect excellent and appealing results with this type of system because it’s designed with fast performances.

You will get appealing results that match other pieces of technology such as the lightning-fast SSD drives and powerful CPUs. The system is also designed to help with load balancing, allowing you to respond to your client requests effectively without any delays. This means that you won’t suffer any lack of performance on your servers because the load is balanced and properly distributed. The best part about this feature is that you can optimize it to fit your business needs too.

Technology makes the business world significantly better. With cloud technology, you can expect to do a lot more tasks with minimal costs and time-consuming constraints. The benefits far outweigh anything unfavorable no matter what type of business you’re in.

Even though most companies operate without cloud computing technology, implementing it can improve business efficiencies, productivity levels, and competitive advantages in the marketplace. So, you need to consider the various benefits that come with it and consider using this type of technology for the betterment of your company.