What are White Label Services and How Do You Use Them to Grow Your Business?

White label refers to a marketing or manufacturing process whereby one company creates a product or service, which is then rebranded by another business to make the product or service look like it is their own.

For businesses, particularly small businesses with limited time, money and resources, white label services offer great opportunities to compete with bigger players in their field. This is due to the fact that white labeling enables businesses to expand their service offerings to clients without having to develop a particular product or service themselves.

Ways to Use White Label Services

White Label Marketing

Upskilling the workforce of a marketing agency so it is proficient in every aspect of marketing takes a lot of time, money and effort.

Many marketing agencies are using white label services to help overcome skills shortage issues within their businesses. The principle reason agencies utilize the power of white labeling services is because it allows them to offer a whole range of services they may not have previously been able to provide their clients.

White label services run deeper than merely hiring freelancers and contractors and outsourcing services. Instead of simply bringing on a freelancer to help out with providing a new service, the agency engages another company expert at creating content to take care of all the client’s requirements.  By white labeling content requirements, the agency is effectively scaling its services, branching out into delivering professional content marketing, as if it is something additional the agency offers.

This ‘additional’ service comes without the inevitable expense and time of hiring a professional content writer and consequently adding significantly to the business’s overhead.

Another Stream of Revenue

In addition to saving money and time recruiting additional and qualified staff, white labeling specific services creates additional streams of revenue to a business.

If, for example, an SEO agency didn’t offer web design as part of its services, by white labeling web design services, it would extend its offering to clients and subsequently pull in more revenue in return.

As these professional and quality white label services are sold under an agency’s own brand, the end-user, the target client, remains satisfied with the agency’s services. As a consequence, the client does not seek to take its business elsewhere to a competitor.

Competing with Bigger Agencies

 

By failing to take on new talent to offer the services businesses have come to expect from a full-service marketing firm, a smaller agency runs the risk of losing business to larger, multifaceted marketing companies.

This is when white labeling services is a win-win situation. Instead of making epic hiring blunders that end up costing a small agency dearly, or outsourcing marketing tasks to a potentially unreliable freelancer, using white label services allows something else. It permits  smaller agencies to compete with bigger, comprehensive marketing companies, while maintaining agility and low overhead.

Rather than confining their services to one or two specialties, white labeling means agencies are able to offer a much more diverse range of marketing services.

Some of the most widely used services that are white labeled by agencies include:

  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Sales Support
  • Market Research
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Web Design
  • Social Media Management
  • eCommerce Management
  • Pay-Per-Click Management
  • Customer Loyalty Programs
  • Dashboard Reporting
  • Content Development and Management
  • Reputation Management
  • Ad Development
  • Tech Enablement and Security

As stated earlier, white labeling services are by no means confined to marketing. The tendency to white label other vital business services, such as accounting, payroll, human resources, legal, inventory control and help desk support, has been gaining momentum in recent years.

In short, white labeling services can save a business significant time and money. Investing in a proven white label solution can give a business that professional boost it wants.

Are you a marketing agency or other business which successfully uses white labeled services? We’d love to hear our readers’ white label success stories.

Man with Tablet Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "What are White Label Services and How Do You Use Them to Grow Your Business?" was first published on Small Business Trends

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How Much Energy Can You Expect to Save on Various Types of Appliance and System Upgrades?

With energy always being a large part of the cost of doing business, it is in every small business owner’s interest to save on energy consumption.

Below is a list of some of the most common appliances and systems your business likely uses with recommendations on what you can do to lower your energy consumption while increasing operational efficiency.

Lighting

As the Department of Energy states, switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut energy bills. Simply changing energy-zapping incandescent bulbs in your facility to more efficient, LED alternatives can save you as much as 75 percent in energy consumption.

What’s more, LED bulbs can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, reducing maintenance costs and allowing your business to save even more.

Industrial Refrigerators

Since the turn of the century, refrigerators have witnessed huge energy-efficiency boosts. In fact, a new refrigerator certified by ENERGY STAR can save you about $270 over the next five years and reduce your carbon footprint. If your business uses industrial refrigerators, you could see significant savings by replacing older, less efficient models with newer alternatives that have better energy ratings.

HVAC System Upgrades

Is your heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) system more than 10 years old? If so, it might be time to upgrade to a newer, more efficient model. Have the performance of your existing HVAC system evaluated. If it’s not running as efficiently as it should be, replacing the system with an ENERGY STAR-rated model can save more than $115 on energy bills annually.

Industrial Washing Machines

Is there a washing machine, or perhaps several, on your premises? If so, what’s the age of your washing machine? Older machines typically operate much less efficiently. On average, a newer washing machine certified by ENERGY STAR could save you $490 over the machine’s lifetime — more in the case of a washer and dryer combination.

Refrigerated Vending Machines

Cold drinks and snacks are not much good in the middle of the night when your facility is closed. Reduce energy consumption and save money by only making refrigerated vending machines operational when they need to be.

There’s no need to remember (or forget) to turn vending machines off at the main switch at the close of business every day. Take advantage of devices that can be attached to a vending machine to control its power.

Systems like the VendingMiser, for example, can save up to 46 percent in annual refrigerated vending machine costs. You simply plug this device in and, when the area around the vending machine is vacant, it powers down the machine. It also maintains the temperature of the products in the vending machine, so no energy is lost re-cooling products.

Furnaces

There are essentially three different types of furnaces, high-efficiency, mid-efficiency, and low-efficiency. The latter usually relies on a constant pilot light being on. By contrast, high and mid-efficiency furnaces use electronic ignition.

If your business’s furnace is a low-efficiency, pilot light model, switching to a newer more efficient furnace, which stores and exchanges heat, could result in considerable energy savings.

Motorized Equipment

Does your business use motorized equipment? Even if you’re not in an industry like manufacturing or construction that relies on heavy-duty motorized equipment such as jack hammers and drills, chances are your business does depend on some motorized machinery.

Simply altering the speed of motors so they are decreased by approximately 20 percent can equate to a 50 percent decrease (PDF) in power requirements.

According to one report (PDF), installing variable-speed drives (VSDs) for appropriate machines can help businesses save money, cut costs, and increase their profit margins. VSDs provide a high degree of motor control. They can be used in more simple applications, such as pump and fan controls, as well as in more complex ones for precise speed and torque control.

Steam Systems

Poorly performing steam systems  result in considerable energy wastage, too. In fact, one report says (PDF) energy losses can be as high as 19 percent of the total steam energy production cost. Properly maintained steam traps can help eliminate the energy wastage created by lost steam.

Industrial Dryers

If your business uses an industrial dryer, regular maintenance will ensure the machine is working and drying clothes efficiently.

Each time the machine is used, clean the lint trap. If the lint trap remains uncleaned, this can result in the drying time taking longer and using more energy, costing your business more.

Check with Constellation for more tips on how to save energy in your business.

HVAC Technician Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How Much Energy Can You Expect to Save on Various Types of Appliance and System Upgrades?" was first published on Small Business Trends

1 in 5 Small Businesses Lack HR Confidence

A staggering one in five small businesses lack confidence in various aspects of human resources. These were the findings from the latest Paychex Small Business Survey.  The survey polled 250 principals of businesses in the US with 2 to 500 employees.

Small Businesses Lack HR Confidence

According to the survey, 21 percent of small business owners lack confidence in their company’s ability to remain HR compliant.

The research shows 38 percent of modern small businesses lack confidence with onboarding. Onboarding is a principle function of HR, involving getting new employees adjusted to their new jobs quickly and efficiently.

In the official release announcing the release of the survey, Jackie Hoyt, HR consultant at Paychex, spoke of the importance of onboarding.

“New hire onboarding is one of the first and most important HR processes for an employer and employee. From Form I-9 to the W-4 withholding form to state withholding form(s) to direct deposit, think about all the documents a new hire needs to complete before even getting their first paycheck,” said Hoyt.

Two other areas the Paychex survey reveals small businesses lack HR confidence is with the development of an employee handbook and with the ability of HR to do proper background checks. The survey shows 36 percent of small businesses don’t have sufficient confidence when it comes to the company handbook.

Meanwhile, 26 percent of the survey’s respondents admitted they lack confidence with their HR departments’ abilities to run standard employee background checks.

Lack of Automation

Another key finding from the survey was that a lack of automation could be influencing the low levels of confidence small businesses have when it comes to matters involving HR. The survey showed only 30 percent of small businesses use technology and automate processes involving onboarding and other vital HR functions.

Rather than tracking time and attendance by automation, 38 percent of small businesses still monitor time and attendance manually.

HR Compliance

Compliance is another cause of concern among small businesses, the survey says. In fact, 42 percent of small businesses lack confidence in their HR department’s ability to comply with youth employment standards .

In the release, Dorene Crimi Lerner, an HR consultant with Paychex, suggested one reason small businesses may fall short on HR is the mistaken belief  small businesses with 10 or fewer employees have no need to worry about HR compliance.

“The truth is, HR become a reality when you add your first employee,” Lerner said.

Image: Paychex

This article, "1 in 5 Small Businesses Lack HR Confidence" was first published on Small Business Trends

RetailNext Retail Performance Pulse August 2017

As summer ends, retail sales are falling, according to in-store analytics firm RetailNext. The company recently published its latest Retail Performance Pulse report, providing a detailed analysis of how physical stores performed in August 2017. The report found sales had significantly dropped during the month.

RetailNext Retail Performance Pulse August 2017

Shopper Traffic Down

Specifically, the last month of summer saw bricks and mortar stores experience a 9.5 percent decline in store sales and a 7.7 percent decrease in shopper traffic. At the start of the month, falling traffic and net sales were less severe. But by week four of August, declines in both the total number of transactions and net sales had risen to double digits.

Regional Differences

The RetailNext Retail Performance Pulse August 2017 report also highlighted regional retail performances. The Northeast, South and Midwest had the coolest year-over-year August since 2014, with the Northeast experiencing the largest decline in sales, down by 11.5 percent. Midwest traffic had the largest decline in August, at 10.1 percent year over year. The only region to experience warmer year over year temperatures was the West.

August’s overall 9.5 percent drop in sales and 7.7 percent decline in shopper traffic differs from figures in July, which showed the retail sector’s performance to be relatively stable.

RetailNext’s Retail Performance Pulse report for July 2017, showed the decline in traffic for the month was only 5.5 percent, the lowest decline in a year and a half.

RetailNext collects data from millions of shoppers every month across dozens of retail chains in the United States. It is the leading provider of in-store analytics. Each month RetailNext provides data points on retail performance to give a ‘pulse’ of the industry.

For example, its Retail Performance Pulse showed June sales were down for retailers, despite Father’s Day.

For the Retail Performance Pulse in August, more than 7 million shopping trips were analysed in data sets in retail stores throughout the United States.

Image: RetailNext

This article, "Retail Sales Chill as Summer Comes to an End" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Tips for Startups from Affordable Franchise Coffee News

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you could learn a lot from Coffee News, hailed as one of the most affordable franchises operating today. Take a look at these 10 tips for startups from a small business now grown to international success.

Tips for Startups

Start by Solving a Common Customer Problem

While waiting for a lunch order at a favorite cafe in her hometown of Manitoba, Coffee News founder, the late Jean Daum, ended up reading the back of a sugar packet to pass the time. At that moment, she realized restaurant customers needed to have something to read while waiting for their food. And the idea for Coffee News was born.

When starting your small business, think about problems you or others around you desperately want solved — like a favorite product that your local grocery store just can’t keep in stock or important information you just can’t find on the internet.

Find a way to solve this problem and you’ll be well on your way.

Take the Time to Research Your Niche and the Industry You Are Entering

Prior to the first publication of Coffee News, Baum spent many months researching what readers would like to read in the publication and whether small and medium-sized businesses would be willing to advertise in it.

When starting a new business venture, do the necessary market research so you’re sure there will be an interest and demand for your products or services.

Strive to Reach Out to the Local Community

By packing Coffee News with local event listings, small business advertising and local news stories, Baum had a passion for helping the local community. Starting a business venture that reaches out to the local community can be an effective way to build up interest in your brand and attract loyal customers.

Think About Turning Your Business into a Franchise Business Opportunity

Coffee News quickly experienced incredible popularity and growth, so much growth in fact, that it inspired Baum to turn the publication into a franchise business opportunity.

When starting a business, think about the long-term and whether your startup would make a viable franchise business opportunity with positive cash flow for others in the future.

Have a Plan for Expansion and a Way to Help Others in the Process

In 1995, Coffee News came to the United States. Bill Buckley became the publication’s first US franchisee. Buckley recognized the incredible potential of the business and how it could ensure entrepreneurs everywhere could make money from home.

Sadly, Baum passed away in 2007 but Buckley acquired international operations of the business. During the 90s and 2000s, Coffee News enjoyed international growth, with franchisees developing their own Coffee News businesses around the world.

The lesson learned? When starting out, think to yourself, could your business grow beyond it’s existing market or geographical location? Have a plan for how your business could expand in the future.

Consider Bringing Family Members Onboard

Coffee News is a true family-run business. Though the international business is now run by Buckley, who serves as President and CEO, Baum’s daughter Candice pitches in as President of Coffee News Canada keeping her mother’s dream of helping local entrepreneurs and small businesses alive.

When starting an entrepreneurial venture, could you get other members of your family involved in the business operations? There are many benefits of running a family-owned business, including solidarity, trust and having more control over the running of the business and how it is developing.

Customize Your Business for Different Audiences and Communities

Much of Coffee News’ success is owed to the fact Baum ensured each edition is brimming with fun articles, trivia, humor, horoscopes and more, and is customized specifically for each individual community.

Startups that tailor their products, services and marketing ventures for different localities and target audiences have a better chance of expanding into new markets and reaching new customers.

Have a Passion for Being Your Own Boss — and Make it Contagious!

Are you passionate about being your own boss? Baum and Buckley certainly were! Each Coffee News franchise is run by an entrepreneur that is passionate about being his or her own boss too.

For a startup to succeed, the entrepreneur behind the business needs to have a hunger for success and a desire to control his or her own destiny. But if you can spread that feeling to your team, contractors, franchisees and more, you may have the ingredients for real growth.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Coffee News can be found not only in restaurants but in other establishments around the world, including hotels, waiting rooms, libraries, lobbies and more.

Take your queue from Coffee News’ success and avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. For example, instead of just targeting women with a jewelry business, aim to create or sell items that are attractive to men as well, as a way to broaden the reach of your business.

Be Sure to Consider Finances at Every Step in the Process

One of the key components making the Coffee News franchise so successful is its offer of not only a flexible lifestyle but also an affordable startup.

In the same way, your small business startup idea must be economically viable with a return on investment sufficient to generate profit and make the business a success.

When starting any business venture, always make sure you have the finances sufficiently worked out. Will you be able to realistically afford to get your business off the ground, market it and sustain it?

Image: CoffeeNews.com

This article, "10 Startup Tips from Affordable Franchise Coffee News" was first published on Small Business Trends