Common Questions for Our Professionals

Here’s a roundup of the latest Q&As on Stik.com/answers – our community area where people who have questions can get answers from true professionals.

Popular questions currently looking for answers:

“What is the most important consideration when hiring an interior designer?”

“Who can help me with my relocation needs?”

“Is it getting any easier to get a home loan if your credit isn’t perfect?

“How often should I have my carpets cleaned?”

Know the answer to any of these?  Jump right in!

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Four ways to make sure your business shines online

Every year, hundreds of millions of consumers visit online feedback sites to help them make spending decisions. Here are some tips for maximizing positive reviews for your business, and for handling online criticism.

1.      Provide excellent service from the start. This may seem obvious, but the better your customer service is, the better your customer ratings will be. This applies not just specifically to customer service ratings, but also to overall ratings. Focus above all on meeting your customers’ needs and on making them feel good, and they will return the favor by writing favorable reviews.

2.      Remain level-headed.  While it may be frustrating to receive negative feedback, you must avoid getting too emotional; responding angrily to negative customer reviews will only exacerbate the problem. Whether your response is public or private, it is always best to be patient, polite, and diplomatic.  If you have trouble keeping your cool, it might be a good idea to appoint a trusted employee to handle customer reviews.

3.      Take criticism as an opportunity rather than as an insult.  No one likes receiving negative reviews.  However, they do provide important insight into how you can improve your business.  Try to remember that receiving some negative reviews may be inevitable, but they do lend authenticity to your business profile. Treat customer reviews seriously, implement constructive feedback, and take advantage of the free market research to make your business better than ever!

4.      Always seek out reviews, particularly from your happiest clients.  Positive reviews have a snowball effect.  As you accumulate more positive reviews, you will attract more business, and this cycle will cause both your customer base and your reviews to grow exponentially.  By asking customers for reviews, particularly those customers who are most pleased with your service, you can catalyze this process and take full advantage of the network effect.

 

Is coworking space right for your small business?

Leasing a co-working space can be a powerful tool for your small business, keeping your costs down, broadening your professional network, and simplifying your taxes.

What are co-working spaces?
Co-working spaces are far more than just offices shared by several startups and small businesses.  They are powerful collaborative communities that leverage shared office facilities, private spaces, and pooled professional resources to help all co-workers achieve maximum efficiency.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of co-working spaces?
Co-working spaces provide many advantages for startups and small businesses.
1. Cost-savings: sharing office space allows you to share expenses, which minimizes costs and gives you access to superior facilities that you could not have otherwise afforded.
2. Flexibility: a co-working arrangement is much easier to get out of than is a standard lease, and this gives you the mobility to expand or relocate your business without the headache and expense of breaking a lease.
3. Simplified taxes: it is much easier to deduct co-working expenses than “home office” expenses, the relevant laws and regulations are far less complex, and the deductions are less likely to elicit an audit.
4. Enhanced professional network: perhaps the greatest advantage of a co-working space is the close proximity to other like-minded entrepreneurs. By offering advice, and by sharing insight gleaned from experience, you and your co-workers can create a dynamic, fruitful, and mutually-beneficial work environment.

Co-working spaces also have their obvious disadvantages. There can be a lack of privacy, the cultures of different startups may not be entirely compatible, and there will likely be a steady stream of unfamiliar faces appearing in the office, making security a concern. It is up to you to decide whether or not the benefits outweigh the potential disadvantages.

How can you find a co-working space?
The Internet is a great place to start. Sites like Deskwanted, ShareDesk, and SharedOfficeSpace.com are excellent resources.  But perhaps the best way to find co-working spaces is personal referrals. Leveraging the valuable insight of someone you know and trust, you can find a co-working space that can help propel your small business to the next level.