Archive for January, 2022
  • Entrepreneurs, need a boost? Try these six tips.

    What’s the secret to building your own business? The short answer is there is no magic bullet. Rather success (or failure) hinges on numerous factors. Smsart beautiful Asian businesswoman working on computer in the

    But maybe you’ve already done a lot of the commonly-suggested tips. You’ve done your homework, evaluated your own strengths and weaknesses and found the industry that’s right for you. You’ve raised the capital, made the investment and hired the employees. You’ve opened your doors.

    Now what? Don’t worry. We have a few more tips to help take your enterprise to the next level:

    1. Build new skills

    Build your own business by building your skills. You should make sure you know basic business acumen, first: how to read a balance sheet, how to create a financial statement, how to hire good employees and how to manage cash flow. If you don’t have these skills, or you could use a boost, take courses at your local college, continuing education center or online. A great online resource is Lynda, which is often available for free through your local library. There are tons of other reputable sites that also cater to business owners. If you’ve already mastered these skills, look at what you do in your day-to-day routine. Where are your areas of weakness? Maybe you could benefit from a marketing class or learn a few new leadership techniques. There are always things we can do better.

    2. Have a business plan

    You should have a full business plan. This includes writing down your goals for sales, cash flow, debt and profits. Learn your market and do a financial projection. Decide where and how often to advertise. Plan, plan, plan!

    3. Have a marketing plan

    Marketing and promotion are essential to building your own business. Research opportunities to get the word out about your company. This can include ads in local media, giveaways at your location, sponsorship of Little League teams and many other opportunities.

    4. Don’t forget social media

    Social media is an increasingly important part of building brand recognition and driving sales. Make sure you incorporate a social media presence into your overall marketing plan. Define a message you want to promote on social media and make sure your customers—and potential customers—can find you easily on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat (for younger audiences) and LinkedIn. And keep monitoring other social media platforms. It’s not hard to have a presence on any social medium, but you have to make sure it’s up to date.

    5. Know your industry

    It never hurts to know what the competition is doing. Join industry and local associations and read the websites and publications. Stay on top of developments so they don’t take you by surprise.

    6. Focus on your customers

    Ask for customer feedback and respond to it in a timely fashion, in every way possible—social media, surveys, contests and giveaways, and good, old-fashioned talking to people. Provide pricing incentives to encourage repeat business and referrals to new customers.

    Make sure to incorporate each of these tips and we’re sure business will take off in no time.

  • Shifting social? Why websites still matter

    blog responsive concept on devicesThe marketing world is spinning around social media these days, with more than 2 million businesses in the United States lighting up channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn to reach prospective customers. So what of websites? Was that a trend of yesteryear?

    Truth is, some small businesses are moving away from websites. B2B marketing research suggests about one-fifth of companies choose social over websites as their means of reaching customers on the web, a decision they say is driven largely by cost concerns. Those businesses are part of the one-third of small businesses overall that don’t currently have a website for whatever reason.

    So what should you do? Do you invest dollars into an online storefront? Our recommendation is yes. Here’s why: Facebook and Instragram are great avenues for connecting with the customers most invested in your brand. But if you think you can make your digital home strictly on social, you should really think again.

    There are a few big reasons for that, starting with risk. Social media companies regularly change their algorithms in an attempt to better serve their customers. That means your business, right? Not exactly. Facebook, for example, recently undertook a major effort to promote more personal content, tweaking its algorithm to favor posts from individuals over those published by professional organizations. By maintaining your own website, you can keep absolute control over the core of your digital footprint, including the content your customers see and the data they leave behind. That’s a benefit you don’t get when a massive outside corporation is at the wheel.

    Another reason why you should have your own website is because they’ve become something customers expect to find. While a good portion of small businesses don’t have a website, more than half of those currently without have told survey-takers that they intend to build one in the near future. Customers perceive a strong, professional-looking web presence as a mark of credibility for the companies they do business with. If nothing else, simply not checking that box could turn off a would-be client.

    Finally, a website can do wonders in boosting your visibility online through the power of SEO, or search engine optimization. By taking advantage of the real estate of a website, you can put SEO to work for you. Fact is, content is still king. While you should publish regularly to all your social media channels, your website is an excellent publishing platform that will get hits on local searches and drive real traffic from people looking for information.

    The good thing about all of this is that you don’t have to choose between site and social. You can have the best of both worlds.