In recent weeks, I’ve met with a couple of small business clients seeking to establish social media marketing strategies. On each occasion, we sat down and I asked them questions about their business and their primary customer. While they could have talked for hours about their product, its benefits and how superior it is to all others, my request to describe specifically who their customer is was met with hesitance and sometimes complete silence. Cue the crickets. At this point, let’s forget about the social media marketing...
One of the laments of small business owners and entrepreneurs trying to build their online presence is: “We have a blog (or website) but it hardly get any visitors. How do we get traffic?” The typical responses are to “create good content.” Yes, you certainly need good content. But content – no matter how excellent – is not enough. You need to be more proactive to get that content in front of eyeballs. I’m often asked: how did you build traffic to your blogs and websites?...
I’m deeply entrenched in the franchise industry. Like most industries, we have our own collection of buzzwords or jargon. There are words and phrases we use on a daily basis. But you don’t. For example, industry insiders don’t say, “Franchise Disclosure Document*” when we refer to a legal document that’s required to be sent to all serious franchise buyers. We call it the “FDD.” This got me thinking about two pretty common words that we franchise industry types use an awful lot when we’re...
My company has a pet-friendly office environment. My little four-legged angel, Maxwell, is our Chairman of the Bone. He’s a 14-pound Shih Tzu who regularly comes to the office with me with an ample supply of toys and treats. However, one of Maxwell’s favorite things to do is chase his tail. He runs in a circle at manic speeds until he ultimately collapses having never achieved his goal, if he even knows what his goal is. That doesn't stop him from trying again later. It's perfectly acceptable for a dog to chase...
I’ve done a series of business planning tutorials that are available as online video tutorials on business planning here on a different part of this community.sba.gov site. The goal is to help real people with real business planning. That’s not just for the relatively few who have to submit a business plan to a bank or investor. That’s for everybody who wants to manage better, optimize, and steer a business. Real planning is a process, not just a document. Here is a list of the 13 videos in the series. If you...
Why do credit ratings play such an essential role in our everyday lives? Credit ratings are essential because they indicate how likely an individual, a business, a city, a county, a state, or even a country is able to repay a debt. Each one of these entities has a credit rating and depending on positive or negative factors, a rating can be upgraded or downgraded. For example, the U.S. had always maintained a top tier AAA credit rating. But recently, one of the major credit-rating agencies, Standard & Poor, downgraded our country’s...
With everyone feeling festive this time of year, it’s a great time to think about how you can keep that feeling going the whole year long. Why not celebrate your customers? There are many ways to thank your customers for their business, make them feel special . . . which will make them more inclined to keep doing business with you. Here are some ideas. Special Events: The holiday season is a natural time to hold events at your business. You’ve probably already hosted a few. If not, try these next year: A retailer can serve...
Health savings accounts (HSAs) aren’t new, but with rising health care costs they warrant a closer look. The reason: HSAs, combined with high-deductible health insurance, can provide coverage for you and your staff at dramatic savings over traditional health coverage. It has been estimated that the arrangement can lower costs by 40% and recent statistics from *AHIP.org show that the number of businesses using this health care option is growing. Is this plan right for your business? Overview of HSAsHealth savings accounts (HSAs) were...
As a marketer it’s extremely important to me that the branding I establish and the promises I make regarding our services are fulfilled on by our staff when the clients come in the door. Marketing and operations must be in sync. When marketing brings the client to the door, operations must open that door, fulfill on the expectation set and make the sale. Here, in his recent post*, Michael Bowers* District Director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center shares his position and experience on the importance of fulfilling on the...
Think your new tablet is strictly for entertainment purposes? Think again. Small businesses are rapidly finding innovative ways to use tablet computers (iPad, Kindle Fire, Playbook, etc.) to connect with clients, market while on the go, and enhance customer experiences. With the deluge of apps available in the marketplace geared toward tablet devices like the iPad, we small business owners can have the latest technology at a fraction of the cost of more traditional setups. Here are a few ways a tablet can help your business. 1. Cut Staffing...
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