Online marketing is taking up an increasing share of the budgets of small businesses. Ther;s no mystery behind it: online is where customers are gravitating. So if you want to attract customers, and serve existing customers with new products and services, you too need to be placing an increasing proportion of your marketing budget online. But in a small business i-s important to spend wisely, because our resources and budgets are limited. You want to focus on techniques that consistently deliver a powerful return on investment (ROI), as...
Whether your business targets consumer or business clients, whether you sell products or services, one of the best ways to boost sales is by boosting your own profile as an expert in your industry. Gaining a reputation as an expert is easier than ever toda;and one of the smartest ways to do so is by hosting your own Internet radio show. If yo-re not familiar with Internet radio, her-s a rundown. Listeners access the shows via computer. They can listen on the computer while working, or download shows to their MP3 players or smartphones. The...
Small business owners looking for government contracts may not know that there is an entire organization out there set up to help you land government business. This organization hosts networking events, procurement conferences, business-strategy workshops, and more; in your geographic area. This organization provides direct access to information about subcontracting, and goes so far as to provide a list of business opportunities directed precisely at the small business owner looking for government work. This organization is the GS-s Office...
During these tough economic times, many small businesses are experiencing difficulty hanging on. With little hope of recovery on the horizon, some are wondering about their staying power. Should they continue to stay the course or it is time to throw in the towel? Perhaps neither is the right answer -- maybe i;s time to reinvent your business. How do you know which is the right course of action? Start by analyzing where you are today. Compare Your Business. You can decide whether staying the course is the right action by comparing...
There once was a time that every business plan had a mission or a vision statement, and we did them basically because we were told we were supposed to. That's ancient history now, I hope. Whether it's mission, mantra, or vision, you do it because it's good for your business. Which means you're going to use it, or you don't bother. Mission statements I've been mistrusting mission statements since the early 1980s when I first started writing and reading business plans. They're so often nothing but hype. I credit Guy...
One of the best ways to build your customer base is through referrals. In toda;s connected society, where people are eager to tell their friends and colleagues about worthwhile products or services, getting referrals from satisfied customers is a smart way to expand your marketing reach. How can you put the power of referrals to work for you? First, understand there are different types of referrals with different values. Receiving someon-s name and e-mail or phone number from an existing customer is on the low end of the value scale. In fact...
A recent Discovery Small Business Watch *poll reveals that the recession has forced more than half of small business owners to postpone or cancel their vacations during the past two years, and 55% say i;s been two or more years since their last week-long vacation. Still, a few more are considering some time off this year: 40% have not changed vacation plans because of the economy, which is up from 38% last year. If yo-re planning a getaway that does not include your iPhone or laptop and you usually do many of the business chores yourself, get...
This past week the Ohio SBDC at Columbus State held its sixth annual Ohio Growth Summit*. It was another spectacular event. The day opened with the largest panel ;ve, and -m sure anyone, has ever seen. The panelists* were convened by the moderator Nate Riggs* based on their successful leverage of their personal brand to drive their business. I was approached after the session by a business partner who felt that he and a few other attendees did-t see what the mornin's discussion of on's personal brand had anything to do with developing...
The small business world is increasingly becoming self-sufficient and do-it-yourself. Yet many IT suppliers still communicate as if they are talking with IT pros. There's certainly a need for IT professionals. By no means do I wish to suggest IT people are unimportant or unnecessary -- not at all. But the reality is, many small businesses today operate leanly without in-house IT support, or even external IT support. Most of their tech buying decisions are made without input from an IT person, and technology has to be installed...
There are few things more valuable in business than a mentor; someone wh-s-been there, done tha'. A mentor can provide valuable advice and business guidance, which can be particularly useful when yo're doing business with the government. As 've discussed before, the government market is unique, with its own set of rules, regulations, and business processes. A mentor that has traveled the same path as the protégé' someone who has, quiet literally, been there, done that' can also use his/her own company as an actual example of how to operate...
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