Imagine yourself in charge of a 40-person company, selling small business software, during the sudden crash of 2008. Your sales had been lagging a bit all year, but as the financial news blackened in late summer and early fall, your sales plummeted. September sales fell to 25% below the previous year, 30% below your planned level. October sales fell again. Within one short 10-week period, you found yourself falling from slightly profitable to below breaking even. What do you do? Of course you cut expenses; that’s obvious. How to you...
You work hard to market your business, and you’ve succeeded—so well that you’re swamped with work and have no time to market your business. When you come up for air after finally finishing that big project or filling that huge order, you realize you’ve got no new business in the pipeline. Does this sound familiar? Striking a balance between running your business and marketing your business is a common problem for small business owners. The smaller or newer your business is, the bigger a problem it’s likely to be....
According to the 2013 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll, which surveyed 1,000 small businesses nationwide, 66 percent of respondents plan to invest as much or more in digital marketing – websites, social media and online advertisements – as they did last year. And more than 80 percent of those surveyed will also continue investing in traditional word-of-mouth marketing to increase awareness and visibility the old-fashioned way. Marketing represents such a broad array of possible avenues for a small businesses owner, all...
In January of 2013, Facebook starting rolling out a Beta version of something called Graph Search. And this week, they opened up Graph Search to all U.S. users. Graph Search has been touted by some as Facebook’s answer to search engines such as Google and Bing, but it’s truly not a replacement of a standard search engine. In fact, Facebook actually incorporates Bing search results in a feature it calls “Search the Web.” Rather, Graph Search simply does a better job of searching through Facebook. Graph Search is...
During the initial stages of starting a business, choosing the right name of your company can be a difficult task to say the least. It may surprise you but even the name of your business can trigger a red flag with some lenders and creditors. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t take this simple step into consideration, especially when it comes to the business credit building process. Before you pick a business name, follow these three steps: Step 1: Conduct a Trademark Search You may come across a great idea for a business name,...
If you’re convinced that you have enough money to invest in a franchise, are right for the business model of franchising and have done a thorough self-analysis, it’s time for you to find a few franchises to start investigating. Fire Up Your Computer Grab your favorite beverage, and put on some comfortable clothes; it’s time to start your search for that perfect** franchise to buy. (**There’s no such thing as a perfect franchise; just try to find the best one for you.) The most common way to find a franchise is to go...
With just about half of the year already in the books, now is the ideal time to take stock of your business activities year-to-date. This will enable you to take wise tax actions that will pay off on your tax bill when you file your 2013 income tax return next year. What to look for in your books Determine whether you’ve been profitable so far, and whether your numbers meet, exceed, or fall short of your estimates at the start of the year. Also, face up to losses that you may have experienced to date. If your analysis shows: Better than...
I worked for several years with a consulting firm called Creative Strategies. The name always struck me as ironic. In real business, from what I’ve seen, the best strategies aren’t creative. Instead, they’re obvious. Do what you do best – what makes you different from the others – and do it for the people who want it or need it. Find a successful business and its strategy seems obvious. Still, maybe what seems obvious after the fact wasn’t obvious beforehand. My favorite quote about strategy comes from Bill...
This week is my absolute favorite of the year because National Small Business Week marks the biggest celebration of small business the whole year long. It feels almost like the week of Christmas, with Friday being the big day of celebration taking place right here in our own backyard of Washington DC. Small businesses from around the country will be recognized for their hard work and I couldn’t be more proud and excited. Across the country, all year long, SCORE chapters work to help small businesses start, grow and succeed. Tomorrow we...
Summer is here and it’s time to take to the streets. In the summer, your customers feel festive and spend more time outdoors. So, it’s the perfect time to get outside and get creative with your marketing efforts. Here are some ideas to try. Take part in a community event. Summer in most towns is packed with fun runs, street fairs, music festivals, outdoor movie nights, concerts in the park…you get the idea. Contact your chamber of commerce and your city’s parks and recreation department to find out what events are...
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