With the month of August coming to a close, small business owners need to decide now whether or not they are are going to try to take one last trip to close out the warm weather. While we are not necessarily advocating ditching work for three weeks in Tuscany (although if you did do that, take pictures!), a last trip that allows you to relax, recharge and reassess is often just what the doctor ordered before plunging back into the business of the typical work week. Here are three ideas for getaways that can be condensed into microvacations or stretched into a leisurely week away from the office. Go camping. This option should rate high on the list for a few reasons; it’s easy to find a place to camp, whether you are in a rural area, a suburb or even in a metropolitan hub, it usually won’t be more than a few hours drive to the nearest outdoor recreation center. In addition to the easiness

Small business owners are faced with tough competition for attention on the internet. While they can make things easier for themselves in terms of SEO by embracing local and long tail keywords, content and the ability to get visitors to engage with that content is an  increasingly important part of SEO, and without an inviting visual hook, it becomes less likely that your site will be able to generate enough attention and time spent on your pages to improve its rank. Video is a very strong option for increasing your time on site metrics. Video is one tool that can be very helpful in cutting down your bounce rates as well as improving the amount of time spent on your website on average. Getting ready to shoot a video takes time in order to create a concept that is backed by market research, as well as write a script, hire actors and a production company to tie everything together into a finished product. This can be outside

  Twitter is among the pantheon of major global social networks, making it a great place for businesses to share links, thoughts, tweet at their influencers and respond to the tweets of their own followers. The way that Twitter has historically worked in terms of likes, follows and retweets has seen favoriting tweets function as a way to bookmark tweets as well as show interest in a tweet without retweeting it. A retweet would allow a user to have a tweet they liked appear in their own feed, shared with their entire network of followers, while a follow would only appear in the notification feed of the account that they had decided to follow. Now, changes to the way Twitter displays user actions are being tested which would make follows and favorites appear in feeds in the same way that retweets do, and the idea isn’t pleasing all of Twitter’s user base, according to an article from Smallbiztrends.com. While these changes are simply being tested

A bottleneck refers to a choke-point in your business’s efficiency. While a certain part of your operations may be humming along, if another aspect of your production is not able to keep up, then serious imbalance can build up, with departments beginning to resent each other and communication breaking down alongside of efficiency. There are many reasons why bottlenecks in production can occur, as varied as the industries and components of each small business, but in order to get at the more specific reasons why there is an issue in your business, you need to determine the root cause of the problem and then address it from there. Too much going on. It can sometimes be the case that a business is trying to do too much. This can be hard to self diagnose, since small business owners will often blame themselves if they aren’t able to handle the ambitious workloads they lay upon themselves. That said, it’s important to realize when you are simply trying

Smartphones have gone from being a novelty to near ubiquity in the past few years, and their relationship with everyday lifestyle is one that bears consideration, especially on the part of small business owners, where the introduction of this technology has made it so that almost every aspect of their business can be effected, for better or for worse. On the plus side, smartphones mean new markets, new ways to get things done and new ways to stay in touch, largely making small business management The cons: Less face time, potential security threats. The use of smartphones to organize your life is one thing, but the almost endless amount of functions that can be performed on a smartphone means that they can quickly go from beneficial tools into rabbit holes of distraction. According to a blog post from Experian, the average American already spends 58 minutes a day on their mobile devices, but that number could be much higher for the chronically phone addicted. One problem

In an announcement on their blog, Google webmasters have stated that given their commitment to security and improving the security of sites that they direct Google users to, they will be lightly weighting secure server connections in their algorithms going forward. While in their announcement they claim that this round of changes will only effect a small amount of searches at this point and not outweigh other factors such as the quality of content on a site, they also stated that depending on initial results, they may increase the weight given to having an https connection as opposed to an http connection, the kind that the majority of websites currently use. What does this mean for small businesses? For now, not much. It is unlikely that the search terms that they are competing for will be directly effected by the light re balancing Google is talking about. That being said, in the future having a secure connection may become more important, meaning businesses that take steps to

Intern programs allow small businesses unique opportunities to gain insight, scout for potential hires and provide a positive experience for those seeking new skills and experience in a real business setting. Finding quality interns should be taken seriously, since having an intern who is a poor fit either for the duties entailed in their position or for your company culture will not only create issues for you, but also waste time that they could be using in a program that would be more to their benefit. Don’t simply take on interns just for the purpose of having them, or to make them perform mechanical tasks they get nothing out of. While interns will often be asked to perform data entry and other tasks that more senior staff members no longer have the time to manage, they should also be invited to contribute in meaningful ways to your small business. The fact that they are able to do so is one of the things that will attract

When it comes to social media followings, a lot of the time the prevailing attitude is “more is better” in terms of followers. While this concept may or may not hold water, depending on the quality of said followers and the ability of social updates to appear in feeds, as opposed to getting beat out by paid messages, it pays to know who is actually deciding to follow your business and personal accounts. Followers can accumulate over time, trickling in until you are not sure who exactly is following you. Just having followers is only half the battle, however. Getting the full value out of them for your business means you need to pay attention to who they are, what they are interested in, and where they fall in your market segmentation. Who is following your personal accounts also deserves attention. It may be the case that followers ignore your business page in favor of following you directly. Think about what this means in terms of your

Social media followings are interesting things, comprised of individuals and yet capable of creating massively directed attention towards single pieces of content in ways that seem almost premeditated. What’s more is that followings will tend to act differently (or at least be made up of slightly different demographics) depending on the social network in question. When experimenting with your social media strategy, you may realize that one profile on network X is getting a lot more engagement than profile Y. This may be because of the nature of the network, or it might be that on network X your content is appearing before users more within your target audience. In order to strengthen your other profile, figuring out how to cross pollinate your followers can be a worthwhile technique. Share content from one network on another, and visa versa. Bridging the gap from one following to another starts with providing bridging posts that can bring your followers from one profile to the other, ideally while they

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