Like the lethargy that comes with big meals, or the cringe you get from unwrapping yet another pair of socks, holiday returns are an unpleasant part of the holidays that are largely overshadowed by all the good that come along with them. for business owners, dealing with returns is something that is usually only as bad as you allow it to be. If you are unprepared to handle them, or have not explicitly stated a return policy that your customers can adhere to, the ensuing customer service issues that can occur have the potential to pile up to the point of costing you customer loyalty and vital time that you need to manage your business during your busy season. Ensure that your return policy is clearly accessible to your customers. Your return policy is something that your customers should not have to search for, it should be as clear as possible to avoid confusion and the potential for backlash against your business that can occur when

This week marks the final countdown to a trio of sale days that small business owners have already been preparing for for the past month. Potentially the most significant of these days for many small business owners (particularly those without a stake in the e-commerce bonanza of Cyber Monday) is Small Business Saturday, a day of recognition for small businesses and their contributions to their local economies and culture. Businesses that have been planning promotions for the day are busy gearing up for the busy holiday shopping season to follow, but in particular need to have everything in place beforehand in order to smoothly greet and serve an influx of customers that can greatly exceed the normal volume their businesses are used to. Prepare to follow up. One of the strongest aspects of Small Business Saturday for business owners apart from the potential for sales numbers that are higher than normal is the ability to create the beginnings of a relationship with a much larger number

Small business owners need to be careful; hackers and phishing scams that target them rely on a feeling of being too small to be on the radar to exploit unprepared small businesses, taking their repositories of financial and customer information and exploiting or liquidating them. One scam which has become more common of late is a trojan horse scheme, which refers to the technique of requesting a victim download a seemingly harmless attachment or program which in fact contains a virus, the “trojan” program contained within the outer guise of whatever it was the victim clicked on. Lately, the use of a false invoice to deliver trojan programs has become increasingly common as hackers awaken more and more to the value of targeting small businesses with spam leads and emails. Fake invoicing schemes are increasingly common. Small business owners can often become overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork that they need to keep track of. Fake invoices rely on this confusion, submitting a seemingly “unpaid” invoice

Small business owners who are engaged in PPC campaigns to promote their e-commerce websites are taking advantage of a technology that, when carefully calibrated, can bring them a large amount of qualified leads at proportionately much lower costs than other forms of marketing, such as mailer campaigns. Be aware that certain keywords can become much more competitive during the Holiday season. Small business owners who have set their PPC campaigns to auto-bid on keywords should be aware that during periods of peak activity the prices of keywords can be artificially stimulated to become much more expensive than usual. If you are going to be running PPC during the holidays, make sure you set your bidding cap at a price that you are willing to pay for each click, bearing in mind that not every click through is going to result in a conversion. Do the math to calculate what your business can afford, and at what point you will make a profit. If you leave your

  In an article which appeared on Entrepreneur.com, Jim Joseph related an unfortunate incident where, walking into a small business and seeing something he liked, was unable to get any information, even a price, on the object from the employee in the store at the time. Having no choice but to leave, the employee in question neglected to even offer a follow up with the information at a later time, not only losing the sale, but also leaving a very poor impression of the business in question, precluding any chance of the author going back at a later time. What small business owners should take away from this unfortunate incident is the high importance of communicating their expertise to their employees, in particular their sales associates, but really extending to every member of the business, all of whom play a crucial part in ensuring it operates with efficiency. View skill sharing as an opportunity to increase the value of your business. When you neglect to pass

With disruptive technologies, start-up culture, the rise of mobile and the unfolding battleground of mobile payment technologies set to be major influences on the business world in 2015, small business owners need to be prepared to adapt and stay up to date on what matters most; that being what it is that their customers want. Shifts in consumer habits are being influenced by the increasing integration of technology into the ways that people look for and purchase goods, and should business owners ignore these persistent trends, they do so at their own peril. Be mobile friendly. Your customers are going to become more mobile-oriented as time goes on. The power of smart-phones continues to increase, and as a result, a larger percentage of the population is turning to mobile apps in order to locate stores within their areas when they want to make purchases. Review apps such as Yelp can also decisively affect customer perceptions of small businesses before they even set foot in a store,

Come the holiday rush, the usual staff of a small business may no longer be enough hands on deck to support the surge of demand created by increased consumer spending. In order to make the most of the season (and the most profit possible) small business owners may have to take on some temporary staff members in order to keep their operations running smoothly. The biggest challenge small business owners will face hiring temporary workers is competition and a smaller pool of candidates. With major retailers also in the game looking to hire temporary workers for the holidays, small business owners are going to have to think beyond traditional hiring channels in order to come up with the volume of workers they need in time to service the holiday rush. In an article that appeared in the Long Beach Post, it was suggested that business owners should branch out their hiring ads into their more immediate networks in order to get a more direct message out

  Small businesses are often labors of love, with one of the primary reasons entrepreneurs become self-employed being that they value the freedom it affords them to manage their time and pursue their passions. In fact, according to a Manta survey, slightly over half the respondents listed independence as their number one job perk. This independence can be a double edged sword, however, since it is up to business owners to sustain their own enthusiasm for what it is that they are doing and not let themselves become discouraged Learn to perceive and contextualize your successes. One problem that can get in the way of small business owners moving forwards is a perception that they aren’t doing as well as they should be, often stemming from self critical and perfectionist tendencies that can be common among those who chose to manage their own livelihoods. One way to manage expectations and feelings of success is to become adept at creating and managing the realization of goals in

Start-up culture has taken the business world by storm, with stories of scrappy app developers and industry disrupting technologies tempting many into entrepreneurship who would have otherwise been content to pursue careers in the world of established corporations. That said, not every business is aiming to disrupt an industry or revolutionize the way people think about their products. Even in the case of a business that adheres to a more or less standard business model, there is room for taking some of the more successful aspects of start-up culture and applying them to business growth. Embrace the ability of technology to streamline your business processes. Business owners can no longer afford to ignore the positive roles technology can play in their processes, since if they refuse to integrate tech, they will be giving their competitors an advantage that is almost certain to widen into a serious gap over time. You don’t have to be a computer genius to utilize new technology in running your business, in

  In an article from Fox Business, tips were shared from author T.D. Jakes on how business owners can create a more successful mindset for themselves. One of the tips in particular mentioned that business in the modern day should no longer be considered from a single perspective, instead business owners should strive to think of how to extend the reach of their business past their own social norms and into a truly global arena. Your social island is comprised of the circles that you keep, and if you are unable to move past the social boundaries that you have set for yourself, whether consciously or unconsciously, How can you grow your perspective past the familiar? Business owners seeking to apply a wider perspective to the development of their businesses have a multitude of options for gaining more information and insight. For one thing, by using free tools such as Google Alerts, small business owners can begin to broaden their base of influences and stay tuned

TOP css.php