Small Business 101: Building a Strong Brand

Thursday, 05, December , 2013 by

Imagine that your business is a hockey team. Through all the chaos on the ice, your fans are still able to identify your players and cheer them on because of their distinctive appearance. This is the way you should think about your branding efforts, as the means by which your business’s fans can identify you and cheer your business on. Your brand is comprised not only of your name, logo, slogan, company colors, and product but also includes the total experience that customers have while interacting with your small business.  The way you handle customer experiences and what you choose to post on social media sites will also become part of your brand, .  In a word, your brand is the identity of your business.  It encompasses all that you stand for and that which the public will come to associate with your company. For these reasons, you should be aware of your own core values, the UVP, or unique value proposition that you give

A good small business does its best to make sure the customer is always satisfied.  Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance now more than ever, with social media sites and review websites like Yelp allowing for customers to share instant feedback with the public. In addition to all that you already do in order to please your clientele, make sure that you show your thanks and appreciation for their business, especially during critically important times like the Holidays.  Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and showing your customers that you value their business and appreciate them as individuals will keep them happy and satisfied proponents of your brand. How can you show your customers some appreciation?  Here are a few tips: Say Thank You.  This may sound simple, but it is important to thank your customers for their business.  Showing verbal appreciation goes a long way to make your customers feel valued.  In addition to thanking customers in person, you can send thank you emails that

How to Hold Productive Small Business Meetings

Wednesday, 27, November , 2013 by

Like any other small business owner, you have held and attended your fair share of business meetings. Business meetings are a very effective way for a company to communicate, brainstorm, share ideas, and promote its vision. They can serve to set clear goals and to organize and empower a team to carry out those goals. Why is it then that some business meetings turn out to be very productive while others seem more like a big waste of time?  A good meeting will be clearly defined, stay focused, and only be called when necessary.  By following the tips below, you can be sure to get better results from your next small business meeting. Have an Agenda. Prior to your business meeting, create a clear agenda that lists the topics to be covered during the course of the meeting from beginning to end. Distribute the meeting agenda to all participants ahead of time. The agenda will thus enable attendees to come to the meeting well prepared.

The coming of Black Friday abruptly signals the beginning of the holiday marketing season in a frenzy of consumer spending and bargain hunting. It is a time when many small business owners are unable to take a break because of the frenetic pace of sales, which is a good thing, as huge percentages of annual revenues are made up in the weeks of heightened consumer activity. What the season has the potential to mean for business owners who have bad credit is a relief from the pressures of their cash flow constraints as they make up reserves that can help them through the winter and allow them to work on improving and expanding their business. During the next few weeks, small business owners are going to be riding their businesses full speed ahead, and need to have solid financing plans in place in order to keep the wheels turning as fast as they can go. Make sure that you have enough inventory. If you anticipate a

This year has not been an easy one for small business owners, with bumps in the road from acts of nature to acts of government creating roadblocks, but there has been good news as well. For one thing, a gradual climb in optimism has been reported, with slight dips following the government shutdown. The economy is generally recovering as well, although on a bumpy, winding road. One of the biggest problems that has been holding small business owners back is the fact that there is relatively little in the way of small business financing available for all but the best credit risks from traditional banks. One the plus side, the financing gap is increasingly being filled by providers of alternative capital. Businesses without collateral, with bad credit scores, or even recently declared bankruptcy have been put between financing needs and the limitations of their cash flows. Alternative capital allows them to obtain financing with no restrictions placed on it, meaning they are free to allocate it

Business owners with bad credit are put into a predicament that can create conflicts of priorities surrounding expenses. If cash flows are not broad enough to finance projects, often they will have to be cancelled or scaled down, but knowing what to cut and what to preserve is often difficult. When a small business is the combination of many separate departments, it is essential that communication avenues are streamlined in order for a comprehensive budget to be created. Here are some strategies to employ in order to keep your small business’s ability to function safeguarded through the credit recovery process. Create a detailed budget report for each of your essential departments. While some small business owners will simply dump all of their expenses into one balance sheet and then reconcile it with their revenues, it makes much more sense in terms of deciding where to allocate a budget to break down expenses into departments. For example, if you find that your marketing is being severely neglected,

Small businesses often think that putting together an employee handbook is unnecessary and a waste of precious time that could be otherwise spent on more important matters. Everyone knows the company rules in a small business, so why bother with a whole formal write-up? In a certain sense, small business owners and employees who question the wisdom behind a write up are correct to do so. A write up for a very small company is unnecessary, and can actually become a liability if the information that it contains is misplaced or falls into the hands of a competitor. However, a manual for procedures, whether for individual departments or for the business at large, is important for when a business is ready to be scaled up, as it sets up a framework for growth. Much like a trellis allows a vine to climb steadily upwards, so a manual allows a small business’ s departments to grow steadily with greater ease.  Here are some other reasons that

An alternative to a bad credit business loan refers to a source of capital that small businesses can access, even if they have poor credit scores or other issues that would typically prevent them from getting approved for external financing. What is the importance of alternatives to traditional loans? At first glance, having multiple options for financing a small business outside of what is offered by traditional banks seems redundant. Business owners who are even aware of other options may be wary of them, as outside of the realm of a bank loan there are many different products and entities, some more beneficial for small businesses than others. However, when it comes to the question of whether or not these alternative capital sources are important, consider this; the average 7(a) loan amount in fiscal year 2012 was $337,730. Why is that significant? Because it demonstrates an important reality related to small business lending. The fact is, many of the enterprises we typically think of when

There are many ways to increase the bonds that small businesses share with their best customers, from rewards programs, to community events. When it comes to deciding how to stay in contact and deepen your rapport, it’s important to factor in the financing aspect for your small business, balancing your ambitions and you cash flow and ensuring that you get a good ROI on the money that you do spend while keeping your customers happy. One of the best principles that small businesses can espouse is taking what you already have and making it work more for your business. A perfect illustration of this concept can be found in the creation of a newsletter. So your small business has a social media presence? It’s also got a blog? Great! Then you already have everything that you need in order to put together a newsletter that can boost both your site’s traffic and the size of your social media presence. Here’s how it can work for you. Step 1:

There is large number of small business owners in the US who, due to one reason or another, have poor credit scores. While credit can affect a wide range of things in a person’s personal life, including the rental of an apartment to things as wide ranging as the ability to find a spouse or get hired, it does not mean that life is over for the person who has it. On the contrary, small business owners with bad credit actually have more options open to them than many of them realize. The ability to obtain financing to grow a small business is incredibly important, and while some banks will fund bad credit business loans, usually backed by the SBA, many will find that the traditional banking institutions that they would typically approach when trying to access credit will turn them away as a result of an extreme aversion to risk. Some of the typical reasons that business owners seek bad credit business loans and their

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