E-commerce is a growing market, with more and more Americans making purchases online. This holiday season’s digital sales are predicted to be the largest ever, and increasingly, mobile is opening up a new platform for e-commerce that is set to expand the amount of online shopping Americans participate in by orders of magnitude as the tech is fine tuned. As digital becomes a more pressing concern for businesses both large and small as they try to stay relevant and competitive, making the most out of digital sales funnels through analysis and fine tuning should be something that all business owners take time to pursue. Beware of cart-abandonment. In an article on the subject from the Washington Post, cart abandonment was cited as costing online merchants an estimated four trillion in lost sales in 2014. One suggestion for combating shopping cart abandonment from the article was retargeting, or tracking customers who navigate away from a full cart in order to increase the odds that they will double

Tablets are more than just high tech toys, and in fact can have many applications for small business owners who choose to integrate the technology into their business models. The wonderful thing about them is that, thanks to downloadable apps and other tweaks they can be applied to a huge range of different tasks with a little programming and imagination. Here are a few ways that business owners are already utilizing tablets to help streamline their operations. Mobile sales platforms. The more places you can make transactions the better, especially if you plan on taking your products on the road. Many businesses use tablets for this, as with simple sales management software they are able to catalog transactions as well as process credit cards and log digital signatures. Some adventurous business owners even use tablets to log transactions using bitcoins, but whether your business is ready to use cryptocurrency or just wants to branch out how and where it can accept payment is up to you. Collecting and

Small businesses bring diversity and charm to a community, but it can often be hard for them to compete against corporate chains and outlet stores, which, while they usually don’t have the same basic appeal have the resources and often the price points that allow them to siphon business away from local competition. With this in mind business owners and local governments can put together local business campaigns that can help them to raise awareness of local businesses. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons surrounding the organization of a local business campaign. It takes time to plan a local campaign. No matter what the scale of the campaign you put together, in the end it is going to take time away from your schedule to plan it. An answer to this is to try and get other local business owners on board and spread out the responsibilities involved in an awareness campaign. Ideas for supporting local business include printing posters or decals

As a business owner, whether you like it or not you are a public figure. As a public figure, you and your business are going to appear on the internet at some point, whether in self managed ways such as through the creation of personal and business related social media accounts, or in others, including user submitted reviews on rating and local listing websites. It’s these latter ways that things can get scary and unpredictable, and when a bad review or some negative press appears out of the ether, it’s really frustrating to think that an anonymous person has created something that can potentially damage your livelihood. Digital reputation management can be achieved by a combination of methods. There are a few components that make up your online reputation. The first is ultimately how you act and how your business operates in the real world. If you are getting a ton of complaints about an aspect of your business on the internet, you might need to face

A website for your small business is pretty much required in this day and age. If your customers cant find you on the internet, rather than simply being a nuisance for them, it can even raise red flags regarding your legitimacy if they wonder why you aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of having even a rudimentary webpage. When it comes to designing a webpage, most small business owners will hire a designer to create one for them. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. If you want your site to look good and don’t have either the time or the grasp of coding language required to put one together, it’s ultimately the only way you are going to be able to get something up. Before jumping headfirst into a web design project, however, you are going to want to have a pretty well defined idea of what you need. In order to create a list of requirements for your site, here are a

Many will point out that altruism is it’s own reward, and that is certainly true. The value one gets out of helping another person is truly the unique and special feeling that it brings. That being said, there are plenty of other good reasons why a small business should consider ways of giving back to their communities, not all of them solely based on the positive moral quality of those who help others. These benefits include positive PR, networking and . There are as many ways of making a positive community impact as there are businesses, so finding a way to participate that you are comfortable with can be done with just a little thought and a few helpful suggestions. Do you run an artisanal business? If this is the case, consider holding a weekend craft demonstration. Inviting a group to check out your creative processes is a wonderful way to give back, especially to younger generations in order to inspire the next skilled craftsmen who will

We have often said that relationships are the key to successful business. Creating strong alliances with people who you can trust to be there for you makes doing the tough job of managing an enterprise that much easier. Keeping things easy is only one aspect of what makes relationships important, however. Small business owners should also consider the fact that they can actually save money by promoting stable long term  relationships with their vendors. The vendors who supply your business with the essential products that it needs to function should be considered to be more than just people who sell you things you need. Look at your vendors as an extension of your business. Just like the equipment you use to be productive and the employees you coach to perform their best, the vendor relationships you have should be actively maintained. Stronger vendor relationships save time. For one thing, it takes time to shop around. Comparing and contrasting pricing, product quality and customer support all take time and

Small business owners with bad credit must pay close attention the the cash flows of their businesses, as not only are they vital for making payroll, obtaining supplies and financing any number of operational necessities, they also are a major factor in applying for bad credit business loan alternatives which can be important growth boosters in lieu of traditional loans. In the hustle and bustle of a typical office day, small business owners can have their attention fought over by many conflicting commitments, all equally vital to the overall health of the enterprise. However, a real danger that can potentially set a business back is pursuing sales, but slacking when it comes to the often tough work of making collections on outstanding payments. Business owners can fall behind on their collections for any number of reasons, from allowing extensions on payments, forgetting about them, to being distracted by other areas of their business that specifically demand their personal attention and expertise. Whatever the case may

In the hierarchy of importance of departments, customer service is often not given the prominence that it deserves, especially when a growing business has to put sales, accounting and marketing at the forefront in order to create the revenues needed to sustain growth. Customer service improvements can get put on hold during scrambles to expand, but not paying enough attention to these areas is a big mistake for growing businesses lest they find themselves with a growing client base and no means to appease them should things go wrong (and something will always go wrong). So what is a small business owner to do? How can you create satisfactory customer service practices without taking away from building the other aspects of your business? Here are some suggestions for developing a customer service experience that will keep your customers happy and coming back for more. If you lack a dedicated customer service department, plan to create one. Right off the bat, if you don’t have a customer

A small business’s website will often contain an order form or other type of application that can turn the web traffic the page gets into leads. Besides the obvious benefit of creating more business, lead creation forms can also give small business owners some self -reported information on who is visiting their website and converting. Business owners can be surprised to find that their service appeals to a demographic on the web that does not frequent its physical location, and the information they gather surrounding a lead allows for a finer picture of core client bases to emerge as well. More fields means more information, but more “friction”. Business owners should respect the utility of an application for gathering information on customers. While you may only need a couple of questions answered in order to determine if you can do business with a prospective applicant, it may behoove you to also ask information regarding their age, sex, location, contact information or whatever you need to know

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