As you may or may not be excited about, Valentine’s day is rapidly approaching. For some small business owners, the day is little more than a reminder of love through a barrage of candy hearts and pink and red decorations, but to others, particularly in retail and certain types of service based businesses, the day can represent a big sales day, and deserves to have business owners loan time to preparing for it. While getting new business in the door on Valentine’s day is important, small business owners should think a step ahead and not only try to post bigger numbers the day of Valentine’s day, but also give their new customers a reason to create a long term relationship with their service. Attract Valentine’s day traffic by accentuating your business’s appeal. Bringing people in on Valentines’ day is easier when you give them a deal. Fear of losing out is a classic factor in closing sales, and a limited edition product or offer can help

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

One of the ways that small business owners are able to drive their success is through taking advantage of all the tools available to them, even if at  first glance they might seem less useful. Case in point; Pinterest. The image sharing website is more than just a way to share clothing ideas and recipes, and with over 70 million users pinning around 5 million articles a day, there is room on the platform for business owners in almost any industry to share their products with their consumer base. In addition to the obvious traffic benefits of promoting your small business on the platform, there are potential SEO benefits that small business owners can reap as well. Use Pinterest to compliment a social media strategy. Adding another share button to your website gives your visitors one more option to share your content, making it that much more likely that it will grow out in a viral capacity. The school of long tail traffic advocates spreading your

As a business owner, your cash flow is like your pulse. At all times it should be kept strong through a knowledge of responsible spending as well as a cohesive plan for obtaining capital should the need for expansion, wage payments, or other pursuits that require liquid cash arise. The economic climate of the last few years has been a tough one for many businesses; bad credit, devalued property and assets and increased requirements on the part of banks have made small business lending into one of the most hard-hit parts of the financing world. The ability to easily apply for credit from banks used to allow small business who wished to grow the option to access capital at will. Today, when a business owner goes to those same banks, they are much more likely to be turned away. An additional problem that faces many business owners goes beyond the increased lending requirements that they face. High risk industries as designated by banks include some

October is a month that marks a transition in seasons, where the last bits of Summer finally fade away into full blown Autumn. In this way, it is perhaps the most fitting month to designate as national women’s small business month, as the winds of change are increasingly filling the sails of female business owners in the US, propelling them to greater success and keeping them on a brisk pace of growth. A Forbes article on the monthly celebrations cited various Amex statistics on the growth of the female owned business demographic, from the fact that since 1997 women owned business have increased by 59%, to the equally impressive $1.3 Trillion generated in revenues and 7.8 million jobs created by these businesses. While growth from female businesses is continuing to move forward, with more and more female entrepreneurs going into business each month, there are still disparities between male and female owned small businesses in certain areas that stand out as needing to be corrected.

The financial climate of the US in the post recession period has been grim for small business owners. The collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a severe clamp down in lending requirements on the part of major banks, and small business programs were some of the most hard hit targets, with collateral demands increasing at the same time that many small business owners experienced dips in revenue from depressed sales as well as devaluation of their homes and other assets that could be used to secure funding.  In an informative article from the Washington Post published July of this year, it was noted that small business lending rates were down not only in larger banks, but also smaller local banks and credit unions, frustrating the hopes of expansion of many business owners who think of these banks as the only sources of financing available to them outside of family. Defaults on loans or mortgages caused by revenue losses dealt another blow to US small business owners,

Pinterest is a social media site based around image sharing, where users can curate boards of images relevant to their specific interests. If another user likes something on another user’s board, they can “re-pin” it to their own wall of interests. In this way, interesting pictures of products can quickly be shared across a wide and dedicated user base in a very targeted manner. Pinterest is particularly useful for consumers creating wishlists of products they like, and there is a vibrant community on the website centering around almost every type of product or industry. Marketing on Pinterest can loan your small business an edge by allowing your customers to share and comment on the best pictures of your products or services that you have to offer, while sharing them with the demographics that are most likely to create viral activity around your brand. While there is a particularly strong user base centering around all things fashion related, any business model can find a way to

Video is a medium that brands have used to create ad materials that engage audiences for over a hundred years. The level of emotional resonance and memorability that can be achieved with video is second to none. Just how effective is video at conveying information? According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, one minute of video can convey as much as 1.8 million written words. This means that a single video can potentially create as many conversions on you site as multiple pages of written copy. Still not convinced? Hosting video on your website conveys other benefits at well. In terms of SEO, your web page is more likely to come up high in search engines if it contains video, as indexing robots look for video as a way of identifying material that is potentially engaging for web surfers. In addition, video can greatly increase the time that visitors spend on your site, another important aspect that search engines take into account when ranking

Small business owners in all stages of business growth need to know what their client base wants, how much they are willing to pay for it, and when and where they want to go in order to buy it. Market research is not simply nice to have for business owners, it is in fact an essential part of operating a business and without it you are flying blind. For this reason, it should be clearly understood by business owners just what is meant by market research and how they are able to do their own in order to develop a clear cut plan they can use for running their business. The first thing business owners need to do before they conduct their market research is identify their desired client base. This can dramatically effect the way in which you will collect your data. for example, a business whose primary clients are in their late teens and early twenties might do well with a facebook survey,

There is no question that it is difficult for small business owners to procure loans in today’s economy. The media has been abuzz with reports on the freeze of business credit, and the aftermath of the great recession has property and other forms of collateral devalued to the point that they are no longer sufficient for securing business loans. However, the Washington Post recently put out an article positing that the decline in business lending is not an entirely new phenomenon. The Cleveland Federal Reserve has released charts indicating that small business lending from banks has been on the wane since as far back as the mid 90’s when the economy was strong. Traditional banks are cutting back the percentages of their portfolios that include business funding, and evidently have been doing so for over a decade. According to the Federal Reserve, this slow downward trend indicates that there is not likely to be a thaw in the lending practices of banks towards small business owners,

TOP css.php