When you are building a business, the case may be that the only think you think about is growth, and where the business can be if your planning and hard work pays off. Rarely does the idea of an exit strategy cross the mind of business owners who are in the midst of building a business that they feel passionate about, but that may be a mistake that they wind up paying for in the event that they build their business around themselves and find that they are in an irreplaceable role in the future when they begin to think about retirement and turning the reins over to someone else. Do you know what kind of buyer would look at your business? If you aren’t sure what type of person would buy your business from you, you should do research to find out. Odds are that a competitor, a skilled person looking to purchase a business of their own, or a company looking to acquire new

In a study released by Magid Generational Strategies, marketers were introduced to the newest American generation, now officially recognized as different from the Millennial generation currently entering the workforce. In 2014, the last Millennial will turn 18, marking an important milestone and signifying the formation of a new generation called the “Plurals” for their diverse ethnic backgrounds and open attitudes towards issues including immigration, gay marriage and equalization of traditional gender roles. As the Millennials enter the realm of adulthood, with the increased purchasing power and political influence that entails, the Boomer generation will enter into their 50’s, again a significant shift in demographics that will see a shift of targeting and message through the media channels that target the 18-49 year old demographic with the most significant impact on purchasing in the US, as the golden years, according to the analysis, are characterized by staunch brand loyalty and moderate spending habits. What are the Plurals like? Changing technology, parenting strategies and legislation in the US

The 15% growth reported around Small Business Saturday in the US provides independent business owners with some encouraging news at the kickoff of the busy holiday shopping season. Contrasting with an 11% decline in Black Friday sales, it seems like an indicator that consumer feelings towards small businesses are warm in comparison to attitudes around corporate big box retailers, and that the efforts to promote the day on the part of American Express are beginning to pay increasing dividends as social media and word of mouth have contributed to year over year growth. Not just a US phenomenon. As Small Business Saturday has grown, it is following in the footsteps of other commercial days of significance, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, days where retailers and e-commerce players respectively slash prices in bids to entice high volumes of customers. According to a Forbes article, these shopping season promotions have already been embraced in the UK, and now Small Business Saturday is following suit in the second

With the holidays here, small business owners aren’t only making sales; some are making purchases of gifts for staff, business partners and mentors. When it comes to picking a perfect, business appropriate gift, there are a few elements that should influence the type of gift that you get, those being the level of familiarity you have with the recipient, their relationship to you and your business, and how much you know about their personal preferences. Giving a gift during the holidays, even a small gift, demonstrates your commitment to a successful relationship and can be a nice way to show your partners that you value them. The gift you get should reflect your relationship with the recipient. The more time you spend with someone, the more you start to pick up on their personal preferences. When it comes to buying gifts, you can use all that you have observed to help you purchase a gift that reflects their tastes on a deeper level. When you work

  Slumping Black Friday sales need not have worried small business owners, as numbers positive numbers have been reported by the National Retail Federation and American Express, the sponsor of the growing day of recognition for small businesses and the vibrancy they bring to their communities. In an Inc. article on the growth of Small Business Saturday, NFIB numbers were found to clock in consumer spending on Saturday at around $162 on average, an 11% decline from last year, but in keeping with broader economic trends that predicted shrinking retail numbers, potentially as online commerce grows in significance and volume. Small Business Saturday got a boost from social media. Awareness of the day has been helped along by social media campaigning both on the part of Amex and the small businesses that participated in the day. Amex provides resources to small business owners looking to get involved, and Inc. reported that over 126,000 tweets related to Small Business Saturday were sent out on the day of

The holidays are a time when business tends to pick up, with some small businesses making large percentages of their yearly sales in the months leading up to the New Year. Because of the higher concentration of sales being made as well as the heightened traffic web pages experience, the holiday season represents a great time for business owners to gather and analyze data on the effectiveness of their landing pages. Whether it is figuring out which pages convert the most, or A/B testing to fine tune the appearance and functionality of their e-commerce pages, taking advantage of this busy time to improve processes is in the best interest of business owners who are serious about having the best sites possible. Get acquainted with Google Analytics. Setting up Google Analytics can help your business with a great amount of insight on traffic patterns and the rate of conversions that your business can expect. Conversion tracking can tell you not only how many sales you’ve made, but

The holiday season is one that can be bittersweet for small business owners. While it represents one of the best times of year for sales, and can be the difference between make or break to a business owner’s bottom line, there is no debating whether or not all that pressure can add up to some major stress, not only on business owners themselves but on their staff as well. While it’s not a time to turn back the dial unless you are truly trying to do way too much, in which case hiring some temporary workers might be in order, that’s not to say that you should ignore the signs of stress you and your employees are feeling and push ahead without making an effort to manage it. Start the day with a reminder of your goals as a team. While every staff member is working on getting what needs to get done taken care of, people’s moods can start to rise and create the fuel for

Saturday last weekend gave small business owners all over the country another reason to feel thankful, with increased attention and business from consumers in recognition of Small Business Saturday. The day was first popularized by American Express and has been gaining recognition across the country each year, with this year’s events serving as a foil to a Black Friday that saw less activity than anticipated. According to Bloomberg, Black Friday sales fell an estimated 11% compared to last year’s numbers, a sharp decline that means today’s Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday have become more important challengers to the former dominance of Black Friday among holiday shopping days. Small Business owners need to keep their efforts sustained to win the business they need to this month.  The poorer Black Friday statistics don’t necessarily need to alarm business owners, since Saturday saw many independent businesses all across the country opening doors to eager customers. The lower numbers last Friday suggest to some analysts that consumers don’t feel

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

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