Small business owners who chose to market digitally tend to reach for Google Adwords in order to get started on PPC. Google Adwords is potentially a very powerful tool, especially for small business owners who are running campaigns that are locally targeted, as they can create very specific keyword lists and set their own prices for the ads that they run. Given Google’s near ubiquity in the search engine world, these ad campaigns have the potential to be highly effective. Another reason why Adwords has been a staple is the range of options it presents business owners in terms of creating banner ads using engaging media. Now, Facebook has rolled out a much more competitive ad management platform, allowing users to more clearly define the goals of their ads in order to gain the response that they are looking for. Targeting on Facebook becomes more powerful the more specific it gets. One of the reasons why Facebook ads are now going to much more enticing for

Why Content Isn't Dead for Small Business

Wednesday, 15, January , 2014 by

According to some of the talking heads of the internet, content marketing is already played out like the quill pen before most small business owners have even given it a shot. While this may be true on a certain level, with increasingly bloated lists of pointers (are 50 tips on how to use instagram too many for one post?) and reviews of the same services being recycled from blog to blog, the core ideas represented by content marketing are far from dead. In fact, content marketing is simply liable to evolve, not fade away. Marketing channels continue to be saturated as everyone jumps on the most visible bandwagons, but there are still compelling reasons to publish new material. In order for small business owners to avoid wasting their time and resources producing content that nobody will ever read, they need to come to grips with a few realities that can help them wake up to the changes that many content creators are lamenting. For one

Your business is your outlet, your baby, and your livelihood all one, so the idea of sharing ownership of it can rub certain small business owners the wrong way. While some small business owners will never feel the need for a business partner, others will find that they crave the insight of another person, or require more investment capital in order to get their business really going. Before you start the potentially arduous process of looking for a business partner, ask yourself these guiding questions in order to determine if you need a business partner, or just more staff. Do you often find yourself wishing you had more expertise in management? Managing employees is a skill, and for some people, it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. One reason to look for a business partner is because your small business needs a stronger organizational direction that you don’t feel comfortable defining yourself. A partner who’s managerial experience can compliment and grow out your vision could be what you

In the world of small business, growth is a favorite word. The media anxiously reports on small business hiring , waiting for it to pick up as the economy flirts with more solid signs of recovery. However, despite these early blossoms, small business owners have been generally playing the hiring card very conservatively, and in reality, there is nothing wrong with that. When a small business owner takes a loan or another form of financing, they can choose to use it to hire a new employee, or they can use it to invest in labor saving equipment or technology. Which represents the better investment? It’s hard to say, given the individualized nature of every business, but generally speaking if a small business owner has a choice between using a clip of funding to hire a new employee versus purchasing a new piece of production equipment, they will have to heavily weigh the long term effect of their choice on cash flows. Employee salaries represent a

Organization is a crucial part of running a small business. It is up to you, the business owner, to keep track of your important projects, deadlines, paperwork and other essentials on a daily basis, and this level of organization does’t always come easy. That’s why small business owners should think tactically about how to make their offices into high productivity zones. The best way to get organized and stay organized is to make storing and re-finding your important documents and tools as simple and intuitive as possible. Once you have set up your office in such a way as to minimize the amount of thought it takes in order to find and store your belongings, you will be able to maximize the amount of time you spend during the day actually working on your most important projects. Use your wall space wisely. Often times, small business owners will allow their desk space to become cluttered because they wind up simply running out of room on their

When small business employees don’t have clear goals set for them to pursue, they can often become easily distractible, or lose morale because of their confusion. In contrast, when a small business owner takes the time to create clear and manageable goals for their employees or teams, the benefits are tremendous. Some of the main constraints that small business owners face when they first decide to set goals for themselves and their employees are a lack of effective communication which makes it difficult for the business owner to identify achievable goals, as well as an perception that there is not enough time to plan. In order to remedy the first issue, business owners can use goal setting meetings as a time to get to know their employees better. Creating a goal is more than “set it and forget it”. It’s something that requires checking up on as well as real dedication, both to the goals you set and the ability of your employees to grow into

Running a business will necessitate certain costs just to keep the lights on and your doors open. While energy efficiency isn’t usually the primary concern of a small business owner, taking steps to reduce the costs of your energy usage is a good way to save yourself what will add up to be a healthy amount of money at the end of the year. An additional benefit of energy conservation is that it is healthier for the environment and reduces the harmful effects of energy production and consumption on our environment. Possibly the best part about adopting an energy conscious stance within your small business is that it is really easy to do. Depending on how deep you want to get into energy saving initiatives, you can start an energy awareness policy without actually spending any money, making this a great project for small business owners with extenuating cash flow issues. Be conscious of wasteful energy use. Reducing the amount of waste you create starts when

While to many, small businesses and large corporations are like oil and water, in reality savvy small business owners can create mutually beneficial relationships with corporate entities that can greatly accelerate their growth, if they go about it the right way.  An article on GreenvilleOnline,  a digital publication, points to the case of Tablerock Technologies, a small business that has been able to thrive because of strategic corporate contracts. In tough economic times, small businesses which are able to secure contracts with larger corporate entities are generally able to breathe easier, counting on the ability of their large customers to consistently pay invoices in a timely manner as well as renew contracts and provide them with a track record they can point to when going after new business or soliciting referrals. For this reason, small business owners are often interested in winning some corporate contracts for themselves, yet it can be difficult for them to know where to start looking for them. Often, business owners attempt to

In a recent Forbes article, an important point about small business financing was brought up, that point being that there is no true “one size fits all” financial product available for small business owners. Indeed, every small business is unique, with different needs and different financial situations that can’t always be addressed  by the range of products offered by traditional banks. The article also points out the fact that many small businesses aren’t able to meet the underwriting requirements for small business loan programs due to bad credit, not enough time in business, or a lack of collateral with which to back their business loan. Some business owners will be able to qualify for bank loans or SBA backed business loan programs, but still require short term “bridge financing” in order to complete time sensitive projects. What can be taken away from this is that, within the small business lending sphere, there needs to be flexibility and more than a single approach to funding where if

If you were to look under the hood of any small business, you would see the core processes that drive its ability to create revenues. The blueprint for these processes are your formal business plans, which allow you to communicate what makes your business effective to the partners you need to succeed. When small business owners also have credit issues, there are even more reasons for them to have an airtight business plan, as the strength of their business on paper has the potential to serve as a counterbalance to their bad credit scores. But what needs to be done on the part of small business owners in order to beef up their business plans? Here’s a short checklist for small business owners of some of the most essential components that make business plans appear strong. Numbers are your friend. When people take a look at a business on paper, they need a sense of the scope of the business they are looking at. A mission

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