While Facebook holds sway over one of the largest and most engaged social media audiences, access to the feeds of its users has become an increasingly hot, and pricey commodity. Many small business owners are learning a tough lesson as the social media giant throttles the organic reach of its business pages in a move to force advertisers to invest in paid reach. The question of whether or not Facebook’s organic business page reach has been pushed back has been raised earlier this year, but has now gone from speculation to reality as marketers report almost non-existent views being won by their non-promoted content. Facebook is delivering less and charging more. According to numbers reported by The Hub, the average price of a Facebook ad increased by 123% over last year, while in the same period ad impressions decreased by 25%. For small business owners, paying more for less is simply option, especially when business financing is still so tough to get from traditional banking

    Images are an incredibly important part of a digital store. Aside from the copy of your website, which is also highly important, it is the main descriptor that potential customers will use to decide whether or not they want to buy a product. Thinking of ways to improve the engagement level of this content can lead to a much higher volume of sales, so it is highly worthwhile for business owners to create a strategy that highlights their products in a way that brings their clients a more descriptive and enjoyable look at their form and function. In fact, according to a blog post from Kissmetrics, a product video can actually make a customer up to 144% more likely to make a purchase. Mathematically, that represents huge potential gains in revenue for business owners who take the time to optimize their content. Product videos are a useful tool for demonstrating elements of a product that photos alone could not. One way to increase the

While the Summer is still not over, it’s August and it’s time to start thinking about what is going to come next for your small business. Did you achieve the goals you set for yourself this season?  Whether or not it was your busy season or your off season and whether or not you hit the goals that you had projected for yourself or were forced to reevaluate your strategies, as a business owner you have to keep moving forward either way. Still, before the official end of the season, there are a few things that every business owner should check off their seasonal bucket list in preparation for a strong end to the year. Take a vacation. Whether you go abroad for a week or go on a two day micro-vacation, giving yourself some time off to recharge before the end of the season is a wise move. While missing the chance to be productive can bother many business owners, the benefits of regrouping and

  Before we go any deeper into the question of whether or not business owners should advertise on tier two networks, we should first clarify what exactly tier two networks are in the landscape of digital advertising. Tier one consists of only three search engines. The overwhelming bulk of internet search traffic comes from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. In fact, in a great article on the subject from Yahoo Small Business Advisor, it was stated that Google and Bing together take up 96% of all online search. This raises the question, why bother with networks that fall outside of the first tier of online search? There are a few reasons why small business owners might want to expand to using these networks, but like all PPC campaigns, they need to be effectively managed in order to create profitable return. Tier two sites come in many varieties, making them an interesting supplement to other digital marketing. There are some tier two search sites, such as AOL, that are

  It can be difficult enough for small business owners to define their own value propositions and arrive at comfortable pricing, so when looking outwards at the value of products and services that your business consumes, assessing value may be difficult without some additional contextualization. How much time are you saving? Part of defining the value of a product or service is quantifying the amount of time that using it saves you. First, you must evaluate the value of your time. What would it cost to hire you on an hourly basis? Once you have  number you feel adequately reflects the value of your time, you can calculate the added time value that you have recouped. This should be a serious consideration for business owners when choosing services, since if an additional time investment is required to make an inferior quality service or product create a desired result, it’s highly possible that business owners aren’t actually saving themselves much in the long run, since they could

  Financing a small business takes an acute awareness of many variables, from rent to logistics costs, many of which fluctuate rather than stay the same. In light of this, many business owners hesitate to pay themselves a wage, instead opting to keep re-investing the capital they gain towards the goal of helping their business continue to grow. However, there is a serious case to be made for business owners paying themselves a wage, even if it is not a fortune starting out. Here are a few reasons why: It helps keep business and personal expenses separate. When personal expenses get balled up into business costs, it creates a slew of problems. For one thing, it makes accounting more complicated since differentiating between true operating costs and other purchases adds time to the process. Additionally, it can be bad for employee morale to treat a business like a debit account. Lastly, using business funds to purchase personal items runs the risk of a business owner losing

  On the road to small business success, gaining control of the buzz surrounding the business will greatly help its ability to get recognized for the right reasons. While some buzz, such as word of mouth and customer submitted reviews, can be cultivated and promoted but not originated by the business itself, pr in the form of content and collaboration with media sources such as the local news or industry blogs is able to be directly engaged in by small business owners, and can be a great way to get out a brands message using already established channels. What is your brand’s message and why does it deserve to be shared? Thinking holistically about a brand’s message and what makes it unique will allow you to create more engaging material for press releases, which can then be released through news-wire services in order to gain rapid exposure from a wide range of digital publications. For business owners who don’t wish to allocate financing to news-wire services,

  We’ve already written about a variety of grant scam, where business owners are conned into paying an up front fee in the hopes of receiving free money from either the government or a private organization. The problem, far from going away, has only persisted as businesses seek whatever financial assistance they can. The promise of a grant can be so welcome that they fail to stop and scrutinize the proposal being sent to them. A recent post on the SBA loans and grants forum on the subject of loan scams was submitted by a forum user who claimed that they were offered a loan, but the materials that they were given for their “application” were completely irrelevant to their business, instead probing for personal information. This type of manipulation relies on misconceptions surrounding who provides small business grants as well as what businesses are able to apply. The perception that there is free money out there is harmful to business owners, allowing them to

  Customers will ultimately dictate the path of a small business as it grows. While a brand can retain the same message and values, odds are good that as time goes on, customer feedback, market changes and the sculpting force of demand will see some products succeed and others either get tweaked or put out of production. Each product on offer deserves to be looked at in its own right. From the bestseller to the least favorite offerings in your business, each product will cost money and time to put out there, so making sure that each is able to pull its own weight is important. Product quality is key to building word of mouth and brand recognition, so sacrificing some products in order to maintain a high standard is often a prudent trade off. Analyze what makes popular products work. A bestseller works for various reasons. On the surface, the quality of the product itself should be considered. If a single product that you offer is

Aside from implementing more ways to accept payments, business owners can optimize their internal processes in order to make sure that they are able to effectively collect on invoices, keeping their cash flows energized and avoiding a situation where they have a large expected profit but no liquidity with which to pursue new opportunities as they present themselves. 1) Get your invoices out as quickly as possible. The more time you allow clients to pay your invoices, the better. Making sure that you are able to quickly prepare and send out invoices is in your best interest as it provides the largest amount of time for clients to pay before the deadlines you have set for collections. Getting paid early as opposed to later is always a good thing, as the more cash your business has on hand, the more mobile it will be in terms of responding to market changes, growth opportunities and equipment purchases. 2) Keep unpaid invoices organized by date issued. Making sure that your

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