Small businesses are loaned a wide array of options for marketing their products, all of which have their own merits. One of the most engaging ways to promote a product or brand is by having a contest or giveaway that can make your customers more engaged and keep them talking about your business. It is easy to use Facebook and other social media to promote your contest to the utmost, which can give your message a reach that potentially goes beyond your immediate environs. There are a few main types of contest that your brand can choose from, with each being slightly different. When choosing what type of contest your are going to throw, consider the following variables: Budget. How much are you willing to spend, what are you willing to put up as the prize, and will you use paid marketing? All of this is important to figure out before and not after you begin. Time frame. How long are you willing

A small business without marketing is like a hamburger without a bun; the product may be hot and fresh, but there is no visible way for customers to grab onto it. Relying on word of mouth to loan a business a boost in sales is one way to market, but in order to create an energetic buzz around your product more needs to be done to increase visibility. Some of the best ways to create engaging material are by taking a little time to think about your audience. In order to create a marketing campaign that will grab hold of their attention, you must consider a few things and then formulate a plan. Who is your target audience? This is a fundamental question. You need to ask yourself who your customers are and where you know you can reach them. For this phase of formulating a plan, you really need to do some market research. This will allow you to target your audience with a much more fine

With bad credit looming as one of the most restricting problems small business owners can experience, it can be helpful for those business owners who have worked their way around and out of bad credit to share some of the ways they were able to manage their problems and keep their business healthy. Many of the business owners that Horizon Business Funding works with on a daily basis are among those who have been marked with poor credit scores. The Great Recession that began in 2007 saw many Americans suddenly lose sources of income that they relied on to pay for mortgages, student loans and credit card debt. Small business owners were hit particularly hard, as they more than other borrowers rely on access to capital to keep their businesses moving forward and generating income. With real estate prices dropping as well as inflation, business owners found themselves with debt and little to no means of securing additional credit. And yet, many of these business

Since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007, small business lending took a dramatic hit, building on a gradual trend of decline that first started in the mid 90’s. Many small business owners were not only faced with tighter lending restrictions from banks and credit unions, but also devalued homes and collateral thanks to a break in the real estate market and inflation. Small business hiring slowed down, freezing the major source of job growth in the US and worsening the economic situation. Small business hiring is only now beginning to pick up as the economy starts to thaw, however things are far from ideal, and many businesses are still cut off from funding, in holding patterns and experiencing little growth or opportunity to make new hires. Within this economic climate, an even more problematic situation was encountered by the subset of business owners who had their credit damaged during the recession. Typically, business owners who had taken out loans to finance anything from a new

Small business owners are in the unique position of having much more leeway when it comes to their marketing strategies, and that can mean the ability to create deep bonds with their customers, boosting their repeat and word of mouth business to new heights. One of the best ways to achieve this level of client satisfaction is through personalization of your services.  Nothing says more to a client then a product that they feel is tailor made to them. Even adding in a few choices where none existed before will make your clients feel as if they were allowed to choose exactly what they wanted. Many small business owners balk at the idea of personalization, thinking that in order for there to be touches in their service adapted for individual customers they must spend large amounts of time and effort, which they may not be able to expend. Often they view the word “personalization” as being synonymous with “more work”. This doesn’t have to be

Small business owners loan a lot of their revenues to the government through taxes, but being independent entrepreneurs, they are also able to take advantage of programs that can help them recover some of their revenues. As a small business owner, your life and your business are blended together, so that it can become unclear at times what expenses can be used for a tax write off. Here is a short primer on what types of expenses can be reported for your business, so that you are not forced to pay for any expenses that you are not required to. Travel expenses. Keep track of how much you drive for business related projects. Even driving to and from the airport for business trips counts as travel expenses in the eyes of the government, so make sure you keep your eyes on the miles you log in order to report them for savings. Keep track of your receipts. There is a tendency among many people, business owners

Small business owners work hard to get where they are. Establishing a business is not easy, no matter what there will always be challenges to overcome and market conditions to adapt to. Once a small business is off the ground, a business owner may find themselves realizing that there are a lot of things to do to standardize and trim in their business that they simply didn’t have time to do when they were just starting out. One of the most important things to accomplish at this stage is creating and trademarking a logo. Since ancient times, a trademark has been the calling card of a business. By stamping a product with a personalized logo, craftsmen were able to differentiate their work from their competitors and attract customers based off of the quality of the pieces they produced for their clients. While the marketplaces that businesses compete in have changed since the early days of commerce, the idea of an identifiable brand image has not.

Small business owners have a lot on their plates constantly, juggling the various responsibilities that keep them occupied throughout the week. For this reason, many small business owners will hire accountants and separate themselves from their business financing situation. In a recent article from the Daily Herald, Dave Gay speaks on small business owners, saying that one of their biggest problems is an aversion to the numbers behind their business, as well as a lack of clear planning for the future when it comes to their retirement and the next stages of their business. Business owners who remove themselves from their financial situations, even in the name of spending more time running other aspects of their business, are doing themselves a disservice and potentially driving their business into hard times down the road. Here is a short list of things that small business owners should do in order to loan themselves a clear understanding of their financing situations. Have a meeting with your accountant, lawyer,

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,

With 60% of small business owners saying that hiring quality employees is one of their greatest challenges, small business owners need to be able to successfully compete with larger corporations in the hiring arena in order to retain a competitive edge. Small business hiring as of late has picked up slightly but remains sluggish, meaning that more and more job applicants are going to larger corporations. Prospective employees are attracted to the high visibility and job security associated with larger operations which means that in order for small businesses to compete, they have to show off what makes them attractive more effectively in order to attract the most coveted talent in their industry. Use your brand image to your advantage. When you think of great places to work, you might think of Google. The Google offices in NY, for example, are some of the first things people think about when they think on the company. This is a huge plus for Google when it comes time

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