At home and in your personal life, you may already be making a conscious effort to protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.  You may already recycle, and you may even use non-toxic cleaners or bring your own bag when you go shopping.  As a small business owner, you can make going green a priority at the office as well.  In a recent study by Office Depot, 61% of small businesses said they were making an eco-friendly working environment a priority.  The survey showed that 82% of small companies were decreasing their carbon footprint by recycling, 61% were investing in energy-efficient products, 43% were using non-toxic products, and 39% were reducing water usage. Going green at work will not only benefit the environment and the world we live in, it will also promote social responsibility as part of your company culture and save you money.  Here are a few ways you can promote an eco-friendly environment at your small business, and get your

Historically, the months surrounding the new year are some of the biggest in retail and consumer spending, as the holiday rush to purchase gifts, book vacations, and spend a little extra on one’s self prompts a surge in consumer spending that, according to the National Retail Federation, can represent 20-40% of a business’s annual sales. That’s a massive percentage, which means that the holidays are a critical time for small businesses and making sure that they are running effectively before the advent of the real shopping season begins is imperative.  This year, small business owners have been reeling from a combination of factors. One of the biggest hits taken by business owners as 2013 has been coming to a close was the government shutdown. The closure of the Small Business Administration, a government agency that secures 3rd party loans to small business owners, set back the plans of many businesses who were waiting on capital in order to pursue expansion projects. According to a New

There are many ways to increase the bonds that small businesses share with their best customers, from rewards programs, to community events. When it comes to deciding how to stay in contact and deepen your rapport, it’s important to factor in the financing aspect for your small business, balancing your ambitions and you cash flow and ensuring that you get a good ROI on the money that you do spend while keeping your customers happy. One of the best principles that small businesses can espouse is taking what you already have and making it work more for your business. A perfect illustration of this concept can be found in the creation of a newsletter. So your small business has a social media presence? It’s also got a blog? Great! Then you already have everything that you need in order to put together a newsletter that can boost both your site’s traffic and the size of your social media presence. Here’s how it can work for you. Step 1:

While not every small business will be engaged in activities where an employee or customer could potentially get hurt, outdoor businesses, restaurants, factories and other, more physically oriented business models have an inherent risk of injury associated with them, even if it is only a small amount. If an injury occurs at your business, it is better to be more rather than less prepared for treating it. CPR is a set of techniques for caring for injuries or medical emergencies that can save or prolong the lives of victims as emergency health professionals are contacted and arrive at the scene of an accident. CPR is easy to learn and get certified for, and the potential to save a life is invaluable for businesses where there is a risk of injury, from major bodily harm, to minor accidents like choking. Here’s what small business owners should know about preparing their employees and themselves for emergencies with CPR training. What can business owners do to prepare for

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

The “shale revolution” refers to the growing natural gas business within the US. As the search for alternatives to fossil fuels intensifies, the trucking industry is becoming more and more attuned to developments in natural gas as a viable alternative to diesel. In March, Shell, the energy corporation, announced plans to create two new natural gas for transport corridors through North America. This indicates just how much the development of these non-imported fuels could represent an advantage for American trucking. For an in-depth look at some of the benefits of natural gas, which include vehicle performance comparable with that of fossil fuels and the ability to be produced domestically, interested readers can visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s page on the fuel source. In addition to this, lower emissions from this fuel source mean that it’s use could be beneficial for the environment and the reduction of our carbon footprint. Some concerns over the process of the fuel’s extraction, known as “fracking” have environmental groups up

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

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

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 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,

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