You’ve heard the advice about how to create a viral video, and you’ve read all the tips on how to create SEO keywords, but what have you done for your brain lately? That’s right, in order to stay on top of your small business, you need to be thinking sharp and clear and the best way to make sure that all pistons are firing is to exercise your brain. Brain exercise is more than a new age concept, there is proven science behind the idea that, just like the muscles in your body, you can train your mind to perform at a higher level by engaging in the right exercises. According to the AARP brain health center, the five pillars of brain health are as follows: Physical exercise: Breaking a physical sweat, besides being good for your body at large, is also good for your brain health and can keep you thinking sharper. The reason? When you engage in physical exercise, you are strengthening the flow of

With the Hummingbird update from Google, content promises to be even more important than ever before for promoting small businesses on the internet. With that in mind, actually knowing what content marketing is and how you can put it to work for you is no longer a “nice to know” bit of information. Every business, from commercial trucking to basket weaving, will require content on their websites and on their blogs (yes you need to have a blog). The theory behind content marketing is making this content work for you, providing important benefits ranging from increased SEO prevalence to increased time and conversions from your website. The strategy behind content marketing seems to go against the fist instincts of a marketer. It doesn’t simply push sales materials on as many people as are wiling to hear them, rather, by creating things that people might actually want to read, content marketing turns your small business into a source of information that attracts customers naturally. Using other

The financial climate of the US in the post recession period has been grim for small business owners. The collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a severe clamp down in lending requirements on the part of major banks, and small business programs were some of the most hard hit targets, with collateral demands increasing at the same time that many small business owners experienced dips in revenue from depressed sales as well as devaluation of their homes and other assets that could be used to secure funding.  In an informative article from the Washington Post published July of this year, it was noted that small business lending rates were down not only in larger banks, but also smaller local banks and credit unions, frustrating the hopes of expansion of many business owners who think of these banks as the only sources of financing available to them outside of family. Defaults on loans or mortgages caused by revenue losses dealt another blow to US small business owners,

Small business owners and employees in the commercial trucking business have show support for a proposed bill to create a report on industry cost analysis for sleep apnea testing, as well as official regulations for the testing as opposed to guidance. Commercial trucking financing the tests is a concern, but more importantly, the issue of driver safety is at the heart of the proposed legislation. With driver fatigue representing one of the most covered issues around the trucking industry of late, more and more regulations have gone in to preventing fatal accidents blamed on excessive hours and fatigue. The reason why trucking groups have called for formal regulation rather than simple guidelines is because of a mistrust of not adequately defined rules. If trucking companies would fail to comply with the guidelines and then an accident occurred, they could be sued for non-compliance. The possibility that non-compliance could result as an accident due to misunderstanding would be much higher without a formally defined procedure surrounding

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,

3 Easy Tips to Help Manage Small Business PR

Wednesday, 21, August , 2013 by

Small businesses can get a lot done without having a PR strategy in place, but they will always be held back from the true potential of their brand if they don’t fully capitalize on public relations opportunities. Public relations refers to the face and image you present to the media and your customers. To a certain extent, every small business that is successful has a public image, but there is a big difference between running your business and having clients bump into your services and harnessing your PR in order to jump start your-sales. Here are some PR strategies that are just as useful for small businesses which are only starting to build an image as they are for established medium enterprises. 1) Keep your ear to the ground for opportunities. Whenever your business can serve as a source in the media, you should. Whenever there is a cause that you can use to promote your business, you should support it. The only way you are

There is no question that it is difficult for small business owners to procure loans in today’s economy. The media has been abuzz with reports on the freeze of business credit, and the aftermath of the great recession has property and other forms of collateral devalued to the point that they are no longer sufficient for securing business loans. However, the Washington Post recently put out an article positing that the decline in business lending is not an entirely new phenomenon. The Cleveland Federal Reserve has released charts indicating that small business lending from banks has been on the wane since as far back as the mid 90’s when the economy was strong. Traditional banks are cutting back the percentages of their portfolios that include business funding, and evidently have been doing so for over a decade. According to the Federal Reserve, this slow downward trend indicates that there is not likely to be a thaw in the lending practices of banks towards small business owners,

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