Why America Loves Small Businesses

Tuesday, 03, December , 2013 by

The polls don’t lie – America loves its small businesses. A survey by the Pew Foundation conducted in 2010 found that 71% of Americans view small businesses favorably, while only 25% view large corporations favorably.  Along these same lines, a 2012 Public Affairs Council survey showed that 88% of Americans view small businesses favorably and 53% of Americans hold a “very favorable” view of small businesses, while only 16% view major companies in the same light.  Moreover, 68% of Americans said they would prefer to do business with a smaller, local company even if it would charge somewhat higher prices! What is it about small businesses that Americans find so irresistible? Living the Dream.  Your small business is a picture of the American Dream.  It is symbolic of the freedom and opportunity we are given in this wonderful country.  Not only can you dream big, but you have the right to follow that dream and make it a reality.  When doing business with you, your

3 Powerful Tips for Getting More Referrals

Tuesday, 03, December , 2013 by

According to a recent study by Constant Contact, 82% of small businesses say that referrals lead new shoppers to their business. The reason why referrals are so effective is that they come from a known and trusted third party as opposed to coming from some other more distant or more biased source.  For example, if a good friend or a family member recommends a particular physician, isn’t it more likely that you would choose this doctor over one that you have only heard about as advertised over the radio? The answer is usually yes, as referrals are generally recognized as the most persuasive form of marketing. What are some ways in which you can make sure to get the referrals you need to boost your business? When the time is right – ask.  When you have particularly pleased a customer, take the opportunity to ask him or her to mention your company’s name to friends.  The positive experience your customer has had with you will

A good small business does its best to make sure the customer is always satisfied.  Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance now more than ever, with social media sites and review websites like Yelp allowing for customers to share instant feedback with the public. In addition to all that you already do in order to please your clientele, make sure that you show your thanks and appreciation for their business, especially during critically important times like the Holidays.  Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and showing your customers that you value their business and appreciate them as individuals will keep them happy and satisfied proponents of your brand. How can you show your customers some appreciation?  Here are a few tips: Say Thank You.  This may sound simple, but it is important to thank your customers for their business.  Showing verbal appreciation goes a long way to make your customers feel valued.  In addition to thanking customers in person, you can send thank you emails that

How to Hold Productive Small Business Meetings

Wednesday, 27, November , 2013 by

Like any other small business owner, you have held and attended your fair share of business meetings. Business meetings are a very effective way for a company to communicate, brainstorm, share ideas, and promote its vision. They can serve to set clear goals and to organize and empower a team to carry out those goals. Why is it then that some business meetings turn out to be very productive while others seem more like a big waste of time?  A good meeting will be clearly defined, stay focused, and only be called when necessary.  By following the tips below, you can be sure to get better results from your next small business meeting. Have an Agenda. Prior to your business meeting, create a clear agenda that lists the topics to be covered during the course of the meeting from beginning to end. Distribute the meeting agenda to all participants ahead of time. The agenda will thus enable attendees to come to the meeting well prepared.

The coming of Black Friday abruptly signals the beginning of the holiday marketing season in a frenzy of consumer spending and bargain hunting. It is a time when many small business owners are unable to take a break because of the frenetic pace of sales, which is a good thing, as huge percentages of annual revenues are made up in the weeks of heightened consumer activity. What the season has the potential to mean for business owners who have bad credit is a relief from the pressures of their cash flow constraints as they make up reserves that can help them through the winter and allow them to work on improving and expanding their business. During the next few weeks, small business owners are going to be riding their businesses full speed ahead, and need to have solid financing plans in place in order to keep the wheels turning as fast as they can go. Make sure that you have enough inventory. If you anticipate a

This year has not been an easy one for small business owners, with bumps in the road from acts of nature to acts of government creating roadblocks, but there has been good news as well. For one thing, a gradual climb in optimism has been reported, with slight dips following the government shutdown. The economy is generally recovering as well, although on a bumpy, winding road. One of the biggest problems that has been holding small business owners back is the fact that there is relatively little in the way of small business financing available for all but the best credit risks from traditional banks. One the plus side, the financing gap is increasingly being filled by providers of alternative capital. Businesses without collateral, with bad credit scores, or even recently declared bankruptcy have been put between financing needs and the limitations of their cash flows. Alternative capital allows them to obtain financing with no restrictions placed on it, meaning they are free to allocate it

Business owners with bad credit are put into a predicament that can create conflicts of priorities surrounding expenses. If cash flows are not broad enough to finance projects, often they will have to be cancelled or scaled down, but knowing what to cut and what to preserve is often difficult. When a small business is the combination of many separate departments, it is essential that communication avenues are streamlined in order for a comprehensive budget to be created. Here are some strategies to employ in order to keep your small business’s ability to function safeguarded through the credit recovery process. Create a detailed budget report for each of your essential departments. While some small business owners will simply dump all of their expenses into one balance sheet and then reconcile it with their revenues, it makes much more sense in terms of deciding where to allocate a budget to break down expenses into departments. For example, if you find that your marketing is being severely neglected,

Small businesses often think that putting together an employee handbook is unnecessary and a waste of precious time that could be otherwise spent on more important matters. Everyone knows the company rules in a small business, so why bother with a whole formal write-up? In a certain sense, small business owners and employees who question the wisdom behind a write up are correct to do so. A write up for a very small company is unnecessary, and can actually become a liability if the information that it contains is misplaced or falls into the hands of a competitor. However, a manual for procedures, whether for individual departments or for the business at large, is important for when a business is ready to be scaled up, as it sets up a framework for growth. Much like a trellis allows a vine to climb steadily upwards, so a manual allows a small business’ s departments to grow steadily with greater ease.  Here are some other reasons that

One of the ways that small business owners are able to drive their success is through taking advantage of all the tools available to them, even if at  first glance they might seem less useful. Case in point; Pinterest. The image sharing website is more than just a way to share clothing ideas and recipes, and with over 70 million users pinning around 5 million articles a day, there is room on the platform for business owners in almost any industry to share their products with their consumer base. In addition to the obvious traffic benefits of promoting your small business on the platform, there are potential SEO benefits that small business owners can reap as well. Use Pinterest to compliment a social media strategy. Adding another share button to your website gives your visitors one more option to share your content, making it that much more likely that it will grow out in a viral capacity. The school of long tail traffic advocates spreading your

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:

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