Every business has one, it’s that special something that defines it’s unique qualities, the je ne sais quoi that your customers recognize and associate with your brand. However, before your edge is defined, it can be hard to single out the quality attributes that you need to stress in order to stand out. Bad credit businesses, enterprises where sales are down, or businesses that have had to redefine their image as they’ve expanded should all pay particular attention to the points in this article, as they are the businesses that need a solid center the most. Without further ado, here’s how you can start to look at your business in order to define your very own “secret sauce”. Start from the ground up. Documenting your processes is something you should already be doing, as it will aid you in a large number of ways to have core procedures on file. For one thing, it aids in your business’s expansion by briefing new employees as well as demonstrating

According to a 2012 Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business poll, 36% of US small business owners are not comfortable with their company’s debt. With more than one business out of four worrying about their finances, it’s time that small business owners start thinking seriously about how to conserve their cash flows and what they can do to reduce financial obligations that they already have. Take a good look at your current budget.  If your debt keeps on piling up, that means your business’ budget isn’t balancing out like it should, indicating something is going wrong. A budget plan that has worked for years needs as much adjustment as a plan that has just been implemented if they are both performing poorly. Revise your budget to reflect the company’s current financial situation, with an eye open for expenses that are not creating revenues.  Include cost categories for paying back the debt your company has now accrued.  It is a good idea to use accounting software in order

Small Business 101: Building a Strong Brand

Thursday, 05, December , 2013 by

Imagine that your business is a hockey team. Through all the chaos on the ice, your fans are still able to identify your players and cheer them on because of their distinctive appearance. This is the way you should think about your branding efforts, as the means by which your business’s fans can identify you and cheer your business on. Your brand is comprised not only of your name, logo, slogan, company colors, and product but also includes the total experience that customers have while interacting with your small business.  The way you handle customer experiences and what you choose to post on social media sites will also become part of your brand, .  In a word, your brand is the identity of your business.  It encompasses all that you stand for and that which the public will come to associate with your company. For these reasons, you should be aware of your own core values, the UVP, or unique value proposition that you give

Tips for Small Business Training of New Hires

Wednesday, 04, December , 2013 by

According to Intuit’s Small Business Employment and Revenues Index, employment at some of the smallest businesses in the US increased last month – small businesses added 10,000 jobs in November. If you are among the small business owners that have recently decided upon new hires, you know how long and complex the process can be.  You have already invested the time and resources into locating the perfect addition to your staff.  You’ve posted job opening advertisements, networked with your friends and colleagues, read numerous resumes, met face-to-face with candidates and spent a considerable amount of time deliberating over your prospects.  And now, you’ve finally made the decision to hire.     Yes, you’ve gone through a lot to find exactly what you’re looking for, but the process is not over just yet.  Do not forget the importance of providing effective training for new hires.   A well-trained employee is essential to the smooth operation of your small business.  Lack of proper  training can result in inefficiencies in a small business

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

If you are like any other small or bad credit business, you are constantly on the lookout for ways to boost your bottom line.  Follow these three tips to cut costs and save money for your bad credit or small business. Consult with your consultants and contractors. Surprisingly enough, many of the professionals you work with on a regular basis will gladly offer you ways to save money on their services if asked. Generally speaking, most services that you have outsourced for your company will be able to be scaled back in order to lower costs to you. Because you have an established relationship and a good rapport with your consultants, they will want to keep your business and help you in whatever way they can. For example, you can discuss cutting costs with your insurance agent, your attorney, and your accountant and see what they can come up with. They may find ways to offer you reduced billable hours or give you ideas about

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