Business owners should constantly be looking out for ways that they can market their products to more people within their demographics. One of the strongest ways to do this is by identifying locations where you can retail your products that are complementary to your business model and highly trafficked by those in your demographic. To start out using this technique, business owners will need to approach the task form a place of strength. In order to convince other retailers that your product has a place within their location, you need to prove that you are intimately familiar with your target demographic and can demonstrate that the demographic that appears in a potential partnered location will overlap with your sweet spot. Having market research and an analysis of your own sales record to show will get your foot in the door and help to convince a partnering location to try your products out. Where does your target demographic go? Where do they spend their money, and

Snowy weather has made its mark on small business sales in the new year, with reports of lowered revenues compared to last year’s Winter. The culprit is obvious: the polar vortex of cold air that has set in over much of the country, leading to record cold temperatures, heavy snow falls and congestion of infrastructure. When whole work forces have been stuck at home due to excessive difficulty traveling, it can be tough for small businesses with already limited cash flows to strain to meet their obligations to their employees and customers. Additionally, many of the customers that might otherwise frequent their businesses have been discouraged from spending time outside, leaving businesses hungry for the volume that they would otherwise have expected. Should small business owners slow down their plans? While small business owners have recently been reporting a heightened level of ambition and optimism, the limits imposed by the weather have some considering abandoning their expansion plans. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the

Within a small business, it’s often the case that capital is tied up, meaning that in order to pursue more comprehensive projects, business owners will either have to take resources that would otherwise be applied elsewhere or find a way to get things done themselves. In certain cases, DIY is a great option that can allow business owners to save money and loan themselves the opportunity to learn a new skill. In other cases, trying to go for a DIY fix can lead to bad results that might wind up actually costing your business money in the event that you need to hire a contractor anyway who has to also fix whatever problem was created. In order to help business owners decide what they should leave to the pros and what elements of their business they can DIY, here are few rules of thumb that can be referenced. Do you or someone close to you know an expert in the field? If you are close to

There are so many components that go into the management of a small business, each one of them vitally important in their own ways. However, one of the most important by far is the physical location of a small business (assuming that it has one). Where your business is actually located can make a big difference on what kind of foot traffic it will get, what times will be the most busy and who will be passing by. Another big potential impact is the rent that you are paying and the agreements that you have signed into the lease. Here’s what small business owners need to consider before they sign a lease for a brick and mortar location. Don’t put the cart before the horse. If you aren’t ready to get started doing business out of your location, don’t sign a lease. Often, small business owners will find a location that they fall in love with, but don’t have inventory or any clientele, yet sign a

Small business owners often have wildly varying opinions on Yelp. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a great tool that can help them to gain exposure and connect with their local customers, or an unfair playing field wherein a single negative review can hurt business and exposure is meted out to those who are willing to pay for it. Regardless of your opinion on it, Yelp is poised to partner with Yahoo in an attempt to bolster their local search game, as currently, Yelp is the major player in local business listings. In truth, small business owners should loan attention to their Yelp profiles regardless, as they are a potentially major source of referral business. Now that Yahoo is getting into the mix, the exposure that Yelp profiles get is poised to increase as Yahoo funnels their share of web traffic into the site. Get your business’s profile up to snuff now, and your business may stand to benefit from the strategic partnership. Fill

All small businesses have to pay attention to where their products are selling, and where they have potential to grow. Sometimes, business owners have to take a step back and re-imagine who their products appeal to and where their demographic is in the best position to notice and purchase them in order to continue to grow their sales. A perfect example of small business owners discovering a strong new market for their products, almost unintentionally, can be seen in an article from the Concord Monitor, which details cases of small businesses expanding sales through innovative techniques and product placement. One of the cases examined related the discovery of a strong niche for the product “sinus plumber”, a strong nasal spray originally marketed in health food stores. By placing sinus plumber by checkout areas within hardware stores where impulse buys often occur, the product was able to sell much more strongly. Wondering at the robust sales, which represented 40% stronger demand than non-hardware and auto stores, the

Business owners who are planning new product releases or are trying to make sure they are getting a good deal from their current suppliers must loan enough time from their busy schedules in order to ensure that they are finding a good deal. In order to make it easier for them to get started shopping around,  we’ve put together a top five list of the most helpful tips for finding and negotiating with a supplier. Think locally. When looking for a supplier, one who is on the other side of the country is going to have to charge you higher shipping costs, raising the price of the product you are purchasing. It’s better to find a local supplier, if possible. Start out by using your network of business contacts to see if someone you know has any suggestions to refer you. A referral can potentially be beneficial by coming with a discount or a perk for the person who referred you or even for both of

February is a month of transition, if not always weather-wise, at least mentally as thoughts of Spring’s thaw start to get more frequent and Valentine’s Day trappings appear in store windows. While Spring is still relatively far off, the preparation that a bad credit business loans itself now can yield dividends as the weather begins to get warmer and for many business starts to pick up. Spring cleaning imagery is often based on physically tidying up, but in February, setting a mental game plan is more important, especially for seasonal business owners. This foundation will be carried with you, and should be created now so that new ideas can be tested out and expansion planned for, if necessary with required capital accounted for or at least ready to be applied for and put to use. Here are some of the priorities that business owners should put high on their lists in order to plant the seeds for a productive end to the Winter months. Recalculate

Whether or not you are in favor of a raise in the Federal minimum wage or against it, the reality is that President Obama has voiced support for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The raise in wages has been put on the table as part of Obama’s promise to combat the widening wealth gap in the US as mentioned in his State of the Union address. The problem posed by a minimum wage increase is the fact that for many small business owners, the costs of doing business are already high, making any increase in overhead costs into a potentially major constraint to business growth, or even sustaining the workforce that they already employ. In the even that the minimum wage does increase, small business owners are better off being prepared and having a strategy that can allow them to keep their business operating, despite increased costs. Evaluate employee performance and identify strengths. Odds are, you may employ employees at different levels within

As more and more commerce takes place online, the growth of the total market as reported by Census.gov to $67.0 billion for a 3.6% increase from 3rd quarter 2013 loans small business owners an idea of just how fast commerce is becoming a driving force in the shaping of our digital world. One of the main contributors to the rising popularity of E-commerce is the diversity of business models that the internet is able to support. An entrepreneur.com article on the rise of the subscriptions services market showcases just one of the ways that innovative business models can be supported by the depth of the market reachable on the internet. However, aside from the obvious benefits of an internet based small business model, the low costs of entry into the digital commerce space also are making it an attractive business model in 2014. With most banks wary of providing start up capital to all but the most qualified entrepreneurs, a digital model that can be successfully

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