A small business’s website will often contain an order form or other type of application that can turn the web traffic the page gets into leads. Besides the obvious benefit of creating more business, lead creation forms can also give small business owners some self -reported information on who is visiting their website and converting. Business owners can be surprised to find that their service appeals to a demographic on the web that does not frequent its physical location, and the information they gather surrounding a lead allows for a finer picture of core client bases to emerge as well. More fields means more information, but more “friction”. Business owners should respect the utility of an application for gathering information on customers. While you may only need a couple of questions answered in order to determine if you can do business with a prospective applicant, it may behoove you to also ask information regarding their age, sex, location, contact information or whatever you need to know

As changing demographics of small business owners in the US are challenging stereotypes surrounding who can be a successful entrepreneur, the question of age is also increasingly part of the picture. Both older and younger entrepreneurs are getting media coverage as they are creating businesses and success that isn’t typically associated with their age groups. The challenging economy, which is slowly recovering, seems to have been rewarding small business owners who are willing to step outside the bounds of norms. This includes a rising trend of young people driving high growth businesses, and business owners who are over the age of retirement, many of whom have lengthy career histories but either wanted to try something new or have been forced to create another business by their economic situations. Younger entrepreneurs: still outnumbered, but doing big things. The Small business owners in the under 40 bracket have been getting a lot of attention. Not only do young people make great hires, due to the fact that they

Commercial trucking financing plans have been put out of whack by snows. This winter, small business owners in the logistics industry have felt the same negative effects as other small business owners due to the cold weather. The difference between logistics and other business models, however, is that small businesses in areas that are not as strongly effected by the snows have still felt the impact in their revenues, making commercial trucking businesses into some of the more widely effected business models. Trucking financing can be dependent on driver pay, and lost hours still need to come from somewhere. One point mentioned in an article from WRCBTV Chattanooga is the fact that, as drivers are caught in snow storms and are unable to make deliveries, they are still drawing billable driving hours that can’t be rolled over onto customers. This can mean that a period of snow related delays can create serious consequences for small business owners who are still required to make payroll. The limitations of

Running a small business loans a multitude of interesting challenges and variables to each week, some good, and some bad. When things are going your way, there are few experiences as rewarding as being in control of the growth of your successful business, however along with the high points there are the lows. When there is a problem within your business, sometimes the most painful part of fixing it is fully acknowledging what went wrong and why. Accountability within business is both an important, and unfortunately, tough to cultivate virtue, but the effort that is put in to promoting an accountable culture is worth it as it will help your business move forwards faster and address issues before they have a chance to become major problems. Here are some ways that your business can develop a more accountable culture, and embrace common sense principles that make the work environment a better place to be. Don’t wait to relate an issue. When communication breaks down in a

According to a release from Reuters, small business owners borrowed more money in January than they did last year during the same month, despite the spate of particularly cold weather that has continued to effect much of the continental US. Consequently, small business have been reporting negative impacts on their businesses. Many indicators outside of small business loans have not gone up as a result of the freeze. While an increase in the volume of business loans usually signals an increase in hiring down the road, other indicators of increased economic activity did not fare as well. Regardless, since business loans are often used in order to obtain new equipment or increase the capacity of production within a business, the hiring of new personnel is still likely to increase in the next couple of quarters, especially as businesses with seasonal increases in volume move into their busy season. Despite this, consumer sentiment was reported as increasing slightly. The feeling that the economy will continue to head in

Business owners want their businesses to grow, but in order for them to grow effectively, the deployment of capital needs to be approached from a strategic angle. One of the mistakes that business owners frequently make is using up all of the available capital they have access to in order to push their business forwards, without first thinking of the actual amount of growth they are ready for from a logistical standpoint. Things like market size, seasonality within small businesses and the ROI associated with various types of equipment will all dictate when a business needs an infusion of funding and when it should actually hold back on the throttle. When is a good time to push forward business growth? Particularly good times to fund growth projects are in preparation for an anticipated period of heightened business activity, such as right before a holiday peak in sales or the beginning of a the busy season for a seasonal business. Debt, once taken on, must be paid

The number of women who own their own businesses is substantial, and in certain areas such as in minority dominated communities, the demographic has been growing. In an SBA report, the population of women who own their own businesses was reported as 36% of of business owners, but there is always room for more representation of women in the small business sphere. Female entrepreneurs can have a statistically more difficult time obtaining financing, and they face other challenges depending on the gender roles associated with their industries of choice, however diversity is essential and therefore the significant points already put on the board by female business owners deserve to be celebrated and built upon. Here are some tips for female entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses and their networks. Attend business and industry events. In order to grow out the networks that you have, gain advice from other experts and establish yourself as a leader in your field, attending events can be a great way to

The advent of the social media age, wherein the internet and the forces shaping it are learning to create and promote better content, has proven to be a good thing for small business owners. According to a report on contentmarketinginstitute.com, just under half of small business owners reported that they have a content marketing strategy in place and more are using social media than last year. According to a linkedin infographic, social media was almost entirely used for marketing purposes by SMBs with the chief goal being the attraction of new customers. These figures should be exciting for small business owners whether or not they are currently engaged in a content strategy or are using social media, the reason being that there is now a mounting body of evidence that social media actually produces great results for small businesses. The biggest challenge that keeps business owners from pursuing these strategies is a lack of time, demonstrating that when they find the time to do it, they are generally able

One of the toughest balancing acts within the small business world is the balance that a business owner must strike between managing and expanding their operations and playing their roles in the day to day production of their business. On the one hand,  business owners need to be able to guarantee a quality product for their customers within an acceptable time frame. On the other hand, small business owners need to make sure that their invoices are being paid, that payroll gets met, that they are getting the supplies and raw materials they need to produce, and all the other administrative tasks that go into running an enterprise. If one side of the business is neglected, then the other will suffer, so small business owners can often find themselves caught in a priority tug of war without the hours they need to give every task the time it deserves. It can be difficult to know how to proceed in order to fix this imbalance, and

Your business relies on your best employees in order to be able to expand. The talent that you can cultivate is a huge asset, but in order to fully reap the rewards of investing in potential, your business must be able to retain the talent that you help to grow. One of the greatest things about small businesses is that, thanks to the fact that they are smaller and often much more collaborative than corporations they are able to foster a deeper sense of employee contribution and engagement. When it comes to keeping the employees you have worked hard to train, the unique positioning of a small business offers the means of sweetening the pot for talent outside of the money involved in the equation. Salary is important, but ultimately not the only deciding factor in whether or not an employee will stay. The temptation of a higher paying position will often be enough to induce an employee to wander to greener pastures, however, it’s certainly

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