Social media can be a double edged sword for small business owners, and as such, deserves to be treated with the utmost care. When business owners create social media profiles, they allow their customers to engage with them much more easily and, through sharing and liking content, expose it to a much wider viewer base that can create conversions for you. Employees also will often link their social media accounts with those of the company that they work for, which can be a good thing, provided that they are responsible brand advocates and do not portray your brand as associated with negative behaviors. All business owners should include social media guidelines within their company internet policy and be sure to thoroughly explain the relationship between social media and brand PR, but beyond simply protecting the image of your business on the internet, you should also be sure to protect the security of the profiles themselves. Never use personal passwords or the same password twice.  This advice holds

LinkedIn has announced that, come April 14th, the products and services pages for companies are going to go the way of the dodo and the dinosaur. While for most business owners this might not represent a huge inconvenience, for some, in particular for those who have put a lot of time and effort into making their products look great on their pages, the news can be a bit disheartening. According to LinkedIn, the rationale behind the decision was informed by the use patterns of site users as well as a desire to re-allocate engineering time and budget to more exciting features on the website. Small business owners may be wondering how they can promote their products and services on LinkedIn in lieu of dedicated pages. Here is some advice for them that can get them past the loss of this feature. Use your feed to keep followers engaged. One of the weaknesses of the product pages on LinkedIn was that they were static, and unless you

A startling revelation reported on by MarketWatch reveals that according to data from last year, 1 in 10 small businesses had employees working under the influence of drugs or other judgement impairing substances. The report emphasized the dangers posed by prescription drugs in particular, which, while legally available to those who need them due to medical conditions, nonetheless have a potential for abuse that can lead to addiction and serious health consequences, and even death by overdose. The dangers posed by an impaired employee will vary depending on their job, proximity to heavy machinery or weapons, and their level of intoxication, but in reality any case of inebriation on the job represents more than just a danger to the employee and their coworkers, and should be viewed as a serious lapse in discipline and professionalism. Social stigma aside, any substance that impairs an employees ability to do their job effectively should not be consumed before or during work hours. There are social and personal issues that

Small business owners may or may not be aware of the phenomenon of cryptocurrency, which in plain English is the use of digital currency that is unregulated and exists purely in a digital form, usually encrypted in some manner to protect against hacking and other forms of fraud.  Bitcoin is the first, and most prominent of these currencies, and has received much media attention as it’s prices have fluctuated wildly, with peak values of the cyber money reaching an impressive $1,200 a piece. The increasing prominence of Bitcoin enters the small business picture as some bold small business owners have begun to accept the cryptocurrency as payment. As reported in the Oneida Daily Dispatch, multiple NY businesses are making sales with the digital dollars, with one business reporting that a full 8% of its sales were made in Bitcoins. The payments are made using an app, and customers can buy more bitcoins through ATM like kiosks, which appear in some business locations. Aside from being another

BYOD, or “bring your own device” refers to the business practice of allowing your employees to use their own technology in the office, usually in an attempt to conserve capital and reduce the expenses related to purchasing computers and other devices for strictly company use. In principle, a bring your own device plan sounds like it can bring a lot of upside to small businesses. They conserve funds that they would otherwise have to allocate to purchasing and maintaining their own technology, and allow their employees to use technology that they are already comfortable with and proficient in troubleshooting (at least on a basic level). That being said, like many good ideas that don’t turn out to work as well in practice, a BYOD policy has the potential to put small business owners into uncomfortable situations that they may not have even thought of as a possibility when creating their policy. Forbes has put out an article on the dangers of BYOD. One of the primary issues

As the minor improvements in the approval rates of small business loans have been reported on, one less happy trend has also gained some media scrutiny: the dip in loan volumes approved for african american owned businesses. While this may partly be due to a tightening of credit and collateral requirements on the part of banks issuing small business loans, the fact remains that both female and minority entrepreneurs face greater challenges when it comes to obtaining financing for their businesses. Female and minority owned small businesses are a vital source of economic renewal, especially considering a growing population of business owners would contribute to the creation of more jobs in the small business sector, which is widely regarded as one of the most powerful engines of the recovering US economy. These business owners should consider searching for guidance from sources such as local business development centers, SCORE programs, and finding the right mentors that can help them achieve and push forward more business development.

As the internet becomes increasingly vital for people to do their jobs in a wide range of industries, small business owners can no longer afford to wing it when it comes to their employees use of the internet. Since it is likely that at least one of your employees will regularly use a computer to do part of their job, the time that they spend using the computer should be regulated by an internet policy in the interest of maintaining productivity and keeping your business and your employees safe. You can use a template, but be sure to edit it for specifics. Drafting the language of your internet policy from scratch isn’t always necessary. Instead, you can use a free template such as this template posted on spiceworks.com and then edit it to account for the specifics of your business. Obviously you will want to edit in relevant information such as the name of your company, but things to look out for and be sure to

  Networking is a concept that encompasses a huge amount of activities. From promoting yourself through rekindling old contacts to attending industry events to passing out cards to people you speak to in the elevator, a huge range of activities are placed under the umbrella concept of networking. What this means is that, while it is easy to recommend “networking” as a path to greater opportunities for your business, it’s somewhat up to individual business owners to figure out exactly what form of networking will produce the best results for them. As a rule of thumb, small business owners need to place themselves, and their message, in front of the people with the insight and resources they need to get to the next level with their business. What this means on an individual basis is liable to vary greatly. For example, a commercial trucking business owner is likely to make a lot of great connections at a trade event, whereas a small retailer of specialty products

While written content is of vital importance for SEO purposes, and small business owners engaged in digital marketing should be creating engaging and readable material, a lot of the time a simple picture can say a whole lot about their brand and create a lot of engagement on the right platforms. Social media seems to be increasingly moving towards more visual mediums, with breakout apps like Vine  proving the allure of even a few seconds of looped video to content hungry viewers. Why are visual mediums so interesting to consumers? The answer most likely lies in the fact that video and images are extremely simple to consume, not requiring even the effort of reading a few lines of copy. Video and images are also much more dynamic to look at then text, explaining why a single vine or instagram post has the power to attract many repeat viewings. In fact, a Moz.com article demonstrated through analytics data a marked drop in time on site when they removed a

In a tough economy where competition for jobs is fierce, businesses that use the credit report of job applicants to inform hiring decisions have attracted the attention of lawmakers against the practice. The reasons pointed out to stop the practice include the fact that there is no established correlation between credit score and job performance, as well as the potential of credit informed hiring practices to unfairly effect the unemployed, who have to potential to enter a dangerous spiral where there credit is a barrier to being hired, and because they have no income from a job they are not able to repair their credit. Bad Credit business opportunities  loan those who were formerly unemployed the chance to reclaim financial independence. Assuming that there truly is no link between bad credit scores and on the job performance, then the removal of credit barriers to job entry should level the playing field and allow job seekers with shot scores the valuable chance to repair them with the

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