In an article from Fox Business, tips were shared from author T.D. Jakes on how business owners can create a more successful mindset for themselves. One of the tips in particular mentioned that business in the modern day should no longer be considered from a single perspective, instead business owners should strive to think of how to extend the reach of their business past their own social norms and into a truly global arena. Your social island is comprised of the circles that you keep, and if you are unable to move past the social boundaries that you have set for yourself, whether consciously or unconsciously, How can you grow your perspective past the familiar? Business owners seeking to apply a wider perspective to the development of their businesses have a multitude of options for gaining more information and insight. For one thing, by using free tools such as Google Alerts, small business owners can begin to broaden their base of influences and stay tuned

Linkedin is a social network for professionals, and thus is mostly devoid of the purely social content shared on Facebook, with the predominant focus being on sharing relevant perspectives and expertise related to business. For entrepreneurs, it  can be a great tool for meeting influencers and establishing a positive reputation as a knowledgeable member of your industry. One tool for sharing expertise on Linkedin is their long form posting tool, which allows business owners to share more detailed articles than through posting a status update alone. What are the benefits of long form posting as opposed to sharing a blog post? When you post a long form article to Linkedin, there are a few unique benefits that make it a viable option as opposed to simply sharing a post that you wrote on your business blog. According to Linkedin’s page on long form posting, a long form post doesn’t expire, rather, it is displayed as a link on your profile, meaning that it has a lot

This Thanksgiving, what does your business have to be thankful for? If you said customers, then you are on to something. Don’t simply assume that your customers know how grateful you are for their business, prove it to them by focusing on increasing loyalty for your business this November. Loyalty building is a part of branding that can really give you bang for the buck, since loyalty programs take your best customers and increase the business that they give you both themselves and from the strength of the referrals that they bring in to your business. Shout out your superstar customers. When you have a few amazing customers who make up your regulars, it can be worth it to go the extra mile when rewarding them. One way to do so is to to shine the spotlight on them via your business’s native blog or social media profiles. When you highlight your great relationship with customers, it indicates to other potential buyers that you are very

Branding is one of those concepts that is theoretically simple, yet more difficult to effectively put into action. The way that your brand is perceived on a number of factors coming together, from customer service and the quality of your marketing to the shape, color and sizes of your packaging or functionality of your services. Branding is an area that small business owners might associate more with larger corporations, but the reality is that business owners are able to pursue branding just as, if not more effectively than larger companies because of the higher degree of intimacy they can create in their customer relationships. Business owners can build their brand by internally promoting the values that they stand for and encouraging their employees to serve as brand ambassadors, but ultimately when they want to know how their branding campaigns are being perceived, they need to turn their lens in on themselves from the outside. Gather outside perspective on your brand from customers. If you aren’t sure

A recent article on CoinDesk.com announced the integration of Bitcoin into the mobile payment giant NCR’s point of sale products for small business owners. The move is a big step forward towards a wider acceptance of Bitcoin, a digital currency that is the internet’s answer to the dollar, with secure packets of information standing in for the physical presence of paper money in what is known as cryptocurrency. According to the CoinDesk article, NCR provides payment solutions technology to a wide range of international clients, meaning that their recognition of Bitcoin is a powerful statement recognizing the validity of non-traditional currencies. Greater Bitcoin acceptance comes at a time when the strategic importance of mobile payments is growing. The news of wider Bitcoin acceptance coincides with much media hype surrounding the roll-out of Apple Pay, the mobile payment app native to IOS 8. Apple’s payment app attacks some of the most persistent challenges standing in the way of greater acceptance of mobile payments, namely security and utility

According to the Biz2Credit small business lending index, approvals for small businesses from big banks fell in October, the first decline in 7 months of growth, dipping by 0.2% from 20.6% in September. The slight decline still reflects some of the strongest numbers since the beginning of the Great Recession, and as business confidence continues to increase (although not necessarily the perception of success), both hard and soft indicators of economic recovery seem to be moving in the right direction, albeit at a sluggish pace. Business owners may be more wary about debt now than at the beginning of the recession. One factor that may effect loan volumes is the fact that small business borrowers have been reticent about taking on debt, with many only seeking financing when it comes time to make capital improvements that are simply outside of the reach of their normal cash flows. For some with bad credit, seeking bank financing has been a relatively fruitless endeavor, with the alternative being seeking

The economy is showing signs of improving, and while it is a rocky road, it’s still improving during a time when the global economy has been doing even worse. Add to that improving stats in almost every area, according to a recent Small Business Trends article, and you would think that self confidence would be on the rise. This is not the case, and as the article goes on to cite, a 6% drop in self designations as “extremely” or “very successful” has taken place since 2009. This is alarming, considering that if there was ever a time for business owners to feel like they are doing well, it should be as they persevere through an economic down turn and begin to see faint light at the end of the tunnel. Part of feeling successful is being able to perceive your achievements. While small business performance indicators are returning to pre-recession levels, business owners are apparently not perceiving themselves as successful, potentially because of their innate

  The Thanksgiving holiday comes in the midst of one of the busiest times to be a business owner. The rush of planning that takes place going into the holiday season is one that can seriously drain the time resources that would otherwise be dedicated to family time. Fortunately, small business owners can manage their family and business commitments if they plan strategically. Take travel time into account if you are visiting family. The time that it takes you to go to and from your final Thanksgiving destination is important to factor in to your planning. You may be tempted to project an optimistic number when allowing for time spent traveling, but be aware that you may encounter holiday traffic depending on your area and the weather. It’s better to allow yourself a bit of cushion rather than lose your cool while trapped in a traffic jam because you will miss a meeting you scheduled too close to the holiday. If you must be productive while

If you aren’t already familiar with what a QR code is, it is essentially a design made up of dark and light boxes that can be placed via a sticker or printed, or even painted directly onto an object or service that acts as a link when scanned. Common applications for QR codes include ticket verification at sporting events, scanning shipped packages and any other application where the physical world meets the digital. QR codes are interesting in a small business context, especially for those who are in the midst of financing their businesses with bad credit, since they have a lot of different application and are very cost effective. What can you do with a QR code? A QR code can be used to open a website in a mobile browser, create and save a contact, track an ordered item, and essentially perform any task a digital link could while existing as a two dimensional object in the real world. Places to put QR codes include

E-commerce has gone from being a somewhat convenient novelty to a major source of consumer spending, as well as revenues for businesses that are able to attract and accommodate online shoppers. The annual growth of e-commerce is expected to continue, with this year expected to be the biggest yet, so business owners should make sure that they are prepared with special offers and site support that can help them make the biggest possible profit. One idea that can help business owners turn a larger percentage of their traffic into conversions is through enhancing the on-site support for their customers. Chat support. Simple to set up and reasonable to afford, a chat client can help your sales team interact instantly and powerfully with on page shoppers. Having the ability to reach out to chat the second that your customers get stuck on something or want a recommendation is a great way to streamline their path to conversion into sales, and can help you make sure that the

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