The month of November is when small business owners scramble to make sure that they are ready to meet the rush of the holiday shopping season. With a lot to prepare for, from Small Business Saturday to your clearance sales and New Year blowouts, business owners are in the midst of preparing for a marathon of sales that can take on the same intensity as a sprint. One thing that they must do in particular to get ready is make sure that their e-commerce sites are ready to handle the influx of holiday traffic they are expecting, and there is more than one aspect of whether or not a website is read to weather heavy traffic. Here are three areas that your business should ensure are strong regarding your e-commerce site before you roll out holiday marketing and start ramping up your efforts to drive traffic and conversions. Design. The design of your page refers not only to its aesthetic optimization, but to its form meeting

As reported by Yahoo Small Business, the WAIN Street monthly business default index reports a decrease in default rate for small business loans from the first half of the year by .11 percent for a rate of 6.98 percent, with rates at pre-recession levels. Additionally, the index revealed that the lowest default rates were concentrated around the smallest of the small businesses included in the index, with a 4.05 percent default rate among sole proprietors and 5.65 percent among those with fewer than 20 employees. With strong credit performance coming from these businesses, it bodes well for the growth of their credit options going into the next few quarters. The smallest SMBs have had some of the hardest times applying for financing from traditional banks. The fact that they are some of the strongest performers when it comes to paying back debt obligations makes this fact even more pronounced, however, due to excessive costs related to underwriting small business loans that do not slide with the

  Facebook has been receiving media attention lately for both it’s decision to put an end to the practice of “like gating” content, as well as the announcement that they are going to remove chat support from their mobile app, forcing those who wish to use Facebook chat on their phones to either download their dedicated messenger app or chat through their mobile browser version of the site. What are the controversial permissions Facebook’s app is requesting? The list of permissions the app requests is a long one, essentially asking for the ability to remotely operate a person’s smartphone. They include: Permission to operate a camera to shoot photo or video remotely. Permission to call contacts stored on a phone. Permission to record sound. Permission to receive and read texts, including any that may include personal information. Permission to read all contact information stored on a phone. What does this mean for business owners? While Facebook states that they don’t intend to use these permissions for

  One of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to creating content for small businesses is figuring out what to write about in the first place. Another issue is divining what type of content target demographics will be interested in reading and engaging with. Both of these issues can be partially addressed by the inclusion of short polls in your blog allowing visitors to vote on the topics to be covered in your next installments. How to include a poll using wordpress.  Installing a plugin is pretty simple. Find one that you like, preferably with positive feedback and user reviews, then activate it in the plugins screen within your wordpress dashboard. Once this is done, you should be able to fine tune the settings in order to put the poll you want within any one of your blog posts. You may also wish to place polls on product pages to gather information regarding what products are the most popular, and for what reasons. Alternately,

A business is like a living thing in that it will grow to fill the limit of its environment. Once the business is serving its full market in a single area, it can either remain the same size, or expand. Franchising or opening a second location can open up new markets in other areas, allowing the brand to grow through increasing the size of the customer base that it is able to serve. Other ways that a business can grow include expanding services to fill a present need within their local customer base. These types of expansion can occur side by side, or they can take place one after the other. It will depend on the size of the un-captured market for the service on offer whether or not it is lucrative to expand services, as well as on how much market share can be captured with the introduction of the service to the business’s list of products. For this reason, before deciding on a course

The difference between gross revenues and profit within a small business can be significant when overhead is brought into the picture. A business that is making many thousands of dollars in gross revenues may find that its actual profit margin is far below what one might have guessed offhand. Comparing the numbers between gross revenues and profit within your business can help create a more illustrative picture than looking at gross revenues alone, which is often the first thing that business owners do when reviewing monthly sales activity. Taking a deeper look at the accounting behind a small business, in particular a business that may be in extenuating circumstances due to bad credit, is an important part of management and should be done regularly enough to capture significant sales data. Monitoring gross revenues is important should business owners seek alternative capital. How much small business owners can qualify for when applying for bad credit business loan alternatives is directly influenced by their gross monthly sales, so

The term “data visualization” refers to the presentation of data gathered during the operation of a business in a format that is represented through images. Commonly the types of charts include bar graphs, pie charts which many business owners probably remember learning about in grade school. Apart from these basic types of charts, business owners can also use spider graphs to organize their thoughts, tree shaped graphs or pyramid graphs to denote managerial hierarchies, and other forms of charts that will allow them to see the data that they need to manipulate in a clear and intuitive way. There are many softwares that can assist in data manipulation for small business owners. Mind42 is a free website that allows for the creation of spider charts, or “mind maps” that can help business owners organize departments, project management tasks and other components where groups are centered around focal nodes. Lucid Charts is a program that business owners can use limited on a free basis, with subscription packages

Social media can be a fickle beast, since its relative value is entirely determined by the response to what you do and there are no real rules for posting, only guidelines and common sense to help business owners fine tune. Once they are in the swing of posting content, recycling pieces that could be better timed and engaging with other users, then you can begin to compile your own best practices based on the responses that you are getting. One factor that can effect the response that posts you put out receive is their timing. Timing will have a direct effect on where your posts appear in the various feeds of your consumers. Depending on whether you post five minutes before a customer logs in or five hours before, they may or may not ever wind up coming across your post in the first place. That’s where you should engage in some simple testing in order to determine when your content gets the most favorable

A term that has been flying around the internet of late, “big data” can actually be somewhat of a misnomer in the context of a small business. What big data refers to is the information collected around a small business’s website that, when analyzed and reflected on, can lead to some serious insight on how to create more engagement and conversions. However, the term big data seems to imply a corporate sized mountain of information, intimidating to sift through and out of the bounds of a small business owner to manage, let alone fully understand. That is not the case, and in fact big data in a small business context is among the places where it has the potential to be the most useful, since nimble small businesses are among the most able to adapt strategic changes into their business plans. So what kind of data actually qualifies as big data in a small business context? A lot of the time, business owners may already be

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