Small business owners who are in the market for business to business services and products generally have social media presences put together on the biggest and most accepted networks. These include Facebook, Twitter, and G+ to name some of the first that leap to mind. However, the wider the dragnet cast for business, generally the better off you will be, and small business owners should consider the fact that maintaining a presence on just the three or four most obvious social networks is missing a much larger and more vibrant social media picture. If you are already pretty comfortable using the “big three”, then chances are you stand a lot to gain by taking the social game you’ve already honed and applying it to some other social media networks. Here are a few that you have probably already heard about, but may not yet have tried. LinkedIn. Ok, so you most likely have a profile here already, and chances are also good that you have even

As a small business owner, one of the skills essential to your success is learning to gauge when a task needs to be done on a right away basis and when it can wait. The art of prioritizing can seem incredibly simple out of the moment, but in the middle of a hectic week when you are scrambling to get something done and an employee comes up to you with another supposed emergency, knowing what to focus your attention on and what to put on the back burner for the next few hours can make a lot of difference, especially when valuable relationships are on the line. Determining what is the most important thing to do takes practice as well as a certain level of insight. It is often better to get something that you are already in the process of doing completed than go from task to task. Your employees may interrupt you while you are in the middle of something, but unless it truly

We have often said that relationships are the key to successful business. Creating strong alliances with people who you can trust to be there for you makes doing the tough job of managing an enterprise that much easier. Keeping things easy is only one aspect of what makes relationships important, however. Small business owners should also consider the fact that they can actually save money by promoting stable long term  relationships with their vendors. The vendors who supply your business with the essential products that it needs to function should be considered to be more than just people who sell you things you need. Look at your vendors as an extension of your business. Just like the equipment you use to be productive and the employees you coach to perform their best, the vendor relationships you have should be actively maintained. Stronger vendor relationships save time. For one thing, it takes time to shop around. Comparing and contrasting pricing, product quality and customer support all take time and

At a certain point in the growth of a small business, the possibility of moving to a secondary location becomes less of an aspiration and more of an immediate possibility, but bad credit can often stand in the way of this goal. Alternatives to bad credit business loans make it possible for small business owners to use the strength of their business’s monthly sales to get approved for funding with much less emphasis on their bad credit score. In order to effectively utilize these financing options for that purpose, small business owners should plan and verify a few things before they take the plunge and apply for their bad credit business financing. Verify that the location you have chosen is desirable. Location is a huge factor that can make or break the opening of a second location. While you might love a space for many reasons, it’s a mistake to go through the trouble of applying for a bad credit business loan alternative and then the

Hashtags are a byproduct of the internet and it’s pervasive influence on our culture at large. They have even begun to creep into our colloquial speech patterns thanks to the hilarious lampooning of them by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. But aside from appearing everywhere and being the butt of jokes related to their overuse, what is their significance for small business owners, and how can they turn them from a cloudy concept into something useful? Let’s start simple: What is a Hashtag for? A hashtag, also known as a pound sign (#), first came into existence on Twitter by the user base as a way to quickly categorize and identify tweets on a certain topic, for example, #smallbiz pertains to small business topics and serves as a shorthand for those who are searching for related content. While the use of the hashtag began on twitter, as it gained acceptance it’s use has spread to all manner of social networks, including Facebook, G+, and Instagram to

  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

  http://www.pe.com/business/business-columns/20140320-small-business-centers-seriously-hit-by-cuts-in-2013.ece http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/abrams/2014/03/21/small-business-development-centers/6653961/ Photo Credit to Luca Nebuloni on Flickr

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

The quality of leadership is one that should be highly valued by small business owners. After all, as business owners they exercise their own leadership skills every day. The purpose of leadership skills is to allow a group of small business employees to function as a more tightly knit group. Contrary to what one may think, promoting leadership does not mean promoting some employees over others, although in a management role one would expect a high degree of leadership on the part of your employee. What leadership skills give to small business employees is the power to think  in critical ways themselves, analyze and respond to problems and communicate better as a unit. It is natural that your employees will excel in different areas. If they are all trained in leadership skills, then that will allow them to complement each other’s talents and step up in turn when they are most qualified to take charge. There are many leadership qualities you should promote in your

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

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