Tag Archives: Small Business

Effective Social Media Marketing Using Google Alerts For Small Business

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Google Alerts

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Only a small percentage of small business owners believe their social media strategy delivers all they need. In my opinion, a trusted adviser should inform SMB customers about ways to leverage this online technology in their favor.

Reputation management is crucial when utilizing social media. Google Alerts is a service that allows you to receive updates about what is posted online about your products, personnel and company as well as your competitors. You can have updates delivered immediately, daily or weekly to allow you a chance to respond to any issues quickly.

Business owners should also monitor the sites that rate businesses and read all negative and positive comments. These sites include ResellerRatings, Ripoff Report and Angie’s List. You should attempt to satisfy any customers that write negative reviews or at least respond to their concerns.

Your goal is to create an interactive online community with two-way communication between the company and its customers. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are the most popular sites but many small businesses ranked Google+ the highest for being the most helpful in a recent industry study by Vocus.

StumbleUpon was ranked between YouTube and LinkedIn as far as being helpful, but it ranked low in the number of small business owner users. Foursquare and Pinterest are two more effective social sites for building community.

A blog is another useful tool but it requires a bigger time commitment than other options.

The business owner can decide whether to set up a landing page directed to a specific item or a home page. Careful analysis of results is necessary to determine if the strategy is reducing complaints, increasing traffic, raising community awareness and bringing in new customers.

Allocating traditional media resources to interactive media strategy is one way to deal with the cost. Many businesses decrease spending in print ads and direct mail.

You must let your customers know that a social media marketing strategy is effective with a solid plan, execution, evaluation and revision when necessary.

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Vistaprint Can Help With Facebook Promotion

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Vistaprint Business Cards

Vistaprint is offering a new way for business owners to increase their online presence and gain new customers. Now entrepreneurs can use Vistaprint to get a customized Facebook Timeline to promote themselves, along with Vistaprint business cards. When a person combines social media marketing with offline marketing, it gives them access to much more customers. In this time period, people expect all businesses to have some sort of Internet presence they can go to when they want to know more about a business. Any businesses without an Internet presence is missing out on customers, and they look old fashioned.

Anybody who has got free cards from Vistaprint knows that the company always delivers a good product, so entrepreneurs should not hesitate to use their Facebook promotion services. It can take a person a long time to figure out how to build a Facebook cover, but if they use the services of Vistaprint, they can have a custom design made in a few minutes. People who want to take their business to the next level should get Vistaprint business cards, and get a Facebook timeline from them. If an entrepreneur does this, they will be covering marketing on two different fronts.

People, who have got free cards from Vistaprint and want a good way to promote their businesses, should pay for their business services. A person can have a great return on investment from using their business services. Business promotion is easy to do when a person works with Vistaprint.

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Don’t Start a New Business without These 7 Essentials

businessStarting a new business can be thrilling. Sometimes you can get so excited about your new idea that you don’t want to take the time to do the necessary groundwork so that your business will have a solid foundation. Channel your enthusiasm into a few of these more mundane fundamentals of business so that when you begin to bring in customers you’ll be ready to handle anything.

1. Operating Capital – A new business is going to need money. Think about how you want to finance your enterprise before you begin making widgets or booking clients. Whether you use an existing savings account, a business credit card or a traditional small business loan, you need to secure funding first if you want your business to really get off the ground.

2. A Business Plan – Sit down and write out a solid plan for your business. Include plans for expansion and ideas for what to do if things don’t go as you expect. A good business plan is also helpful for securing a small business loan because it shows that you have thought the business through.

3. Plenty of Patience – A new business takes time to begin turning a profit. Quite a few tedious tasks have to be done before you can focus solely on your business, as well. Be ready to fill out plenty of paperwork and be prepared to wait longer than you might expect the orders to come rolling in.

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4. Information on State and Federal Tax Laws – Find out what you need to do in order to comply with state and federal tax laws regarding your business. Make sure you know how much sales tax to collect and what kind of tax information you need to provide the government concerning your company.

5. Appropriate Licenses or Permits – Some businesses need special permits or licenses to operate legally. Check local laws to make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork in order so that you don’t have to face fines or other legal problems once your doors open. Be prepared to pay fees or work with an appraiser for some licenses and permits.

6. Product Research – Spend some time researching other businesses that are similar to yours. Find out how much they charge for the same products and services. Think about how you can be competitive in the market you are interested in. You might find that you need to adjust your original business plan. It is better to learn about potential problems in the market before you begin the business so that you can make changes without disrupting relationships with clients.

7. Willingness to be Flexible – No matter how much you research and plan for your business, things will happen that you do not expect. Be ready to roll with the punches and make necessary shifts when you have to so that your business can remain viable. Stick to your business plan as a general blueprint for your company, but allow yourself to make changes when the real world doesn’t follow the script you prepared before the business began operations.

Once you establish your earning power with your new business, you’ll need to purchase a life insurance policy to protect those who depend on your income. Shop the best rates at www.LifeInsuranceQuotes.info.

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3 Ways To Keep Your Employees Happy

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The job market today is extraordinarily competitive. Not only are there plenty of employees seeking work, but there are many different employers seeking quality staff. As a small business owner, consider it your job to be a beacon of light in the shadows of potential employers. As much as employees should seek to do their jobs well in order to keep their employment, employers need to offer incentives to keep great employees on board. This can make the difference between a great business plan strategy and a strategy which fails.

Trust Your Employees

There is always a fear as an employer of fraudulent employee claims and theft. This being said, there are many good employees who feel that they are automatically subject to being treated as untrustworthy. As an employer, do your best to give your staff the benefit of the doubt when it comes to being trusted, and treat them as respectfully as you can without turning a blind eye to warning signals. Always protect yourself by performing reference checks before hiring staff members, and you shouldn’t have to worry too much about issues at your small business.

Offer Employee Benefits

One of the premiere things that potential staff are looking for in an employer is the presence of a reliable group health insurance plan. If your company offers health coverage to your staff, even partially, it will set you apart from so many other employers in your industry. In order to keep useful employees, you need to show them that the health and wellness of their family is a priority for you as an employer. You can also offer other benefits, such as paid vacation days, a substancial discount on company products or services, and more.

Educate Your Staff

As a business owner, it’s important to you to be ahead of the game when it comes to business strategies and investments. As such, keeping your staff involved in furthering their education is almost always beneficial. Workshops, seminars, conferences and night school courses are an amazing way to keep your employees on the cutting edge of industry, as well as engaging them in staying interested in the field. Consistent challenges and learning create motivated, forward thinkers which stand to benefit your company in a big way. Consider partial funding for these programs as a long-term investment in your staff, as well as your business, and consider that this practice will be money well spent. These types of incentives are often tax deductible, so talk to your accountant to find out just what you can afford.

Allison writes with GroupHealthInsurance.org, which allows you to find an affordable plan that gives your employees great health coverage.

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Five Tips for Better Marketing

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Marketing has long been critical to the very survival of the vast majority of businesses. Good marketing can ensure that a business is noticed by its target audience for all the right reasons and can direct potential customers to the company.

Conversely, bad marketing has the potential to damage the reputation of the company or at least fail to direct potential customers to the business. Every business should therefore be interested in improving their marketing techniques and making sure that they are taking full advantage of the marketing opportunities available to them.

Efficiency

Efficiency is essential to good marketing. The business wants to generate the most interest in its products and services for the lowest price. Services such as promotional texts and voice calls have the potential to reach a vast target audience at a relatively low cost. Once the message or voice recording has been created it is simply automatically distributed on a large scale.

Global reach

It makes good business sense for companies to invest in marketing techniques which have access to significant global markets. For example, mobile phone networks and social networking websites have billions and millions of subscribers respectively. Making use of such potential would be more efficient and more beneficial than a technique with laser scope.

An indirect approach

While direct marketing does have its place, indirect marketing can also prove to be beneficial. By using modern avenues of telecommunications through techniques such as surveys and competitions the business can access a market which may not be as responsive to direct marketing. Such methods are more subtle but do provide the company with much needed positive publicity.

A personal touch

While attempting to personalise a marketing campaign can pull in the opposite direction to creating an efficient marketing campaign, an effective balance can be achieved. For example, if the company were to send voice messages a generic template could be used but with an element specific to each recipient. That way the business can enjoy the economies of scale of mass marketing but still make each recipient feel valued.

Follow market trends

While there is a general trend toward mobile communications within the field of business marketing there are more subtle trends within this general field. Currently, many businesses are focusing much of their energies toward marketing through social networking websites. With millions of users worldwide and access through mobile phones the potential market is impressive.

However, when it comes to business marketing it is important not only to be able to determine which means of marketing would be most effective at present but to also predict future market trends. By doing so, the company can remain ahead in the field of marketing and be able to react instantly when a different avenue of business marketing becomes more relevant to the company. In this manner the business can ensure that it remains at the very forefront of business marketing and can draw people to the company.

Article by Crispin Jones for Collstream. If you want to send voice messages or promotional texts, click here.

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5 Small Business Start Up Mistakes to Avoid

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Starting a new small business is exciting. It takes skill and faith to get a new business up and running. Even if you’re an expert in your chosen field, you’re not guaranteed to find success. By avoiding five common pitfalls, new small business owners can further their chances of finding success.

1. Planning is a Necessity
A new business venture may start out as a dream in your head, but in order to be successful it needs to grow beyond that. Create a specific and targeted business plan in the initial stages. Also make a financial forecast, considering the obstacles the new business is likely to encounter. A profit and loss forecast and a break even analysis are also useful tools. Any prospective business owner who is unfamiliar with these types of financial planning might want to consider bringing in a financial consultant to help them create viable and realistic projections. Once these are in place, the trick is to stick with them. The success of your company may depend upon it.

2. Borrowing Large Amounts of Money
When starting up a small business, expenses are unavoidable. However, it’s not a good idea to start your business with an enormous load of debt. Use savings instead and when the business needs an influx of cash, think about getting no faxing payday loans. These smaller short term loans can see your company past any financial hiccups without making you or the business responsible for a ton of new debt. These payday loans are easy to manage and take only a week or two to pay back, just long enough to get you through an immediate crisis.

3. Don’t Go on a Hiring Spree
Most new businesses cannot support several employees. Even if you feel overworked, it’s not necessarily the right time to bring on help. Hiring an employee is an expensive prospect. You’ll have expenses like workers compensation insurance and unemployment taxes. You’ll have to pay a salary and learn how to deduct state and federal taxes as well as Social Security and Medicare. A few employees are a whole new world of responsibility. Don’t take the step unless it’s absolutely necessary.

4. Dealing with Unrealistic Expectations
A new business venture begins with optimism. The entrepreneur sees nowhere to go but up. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic outlook. Any business may suffer setbacks. Don’t expect to earn a profit for the first year or two and have a contingency plan in place in case things don’t go as planned.

5. Don’t Make Decisions without Research
Deciding on a course of action such as how to market your new business or whether to rent new office space can seriously affect your business. Avoid rash decision making. Take your time and review all of your options before deciding on a course of action.

Success with a small business takes dedication and skill. Avoid these common mistakes and your chance for success will increase.

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