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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESS
About 33 % of consumers are not connecting with brands on social networks, according to a new report by interactive marketing firm Razorfish. Razorfish surveyed 1,000 consumers who reported both social media and ecommerce activity with the goal to find out how social media influences their purchasing decisions. 80 % were members of at least one social network and 40 % were active in two. -Social media has quickly become one of the most talked-about topics in marketing. We didn’t want this report to just be more of the same, so instead we took a different, more scientific approach to evaluating this phenomena and measuring its effects,- said Shiv Singh, VP and Global Social Media Lead at Razorfish. -Today, a brand’s actions speak louder than its words and pushing out messages is no longer enough to excite and engage consumers.- The question is now: How about you the small businesses and your social media activities? More than brand companies, small and medium business should step into social media marketing to expand your message and spread the word to the potential client, to make him informed, to make him interested and to make him a paid customer. To bother your targeted audience with outbound advertising messages is not enough in today’s times. The user out there has established some kind of personal advertising filter. Moreover he wants to find valuable information when he decides that he needs them, not when you decide to send him message through email marketing, radio or TV commercials, or call him by phone and disturb his daily doing. You need to build your credibility to address your marketing message. You need to be personal and authentic and to avoid sounding like an advertisement. Behelpfuland bevaluableofferrelevant content. This is the way how you as a small business cangain customer loyalty. – BE THE FLAME NOT THE MOTH! – Read more great posts like this one, visit -Blog Ad Monkey-. Stay tuned and subscribe to my blog viaRSSto get more great posts like this one. Your comments and ideas are welcome!
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Perhaps one of the most challenging career and employment situations imaginable takes place every single day when individuals serving in the military prepare to move from military service to a new career. This involves thousands of motivated government employees who at first glance should have absolutely no trouble in obtaining an appropriate job. It is hard to imagine any prospective employees who would have more motivation to work hard and succeed in whatever they do.
Despite initial appearances, military personnel are currently experiencing a high unemployment and underemployment rate. Perhaps because of this or outdated assumptions about the value of all forms of college education, the first step in military transition to business careers is often a decision to obtain a college degree. This can prove to be the right move in some cases, but it can also become an expensive mistake.
The difference between education and training is frequently misunderstood by many people, and such misunderstandings probably contribute to a disproportionate percentage of career choices focusing on educational institutions instead of more specialized (and much cheaper) career training programs. While advanced education has a special place for specific purposes and goals, it is simply not the best career choice in a surprising number of cases. One of the best possible illustrations of this dilemma occurs when someone is departing from the military. In this situation, education can appear to be the “easy” decision. But with more scrutiny, training frequently emerges as the “smart” decision.
Just as specialized business training is usually one of the most cost-effective strategies available to small businesses, the selection of a practical career training program will often prove to be a more cost-effective military transition alternative in comparison to other options that include lengthy and expensive university studies. It is true that the most viable and appropriate training choices will require some investigative time and effort to evaluate thoroughly. In large part this is due to the fact that colleges and universities have extensive marketing resources to advertise and persuade while the less well-known training opportunities are more of a “word of mouth” situation.
For example, one of the most effective career training situations devotes no resources whatsoever to advertising and lobbying. In this case the program leads to a small business finance consulting career. Because overhead is much less than the highly-capitalized universities, the cost of such services are understandably much less. Unfortunately it is not always true that you get what you pay for, so a prudent military transition will require due diligence from start to finish.
Stephen Bush has provided candid business advice to small business owners for over 30 years. He specializes in business negotiating and business proposal writing. Steve offers career training programs for small business finance consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is a U.S. Navy veteran who works directly with individuals leaving military service and helps with the transition to a small business career.
According to the NY Times, one of the ten reasons small businesses fail is due to improper or lack of accounting. Corporations spend a significant amount of money and hire accountants to report on the status of the company and maintain day to day operations. Yet, many small businesses end up failing to maintain proper accounting.
Accounting Helps with Operating Your Business
Proper Accounting helps pay employees and vendors; helps with customer invoicing, helps post payments; tracks your business assets and liabilities, and most importantly, it calculates any profits and losses. Small businesses cannot operate if they can not pay their employees or ignore vendors bills and continue receiving materials for their products. Often, those functions are ignored by small businesses due to lack of time thus resulting to work stoppages.
Accounting Provides Feedback
At the end of every period, may it be monthly or yearly, as small business owners, you have some idea of how you performed and accounting provides you the validation you need. It will tell you if you made a profit or loss. If you happen to have a loss, it will determine where your biggest expenses are coming from and if you did make a profit and still left with a small cash balance, it will probably tell you which customers havent paid and which customers are now delinquent. Small businesses fail when what they think is not true and this is the most important reason why small businesses need accounting.
Accounting Helps Comply With Legal and Contractual Obligations
The IRS, other government agencies, and banking covenants require businesses to provide a detailed accounting of their revenue and expenses. Depending on the size and entity type, it also requires you to have a balance sheet or listing of assets, liabilities, and equity. Accounting provides you with that information easily. It provides business owners the right amount of withholding, deductions, and back-up just incase they get audited.
Accounting Provides Non-Financial Insights
Many small businesses fail to realize that accounting is not just financial information. It has information on timing, customer information, employee information, and other information that may not necessarily be part of your financials. For example. a key non-financial trend that small business could pay attention to is their customer demographics, you can identify what your customers age, location, and how they order products and services and you can zone in on advertising to that demographics thus increasing revenue and could lead to increased profit. Another, key non-financial trend small business can pay attention to is monthly sales figures, when a small business realize that a continuous trend of slow monthly per year. A small business could either ramp-up advertising 30 days before as anticipation of the slow month or they could plan a family vacation.
Statistics prove that the demand for unsecured small business loans have been rapidly increasing over the past few years. The idea of an unsecured loan creates new financial horizons for individuals that may not have collateral. This is also of special interest to new business owners that are interested in entering a new business venture. Potential business owners are always interested in a business loan to provide working capital for their new endeavor.
The paradox when applying for most unsecured small business loan programs is that a new business owner does not yet have any collateral. This can quickly shatter a business dream. The only other consideration such an individual can have is to use his or her personal assets to secure a loan. But new business ventures have a risk associated with them, once that many people are not willing to transfer to their hard earned assets.
Collateral is often the biggest obstacle to the prospective business owner. Not only does a new business not yet have any commercial collateral to provide; but it is asking a lot for an entrepreneur to put his hard earned personal assets at risk in order to start a new business venture. Yet, without collateral, getting a business financing can sometimes seem impossible.
Small entrepreneurs, who do not have collateral to offer, find unsecured small business loans as an alternative, which help them expand their business to new horizons. They are only required to make regular repayments to the creditor without any apprehension of their business assets being repossessed by the lender in case of defaults. At the same time, small businessmen who opt for unsecured small business loans should be prepared to pay a little higher interest as compared to other credit options. However, interest rates may vary depending upon the credit history of the businessmen.
No collateral unsecured small business loan products are now available through select lenders, although they can still be relatively difficult to find among traditional banks and lenders. The revolutionizing force is coming from a plethora of web based lenders that are offering innovative new financial solutions, including no collateral loans. A variety of unsecured loan products for business and personal needs can be found via web based financial companies.
Applying for unsecured small business loans is easy, all the business owner need to do is just go on line and submit their loan details. Then the lenders will refer back to you with the loan decision in a few days.
Small Business Cash Advance is almost similar to a small amount of business loan your business house applies and receives the funding and can utilize the funds for various uses in the business and your business house needs to repay the advance. However, there are substantial differences.
The Small Business Cash Advance is by nature, unsecured. The approval for business cash advance is not subject to the investigation or scrutiny that is undertaken in the case of a small business loan. You do not need to prove your credentials or demonstrate your plan.
Additionally, Small Business Cash Advance does not require any kind of share in equity ownership in the business house and the business house is free to utilize the funds in any manner whatsoever, as is required. The lenders of Small Business Cash Advance determine the amount of Small Business Cash Advance based on the amount of cash flow from the monthly credit card charges.
The approval rates of Small Business Cash Advance almost ten times higher than that of a regular bank loan. This is mainly because of the multiple barriers and the long winding application cycles and processes banks thrust upon the loan applicant.
If you want to procure a Small Business Cash Advance from any of the institutional lenders, your business house will have to accept the credit cards as a standard mode of payment.
The applicant of the Small Business Cash Advance will have to process a minimum amount as credit card sales every month, and additionally, the business must have been operational for a period of at least a year. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.
The biggest advantage is that the funding is made steady and is always consistently available to the applicant business house so that at no point in time, lack of cash becomes a hindrance in the development of the business and puts the business house in difficulties.
Small Business cash advances can be repaid by credit card sales and the repayments are usually processed through the merchant account of the business house. All other kinds of payments received in the form of check, cash or any other means are not accepted for repayment. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.
The biggest advantage with the small business cash advances is that they are hassle free and the business houses can procure such loans or advances very easily and with minimal documentation. The only downside is that these advances are unsecured and unsecured business cash advance can tend to become a liability.
Many small businesses often ignore the minor glitches which cause major problems in their small businesses. There are people or situations which we often get used to and ignore, without realizing that they may be the main cause of a crisis situation. You could be strangling your small business growth without even realizing it.
Organizational growth demands updated strategies every quarter. It does not matter whether you are self-employed, running a home-based business or an employer. Leaders have to implement organizational updates every now and then in order to enhance growth strategies and speed up the entire growth process. Some hire help, while others acquire business cash advance in order to progress and expand.
We have created a list of how you can upgrade your growth strategies and take your small business to the next level. Firstly, you should
Remove the outlived
There might be services being offered and products being produced which may not be of any value to your business. You need to make a list of such services which no longer add value to your small business growth and have outlived the market demand.
Re-organize and strategize companys strategic goals
Reevaluate whether your mission statement matches your goals or not. You will know how much work being done is irrelevant to your small business needs and market demand. Redefine your objectives in pragmatic measureable terms.
Distractions and competitions among your employees is another point which should be considered. Other issues may have distracted them from your small business goals. There may be continuous concerns hampering growth among the employees and creating problems in their professional relationship and everyday work.
Create different ways to leverage employee talents
Work efficiency can only be improved by leveraging employee talent in different areas. Set meetings with them; ask them what they want to do and how they can add value to your companys goals. Help them review their skills in order to sharpen them. There might be unproductive or negative employees, but firing them may not be the solution. Hence, move them to positions and projects where their skills can be utilized effectively.
Check the Budget Lists
In many cases you subscribe, acquire business loans, purchase and hire help which may not be required by the company anymore. And all these might be charging you a lot of cash without you even realizing it. To save your working capital, these budgetary leaks should be evaluated and diminished. Conducting a quarterly review is extremely useful, knowing where your money is going will help you fight the unnecessary charges involved and will help you improve your credit score. Check your taxes and be ready for the upcoming TAX season.
As a small business owner, it is very important to project the best of your business and impress your callers. The auto attendant VoIP phone system can make your small business sound more professional. It has extensive advanced call handling features incorporated into it to manage all your business calls efficiently and make your business look like a Fortune 500 company.
Sphisticated Call Handling Service
Without the support of a live telephone operator, the auto attendant can perform all call handling functions reliably and efficiently. Callers are greeted with professional sounding welcome messages. These messages can be personalized to present your business in a professional manner. Calls are managed through interactive, impressive voice responses as their calls are connected to extension lines.
As an initial interface in call management, it is possible to connect calls to the required extensions using a menu of options including dial by extension, dial by name, dial by department or zero out to live operator. With these professional phone services offered by the virtual receptionist, the callers will feel like they are interacting with an established company.
Useful VoIP Auto Attendant Solutions
The auto attendant offers impressive call management features which include:
Find-me/Follow-me call forwarding If you are traveling or in some distant location, the calls to your office will be efficiently redirected to the given cell numbers, home phones or other personal numbers. Calls to a certain phone extension will be routed through the predefined list one by one, until someone attends the call.
Voicemail to Email If any calls are unattended, they will be automatically directed to the voice mail boxes of these phone systems. These voice messages will be further forwarded to your email account. The call forwarding system of the PBX system offers your workers a lot of independence as they can work from home or any other convenient location.
Music on Transfer You can upload music-on-hold facility to facilitate your callers, when the calls are being transferred to a different extension.
Features and functionalities are not just limited to these. Other functionalities include groups, conference rooms, call queues and much more. The auto attendant phone system to makes your small business sound more professional and credible.
WordPress is one of the most essential and highly flexible content management system. It serves as one of the founder for a blog or for fully fledged small business website especially for the online marketing or ecommerce. Now it has become easy to add new pages and post to your blog with WordPress built site. It does not require any HTML, CSS or any other mind numbing acronyms.
It’s quite easy to customize the look of your website in order to make it unique. Hundreds of Plugins can be added in order to add new capabilities thereafter your site will become search-friendly. By adding All in One SEO Pack you can easily optimize each and every page/post in order to boost website in search engine ranking. So in order to build a site like this for small business website you will have to download WordPress from WordPress.org. Here the software is free this is due to its open source feature. Adding to its better features you can also avail themes and plugins in free. Here the only thing you would have to do is to pay for the web hosting that would be as low as $6 per month. Or on the other hand you can also host WordPress site on your own server.
Thereafter you will need web hosting service that supports PHP version 5.2.4 or greater along with MySQL version 5.0 or greater. In this situation Apache or Nginx is most recommended. It is most robust and full of features for running the WordPress inorder to create free wordpress site. After this work will be done without any problem. In the directory Web hosts is listed here you would have to select Bluehost, in this the service is featured in a very prominent manner, it provides unlimited disk storage, monthly data transfer and email address.
Bluehost hosting account has become quite easy with Bluehost installing WordPress. One would only have to install it by using Bluehost’s Web-based control panel and then follow the steps 2 through 6 to create wordpress site free.
Blogs have revolutionized the way that people do business. It seems that all the big companies are making use of blogs to promote themselves and market their products. However, corporate blogs aren’t just for big companies. Blogs can also be utilized by small businesses with great effect.
Setting up a small business blog is easy and has many benefits. They are powerful promotional tools and a great way to communicate with clients.
Here are some tips on using a small business blog:
1. Write Naturally and Honestly
Small business blogs can be more personal than large corporate blogs. It’s best to write in way that feels natural to you. Avoid writing needlessly complex posts filled with technical jargon. Doing so will endear customers and promote conversation, which is what a blog is for, after all.
As with any blog, you must always tell the truth. Blogs should address all issues, be it good or bad. This will ultimately beneficial as it helps builds trust the customers.
2. Post often and Respond to Comments
Remember to post frequently. Provide readers with plenty of content, so that they will keep coming back to your blog.
Comments are a vital part of blogs, providing useful feedback. Respond to reader comments often to build strong ties between them and your company.
3. Promote your business, Promote yourself
A small business blog is an innovative way to promote a business.
A good technique is to document your projects. This is good way to show how capable you are at your profession and to garner trust. This is especially important with small business, where reputations can make a big difference.
Blogs allow for unparalleled interaction with customers. Use this to get closer to clients, and to build bonds of trust. The information gained from readers is invaluable for improving your small business.
4. Be Informed and Informative
Read plenty of other blogs to gain useful information. Post comments and promote your own blog. Be an active part of the blogosphere.
Post links of related information on your blog, and use technology like RSS/Atom feeds to constantly provide your blog with interesting content. This is a great way to promote your business and be informed of everything concerning you industry. Besides informing your readers, it can lead to interaction and possible collaborations with other businesses, all of which will benefit a small business.
5. Search Engines
For those who wish to achieve higher search engine rankings, a blog can be an invaluable asset. The constant updating combined with the right keywords can raise search engine results dramatically.
Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals
For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.
There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:
* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals
Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.
An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.