Posts Tagged ‘local business’
Friday, January 6th, 2012
Just as in the old days, word of mouth was one of the best forms of advertising. It is basically the same today in cyberspace. Online reviews about your business, yourself or your products can and do go a very long way in bringing customers in.
The way it works is that if you put your website on other sites for review, consumers will be able to review your site and make comments. As others come to the site, they will read the reviews and will be influenced by what they read. It’s just like word of mouth.
This is an easy way to market your business and put it in a glowing light with consumers, providing you are providing a good quality product, interact with your customers and are available to your customers.
On the other side of the coin, if you don’t provide good customer service, or your products are always shipped late or your website is just not user friendly, you will get bad reviews. This in turn will keep potentials shoppers from your site which will be bad for business.
Between reviews and social media sites, your on line presence will grow and so will sales. Give the review sites a chance. Try something new. You never know, this strategy may just boost your business better than you ever thought. And, every business needs a boost now and then.
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
Two percent doesn’t sound like much, does it? But, that small amount may not be so small when it’s taken out of your paycheck this year. Congress did not extend the 2% tax cuts for 2012, so now your take home pay may be less than you thought.
Apparently, if the tax cut had been extended, it would have hurt consumer spending and confidence. Well, let’s see. I suppose less money to take home will not cause the same thing? Especially for the lower income brackets.
Richard Rubin of Bloomberg Newsweek states:
Smaller businesses that use off-the-shelf software or prepare pay stubs by hand would also face difficulty complying with late changes.“It’s a complication in the employer’s life and I think the smaller employers are the ones who are going to feel the confusion more directly,” said Abe Schneier, a senior technical manager at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Washington.
People who work for themselves and pay both the employer and employee sides of the tax will have trouble ensuring they make the correct quarterly estimated tax payments, he said.
Schneier said he thought that large payroll providers would face complications, though would largely be able to manage the changes.
Small businesses need to consider that it is the beginning of the year and tax time is now. Because of the late changes, it is important to get started on your payroll taxes early, especially if you do them yourself. Some payroll software may not have the up-to-date information you will need.
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
If you are one of many people out of work and have been out of work for a while, take the initiative and start a small business. It is not as hare-brained as some may think. One, the United States needs more businesses and you need to go to work. Think about the skills you have and utilize them to start your own business.
New business start ups have been steadily declining for several reasons. However, the country needs new business as that is how this country was started, by entrepreneurship and hard work.
Even if it is not your skills, but maybe something in your area that needs a certain product. For instance, if you live in an area that does not have specialty furniture, like rustic furniture. If you know that there are enough people in the surrounding area that would purchase from your store, go for it. It could be any number of things that might be easy start up businesses in your community.
Options for financing include visiting with lenders in your area or applying for a small business loan through the small business administration. They have a number of resources available and can help those wishing to start a new business.
Another consideration is starting your business from home. If it is possible, it will save you thousands of dollars in start up costs alone.
There are a thousand ways you can start your own business. It also beats sitting around waiting for that job interview to call. Take the initiative and be your own salvation. Once you get the business going, you will be glad that you started it.
Sunday, December 18th, 2011
Just when you thought you had seen and heard it all, Amazon takes on a brave move to take business away from small business owners. This has caused small business owners to complain to the Retail Industry Leaders Association about the unfair competition.
Amazon has released a free app for iphone and smart phone users so that consumers can then go into any brick and mortar business, find something they are interested in, scan the bar code and see if Amazon has it at a lower cost.
This is the reason that small business owners are so mad. This is not really comparison shopping, it is more of a search for Amazon by users of the app. If the shopper finds what they are looking for, instead of buying it in the store, they will go home and order it online, get a discount for using the app and avoid paying sales tax.
And, to top it off, the new app comes out just before Christmas when all shoppers are trying to get in last minute purchases as cheaply as possible. Many business owners see it as an unfair advantage to Amazon. It could hurt an already shaky economy for small businesses.
The price checker app will check multiple items simply by scanning the bar code, taking a picture or speaking out loud what the product is. Of course, the product has to be an exact match. You can’t compare a Sony Playstation to a Nintendo. But, it is still easy to see why business owners are hopping mad. If a lot of shoppers use this new price checker, all they are going to do is visit several stores, compare the prices in the store to what Amazon is offering, and then a potential sale is lost.
It’s not that business owners don’t want Amazon to have any customers, it’s the fact that it is an unfair advantage. Brick and mortar businesses have to have prices a little higher because of sales tax. Amazon customers do not have to pay sales tax.
All in all, Amazon is not on the friendly list where small business owners are concerned. But, hopefully, most shoppers will want it now no matter the cost and still buy it while they have their hands on a product instead of having to wait for it to come in the mail. Especially here at Christmas when the mail service will be way behind and a chance of a present might not arrive in time.
Friday, December 2nd, 2011
It’s wonderful to have small mom and pop stores in local towns. That is what defines the town. Most people will stay loyal to their local shops because that is what helps the community stay alive.
Sadly, a lot of those same mom and pop stores are closing simply because they don’t have enough business in today’s world. This is due to more people using the internet for their purchases. For some, it is much easier to sit at home, in front of a computer, and purchase whatever you want and have it shipped, instead of visiting the local stores.
This is why it is more important than ever for those same stores to get a website and add a few products to the site and let people purchase from the site. It not only boosts the business owner’s revenue, but it puts that same business owner in the driver’s seat as far as keeping their doors open.
No one wants to see the quaint little corner market or antique store close. These businesses have been the mainstay for many small communities to stay alive and there is a bit of history and nostalgia associated with local business.
A challenge to all small business owners. Start a website, build your presence on the internet and get your business rolling again. The internet is here to stay and you should just hop right on and take your piece of the pie too.
You don’t even have to be computer savvy to do it. Hire a web designer. That person will get a domain name for you and design you a website according to your specifications. You will be surprised at how easy it is. You can then still retain the old world charm in the store itself, but your pocketbook will thank you.
Thursday, September 29th, 2011
When you wrote your About page, did you have a specific strategy or did you just “wing” it? If you aren’t satisfied with the content on your About page, ask yourself why you wrote it. Ask yourself what you expect your customers to get out of it.
The truth is, your About page isn’t really about you at all. It’s about what your customers expect to get from a business like yours.
With that in mind, here are 5 essential questions to answer on your About page so you can keep it customer-focused.
- What year did your business start? Customers want to know if you are a start up or if you have years of experience. If you have years of experience in your field but you started your business last month, highlight the fact that you’ve been working in your field for a long time. Your customers want to know.
- What inspired you to start your business? What customer need did you set out to solve? Does your business solve that problem?
- What makes your business unique or different from the competition? These are your selling points. Don’t be shy. Point them out and keep them focused on the needs of your customers.
- What service areas do you cover? This is very important for local businesses. If you travel to your customer’s location to perform a service, is there a limit to how far you’ll travel? Make it positive. If it’s practical, include a Google Map on your About page to put your business into perspective for your customer.
- What community services do you sponsor? Customers like to know you are involved in the community. Point out which organizations you support and why.
Every business has a story. The About page is where you tell your story. Keep it focused on your customers’ needs.
Friday, October 29th, 2010
You’ve likely heard of Google Places by now. But have you heard of Google Boost?
Currently, Google Boost is only available in Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston. But it should soon be available everywhere. And you’re going to love it when it is.
Essentially, Google Boost is paid search for local search. In your Boost ad you can put your business name and phone number, address, a description of your business, a snippet from your Google Place page along with the number of reviews you’ve had, and a link to your Google Place page. That actually seems like it’s a little more than an ordinary pay-per-click ad.
With a Googe Boost ad you stand a good chance of getting more traffic to your website. Like traditional PPC, you only pay for the ad when it’s clicked on. Unlike traditional PPC, you’ll be able to order your Google Boost ad directly from Google Places. And, of course, you get analytics with that as well.
The way pricing works for Google Boost is you set yourself a monthly budget then your ads run and when you’ve hit your budget they stop running.
One of the unique features of Google Boost is that your ads will run on Google Maps pages. So if people are performing a local search for your product or service then you stand a good chance of having your ad seen for those more narrow local searches. It’s a great advertising platform for local businesses.
Should you use Google Boost? Well, yes. But right now you can’t – unless you live in Chicago, San Francisco, or Houston. When it rolls out publicly everywhere, you should be one of the first businesses in your local community to try it out.