Grow Smart Business


Search Articles

Author Archive

Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: Women Breadwinners Call the Shots

May 6th, 2013 ::

Want to target your marketing efforts to the breadwinner in the family? According to The Luxury Institute’s recent survey, women are not only the CEOs of their families, but 41 percent of women included in the survey were also the family breadwinners, contributing more than 50 percent of the household income. However, despite the fact that these educated women are earning six-figure salaries, their top priority is still family. So how do you market to these highly educated, affluent women? Think about their busy schedules and high standards. Make sure your website is attractive, professional, easy to navigate and represented on social media. And finally, consider test marketing to this category to get some helpful feedback on what could be improved.

Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: What Are Your Customers Doing Online?

May 3rd, 2013 ::

What are your customers doing online? The answer is most likely social media, according to a new survey from Experian Marketing Services, which also showed five minutes of every hour is spent on shopping. A great deal of this social networking and shopping is happening on consumers’ mobile devices, which brings up the question, how are your online marketing efforts doing? Is your business well-represented on local search sites? How does your website look on a smartphone? Are you using social media to announce new products, promote daily specials and communicate with your customer? The truth is there’s probably more you could be doing, so make it a point to find out what you don’t know about online marketing and get your business on the right track.

Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: Are Big Trade Show Events Worth It?

May 2nd, 2013 ::

Times are definitely changing. Remember the days of setting up a booth at a big trade show to market your business and find vendors?  A new study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Exhibit & Event Marketers Association (E2MA) says marketers find it more and more challenging to measure ROI from big events. While marketers still find value in events, 40 percent of respondents are cutting back on big trade shows in favor of more targeted events, while 44 percent are choosing to host their own events. If you’re not sure whether a trade show or event is worth it, ask the event organizers for any analytics available and talk to previous attendees and exhibitors for their feedback.


The Venture Capital World Keeps Getting Smaller

May 2nd, 2013 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

Are you seeking venture capital to grow your small business? Then you’ll find a little good news, but mostly bad news, in the continued consolidation of U.S. venture capital firms. Venture capital firms raised $4.1 billion from 35 funds in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest report from Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

The good news: That’s an increase of 22 percent compared to the level of dollar commitments raised during the fourth quarter of 2012. The bad news? It’s a 14 percent decrease in terms of the number of funds.

Measured in terms of the number of funds, the first quarter of 2013 was the slowest quarter for venture capital fundraising since the third quarter of 2003. In addition, the majority of the total fundraising (57 percent) came from the top five venture capital funds, three of which are based in Massachusetts (Battery Ventures X, Third Rock Ventures III and Spark Capital IV).

“The first quarter venture fundraising activity really demonstrates the contracting and consolidating nature” of venture capital today, John Taylor, head of research for NVCA, said in announcing the report’s results. “The lack of a strong exit market is keeping many funds that would like to be raising money away from investors until they can demonstrate a track record. This dynamic is keeping the number of funds raised low.”

The trend is going to continue, Taylor says, warning entrepreneurs they should be prepared for fewer funds in 2013, and noting that this will ultimately decrease investment levels from traditional firms.

The NVCA reports that there were 30 follow-on funds and five new funds raised during the first quarter of 2013, for a 6-to-1 ratio of follow-on to new funds. (A “new” fund is defined as the first fund at a newly established venture capital firm.) Based on dollars raised, follow-on funds account for 98 percent of total dollar commitments made during the first quarter of 2013. This continues a trend that’s been going on during the past five years, in which time follow-on fund dollars have accounted for a whopping 92 percent of total venture capital fundraising.

Image by Flickr user tuppus (Creative Commons)

Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: Homeowner Dreams Live On

May 1st, 2013 ::

Despite the recent mortgage crises of the past few years, the American dream of owning a home is still alive and well, according to a new Gallup poll. The poll shows 56 percent of Americans still own their home and plan to continue to do so, while 25 percent don’t own a home but plan on buying one in the next 10 years. Only 11 percent of Americans don’t own a home and have no plans to buy one, and just 3 percent own a home but plan on selling it and renting in the next 10 years. The continued desire for home ownership is good news for home maintenance, remodeling, decor and improvement businesses.


Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: Why You Need a Privacy Policy

April 30th, 2013 ::

If you collect any kind of information about your customers online, you need a privacy policy. A privacy policy lets customers know exactly what information is tracked and tabulated and how it will be used. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Information Practice Principles, you must meet the principles of privacy protection by providing the following information in your policy: 1) Who is collecting the data; 2) The uses to which the data will be put; 3) Recipients of the data; 4) A description of what and how the data is collected; 5) Whether the requested data is voluntary or required, and what if the user refuses to comply; and 6) What steps are being taken to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and quality of the data.

Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: Fuel Prices Head Lower for Summer

April 29th, 2013 ::

How do fuel prices affect your business? Besides directly affecting your cost of shipping and receiving products, fuel prices affect how much money your customers have to spend on your business. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average price for a gallon of gas is expected to go down slightly from last year because of a small decline in crude oil prices and expected gasoline consumption, as well as higher gasoline inventory levels. Depending on where you live, the small savings could be good news for summer travelers wanting to visit your community, or the savings at the pump could mean prospects have more disposable cash to spend on your products or more services.


Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: Banks Optimistic About Small Businesses

April 26th, 2013 ::

If you’ve been holding off on applying for a small business loan, now might be the time to make your move. A recent survey conducted for FICO, an analytics software company, revealed 62 percent of U.S. banks are optimistic that the demands for small business loans would be met in the next six months. In addition, 89 percent of banks surveyed said the approval rate for small business loans would hold steady or increase, and 79 percent of respondents believe the delinquency rate on small business loans would remain flat or decrease in the same time period. The survey results could mean small businesses would have more capital to begin investing and hiring again.

Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: Plan for Disaster

April 25th, 2013 ::

With the tragedy of the Boston Marathon still fresh in everyone’s minds, it revives memories of other recent disasters that have misplaced citizens, families and businesses of all sizes. Even if your business is not located in a disaster-prone area, you never know what else could happen that would interrupt the normal operations of your company. Plan ahead by making sure your critical business information is backed up and stored offsite, diversify your suppliers in case something happens to their business and obtain business interruption insurance. Most important: Make a plan with employees to set up a chain of communication to make sure everyone is accounted for so you can let worried family members and coworkers know.

Web.com Small Business Tip of the Day: National Small Business Week

April 24th, 2013 ::

The Small Business Administration just announced this year’s National Small Business Week (NSBW) will be held June 17-June 21. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the SBA and the 50th anniversary for NSBW. To help celebrate, instead of just holding one event in Washington, DC where the festivities are traditionally held, the SBA is hosting daily events around the country. According to the SBA, this will help “ensure that during National Small Business Week we celebrate all small businesses…and reach more individuals in our small business communities.” Local events will be held in Seattle (6/17), Dallas (6/18), St. Louis (6/19), and Pittsburgh (6/20). If you can’t attend any of the local events, they will all be live-streamed on the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov.