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Posts Tagged ‘small business’


Friday Small Business Roundup: Get Ready for Holiday Retail and More

August 23rd, 2013 ::

Is Your Ecommerce Site Making These 5 Fatal Mistakes? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post and find out what you might be doing wrong.

Then start getting your ecommerce site ready for holiday 2013 retail: Read 3 Ways Email Can Boost Your 2013 Holiday Sales.

Get more out of your social media presence. Read Monika Jansen’s tips on How to Become an Industry Influencer.

Then check out her post 13 Small Changes That Will Greatly Improve Your Social Media Marketing for quick tweaks you can make right away.

Are you marketing to moms? Learn the secrets to attracting these powerful consumers in Karen Axelton’s post, When Marketing to Moms, Mobile and Social Are Key.

How Do Your Healthiness Habits Measure Up? Learn how you compare to other small business owners in Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Productivity Pointers and More

July 19th, 2013 ::

There’s a hot new market you need to know about. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post Are Upscale Hispanics the New Baby Boomers? 

Want to attract more attention to your business? Read Monika Jansen’s 8 Tips For Hosting a Successful Twitter Chat to get noticed online.

Then take your marketing up a notch–read Monika Jansen’s post How to Self-Publish and Market a Book.

To get more done every day, start by reading Rieva Lesonsky’s post The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Small Business Owners.

Grow your business even more with crowdsourcing. Read Monika Jansen’s 4 Ways Crowdsourcing Can Help Grow Your Business to learn how.

 

Friday Small Business Roundup: Customer Service and More

June 14th, 2013 ::

What Are Consumers Spending on This Summer—and How Can You Get Your Share? Read Karen Axelton’s post to find out.

Is a Talent Shortage Hurting Your Customer Service? Find out why small business owners still struggle to fill jobs in Rieva Lesonsky’s post.

Are you scrimping on new technology? It could be hurting your business. Read Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post How Does Your Small Business’s IT Spending Measure Up? to learn whether you’re getting left behind.

Dan Zarrella’s new book has valuable lessons for small business owners. Get the scoop in Monika Jansen’s series, Top Takeaways From the Science of Marketing, Part 1, and Top Takeaways From the Science of Marketing, Part 2.

Is your customer service up to par? Find out if you’ve got The 4 Factors in Great Customer Service.

People Are Talking—About Your Customer Service, That Is. To make sure they’re saying nice things, read  Rieva Lesonsky’s advice.

Want to learn something new? Read Monika Jansen’s post 6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Graphic Design Skills.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Smarter Online Marketing and More

May 24th, 2013 ::

You’re sending out emails, but is anyone responding? If not, Monika Jansen has 9 Easy Ways to Improve Email Click-Through Rates.

What are customer personas and how can they help your marketing? Find out in 4 Easy Steps to Create Customer Personas, by Monika Jansen.

It doesn’t matter how many customers you attract to your business if they never come back a second time. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post Is Your Business Driving Customers Crazy? to make sure you’re not driving customers away.

If you haven’t updated your business website since 1999, maybe it’s time to read Monika Jansen’s 8 Signs It’s Time for a New Website.

Hiring doesn’t have to mean the same old, same old. For Your Next Hire, Think Out of the Box, by Rieva Lesonsky, shows you some new ways to think about hiring.

Then expand your hiring horizons by reading Rieva Lesonsky’s How to Use Social Media to Find Job Candidates.

Do you own a restaurant? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to learn What Matters Most to Restaurant Customers.

How Are Your Employees Using Mobile Devices? See if you measure up in Rieva Lesonsky’s post.

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.

Showrooming, Meet Webrooming

May 6th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

What do customers want from their retail experiences today? Well, if your business includes both an ecommerce site and a physical location, then you’re one step ahead of the game. A new study from Accenture found what customers want most is the ability to shop anytime, any way and anywhere they want to—so the more options you can offer, the better.

Some 89 percent of consumers in The Accenture Seamless Retail Study say it’s important for retailers to let them shop for products however is most convenient for them. But retailers still have a way to go to accomplish this goal. While 94 percent say shopping in-store is easy, and 74 percent say online shopping is easy, just 26 percent say it’s easy to shop on a mobile phone.

While online shopping is growing, and 43 percent of respondents say they plan to shop more online in the future, it’s not necessarily growing at the expense of in-store shopping. In fact, although 73 percent of shoppers engage in showrooming (examining products in a retail store and then buying them online), a whopping 88 percent participate in “webrooming”—looking at products online and then heading to a physical store to make the purchase.

Regardless of their original shopping touchpoint – in-store, online or mobile – consumers expect their interaction with retailers to be a customized, uncomplicated and instantaneous experience, according to the survey. The research also indicates that consistency weighs heavily on the consumer experience. For example, 73 percent of consumers expect a retailer’s online pricing to be the same as its in-store pricing, and 61 percent expect a retailer’s online promotions to be the same as its in-store promotions.

The biggest takeaway from the survey: Consumers expect the same pricing, promotions and products in your physical store and your ecommerce site. They also expect the same level of service and ease of use in both places.

How important is speed to online and offline shoppers? Well, that depends:

  • 25 percent would wait up to 2 weeks to get the product if it means they get free shipping.
  • 24 percent say a same-day delivery option is important.
  • Of those, 30 percent will pay $5 to $10, and 19 percent will pay $11 to $20, for same-day delivery.

Asked what they would do if a store had a product they wanted but it was after business hours, 39 percent would wait for the store to open and buy it there; 36 percent would buy it online from the same retailer; and 22 percent would buy it elsewhere online.

What type of advertising influences retail shoppers? Physical and email coupons and offers ranked number-one, cited by 56 percent of respondents. Almost half (49 percent) were influenced by in-store offers. The least effective ads were online popup or banner ads, with 69 and 62 percent respectively saying these ads “never” influence what they buy.

What’s the lesson from this research? Far from being a drain on an ecommerce business, a physical store is still a “crucial asset” in differentiating your business from purely online retailers, the report contends. If you have both online and physical locations, the key is to make sure your brand and your shopping experience are consistent at every stage of the purchase process, and every place the customer might encounter it.

Image by Flickr user lululemon athletica (Creative Commons)

 

 

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.

What Kind of Hire Is Right for Your Business?

May 3rd, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you need more help in your growing small business? That’s a nice problem to have. If you’re considering hiring someone to handle some of your workload, the first step is considering what kind of hire will fit best with your needs. Your options aren’t limited to full-time, permanent employees. Here are some possibilities and the pros and cons of each.

Permanent, full-time workers

Pros: Permanent employees tend to be more loyal because they typically receive benefits and perceive their jobs as having more opportunities for advancement. Time and money spent in training this type of employee in your processes and systems is typically well spent since they’ll be around for the long haul.

Cons: If you want to compete with bigger companies for permanent, full-time workers, you will need to offer benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) plans and paid time off. The cost of benefits can add as much as 20 to 30 percent to a worker’s salary, making full-time employees expensive.

Part-time workers

Pros: Part-time workers can be a great solution if you don’t need or can’t afford a full-time employee. Because many part-time workers only want to work nights or weekend hours, they can enable you to fill time slots that traditional 9-to-5 employees don’t want. You typically won’t need to offer benefits, either, further saving on costs.

Cons: Because they often have busy schedules outside work (that’s why they want to work part-time), some part-time workers can be unreliable. They may lack the dedication and skills you need.

Temporary workers

Pros: Temporary workers are a good option to handle busy seasons in your company without having to staff up or down. You can get temporary workers on board quickly, and you don’t have to deal with payroll or legal issues—the temporary agency handles all that.

Cons: It still takes time to get temporary workers up to speed on your company’s systems and procedures, and they typically won’t be as committed as actual employees.

Outsourced contractors

Pros: By using outside contractors to handle projects in your business, you can gain access to very skilled workers without having to pay benefits or invest in training. As with temporary workers, you can use contractors to staff up or down as needed quickly.

Cons: “Independent” contractors means just that—you can’t control how the contractors work, and if they get a bigger project, they may put yours on the back burner. An unreliable or unresponsive contractor can leave you in the lurch.

None of these options is inherently better or worse than the other—it’s simply a matter of weighing the pros and cons for your specific situation and needs.

Image by Flickr user StockMonkeys.com (Creative Commons)

 

 

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)