Tuesday, August 23, 2016
1.) Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code, Make sure each of your business’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and update regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.
2.) Secure your networks, Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Problem solver. Communicator. Financial whiz. Running a small business involves wearing a lot of hats. If you’re looking to increase productivity and organization — or just make your life as an entrepreneur a little easier — a good app might be just what you need.
In the ever-growing and changing world of technology, “app” is a word heard all throughout the day. Whether it’s an alarm app that gets you out of bed, or a reviews app that helps you figure out where you want to have lunch, there’s no changing the fact that society as a whole uses mobile devices and the apps that accompany them to plan out their lives.
To help you navigate the seemingly endless sea of business apps, Nerdwallet compiled a list of their favorites. These 25 can help you stay organized and in charge, no matter which hat you’re wearing.
Friday, August 19, 2016
The internet has drastically affected all types of traditional small business marketing—except for one. Out-of-home advertising is the only type of advertising that hasn’t declined due to digital advertising, according to a report from Borrell. In fact, spending on out-of-home advertising has grown consistently since 2008–except for a small decline in 2014–and is expected to keep rising for the next five years.
As the name implies, out-of-home (OOH) advertising refers to advertising in places outside the home (as opposed to TV and radio advertising or ads in print media, which come into the home). OOH can include billboards, bus shelter or bench signage, posters and signage in malls, arenas and stadiums; bus, taxi or other vehicle wraps; pre-roll movie ads in theaters; posters and signage in commuter stations and inside buses, trains or railway cars; and “place-based” advertising such as signs in restaurants, bars and health clubs.
If your business targets a local clientele, out-of-home advertising can be a great addition to your marketing mix. According to industry organization OAAA, out-of-home advertising generates more positive emotional responses in viewers than TV or radio. It also reaches a captive audience—people can't “block” a transit station ad or change the channel. In addition, the cost per impression is significantly lower than that for TV, radio or many forms of online advertising.
Out-of-home advertising is also quite effective. Borrell reports that among consumers who viewed any out-of-home advertising in the past month, some 61 percent take action.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
It's an age-old conundrum that faces every entrepreneur planning their business: What do I pay myself? There are a lot of different theories when it comes to this issue.
To begin planning your pay, you need to put together your own personal financial statement that lists all your living expenses and any credit cards with outstanding balances as well as short-term and long-term loans. This may be one of the most difficult things you've ever had to do because you don't want to leave anything out. You want to make sure that your income from the business will be enough to cover your expenses.
As simple as this sounds, pay yourself enough to meet basic living requirements. Depending on your situation, that means enough income to cover your bills, food and other miscellaneous living expenses. Strike all other discretionary items from your life for a while and get used to just the bare necessities. If you are used to dining at fine restaurants seven days a week, get used to going down to the local McDonald's maybe once or twice a week.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
The economy’s continued expansion could have you, like many business owners, optimistic about your company’s growth prospects for this year and going forward.
Eighty-three percent of businesses are somewhat or extremely confident that their business will grow in 2016, and on average, these businesses expect a nearly 9 percent increase in annual revenue over the next 12 months, according to a recent survey through the Pepperdine Private Capital Access Index report. Businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue were among the most confident.
That means you may need capital to add employees, buy more inventory or purchase office space in the coming months. Small businesses, however, historically report a tough time obtaining financing, with half of applicant firms (especially among microbusinesses and startups) reporting in 2015 they were approved for less than the amount requested. The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration has cited industry estimates that 80 percent of small business loan applications are rejected.
The good news is that while marketplace lenders (such as OnDeck and LendingClub) have gotten a lot of publicity, it’s not just the upstarts trying to capture a slice of your small-business’ business-financing pie these days. Small business owners are a powerful bunch. After all, 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses (or 28 million) are small businesses, they create a lot of jobs, and nearly 98 percent of companies exporting goods from the U.S. are small firms, according to data from the SBA.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Credit Capital is possibly the most common reason hindering SME's from launching out. Small business owners spend months trying to acquire loans from banks often with little success and when the money finally comes, it becomes surprisingly difficult to keep a rein on spending all of it.
Telephone and internet connections, shipping contracts, printing, stationery are some of the numerous day to daily requirements of running an office and the expenses tend to add up.
Thankfully, operating business in the 21st Century comes with its perks. Technology is not only available to large companies but is also now affordable for small businesses including the possibility of integrated technologies that can provide services of two or more functions at the same time. Another advantage of technology is that it breaks the barriers of location, space and time.
New technologies have become increasingly simplified and user friendly so everyone can benefit from them regardless of age, physical ability or type of business; there really is something for everyone.
Friday, August 12, 2016
Facing the task of building a social media following for your small business can feel like an uphill battle. What’s the use of wracking your brain to create engaging content when you have just a few dozen followers? If you create a social media post, and there’s no one to read it, does it even matter?
Have faith, new business owner. It is worth your time to build and nurture your social media presence even when your business — and your online audience — are small.
Take some of the drudgery out of creating social media content by remembering what sort of content you enjoy seeing online. What makes you smile or teaches you something you want to share with a friend?
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Big and small businesses can learn to live side by side, Max Gulker said at a recent edition of AIER's Summer Speakers Series.
Gulker spoke about his new research brief, which talks about his interviews with small business owners who found an advantage that helped them survive or thrive.
He rejected “the Godzilla theory, that these giant businesses are unleashed on a town,” and the small businesses in their path are helpless to fight back. And he also rejected the idea that small businesses need charity-style campaigns to survive.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
The Internet has fundamentally changed behavior in the buying decision cycle, creating what we term the phenomenon of the self-sold customer. This article explores how to respond to digitally altered behavior in the buying cycle, deliver content to where it is most needed, and focus on the proven sales-generating power of SEO.
By empowering purchasers to conduct their own research online, the Web has created a "closed" environment—i.e., one isolated from pushy salespeople—where buying decision-makers are increasingly determining which vendors they want to procure from before the suppliers are even aware they're under consideration.
Buyers continue to look for answers to key questions: They still want to assess market trends, validate their own needs, and establish the credibility of companies and the veracity of their claims about their products and services.
But instead of waiting for a salesman to come calling, they're finding answers by tapping at a keyboard and staring at a screen. Accordingly, it is imperative for businesses both to be visible online and to ensure they coherently present content that provides appropriate answers at each stage of the buying cycle.
Monday, August 08, 2016
Businesses depend on email as the glue that pulls marketing tactics together, yet many otherwise-savvy marketers misuse email in a way that ultimately alienates customers.
Years ago, one-size-fits-all communications worked fine, and you might well have created one email for everyone and sent it once a week. Though it still happens, it's no longer the norm now that merchants can take advantage of more sophisticated customer intelligence.
Attention to the details can pay off. Email the right message to the right people, and you'll engage and delight your customers while driving more opens, clicks and sales.
Friday, August 05, 2016
The one major challenge I face as a CEO is this: Where do I turn for help? Who advises me? Who reviews my performance so I know whether or not I am doing well?
According to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, “Nearly two-thirds of CEOs do not receive outside leadership advice, but nearly all want it.”
One of the biggest realizations I have had as a CEO is that I am not the best at doing everything in my business and that is not my job. My job is to find people who are better than me in certain areas and build the best team that I can.
One of the biggest challenges I have had is figuring out how to hold myself accountable.
Thursday, August 04, 2016
Influencer marketing is rapidly gaining popularity among brand marketers, and according to recent research, nearly three-quarters of US marketers cite ongoing ambassadorships as one of the most effective uses of influencers.
Marketers use influencers in a variety of ways, from leaving a review for their product to mentioning their brand in some way on social networks. For many (70.6%), ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective influencer marketing tactic. Product reviews are a close second—more than two-thirds of respondents mentioned them as being the most effective use of influencers.
Brand mentions and sponsored content were other tactics marketers pointed out, and though affiliate links were also mentioned, few respondents cited them as being the most effective.
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
Company history in a business plan? Yes, it’s a good addition to some business plans, but not all.
When considering what to do with company history for your business plan, first consider the use of your business plan.
For the traditional business plan to be used as a business summary for potential investors, bank loan managers, partners, or legal requirements, a short summary of company history is usually appropriate.
As soon as history is relevant, of course, you cover the basic information. That includes when and where the business started and who started it. If the business has changed its formal legal entity, such as going from fictitious business name to LLC or corporation, that should be included.
Don’t assume that a brand-new startup has no history.
Monday, August 01, 2016
The Small Business FAQ is the place to go to for the basics – how many small businesses are in the United States, how many employees they have, and what their growth trends are.
A related tool, "Frequently Asked Questions About Small Business Finance," is also being released. The Finance FAQ outlines the borrowing and lending universe for startups and exiting small businesses, provides demographic information, and touches on important trends in the amount and modes of finance.
Small Business FAQ
In 2013, there were 28.8 million small businesses.
• Eighty percent, or 23 million, had no employees (termed “nonemployers”)
• Twenty percent, or 5.8 million, had paid employees
• There were 18,600 large businesses.
The number of small employers has increased after a decline during the recession, while the number of nonemployers has gradually increased since 1997
Small businesses borrow for four principal reasons: to start a business, purchase inventory, expand a business, and strengthen the firm’s financial foundation. Firms choose different means of financing depending on the intended purpose. Small businesses’ financing options typically fall into two categories: debt and equity. Other unconventional sources can also play a critical role in meeting a firm’s financial needs.
Friday, July 29, 2016
The speed at which Pokemon Go has spread is unprecedented. Less than a week after launch, this augmented reality mobile exploration game has been installed on twice as many phones as Tinder, it has double the engagement of Snapchat, and it is eclipsing Twitter in its percentage of daily active users.
People are spending so much time journeying around looking for Pokemon that getting sore legs from playing for hours on end has practically become its own meme.
Smart businesses have caught on too. As Pokemon Go users traverse their towns in search of Pokemon, local stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other businesses are capitalizing on this massive opportunity, driving huge amounts of foot traffic and conversions both with simple in-app purchases and creative marketing campaigns.
To start turning the ambulating gamers around you into your new best customers, all you need is to know how to play the game.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Preventing a cyber attack should be one of, if not the main goal of your IT department. Your press releases need to focus on things like your outstanding awards, exciting new product lines, and the addition of stellar new industry talent to your roster. You don’t want to be issuing press releases trying to explain how you leaked 1,500 customer identities or allowed other sensitive data to be exposed to the deep recesses of the Dark Web (like the much feared and dreaded Panama Papers) — or worse, published on the searchable Internet at large (Sony and Ashley Madison ring any bells?).
These kinds of press releases don’t start in your PR department, they begin at the IT drawing board. Security is no longer something businesses can afford to pile on to their existing IT infrastructures like icing on a cupcake. Security has to be included in the batter and baked into the IT infrastructure at the storage, application, and network levels. Only then is it ready to face the scary user level, not to mention the horrifying customer-facing level. Here’s how to assure a cyber attack doesn’t cause your IT department and the folks in PR some sleepless nights and a round of not-so-flattering press releases.