Hopefully your first day of March was not filled with snow like ours was in Massachusetts. For this week’s edition of Tips Thursday, we asked our Facebook community: What’s one area of your business that needs Spring Cleaning?
The common theme of the responses was the need for better organization as seen in these two comments:
Paris Alexander Horner -My filing cabinet and my storage room at my shop. Just finished “Spring Cleaning” in the shop, all new paint, lights, some new display fixtures…but the storage area is SCARY! I really need to de-clutter and make my filing system work better for me as well. Hard to do these “less fun” things even though I know they will really help. OK Vistaprint…you have challenged me to get started on these projects! Watch out back room at Eden’s Way…here I come!
Beachbodycoach Shawn Scott – Organization of paperwork! My desk looks like a volcano is about to erupt. Guess I will get to that today.
To help paint a better picture of ways to stay organized we’ll have a post chock-full of great organizational tips for you on Wednesday, so stay tuned!
In this week’s edition of Micro Business Tips Thursday, we turned to the Vistaprint Facebook community to answer a question that we’ve been thinking about for some time: As a small business owner, what are some tips for staying positive in a down economy?
It was tough deciding on a top answer, but after some deliberation we decided that Candina Gonzalez Johnson nailed the spirit of the holiday with this response:
“I made little Valentine’s gift bags inside is my business card (with a $5 off sticker), a mini catalog, a fruit roll up with a card attached that says…what would you do with an extra $1000? (My business) is hiring- “roll up” your profits and take them to the bank and a nail file. Taking them to some local business around my area, as a little Valentine Treat!! And hoping for a little business also ”
For this week’s edition of Micro Business Tips Thursday, we kept in the spirit of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and asked our Facebook community: What is the one thing that you did for your business last year that you would like to do over? Why?
While it might sound simple, many business owners forget to follow up and never know what could have happened with a lead or prospect.
What is the one thing that you would do over if you could from last year? Tell us in the comments section below! And be sure to check back next Thursday for your chance to have your tip featured in the next edition of the Micro Business Tips Thursday!
For this week’s edition of Micro Business Tips Thursday we asked our Vistaprint Facebook community where they did their best creative thinking, and as usual, we received a number of great responses. It was tough to choose just one to highlight, so instead, we’re featuring a few. The overall theme we noticed? Comfort. Whether it’s in the shower, while on a long walk, or simply when things are quiet, according to our Facebook fans, relaxation might be the true key to creativity!
Here are some examples of the comments we received from the community:
Matt Mohrlant: “When it comes to being creative I do my best thinking as I’m lying in bed to go to sleep at night, or when I’m taking a shower.”
Meredith Miner Reese: “When I go for a walk with the dogs and sometimes at work, when things are somewhat quiet.”
Scott Anthony: “When I am alone in a quiet in room in the morning.”
In the latest edition of Micro Business Tips Thursday we looked to our Facebook community to provide responses to a small business-related question. This time, we were curious about group buying — we wondered if any of our fans had used it, and if so, if it was successful for their small businesses — and in a first for us, we received more questions than answers. As a follow-up to Thursday’s responses, here is a general overview of group buying and how small businesses are using it.
If you type “group buying” into Google, you’ll get over 44,500,000 results. The most recognized player however, is probably Groupon, a Chicago-based company that has enjoyed explosive growth over the past few years. The business model is simple: Groupon typically keeps half of the money generated from the deal, and the other half goes to the featured retailer. If, for instance, a $160 dinner is offered for $80 on the site, Groupon and the restaurant split the $80. As we mentioned, Groupon is just one of many group buying sites. Others in the space include LivingSocial, Google Offers and Gilt.
What about my business? The big question, of course, is how does (or doesn’t) group buying fit into the world of a micro business owner? The first step might be looking at a few pros and cons. Although there are a number of advantages to consider when it comes to group buying, the biggest is likely the opportunity to generate buzz and in the end, reach a deep pool of new consumers you might not have been able to before. According to a Financial Timespiece, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason thinks his company is the perfect way for small businesses to do just that: “We’re hands down the best way to get customers through the door,” he says. “Which for small businesses is the difference between success and failure.” And while customer procurement is undoubtedly vital, small business owners also have to weigh a number of important risk factors like potential financial impact, and whether or not they’ll be able to honor the deal if it takes off.
ToMuse takes a hard look at whether or not group buying is cost effective, and ultimately comes to the conclusion that it really depends on the offer. And as for delivering on the deal, one cautionary tale comes in the form of a cupcake. Rachel Brown, who runs a small bakery outside of London, featured what she thought was a simple deal on Groupon (a 75 percent discount on a dozen cupcakes) that would maybe generate a few hundred orders. Instead, she was flooded, finally cutting the orders off at a staggering 8,500 — which, for the record, is a lot of cupcakes. According to the Daily Mail, her business took a massive hit. “Because [Brown’s] deal had been so generous and the demand so huge, she made a loss on every order – wiping out her profits for the entire year,” the publication reports.
In the end, not all businesses are the same, and the decision comes down to you as a small business owner asking the right questions, such as: Is the risk worth the potential gain? Can I afford to offer such a deep discount? Am I prepared to honor the terms of the offer if there’s no limit? We’ve only scratched the surface of group buying, but hopefully you’ve gained a little insight. Tell us in the comments section: Do you think you’ll consider group buying or will you stick to more traditional methods?
It’s Micro Business Tips Thursday, which means we look to our Vistaprint Facebook community to answer a specific question, and provide helpful advice we can share with other small business owners. Today, we asked if anyone planned on taking advantage of new products this year.
As usual, we received some great comments, but had to crown a winner. This week’s top tip came from Athena Creates of Jacksonville, Florida.
“I plan on including a QR code on anything that I have printed. Some will link to my Facebook fanpage and some will link to my website. Those codes are popping up everywhere now! I’m even going to have a vinyl one attached to my van that I also use for business purposes. So, I could be parked at the grocery store and someone walking by could scan my website into their smart phone quickly.”
Are you on the same page, and interested in exploring the use of QR codes this year? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments section! And be sure to check back next Thursday for another edition of the Micro Business Tip Thursday!
Earlier this year we rolled out a new feature on this blog called Micro Business Tips Thursday. The idea stemmed from a number of great tips left on our Facebook wall by Vistaprint customers to help other customers with small business advice. We decided to make it a weekly feature where we could get the front line view of pressing business questions and would publish the best answer as a blog post. Below is a list of the top five tips that came in from our community:
We received a number of great responses but couldn’t pick a clear winner between the answers of Mackinzie Kilma and Kelly Keans Engelkens. Since it is the holiday season we figured we’d spread the love and select two winners. Below are their answers, be sure to click on the links to their sites to see their tips in action:
“I sure do! This is my 1st Holiday and I wasn’t sure what I should do…so I played and I change it often! We added a Holiday 2011 page to our index and added lots of items that are just for the holidays and most are limited quantities. I also added a vote for your favorite Holiday scent running for 2 weeks then changed to vote for your favorite Holiday item that ran for 2 weeks as well as posting running results.” – Engelkens, Made2Burn
In the spirit of the calendar turning pages into December and the holiday’s fast approaching, we were curious to find out how micro business owners were going to cut through the holiday “noise” and help keep their business top of mind. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday among a variety of holiday sales, micro businesses can sometimes be lost in the shuffle. So for this week’s edition of Micro Business Tips Thursday, we asked the Vistaprint Facebook community: How do you keep on top of mind for customers over the holiday season?
While our response rate was low (we’ll chalk it up to busy holiday shoppers), we received a few great responses. However, we were drawn to the feedback provided by Clifton Castleman, who stated:
“A great way to stay on the minds of your customers is to not only advertise your business/products, but also do something that gives back to the community. Sponsor a charitable event or sponsor a food drive; something that puts your brand out there in a positive light!”
Great idea Clifton! We love the idea of volunteering and fund raising to help build awareness for a micro business. Not only does it give back to those in need, but as Clifton mentioned, it places your micro business in a positive light.
So what tips would you offer to help keep your micro business top of mind during the busy holiday season? We’d love to keep the conversation going by hearing your answers below! And be sure to check back next Thursday for another edition of the Micro Business Tip Thursday!
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Micro Business Perspectives was launched with the goal of giving micro businesses information and tools to more effectively market and manage their business. We’ll be posting answers to questions, tips and tricks we hope you will find useful in marketing and promoting your business, and suggestions about ways to explore new and innovative mediums. We’re also encouraging you to send us your own successful marketing stories. We’ll publish some of them on this blog so other micro businesses might learn from your example.