Hello everyone and happy Friday! We hope you had a great week. In this edition of the Micro Business Roundup, we’ve pulled together some great articles for you around what makes entrepreneurship work and why content is king of marketing; among other items . Also if you haven’t had a chance to check out our most recent Small Business Happiness Index results, be sure you do and let us know what you think. Have a great weekend!
A Short, Thoughtful Video on What Makes Entrepreneurship Work — Earlier this week Tim Berry, president and founder of Palo Alto Software shared this great short video (rounghly three and a half minutes) from the Kauffman Foundation. The video, titled “We are looking for the Magic Sauce” is a great video about how small businesses can help grow their businesses. Take a look and let us know your thoughts!
Why Content Marketing is King — Do you produce a lot of content, whether it be videos, blog posts, or posts/tweets, around your micro business and the industry you serve? Many feel that content marketing has surpassed other mediums as the preferred marketing tool for entrepreneurs. This recent Entrepreneur.com article takes a look at why content has been named “King” and how it can help grow your business effectively.
Sheldon Yellen: Why I Went on Undercover Boss – Many of you may know the popular show “Undercover Boss” that takes a high ranking official of a large company and places him in disguise among his peers to get a better sense of how his or her company is run “within the trenches.” Sheldon Yellen, CEO of $1 billion Belfor Holdings recently went on this television show and received a lot of valuable information about his company. Here’s a Q&A he did with Inc.com discussing his time on the show and why he was happy to have had the experience.
As Jobless Claims Rise, Businesses Try to Manage the Burden of Benefits — As a micro business owner, have you ever had to unemployment claims from an employee who left your company? Chances are you haven’t but it’s important to know the ins and outs of this complicated system so you know your rights and help protect your asset’s. This helpful New York Times article can help get you up to speed and provide a better understanding of how unemployment insurance work.
How Many Jobs Do Small Businesses Create? — There’s no secret that there are a ton of stats floating around about how influential small business is around creating jobs. But how many jobs do they really generate? According to John Tozzi in his recent Businessweek.com article, it depends on who you ask. Interestingly the U.S. government counts companies with fewer than 500 employees as “small businesses” its 65 percent statistic. As a reminder, Vistaprint measures a micro business as a company that has ten or fewer employees, including the owner.
We hope you had a great week. In this week’s edition of the Micro Business Roundup, we’ve put together five articles that we found interesting from the past week in small business news. Topics in this week’s edition include the remembrance to one of the great entrepreneurial minds of all times, Steve Jobs, as well as well as looking at the fear factor behind pricing your products or services among other topics. We hope you have a great weekend!
Remembering Apple’s Steve Jobs – As many of you know one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs, passed away this week. No matter your personal thoughts on Apple the company, there is little doubting that Jobs was one of the best at building a brand and marketing his company. Entrepreneur.com put together a collection of reactions of Jobs’ death from fellow entrepreneurs, tech personalities and other notable figures that put in a better light the legacy that Steve Jobs leaves behind.
9 Resources That Make You a Better Marketer on Twitter – While some micro business owners have found success with Twitter, many continue to struggle with how to utilize the social media platform effective. Robert Bruce of the popular site CopyBlogger.com put together nine resources that can help you market your micro business more efficiently. We’d be interested in hearing your feedback regarding Twitter to help market your business and if it’s been valuable for you.
Sell What Your Customers Want – You may recall last week we talked about expanding your micro business offerings and how you should go about it. Following up from that discussion, this recent Inc.com article takes a look at an entrepreneur who made the mistake of selling what he would want to purchase, instead of what his customers wanted. The article talks about the important of balance between offering a product you can provide at a high-quality while meeting the needs (and wants) of your customer base.
The New Baby Boom Generation: How to Profit from It – Does your micro business provide a product or service that could be of interest to the new baby boom generation? If you do, great! Now how do you go about marketing to this evolving group? This recent SmallBizTrends.com piece takes a look at the complex world of reaching this target demographic and how you can succeed at it. Our biggest take away was that you cannot assume your traditional marketing efforts are going to reach this new market of consumers. You need to remain savvy in the approach you take and not afraid to try new methods.
Overcoming the Fear Factor in Pricing – Perhaps one of the toughest aspects when creating your micro business is pricing your product or service offerings. While you don’t want to price yourself to high within the market, you also don’t want to sell your company short. To help you overcome this fear, check out this New York Times piece that looks at one small businesses owner fear of pricing and how he handles it. What have been your biggest concerns with pricing? How did you overcome them?
Hello everyone and happy Friday! In this week’s edition of the Micro Business Roundup, we wanted to compile a few useful articles that you may have missed this week after catching up from Labor Day weekend. Topics range from the importance of obtaining honest customer feedback to tips on how to hire for optimal growth of your micro business. We hope you have a great weekend!
Why You Need Honest Feedback and 3 Ways to Get It – Does your micro business offer outlets, such as suggestion cards or online form, for customers to give their feedback? Is your feedback method set-up in a way that customers feel comfortable providing their honest feedback, as in, their identity will remain anonymous? While feedback can hurt your pride, it does provide valuable insight that is needed to make your business run more efficient. This recent SmallBizTrends.com post will look at three ways you can insure you are securing honest feedback from your customers.
Nine NFL Stars Turned Entrepreneurs – While NFL Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway and you may have little in common, you’d be surprised what you do have in common: you both share the drive to be an entrepreneur. With the NFL season kicking off this week, Entrepreneur.com put together this interesting slideshow of a few NFL stars who have turned to entrepreneurship after their playing days. From owning and operating car dealerships, construction companies and even a cupcake shop, their stories may resemble how you got into business ownership!
Coping With a Natural Disaster – Over the past few weeks (and in years past), many areas of the country have been hit with natural disasters that have crippled businesses large and small. The New York Times along with Vince Morvillo, a yachts dealership owner, prepared a video which offers advice to businesses on the East Coast that may have been affected by the recent hurricane. What coping tips would you add to this video?
7 September Events That Will Likely Affect My Business in 2012 – Gene Marks is a small business just like you. As you kickoff your fall season, Mr. Marks discusses seven events in a recent HuffingtonPost.com article that will likely affect his (and maybe your) business for the coming year. Though we must admit, we’re confident that the Philadelphia Phillies making the postseason will likely not affect your micro business as Mr. Mark’s notes.
5 Tips to Hire Smart for Smart Growth: Hiring Is an Investment – Is your micro business ready to expand and hire new employees? Great! But where do you begin? In this recent SmallBizTechnology.com article, Ramon Ray discusses how hiring should be viewed as an investment in your business. He goes on to share a few helpful tips for you to consider when you are ready to add new employees to your business.
Image courtesy of Blog.Preaction.com
Happy Friday all! We hope you had a great week and that you are staying cool as much of the country deals with record temperatures, power outages and other issues. Even with the hectic week, we wanted to take a minute to thank all of you who have taken a moment to vote for us for a Small Business Influencer award from Small Business Trends. If you haven’t voted for us yet, and would like to, feel free to CLICK HERE or on the button to the left (and if you have voted already, you are allowed to go vote again!). With that said, here is this week’s edition of the Micro Business Roundup. Have a wonderful weekend and please be sure to find something cool and refreshing to enjoy. Cheers!
Break through the Online Noise with ‘Likes’ – Like many other micro business owners, chances are you have established a Facebook page for your business. As you’ve built out to your page you are probably looking into different avenues to obtain ‘likes’ to your page, which may include trading likes with other local businesses. This Entrepreneur.com article takes a look at how reciprocal liking can help generate loyalty towards your micro business in just a few steps. Our favorite line of the article was “They (potential customers) expect relationships first, and purchases second.” We could not agree more.
Blogging For The Online Entrepreneur – Do you utilize blogging as part of your online presence? As you may have read before, blogs can be a great resource for your micro business to showcase its expertise and show existing and potential customers your industry knowledge. This SmallBizTrends.com article rounds up a few articles about the latest information in entrepreneurial blogging. We’d be interested to hear what area you were drawn to learn more from.
Small business program misses the mark – You may recall the talk of the Small Business Job Act from last year that included Congress setting aside $30 billion for the Small Business Lending Fund? Well it appears that program has not been as successful as the government had hoped. This CNNMoney.com article gives the full run down on how the program was laid out and where it may have gone wrong. If you had been following this piece of governmental news, what are your thoughts? Were you optimistic about the program helping small business, or did you see flaws?
Fundamentals Of Online Advertising – It’s no secret that online advertising has become an essential piece of any micro businesses marketing mix. The days of simply placing advertising in the local newspaper has become more complex with targeted ad buying online to specific demographics. This recent OpenForum.com article can help lay out the fundamentals for you if you are still unsure on where to get started. We’re strong believers in the “evaluate and test” piece of the article, as that motto is prevalent in our every day work here at Vistaprint and our “test before invest” culture.
10 Ways to Beat Online Obscurity – With over 150 million different blogs on the Internet, it is pretty easy to get lost among the seas and seas of “noise.” So how does your tiny micro business blog cut through the noise and reach anyone, let alone a group of folks who would be interested in your product or service? It is a good question, and the folks at CopyBlogger.com put together this list of ten ways to help you beat online murkiness. What methods are you utilizing now? What ideas are new to you that you may look to incorporate?
Image: Trade Newswire
Does your micro business rely on you using an automobile to deliver goods and services or meet with potential customers and business partners? If it does, you’ve likely felt the pinch of rising gas prices over the past few years. In a recent survey of micro businesses, Vistaprint found that nearly 68% of respondents indicated that the recent rise in gas prices have affected their business in a negative way. Remember back in 1999 when gas prices were around a dollar a gallon? It seems like a lifetime ago.
It is important to remember that rising gasoline prices affect consumers as well as your business. Micro businesses often don’t have much of a reserve in their financials to cover increases in their cost of doing business. Often times your business may be left on the cutting-room floor when higher priced expenses (i.e. gas) are put upon your customer base. As we all know, when customers are not frequenting your store, you begin to feel the stress. It’s a vicious circle that can play a big role in the crippling of an economy.
So how can your micro business help defray these rising costs and help keep your prices competitive and attractive to your customers? Here are a couple suggestions:
Evaluate What Business Needs Warrant Using an Automobile — Back when gas prices were at a manageable level, you likely used your automobile without thinking twice about what the cost of fuel was. Now with higher gas prices, you need to decide if meeting with clients and business partners can be better served with a phone call rather than scheduling a physical meeting. While face to face meetings are still important, there certainly are situations where you can coordinate a phone or video conference rather than a physical meeting.
Look Into Being More Fuel Efficient — There are a variety of tips and tricks that can make your automobile run more fuel efficient from driving slower to properly inflating your tires. On the extreme side, you could look into investing in a hybrid automobile to help keep your fuel costs low. It’s important to note that no matter which direction gas prices go, it cannot hurt your bottom line to be more considerate of the way you utilize your fuel usage.
You May Need to Alter Your Business Model — For some micro business owners, delivery of goods and services may play into your offerings. With gas prices potentially cutting into your profit margins, you may need to consider increasing your rates and implementing a per mileage charge on deliveries. When going about this, it’s important you keep the increase as marginal as possible so you don’t turn off your customers to your new price changes. You may be able to provide promotions where if a customer purchases X amount of products or services, you’ll throw in free delivery. This will insure you are maximizing your efforts and delivering an order that is worth delivering.
How does your micro business help keep its fuel costs down? Please share your comments below!
Image courtesy of CNN Money.
Happy Friday everyone! We hope you had a nice week. The weather continues to vary here in Massachusetts as we creep closer to Independence Day (be on the lookout for a special holiday post next week). In between meetings and projects we were able to identify five articles from the past week that we felt would be of use to your micro business. We hope you find something fun and exciting to do this weekend and please enjoy this week’s edition of the Micro Business
How Do You Engage Your Customers? – As many micro business owners know, engaging with your customer base is one of the most important aspects of making your business a success. It’s one aspect of your business that, with hard work and dedication, can put you ahead of your competitors who may have more resources. So how do you get better? This New York Times article takes a look at one company that uniquely engages its customers and how you can incorporate some of their ideas into your micro business.
77 Percent of Small Business Owners Love What They Do: Do You? – Do you love your micro business and what you are doing? According to recent survey results we put out, and featured on SmallBizTrends.com, more than three of every four of you do. But the author takes that stat and offers some important reminders about loving your entrepreneurial spirit. We were drawn to the point that “Just because you love it doesn’t mean it’s not hard work.” Those who are parents can relate with this way of thinking.
10 FREE Sites to Help You Improve Your Writing – No matter what type of micro business you are involved with, you probably notice you do a lot more writing then you may have expected. Business plans, marketing collateral and legal items are just a few items you need strong writing skills for. For those who struggle with writing, or are simply to looking to improve, check out this round-up of sites from Bukiki.com to help you improve. As a helpful reminder, it’s always a good idea to have someone else read over your writing whenever possible.
Giving good interview, or how to get a reporter to eat from your hand – Has your micro business been interviewed by the local newspaper or television station? It certainly can be a nerve racking experience as you want try to balance getting your company message out while not sounding over promotional, or say something stupid. To help get you prepared for your next time (or first time), check out this post from CrowdSpring.com on how to control and give a good interview. While we like all the tips offered, we highly recommend staying in control and focused while being interviewed.
Customer Service has to be a Culture – No matter how small or large your business may be, customer service is the lifeline that helps keep your business running. Without it companies are destined to fail no matter how strong the products are services may be. This fifteen minute podcast from TECAclub.com chats about the three R’s of customer service: Repeat referrals and requests. How do you show strong customer service?
Image — Chron.com
There is no question that having a website is vital for your business, but that is just the first step in getting your company truly visible online. The second part of the equation is to get your website in front of the major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
While there are hundreds of search engines out there, the previously mentioned three search engines are the most popular. Getting your site listed on them is simple and free; all you have to do is click on the links below and enter your site’s details into their form fields.
Please note that even though you have registered your site with the search engines, it may still take a couple of months to show up on specific searches for keywords. This is because it takes the search engines time to index your website, so please be patient.
If you are looking to get listed on a niche search engine for your industry, you may want to type Getting my URL on [Search Engine Name] on their site or one of the major three search engines. This should give you relevant results on how to list your site with them.
If you are strapped for time, but want to get your site listed on hundreds of search engines, there are many companies that offer the service for a fee. For example, Vistaprint currently offers a local search product.
Have you registered your site with the search engines, or have you paid a vendor to complete this for you?