Asking For Help Is Good For You and Your Business


By Karen Peacock

Running a Small BusinessSVP and Small Business Segment Leader at Intuit

Running a small business can be lonely. There will be times when you don’t know who to turn to with your questions, and your support system can feel as small as your shop.

My advice: Ask others for help, and broaden your network to get it.

Seeking counsel — from mentors, peers, even your suppliers and vendors — is simply another way of taking charge of your business. Rather than being thought of as a weakness, reaching out can help your chances for success. I always say, “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” One Intuit study found that 41 percent of small business owners feel lonely in their work life. That same survey found that 70 percent of small business owners say networking with other business owners is important.

In my experience, while it may seem daunting, pushing through your comfort zone can pay big rewards.

Connecting can energize you.

Even beyond your immediate need to solve a particular problem, listening to how others approach their business or even their lives can flick on a switch in your own thinking. That can lead to a breakthrough insight into something you weren’t even considering.  (more…)

#M3 Maxed Out; For Now

M3-Event

By DeRon Talley, LSBDC Communications Specialist

When you use the hashtag on your social media posts, it connects you with others who share the same conversation. However, if you use a hashtag that is dominated by a popular brand your conversation will be overlooked like a pink dot on a red wall. No need to deny it, we’ve all been there. But it’s always been those of us who have been able to go back and use the old traditional ways to communicate and mix this new digital-aged way to find the success we want.

That’s what the first-ever Maximizing Millennial Minds (#M3) Conference was all about. Using the old traditional way of communicating (which is often forgotten) face-to-face, and bringing in the millennial generation’s most favorite – social media. Together the two brought in over 60 professionals to New Orleans while over 100 more tuned in online to be a part of a professional development conference hosted by Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) and America’s SBDC.

About a third of those folks who attended weren’t quite sure what the whole online audience thing even meant. Most of them have only gone to face-to-face conferences or sat in their offices for webinars. But how do you combine the two? Leave that up to the millennials to figure it out, and we did.  (more…)

For the Love of Small Business

By Nancy Jeng

Google-For-The-Love-Of-Small-BusinessValentine’s Day is coming up, and for many businesses this means getting ready for the fourth-largest spending holiday of the year (National Retail Foundation). To help our fellow small business owners, we’ve prepared five tips for how you can get ahead during the season of love:

  1. Capitalize on trending keywords. Google Trends shows the top terms relating to Valentine’s Day are ‘gifts for him,’ ‘valentine’s gifts,’ and ‘Valentine’s Day ideas.’ Build these and other relevant keywords into your site, content and social channels.
  2. Make sure your customers can find you. Update your Google listing with your hours, location and relevant Valentine’s-themed photos. If you haven’t already, visit Google My Business to claim your business listing.
  3. Go mobile. The day before Valentine’s Day, gift givers search on mobile more than on desktop. Give your business a mobile presence, whether it’s through a mobile-optimized site, an app or mobile-friendly content.
  4. Think about the men. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about flowers and jewelry for the ladies. In fact, there were 3x as many searches for ‘gifts for boyfriend’ than ‘gifts for girlfriend’ in 2014.
  5. Get creative. Valentine’s Day is not just for flower shops and restaurants. You can create a video with first date tips and ideas, or use Google Map Maker to create romantic date ideas featuring your small business.

Lastly, don’t forget to show some love to small businesses in your area. Visit gybo.com to create a custom #LoveSmallBiz postcard featuring your three favorite local businesses.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

BIO: Nancy is the content strategy and operations lead for the Google Small Business Community, whose mission it is to help small businesses succeed online by connecting them to experts and each other. For more about Google Small Business, follow us on Twitter @GoogleSmallBiz or join the Google Small Business Community at g.co/gsbc

New Year, New Beginnings and New Businesses

By Nancy Jeng

Each new year brings the dream of new beginnings and, for many, that includes the dream of starting a new business. In fact, Google Trends data shows us that interest in “starting a business” peaks every January. To support the millions of businesses that are created each year, we’re sharing some of the ways you can use the web (and Google) to launch your new business:

Google-New-Years-2016-blog

Use Google Trends to size up your market opportunity. Before you launch a business, you want to make sure there is a viable market for your product or service. You can use Google Trends to help gauge your market potential. For example, if you’re looking to open a pet store, see when searches for ‘pet supplies’ peak or which geographic regions clocks in the most searches for pet supplies.

Find a domain, create a site and get custom email. Picking out the right domain name is often the starting point to building a successful online presence. With new domain endings like .pizza and .photography, there are now more options to choose that fit your new business. Google Domains helps you get started with registering a domain, building a site with trusted partners and setting up custom email.  (more…)

Networking? Yes, It Still Works!

logo-constant-contactBy Anissa Starnes, Director, National Organizations for Constant Contact

There is no way to calculate the magnitude of new connections that are made every day on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, but what about face-to-face chance meetings? Do those still happen? Absolutely!

You never know when your next best client may be standing right next to you in the line at the grocery store or at the local farmer’s market or sporting event.  You should always have your 30-second elevator speech prepared to market yourself and your services, in case someone is a potential client. And let’s face it, most people are potential clients — either themselves or someone they know.

Another trick is to always have business cards with you even if you aren’t officially “on the clock.”  Even with the rise of social media connections, old-school printed business cards still work. They can serve as a reminder to the person that you just met that they need to reach out to you, and sometimes that reminder comes later, when they pull the card out of their purse or pockets when they get home.

Master networkers are always on the lookout to make connections with people and for people and you can do it too.  Here is a blog post with more tips on becoming a master networker:
http://blogs.constantcontact.com/networking-secrets/