By Jackie, for Koble –
Koble is thrilled to announce the launch of its web app for Koble 2.0. The web app brings the ability to search for over 11 million companies in 30 categories, to an SMB or corporate buyer’s desktop.
The web app features Koble Pages – smaller than a website and larger than a listing – which are SEO optmized, and allow for businesses to gain unrivaled visibility online. Businesses can now own a company page which is optimized for search engines with Koble Pages, which are free. With nearly half of US small businesses without a website, owning a Koble page makes a website accessible to every SMB, without having any technical know-how.
Koble has already optimized for eight key categories, namely Accounting, Advertising Agencies, Engineering Services, Information Technology, Legal Services, Management Consulting, Market Research and Public Relations. This will progressively lead to increased traffic being driven towards companies that operate within those categories. Any company on the Koble platform is up to five times more likely to be found in a search. (more…)
By Karen Peacock
SVP 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…)
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.
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:
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…)
By 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:
In the struggle to balance work and life, technology is often seen as a culprit for dissatisfaction. With our always-on, ever-connected lifestyles, it’s easy to see why tech gets a bad rap. Even when we’re at home trying to relax, it’s impossible to fully disconnect.
At the same time, there’s no doubt evolutions in technology have improved life for small businesses in the past few years. Here’s how tools you’re already using can help you achieve work/life harmony:
• Set clear expectations with your schedule – and leave work at work. Create a group calendar to share with your employees and family that reserves time for specific activities— work-related and personal. This approach will allow you to be present in whatever you’re doing at the time, whether it’s answering customer emails or reading a bedtime story to your kids. You can also use your out-of-office responder when you’re on vacation so you can actually enjoy your time away. (more…)
How often do you pick up your smartphone throughout the day? When you wake up; when you’re standing in line for your coffee; when you get a notification? According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, the average person looks at their phone 150 times a day. With 57% of customers saying they would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site, the power of mobile for small businesses is undeniable. Here are a few tips to get started:
Put your website to the mobile test
If you’re not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly, we have you covered. This Google Webmaster test tells you if your website is mobile-friendly and shows how it looks on a mobile device. Once you have those results, use the Webmaster’s Mobile Guide where you’ll find ways to customize your website software or implement mobile SEO best practices.
Don’t neglect your mobile ads
Did you know that search interest in “near me” (aka things within a customer’s vicinity) have increased 34x since 2011? Not everyone who uses mobile is always searching directly for your product or service. That’s where mobile ads come in. If a customer is searching for a local hardware store, you can use mobile ads to make sure your store pops up where and when they need it. These ads can take many forms, including text, image or even within mobile apps. To make these especially mobile-friendly, you can also purchase call-only ads, which only show up on devices that can make phone calls. (more…)
From the Google Small Business Community
We’re excited to take part in National Women’s History Month this March. The 2015 theme – “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” – celebrates the impact that women-owned small businesses have on our culture and economy. Women have been a force in American business for generations, from Henrietta Johnston – the first professional American female artist in 1707 – to the eight million female business owners in the United States today.
Women continue to make a positive impact across many industries. Check out a few of our member spotlights on female small business owners including:
- Pastabilities: An Italian restaurant in Syracuse, NY;
- Red Chair Salon: A salon started by a hairstylist who grew from apprentice to owner in five years;
- Jackalope Brewing: A brewery founded by two friends combining their passions; and
- LSTN: A headphone company that pays it forward with every product it sells.
More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new jobs in the U.S. each year are created by small businesses*. The Google Small Business Community gives these small business owners and entrepreneurs a place to share what makes their businesses special, connect with other businesses and hear from experts.
Our team is committed to providing the best information about business and the web, including how to get your business online, finding and retaining customers and more.
Get Help from Experts and Each Other
Our ongoing trainings include tips from partners such as Twitter, MasterCard, Intuit, Mailchimp, Squarespace, and HostGator covering a range of topics relevant to small businesses. We even host partners live, giving our members direct access to industry leaders. For example, this past August we hosted Maria Contreras-Sweet, the leader of the U.S. Small Business Administration and voice of small business in President Obama’s Cabinet, who answered questions from our small business owners in real time. (more…)
You went to a networking event, chatted with new contacts, and collected cards. Now what? There are multitudes of things you can do to make a personal and lasting impression past the first interaction. Now that you’ve done your due diligence in attending a networking event and connecting with peers, it’s time to begin the process of staying top-of-mind.
Here are 6 tips to get you past a one-night networking stand — and into a long-lasting business relationship:
Connect quickly on multiple levels. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, you name it. Today, there is even a great app powered by LinkedIn called Cardmunch that allows you to take a picture of a business card and it will instantly connect you with the person’s LinkedIn account. It doesn’t get simpler than that. I recommend doing this either the same day or the next day — it’s important to connect while the event is still fresh on everyone’s mind. Building relationships takes time, effort and genuine interest. You wouldn’t wait a week to connect with a new interest on social sites; consider timely interaction with new business contacts as proper business courting.
Get it on the calendar. Coffee, lunch, or drinks are preferred first methods of connection. Send an email to remind your new contact how you met. Make sure to include an important fact about the person too; we all love to know people were listening to us, and details can be great conversation starters. Request a time to meet to learn more about them, their business, and how you can help one another. (more…)