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…)