By Charles “Tee” Rowe –
Every year, Americans start businesses with the hope of achieving financial success, independence, and personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, many times those dreams are never realized. Too often the enthusiasm and energy that small business owners put into their business isn’t matched by the planning and skills needed to survive.
At America’s SBDCs — 62 small business development center networks nationwide and their nearly 1,000 centers — we find that a solid business plan and a brilliant business concept need to be married to a serious understanding of the financial and management needs of running a business.
Too many businesses believe marketing is their key to success, but hemorrhaging cash is the secret, silent killer. So for aspiring entrepreneurs, here are five myths small business owners believe in that lead to failure:
1. Don’t ask for help
“You’re smart, you’ve got this.” Nobody has got it. There are so many free resources out there, and the biggest mistake many small business owners make is not using those resources. There are nearly 1,000 small business development centers nationwide — why would you ignore free help? (more…)
By Gerri Detweiler –
Running a business is often about setting goals and putting in long hours and hard work to achieve them. Regardless of what type of business you run, it’s likely that “selling more” has a frequent, if not long-term, place on your to-do list. It’s a goal that requires staying up to date on new techniques, honing strategies, and being in touch with the latest industry news.
The sad part? It’s difficult for small business owners, many of whom have little downtime. Podcasts, however, afford busy professionals the opportunity to digest powerful and life-changing information while they’re commuting, working out, making dinner, or participating in any number of daily tasks that are well suited for audio media.
You can spend hours — if not days — sifting through all the many podcasts out there, but if your goal is to sell more, these 12 podcasts can help. Plus, many of them offer valuable information for not only running a business, but living the entrepreneurial life. (more…)
By Jackie, for Koble –
Coming up with an effective marketing strategy is all about what works for you and what does not. Whether you are a big or small business owner, you have to come up with a plan that will suit your needs and budget.
The first step to doing so is learning the market trends. We are in a competitive world, especially in the B2B market, and that is why you have to do all you can to stay up-to-date with the trends. It helps you maximize your selling power and stay ahead of competitors.
We take a look at the leading B2B marketing trends to look out for this year to help your business grow and optimize leads.
Account-based B2B marketing
This marketing strategy has been in existence for years, but with the rise of digital marketing channels, most B2B companies are now shifting back to account-based marketing. Time changes are making it hard and super expensive for businesses to market and reach their target customers on digital marketing platforms. (more…)
By Linsey Knerl –
The Big Mac – the special burger from McDonald’s that features “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun” – is almost as much of an icon as the fast-food chain itself. While the world is pretty much split on the one-of-a-kind sandwich (the sauce has a way of being fairly polarizing), no one can deny that it’s an unchanging staple that’s been branded into our culture.
The sandwich is 50 years old this year, proving that some things are still a good idea half a century later. Here are some other hard truths about its success for small businesses that cannot be ignored. (more…)
By Jennifer Lobb –
Snapchat may not be the social media site with the most users, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a powerful tool for companies with a specific audience – namely, millennials. With over 180 million daily users, many of whom are under the age of 34, Snapchat, when leveraged properly, can help boost sales and grow brand awareness.
Not intimately familiar with Snapchat? Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Snapchat’s longevity is, in part, based on its fleeting nature. The social platform allows users to send images and short videos to each other, but unlike other social platforms, the Snapchats expire after they’re opened. (more…)
By Jennifer Lobb
When it comes to marketing advice, it’s easy to get lost in all the shoulds, shouldn’ts, musts and must nots. Professionals the world over can debate the most effective marketing methods, but in 2017, those seeking the sage advice of others would have a difficult time avoiding a healthy endorsement for content marketing. In fact, 86% of B2Cs and 88% of B2Bs employ some content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Not only are businesses utilizing content as part of their overarching strategy, but they’re seeing results. In fact, when asked to rate the success of their content marketing efforts (from extremely effective to not effective), 97% of both B2Cs and B2Bs reported some level of success. Do you have a solid content marketing strategy in place? Looking to really increase brand awareness in the new year? Here are three reasons why you should include content in your 2018 efforts.
Your Brand Becomes a Resource
In case you haven’t noticed, the Internet is a cramped locale. If you can think it, you can search for, and find, it. Beyond that, businesses that want to survive in today’s overwhelmingly competitive landscape need to be online, only adding to the flooded nature of the internet as we know it. But how does one business stand out? How do you convince customers to buy in? (more…)
Former Congressman Chris Chocola once said that one of the earliest lessons he learned in business is that balance sheets and income statements are fiction, and cash flow is the true reality.
Investopedia defines “cash flow” as the net amount of cash that moves in and out of a business. Cash flow is positive when liquid assets are increasing and negative when they are decreasing. There are only two main ways to increase your cash flow, and that is to bring more revenue in (increase sales) and/or to keep less revenue from going out (decrease your expenses). For this article, I will expand upon both concepts further.
Bringing In More Revenue
There are a variety of ways you can increase your revenue, and what makes you a strategic business owner (with a thriving enterprise) is the fact that you’ve developed your own secret sauce (business plan) to do so. Some ideas to bring in more revenue include, but are not limited to, the following: (more…)
By Eric Rosenberg
The holiday shopping season traditionally kicks off with Black Friday, the annual shopping holiday the day after Thanksgiving that brings retailers “into the black” for the year, indicating a profitable period. But Black Friday alone is rarely enough to compete and make a profit in today’s market. Instead, many business owners run holiday sales to boost business during the busiest time of the year.
1. Start With the Math
In business, there is a concept of selling some products at a small loss to boost the sales of high margin products. These “loss leaders” can work well to boost the top line, but you can’t run a business with a focus only on revenue. You have to turn a profit to succeed in business.
Do the math and calculate margins on the products you expect to sell the most, and figure how to turn lower margin customers into higher margin customers. If you can upsell, convert, or at least turn low margin customers into leads for high profit products, you should be in great shape.
2. Improve the Customer Experience
Many shoppers try new stores, both online and offline, during the holidays. In fact, the National Retail Federation shares that 27.4 percent of all retail sales took place during the holidays in 2015 and most business expect about 20 percent of sales to come during the holiday season. (more…)
(Part 5 of a 5-part series on email marketing strategy)
By Dave Charest
“I can’t wait to get more email today!”
Said no one ever. So why would you ask, “Would you like to join our email list?” This isn’t to say people don’t want to be on your email list… It just means that more email isn’t exactly a reason for someone to let you into their inbox. (more…)
(Part 4 of a 5-part series on email marketing strategy)
By Bria Sullivan
If someone asked you how email marketing is helping your business, what would you say?
Chances are you wear a lot of hats at your small business or nonprofit, and maybe numbers aren’t your strong suit.
You’d much rather focus on connecting with people in person to sell more of your products and services — or raise awareness for your nonprofit. (more…)