America’s SBDC Blog

A “Forbes 100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs”

Humane Communications for Small Businesses During a Crisis

February 23, 2021
By Jessica Larson, SolopreneurJournal.com

All the way back in early April — nearly a lifetime ago — the first coronavirus infections were followed by a wave of ads created in response to the crisis. Those early ads showed us what to do and what not to do, and as a result, you’ve got plenty of material to guide you in marketing your business during the pandemic.

Here are several ways to stay in the conversation — and stay compassionate and mindful while doing so.

Be Helpful, Not Promotive

Some early surveys revealed how consumers felt about ads during the pandemic. A Kantar survey found that 75% of customers didn’t want the crisis exploited, while 8% wanted companies to stop ads altogether. The message is clear: Customers don’t want businesses to use the pandemic as an excuse to showcase their brand. On the other hand, a business that has something useful to say will find a ready ear. Click To Tweet If you tell your audience how your company is adapting to support the community, you’ll be far better off than a company that relies on logos and empty slogans. (more…)

The Ins and Outs of Customer Acquisition for Small Businesses

July 7, 2020
By Jessica Bennett, Salesforce –

Salesforce logoWhy are small businesses so good at what they do? It’s because they are amazing at customer retention. Small businesses know their customers by name. They greet them and are able to personalize their orders. However, small businesses cannot be dependent simply on returning customers. They need to grow their customer base continuously — yet they might not completely understand how to do that, or they may not have the resources to do it.

That’s why small businesses need to understand how to acquire customers in an efficient, effective manner. And the very first step is to begin measuring acquisition. Unfortunately, only about five in ten companies track their customer acquisition, and fewer than that monitor lifetime value. To achieve growth and transition from a startup to a sustainable small business takes an understanding of customer relationship management, sales, marketing, and customer service.

Build New Customers

(more…)

How Surveys Can Benefit Small Businesses

June 9, 2020
By Julia Morrissey –

As states start to open back up and businesses begin to re-open their doors, reconnecting with clients and customers is more critical than ever. One of the most effective ways to understand your customers is by conducting surveys.

Surveys are a proven method of connecting with customers to get feedback that will help you understand how the customer thinks and feels about your product. The goal is to receive unbiased and objective information that can help you make important decisions about your product and business.

It’s important to not only send a well constructed survey, but also to know when to ask for feedback and how to analyze the data. The four best times to send out a survey asking for customer feedback are: during a key milestone; when customers fall out of the journey; after a customer receives a customer service contact; and when there is interaction without conversion. Click To Tweet (more…)

Get Ready for Your Annual Website Spring Cleaning

March 9, 2020
By Ramon Ray –

Spring is on the way, and according to one survey, 77% of households do some form of spring cleaning. As a business owner, the concept of spring cleaning can be applied to the place where much of your information resides — your website. An annual website “spring cleaning” is a great idea for your business.

The Basics

If you’re going to do a major cleaning, you’ll want to tackle the most important parts first.

As reported in Smart Hustle, in a VistaPrint survey, respondents considered up-to-date and accurate content to be most important on small business websites. They were bothered by outdated product and contact information and a lack of address, directions and business hours. In addition, consumers were less likely to buy from a poorly designed website. (more…)

These 5 Myths Cause Small Businesses to Fail

January 1, 2020
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…)