Archive for the ‘Work Your Biz Wednesday’ Category

Websites to Find New Employees for Your Small Business

11-25 Hiring Employees smallOnce you have determined that it will be beneficial to your business to begin hiring employees, where do you to start?  While its great to start delegating responsibility to other people, your next challenge is to find them. The days of putting classifieds in a newspaper are gone and word-of-mouth recommendations can only get you so far. Here are some of the web’s best resources to find new employees.


StartUpHire is a website dedicated to finding career professionals, and employee candidates. Many professionals aren’t familiar with the challenges that new small businesses face which can lead to conflicts early into their employment with you. One of StartUpHire’s standout features is the option for employees to search for employment based on a company’s stage of development (ie. seed, development, profitable) and funding. This does away with any misconceptions regarding a job description or the salary and benefit expectations. StartUpHire does charge a fee for its service. The most basic package is $79.


Think of Indeed as Google for jobs as it as a search will feature jobs from all over the Internet. Indeed is a highly visited site for jobseekers. Business owners can search for qualified candidates as many of Indeed’s users keep their resumes live on the site to be found by potential employers. Besides giving your available position loads of exposure, the price is right. Indeed’s pricing is based on pay-per-click, meaning you only pay when a candidate takes a look at your job description. Much like other pay-per-click websites, you set your own budget for how many clicks you can afford and watch the resumes roll in.


You might think of Craigslist as a place sell your old couch or buy a new car, but today the website is being used for so much more. Craigslist is as close to a newspaper classified as you can get in our digital age and, with ads that are as simple and straight forward, it can be a valuable place to find new talent. Job descriptions don’t require an application and all information you provide to jobseekers is voluntary (including location, hours required and salary/benefits). Using Craigslist also guarantees that you will hit candidates within your immediate area as the site operates as separate job boards based on major city or geographical location. It costs $35 for one job posting on Craigslist that remains active for 30 days regardless of how many responses the ad receives.

Monster is the grandfather of job posting websites. Monster is free for jobseekers to use and puts its primary focus on the candidate. Monster offers resources such as industry insights like average salaries and job growth trends. Of all these websites, Monster is the most expensive but also has the biggest reach. With Monster’s job posting packages, your job offerings are targeted and seen across newspaper sites, mobile apps and any other sites linked to the Monster network. It also offers “Power Resume Search,” which allows you to find the best-qualified candidates in the shortest amount of time.

Internet job sites are huge assets to small business owners with limited resources to conduct a job search. If you’re ready to bring fresh faces with immense talent into your business, you have to look for them where they’ll be looking for you: online.

How to Boost Your Business Over the Holidays

11-18 holiday shopping smallOnce Halloween passes, it’s a mad dash to the year’s finish line, kicking off at Thanksgiving and moving through New Years. If you haven’t already started thinking about how you can utilize the holidays to your advantage, don’t wait any longer! Big box stores may have a stronghold on the holiday season but small businesses clean up this time of year, too, and it’s all about how they market and what they offer. Follow these tips on how to effectively boost your business over the holidays.

1. Set the Scenery

Make it festive in your store. Use decorations: Put Christmas trees in every corner, string lights on every pole, A well-thought out window display is inviting to shoppers. When a store appears to cater to the holidays that customers assume (or at least become curious enough to walk in and check) that there are holiday sales happening in that store.

2. Cater to Every Budget

Chances are that no matter what you sell, your various products fall at different price points. An effective marketing tool includes the promotion of items targeted towards the specific budgets of your shoppers. This method doesn’t even require an actual “sale,” per se, just the advertisement of your products as they are. For example, you can advertise “$25 Steals” or “Great Gifts for Under $50!” You can change the dollar amounts as you like, but the idea is to catch the eye of those on any kind of budget.

3. Use Social Media

While email promotions are a great way to reach your loyal customer base, you should also be sharing your holiday specials with your social media following. You may continue to share your overall promotional deals to your fan base but you can also offer them “special” perks for following you. Offering a percentage off of purchases to your Facebook fans is two-fold as it is not only a good way to draw in those who may not yet be your customers, but can also be promoted via email to prospects and customers who may not yet follow you. “Like us on Facebook for special holiday offers” can be a great way to raise your fan count and bring in sales.

4. Don’t Forget the Extras

There are many things you can offer customers to get them to buy from your store versus the behemoths big box retailers– and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Providing free gift-wrapping on every purchase can really sway shoppers who either hate the task or are too busy to do it. Free shipping is great for online sales and you can also promote quick site-to-store pickups or store-to-home delivery.

5. Make Connections

Use the influx of holiday shoppers to bolster your email list for future sales and non-holiday promotions. This can be as simple as asking for an email address at the time of checkout or leaving a clipboard out on the counter of your shop. This is also a good time to promote your Yelp!, Google+ and Facebook pages in order to gain positive reviews from satisfied customers.

Don’t forget: holiday shopping season isn’t just a stretch of days in November and December; it’s an opportunity for you to build long-lasting relationships with prospects and customers. Follow these tips and get see your business boom during – and long after – the holidays.

How to Leverage Mobile Web Advertising

Young Pretty Businesswoman Looking at Sales Stats on Mobile PhoneAccessing the Internet via mobile phone usage has finally surpassed that of laptop and desktop computers. If you aren’t leveraging mobile web advertising for your small business, you are missing out. Ad revenue for mobile applications and devices has seen a gigantic uptick in recent years, but don’t let the idea scare you. You do have the option of paying for your marketing on mobile devices, but you can also find some pretty affordable ways as well. Here are some ways you can leverage mobile web advertising for your small business.

1. SMS Marketing

As mobile phone users are texting more now than ever, this method has become extremely popular in recent years. SMS marketing will normally involve a shopper to voluntarily send a text message to a business in exchange for regular sales and promotional updates. Often times the main reason for a shopper to volunteer his or her phone number is an immediate reward. For example, the fast fashion store H&M often has signs in their retail stores to text the word “subscribe” to a phone number in order to receive a percentage off a purchase, instantly. Once completed, you’ve added a new phone number to your marketing contact list.

2. Video

With so many people watching YouTube videos and accessing the web via their phones, video advertisements can also be useful. As you’ve probably noticed by now, YouTube requires most users to watch a video ad prior to the intended video and many websites now require web surfers to watch a video before accessing their content. Viewers normally have to watch the videos for at least 15 seconds before they have the option to skip them which means that they’re difficult to ignore but, if executed properly, can be successful at drawing curiosity.

3. Location-Based Keywords

By far one of the most budget-friendly and effective means of mobile advertising lies within your SEO keywords. Studies show that mobile searches for restaurants lead to a 90 percent conversion rate while another 74 percent of mobile users access “real-time location-based information” like directions. This means that mobile users are constantly looking up businesses on the go. Depending on your website’s keywords, you can see an increase in conversions almost immediately.

4. QR Codes

Quick Response codes (or QR codes) are those funny looking, square-shaped, scan-able bar codes you’ve been seeing around lately. QR codes are a speedy and fun way to get prospects curious about what you have to offer and they are simple to implement. Once scanned by a mobile device, these mysterious little blips re-route the mobile user to a product’s website or special “hidden” web page. Here, you can market your product via written, audio or video content or even promote a contest.

5. Develop an App

With mobile users forgoing their laptop and desktop computers to browse the internet on their phones, it might just be that developing your own smartphone application is the most powerful way to leverage mobile advertising. If you sell goods, a mobile app can be used as an instantly accessible eCommerce storefront. If you are selling services, an app can direct users straight to your blog or biography. Apps are powerful because they are a convenient way for mobile users to access information quickly and remain on a user’s cell phone until actively deleted.

A huge part of being able to remain a successful business is adaptability. The same way that many brick-and-mortar stores have needed to add eCommerce aspects to their businesses, it’s time to shift attention to mobile web advertising. 

6 Tips to Run a Successful Home-Based Business

Many entrepreneurs make their homes into their businesses. With no mandatory meetings, set schedule or co-workers, this might sound like the perfect work situation, but if you are not personally disciplined your might not get very much done.  While using your home as your business office gives you a great commute, you’ll also face challenges that you might not have considered. You might even need to change some bad habits in order to make working from home, work for you.

Here are six tips to run a successful home-based business.

1. Dress the Part

Working at home in your pajamas all day sounds appealing, but what effect does it have on your productivity? Even if you’re working at home you need to shower and get dressed. It will help you start your day, No one is saying you should throw on your best suit, but getting ready in the morning will help you get your mind on the business.

2. Set a Schedule

One of the perks of working for home is that you aren’t running on anyone else’s schedule. This can be a great thing because you can truly make your own hours. Flexibility is great, but to get the most out of your business, you still need to have a set schdule. Since you work from home, you may decide you don’t want to be nine-to-five; maybe you want to work noon to 8 p.m. It’s completely up to you – but stick to it, and be productive in those eight hours.

3. Discipline

When running home-based business discipline will be an important factor. If you want take a two-hour lunch break, no one is there to stop you! Still, you must remain focused and dedicated to your daily tasks. The last thing you want to do is make a habit out of slacking off. Your lack of productivity and sales will be obvious at the end of the month.

4. Leverage Technology

If you’re going to run a business from your home, you need all of the same amenities you would have at an office. You will need a computer,, high speed internet, a landline phone, and a reliable all-in-one copier,printer fax machine. You also want to get a smart phone, so that you can catch calls and emails on the fly. You need to be prepared to communicate however a client or customer wants to.

5. Create a work area

Working from your couch all day sounds good in theory, but trying to be super productive in an area where you’d normally kick back and relax is counterintuitive. Set up a space dedicated to getting work done and get in the “work” mindset while you’re there. It’s best if it’s a work space with a door.

6. Protect your personal time

When you are working at home, it can be easy to forget how many hours you’ve actually work each week. You don’t want to slip into being an unhealthy workaholic. At the end of your day, shut down your computer, plug up your cellphone in your office and don’t check email anymore. Even though you are working out of your home, your need to keep your work life and personal life separate.

There’s no set way to run a successful business. If you’ve decided run a home-based business, follow these steps so that you can stay on track.

How to Network Effectively

10-28 Networking smallWhen you think about networking, the heavy exchange of business cards might come to mind, but there’s so much more to it than that.  Being effective at networking is crucial to your business success. Regardless of what product or service you provide, you’ll need to sell yourself first. Building trust relationships with strangers is an important skill to develop. When you meet potential clients, first seek to be more interested than interesting. If you figure out how to be helpful to a new contact – people will help you and your business grow. In the digital age it’s easier than ever to stay connected to new people. You just need to know how to get the most of our your networking.

Here are some tips to network effectively.

1. Be Interested

Networking with someone new is much more than just handing out your business card and moving on to the next person. You need to take a moment more to get to know them a little better and let them get to know you, too. Talk about them first, then if asked discuss what your business does and how your solve problems. Business cards get lost and mixed together, but first impressions last a lifetime. Get them something to remember you with.

2. Prioritize at your events

Only focus on making five key contacts at any networking event. While you might want to meet everyone there, but you won’t have the time to maintain all of that communication. You need to move through the room, and meet some great people and call it a night. You should have a target list, but don’t worry about who is likeliest to call you for your product, service justfocus on making new friends. You never know who they could refer you too.

3. Ask for Recommendations

Ask for a warm introductions from satisfied customers, current clients, personal friends and mentors. They can be your best sources for recommendations. Ask this group of people to pass your name and information along should they find someone who may benefit from your help.Just remember that once a friend-of-a-friend gets in touch with you, be sure to give your new prospect the positive experience he or she is expecting, otherwise you could lose two relationships.

4. Communicate

To make networking work, you have to keep in touch with people. No one likes to only be contacted when something is needed of them..If you are professionally networking you need to cultivate your new contact to build trust.

5. Maintain

Once you meet someone, you should follow within five days. Then they should here from you again within 60 days to schedule a follow-up lunch or coffee. To keep yourself top of mine you can It’s a good idea to connect on LinkedIn Twitter or Instagram to keep yourself in their sights. Even if you don’t speak often sharing their content online can build relationships. If you neglect new contacts your networking efforts will be in vain.

It can take a while to build up a solid, reliable network , but don’t get discouraged. Meeting new people and building your network will become second nature to you. And with a little patience, you will create a lead engine for your business.

How to Use LinkedIn Groups to Reach Your Target Customer

10-21 LInkedIn Groups smallLinkedIn touts itself as the most professional social networking site. It’s focused on letting you reconnect with old colleagues, leverage your existing network and it’s also a great way for business owners to reach your target customer. LinkedIn users tend to keep their profiles focused on their work experience and relevant skills. LinkedIn is not about connecting with strangers. It is a place where people trust those with whom they connect. One of the best things about LinkedIn is the groups you can join. Here are some tips on how to reach your target customer via LinkedIn Groups.

1. Do Your Homework

There are thousands of LinkedIn groups, as a member you are limited to joining 50. There are many groups with the same exact topic, so look for groups who are most active. Don’t bother with groups of less than 500 people. If you head to the group page and see many conversations started by many different users, it would be wise to join that group.

2. Don’t Sell

Many people are leery of hard sales tactics in their LinkedIn groups. Group members have joined for valuable and diverse industry insights – not to become targets of a marketing campaign. Also be careful with sharing links. Some group members are notorious for spamming LinkedIn groups with self-serving links. Groups with admins look out for these behaviors so you risk getting the boot when you do this! Focus on dialogue here, not sales.

3. Start Conversations

Posing questions for open group feedback is always a good idea. It’s also a great way to build engagement with your target customer. It could be a valuable tool for understanding customer insights as well. Links to relevant material on your blog is a helpful ways to begin a conversation, if you not too overtly promotional. Be sure to comment and give feedback on other posts in the group. Make your presence one of modest authority. By getting your name and face out there to your customer, group members will start connecting with you directly.

4. Create Your Own Group

Once your presence in a group has been felt and you’ve begun to make connections outside of the group setting, this is a perfect time to branch off and create your own group. Creating your own LinkedIn group is a way for you to invite new connections you’ve made in your groups. Your group can be a tangent off of the original in a way that is much more specific to your industry. Invite people with whom you’ve had a friendly rapport.. Check out my group Smallbizchat on LinkedIn to see how you might what to run your own group. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that LinkedIn is restricted to your personal resume. Many of LinkedIn’s users head to the site specifically for answers and professional advice. LinkedIn groups are like a door or opportunity for you to build relationships with a flood of new target customers. If this is where the majority of target customers spend time online, building a LinkedIn group could be a great investment.

How to Pursue Funding for Your Company

10-7 Funding your biz smallIf you have a great idea for a business and your second thought is to look for financing, I want you to hold your horses for a moment and ask yourself, Why? You need to get three different answers before moving forward. If you think that funding is the best option rather than bootstrapping it with your personal resources, be careful! Outside funding brings its own crop of distractions. Here are 7 things you need to know before pursing financing for your small business.

1. You Won't Write the Deal

If this is your first business, then you don’t have a financial track record, which puts you in a beggar's position. The investor you seek funding from has the power and may deploy an agreement that puts you at a disadvantage, either by valuing your company less than you think it should be valued at, or by charging you a higher cost of capital.

2. You'll Be Chasing the Funding Instead of the Customer

At this stage of building a business, there are few things as important as your customer. Once you divert your interest from your clientele to pursue funding, you will distract yourself from the building your business. Building a customer base requires focus and dedication; getting funding requires the same. Since you have limited time, it will be a real challenge. Customers are the linchpin of your success. Ignore them at your own risk.

3. You Could Undervalue Your Company

When you seek money from outside sources, you have to place a specific monetary value on your company based on its assets and intellectual property. It is easy to make a substantial mistake that you’ll only be able to determine after the fact. It is difficult to calculate the value of an emerging company, and this may make getting funding a challenge.

4. You Might Partner With the Wrong People

Partnerships are like other relationships. When you partner with an investor in haste, you put your business at risk. The offer to fund your enterprise rarely comes without strings, so make sure you understand your financier better than you understand your spouse. If that sounds like a tall order, then you may not be ready to take the leap with complete confidence. There is a lot at stake, so use caution.

5. You'll Learn More Without Funding

Bootstrapping is a valuable exercise. A true entrepreneur builds a business to learn something: about the market, about the customer, about the product and himself. When you build your business without a cushion, you get to learn expensive lessons. They are often the most valuable. Running a business will build your instincts and help you hone your talent.

6. Funding Often Masks Underlying Problems

An excess of cash can hide critical deficiencies in a business model. An infusion of capital won’t fix all your problems. If your staff isn’t properly trained and you’re getting customer service complaints, money won’t remedy that; effort will. It’s sometimes easier to see these issues and fix them if you don’t have too much money between you and the problems.

7. You Could Lose Control of Your Company

Once you’ve put your most devoted efforts into building your company, and secured outside funding you’ll have to appoint a Board of Directors, but most likely your funded will have financial and board control. Investors like to work with executives they know. You, as a fresh entrepreneur, represent an unknown territory. Backers don’t know how you’ll react to success or difficulty and may want to remove you as the CEO.

If you see your business opportunity as a way to cash in quick, you may not have the stamina to bring your business venture to success. Investors rarely invest in an idea and they don’t invest quickly.  It could take 18-24 months to secure a deal.. The reality is that funding brings as many problems as it appears to solve. While there are other options for funding, explore them carefully and avoid making commitments under duress.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Connection with Your Customers

10-14 Customer relationships smallYour first sale may feel like a huge validation of your vision, and your first passel of sales may leave you feeling confident. As much as you treasure sales though, it’s your customers that make your business run smoothly. While many of your customers will only buy from you once, other customers will give you repeat business. And once you establish a relationship, they will happily buy from you again and again as long as you continue to deliver great service and products.  So what can you do as a small business owner to build, support, and encourage a long-lasting relationship with your customers? Here are six habits that guarantee they’ll keep coming back for more of what you offer.

1. Make Good on Your Promises

If you promise to fulfill an order, you must complete it in the timeframe you promised. If you said the product will be delivered in a pink box by a bear, and it gets there in red box delivered by an ox, you have failed. Yes, the delivery made it and most customers will appreciate that, but by not following through as you promised, you’ve already damaged trust.

2. Find a Balance Between Value and Profit

When you undervalue your product or service, the quality of your offering will be questioned. Also, if you set the bar too high, you may miss part of your market by charging too much. As a business owner, it is important to fine tune this balance; charge too little and you won’t make any profit; charge too much and people will go elsewhere for the same product at a lower price.

3. Focus on Quality

Whatever specialty you offer, be it goods or services, the quality of your offering will deepen devotion. Yes, you can obsess about details that make you lose focus on the big picture, but you rarely will go wrong when you improve the quality of your product. Ask your customers how you can improve their experience and take action on her suggestions.

4. Stay in Front of Difficulties When They Occur

Everyone makes mistakes. In fact, you will make mistakes. The more quickly you acknowledge them, the more quickly you can correct them. Never let your customer tell you about a problem that you already know about. Reach out to your customer and alert her if you know your shipment is late or you’ve sent the wrong item. Don’t depend on the customer’s lack of attention to amend the situation. You will gain respect and appear extra reliable.

5. Show Appreciation

It really is as easy as saying or writing “thank you for your business.” Of course, if you want to do more, I don't think there is a customer alive who will discourage that. Create a loyalty program, special flash sales, discounts on large orders, gifts with sales, and referral benefits are all ways to show your appreciation. Birthday specials, trunk shows, or exclusive benefits are extra ways to say “Thank you!”

6. Keep in Touch

Don’t just close the sale and move on. Your follow-up after a completed transaction is key to repeat business. You need to find out how everything went. But if a customer hasn’t purchased in a while reach out to them. You don’t even have to bring up future business. You can thank them for past order or share a tidbit of information to reconnect. Just touching base can motivate a past customer to think about your brand again.

Making the effort to build a relationship with a customer will pay off long term. It takes such a small amount of effort to keep a customer happy and buying, just make the effort.

How to Implement Goal Setting in Your Small Business

I know what you’re thinking: I am tired of not moving things forward enough in my business. I’m here to tell you that the reason why this is happening is because you are not measuring yourself against business goals. Are you one of these people who says, “Why set goals if you never end up meeting them?” Or you know you should set goals, but you haven't quite gotten around to it (like backing up your data or keeping your antivirus software up to date). I encourage you to shift your thinking about goal setting. When you take the time to set goals and follow through on those, it is an investment that pays. Here are six ways to look realistically at your business and create meaningful business goals.

1. Analyze the Current Situation

Look at where you are right now and ask yourself: are you where you want to be? It is imperative that you are clear with yourself about your current circumstance regarding money in the bank, accounts payables, your sales pipeline, and your processes. Once you have established what the present looks like, only then can you plan for the big picture and set goals against it.

2. Create a Roadmap

Focus on long-term goals in a five-year benchmark when you develop your goal roadmap. These reach goals have a place in your overall goal setting, but it is essential to set some clear, attainable milestone goals in the short term . Just as an undergraduate sets a goal toward earning a bachelor's degree before applying to grad school, your road map should include goals you can achieve sooner rather than later that will help you accomplish those long term goals. You may even find that creating yearly measurable goals helps you clarify your vision even further.

3. Break It Into Small Bites

Create short-term tasks to achieve your goals for the next year. Creating monthly and weekly sales goals will help you move the needle on your revenue goals. Need to increase sales? Set a goal for increasing cold calls, social posts and direct outreach such as attending meetings. Need to get people to your website? Establish a content development system and start an editorial calendar. Need better subscription numbers? Work on developing a new free download for your website. Remember: you can’t achieve your goals if you don’t take steps toward making them happen.

4. Stay Focused

It’s not enough to set goals. Now you must make substantial efforts to attain those goals. For example, if you are going to be developing content, set aside one day a week to do that. Be proactive and set deadlines for your milestones in order to achieve those goals. It’s easy to get distracted or discouraged, so keep trying even if you miss a milestone. One of the best ways to stay focued is to avoid or eliminate distractions whenever possible.

5. Work Hard

This is a time when hard work determines your outcome. So many entrepreneurs spend a lot of time working on their day-to-day activities and don’t allocate enough time and resources to commit to achieving their professional goals, and then they wonder why they failed to accomplish those goals. There is a direct correlation between the amount of energy you put toward a goal and its results. Set your biggest goals first, they the annual goals, then the monthly and weekly goals. Once your organize your time this way, you will see a difference in your business.

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