The Perks of Participating on Small Business Saturday

We’re huge fans of Small Business Saturday here at MyCorp. Along with offering our own annual promotion for newly minted entrepreneurs, we try and spread word of the event as far and wide. Past Small Business Saturdays have been wildly successful – in 2013, customers spent $5.7 billion at independent merchants during SBS. But if that isn’t enough to convince you to participate, take a look at these other awesome perks! shopsmall1

American Express Promotional Material
Small Business Saturday was actually created by American Express, and the credit card company continues to sponsor the shopping holiday. And so there are tons of perks from AmEx that small business owners can use! They offer free ads and signage to everyone, and if you accept American Express cards, they’ll even put your business on their map so potential customers can find you.

Premier Partner Perks
AmEx has lined up a few premier partners with their own promotions to sweeten the deal for small business owners. You can list yourself on EventBrite, get free signs from FedEx, and free ads from Yelp! Facebook is also a partner, and if you need some social marketing advice to help you promote the big day, there’s plenty of the official page.

Community Support
Most communities really rally around the idea of supporting their local main street merchants. So, at the very least, your local chamber of commerce will probably plan on putting something together for to support and promote Small Business Saturday. Check in with them and see what’s on the agenda, and how you can get your business listed as a SBS participant.

Small Business Saturday is November 29th, so if you haven’t started prepping, start now! You’ll be part of a growing tradition, and reach plenty of busy shoppers. And be sure to check back here to find out what we are offering to new small business owners this Saturday!

Business Basics – Cross-Blogging

Content marketing is amazing. Studies have found that inbound and content marketing cost 62% less than traditional marketing, and yet brings in three-times as many leads. If you don’t blog, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity, and a great chance to network. Over the last year or so, we’ve really amped up our cross-blogging, and we’ve seen some amazing results. New markets have opened up, our web presence has never been bigger, and we’ve made some great new partners. cross-blogging

But, in finding new partners to blog with, we’ve noticed that some businesses don’t know the first thing about cross-blogging. So to help those of you experimenting with inbound marketing out, here are a few tips on how to make your cross-blogging experience positive and rewarding.

Make suggestions and share ideas

Some of the best articles we’ve ever written have come from ideas brainstormed with our cross-blogging partners. However, entrepreneurs can be a little skittish when it comes to sharing ideas. Now when a business is built on an idea, guarding it makes a lot of sense, but if that idea is nothing more than a possible topic for an 800-word article, you don’t have to treat it like a trade secret. So feel free to pitch ideas with your partners, and build off of each other’s suggestions. A major part of cross-blogging is networking. You want to forge a strong, working relationship with the people you partner with, and brainstorming is a great way to do just that.

Keep the relationship light

New bloggers sometimes get a bit overly zealous when contributing or accepting a post. Before anything is written, they want a thirty-page contract filled out in triplicate and faxed to their attorney’s office. Remember, you aren’t sharing revenue or starting a business together. You’re cross-blogging. A few simple requests like ‘don’t plagiarize’ and ‘don’t publish this somewhere else’ are really all that you need.

Don’t ask your partner to do all the work

We feel like this should go without saying, but we’ve had way, waytoo many potential partners ask us to just write the post for them. There’s no quicker way to ruin this networking and marketing opportunity than by shirking all of your responsibility and expecting someone else to pick up the slack. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Would you want a crummy, hastily written article, riddled with spelling and grammar errors on your blog? We doubt it. Any articles you send to your partner should be insightful, unique, and engaging, and you should expect the same of them. That way no one feels slighted, and your new partnership starts off right. 

Interested in contributing a guest post? We’d love to talk to you! Click here to read our author guidelines, pitch an idea, and get in contact with our social media team.

Why Trust is the Essence of an Effective Business

Why Trust is the Essence of an Effective BusinessOne of the most important elements of a positive, synergistic and healthy workplace environment is trust. Trust forms the foundation for effective communication and interaction, and provides a solid platform for employee engagement, retention, successful customer experiences, and satisfaction.

Trust goes beyond being able to rely upon someone. It is about character, ability, confidence, strength, faith, and conviction. When trust exists in an organization or in a relationship, almost everything else is easier and more comfortable to achieve which is why it’s so critical to build and maintain trust.

Like organizational culture, I believe trust starts at the very top – since trusting and being trust “worthy” can only exist when top management sets the example, and then promulgates that example into every business unit and department. This means establishing and maintaining integrity and communicating your vision and values through word and deed and doing what is right.

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5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need Video for Marketing (Like, Now!)

5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need Video for Marketing (Like, Now!) Let’s get to the point: short videos are becoming as important as your website. They are a powerful way to make friends and influence people and to build a strong brand presence online so people want to do business with you. You need start creating these videos now for the following reasons:

1. It Pays Off

According to the Online Publishers Association, when you go visit a website, you are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. Now, I know that all small businesses aren’t involved in retail, but you get the point. Video works, and it will work for you when you decide to put this tool in your arsenal. And guess what? That time is now.

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Should You Give Your Employees a Second Chance?

I’ve always believed that my business’s success hinges on the open and honest relationship I have with my team. I have to trust that my employees will do the job they were hired to do so I can focus on running and growing the company. However, I have unfortunately had to deal with members of my team breaking that trust in the past. And, while you should always consider giving people a second chance at the workplace, second chances also mean you should look at what they did, and determine whether what happened was a minor transgression, or a serious breach of trust. second chance

Look at the big picture

It can be really easy to focus too heavily on the employee when making this sort of decision, but you need to consider a lot of different factors. Firing someone can leave a long-lasting impact on your business, especially if other employees don’t agree with your decision. Was this betrayal of trust more personal, or professional? Occasionally we have to swallow our personal pride for the betterment of the company, and objectivity is key to making this sort of a decision. If this is an isolated incident, then maybe a second chance is in order.

Consider the impact on your business

If this employee has proven themselves to the company and has spent years working within it, firing them could hurt your business. So you need to ask yourself if the employee’s separation will actually be good for the company. Do they contribute to inter-office harmony? Are they replaceable? Will their absence help or hinder day to day operations? Being slighted by someone you trust is always a jarring experience, but it isn’t worth sacrificing your team’s dynamic to make a point. But if this employee did actually harm the company, it may be worth sending them out the door for good.

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4 Sales Tips to Lead Small Business Sales Teams to Success

How to Increase Holiday SalesThere are many critical variables for sales success, especially when it comes to small business sales. Because small businesses typically have more obstacles to overcome due to their size and lack of resources, it’s extremely important that small business leaders learn how to master the sales process. Ultimately, mastering sales skills can provide long lasting revenue. Below are a few simple sales training  tips and tricks to help small business sales teams to succeed.

Quick Tips to Remember:

  • Target: The right client means everything
  • Good Energy: Be upbeat and positive
  • Preparation: Stay prepared and continuously practice your selling skills
  • Delivery: Always deliver polished presentations

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Managing Remote Employees: Part Two: Measuring and Communicating

Managing Remote Employees: Part Two: Measuring and CommunicatingYou don’t have the ability to always physically oversee and monitor their progress, so measuring effectiveness and keeping open lines of communication is very important.  If you introduce a framework and a structure that allows for easy communication and measure output, telecommuters can be just as effective as if you’re in regular physical contact.

What should be measured and how do you do it?

Let’s start with the obvious one – productivity: You can virtually drop into your staff’s office every day – or as often as you like – using a program that will track remote workers’ activity, including typed keystrokes, internet history, emails sent and received, webcam shots in addition to taking periodic screenshots throughout their workday.  A variety of activity tracking software exists to accommodate whatever your specific needs are and this can help improve accountability and transparency to your virtual office.  This also helps you quantify exactly how much time the workload of each project is taking.

The second – and equally important quantitative measure that both you and your staff need to keep track of – is time management.  Using shift scheduling software not only helps employees and managers stay on top of their schedules and payroll, but it also helps define how long employees need to dedicate to a specific task as well as tracking the progress being made or that has to be made for you to reach your goals and accomplish your projects.

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How to Apply Performance Management at a Startup

How to Apply Performance Management at a StartupI’ve thought long and hard but I just can’t think of a large, successful company that does not implement performance management. Famously, Jack Welch, CEO of GE, was a huge advocate of it.  The reason is probably fairly obvious. Performance management helps businesses achieve results. How so? By ensuring that all employees are performing at their best and pushing in the same direction.

So why don’t start-ups embrace performance management? Typically, there are a number of perceived barriers and questions small businesses have about how it’s done. How do you set up the process? Do you need an expensive system to manage it? Is it too much effort for the ROI (return on investment) in the end?

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How to Manage a Business that’s Open 24/7

How to Manage a Business that’s Open 24/7Businesses that operate 24 hours a day tend to have their own unique operation structure and vary from one type of business to the next. But when you don’t have a set closing time in place, how can you handle issues that come up that 9-5 companies don’t face? Here’s how to keep your business running smoothly from the AM to PM with the following tips!

1) Have a manager you can trust

A responsible team member you trust should be delegated as being in charge for each shift in the schedule. Be sure that each supervisor is properly trained, understands what tasks must be done on their assigned shift, and knows how to delegate out duties accordingly to the rest of the team.

2) Be fair with employees

If you don’t have one or two people who prefer the overnight shift, scheduling can get tough. Rotating shifts is usually the fairest way to work, but switching shifts isn’t easy on anyone. The key to a successful overnight shift is to offer employees an incentive to work it. Monetary incentives usually get the best results, but survey your employees first to find out what they want. If you run a repair business that is open 24/7, like Advanced Roofing Company, the best option may be to have someone on call at night. This way you can still meet the customer’s emergency needs, but everyone can just take turns being in charge of the late night calls once a week or so. If you must have someone work the graveyard shift every night full time, try hiring someone specifically for that position so that the terms and hours are agreed upon in advance.

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The Importance of Online Transparency in Business

The Importance of Online Transparency in BusinessThere was a time when big brands had a lot of control over how they were perceived and how they were portrayed in the media. Consumers had limited options when it came to communicating with brands, and the companies themselves had the power to create demand for products simply through being good at PR. Those days ended with the advent of widespread internet access and the rise of social media. Today, the power is in the hands of the consumer.

People now expect to be able to have two-way conversations with brands. Bad products are ridiculed, and news of poor customer service or unethical business practices spreads quickly.  Good news travels fast too, and even small gestures can go viral and have a huge impact on your brand’s bottom line. There is also a new generation of influencers in the form of bloggers, YouTube users and internet celebrities – and any bad experiences they have with a brand will be shared with their followers and are sure to make a big impact there.

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