Running a small business in today’s economy is no easy task. According to Forbes, around 80% of small businesses fail within the first 12-18 months. Without a doubt, running a business requires a great deal of determination, passion and patience. But if you have an idea for your own start-up, don’t be deterred from opening up shop. Some of the biggest companies in the world began right where you are now and they had their tough times too. It’s important to realize that there will be difficult moments along the way but if you can get through them, you and your business will be stronger and better equipped for it. These hurdles can difficult to overcome, particularly if this is your first stab at the business world, but if you can stay positive and determined, your success will be all the sweeter.
Because of the general bad shape the global economy is experiencing currently, finding useful financing for small businesses can be easier said than done. People are afraid to invest in something that has a 50% fail rate. This can be especially true if your business is attempting to compete against a larger, corporate conglomerate. But don’t be discouraged, there are small business loans, business credit cards, and there are also grants for specific groups like women in small business, non-profits and educational grants. Try using social media sites or online crowdfunding applications like Kickstarter to help you build your business. You have to be creative with your fundraising and be prepared to not receive all the funding you initially set out to get, but if you can stay determined and work hard at raising the money, you’ve already won half the battle.
Infographics have been around forever. Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s not that far off from the truth. If you really think about it, they’ve been around for tens of thousands of years. They’ve become modernized recently and are extremely popular. They work well for a number of reasons, primarily due to their accessible and visual-friendly incorporation of various graphs, charts and illustrated data.
In addition to still serving well as a useful way to present data, infographics remain an integral part of effective content marketing. Infographics have an indisputable tendency to go viral, which is a great way to effectively promote services, a business or a specific set of data. They also have a substantial leg-up on boring, text-heavy approaches trying to get the same points across.
And yet, there are a lot of people out there who hate infographics. Why? Because more often than not they’re been completely misused, and tend to be poorly designed. Don’t let this hate scare you off from making one, though. Here are some areas to keep in mind when it comes to creating great infographics that work in your favor.
Opening an e-commerce business is a lot like running a marathon. Just about anyone can do it, but only a select few will succeed. Hundreds of online stores are opened on a daily basis, making it an extremely competitive market. That isn’t meant to scare you off, but rather to alert you of the challenging, albeit satisfying, road that lies ahead.
In order to set you off on the right journey, here’s a list of steps to help you create an online business. And just as with running a marathon, the starting steps are often the most critical.
As the owner of a small business, you know what it’s like to have a lot on your plate. Some days, it may feel as if you need a small army in place just to keep up with the way you need to market and brand yourself – not to mention making a profit and paying attention to your customers! Well, I’ve got a secret to share with you: you don’t need an army. All you need is a thirst for knowledge. The trick is to stay on top of trends and when things move, move with them!
Working in the marketing industry, I’ve come to understand that it is never about one thing or the other, it is about how all of the pieces of the puzzle come together to form the big picture. Ten years ago, your business might have gotten by with some television commercials and perhaps an advertisement or two in your local newspaper, but times have changed – how can you compete and stay on top today?
The best businesses in the world all share one characteristic – they know that if their webpages get listed low in search engines, no one will find them when they’re searching. That’s where SEO comes in. Every business is doing their best to pinch pennies where they can, but there are some expenditures are worth every dime. It will take some budgeting, but you’ll know you’ve helped people find you with every dollar spent.
What is SEO?
SEO is the practice of strategically using keywords, metadata, links, and content to convince search engines that your webpage is credible and authoritative, and that it deserves to be listed high up in search engine rankings.
Search engines work hard to get the best content to the people searching for specific terms, and they penalize and even eliminate spammers or SEO cheats who use shady techniques such as keyword stuffing. A strong SEO strategy can get good webpages great rankings.
With the myriad of available resources online full of advice on how you should run and market your business, it wouldn’t be surprising if you tried most, if not all of them, on for size. While doing so isn’t wrong necessarily, there are pieces of marketing advice that can contradict with your business’ principles. When this happens, these kinds of tips can be counterproductive instead of advantageous especially if something goes wrong with your business despite following that particular piece of advice exactly. Watch out for these six big marketing mistakes – you may be committing them without even realizing it.
1) You assume that your customers think just like you.
If you’re the kind of entrepreneur who is able to pull brilliant ideas out of thin air and that your customers will “get it” despite risking ambiguity, hats off to you. But most entrepreneurs can’t afford to think or act like that. Ignoring what your customers have to say about your product and settling with what you think they’ll like can put your business in jeopardy. Avoid this by soliciting feedback from your customers on a regular basis. What they have to say about your product can help you decide which areas you should put less of a focus on and the ones that you need to strengthen.
Anthony Karibian, CEO of bOnline
Most small businesses today have realized a website is a vital part of their marketing plan. Many have spent weeks, maybe even months, creating a professional website to convert prospects into paying customers. So why are many small business websites failing to bring in sales? In order to attract traffic to your website, it’s important to understand that the work isn’t over once your website has gone live. Thankfully, you don’t need to be an expert or a millionaire to drive traffic to your site - here are five free and easy ways:
Much of your site’s traffic will come from search engines such as Google, where your success depends on how highly your site ranks for keywords related to your business. There’s no guaranteed way to the top, but you can apply search engine optimization (SEO) best practices on your site to be in with a better chance. Think about the search terms you want to rank for and ensure these keywords are included in your website, including the header and page titles (but don’t force them in or repeat them excessively). Getting links back to your site from respected sources should also give you a boost. There are a lot of rules to good SEO, but the best place to start is with Google’s very own SEO Starter Guide, available here for free.
Which is more important to your everyday life – social networks or email?
Does your answer change when you’re presented with the fact that 188 billion emails are sent daily, compared to 140 million tweets and 60 million Facebook posts?
Does it change when you think about how fundamentally important email is to the online experience? After all, you can’t even sign up Twitter or Facebook without an email address.
How often do you turn to search engines like Google or Bing to find a product or service that you need? Have you ever clicked on anything on the 15th page of search results? Or the 50th? We didn’t think so. That’s why you need Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your small business. Ninety percent of all users click on the Top 10 search results on Google, which means that you are missing out on selling your product or service to 90% of your prospective customers. Sold yet?
Your small business only needs to maintain a presence on Facebook and Twitter, right? Wrong. Even though Google+ can seem like an afterthought in social media, ignore it and you’ll miss out on an enormous audience. There are five things you can do on Google+ to promote yourself in a new and exciting way and boost your brand’s awareness:
1. Use the “About Page” to link your website