3 Ways to Keep Your Small Business Growing and Gaining Ground

August 29, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on key ways to grow your business:

As many business leaders spent the last year focused on cutting costs and staying competitive, small-business employers specifically took measures to hold fast – making careful choices about hiring, compensation and employee benefits options.

The 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report for Small Business found that only 12 percent changed employee hours from full- to part-time in 2013 while 34 percent said they gave employees smaller raises than in previous years. As these decisions were made by small-business owners, the study found that 64 percent of employees at small businesses are extremely or very satisfied with their job, compared to 17 percent of employees at large companies and 19 percent at medium-sized companies.

Maintaining a happy workforce, while keeping an eye on the bottom line, is a tough job to juggle. Below are three important ways your company can gain momentum in a slowly rebuilding economy and changing health care landscape:

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How Is Your Business Using Mobile Technology?

August 28, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on optimizing your use of mobile technology:

Without a doubt, the hottest business development of the past few years has been the rapid adoption of mobile technology by consumers. Now small businesses are finally following suit, reports Constant Contact: The percentage of small businesses implementing mobile technology has grown from two-thirds last year to over three-quarters (77 percent) this year.

How exactly are small businesses adopting mobile?

First, small businesses are recognizing mobile technology’s value as a marketing tool.

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The Countdown is On – Get Your Website Ready for Christmas Now

August 27, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on preparing your website for the holidays:

It’s August. It’s hot and sales might even be down for some of you. However, you and I know the holiday sales season is coming soon. The time to get your website ready for Christmas is not November 1st – it’s now.

Your mobile strategy, website, online marketing, customer delight, shipping, SEO and so much more must be dialed in. And Nikole Haiar, Director, Marketing Campaigns & Programs at Hostway Services, Inc. shares some advice below on how to accomplish that.

The holiday season might seem distant today, but for eCommerce merchants, there’s no time like the present to get prepared for the annual rush. The peak selling season can be a stressful time for online merchants who are scrambling to get products to customers as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s a good idea to take stock of your eCommerce operation now to make sure you’ll be prepared when the shopping season is in full swing.

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Dos and Don’ts of Email Remarketing

August 26, 2014

Check out this recent article from ClickZ on strengthening your email marketing campaign:

By using existing metrics and subscriber behavior to remarket to your consumers, your email marketing campaigns can become much stronger and more effective. Here are some best practices for email remarketing.

Too often, busy digital marketers send a one-size-fits-all campaign and move onto the next one. Any kind of segmentation is often going to drive more impressive results. In fact, 76 percent of email revenue came from segmented emails in 2013, up from 55 percent in 2012, according to the “DMA National Client Email Survey 2014.”

Marketers take heed – the plethora of email metrics from each campaign result in some bountiful follow-up options. I made a list for those rolling out some smart, metrics-driven, and behavioral-focused efforts.

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Consumers Believe They’re Eager to Pay More for Do-Gooder Products

August 25, 2014

Check out this recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek what customer’s are willing to pay for:

Even the most earnest social-responsibility efforts are often tied deeply to corporate marketing goals, a long-standing link that appears to be growing stronger. Research by Nielsen (NLSN) has found that consumers are attracted to such initiatives and are even willing to pay additional money to satisfy do-gooder instincts. For companies, it seems that doing good is an increasingly viable sales strategy.

In Nielsen’s online survey of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries, 55 percent of respondents said they would pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. The age group most likely to say they’d pay a premium: millennials. “Precision marketing and knowing your consumers intimately will yield the greatest results,” wrote Amy Fenton, Nielsen’s global leader of public development and sustainability.

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4 Big Mistakes Small Businesses Make in eCommerce

August 22, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on making sure that your eCommerce ducks are in a row:

Whether you run a brick-and-mortar location or operate exclusively online, eCommerce can help your small business expand your customer base, increase visibility, and boost profits. But there’s more to eCommerce than setting up an online storefront and hoping that people will buy.

Many small businesses fail to consider their eCommerce operations from a customer point of view. As a result, they see little to no online sales. You don’t have to be Amazon to succeed with eCommerce, but you should still emulate the aspects of successful eTailers that keep customers flocking to them for online purchases.

Is your small business making any of these big eCommerce mistakes?

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The Threat of Just-in-Time Scheduling

August 21, 2014

Check out this recent article from Huffington Post on effective employee scheduling practices:

One of the most unnoticed labor trends in the past few decades has been the rise of “just-in-time scheduling,” the practice of scheduling workers’ shifts with little advance notice that are subject to cancelation hours before they are due to begin. Such scheduling practices mean that already low-wage workers often have fluctuating pay checks, leading them to rely on shady lenders or credit cards to make ends meet. Such consequences especially affect women and workers of color, who disproportionately fill these jobs.

New research from three University of Chicago professors, Susan J. Lambert, Peter J. Fugiel, and Julia R. Henly, examines scheduling practices for young adults (26 to 32 years old). Many outlets have reported their finding that part-time workers face greater scheduling uncertainty than full-time workers: 39 percent of full-time workers report receiving hours one week or less before work, compared to 47 percent of part-time workers. But less attention has been paid to the race gap: 49 percent of blacks and 47 percent of Hispanics receive their hours with a week or less of notice, compared with 39 percent of white workers.

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How to Earn Customer Loyalty

August 20, 2014

Check out this recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek on gaining return customers:

Question: I get a lot of customers who come into my business once but never return. Do you have any tips on building customer loyalty?

Answer: Loyalty really comes down to this: giving people a reason to shop at your business, rather than going across town or hopping online and spending their money at a larger, better-known company. Most often, people go out of their way to patronize small companies because they know and like the people there and enjoy the shopping experience.

Of course, you have to offer excellent products or services at reasonable prices, but you probably can’t compete for customers who are looking only at cost. What you’ve got that the bigger guys don’t, however, is a reputation in your community.

Be the kind of friendly, honest, service-oriented business owner whom everyone enjoys interacting with, and you shouldn’t have a problem getting repeat customers. Here are a few more specific tips:

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