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The End of Free Facebook Marketing?

April 30, 2014

Check out this recent article from BloombergBusinessweek on changes on Facebook’s marketing policy:

Recent changes to the way Facebook serves up its news feeds are making it more difficult for small businesses to get their updates in front of customers. That’s causing some consternation among business owners who feel squeezed to pay for advertising when they used to get free exposure from the social media giant, which claims more than 1 billion monthly active users. One food delivery company upset about the situation went so far as to publicly break up with Facebook (FB).

Chris Vasquez, a product manager at digital video company Poptent.com whose clients often post videos to their Facebook pages, put it bluntly: “This really sucks for brands on Facebook.”

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4 Tips to Go Further, Faster with Strategic Partnerships

April 29, 2014

Check out this recent article from Entrepreneur on the value of strategic partnerships:

While some entrepreneurs may be hesitant to partner with other companies due to fear of misalignment, not a balanced relationship or a branding disaster, it can actually be quite beneficial if done correctly. Forming the right strategic partnership can increase your efforts in two essential areas of the business — credibility and distribution.

Less than a year ago today, the company I co-founded Porch.com — a home-improvement network — had only touched the hands of a small group of our earliest employees, as we worked away from the basement of my rental home. Now, that same little website has touched millions of hands and this growth helped us form a strategic partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement stores.

The Lowe’s partnership spring-boarded Porch into the public spotlight, aligning brands and establishing us as a tech-savvy innovator in the space. It also gave us distribution to quickly deliver our product.

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7 Out of 10 Consumers Prefer a Business with a Social Media Presence

April 28, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on the importance of present and up-to-date social media:

Seven out of 10 consumers prefer a business with a social media presence. That’s according to information provided by GoDaddy (click the image above to see the full graphic), through its service Get Found. Get Found provides small businesses with tools to update their information instantly across a wide variety of platforms online.

But why do consumers feel this way? Is it because the social media presence confirms there are real people behind the business? Or is it because they truly want to follow the business on social media?

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When to Sell Your Business

April 25, 2014

Check out this recent article from Smarta on how to time the sale of your business:

In Silicon Valley, business acquisition is commonplace – and the sums involved can be astronomical. In 2013, Yahoo bought microblogging platform Tumblr for over $1 billion, and Facebook recently acquired Oculus VR for a staggering $2 billion. Most company takeovers are far more modest. However, the decision to sell can be difficult to make, regardless of the size of your business.

You may want to sell your business for many reasons. Two of the most common are:

– You feel unable to continue running a business due to old age, ill health, or other commitments.
– Your sales are declining, and you’re seeking for a profitable way out before the business runs into the ground.

It’s highly unwise to wait until you’re too busy or ill to run a company. Selling a business can take up to 2 years – you’ll need a considerable amount of energy if you want to negotiate the best deal.

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How to Get Funded on Kickstarter

April 24, 2014

Check out this recent article from BloombergBusinessweek on the use of crowdfunding for small businesses:

Question: My company is contemplating a Kickstarter-style fundraising campaign. I’ve seen these kinds of things fail too often. How can I maximize my chances of reaching my goal?

Answer: You’re smart to plan ahead and do the best job possible on your crowdfunding campaign. According to data from Kickstarter.com, one of the oldest and best-known crowdfunding sites, fewer than 44 percent of posted projects are successfully funded, and most of those raise less than $10,000.

Making sure your campaign is appealing from the start—and that it gets seen—is crucial. While 10 percent of Kickstarter projects never receive even a single pledge, projects that raise at least one-fifth of their goal go on to be successfully funded 80 percent of of the time, according to the company.

Your work begins long before your campaign goes live, says Nathan Resnick, founder of Yes Man Watches, who raised more than $32,000 in January and February on Kickstarter to make wristwatches. The University of San Diego finance major started with a $15,000 fundraising goal.

“People underestimate the importance of telling everybody what you’re doing,” he says. “I called media outlets, I activated my network on social media and asked people to share it and tweet about it.” He also made sure that his Kickstarter page provided a prominent, simple way for visitors to share his goal on their own social media sites.

Because he had made early connections at watch blogs and sent them preview links to the Kickstarter site, his funding campaign was mentioned online on the first day it went live, sending him a flood of Internet traffic from around the world.

He was prepared. Three months before he launched his campaign, Resnick says, he began talking up his plans to friends online and offline, so they would come on board with funding and other support right away, giving him momentum out of the gate. He also set up a website, a Facebook (FB) page, and a Twitter (TWTR) account for his company, all featuring attractive photos of his watches. “Pictures are huge—so if it’s a physical product, make sure people can see what it actually looks like and does,” he says.

Ilene Ruvinsky, a co-founder of Don’t Call Me Ma’am, a Seattle skin care company, put time, energy, and funds into a video for her current campaign on Fundable.com. If your video is weak or doesn’t tell your company’s story effectively, “you have lost before you have begun,” Ruvinsky wrote in an e-mail. “Spend some of your own capital to get the help necessary to produce a thoughtful video pitch that showcases your products in a manner that makes them look viable and market-ready.”

It’s also important to set attainable goals. “Know exactly what amount you need for your launch and set goals accordingly,” Ruvinsky advises. “Strive to get the most you can, but keep your goals realistic.”

Resnick calculated how much money he would need to launch his watch brand and produce an initial minimum-order run. “We didn’t want to make the goal out of range by adding in additional costs that might occur later,” he says.

He also didn’t spend a lot. “It almost doesn’t cost anything to launch a crowdfunding campaign. My friend who was an amateur photographer took the pictures and someone at my university shot the video,” he says. Kickstarter’s fee was 5 percent of the total amount raised.

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