Category Archives: Uncategorized

Running Late? – Share Your Where with Glympse

A free service for cellphones, called Glympse, lets you share your location in small increments of time. By fall, it will be available for most phones.

This software from Android Market shows where you are on a map and will allow you to share your location by sending a Glympse to a person or people. It’s available for blocks of time up to four hours. Selecting four hours means recipients can track you for that period, no matter where you go, including the speed of the car. You can share your location with a business partner, client or your family.

Glympses can also include a short message.

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Rethink Your Small Business Marketing

Email marketing – Hire an expert if you feel that you are not cut out to manage databases and lists. Find a reliable vendor to work with.  Constant Contact and Vertical Response are good.

Direct Mail – How effective is your Direct Mail marketing? Are you measuring your results? Anything printed has to be carefully thought out as you may be wasting money, time and natural resources.  Maybe you could upload most of your marketing materials to your website and switch to email marketing campaigns.

Discounts – Are you offering special extras, online only content or freebies?  Consider online coupons, try Intellogy.

Viral Marketing – Are you creating compelling content that is picked up and shared person-to-person via social networking sites?
Have you considered creating your company profile on Merchant Circle or Facebook?

What Can Small Business Owners Learn From Obama

1. Leadership skills – he put together a great team for his campaign and motivated his people all the way. 

2. Never give up, believe in yourself, even if you have no reason to do so, polls did not always predict Obama as a winner.

3. Presentation skills – Obama is one of the most eloquent and self-confident speakers I have ever seen. Practice!

4. Social media marketing – get away from ads to building online communities, just like Obama did.

5. Viral marketing – get everyone talking and singing about you. Where are you now, Obama girl?

6. If you can’t get to young consumers otherwise, send them a text message or an email- speak their “love language”.

7. Go to gym and play some ball – relieve your stress, basketball plays big part in Obama’s life.

8. Buy some nice clothes and look sharp – I loved Obama’s suit on election night!

9. Supportive spouse or partner is always a blessing – keep your spouse and partner happy.  Have you noticed the smile on Michelle Obama’s face?

10. Humble beginnings don’t always mean humble lives – with hard work, passion and dedication small business owners can beat the odds, just like Obama did.

Ten Simple Rules to Help Build Inbound Links for Your Small Business Website

One of our small business customers wanted to know more about creating relevant inbound links. Here’s what I suggested after researching this topic:

1. Choose 4-10 of your most popular keywords that you’re going to use.

2. Write variations of the links that you’d like to use. Test them. You may want to experiment with the Google AdWords keyword tool.

3. Create several inbound links using different variations of linking text.

4. The easiest way to get inbound links is from other websites or blogs that you own or control.

5.  Create online profiles for your small business on social networking sites

6.  Ask friends and colleagues for permission to put links on their sites or blogs.

7.  Buy quality directory links. Don’t buy directory links disapproved by Google. Do your research – at least Google the site’s url or name before you buy.

8. Tell people how you’d like them to link to you. Ask them to copy and paste the code you provide into their web pages/blogs.

9. Write keyword rich press releases and use services such as PRWeb or PR.com to distribute them. For an additional fee PRWeb will let you embed links into the body of your press release.

10. Write and publish quality articles and blog posts. If people like your article, they will likely use your article’s title when they link to you, so make sure that you include keywords in the titles of each article/post.  

Tips for Cutting Postage Costs

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1. Clean your mailing lists, make sure you have updated addresses for all recipients.

2. Find out how you can take advantage of United States Postal Service mailing options that benefit businesses, such as bulk mail and online  postage.

3. Postcard mailings are generally less expensive than letters.

4. Analyze your needs for packaging supplies, such as boxes, tubes, cartons, drums, strapping, shrink wrap, cushioning, edge protectors, bags, bubble wrap, tags, tape and other packaging products. Buy in bulk, it will save you money!

5. Send your monthly newsletter to your customers with monthly invoices.

6.  Switch to e-newsletters if this will save you money.

Moving Or In Need Of Custom Packaging?

Problem: Anyone who has looked through ANY stock box catalogue knows that as the sizes get larger, the choices dwindle. Many times shippers are stuck buying a size box that costs more to ship because the length plus girth of the box goes above the lower limit of an OVERSIZE CATEGORY. If the box is too large for the product being shipped, so that the length, width or height could be reduced, there is a real possibility to reduce or even eliminate the oversize charges.

Solution: At Custom Packaging Options, they make the box to fit the product! And they make just the quantity you need. You won’t have to buy hundreds to get a custom size. They have done this for a furniture manufacturer who saves $18.00 in freight charges per box! Another customer, a local tannery, is saving $8.50 per bear rug that is shipped. And they use stronger material (44 ect rather than 32 ect) which eliminated the shipping damage she was experiencing with the weaker stock box, giving her additional savings and consumer confidence in her company.

Should Micro-Businesses Outsource?

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I had a conversation recently with a small business owner who realizes that her work is piling up and she needs to hire additional help for office management, filing and marketing tasks.  She is currently not outsourcing or hiring employees as she knows she would have hard time losing control over certain aspects of her business.

After further discussion I realized that the main issue for her was TRUST. How can she find someone she can trust? Can she rely on recommendations and/or probationary periods to figure out that a certain person /company is a right fit? Would it be a good idea to hire friends or relatives, especially when someone has had bad experiences in the past?

Then we talked some more about pros and cons of outsourcing.

PROS:

>Reduction of stress.

>Decreased workload.

>Delegating unpleasant tasks.

>Efficient use of business owner’s resources and time.

CONS:

>Added expense.

>Finding the right person/company may take time.

>Delegation can be difficult.

>Idea of signing a long-term contract not appealing.

>Training issues.

We agreed that she should thoroughly assess her needs and make a list of most frustrating tasks causing her stress. In addition, she needs a SPA day as she has not taken any time off for a long time.

Maybe a massage chair in her office would be a good idea?

The Peace Symbol Is 50 Years Old

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Memorial Day made me think about peace…

The peace symbol first appeared 50 years ago in Britain. The year was 1958.

Demonstrators wanted an image that could be carried by marchers in protests against nuclear weapons. This idea was brought to life by London textile designer Gerald Holtom. The Naval semaphore sign language symbols for N (nuclear) and D (disarmament) were combined.

It filled a niche. Anyone could draw it, and before long millions of people did. Over time, it evolved into a piece used by countercultures of all kinds. Hippies adopted it as an overall symbol of peacefulness.

In the late 1960s, the image began to appear on every sort of consumer product. The symbol is enjoying new popularity in nostalgia jewelry.


6 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Not Have A Booth At Trade Shows

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My kids love trade shows as they get to “touch and feel” new products and fill their bags with free candy, pens and stickers.

My small business customers at the same time are hesitant to sign up for trade shows this year. They turn to me for advice.

We talk about their experiences in the past and that’s how we came up with some reasons why small service oriented businesses should NOT attend trade shows.

  • No measurable return on investment. You pay for the booth, spend time setting it up and talking to trade show attendees, give away hundreds or thousands of key chains and calendars with your company name on them and talk to hundreds of people. Weeks and months later you can’t tell whether you have any leads, prospects or clients resulting from attending the show. Was it really worth the effort?
  • The only people stopping at your booth are your current customers or little children taking candy out of your candy dish. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to see your current customers, you could take them out to lunch or send them a present.
  • Major networking events take place off the trade show floor behind closed doors and you have no access to them. This is a continuing trend, take notice!
  • You will play catch up for 2 weeks (also think of lost income) after leaving your office for 3-4 days to attend the trade show. You may miss some opportunities and important phone calls while attending the trade show.
  • Your competitors’ booths with bells and whistles indicate that their marketing budgets are substantially larger than yours. Unless you target a niche market and have a very good marketing strategy, you will not get noticed.
  • Don’t go if you don’t enjoy socializing. Networking is the primary reason why many small business owners attend trade shows year by year. In my opinion, trade shows are most beneficial for small retail businesses and manufacturing businesses showcasing their new products.

Ms. Yahoo Becoming Friends With Mr. Google

I did not think I will be blogging about Mr. Microsoft again today, but the relationships I am following are getting more and more complex. While Mr. Microsoft is learning to be social, Ms. Yahoo is getting close and personal with Mr. Google. Ms. Yahoo and Mr. Google were rivals, but they seem to be becoming the new best friends. Mr. Google wants to maintain its leadership role in the online advertising arena as well as control search space, and Ms.Yahoo does not want to get married to Mr. Microsoft. She has perhaps checked Mr. Microsoft’s Facebook page and does not like what she sees. She definitely dislikes the proposed prenuptial agreement.