Small Business Tag

America is the land of opportunity and nothing proves that more than the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners. But as any business owner can tell you, the path to a successful business is long and not without its share of difficulties. Small business owners often dedicate their lives to their businesses. While big corporations are still asleep in their beds, small business owners are already tolling away to meet their sales goals for the day. The demands of running a small business often require owners to stretch their resources, like time, money, and manpower. So, having resources to show them just how to do that are essential. Resources for Success Small business owners often walk a tightrope in allocating resources and trying to find the right formula to keep their business profitable. Those resources aren’t always obvious. With over 50% of businesses in the U.S., the small business world is a competitive one, so finding the right information to help make your business a success critical. Fit Small Business was designed with the small business owner in mind. Their site is an encyclopedia of information for business owners that answers questions about everything from how to start a small business to how to expand their brand. Owning a small business can feel like you are navigating the open sea alone. That’s why Fit Small Business has real tips from small business owners included in all their content, giving business owners the guidance they need from others that are on the same journey.

top tech toolsBusiness owners have ranked their favorite business tools for 2016 in SurePayroll’s third annual top tech tools survey. The survey was included as part of part of the July 2016 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard®.  I've been posting the Scorecard on the Examiner for a few years now, and it's  turned out to be a fairly informative and reliable SMB metric. (It's also a great example of strong B2B content if that's what you're interested in creating for your brand. ) Google Drive was the most used app among small business owners – for both organization and Cloud storage. SurePayroll asked small business owners and entrepreneurs nationwide to rank their favorite business top tech tools in the categories of Cloud Storage Providers, Organization Apps, Social Networks, Social Media Management, Customer Relationship Management and Email Marketing Software. Facebook and LinkedIn were cited as far more useful for business than other social media outlets such as Twitter or Snapchat. Perhaps surprisingly, Google Plus ranked higher as a social media platform for business than Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Pinterest. Other important tools included Mail Chimp for emailing marketing, Dropbox, and Salesforce for customer relationship management. “Our average customer tells us, for example, that they use Mail Chimp to communicate with customers, Google Drive to store important documents and SurePayroll to pay their employees. Those are the building blocks and beyond that upgrading technology becomes costly,” said SurePayroll General Manager Andy Roe. “Small businesses with only a few employees are typically not going to have a lot of resources for extensive technology systems. Fortunately, there are some really beneficial, low-cost tools available.”

Business Top Tech Tools

  • Cloud Storage – Google Drive (Note: last year’s winner was Dropbox)
  • Email Marketing Software – Mail Chimp (Note: last year’s winner was Constant Contact)
  • Organization App – Google Drive
  • Social Network – Facebook
  • Social Media Management – Hootsuite
  • Customer Relationship Management – Salesforce

Most small business owners do not start or buy a business because they were interested in becoming marketing geniuses. Yet marketing is a critical success factor for any business, small or otherwise. And it's easy to take a wrong turn where marketing is concerned. Recently we spoke to Mark Montini, Chief Results Officer for m2M Strategies, a franchise marketing firm, about the biggest mistakes most new small business owners make. Known for his ability to architect fully-integrated distributed marketing programs, Mark has helped franchises, Fortune 500 companies, startups, non-profits, and even political organizations increase revenue. His work has been featured in newspapers across the country including the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. [caption id="attachment_11811" align="alignright" width="200"]Mark Montini, m2M Strategies Mark Montini, m2M Strategies[/caption] "Small businesses can eliminate a lot of frustration by addressing the common marketing mistakes I see on a frequent basis," says Montini. "Those mistakes are usually centered around focus - on the wrong data, the wrong tactics and even the wrong message." Montini says there are three primary marketing mistakes that can cause failure for any small business right from the start. 1. Focusing on the wrong metrics

4332095101_0b429f0a4b_o By Dina Ely I recently had the “pleasure” of having to update approximately 60 business local listings for a client across the Google and Yahoo local business networks, and what I experienced working with both companies on this was an eye-opener. In the end, I think I've figured out why Google will always trump Yahoo, and how out of touch Yahoo is with the needs of small and medium businesses. (Marissa Mayer, take note - there are a few things I think you've forgotten since the Google days.) For this grand adventure I worked in the dashboards of both sites as well as extensively on the phone with support. Let me compare and contrast the overall experience and discuss a few takeaways. Yahoo Both Google and Yahoo play an important role in local search (as do a few other players – but that's another post for another time). Google is used more by customers in local searches, but to ignore Yahoo altogether would be foolhardy. Especially since Yahoo, like Google, offers free business listings. What they also offer, and pretty much give you no choice but to use, is a variety of subscription-based services including Localworks, which starts at $29.99/month per listing. Here's where I hit my first road block. In order to do anything substantial with these 60 some odd listings, I really had no choice but to pay for a Localworks package just to get a fully-featured version of the marketing dashboard. If you try to go the free route, the tools available to you are minimal and it's virtually impossible to do anything on the kind of scale I needed. I claimed and prepared to edit every outdated listing, but everything came to a grinding halt when I hit the log jam of verification postcards. (This will come up with Google too, in just a minute.)

shutterstock_172529708Although Facebook may be the inspiration for startups around the world, the company nearly bankrupted itself with monthly utility bills, bandwidth, servers and a rapidly growing payroll. In 2008, the social media juggernaut burned through its startup funding by spending nearly $1 million on electricity each month, reports TechCrunch. While it may not cost you a million dollars to keep your own startup going and the lights on, even modest estimates by Babson College puts startup costs around $65,000. To keep your eye on your bottom line and put more profit in your pocket, use these online tools to slash your overhead and save a bundle:

Cloud Storage

Skip paying for expensive storage systems and servers by storing your important documents, files and images in the cloud. Systems like LiveDrive save startup founders time by sharing files quickly and offering unlimited backup plans. And instead of panicking over a water-logged laptop or server outage, you can access your files from any computer at any location. Compare features and price points with a site like Top10CloudStorage to figure out the best option for your business startup needs.

Social Media Scheduling