Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dos and Don’ts for Your Business Website

Websites are most effective when it is pulling in visitors, keeping them around, and converting them into customers. However, most small business websites act more as an online placeholder. It is never too late to start putting in some work to help your business grow. So take advantage of the huge potential consumer base for the online market. To assist you in your website development here is a list of some things you should and shouldn't do:

Tip: Keep in mind that today’s consumers are accessing your website from multiple locations (desktop, laptops, smartphones and tablets) and make sure to tailor your website to these different devices.

Your Website Should…
·         Look Professional
·         Have a Private Domain Name
·         Be Secure
·         Have a Memorable Domain Name
·         Contain Your Business Name in Text
·         Contain Your Business Address in Text
·         Have Your Company Phone Number in Click-to-Call Format
·         Make Contact Info Easy to Find
·         Tell Visitors What You Do at a Glance
·         Highlight Your USP (Unique Selling Point)
·         Show Off Customer Testimonials
·         Invite Visitor Feedback
·         Speak to Your Visitors-Not Your Ego
·         Offer Fresh Content
·         Contain Keywords
·         Make it Personal
·         Link to Other Websites
·         Have Other Websites Link to Yours
·         Make Checkout Easy
·         Connect with Social Media

Your Website Should Not…
·         Have a Lot of Bells and Whistles
·         Use Flash Animation, Moving Text, Fancy Cursors or Music
·         Post Images Without ALT Tags or Text Captions
·         Have Dead Links
·         List All Your Products and Services

Note: This post contains information from the article “20 Things Your Website Should Do and 5 Things It Shouldn't”. For more detailed information about these tips refer to this link:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What to Consider in the Search for a Business Location

Consider the Surrounding Community
Determine if the community is actively seeking new companies. Learn of possible incentives by contacting the local economic development agency. You could receive financial support for tenant improvements, municipal programs giving preferences to area businesses or local tax and planning department waivers.

Tip: Try to lock in incentives prior to signing a lease to ensure you get the incentives you are promised.

Beware of Problem Locations
Some locations are simple bad for business. So look out for revolving business sites that is the home to a new business every few months. Remember the goal is not to buy the cheapest location. According to lease consultant, Dale Willerton, the goal is to select a site that will help you maximize sales.

Identify Target Customers
Seek locations that have an abundance of your target customers and employees with the necessary skills to get the job done. Other considerations for your customers include market size, customers’ purchasing power, traffic flow, and any physical barriers and traffic limitations or detours.  

Pay a Fair Price
Be realistic and ready to pay for a good location. Good locations are not cheap, but they will contribute toward business success.

Know the Competition
Evaluate the competition and be certain there is enough business to go around. If the area is saturated with similar businesses then you may want to consider a new location. If you are determined to compete in a tight market you must be able to offer a product or service that sufficiently changes to the game and draw enough business to make the operation workable. Assessing the competition will also help determine if your company can gain a competitive advantage by offering something the existing competition doesn't or determine if your business idea is feasible.

Note: These tips were taken from the article “5 pointers for Selecting a Site for Your Business”. For the full article refer the following link:

Monday, October 20, 2014

8 Apps That Can Help Your Small Business

Triplog: An app that can be used for fleet management and to track vehicle mileage. Triplog has an automatic GPS mileage tracker. It allows you to sync your data between the web and your mobile device. You can manage your team and fleet by using the GPS fleet tracking system which displays actual driving routes and vehicle locations on the map. The app also assists with generating IRS compliant mileage reports for tax deductions or reimbursements for all vehicles.

Waze: Get real-time traffic and road information that will help save you time and gas money on your daily route. This community-based app enables millions of drivers out on the road to work together and outsmart traffic by getting the best routes to and from work. You can get alerts before approaching police, accidents, road hazards, or traffic jams. This app even helps you navigate to the cheapest gas station on your route.

GasBuddy: This app allows you to find the cheapest gas on the go. You can locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices. This app is also community-based and has users work together to update gas prices. You can earn points every time you report a gas price which can be used towards prize give-a-ways.

Uber: Help your employees get around safely with the help of Uber. This app quickly connects you with safe, reliable rides that are automatically billed to your company. Uber is a great way to centralize billing for transportation, increase transparency, improve team management, and offer seamless travel. All you have to do is sign-up your organization, input the payment method, and add your employees.

Pocket: Ever wanted to save articles or videos for you to view later? Well this app allows you to do that from any device. You can save readings from your browser or apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite. By using Pocket you won’t lose those interesting articles. You can place, view, organize and share content anytime, from any device, and while offline.

DropBox: Use Dropbox to support your work team and control your business needs. With this app you can securely store, sync, and share files with your staff. It also comes with administrative tools that IT needs to protect your business files. Using Dropbox can increase your productivity by using a centralized and controlled location to store, share, and connect information instantly from anywhere.

Business Card Reader Pro: This business card scanner recognizes business cards right on your phone. Be able to import contact information from cards directly to your contacts. This app will even integrate with other applications such as LinkedIn, Salesforce and Evernote.

Concur: This app lets you manage anything expense or travel related wherever you are. You can book and manage itineraries, capture receipts, and submit expense reports. And it can all be done on your smart phone. Other features includes uploading IRS compliant images directly to expense reports, approving or rejecting expense reports, and adding car mileage to an expense report.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Power of Guarantees

Did you know that an amazing customer experience can be enhanced with the use of guarantees? Studies have shown that customers are more confident in making a purchase because of the powerful guarantees of products or services. It shows customers that you stand by your product or service and typically only about 1% ever invoke the guarantee. There are several ways you can communicate your guarantees such as hanging a sign in your store or waiting room, publishing it on your website, or any other form as long as it is understandable and in writing. With the right guarantee a small business owner in any industry can generate more sales.

Click here to get a list of 50 Powerful Small Business Guarantees!

Friday, October 10, 2014

What Excites Shoppers?

Shoppers see retailers as providers of products or services. But to attract those shoppers, retailers need to understand what a provider really is. Michael Dill of the Match Marketing Group recently spoke at an Advertising Week event and said, "A provider is not just a place to buy things. A provider is someone who gives me value, gives me engagement, gives me content. Customers want brands to entertain them, to show them what they can do with a product and who else is using it. They're looking for a sensory experience," he said. "In some cases, like in consumer-packaged goods, brands and retailers need to come together to create a unified approach.

"Build an experience for shoppers. A brand experience is not a moment. It is a state of mind," said Mr. Dill. "It's something that's felt and emotional. It takes place over a long duration of time. And it takes place at every point where we touch the consumer with our brand." 

My first thought?  Apple. I have an IPhone, and I'll upgrade when I think I need it; but can you see the frenzy that overtakes so many in our communities to buy anything and everything Apple has to offer?  It's nothing short of amazing .... I think they've figured out this "emotional, exciting state of mind" thing!

Can you think of a brand/product that evokes that kind of emotional, exciting experience in the minds of customers?