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5 Ways to Survive Working From Home With the Kids on Break

609_3870467If you’re like me, you dread summer in many ways. Primarily because you’ve got three loooong months of kids whining about having nothing to do. Not the best environment for working from home, right?

I’ve come up with a few strategies that can shake your kiddies out of their summer slump and help you be more productive in running your business during these summer months.

1. Get a Plan

It’s easy enough to fill your kids’ agendas with summer camp and activities to keep them out of the house, but they might still grouse if they’re not into it. Instead, sit down with them at the start of the summer and devise a plan that includes some out-of-the-house enriching activities and some downtime (hello, Minecraft). You’ll show them that you care about how they want to spend their summer, although you’re both compromising between what you want (them out of the house) and what they want (vegging out on the couch). Continue reading “5 Ways to Survive Working From Home With the Kids on Break” »

Mobile Apps: Why Your Small Business Needs One

775_4484102 If you thought apps were just for big businesses, think again. Companies of all shapes and sizes stand to benefit from these popular mobile programs. Here are just five reasons why your small business needs an app.

1. Apps Give Your Business Presence

Many small businesses feel that they needn’t bother with an app because they have a web presence. They might have even spent time customizing their website for mobile use. But an app has a much greater presence than a bookmark on a browser. Rather than being simply a URL on a list, your app is always there on the mobile desktop. Even if the people who download your app don’t open it every time they play with their device, they see its icon and think of your business. This is invaluable for building brand awareness.

2. Customers Love Apps

Giving your customers what they want is one of the best ways to build brand loyalty. And in the mobile age, what they want is apps. A study of 500 small businesses with both mobile websites and apps found that 81 percent of customers preferred the app. This makes sense, as people spend around 82 percent of their mobile minutes in apps, rather than mobile sites. Continue reading “Mobile Apps: Why Your Small Business Needs One” »

Is Your Business Leveraging Customer Reviews?

reviewsOne of the best ways to attract new business is to let your customers speak for you. Online customer reviews are taking precedence over other types of marketing: 90% of shoppers are influenced on their purchases by positive reviews of brands. That’s not a number you can afford to ignore.

Find Out What Customers Really Think

Often during a transaction, there’s little time to really assess what a customer is thinking. In general, people seem to leave your store happy. You’ve got even less information about a customer’s mindset if your transactions are purely online. It might not be until you read their review of your business that you really know what they were thinking. Continue reading “Is Your Business Leveraging Customer Reviews?” »

10 Things You Should Know About Incorporating Your Small Business

550_4620715If you’re considering incorporating your small business, read this first. This is not a decision to be taken lightly, so make sure you’re aware of what you need to know and do to run a corporation.

1. Where You Incorporate Matters

Many business owners think they should incorporate in a state like Nevada so they won’t have to pay state taxes, but the opposite is actually true. Whatever state you operate in, that’s the state that will require you to pay taxes on any sales that originate in your state. So there’s no getting around paying your state taxes simply by filing your incorporation paperwork in another state. Continue reading “10 Things You Should Know About Incorporating Your Small Business” »

Taking Your Business Blog to the Next Level

1019_4569499Now that you’ve started your business blog, it’s time for some advanced tactics to attract more readers, beef up your content, and become known as an expert in your industry.

Goal 1: Attract More Readers

You want your blog to ultimately drive traffic to the rest of your site so people will buy your products or services. That means you need to amp up the number of readers your blog gets so that you’ll convert a decent number of them into customers.  Continue reading “Taking Your Business Blog to the Next Level” »

Should You Hire Interns, Freelancers, or Employees for Your Small Business?

609_3799441When you get to a point in your business where you need help, you’ll probably come up against the question: what type of help should I hire? Factors like how much help you need, your budget, and the area of specialty you need assistance with will all factor into your decision.

Fortunately, you have a few options that all fit different staffing needs.

The Intern: Affordable, but Needs Hand-Holding

If you’re looking for a highly-affordable option (and sometimes even free), interns are a great possibility. They’re ideal for those easier tasks, like making copies and filing, and if you snag one from your local university’s marketing department, you might even land one who can help you with your social media management.

If you read that Twitter pays its interns nearly $7,000 a month, don’t despair: some internships are unpaid, while others pay minimum wage. Remember, you are giving students valuable training and the ability to list real work experience on their resumes, and that is worth something. See if the local college has requirements of you as an employer in terms of pay. Continue reading “Should You Hire Interns, Freelancers, or Employees for Your Small Business?” »

How to Benefit from Every Social Media Channel

452_4612084If you pay attention, each social media site has a slightly different purpose and benefits. In this post, I want to look at how you can take advantage of each, as well as guide you to the best types of content you can share.

Twitter

Twitter is fantastic for short-and-sweet shares. If you can say it in 140 characters or less, it works on Twitter. That means you should condense what a blog post is about and include the link. (Here’s a tip: shorten the URL to save space.) Continue reading “How to Benefit from Every Social Media Channel” »

How to Truly Power Up your Marketing Campaign with Transactional Emails

There is no shortage of email flowing around the world and flooding inboxes. So much email in fact that over 191 billion messages are sent out each day and average out to 48 emails per inbox, split nearly evenly between business related (and spam) emails and personal messages.

With numbers like these, it’s absolutely no wonder that many email marketing campaigns have a hard time garnering their subscribers’ attention even if those subscribers have actively opted into the mailing list that’s delivering said promotional messages to them. However, the wonderful thing is that an excellent tool for boosting that crucial marketing related attention exists: the transactional email.

What Are Transactional Emails?

Transactional emails are all of those one-at-a-time messages that you send to your customers in response to a specific interaction with your site. Some excellent examples of these include shipping invoices, sales receipt emails, renewal notices, comment notifications, shipping notices and welcome emails.

What Makes Transactionals so Special?

Transactional email messages are something your users and customers expect to receive. They interacted with your site and are now waiting for their response, which they hope will give them important information. Because this contrasts so much with typical promotional mass mailings, it causes transactional messages to garner much better conversions than even the best publicity email messages.

Small Business 101: What You Need to Know About Business Licenses

988_4131509If you’re thinking about starting a business, you’ll have a long list of things to take care of. But don’t miss out on one of the most important: filing your necessary business licenses. If you don’t know what kind of business license you need or where to get one, you might be tempted to just skip it altogether.

Here we’ll look at important details that will help you file your business license.

First Step: Register with your State

Before you can do anything else, you’ve got to register your new business with the state. In essence, this step provides a legal foundation for everything else to come. There are two different paths for registering with the state: Continue reading “Small Business 101: What You Need to Know About Business Licenses” »

What Entrepreneurship Looks Like at Different Stages of Your Life

Have you ever stopped to consider how your take on entrepreneurship changes at each phase of your life? Everything in your life impacts the decisions you make as a small business owner.

Let’s look at each stage and assess how people run their businesses.

In Your 20s…

You’re more open to risk and prepared to work your butt off. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin and Larry Page. All were in their 20s when they started their companies. Without families or some of the responsibilities that come later in life, entrepreneurs in their 20s can pour all their energy into their businesses. (Frankly, I’m a little jealous!)

A great deal of startups are founded by people in their 20s, probably because so much energy is required. Continue reading “What Entrepreneurship Looks Like at Different Stages of Your Life” »