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Author Archive for Anita Campbell

What are Key Marketing Performance Indicators You Should Pay Attention to?

buisnessman with tablet pc and graphNot every business owner is analytical in nature. When it comes to running and marketing our businesses, you may not automatically know what to measure, or sometimes even how to measure it.

One area where measuring and analytics are essential is in your marketing. How can you know if a strategy is working if you don’t compare before-and-after scenarios?

Here are the key performance indicators (KPI) you should start with to better assess your marketing results.

 Web Traffic

Ideally, your marketing should be sending more traffic to your website and your blog. Start by looking to see what your traffic is now, if you haven’t been doing much marketing. Or, look in your Google Analytics to see what it was several months ago and compare it to now. Continue reading “What are Key Marketing Performance Indicators You Should Pay Attention to?” »

5 Strategies to Streamline Your Business — Cheaply

Fast locomotiveMaking your business more efficient doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. In fact, there’s much you can do without spending an arm and a leg. These ideas can help you realize more profits and be more productive in your small business.

1. Increase the Money You Make From Existing Customers

 It takes time and money to acquire brand new customers. In fact, one key metric you should be tracking in your business is your customer acquisition cost.  Typically it’s fairly expensive, so you want to keep that cost down. It’s a much more efficient use of resources to find ways to make your existing customers so thrilled with you, that they will want to spend more with you.

Continue reading “5 Strategies to Streamline Your Business — Cheaply” »

Does Your Age Affect Your Success as an Entrepreneur?

We hear a lot of buzz about young twentysomething entrepreneurs who have skyrocketed to financial success and fame. But does that mean that youth always brings the best results for entrepreneurs? Or are older business owners more likely to succeed, since they’ve got more work and life experience?

The Gen Ypreneur

Armed with a college degree — or not — young, exuberant entrepreneurs bring a certain joie de vivre to the startup community. They’re fresh-faced and ready to take on the world.

But despite the frenzy that Mark Zuckerberg put in the hearts of aspiring 24-35 year-olds when he launched Facebook, some say this generation is actually a bit less risk-averse than it was just five years ago. The recession played a large part in that statistic.   Continue reading “Does Your Age Affect Your Success as an Entrepreneur?” »

The Small Business Book Awards Want Your Input

If you’re like me, you read a lot of business books to provide you with ideas on how to grow your business. With so many books out there, however, it’s hard to know which ones provide the best value.

That’s why I helped create the Small Business Book Awards six years ago. There was so much emphasis on books for enterprise-level corporations, but little recognition for small business-oriented books. So now, every year, we open nominations for the best small business books published the previous year.

We recently launched this year’s Book Awards, and are excited to see some fantastic nominees. Continue reading “The Small Business Book Awards Want Your Input” »

How to Leverage Your Social Contacts for Marketing

We know that social media is great for networking.

It also can help us expand our online reach and find new potential customers. But are you truly getting the most out of those social contacts when it comes to marketing?

I’m willing to bet your answer is “no.”

For most of us, time is an issue.  The reason you might not be doing more to monitor your social streams and pay more attention to what your leads are doing and saying might be because you don’t have the time. That’s understandable.

Knowledge is another issue.  Maybe you or your team are not clear on positive techniques to leverage your Twitter contacts, without coming across as too commercial.

Fortunately, there are tools out there that can help. Those resources, combined with a bit of advice, can help you benefit from your social contacts in ways you never imagined.

1. Start with Smart Tools

We’re seeing more tools enter the marketplace that integrate lead gathering and monitoring with social media. Nimble is a great example. It’s straight-forward Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with social listening added in.

Now, instead of simply recording notes for a contact, you can better keep track of what they’re saying on Twitter, follow their career moves on LinkedIn, and share their content on Google +.  So in other words, you can listen, connect and learn from them.  You can also help them become more successful.

You can also set up alerts in platforms like Hootsuite so you know when any of your customers Tweet something you can share or respond to.

Continue reading “How to Leverage Your Social Contacts for Marketing” »

Shine the Spotlight on Your Business with the Small Business Trends Spotlight Series

One of the best ways to get more attention for your company online is to find contests or opportunities that feature business owners like you.

At Small Business Trends, we recently launched the Spotlight Series, sponsored by iCIMS, which provides talent acquisition software solutions for growing businesses. Here’s more information.

 

What Is the Spotlight Series?

The Spotlight Series profiles small businesses deserving of recognition on the Small Business Trends site. You must run a small business with fewer than 100 employees to qualify.

Each profile provides useful information or interesting stories to other small business owners. Topics that we’re looking for include: Continue reading “Shine the Spotlight on Your Business with the Small Business Trends Spotlight Series” »

10 Resources That Will Make You a Smarter Business Owner

Most business owners are so focused on the day-to-day that they often forget to seek out tools and resources that will help them grow. Then they wonder why they aren’t growing! From software to human resources, here are my 10 favorite resources for entrepreneurs.

1. Good CRM

The busier you are, the harder it becomes to keep track of conversations you’ve had with clients, to dos, and projects. That’s where customer relationship management software comes in handy. Today, many CRM platforms, like Insightly, also incorporate a few project management features that help you keep notes on clients and assign and track related tasks to your employees. Continue reading “10 Resources That Will Make You a Smarter Business Owner” »

4 Time Wasters Entrepreneurs are Guilty Of

Stop me if this sounds familiar to you. You sit down to work, determined to plow through that Inbox full of hundreds of unopened emails, and two hours later, you are dismayed to realize you’ve barely made a dent. What happened?

You’ve just been a victim of time-wasting.

But don’t worry; you’re not alone. Entrepreneurs and employees alike are wasting valuable time on non-work-related activities: 11% of those surveyed by Salary.com waste hours every single day at work!

Identifying those time-wasters is the first step toward eliminating them from your day.

1. Social Media. Sure, if you manage social profiles for your business, you will need to spend time on these sites on a regular basis. But if you’re spending more than an hour a day (and even that’s a lot for most businesses), it’s either because:

The Possible Pitfalls of Partnerships

Once you decide to take on a partner for your small business or startup, you enter precarious territory. There’s much more opportunity for things to fall apart when you’re sharing ownership of your company with one or more individuals. Before you commit to taking on partners, consider what can go wrong and create a contingency plan.

You Will Disagree

Everyone’s got his or her own idea about how a business should be run. Who gets the final say when you’ve got multiple partners? When it comes to major operational decisions, being in disaccord can seriously fracture your teamwork.

Before you take in a single cent, sit down with your partner(s) and outline who is ultimately responsible for which areas. Perhaps you’re more operationally-minded, so you can be the final word on decisions in that realm, while your partner is more financially savvy and can handle those tough decisions. As long as you have roles appropriately outlined in advance, you can cut down on disagreements that can undermine your efforts to achieve company goals. Continue reading “The Possible Pitfalls of Partnerships” »

Better Business Negotiations

Why are we so uncomfortable negotiating for our small businesses or professional services?

It’s probably because we live in a culture where the price is the price, and we’re not used to haggling or even questioning price.

But when you are in business, you have to get used to that.  Outside of a retail store, most  things are negotiable, especially when it comes to business products and services.  If you’re trying to win over a new client without going in the hole on your pricing, or if you’re lining up a new supplier, these negotiation tips will come in handy.

1. Know Your Bottom Line. Always go into a negotiation with a good sense of what is acceptable — and not — to you.  What is the highest amount you can budget to pay?  Or what is the lowest price you would accept if you are the seller? Knowing that helps you set your starting point for negotiations, and lets you enter discussions with a plan and a guideline.  Also, consider non-financial points.  There may be elements of a deal that are deal breakers (such as length of commitment, or quality of services provided). Money isn’t everything in business.

2. Identify the Other Side’s Needs.  You not only need to know your own bottom line, but try to find out what’s REALLY important to the other side.  What are their needs? What are their deal breakers?  To figure this out requires back and forth discussion.  How much discussion depends on how complex and large the deal is — it may be a little  or a lot.  Don’t assume. Probe.  Ask questions such as “What questions do you have for me?” and then listen closely for the other side to signal what’s important to them.  Or you could get even more pointed by asking, “What would it take to make this deal today?”   Continue reading “Better Business Negotiations” »