Tag: small business phoenix

Book Review: Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less

By Randy Videen, Certified SCORE Mentor

Many of the important considerations many aspiring entrepreneurs must tackle are;

  • Should I start a small or large business and might I fail if I make the wrong choice?
  • Will I be able to avoid many of the common pitfalls if I decide to grow my business?
  • How do I maintain the enthusiasm, drive and focus in the business as it grows?
  • How to select and groom the right employees to maximize business success?

Scaling Up Excellence by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao, will help both beginning entrepreneurs and existing business people who wish to grow or improve their business answer these and other important questions.

The authors suggest utilizing some of the following tools and techniques to improve a business’s likelihood of success.

Imagine you’ve already succeeded or failed – Write a premortem. Create two fictional news stories. One which would be written had the business fully succeeded in its proposed endeavor and one which would be written if instead failure had occurred.

Utilizing this technique can assist in identifying potential strengths and weaknesses in proposed ideas. And it will often identify clearly what should be avoided. And the process may help overcome our natural human tendency of seeing only those answers which support our original ideas. Objectivity is an essential component to success!

New isn’t always improved and more sometimes turns out to be less – Many entrepreneurs find growing bigger does not always delivered what was originally hoped for. Consider the personal effects on you, your family and current employees. And consider carefully to ensure profits will grow along with the size of the business.

Use constraints carefully and channel rather than derail ingenuity and effort – Often business decisions are best left to those closest to the customer. Ensure that practices which create business success are maintained while allowing employees and managers enough flexibility to satisfy customer needs. And create an environment which allows new and successful practices and ideas to spread.

Get rid of the bad apples – Remove or isolate employees who bring negativity to the group. Studies have shown negativity as much as five times the power of positive reinforcement. Thus small negative influences can outweigh enormous amounts of positive energy.

These and many other valuable concepts are presented in the book. The authors provide both real life examples and supporting information to support their theories.
Randy Videen Randy is one of out newest SCORE mentors. He’s a private investor: independent study and investments in various businesses and industries including manufacturing, chemicals, plastics, distribution, services, retail, insurance, beverage, cable television and construction.
He’s been responsible for multi-managerial and operational functions for this restaurant grossing $1M in annual sales volume and employing 40. Developed a productive team which included numerous long-term employees. Employed a profit sharing plan assist in reward and motivate employees. Negotiated contracts, insurance coverage, leases. Maintained extremely low workmen’s compensation and insurance claims. Eventually delegated the majority of duties to a dedicated, successful management team. Click here to schedule a free appointment with Randy or another SCORE mentor.

 

 

 

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4 Benefits of Selling Online

online shopping ecommerce mouseBy GoDaddy

According to a Nielsen Global Online Survey, approximately 85 percent of people with Internet access have bought something online, and Web-based retail giants such as Amazon® and eBay® pull in literally millions of dollars a day. To say the least, e-commerce is a booming industry. It is not so much a question of who has purchased online lately, so much as it is a question of who hasn’t—but the more important question might be, “How can I get in on profits like that?”

More money is always a good thing, and it goes without saying that turning higher profits should be a primary goal of small and growing businesses. By establishing an e-commerce presence online, your business can benefit in ways you might not have considered.

1. A wider client base

When you sell on the Web, you are no longer bound by geography to a local market. If your small business offers a product that won’t spoil in a shipping box, you simply need to take your business online to benefit from a multiplied customer base. With an online store, people all over the world have access to your goods and services—extending your reach far beyond the four walls of your brick-and-mortar storefront and into the living rooms of millions of e-commerce consumers. And, because it only takes one person to maintain a small online store, the ratio of exposure to returns is astronomical.

2. Earn money while you sleep

An online store is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, never calls out sick, and never closes for Thanksgiving. Even if the lights are out at your physical location, your website is still very much open for business. You might wake up one morning and find hundreds of dollars in sales tallied the night before. Now that’s what I call a sleeper hit!

3. A store in your pocket

As a techie, I can never stress this point enough: mobile technology is the next frontier. Computers are getting smaller, phones are getting smarter, and thanks to Google®, even your sunglasses can browse the Web. When you establish a retail presence online, anyone, anywhere can look you up and see what you have to offer. Everyone and their mother owns a Web-capable smartphone. This means they can pull up your store and give you their money while on the go!

4. Survey says…

With a little clever designing, you can designate a space for satisfied customers to leave feedback and reviews of your products. While you hope no one has a bad experience with your product, if you stand by your items and conduct your business honestly, the rave reviews will pour in. And positive reviews—online for all potential buyers to see—are just about the best sales pitch you can ask for.

Learn more about accepting payments online and securing your e-commerce site.

Erik Wong with GoDaddyBio: Erik Wong is a small business/tech consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance pop-culture writer. He has written a regular column for a current events blog, and his commentary has been featured on realclearpolitics.com. Connect with Erik on Google+.

 

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5 Email Marketing Best Practices

EmailBy GoDaddy

Connecting with potential and regular customers is vital to maintaining online success, and email marketing is one of the best promotional tools around.  It keeps your customers engaged, boosts interest, and most importantly, boost sales. Of course, all of these outcomes are only attainable if email marketing is done appropriately and carefully. There’s email marketing etiquette, and when it’s not followed, customers will block your messaging and ditch you for another company.

To ensure your business finds success with email marketing, we’ve laid out the top five email marketing best practices that will help generate sales, attract loyal customers, and grow your business. Check it out:

  1. Email email emailOnly send email campaigns to people who have subscribed to or requested them. Every email marketing provider enforces permission-based email messaging, which means a person must subscribe to your campaigns. Use opt-in buttons or sign-up forms to collect addresses and import them directly into your contact list.
  2. Create a schedule and stick to it. People like consistency, which is why it’s important that you create a send schedule. You can send test emails on different days and times to find out which combination has the best open rate.
  3. Send content that’s relevant to what your subscribers signed up for. Avoid topics that might turn your subscribers away and reduce your credibility. Stick to the information and topics that made your readers follow you in the first place.
  4. Organize your contacts using interest groups. Place your subscribers in various groups based on their interests and preferences. This will help you send the right email to the right people.
  5. Tell subscribers who you are. To avoid having your messages thrown in the trash bin, use either your personal name or your business name as the From or Sender Name, and consistently use that name in every email. Using a name your subscribers are familiar with will increase open rate and readership.

There you have it – five steps for email marketing success. Now it’s up to you to collect subscribers, draft messages and maintain your email marketing. Just remember, successful email marketing campaigns take time and patience, but they’re so worth it!

godaddy-logo AThis article was provided by a Go Daddy Small Business Expert. To Learn more about the above topic or additional small business options, check out their Small Business Center.

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The Importance of Online Reviews to Your Business

Written By: Whitney Lemon

work-from-home

 

More than ever, shoppers start their purchase process online. From big ticket items like automobiles to inexpensive items like shampoo, most people research online before buying. Customer reviews are one important way for shoppers to learn more about your business, products and services before they buy.

Reviews inspire trust and credibility. A June 2013 BrightLocal study that focused on local consumer reviews found 70% of respondents said positive customer reviews make them trust a business more. More than 60% said that positive reviews make them more likely to use a local business. Here are some tips to get you started.

Build credibility

Quantity is important, but so is quality. There isn’t a rule of thumb about the quantity of reviews, but reviews can help build credibility for your business. Research shows that as more people describe their positive experiences with your products, services, and company, shoppers develop greater trust and comfort doing business with you. First impressions count because many people scan the first two or three reviews to form an opinion.

Respond to reviews

Business owners should monitor what people write about their company online, especially in the first set of visible reviews. Inevitably, every product, service, and brand experiences positive and negative feedback. If you find a negative comment or review, address it promptly.

Some websites allow you to publicly respond or send messages to reviewers. You might be able to work with an unhappy reviewer to resolve the issue and request a retraction. You can also ask happy customers to write new positive reviews, so a shopper’s first impression of your business isn’t a negative review.

Encourage customer reviews

To get reviews for your business, encourage customers to write about their experiences. Include the option for website visitors to publish reviews on your own website. If you receive positive comments via email or print mail, you can publish them as testimonials on your site. You can also provide links to third party review websites or social media sites.

Here are some additional tips for acquiring reviews for your business.

  1. Start by asking people to write reviews. Remind customers that you value their feedback and encourage them to review your business online.
  2. If you receive positive comments via email or print mail, publish them as testimonials on your website.
  3. Interact with customers online. These interactions can improve your relationship with the individual customer, as well as show prospects what kind of customer service they can expect from you. Social media websites are a great option to engage your customers.
  4. Make it easy for people to publish reviews directly on your website or provide links to third party review sites.
  5. Monitor what people are saying about your business online. Respond to all reviews, positive and negative. Thank people for kind reviews, and try to work with dissatisfied customers. They might amend or retract a negative review.

On behalf of the entire Get Your Business Online team, I wish you great success growing your business.

 

Whitney-Lemon100Whitney LemonFriday 15 Host, Google Small Business Engagement
Whitney hosts Friday 15: Small Business Tips, Google’s series to help small businesses succeed online, in 15 minutes or less. Friday 15 is part of Google’s Get Your Business Online program providing small businesses with a custom domain name and web hosting– free for one year.
www.gybo.com | More from Whitney

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