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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESS

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESS

About 33 % of consumers are not connecting with brands on social networks, according to a new report by interactive marketing firm Razorfish. Razorfish surveyed 1,000 consumers who reported both social media and ecommerce activity with the goal to find out how social media influences their purchasing decisions. 80 % were members of at least one social network and 40 % were active in two. -Social media has quickly become one of the most talked-about topics in marketing. We didn’t want this report to just be more of the same, so instead we took a different, more scientific approach to evaluating this phenomena and measuring its effects,- said Shiv Singh, VP and Global Social Media Lead at Razorfish. -Today, a brand’s actions speak louder than its words and pushing out messages is no longer enough to excite and engage consumers.- The question is now: How about you the small businesses and your social media activities? More than brand companies, small and medium business should step into social media marketing to expand your message and spread the word to the potential client, to make him informed, to make him interested and to make him a paid customer. To bother your targeted audience with outbound advertising messages is not enough in today’s times. The user out there has established some kind of personal advertising filter. Moreover he wants to find valuable information when he decides that he needs them, not when you decide to send him message through email marketing, radio or TV commercials, or call him by phone and disturb his daily doing. You need to build your credibility to address your marketing message. You need to be personal and authentic and to avoid sounding like an advertisement. Behelpfuland bevaluableofferrelevant content. This is the way how you as a small business cangain customer loyalty. – BE THE FLAME NOT THE MOTH! – Read more great posts like this one, visit -Blog Ad Monkey-. Stay tuned and subscribe to my blog viaRSSto get more great posts like this one. Your comments and ideas are welcome!

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Small Business Computer Consulting Appropriately Setting Your Rates

In small business computer consulting, $100 an hour can be a reasonable and livable rate. Why can setting your rates at $100 an hour make all the difference in the world?

Take the $100 an hour and multiply it by 1,500 hours a year. This is reflecting a 75% utilization rate; or 75% of a typical forty hour work week as billable time. Now youre at $150,000 a year gross.

Salary and Affordability

As a small business computer consulting firm, you will want to take a third of the gross and plow it into sales and marketing. Therefore you can afford a $40,000 base salary for your sales account executive. So, of that one third of your gross small business computer consulting income, $40,000 can go to the base salary and $10,000 can go to related marketing expenses.

Additionally, one third will take care of taxes, insurance and overhead items for the most part, and you have a third of it or $50,000 left to pay a technical staff salary.

Surpassing $100 an Hour

You may be considering exceeding a rate of $100 an hour for your small business computer consulting firm. At that point, you can hit what we call the not-so-imaginary-hourly-billing-rate ceiling.

Needless to say, if your small business computer consulting clients are paying $110 to $125 an hour, it gets even easier to be able to afford really bright, motivated, highly qualified sales and technical staff.

Higher Rates Equal Bigger Businesses

However, if you want to charge above $100 an hour in your small business computer consulting firm, youll almost always need to move above and beyond sweet spot small business clients into really large small businesses, medium size businesses and enterprise-sized accounts that require a different business model and technical skill set.

Once you do that, youre going to be operating under a completely different type of business model. And you will need even more polished and seasoned salespeople to be able to handle those accounts.

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Small Business Development And Marketing Strategies

Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:

* Advertising
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals

For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.

There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:

* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals

Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.

An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.

An Exchange Server Alternative For Small Business

For the business user, the main advantages to working in a company that has an exchange server are:

1. File sharing
2. Access to email from any configured computer
3. Contacts access
4. calendar syncrhonized and shared between all employees

Essentially it means the office worker can use any configured computer to access his or her files, emails and calendar. The company will often configure a laptop and provide remote access so the member of staff can also work from home or while travelling and still have complete access.

The problem with this kind of product when it comes to a small or mid sized company, is that it requires someone to manage it and there is a huge cost, in terms of both initial cost and ongoing expenses.

So if you manage a small business and you want your employees to have a high level of flexibility i.e. to be able to telework or while travelling, or even to hotdesk at the office, you will need an exchange substitute.

There are two alternatives which will offer you many of the features of Exchange without the expenditure.

The first is a hosted exchange server. The second is the Easy-Email synchronization solution plus file synchronization software.

A Hosted Exchange server is a great solution. You get almost all the advantages but you are spared the resource cost and management time. You simply pay according to the number of users. This allows for quick expansion so as the business grows you just increase a user.

Easy-Email is a fabulous alternative for small firms.
Its an email sync answer set out in the form of a series of guides that you, or an IT professional you hire, can follow. It will sync a users mail and contacts on their desktop, laptop, home computer, pda or netbook. In addition it will allow them to manage their email from any other computer via Gmail.

The Easy-Email solution is incredibly good value compared to any other alternative solutions It’s just $67 US for the Advanced Guide to Outlook and you can get all of your staff set up for this fee!
The disadvantage in comparison with exchange is that there is at present no shared calendar so you will need to use a google calendar or similar.

And in terms of shared files and folders its really simple. Set up Dropbox. Dropbox provides you with a system of shared folders that are all automatically sync’d via the internet but they are also stored on the computer so you dont have to be online to access the files. You can select which people have access to which folders and the first 2GB of storage space is free (and it’s very reasonable after that).

The Benefits Of Small Business Search Engines

Plowing through endless piles of websites is something that most people do not want to do, especially when they have a specific product in mind. In order to eliminate some of the stress, individuals should use small business search engines. What are the benefits of using a site such as Feedster for your shopping needs?

It’s No Nonsense
Sometimes, when you are using other search engines, you wind up with a bunch of scams and phony websites shown on your page. Through small business search engines, the information presented takes you right to the source. No useless junk sits in your way, which allows you to find what you are looking for in no time.

A Brief Preview
Another issue that occurs is when you have no idea what specifically a website is about. By using small business search engines, you’ll see a little snippet under the link to the site. As a result, you, and other consumers, will have a sneak preview as to what the content of the website is about. Instead of clicking on ten different sites only to find out they do not meet your needs, you’ll be able to immediately choose the best site for you.

Connecting with the Seller
Major businesses and companies are often difficult entities with which to communicate. Fortunately, such search engines literally bring you right to the source. When you want to buy a product from a small business, you have the added benefit of receiving personalized attention. Maybe you see something on the site that you like but have an idea as to how it can be customized to suit your specific needs. You need not wonder for long. The sites presented to you on this search engine generally provide much ease for the customer to business communications.

It’s Simple
Fancy and flashy are words to which some people flock. However, when it comes to websites and search engines, most individuals want something that is easy to read and navigate. This search engine lays all of the results out in a simple format. Ads are not flying out in front of the user’s line of vision, and annoying pop-ups are not causing the website to become convoluted.

Essentially, small business search engines are an easy and helpful way for consumers to find the products that they need and to navigate the websites without any sort of difficulty.

Mobile Marketing and Advertising for Small Business

The mobile marketing and advertising news-wires are abuzz and more and more companies are jumping into the game on a daily basis. Powerhouses like Google and Apple are building their arsenal for the mobile advertising phenomenon that is all the talk right now.

Companies large and small are jockeying for position within their target markets and local niches in an effort to get a first mover advantage in the inevitable transformation to the Mobile computing tsunami that is already taking shape.

What this means to the Small Business owner and in-house marketers is that the mobile marketplace has gained momentum. A solid mobile strategy can provide a huge advantage and be your secret weapon for success among a targeted niche audience or in a localized small to medium size metropolitan area.

You see, we understand that you don’t have the time to keep you ear to the ground on all of this Mobile mayhem, because you are busy with your two hands on the wheel with your companies. What we also know is that you rely on other small businesses to provide you with the knowledge and the tools to make sure that you are keeping you marketing and advertising efforts relevant and effective. In the ever evolving multimedia e-marketplace, you need solutions and you either need them to be service based and low cost, or you need them to be extremely easy to understand and integrate on a do it yourself basis.

After all, one of the coolest things about being a small business owner is the adventure of wearing a variety of hats and learning the latest and greatest techniques to stay ahead of the competition. Today, Mobile Marketing might be one of the most effective and efficient means to push your business out ahead of the pack. Whether you are a retail shop, professional service, restaurant, hotel, craftsman or independent artist, you can engage your customers like never before.

The tools, knowledge and abilities to put this into motion for your specific marketplace are right at your fingertips. Although this might seem like a complicated technological maze, you’ll be pleased to find that many other small companies within the Mobile Marketing industry have brought forth some interesting and easy to understand guidelines and tools that you can utilize today in efforts to launching your company into the Mobile arena.

Why Small Business Needs Accounting

According to the NY Times, one of the ten reasons small businesses fail is due to improper or lack of accounting. Corporations spend a significant amount of money and hire accountants to report on the status of the company and maintain day to day operations. Yet, many small businesses end up failing to maintain proper accounting.

Accounting Helps with Operating Your Business
Proper Accounting helps pay employees and vendors; helps with customer invoicing, helps post payments; tracks your business assets and liabilities, and most importantly, it calculates any profits and losses. Small businesses cannot operate if they can not pay their employees or ignore vendors bills and continue receiving materials for their products. Often, those functions are ignored by small businesses due to lack of time thus resulting to work stoppages.

Accounting Provides Feedback
At the end of every period, may it be monthly or yearly, as small business owners, you have some idea of how you performed and accounting provides you the validation you need. It will tell you if you made a profit or loss. If you happen to have a loss, it will determine where your biggest expenses are coming from and if you did make a profit and still left with a small cash balance, it will probably tell you which customers havent paid and which customers are now delinquent. Small businesses fail when what they think is not true and this is the most important reason why small businesses need accounting.

Accounting Helps Comply With Legal and Contractual Obligations
The IRS, other government agencies, and banking covenants require businesses to provide a detailed accounting of their revenue and expenses. Depending on the size and entity type, it also requires you to have a balance sheet or listing of assets, liabilities, and equity. Accounting provides you with that information easily. It provides business owners the right amount of withholding, deductions, and back-up just incase they get audited.

Accounting Provides Non-Financial Insights
Many small businesses fail to realize that accounting is not just financial information. It has information on timing, customer information, employee information, and other information that may not necessarily be part of your financials. For example. a key non-financial trend that small business could pay attention to is their customer demographics, you can identify what your customers age, location, and how they order products and services and you can zone in on advertising to that demographics thus increasing revenue and could lead to increased profit. Another, key non-financial trend small business can pay attention to is monthly sales figures, when a small business realize that a continuous trend of slow monthly per year. A small business could either ramp-up advertising 30 days before as anticipation of the slow month or they could plan a family vacation.

Great Small Business Event Marketing

For more going on fifteen years, I have been helping business owners and organizations hold events. The events ranged from races, to fairs, to concerts and dinners. Though the attendance varied greatly between them, the goals of management were often met and exceeded.

Events are the best way to:

get prospects to visit your store for the first time

build upon existing relationships with customers and vendors

grow existing lines of revenue

rally and motivate workforce and volunteers

expand branding

grow online presence and position

have a great time!

Events are very community oriented, and driven by the same. Bringing people together creates buzz.

There are three major areas of an event: event marketing (getting the brand out), event management (making sure the day is planned well and executed successfully), and event planning (getting all the details together to meet the event vision). Working together, these three items, thought out and coordinated, make great events.

I am often asked questions related to any of these three items. The questions I hear range from band and entertainment to how to use Facebook. Small businesses can do a lot with a little encouragement and direction. They can go really far with a little help from someone in the event industry. Small businesses and Organizations have a lot of gusto. They are ready to go all the time. And when they can see that something will get them further, they often grab the opportunity.

Small businesses are flexible. They can have a simple, low cost event marketing schedule coordinated with other ongoing marketing. Pairing an event with current expenditures creates broad public awareness. With current promotions are paired with a chance to experience a business or product, customers have incentive to participate.

I have often seen this occur. In one case, a restaurant advertised their foods as well as an evening with live music. Some monies from the night would be donated to the city fireworks fund. This night brought some business and money for community fireworks. The result was the night of the fireworks show, the restaurant was full to the brim. They had one of their best nights ever.

The power of small business event marketing is understated. Giving customers a reason to experience a small business in the form of a party invitation has leverage. As a small business owner, having an event can be fun, rewarding, and valuable to sales overall.

Personalized Koozies – Five Ways To Use Personalized Koozies For Your Small Business

As giveaways at job fairs: with the economy the way it is, businesses need as much exposure as they could acquire, as well as exactly what better place than through a job fair. Even if you’re not planning on employing a lots of individuals, personalized Koozies still make a good promotional giveaway product that attendees may take along with them. This is particularly beneficial if you’re a service kind of company, and may keep your name right in front of their minds for some time to come.

2. Charity happenings: whenever charities are trying to boost money, the first to be approached are local businesses in your community exactly where they will be holding their fundraising affair. By including personalized Koozies with your logo along with name on them, you not just practice good local community assistance through assisting the charity with their fund raising, you get nice publicity and also advertising for your business at the same time. Designing them to replicate the charitys concept as well as colors makes them a collectible, too.

3. As sales giveaways: in case your business endures sales, then providing personalized Koozies in your sales agents for use as part of their own personal promotional deals is a great idea. Whenever they contact a new customer, they are able to leave one or more with them as being a gift for being attentive to the presentation. At product sales seminars for your enterprise niche, they generate great gifts for your prime sales staff, customized with their accomplishments, or as a free gift throughout the meeting.

4. When sponsoring local sports clubs: lots of companies today will support local sports teams as part of their promotion efforts. Precisely why stop at just supplying jerseys for any Little League team, when you could give personalized Koozies also? You may have them imprinted up with the team name, their logo, and also the season or perhaps year. They will show how much you care about the kids, and provide them, and their guardians, something to remember your sponsorship as well as your small business.

5. At welcome centres or even chambers of commerce: When individuals move into a new community, they generally check with local workplaces for names of organizations they may have need of in the foreseeable future. Chambers of commerce would gladly supply space for giveaways to new people, as well as handy stuff like personalized Koozies will always be delightful. The Welcome Wagon will always be searching for new gift items to incorporate in their welcome deals, also. Exactly why not provide them with a few cases of Koozies along with your logo, name as well as contact information to encouraged newbies with?

Small Business Owners Business Best Practices Ideas

Small businesses are often beaten out by larger competitors because the bigger business has better practices than the small ones do. The good news is that there are many of the business best practices that are used by big companies that can be translated for small businesses.

These business best practices are some of the best kept secrets and will in the long run make a business more successful. Here are a few ways you can use these business practices to fit your small business.

One: Borrowing ideas from other companies is one business practice you can use in your small business. This is known as best practice benchmarking and it can lead to vast improvements in your business structure if it is done the right way.

Most small businesses have a tighter budget than the big businesses do so the business practices that you learn can save money and can be even more beneficial to you than it would be for the big business. When you emulate another business and how they cut costs, you will be able to do the same thing they have done in a much shorter time period.

Two: You have to have a clear understanding of business methods if you are going to borrow their business practices. You need to do some heavy research and ask questions. This will help you figure out how others were able to get the job done to get them to their goals.

This is imperative if you are going to have success using these practices with your small business. One helpful way to find out the information you need is to send surveys to businesses that are successful in the business field you are looking at.

Three: Once you have studied the business best practices and you know how that business uses them, you will need to translate them to fit your small business. Before they will work for your business t want business practice you can use in your small business is borrowing ideas from other companies here may be some crucial modifications that need to be made.

Four: One business practice that is imperative to the success of any business of any size is to have good communication in your business. This means that you need to communicate on a regular basis with your employees.

You have to do this to make sure that everyone is on the same page business wise. Otherwise, you may find problems cropping up that you will have to deal with.

Emulating business best practices is fine but you want to make sure that you don’t steal their practices outright. Always do your research and use the business practices that you can modify to fit your small business. Don’t do anything to get your business in trouble in the future.