Apple has been largely insulated from privacy concerns because of its focus on monetizing hardware, not software which is dependent on ads, UBS Analyst Steven Milunovich explains. He believes this gives the company a “competitive advantage” compared to other …
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When it comes to promoting your small business, there’s a difference between advertising and marketing. Discover the distinctions after the jump.
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Is partnership marketing a good deal for your small business? We’ve laid out the pros and cons of this approach after the jump.
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Fixing that will take some bold new ideas.
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As an entrepreneur, you’re hardwired to enjoy a greater level of risk than the average person. But do you enjoy the thrill of business and investing so much that you’re willing to risk:
-Being hounded by creditors?
-Being denied a mortgage?
-Paying more than your fair share of interest on your loans?
-Losing your house?
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, this may be the most important report you’ve read in a long time.
Because, if you’re like most entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners I’ve met over the past 28 years, you’re in danger of facing all of these horrific problems.
And it’s all because of your business.
You see, entrepreneurs typically make one or more financially devastating mistakes when financing the launch, operation and/or growth of their businesses. In most cases, they don’t realize that they’re making a mistake.
And to tell the truth, even when they do realize they’re making a mistake … they lull themselves into thinking that the consequences will be a minor annoyance.
Until, one day, they can’t qualify for a mortgage. Or they can’t get the to-die-for financing offered on the new car they’re buying. Or they’re hounded by creditors and eventually have to declare bankruptcy.
And it is all because they use their personal finances to fund the launch or expansion of their business. They then use personal credit cards to pay for business expenses. If you are in business or thinking about starting a business, business credit is a must.
Let me explain, most business owner have no idea that they can establish business credit and even fewer know how to how to establish business credit. If owners would take the time necessary to educate themselves about establishing credit they would no longer have to use their personal funds for start up capital or working capital.
They would also be able to use business credit cards which don’t report to their personal credit reports, therefore, not lowering the personal credit scores.
The most important goal of business credit though is to obtain unsecured business lines of credit, which can be done once the business credit profile is set up properly. Once a business obtains unsecured business lines of credit, they then have the working capital they need to start a business or expand their business. The business owner has check book control to use the business lines of credit as they wish. And best of all, the business lines of credit don’t report to the business owner’s personal credit report.
If you have set up your business profile correctly there are a number of banks that will lend to brand new start up business. That is right, brand new start up business with no track record whatsoever. The banks will extend unsecured business lines of credit so they can have the start up capital they need to finance the business of their dreams.
Make no mistake about it; business credit is a MUST for every business owner. Don’t put your personal assets at risk finance or fund your business!]]>
<b>Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert,</b> feel like you have the gift of gab or just don’t know how to make small talk, networking know-how is very important for your business success. There is a notion in business that I believe most of us subscribe to that says “all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those they know, like and trust.” And the key to this is obviously being able to develop relationships.
<b>Think of networking as the cultivation of mutually beneficial, win-win relationships.</b> In order to be win-win, there must be GIVE and take (notice the emphasis on give). Networking shouldn’t be viewed as “events” where you go to sell your business. When effective networking is taking place, the parties involved actively share ideas, information, resources, etc.
<b>Ok, so you know that you should be networking</b> because it is one of the most cost-effective lead generation activities when used wisely, appropriately and professionally. But, maybe that seems easier said than done. Here’s a seven step plan to really get going with networking for your business.
<b>1. Check out several groups to find the best chemistry and perceived value.</b> Most groups will allow you to come and visit at least a couple of times before you have to join. Go and ask around to find out why others have joined and what value they get out of belonging.
Resist the urge to just go join the Chamber of Commerce simply because everyone tells you that’s what you need to do. If that’s not where your target group can be found, then you might just be wasting a considerable amount of time (and money).
I’m not telling you not to join the Chamber. Just be clear about what you’d like to get out of this or any other group. If it’s to find prospective clients or referral sources, then you need to be networking where those resources can be found.
<b>2. When you find a group or two, join and go to all the meetings you can.</b> Don’t go just once or twice expecting things to happen and then if they don’t quit. Building mutually beneficial, win-win relationships will take some time.
The contacts you make need to constantly see your face and hear your message. Continual contact with others over time will open up opportunities for you to go deeper and learn more about each others thoughts, ideas and capabilities in regards to your respective businesses.
Know, like, and trust generally only happens over time. Being regular and persistent will pay off.
<b>3. Get involved – be visible.</b> Do as much as you can to make yourself more visible within the organization. Volunteer to help with meetings, be on committees, or become a leader or board member.
Being involved does a couple of things for you and your business. First, you’ll get more opportunities to establish connections and get to know some of the contacts you’ve made even better. Secondly, the higher the visibility you have in the group, the less you’ll have to work to make new connections. Instead, as new people come into the group, they will likely seek you out because they view you as a leader within the organization.
<b>4. Keep your circles of contacts informed.</b> Don’t just assume that running in to someone once a month (or even once a week) will cause them to start doing business with you or sending it your way. You need to let them know what’s going on when you’re not at that particular group in order to inform and educate them.
Send them invitations to your events or open houses. Send them email or letters to share big news or success stories, especially anything of relevance to them or those in their networks of contacts. If you believe that you have valuable ideas, information and resources to share with others, then doesn’t this just make sense?
<b>5. Work at GIVING referrals and sharing valuable information.</b> That’s right, you need to be willing to GIVE before you get. That means you need to get to know other members and what makes a good prospect for them. What kinds of information might you have access to that could be useful to them?
You may initially think you don’t have much of value to share with others (besides your business and what you provide). Part of the key to getting good at giving is to not make assumptions. For example, don’t assume that some basic resource (e.g., a web site) that you’re aware of is familiar to someone you might be talking to just because they are the “expert” in that field. Be willing to ask if they know about the resource and ready to share if they don’t.
Want to get better at actually giving referrals? Here’s a simple question to ask someone you’re connecting with. “How am I going to know when I meet a really good prospect for you?”
Just the fact that you are willing to explore giving will elevate your know, like and trust factor.
<b>6. Focus on Quality, not Quantity, Quantity, Quantity.</b> It’s not necessarily about the number of connections you make, but about the quality of the ones you do make. Are they mutually beneficial, win-win relationships?
Quality connections will be identifiable because all involved parties will be actively sharing ideas, information, and resources. Yes, it is true that you need to spend some time and effort getting to know the other person(s) and what’s important to them. But, you also need to be clear and actively thinking about what information or resources you want and need.
Staying in touch with and following up with a smaller number of quality relationships will generally be much more productive than trying to follow up with a larger number of superficial contacts.
<b>7. Be persistent, but be patient.</b> The goal of a networking event shouldn’t necessarily be to come away with prospects every time you go out, but to come away with great connections. Networking usually takes time to get the relationships developed and nurtured.
Don’t approach networking as a scary proposition or a necessary evil for being in business. Take the pressure off yourself and really focus on how you might be able to connect with someone you meet. Focus on them first and look for ways to be useful to them. As you become known as a connector you’ll eventually be ready to reap what you sow.]]>
The reason why social media marketing can improve your local business’ fan base and fan loyalty is that it enables you to piggyback on the trust people have among their circle of family and friends. You’re able to insert your brand in the conversations people have regarding their needs. You have to understand that if you’re looking for products or services, you probably would take recommendations from people you know and trust more seriously than from strangers. That’s how powerful social media is.
Also, since social networks are exponential, meaning a friend of a friend of a friend can pass on information, you can easily start off with a small circle of local customers and have them push your brand to their social network to the extent that you’re actually reaching millions of people. I know it sounds stupendous at this point, but studies have shown that social media marketing, if done right, can actually produce stellar brand marketing results.]]>