Expert Advice for Entrepreneurs from Google for the Christmas Season (and Really, for Anytime of Year!)!
(BPT) - Small businesses have a major impact on their communities: 67 cents of every dollar spent on small businesses stays in the local economy. But when it comes to growing their businesses, nearly one in four small business owners say marketing is one of their biggest challenges. As small businesses prepare for the holiday rush, they are investing in digital marketing to reach new customers and stand out online.
Below are a few easy, effective ways to grow your business during this busy time of year from Kim Spalding, global product director for small business ads, Google:
1. Be discovered and build a website
People are increasingly searching for small businesses. In 2019, search interest in “mom and pop shops” hit a three-year high.
To make sure holiday shoppers are finding your business, Google My Business is a free and easy way to help businesses show up in Search and Maps. Businesses can attract customers by creating a profile where they can update their store information (like their holiday hours), create free posts that promote a special holiday offer or event and reply to reviews. Platforms like Wix and WordPress also offer free accounts that help small business owners build mobile-optimized and budget-friendly websites.
Once you have a website, adding a basic map or store locator can help customers more easily find your store by showing them your store’s location on a map and giving directions.
2. Make it easier to sell online
Ensuring customers’ online holiday shopping experience is easy and seamless is critical. Shopify is a complete commerce platform that lets you start, grow and manage a business. Shopify enables you to sell in multiple places including web, mobile, social media, online, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations and pop-up shops.
3. Reach more customers
Small business owners have a lot on their plates — especially during the holiday months — and finding the time to create engaging content can feel impossible. Hiring a copywriter from services like Fiverr frees up time for small business owners to focus on running their businesses while expert freelancers draft copy to attract customers.
A simple way to reach customers quickly, Smart Campaigns, created specifically for small business owners, takes 15 minutes to set up, and can help small businesses create and optimize ads to attract customers to their website or Maps. Smart Campaigns saves small business owners time by optimizing their budget across Google Ads to deliver the results they crave.
Expanded Local Campaigns can help businesses increase foot traffic by surfacing Promoted Pins that appear on the map when users are getting directions and planning their route to a destination.
4. Get a customized online business plan
Even though most business owners know their customers are on the web, 80 percent still aren’t making the most of digital tools that can help them reach more customers and work more efficiently.
Google for Small Business is a free, one-stop shop to help small businesses simplify how they select and use the online tools that can help them reach more holiday customers and work more efficiently. First, business owners input their business name, answer a few questions about their business and select a goal. Then, they receive a step-by-step, personalized plan of recommended products to help them stand out online.
Growth for small businesses isn’t always about doing more, it’s about getting things done in less time, with less complication and less worry. This holiday season, these tools can help businesses thrive by providing the support needed to connect with more customers and meet goals.
Innovations in technology that have allowed the person to try their hand in business have also provided a plethora of opportunities for helping a business to succeed. Today, industries of all kinds rely on technology to maintain a streamlined service for their employees and customers. But is technology that important to business? The following list details some of the ways tech can be utilized to enhance the day-to-day operations of a business.
If you run a retail business, nothing can cost you as much in both your budget and sales than an unorganized inventory system. Thus, one of the most important features a retail business must have is a high tech point-of-sale system. According to Celerant Technology, learning how to use a retail POS is an important investment that can transform your business, so it's essential to utilize all the features available to you. These POS systems allow you to have a detailed and live report on your inventory. Consider introducing training for your employees to use this system as they will probably be the ones interacting with it the most.
Communication Tools and Apps
Communication apps and tools have saved thousands of businesses over the years. This is because information is a highly valued asset in business. Communication tools, such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram, can allow your company to take advantage of minute-to-minute opportunities. Also, video communication tools like FaceTime have provided small business owners the ability to negotiate via the internet with their clients or potential vendors. This alone has provided countless opportunities to less-established businesses, which, according to BroadVision, are opportunities that would not have been there if it weren't for these communication tools and apps.
Often, it is not the lack of marketing or sales that bring down a business, but the lack of accuracy within its financial records. Your own lack of organization can easily create issues with your local county or even the IRS. There are currently hundreds of financial software tools out there that have saved businesses from going through these ordeals. They often provide you with notifications dealing with your taxes and updates on changes to the law that could affect you.
Technology is not something people should fear as a tool that can steal jobs. It can supplement and enhance your team's efforts, opening the doors to a business' growth. Simply follow the list above to begin implementing these technology tools and suggestions into your own business.
The business world sometimes appears full of automatons. Working like a robot has the benefits of keeping an employee away from controversy, but the approach won't help someone wishing to get ahead. Standing out positively often leads people to success. How can you stand out under the bright light of excellence? Here are three ways traits that will help you to do just that.
Innovators and originators can achieve more than copycats. Small Business Trends explains that a business professional who brings something new and exciting to the table could create a trend that reaps incredible profits. Look at Tony Hawk, the skateboarding entrepreneur. Skateboarding remained a popular subculture for decades and spawned many cottage industries. Hawk, however, took things in a new direction and devised a billion-dollar skateboarding empire.
That said, originators will always deal with detractors. Great new ideas regularly face rejection. Radical and revolutionary ideas upset people stuck in a comfort zone. If you believe in your plans, don't let naysayers discourage you. Be flexible enough to withstand constructive criticism, and keep going forward to promote your ideas.
Sadly, integrity isn't always the most common trait among people in the business world. So, someone with integrity garners attention. Honest workers and managers are an asset to a company and the entire business world.
The idea of the corporate whistleblower typifies integrity. Meissner Associates says that finding out that the business you work for is engaging in fraudulent activity can put you in a tough position to decide if you should expose their wrongdoing, or do you remain silent. People with integrity usually make the right decision regarding whistleblowing. Let the image of the whistleblower be your guide.
The stereotype of business professionals focusing only on making money and selfish pursuits isn't always accurate. Unfortunately, many professionals do become self-absorbed and greedy. Would Bill Gates fall under that description? Microsoft's leader spent countless hours raising and donating money for charitable causes. While the average worker can't match Gates' monetary contributions, they can match his passion and attitude. Even doing "little things" for others could paint a tremendously positive picture of you.
The London Business School recommends that you allow your standing in the business community act as a way of doing good things. Explore philanthropical endeavors, and don't always focus on personal gain. Others will notice your selflessness. Ironically, you may experience career success by putting others' needs ahead of your own.
Success in the business world requires that you appear unique. Embracing endearing traits helps with this goal. Each individual has a set of personality strengths. Play to your strengths, and create the best quality work you can produce. Standing out requires more than fits and spurts of effort; apply yourself consistently in the workplace, and you will see good results.
Want to learn more ways to make your business stand out and thrive? Check out more content like this from our Video Ideas for a Better Business Life!
For many, the commute to work and back home represents a lot of wasted time. The longest average commute, each way, in the US is a little over 43 minutes in New York City. This adds up to over 9,000 hours a year spent sitting in a car or public transportation. However, your commute does not have to suck. Here are four ways to make your commute better and safer.
Use the Time to Learn Something
It can be helpful to use all the time spent commuting to learn something. There is a wide range of podcasts and audiobooks to appeal to anyone. Whether you want to catch up on the daily news, discover what is happening in the world of tech, or explore developments in psychology, educational audio entertainment can not only make your commute seem shorter but also convert time that would have otherwise been wasted into productive time.
Know the Blind Spots
When you drive the same route every day, it can be easy to go into autopilot and neglect safe driving habits. However, safety is vital and the most important part of driving safely is knowing your blind spots. Commercial trucks have many blind spots and when driving, don't assume everyone will turn their heads. Knowing where the blind spots of your own car are and being aware that others may not always check their own blind spots can reduce the risk of accidents and make your commute safer.
Plan Your Time
One of the biggest stressors during a commute is running into unexpected traffic and being late for work. Allocating extra time for your drive can alleviate this stress and make your drive easier. Additionally, leaving earlier in the morning can sometimes mean fewer cars on the road, leading to a safer and more relaxing drive. There are even apps available that will notify you when the best time to leave is so you will hit the least amount of traffic during your drive.
Disconnect from Your Phone
A key part of driving safely is ensuring that there are little to no distractions in the car. Cell phones, however, are a major distraction while driving and can severely increase the risk of a crash. Disconnecting from your phone can make your drive more relaxing, but more importantly, it increases the safety of your drive.
A commute, long or short, can be draining. No one likes to be in the car for a long time. However, with these tips in mind, you can make them safer and even enjoyable.
If you’re looking for something to listen to while you drive, take a look at this article that includes some of the best ways you can set up your phone apps and car to listen to music and podcasts while you drive!
Your new business is finally up and running and you feel like a kid in a candy store. You are happy, you have all your ducks in a row, and you feel ready for that first sale. Here are five things that you need to know in order to be successful in your business now and in the future.
It's About the Experience
Businesses thrive on customers having a great experience when buying a product or service, so it's up to you to make sure that this happens for the people that you serve. Make sure that your customer's journey is a pleasant one every single step of the way.
Providing a good experience for customers is important for future growth and success because these customers are going to be able to speak well of their experience with your business. They're also the customers most likely to come back repeatedly. The way you approach customers and communicate your brand can greatly impact your success. If you’re struggling with business growth, then you may want to examine your marketing strategy. Ultimately, customer experience is what will drive your business forward.
Reputation is Important
Being able to manage your online reputation is important if you want to have a successful business. Once you've established a solid customer base, ask these customers to review you on outlets like Google and Yelp. Also, you can politely invite them to send in video testimonials of their experiences with your business, which you can use for marketing on your website.
By utilizing customer testimonials to manage your reputation, you'll be able to gain new customers faster because you have built a trust factor with your audience. If you're concerned about asking your customers for testimonials, don't be. Your customers will love to be involved in the process of your success and offer you their perspective on their positive experience in working with you.
Your Mindset Holds the Key
Some people say that the key to success is knowing how to make a sale. The true key to success is in your mindset.
Your mindset holds the key to your ability to be able to market yourself well to your target audience. If you have limiting beliefs on how many sales per month you can make or how many clients you can work with in one year, then you'll see that come to fruition in your business. Train your mindset so that you're setting yourself up for success and eliminating limiting beliefs from the get-go.
Your Business Shouldn’t Be a Replica of Someone Else’s
It's very easy when you're starting out in business to play the comparison game. Especially if your business is a year old or younger.
There may be people who have been in business at the same time as you and you see them and feel like they're crushing it with their sales goals and client testimonials and pretty photo shoots.
The truth is, your business shouldn't be a replica of anybody else's business. Your business is a living, breathing entity of its own that is specific to you and how you operate and who you serve. Don’t try to copy someone else.
Be at Peace with Failure
While you may feel like failure is one of the worst things that can happen in your new business, that could not be further from the truth.
Use failure as a stepping stone to learn what you need to know to run your business successfully. Everything in your business that doesn't work out the way you expected it to has a solution on the other side of it.
By using these five things as guideposts in your business, you're setting yourself up for success and less frustration when failure hits.
Want more ideas to help you succeed in business? Read all about The Business IDEA today!
What is the EX, or the employee experience, exactly? EX is not just about what it's like to work day-to-day in the office, and it's not about benefits, half-day Fridays, sleeping pods, beer fridges in the break room and other fun perks, though those things do enter into it. But EX is deeper and more meaningful than that. It's about truly engaging employees.
(BPT) - One of the latest business buzzwords this year is EX, or the employee experience. Organizations are beginning to realize that they need to create a positive employee experience in the same way they have focused on the customer experience. In this ever-tightening job market, it's mission critical to keep employees happy, fulfilled and challenged. Only then can they keep their customers happy. Focusing on EX means evaluating an employee's entire life cycle with the company, from before they even apply for a job to beyond their last day. It's so critical that Forbes even dubbed 2018 the Year of the Employee Experience.
What is the EX, exactly? EX is not just about what it's like to work day-to-day in the office, and it's not about benefits, half-day Fridays, sleeping pods, beer fridges in the break room and other fun perks, though those things do enter into it. But EX is deeper and more meaningful than that. It's about truly engaging employees. Employee engagement (EE) and EX are intertwined so closely they can be called one and the same.
The problem with EE: There's a disconnect
In a recent study, Dale Carnegie found that 70 percent of top executives believe that employee engagement has a strong impact on financial performance. In a similar study, Deloitte found that 85 percent of company leaders say EE is an important strategic priority, but Dale Carnegie found that just 31 percent of front-line employees and managers strongly agreed that their company is actually making engagement a top priority.
Clearly, there's a disconnect between what execs are saying and what employees are feeling. That's because there's a piece left out of this puzzle: the employees' managers.
The key to aligning executive priorities with what employees are experiencing lies in the management chain. Managers need to be enabled and empowered to engage their teams on a daily basis. It means getting managers the training they need to engage their teams, by making it a strategic priority and creating a culture of engagement. Dale Carnegie programs teach the skills managers need and can help organizations do the right things to increase overall employee engagement.
Ways to increase employee engagement
Focus on getting managers and supervisors the skills they need. Immediate supervisors and managers are on the front lines of employee engagement. Leaders at all levels need to understand that the way they interact with their employees and direct reports matters to the company's bottom line. Open a dialogue with managers about EE, and listen to what they're saying about what works and what doesn't, and if they're frustrated, give them the tools and training necessary for change.
Get CEO buy-in. If your CEO does not have employee engagement on his or her priority list, the effort is doomed to fail. Make sure the CEO has the facts on employee engagement, and the knowledge that it needs to start at the top. EE needs to be treated like any other strategic priority.
Align policies with EE. You need employee-supportive policies and procedures, such as a standard performance evaluation policy. But it also means changing policies that are barriers to engagement. Are there processes and procedures working at cross-purpose with engagement efforts? If so, change them. How are your rewards and recognition programs designed? What do you reward and recognize? Are they making your employees feel valued? It requires going through your policies with a critical eye, and the willingness to change what's not working.
Employee engagement needs to be on the top of the priority list for top executives, managers and supervisors, and that's no easy task. But in this ever-tightening job market, with greener grass just a click away on a job seeker's app, keeping all of your employees happy, engaged and fulfilled is the key to your company's competitive advantage.
Women are starting businesses at a record pace — motivated to pursue passions, financial independence and the flexibility that eludes most traditional jobs.
(BPT) - Women are starting businesses at a record pace — motivated to pursue passions, financial independence and the flexibility that eludes most traditional jobs.
In the U.S. alone, women entrepreneurs generate $1.1 million in revenue on average across retail, professional and personal service businesses that have operated for 11 years. This stat comes from Visa’s new ‘State of Female Entrepreneurship’ report, which informed their recently announced program, She’s Next, Empowered by Visa, a global initiative to support and champion women in their efforts to grow their small businesses.
That’s powerful stuff, highlighting the important role women entrepreneurs play in the prosperity and economic development of local communities. The typical entrepreneur is 42 years old and earns nearly $110,000 in household income a year, making a profound difference in building and supporting families in the community.
Clearly, female founders are coming into their own. In fact, the Visa study found that 79 percent of American women entrepreneurs feel more empowered now than they did five years ago.
Still, key challenges exist: 73 percent say funding does not come easily, and nearly 2/3 use their own funds to get started. Assembling a good team, finding the right tools and dealing with competitors are among the biggest challenges keeping women entrepreneurs up at night.
For any entrepreneur, it can feel like there’s never enough time or resources to grow a business. To help other entrepreneurs and based on insights from the ’State of Female Entrepreneurship’ report, Visa polled four areas women entrepreneurs focus on to turbocharge success:
Find mentors: More than two-thirds said they wanted advice from fellow entrepreneurs. Relatable role models and mentors are invaluable when you’re making the leap to starting or building your own business.
Find your feet: Strategy development is critical for women starting up their own company. Assembling a good team was a challenge encountered by 37 percent of women founders. Other challenges include: finding the tools to grow and manage their business (36 percent), competition (36 percent) and growing as quickly as they need to (33 percent). Have a plan and pursue your vision.
Gather capital to invest in your business: Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. Respondents cited profits and revenue growth as the top two priorities for improvement. Thirty-two percent of women would direct additional funding toward newer technology.
Put in overtime: When building a business, time is precious. Given the investment and high stakes that come with the territory, it comes as little surprise that a majority of women entrepreneurs (56 percent) are putting in more work hours than before they started their business.
If you’ve joined the ranks of female entrepreneurs, find support and resources by signing up for the Female Founder Collective, and visit She’s Next, Empowered by Visa where you can download and print a toolkit with tips and advice to help build and sustain your company.
This is the Week 13 Video List for Management 351… If you like and personally find value in these videos, do please share them further.
Video 60 - 11/12
HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED WHEN RUNNING A BUSINESS
Short Link: http://bit.ly/2vwNAai
Video 61 - 11/13
HOW TO MANAGE EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE?
Short Link: http://bit.ly/2vA1lWw
Video 62 - 11/14
IS THIS THE WORLD'S MOST BABY-FRIENDLY OFFICE EVER?
Short Link: http://bit.ly/2wa6676
Video 63 - 11/15
Emojis Can Help Improve Communication And Our Relationships | Better | NBC News
Short Link: http://bit.ly/2vQFfPC
Video 64 - 11/16
How to Persuade Others with the Right Questions: Jedi Mind Tricks from Daniel H. Pink
Short Link: http://bit.ly/2uORGqs
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