Free Websites For Small Business

While having your own website for your business is much cheaper these days, you may still want to gain more internet exposure by using these free business site tools.
Facebook - What used to be a social-networking website that intends to be just a little different from MySpace and Friendster is now one of the best places to promote your business for free. Use Facebook's "fan" page feature to connect with internet users without taking them out of Facebook. While you can no longer create webpage-like features and feel in a Facebook page, you can instantly and effectively promote whatever update, promo and alert to your fans without them having to subscribe to email alerts.
Webs - While there are several free web-hosting sites out there, Webs is probably one of the most popular. With the help of free tools, applications and templates, anyone can create a professional-looking website. Webs claims that you don't need technical skills to be able to make your own website. And if you are ready to develop your own business brand with your custom domain, all you have to do is to avail the Webs Premium Services.
Multiply - Originally intended to be a social networking site, Multiply has switched to e-commerce site. You can customize your site, post your products, and connect with other sellers, similar to eBay, without the bidding aspect. According to, Multiply has about 3.5 million unique users in the U.S. each month, making it a good place to expand your online presence.
GetShopped - If you sell products online, GetShopped has one of the best features that are perfect for you. You can create free website, sell online, blog online, send newsletters and create pages. Getshopped integrates with trusted payment processors such as PayPal, Payment Express and Google Checkout so your customers will easily and safely purchase your product.
DevHub - Much like Webs, DevHub is an easy tool to create your own website for free. You can either choose to have your own domain or create a sub-domain of DevHub. Follow the instructions and fill-up the spaces that will be provided to you and your website will be ready in no time.
Wix - Another free website tool that will help you create your website in an instant. The procedure is similar to other free website creators. Signup to gain access, choose from their templates, fill up the text and you're ready to go.
Blogger - While people mainly use this to promote their websites, you can always use Blogger as a freestanding website since you can customize your blogsite to whatever you think is fitting to your business. WordPress and other blogsites with similar features will also do.
Malvina Mancini is an Online Marketer specializing in Lead and Cash Flow Generation for other serious Online Marketers.
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Small Business Management

Running a small, start-up business has it share of ups and downs. When I launched my company nearly nine years ago, running my own small business has been both rewarding and challenging. It has enabled me to establish greater balance in my life as I have reduced the administrative burden that corporate America places on each of its employees and replaced it with more time spent on developing content for my clients.
Given the choice, running my own small business is the best option for me at this stage of my life. I can work out of my house, see my kid on a regular basis, focus my work effort on content, rather than administration, and yes golf a tad. That being said, I am asked continually by others "what is it like to be in business for yourself?" as they contemplate the leap from corporate to sole proprietorship.
While it is not for everyone, here are some of the points of consideration that one should mull over before making the jump to starting your own small business:
One Stop Shop: One of the benefits of being a small business owner is the autonomy of "calling the shots". You are the boss and clearly can steer your company as you see fit. Many think they relish this set-up but in reality, when it comes to being the self-motivator that is required to be successful - the "guy" to go to - lots fall short. Before you read any further, ask yourself if you are cut out to be the "go to guy". If not, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration. Simply stay in the corporate world.
Develop A Business Plan: So, why is business planning so crucial? In a word, it provides "clarity". Investing time to develop a plan provides precise clarification of the company vision. In addition, it provides a mechanism to gauge the results of the business and provides the foundation for future growth plans. In the long haul, it enhances the company valuation through fiscal responsibility, which provides the story of opportunity to any future investor or employee. Business planning is one-part strategy and one-part tactics - but where the sausage actually gets made is in the execution. Execution comes in the hard work necessary to carry out a plan and the accountability for your activities by tracking them.
Understand Tax Burdens: Regardless of the political rhetoric surrounding the tax code and its impact on small business, the fact of the matter is that these entities are levied with a myriad of taxes. I am shocked by how many budding entrepreneurs fail to understand the taxes that small businesses pay. My company has essentially one of the easiest business operating models that a small business can have. I invoice a few clients per month; receive a few checks a month; pay a few bills a month; and have very little inventory and/or depreciation of capital assets. Despite that, my tax return was 84 pages last year. Filing as an S-Corp, my outlay on taxes is between 25% and 39% of federal taxes; North Carolina state income taxes ranging from 6.0% to 7.5%, social security and medicare (twice as a matter of fact for employer and employee) of 15.3%, so nearly 50% of all income goes to taxes and fees.
Replicate Yourself: Given the fact that you are a one stop shop, a small business owner needs to replicate themselves wherever possible. Tools such as social media and the acceptance of telecommuting through online collaboration have enabled small business owners to be in many places at one time. In order to be successful, small business owners need to tap these tools to maximize their exposure to potential clients as well as reaching customers outside of their immediate trade area. Prior to these tools being readily available, my business was limited to the state of Illinois (where my company was originally based). Since I have utilized these tools to replicate myself, I have had clients in thirteen different states.
Navigate Third-Party Challenges: A small business owner wears many hats and relies on third-party entities for key alliances. When Go Daddy had their website and email server outage in September, roughly 5.3 million small business websites and emails were knocked out. Small business owners rely on these support companies and at times, are held captive when issues arise. While my company does not conduct a lot of commerce via my website, many small operators lost online revenue due to the outage.
Be Wary Of Scams: Lastly, where there is a small business owner, there is a criminal waiting to prey on the unsuspecting operator. In fact, this past week, I received a letter from a group claiming to represent the State of Illinois. Having been in business nearly nine years, I am keenly aware of all of the annual expenditures that my company pays. As an Illinois corporation (operating in North Carolina), I received a letter stating that I needed to send in a $125 fee for my "Annual Minutes Records Form". I didn't recall ever doing this, and when I contacted my CPA, he shared the following press release with me:
In short, starting and running a small business may be the best decision you may ever make. Having the facts in advance of that decision are critical to ensure that you are positioned for success. Once you fully vet your decision-making for starting your small business, the rewards can be amazing...
John Matthews is the founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises, Inc., a strategic planning and marketing services firm that specializes in helping businesses grow in the restaurant, convenience and general retail industries. With more than 20 years of senior-level experience in retail and a speaker at retail-group events throughout the U.S., Matthews has recently written two step-by-step manuals, Local Store Marketing Manual for Retailers and Grand Opening Manual for Retailers, which are available at

How Small Business Created The Internet Marketing Company

There are more than 23 million small businesses in the US, comprising 54% of all U.S. income. Despite the fact that almost all of these companies often have reduced marketing budgets in contrast to more substantial corporations, challenging versus the giant players develops into a vital aspect of any small company advertising and thereby an important emphasis for long lasting emergence.
Key reports collected from the SBA signify that since 1990, as mammoth business removed roughly 4 million work opportunities, small enterprises essentially supplied 8 million all new jobs. While small companies are necessary factors to the financial system, it is more and more tricky to contend in a global environment dictated by much higher leveraged businesses, until today.
Lower priced and significantly productive marketing instruments have moved into the current market and such instruments including social networks, mobile marketing, and even paid search components now find their way in to small business tactical organizing sessions. While these resources have proven to be incredibly strong for the small business world, there remains a major percentage of small business proprietors who are not wanting to recognize the change. Granted the reality that the average age of the US based private business owner is approximately 49 yrs old, this age bracket is typically hesitant to change their marketing techniques and add modern-day marketing and advertising, including employing smartphones versus t.v. and billboard ads.
There are at this moment 116,000,000 US smart phone consumers, a reflection of 37 percent of the complete population, as outlined by eMarketer. While mobile phone advertising and marketing has turned into a larger chip in the pile, research conducted recently signifies that only 20 % of local business owners claimed they are applying mobile marketing and advertising. The bottom-line is, businesses that totally focus the majority of their functions within a determined topographical distance are losing out on potential individuals, while larger sized contending companies are scooping up the opportunities. Take, for instance, a neighborhood coffee house shedding business to Starbucks or McDonald's.
Leveraging social websites is cost-beneficial and can also drastically boost the functionality of a small company marketing strategy. Customers reside on social media. They are not any longer tuned in to the radio and TV over the workday nearly as much as they are seeing what is going on via Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. The fact is that Facebook fairly recently crossed the one-billion user mark and Twitter comes with an average of 6.9 million active users every day. Building brand interest and maximizing presence through the use of social networks has turned into a big asset to small businesses.
Aided by the development of small enterprise advertising and marketing through the use of social networks, smartphone, and paid search, these organizations are going to comfortably reach out to their clients specifically, making use of a lesser amount of resources than big business. Lesser advertising and marketing expenditures can assist a small venture be competitive on price against the bigger firms which can ultimately improve their net profit and create continual emergence even in a recuperating overall economy.

Privacy Policy

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Key Small Business Tips for Success

Small business tips for starting your own business can put you on the path to financial success.

The SBA says that the term small business includes concerns that are organized to make a profit and have fewer than 500 employees. In this post, small business includes work at home, affiliate marketing, network marketing and online home based businesses, and I will explore small business tips to help you achieve your business goals. These tips will help you get customers and generate more sales quickly.

Here are key small business tips and questions to consider:

1. Why do you want to start a small business? Starting your own business requires commitment. So, don't proceed to do so unless you are prepared for long hours and frustration while you are establishing your business. For many, enduring this is well worth the potential of financial security.

2. Will you market a product or service? A service business is one where you offer your expertise to clients. For a product business, you will need to offer a tangible product. Typically, a product business is more expensive to launch than a service business.

3. Do you have a simplified business plan? The thought of writing a business plan is intimidating to most aspiring entrepreneurs. However, it is possible to write a one-page plan that tells the what, who, how and where of your business. You should keep it simple. You can add details as you go. Just get it started.

4. Who is your customer? Describe your target customer in as much detail as possible. Know their needs and wants. Know how you can provide a solution to their problem. This profile will help you create a targeted marketing message and save you time and money in reaching prospects.

5. What is your pricing? Pricing is an art and a science. You need to cover your costs and generate a reasonable profit. Doing research to see what your competitors are charging can help.

6. Are you watching your costs? Many entrepreneurs tend to underestimate how long it will take for their small business to turn a profit. Don't burden your business with too many costs too quickly. To keep costs to a minimum, hire interns and outsource or barter for services.

7. What's your plan for getting customers? One of my coaches says the secret to business success is spending 85% of your time doing things that will lead to sales and 15% of your time doing everything else. You'll need a marketing plan. How do you plan on attracting prospects and converting them to paying customers? Design your advertising to generate sales. Your advertising should always include an offer and an easy way for prospects to respond.

8. Are you using social media? More and more businesses are moving to social media because their prospects are on social media. Only about 25% of small businesses are using social media to build their business. So, creating a presence on social media will give you an edge. This typically means building a fan page on Facebook. There are many resources you can use to build a fan page.

Here are some small business tips to attract more customers online:

1. Be sure to add local content targeted for your specific area.
2. Make sure prospects can find you online and offline.
3. Be very clear about what your business offers.
4. Participate on social media consistently.
5. Watch what your competitors are doing. See what is working and what is not working.

These small business tips require you to be consistent. It takes persistence to establish a social media presence.

If you act on the small business tips above, you will increase your chances of success, you will effectively leverage your time, and promote your business profitably.

Learn more small business tips for starting a home business. Stop by JC Dawkins' blog where you can find her other strategies for your online home based business.

Small Data For Small Business

Talk about "Big Data" is all over any techie field right now, and that includes small- and medium-sized business marketing. It's easy to forget, though, that good data is more a quality game than a quantity game.

Most small- and medium-sized businesses will not (soon) come close to the petabytes of data implied by the term "Big Data," but that doesn't stop savvy owners and managers from trying to use data to boost their marketing efforts. In attempting to emulate Fortune 500 firms and VC-backed tech startups, some take it a step to far.

I once worked with a small firm that wanted to use Sage's ACT! CRM system to keep just two outside sales reps coordinated. The system required thousands of dollars in licenses, weeks to set up, and the installation of corporate server. ACT! is a fantastic system, but it's unlikely that this firm got their money's worth - especially since their accounting was a wreck and their reps didn't know what profitable product lines to push.

As marketers pursue data, it's important to remember that information isn't free. Many data rookies (including my younger self) forget about costs in these places:

Data Acquisition

Raw data is sometimes seems as cheap as anything can be, but that is far from the truth. Whether you're buying RFID sensors, sending researchers out to collect surveys, or just paying one of your existing employees to fill out a few more CRM fields for every new prospect, you'll quickly find out that data has a price and those prices can stack up quickly.

Data Organization

Once you have your data, the costs won't stop there. You'll need database software and server space. You may have to pay for space twice if you use offsite backups. Databases and software routinely need maintenance to stay compatible with changing hardware, operating systems, security protocols, and the vendor's own changing feature set.

Data Analysis

So, you have your data and somewhere to keep it. Now what? Now you need someone to turn that into actionable information. Depending on the scale and type of data you collected, you may need specialized analytical software like SPSS or Matlab. Doing really cool, cutting edge stuff like complex event processing or predictive analysis may require hiring people with expensive statistical skills. Even if you can do the analysis yourself and just want to use Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet, don't forget the costs of your own time.

I think data can transform even the smallest organizations, but the data has to be correct, complete, and cogent. The firm mentioned in the beginning of this article would have been better off using their data resources to improve their accounting and find out what product lines had the highest profit margins. They probably didn't need a full-blown CRM system to share contacts and appointments between two reps. A bit more boring? Maybe. A bit more effective? Probably.

This article was originally posted at

Small Business Lead Generation: Know It to Grow It

The importance of small business lead generation just can't be emphasized enough. An exponentially high number of startups are surfacing every day, and need the necessary impetus to make their mark in the industry. Needless to say, with the increasing numbers, the competition is also increasing. This basically means that companies need innovative means to market their products and services.
To satiate their need for fulfilling business objectives, businesses hire the services of small business lead generation agencies that specialize in the field. This is basically intended at getting more market exposure and grabbing eyeballs to get more business. However, the reason why so many enterprises still fail after paying exorbitant amounts is because they lack the understanding of which tactics work best in the market. Make no mistake about it - it's important to have a basic understanding of lead generation techniques, so that one can judge the performance of a campaign. Of late, the best way to promote any business especially in its initial stages is via the internet. However, the details are very important.
Small business lead generation via the internet has relied heavily on online directories, and the trend continues even to this present day. Social media, a relatively new entrant in this domain, has slowly made its way towards being one of the top preferences for promoting a brand. Also, making an official website has been known to get a significantly high number of leads. So, the basic point is that the agency hired to execute the lead generation campaign should know the nitty-gritties of the online world to truly succeed in lead generation. Such campaigns need to have a holistic approach and can't operate in water-tight compartments with regards to the business model. Only when this happens can the business be on the right track and achieve the kind of success it desires.
Knowing the business environment for small business lead generation entails getting an understanding of the audience, the competition that already exists and the recent deployments, among others. Getting a better understanding of these factors ensures that the business can devise aggressive as well as precautionary tactics to be employed in accordance with the demands of the prevailing situation. It also allows one to make better decisions and react appropriately in different scenarios. However, one also needs to ensure that leads automatically pour in, after a point in time, so that the business gets in auto mode.
The Global Associates is a unique full service sales and marketing organization offering Customized Strategic and Tactical Sales Solutions to Organizations, Globally.
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Start Your Own Small Business - What Are the First Steps to Starting a Small Business?

Unemployment is tough. It is hard to beat the stress of it emotionally and financially. And making day to day phone calls to job openings may be the only thing keeping your hope alive, (Besides waiting by the phone for opportunity to show its beautiful head). Hang in there just like any application process it will take time and a little bit of patience. In the meantime don't let all your creative energy go to waste you can start a home business part time. How do you start a home business? Start brainstorming something simple and creative you like to do. It could be a hobby or an extreme passion. Use your ideas as a sounding board to test the online audience. Is your idea eccentric and unique enough to draw a concentrated small niche audience to your website? Or is the idea too broad? If it is too broad your audience will have a lot of websites to already choose from since the niche is saturated. Your idea or your niche area should be an area that is not too saturated or else your website will drown among many others. You want to be original. For example if you like herbs & spices you can base your home business website on your personal experience or research, you can further emphasize your niche by writing about herbs & spices unique to the area where you live. Make sure your idea is as narrow as possible to take advantage of the subject areas that are not usually talked about online, and by doing so you will gain an online audience that is unique to your website.

How do you get website traffic for your website? You create and write content. Don't tell me I'm not a writer. Many first timers try to get around having to create content because it can be time consuming. But building a home business online will take time. Slow and steady wins the race. You don't have to be able to crank out ten articles a day you can just start with one a day. As you become more comfortable talking about your niche area or passion you will find it gets easier to go from there.

How do you make money online with your website? The number one source of income is through Google AdSense, affiliate networks like commission junction and the amazon associates program. The amount of money you make on your website will always depend on the amount of niche specific traffic you generate to your website.

So what's the best way to be successful in building a home business online? Hard work, dedication and persistence, like I said slow and steady wins the race or I should say marathon. It is a marathon. The only way you can fail is if you don't plan adequately enough and don't have the necessary web tools to build a business. gives online business professionals like you practical advice on tools, resources and information that will get you started online the right way.

How to Write Informational Articles for Small Business Online

If you are going to write articles for the small business community, then it pays to have had a little bit of experience in the sector. One thing that bothers me is when I talk to other online writers who create content for this category, only to learn that their only experience is perhaps a little e-commerce website, and then I ask myself; what on Earth do they know about business? The answer is not much. Now then let's talk about this for a moment shall we?

Not long ago, I was discussing this with someone who had an MBA, and often worked as a consultant writing business plans for small business owners and startups. He said all the right things and used all the right vocabulary and buzzwords, but he surely didn't know what he was talking about when it came to marketing an actual business, dealing with customers, or strategizing for their future growth - this is problematic - and consider if you will he's putting information out online, and small business owners are reading it, and making businesses decisions based on it.

Therefore, before you write a single article about how to run a smaller type business, I suggest you go out and get yourself some experience. Next, writing blanket statements about how business operates is rather silly because every industry is different, and very little is the same when it comes to running these businesses. Oh sure, the accounting standards are the same, and the employment law is the same, and at least some of the financial information such as how to get a bank loan or fill out paperwork might be the same, but basically it stops there.

Further, if you're going to produce an abundance of content in these kinds of categories then you should be custom tailoring your articles with case studies, talking about actual businesses in various industries. Each time that you use a case study, it is easier to get your point across, and your reader will remember the information longer. This will help you if you are trying to bring in targeted traffic to your website, or get new clientele, and it will also help them put all the information into the proper context so they can use it.

Consider that a value added technique in writing and producing quality informational articles for the small business community. Is my sincere hope that you will please consider all this and think on it, and that you do it right, don't add to the debris of nonsensical business articles online.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Small Business Topics. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

Mobile Marketing - A Guide for Small Business

What is Mobile Marketing?

It has never been so easy for businesses to keep in touch with their customers whenever and wherever they choose. Smart phones, for example, are increasingly common, with 52% of Australians owning one - a figure which is expected to rise by a further 10 million by 2015.

Mobile marketing taps into the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones to stay in touch with consumers wherever they go. It's a massive opportunity for advertisers and brands, who can reach their customers in more ways than ever before. Here are just a few examples:

Text message marketing- communicating brand messages, special offers or advertisements via SMS.

Multimedia messaging services - the ability to send pictures and video via MMS.

Mobile search marketing - targeted search results based on the user's location.

Mobile display advertising - the ability to display banner ads and rich media on a mobile phone.

Mobile video advertising - interactive videos and animations which can be displayed on a small screen.

Mobile applications - ranging from e-commerce to information services, mobile applications make executing a task via mobile phone simple.

Mobile bar codes - otherwise known as QR or 2D codes, mobile bar codes embedded in a magazine or display board can be scanned into a mobile phone to lead the user directly to specific, trackable online content.

How Mobile Marketing has increased.

Mobile bar codes (or QR codes) are already in use in 136 countries around the world and mobile web is expected to reach nearly 2 billion users by 2015. This is a growing industry that is already seeing results - already, one third of consumers shop online via mobile rather than on a computer or in person.

QR codes are an increasingly popular way of providing on-the-spot information about products, brands or promotions. In some countries, 50% of Smartphone users have an application capable of reading QR codes. It is this ability to provide immediate information that can encourage consumers to convert - by making it easy to make a purchase, find out about a promotion or sign up for an event.

The impacts for small and medium sized businesses

Many businesses are successfully using mobile marketing to launch, manage and assess their advertising campaigns. But is this new way of marketing limited to companies with a large team of expert marketers in-house, or can it be embraced by smaller businesses too?

For small businesses operating on a local level, mobile marketing can be great for securing business from customers in the local area, thanks to location-based searches.

How much does mobile marketing cost?

Compared to above-the-line advertising channels such as TV and radio, or print marketing in magazines and newspapers, mobile marketing is inexpensive. That's not to say that certain campaigns won't cost - building a mobile-ready website or developing an augmented reality application for example won't come cheap.

However, it's possible to set up an SMS or QR code campaign on a relatively small budget, and with marketing as flexible and multi-faceted as mobile marketing, there will always be options to suit lower budgets.

It's usually possible to run various mobile channels either as a fixed, regular cost or a pay-per-service, depending on the scope, timescale and size of your campaign.

For more information please visit

Grants for Small Business Startups

Website hosting provider explains
As it the case with any new business, capital is a necessity in order to not only launch a new business, but grow it. And many entrepreneurs are tethered to a job they dislike because they can not find the capital needed to start their new enterprise. The solution to this quandary is grants for small businesses. The advantage of a grant for a small business is that they are exempt from taxes and are interest-free. Believe it or not-there are sources of money available to business owners that equate to a free lump sum of money that you can use for start up costs as you open your own business.
Sources of grants for business owners
There are two main sources of grants for small business owners. The main source is from the government. But there are also private grants that are available. Yes, the government and private equity firms are interested in growing your business. They want you to succeed!
Government Grants
Extensive information about government grants are available online at, which is the Federal government's web site maintained in order to provide information pertinent to individuals who are looking to find and apply for federal grants
Once you choose a grant to apply for, make sure you follow the instructions for the grant proposal to the letter, and respect all guidelines and deadlines. Go to your state's Web site to discover what state government grants may also be available.
Private Foundation Grants
Private foundation grants are an excellent source of funding for small businesses. You might ask yourself.... why would a company offer to "give" away money? The truth is that many foundations NEED to donate money to charity for tax reasons, and these foundations set up trusts or endowments for specific charities or new businesses through grants.
Finding a private foundation grant is not as easy as finding a government grant. To find a private foundation grant, you might consider hiring someone that is experienced and familiar with the grant process. And more importantly, you need to find someone that is familiar with the grant process in YOUR industry. This can be a significant obstacle for some companies. If your company is not prepared to hire someone to research and write a grant proposal, do some research at Google and possibly take a class on writing a grant proposal yourself. It can be done and grants have been obtained by business owners who have no previous experience in obtaining grants.
Writing a Grant Application
The grant application process is extensive and the competition fierce. You'll want to make sure your application stands out. So, when writing or preparing to write your proposal, you will need to keep in mind that the goals for grants are to not only help business owners, but also help society. So, keep this in mind when writing your application. How will your business help society? Is there any way your business is tied into the interests of the organization sponsoring the grant? How can you show the sponsor of the grant that your business will be a good investment for the country? Most business grants are given to research and development or nonprofit businesses, because these kinds of businesses benefit all of society.
Website Hosting a Must
Start with a website hosting account. Don't rush into the grant application process before you have a website established.
And keep in mind, that just because you THINK you have a good idea, that it is. Bounce your choice off of friends and family. Do they "get it?" Do they understand why you chose it? If so, it's probably a good choice for a company. If they don't, keep working on it. If they do, then start by setting up a professional website. Your application process will require a URL and a professional web presence.
Before you do anything - before you develop a business model, a revenue model, a purpose of the company, before you establish your brand's core values and develop a tag line for the company, think long and hard about the best website for your new business enterprise.
Ms. Rosendahl has over 20 years experience in systems analysis, hosted applications, and management as well as 15 years experience in web hosting and Internet marketing. Ms. Rosendahl has a Bachelors from Houston Baptist University with a double major in Computer Information Systems and Business Management. Stephanie is the founder and CEO of website hosting firm - green hosting proudly offering dallas web hosting.

Tips and Strategies of Small Business Branding!

When you want to create a strong brand strategy for a newly start business then you have to consider a lot of factors for it. You must think of the main points that can make a big difference for your brand and company. Thus, the very first thing which you need to do for your small business branding is to develop a logo design for your brand that will make your customers remember your brand, secondly you must create a strong and catchy tagline that will best describe your business; lastly, you have to create a positive image of your business in the marketplace so that your potential audience will find your brand professional and appealing when you present your business in a most convincing and attractive way to the public.

Below are some tips and strategies that will help you making your small business branding successful.

If you are small business owner then you must create strong branding techniques for your small business and make it memorable for the audience. If you have a memorable business logo, catchy tagline and professional company name, you can appropriately represent your business to the target audience. Although if you have a small business and you have already decided a name for it then it should be definitely your next step to create a strong brand strategy that is effective and credible for your small business success. So keep it in mind that your corporate logo is not only a graphical image, however, it is the visual representation of a company as it is also helpful for the instant recognition for the public. If you haven't created a logo for your small business then below are some tips that will assist you creating a small business logo design.

All in all, you will require selecting appropriate and relevant elements for your custom logo design that will ensure that your business logo should have a powerful impact with the uncluttered, clean and clear elements. So for the reason of making your brand well-known and recognized in the marketplace, you must create a logo in a most simplest and distinct way and it has the ability to capture your viewers attention with a quick glance. Moreover for being a sincere business owner, you have to evaluate each and every element of your logo so that your creative logo design looks appropriate for your brand. Your business logo should clearly convey the specialty of your business.

Once you are done creating a small business logo with all appropriate elements, then your next steps would be creating a tagline and strong brand strategy. So have you decided what branding tips you are going to use in your tag line development? If you haven't decided yet then try to make it short and simple which should be best describe in 3 to 7 words. So do not hurry when you create your brand tag line and your business logo. A great tag line is what make your brand you standout from your competitors.

Ultimately for brand management that is the need of every brand strategy, you just need to make your customers satisfied by providing them high quality products and services at affordable rates. So do every possible effort for your customers which can keep them happy!

Branded Logos is a US - based company creating its mark in the industry with its specialized logo designs. They are experienced in dealing with customer requirements and deliver quality beyond excellence. It's a logo design company offering best custom services for your businesses.

Why You Need Small Business Health Insurance for Employees

Do you really need small business health insurance for employees? If you are still asking yourself this question, then you are most probably unaware of the current state of the economy vis-à-vis the health care system, and how they should complement each other to ensure better results for your business, no matter how small it is.

The hesitation is understandable. Healthcare is almost unaffordable and small businesses and self-employed alike barely profits enough to afford getting their employees health insurance. Seemingly therefore, it is unwise to get a chunk from your annual average income while jeopardizing the stability of your business undertaking.

However, all these fears and hesitations are actually fallacies. There are more benefits you can get from having your employees insured than just allowing them to work unsecured. So, do you really need small business health insurance for employees? The answer is a resounding Yes! There are actually many reasons that would support this conclusion but this article will provide you with two string ones.

Why You Need Small Business Health Insurance for Employees

Retention of good employees

Nowadays, getting and retaining efficient employees is as difficult as getting and retaining customers. Employees with good qualities are in hot demand as almost all businesses, especially the big ones, are more than willing to pay more in terms of salary to get better personnel. They see this as a way of improving their reputation in the market, to the end of inviting more customers.

"The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area." - Bill Gate

Being a small business owner, you are stand on a very vulnerable ground. Since you cannot compete with the salary scale of big companies, you will most likely end up with unskilled, less better employees. This has adverse effects on your business that you would want to avoid.

By getting your employees health care insurance, you are actually giving them an incentive to stay with you despite the relatively lower salary. Furthermore, studies show that getting your employees health insurances, you are actually spending less than if you would increase their salaries.

Increase in productivity

People respond to incentives, and they respond positively. By getting your employees health care insurance, you are actually giving them the idea that you as their boss really think of their welfare. This will make them feel valued and respected in one way or another.

The feeling of being valued as an employee has positive effects on how your employee treats your business. They will show care to your company as much as they are also taken cared of by you. They will start to work harder and more efficiently, which will of course benefit your business in the long run. If what they are saying that your business is only as strong as the people who are working for you is true, then you are assured that you have a really strong and competitive business right there. You need not worry about staff disloyalty and incompetence.

Now, if you're still asking if "do you really need small business health insurance for employees", we hope that you are answering in the affirmative.

And just before i drop my pen, if you are searching for the Best Startup Business ideas or you want to know What is the best business to start, please visit our blog to learn more.

Small Business Internet Marketing Secrets

Small business internet marketing isn't about building a domain and "they will come".

They may only come after you get into the practice of working on your website continually.

First your website must feature keyphrases, but if you sell shoes, you've got to understand that if somebody puts the word shoes into a browser, millions of results will come up.

Here is where longtail keyphrases come in, which are essentially phrases that someone will put into a browser, for example "leather shoes".

So if you have leather shoes as a keyword you're going to be somewhere in the results. Long-tail keyphrases are very important in getting found on the internet and Google provides a keyword tool you can use for free to find these often-used phrases.

By entering the phrase "pink stilettos" Google will tell you how many searches there's been in the past month for that phrase, both worldwide and in the States.

If you want to conduct much more detailed keyword research there are several other programs you can get. Whichever tool you select you will have to pay attention to the results it returns and decide which keywords you'll be targeting for your articles.

If a keyword returns around 5,000 searches a month domestically, that is an ideal number, and whether you use local or global search numbers depends on the product you're promoting.

You need to be on page one of the SERPs and it will take lots of endurance and difficult work to get there but that is where the money is.

Google prefers continually updated websites. Websites should continually update their articles so as to be Google friendly.

It is important for one to develop the practice of writing a five hundred word article after few days. This five hundred word article should be rich in keywords. The keywords should be used within the first and last paragraphs of the article.The key phrases should be used for 1 or 2 more times within the body of the article.

If you're pondering using Google AdWords for advertising, the person will find the key phrases vital. Google will serve the person's website more advertising services.

Backlinks are essential.

Here is a good definition for backlinks:

Simply a backlink is a link coming from another website to your own. The number and quality of backlinks that your site has can affect your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, as some search engines provide significant weight to the backlinks of a site.

They are thought of as the curse of website owners. Building applicable backlinks is not a straightforward process.

"One should avoid purchasing backlinks from firms."

Google has the technical capabilities to get information about back-links that've been purchased. Google will actually ignore such links and might penalize one for using them. It is recommended for one to avoid back links at any cost. WordPress plug in backlinks are not sufficient. The ones that are regarded as are those from 'do follow' blogs.

The simplest way to get back-links is through marketing articles. This is down to the fact that many article directory websites will require one to have at least a single link to his / her site. Folks will be required to submit helpful articles to article marketing sites or to other sites using a 'hub'. This is the cheapest way and also saves time.

Small internet business marketing involves lots of other methodologies we can't cover here but the above points are the most vital and cheapest for getting started.

Article marketing and blogging are very effective and a great way to generate targeted leads. It is well worth the amount of time spent to become a expert in these two fields of marketing.

Wish you success!

I have been network marketing now for 7 years and have found that the best way to become successful is by copying what successful people do. I know of no better place to do this than at If you are serious about taking your network marketing skills to the next level and want my personal help,
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Improve Your Image With a Small Business Phone Service

When a small business opens its doors, it is likely that there will be a certain volume of telephone calls on a daily basis. By choosing to use a small business phone service, a company can improve its professional image with a myriad of features.

Residential vs. Business Phone Service

A small business with only a few employees may not receive as many telephone calls as a huge corporation, but that does not mean that a company should neglect its communications systems. A business that opens its doors with only a single landline meant for residential use will undoubtedly find that communications are mediocre, at best. Business employees should be available during business hours-and sometimes even around the clock-to handle customer calls and address any issues that may arise. A small business phone service is designed to do exactly that, and it is often more affordable than adding lines and features to typical residential landline service.

Business-Related Features

While standard phone lines may come with useful features like call waiting, caller ID and call forwarding, many of the features that a business could use to promote their image are not available. These include multiple extensions, advanced voicemail capabilities, automated attendants, call capture, call screening and even the ability to send and receive faxes directly from a computer desktop via the internet. These features are more than just convenient for the business owner; they make handling customer calls and ensuring satisfaction a breeze. Small business phone service includes all of these and more, creating a professional atmosphere for both the customers and the employees.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

The sole purpose of a business is to provide products and services that are in demand to the consumers who want and need them. If consumers are not satisfied with the service they receive from one business, they will simply take their money somewhere else. Callers who frequently experience busy signals or whose calls go unanswered will often become frustrated and look for alternative ways to procure the products and services they need. By effectively answering and handling every single call, businesses will develop a good reputation for customer relations and will make more money as a result. As such, business phone service is a must as it is designed to make these calls simpler for everyone involved.

Friendly Greetings and Seamless Transfers

When a customer calls a business for any reason, first impressions are everything. By using an automated assistant-a feature available with a small business phone service-each and every call is answered with a friendly greeting. The callers can then listen to the options available to them and select the one that best suits their reasons for calling. In fact, the entire process is very quick and most callers will agree that the ability to be transferred to the designated person or department without delay is important to them. After all, there is a reason behind the call and that reason should be addressed immediately by the person best suited to do so.

Improving the image of any business starts with providing an excellent product and ends with providing the best customer service in the industry. With the help of a small business phone service, ensuring customer satisfaction is simple and affordable.

This Article was written by Kevin John, Online Marketing Executive at iTeleCenter. He has extensive marketing experience and is extremely knowledgeable about vanity numbers, 1800 Numbers, local numbers and toll free number in conjunction with virtual phone system. He is happy to share his knowledge on small business phone service to help small business owners.

Writing Tips For Small Business

If you are a writer for a small business firm or you an owner of one and want to use the skill of content writing to good effect, this could prove beneficial to you. If you just happened to read this piece, then this is information that you could pass onto someone who could benefit from this. So what is it that an idea, a computer and a content writer could do for a small business? the answer is everything your business needs to get recognized over the Internet. So how is that done? by keeping a few simple rules in mind.

Having a clear cut idea as to what is to be achieved through content writing for your business, this could be pushing up your search engine results, creating engaging copy that support your sales team or creating materials that would help build awareness and recognition. If you have a small business make sure you know what your objectives are and then use content writing to channel that idea forward

Many businesses are not mindful of the language that is best suited for internet readers. Big words might sound and read great on a news paper but that is not the case when it comes to a digitalized version. What needs to be said need to be kept simple but not too simple. Complex sentences tend to put the reader off and remember if you have a business that is similar to others, there are more places your reader could go and get what he or she requires. Content developed need to crisp and to the point.

Consider yourself, how quick are you to read the information on a page and how much of it do you actually take an effort to read. If your readers are not the type that is ready to move down the page and get the information, then its always best that you keep the most important information right at the top and the lesser at the bottom. Not to mention that Internet readers take a few minutes to decide to leave the page or not. So making sure your message is reached is important.

Constantly updating your site with content is equally important. A website analysis could show you to what level is your website active with fresh piece of content coming in. Small businesses always just leave their site to be and not make the most of the opportunity given. Update is the keyword. Monitoring site performance is also a good way to go about, try an analytics tool.

Try some of this if you have not already. Remember, its clarity in thought, simple preparation, proper delivery, constant update and continuous monitoring. Simple is it not, that is the key!

Small Business Lead Generation - Why Online Is In!

More and more people are avoiding yellow pages and directory inquiries and going directly on the internet to search for whatever they need. This presents a never-before opportunity for small business lead generation, with an exponentially high number of organizations understanding the need for taking their business to the next level by giving it the right kind of exposure online.

Essentially, there are two kinds of routes that businesses can take for small business lead generation to be successful. The first among these is via Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is essentially a long term objective to ensure sustainable growth in traffic. Irrespective of the stature and reputation of an organization, if the SEO activity is not done properly, it can take years to be featured among the top searches on popular search engines. And even if it's done properly and aggressively, it takes at least a couple of months for the efforts to bear fruit. Sure, there are certain tricks that one can use to get better results, but they can only go so far. Businesses also have a great opportunity in the form of submission directories, which also help quite significantly in search engine optimization at virtually no cost.

Another great alternative for sound small business lead generation is pay per click advertising, which is also known as PPC. This is more of an 'instant result' kind of proposition, which gives results on the spot! However, the costs incurred for this activity are also significantly high. Many advocates of its long term gains state that once a website is popular, traffic flows in automatically. However, there are many arguments regarding this theory.

In the end, it's up to the business as to which route it wishes to take to achieve the desired objective. However, going online is definitely the only route to succeed in today's times.

However, just because qualifying the call is a very important aspect of the process does not mean that one should jump directly into it. It's essential to understand the stage at which one should attempt the same. Ideally, the first stage of a sales call is about introducing oneself and talking about the product. Once that has been taken care of, the salesperson needs to begin probing the prospect, with regards to checking how much interest has been generated. The introduction stage during small business lead generation is essentially all about telling the other person why the call was made, and it is very important that the prospect is made to feel that he/she was handpicked from a list simply because the product or service being offered caters to his/her needs.

The Global Associates is a unique full service sales and marketing organization offering Customized Strategic and Tactical Sales Solutions to Organizations, Globally.
Phone:+1 (408) 540-6462 (USA); +91- 141- 404 7667 (INDIA)
Email: info(at)

Small Business Marketing Ideas for Budding Entrepreneurs

The Internet is a great venue for small business marketing ideas. If you are looking for effective marketing strategies, you are in the right place. A budding entrepreneur like you should embrace online marketing because it offers a lot of opportunities offline advertising will not. For one, you do not have to spend big for these ideas. But you will earn big, not just money per se, but credibility for you as a businessman and authenticity for the business.

First, you can try content marketing. Especially if you have an online business, this type of marketing is not a waste of time. You will basically provide the content of your products through articles and publish them on a lot of sites that cater to this. Potentials clients can read these and take notice of you immediately. Of course, you need well-written articles for your marketing to be effective.

Another strategy to try is adhering to your clients' reviews and making this known to other people. This strategy is actually based on the universal "word of mouth" that has always helped promote businesses. By showing the reviews, you also can let other possible clients know what results they could experience from your business. Positive feedback's are what you should aim for always. Be sure to address any client concerns so that you have only good news to share.

The power of social networking is a great means of marketing your small business. A budding entrepreneur like you should always bear in mind that you need to introduce yourself and the business by all means available. You have free sites such as Facebook and Twitter. So why not post updates and information about your products?

On Linked In, another free social media site, you may also join groups interested in your industry. This can be fellow professionals that share advice, but it can also include groups that you think would be interested in your services, allowing you to post informative articles and draw new clients to your website. Be sure to present the business in a professional and approachable way.

Advertising is one crucial part of having a business. People have accepted the costs and risks of advertising in newspapers or on television, but they tend to hesitate to make the same commitment to online marketing. There are plenty of free small business marketing ideas, but you must remain consistent in your promotion - and willing to invest in that effort with your time or by hiring a virtual assistant - to make it effective.

With an Internet presence, you have the power to do business while you sleep. Your business is open 24 hours a day. Without a website, you are missing out on a lot of exposure. Affordable Web Design and Internet Marketing for Small Business

Essential Tools For Marketing Your Small Business

Growing and maintaining a small business is not easy. It takes stamina, patience and perseverance to keep the doors open every day. It also takes money and marketing to succeed at getting your message to the right prospects. Small business owners need to pay close attention to the message they convey and how it is perceived by their target audience in order to their promotional budget.

Knowing what works and what doesn't in the arena of promotional advertising and marketing is one of the most common problems business owners face. When you are working with limited resources it is extremely difficult to apportion time and money to every new idea that comes around. This is one reason why Internet marketing has still eluded a lot of local companies. They often don't know what to do and where to best allocate resources.

Trying to keep up with the various trends that seem to pop up on a regular basis takes a lot of work and no small business owner has the time keep up when they must also wear 100 other hats in their industry. What I found is that the basic principles of marketing still holds true even in the digital age regardless of the type of product or service being offered there are still fundamental applications that fit even the most cutting-edge marketing model. I have distilled the processes down to a basic set of tools that any business owner can use to succeed at generating leads.

There are marketing 18 tools that are vital to the health and growth of a small business in today's competitive world. There is no doubt that technology has made life easier for small business operation but it is also made it more frustrating. But the essence of marketing is still finding and influencing the people who have a need for what you are selling. You can use any of these 18 tools in a variety of configurations based on your budget or unique requirements.

1. A Company Website
2. A Separate Blog
3. Affiliate Or Referral Program
4. Customer Retention Program
5. Direct Mail
6. E-Mail Marketing
7. Google Maps
8. Internet Advertising
9. Monthly Articles
10. Monthly Newsletters
11. Online Videos Channel
12. Podcast Channel
13. Print Ads
14. Radio and Television Advertising
15. Regular Press Releases
16. Search Engine Marketing
17. Social Media Interaction
18. Telemarketing

These tools offer your business a fighting chance at staying ahead of the competition and can also dramatically improve your bottom line. I wouldn't necessarily stress one particular tool over another because they all have their pluses and minuses when it comes to effectiveness based on particular markets. It isn't necessary to utilize all the tools every month; that may be impractical for many small businesses.

If you are just starting to pay attention to marketing, choose a collection of tools that can easily be tracked to gauge their performance. For example establish a company website and a separate blog. Use e-mail marketing and direct mail to promote your company. Establish a customer retention program and affiliate or referral program using your e-mail marketing campaign and direct mail campaign to generate interest.

Craft your message and stick to it. Conduct market research and establish a series of keywords that can be used throughout your promotional campaign both on the web and off-line. Keep your message consistent with the keywords in order to generate a solid message to a target audience.

Promote your message through a variety of media sources for example articles and video or develop a podcast series dealing with the specific topics surrounding your message. Get the word out through social networks and your blog and drive traffic and search engine marketing techniques.

Sketch out your entire campaign on the calendar in order to simplify the entire process. This also allows you to identify your milestones and help in tracking your progress. Marketing should never be an afterthought in your business. Delivering your message and converting prospects to customers is essential for generating consistent profits.

You can find more information on generating leads at my blog. Get FREE online coaching at

Overcoming Small Business Problems

As a business owner you may often struggle with overcoming small business problems, you are not the first and you won't be the last. It's been our experience that most business owners think the "guy down the street" is somehow having an easier time running their business. The truth of the matter is that all business are challenged with trying to overcome small business problems. The difference between those who struggle with these problems and those business owners that don't is that those who struggle often let their small business problems build up and never deal with them.

So, what are the main problems that exist in small business?

- Not enough sales

- Not enough cash

- Trouble managing employees

- Not knowing what to do next or what direction to go in

The list of problems in business can seem endless, but it's not that the list is endless; it's that we too often allow our business problems to stack up and only really acknowledge their existence when they are at crisis point and often we never really deal with them and they therefore keep coming back. So the secret is to prioritise and deal with these challenges as they come along.

Let's take the small business problem of not having enough sales. The problem with not having enough sales is that in our experience it never "just happens overnight". Lack of sales in a business is almost always a gradual development that has not been dealt with over a long period of time and usually the owner has put the decline in sales to seasonal issues or market forces. While both can be true, the owners' conclusion is often not based on any facts it's often based on some gut-feeling.

Similarly, not having enough cash in your business is usually a symptom of not managing your expenses or not having a process in place to manage customers who owe you money, and is usually only stumbled upon when the bank account is empty.

The secret to overcoming small business problems is to start by acknowledging their existence in your business. Not to do so only prolongs the time where they come to crisis point and are usually very difficult to deal with at that time. As a small business owner if you were to do nothing else but face these problems as they arise then you will have made a significant step forward with your business.

Once you have acknowledged their existence you then need to deal with them. You may need to seek business advice from a friend or trusted fellow business owner. There is no shame is asking for business help, and the sooner you do, often the quicker the problem gets addressed and ultimately solved.

Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan: Why All Small Businesses Need A Solid Plan!

Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true."Lester R. Bittel

Recently, I offered a marketing plan review as a door prize for a local business group. When I approached the winner to exchange information, she whispered that she didn't have a written one; she had it stored in her head. She then asked it a marketing plan was even necessary.

Should Your Small Business Have A Marketing Plan?

Absolutely! In fact, as a small business consultant, I've encountered numerous clients who repeatedly make the same mistake... failing to have a plan 'business or marketing' in place.

In a recent survey, I asked 200 respondents, 'of the many issues facing their businesses, what common road blocks hindered their business growth.' An overwhelming 32% said 'No Marketing Plan' was a potential reason for lack of sales and growth.

Why Marketing Plan?

Well, a marketing plan is a road map that details a route you should take to successfully promote and expand your business. It is critical to the success of a business, in fact, to all businesses! If a small business wants to achieve its potential, a marketing plan must be implemented!

Marketing is more than just ordering business cards or creating a flyer, it's how you communicate with your current and potential clients. It is important to get your name out in the business community and differentiate your products and services from that of your competitor. If you don't market your products or services, how will people know that you are a serious business owner or worse, in business? With a marketing plan, you will have a game plan in place.

A marketing plan is an integral and valuable tool for determining success of your business and the overall direction that your product or service should be taking. It should:

    Clarify the impact and results of past marketing decisions.
    Elucidate the external market that a company is competing.
    Include deadlines for meeting those targets.
    Prepare a budget for all marketing activities.
    Set objectives and provide path for future marketing efforts.
    Require accountability and measures for all activities.

6 Key Components of a Marketing Plan

Market Research

Gather information about your target market to include competition, business and industry environment.

When researching, answer the following questions:

    Who are your customers?
    What do they want or need?
    What is important to them?
    Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
    What is your businesses environment, locally, regionally, and nationally?
    Is your industry doing well?

Target Market

Potential customers who have issues that or problems which your products or services can fulfill. Generally, people in this segment possess common characteristics and a relatively high tendency to purchase a particular product or service. Included in a target market are demographic, geographic and psychographic characteristics.

Executive Summary

A brief summary which includes the main points of the plan; generally shared with people you approach with your plan, such as investors or lenders who may want to read a synthesized version to determine if they are interested in it before taking the time to read it in depth.

Situation Analysis

The evaluation of operations to determine the reasons for the gap between what was or is expected, and what has happened or will happen.

SWOT Analysis

A formal outline to identify and frame a company's' growth opportunities; SWOT is an acronym for an organization's internal Strengths and Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats.

Marketing Strategy

A process that allows a company's to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.


Estimates tied to specific allocation of revenues. A budget is required to have a successful marketing plan.

    Yearly marketing budget
    Expected return after investment
    Breakdown of expected expenditures

In conclusion, as you can see, a marketing plan serves as your roadmap. It is critical for the success of your business. If writing a marketing plan seems a little intimidating, click here for FREE tools to help you.

Sylvia Browder is a small business consultant, trainer and author. She is founder of National Association Women on the Rise, a virtual community for aspiring and established women entrepreneurs. For the past 6 years, she has worked as Project Director of the Women's Business Center; and served as an online volunteer SCORE counselor since 2004. For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder's Blog for Women Entrepreneurs,

Three Main Objectives For a Small Business Consultant In Helping Their Clients

The other day, someone asked me to help them solve a business problem having to do cash flow. Personally, and I've been doing this for a while, consulting that is, I've always noted that whenever a small business person or corporate executive needs help, it's always about cash flow. Many entrepreneurs are really good at selling, marketing, and getting business, they often aren't very good at getting paid, or controlling their expenses.

Accountants and MBAs are generally really good at managing and controlling costs, but they usually aren't so good at the creative marketing level to get the business. You've got be good of both to win in business. So, with that said I would submit to you that there are three main objectives for a small business consultant when helping a client, they are;

1. Increase Revenue
2. Lower Costs
3. Work on Efficiencies and Synergies

The easiest way to handle a cash flow situation is to have more cash. If you have a bucket of water and you are worried about the amount of water in the bucket leaking out, it's easier to add more water often than patching the leak. That doesn't mean you don't have to watch your costs, you absolutely do, and therefore you need to find ways to lower your cost. Every time you save a dollar, you are making a dollar. Often in a business you have to make three dollars so you can keep one, so you need to work on the outflow as much as the inflow.

Next, you have to work on efficiencies and synergies, ways to make your business run efficiently, so your workers are highly productive, and your operations aren't wasteful. That's not so easy, yes, a good MBA could probably figure it out, but often also takes a little creativity. This is why I suggest if you are a consultant to look closely at the numbers, the marketing and sales, and the collection on receivables.

Is the small business owner paying out the money as fast or faster than it's coming in? If so, that needs fixing, and that often starts with an attitude adjustment, and remember, you can't help someone who won't help themselves. Providing the entrepreneur is willing to go the distance, you need to work on those three items if they ever hope to attain the level of business success that they had hoped for when they started. Best of all, once they do, there's no telling how far they can climb. Please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Consulting Topics. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

Big Climate Change Issues, Small Business Matters

This elephant in the room may be old news but it is still impossible to ignore the evidence of increasing global temperatures, extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels. Climate change is, without doubt, the single biggest environmental challenge facing our planet today.

So what can a small business do to mitigate global events?

Climate change is caused by the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere - these are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, hydro-fluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. Each gas has a different capacity to cause global warming.

The primary source of these gases is the use of electricity generated from fossil fuel power stations, burning gas for heating or driving a vehicle. Within the UK it is estimated that business activities account for about half of all the UK GHG emissions.

What your business can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and why you should do it

    Saving money is normally a good enough incentive for any business - identify those aspects of your business which are energy and resource intensive and develop a strategy to reduce the level of usage and costs
    Sustainable business management stimulates business growth - if you brand yourself as a 'green business' and embrace best practice, you not only reduce your resource use and costs, you satisfy customer demand for green products and services, attract new business and become more competitive
    Satisfying procurement demand for information on your sustainable management plans for greenhouse gas emissions is the key to business growth
    Understand the contribution your business is making to climate change and reduce it

So, you've decided you want to do your bit for the environment - well done, but...where do you go from here? how do you measure your greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?

Well, you'll be pleased to know that you already have much of the information you need at your fingertips. You just need to put the tools in place to help you calculate your greenhouse gas emissions.

Start by identifying the parts of your business that you need to include in the measurement process. You need to take into account the aspects of your business which you own or have control over to ensure that you measure only the emissions which relate to your business operations.

If you are a small business this should be relatively easy since you are likely to own or control all of the aspects of your business. If the structure of your business is more complicated and includes subsidiaries, joint ventures, partnerships or franchises, it will take a little more effort to identify the aspects which you can directly control or influence.

Now that you know which parts of your business you need to include, you need to identify which activities your business carries out that release greenhouse gas emissions. This is likely to include, but may not be limited to;

    Resource use - raw materials
    Energy use - electricity/gas use
    Waste disposal and recycling
    Business travel
    Owned or leased vehicles under you control
    Employee business travel
    Staff commuting

To calculate the greenhouse gas emissions for your business, you will need to collate data from each relevant emission-releasing activity. You'll be pleased to know should already have most of the information you need to collect this data in the form of energy bills, materials invoices, waste invoices, travel / expenses forms, staff surveys, etc...

The quality of the data you collect is important to ensure that GHG emissions measurements are as accurate as possible. You can quickly develop a simple spread sheet to record your data. This will provide a useful means of analysing and evaluating the data and tracking your performance.

Data sources include;

    Electricity and gas - total usage rate from energy bills or meter readings
    Water supply - total supplied in cubic metres (m3) from water bill
    Water treatment - total water treated in cubic metres (m3) from water bill
    Waste disposal and recycling - tonnes of waste sent to landfill and / or recycled (from your waste contractor)
    Fuel used in company owned or leased vehicles - litres of fuel purchased from receipts
    Vehicle mileage from mileage returns / expenses
    Employee passenger travel receipts / details of travel

Try to measure your greenhouse gas emissions over a twelve month period and align this with your financial accounting period.

Once you have the data monitoring and collection arrangements established its time to convert the data to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each aspect of your business.

You will need to convert the data you have collected using emission factors - multiply the data by the emission factor and you have the level of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for your business. You might want to use GHG conversion factor tools which are freely available from the Carbon Trust; (

You can input your annual figures into the appropriate spread sheets which will automatically calculate the greenhouse gas emissions. These convert input data into Kg of carbon dioxide equivalents.

The information you obtain through the calculation process can then be used as a baseline which you can use to benchmark performance against as you introduce efficiency measures.

Setting emissions reduction targets is a good starting point but only set targets which reflect;

• the aspects of your business which you own or control

• all the emissions you measure are based on reliable and robust data

• your emissions compared over time against your baseline year

• achievable targets (over three to five years initially)

Monitor your performance routinely and communicate the results internally. Breakdown the headline targets to encourage behaviour change and staff "ownership" at a local level.

While you are not presently obliged to release this information into the public domain, there are benefits in publicly disclosing this information as part of your 'green branding' marketing strategy.If you do decide to do so, decide who would be interested in your greenhouse gas emissions data (e.g. customers, suppliers, staff, etc....) and where you wish to publish the information - business website, corporate responsibility report, customer surveys, supplier questionnaires and contract tenders.

Whatever you do, by taking climate change seriously and building 'green actions' into your business model you become a part of the solution and can take comfort from doing your bit for the environment while establishing a foundation for sustainable business growth and increased profitability.

EMC Business Solutions aims to assist businesses in the development of environmental quality management systems, providing a platform for regulatory compliance, sustainable business growth and increased profitability.

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Branding Your Small Business's Social Media

More and more business owners are embracing social media everyday, you hear the importance of using Twitter and Facebook and getting in front of a bigger audience from just about any business source you can find. One of my favorite business publications, Inc. Magazine has entire section of their website that focuses on online marketing, and social media is a major part of that. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube let you put yourself in front of your audience in the comfort of their own environment and in the convince of their own schedule. It's not as simple as signing up though, not long ago we discussed what you need to do to make the most of Twitter. A part of that was branding, and that rule doesn't only apply to Twitter. All of your social media profiles should remind the viewer of your website. It should clearly reflect your business' brand. I like to think of my social media profiles as an extension of this website.

I've collected my major social media sites and added some screenshots below along with a few tips specific to each network -


Make your profile photo, a photo of you, not a logo. Personally unless you are Best Buy or Samsung I want to see a photo of a person. Personally for me I am my business, my clients know me and my name so I want them to see my photo. I like the personal connection that is often overlooked in utilizing social media for business. The background of my Twitter page looks a lot like my website, the colors match the feel matches.


This is something I really love about the cover photos, it allows me to continue to use a photo of myself as a profile photo but I can use my logo as my cover photo. The cover photo done well can be amazing - it's really worth the time investment to design or even a small financial investment if you're not comfortable designing it yourself.


It is worth remembering that YouTube is a powerful social media tool. I recently started embracing video and uploaded my very first video in hopes of winning a scholarship to Marie Forleo's B-School. I'll be launching more videos in the future including some great social media, email marketing, and WordPress how-to videos. YouTube can be branded in a very similar way to Twitter, with a profile picture and a background. I use the same background and profile picture as my Twitter page. The only difference is one is Twitter and one is YouTube.

It's important to note the consistency between the sites, you'll notice I have the same profile photo everywhere, and it matches the photo that is on the home page of this site, and the bio box at the bottom of this post. It makes it clear that it is in fact "that Stacey" and "that On Demand Virtual Assistant" I believe consistency is key in every part of social media.

Stacey Harris provides administrative and technical support as well as WordPress design and maintenance to entrepreneurs. For tips on making the most of your virtual assistant visit or email