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It’s time to get the turkey thawing and batten down the hatches for incoming family. Thanksgiving is on it’s way! But even with one of the biggest holidays in the U.S. approaching, business doesn’t completely stop.
Though business events slow down this time of year, there are still opportunities to get out there to mix, mingle and learn with other small business owners. Take a look at the list below to see what’s happening near you this week.
To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.Featured Events, Contests and Awards More Events
Image: New York City Business Networking Group/YouTube
This article, "Business Financing and Networking Events are Just Around the Corner" was first published on Small Business Trends
You can learn a lot from other entrepreneurs. You can look at their successes, their failures, and even read or listen to what they have to say.
Members of the small business community have plenty of valuable knowledge to share. Here are some of their most valuable business lessons in this week’s Small Business Trends community news and information roundup.Check Out These Smart Ways to Use Business Dashboards
(U.S. Small Business Administration)
Business dashboards provide a great source of data for small businesses. But that data can only help your business if you know how to use it. Here, Anita Campbell shares 10 ways smart business owners use their business dashboards.Learn These Brand Marketing Lessons from the Military
Military members display strength, courage and plenty of other positive traits that small business owners can learn a lot from. There are even marketing lessons to be learned from various branches of the armed forces, as Sinead McIntyre shares.Take This Path To a Better YouTube Channel
Video marketing is one of the fastest growing strategies for reaching online audiences. If you are interested in growing and improving your business’s YouTube channel, take a look at these tips from Ileane Smith. Then take a look at the conversation about this post over on BizSugar.Learn These Marketing Lessons from “Movember”
“Movember” is an annual month long event created to raise awareness and funding for men’s health issues. And since it tends to get a lot of attention every year, there are some marketing lessons you can learn from it. Kathryn Wheeler includes an infographic about what marketers can learn from Movember.Use Effective Communication for Great Teamwork
All great leaders need communication skills. So as a business owner, you have a responsibility to your team to communicate with them effectively. And that can lead to improved teamwork, as Andy Cleff explains here. He also shares some tips for effective communication with your team.Create a Positive Brand Image
Your brand’s image can have a huge impact on the overall success of your business. If customers have certain perceptions about your brand, it can impact how much they might pay for your items and how they might pass along information to others. For some tips on creating a positive image for your brand, see this post by Daniel Setiawan.Use Content Marketing to Improve Sales
Content marketing has completely changed the selling process for many businesses. And if you know how to use it effectively, it can actually make the lives of your sales reps a lot easier. In this post, Mike Huber shares some tips for using content marketing to improve your sales.Learn the Difference Between Good and Bad Brochure Copywriting
Lots of business lessons are best learned through examples – both good and bad. This post by Belinda Weaver includes some examples of both good and bad copywriting in brochures. The BizSugar community also shared their thoughts on the post here.Win at Holiday Business with Customer Service and Great Timing
Holidays provide great opportunities for small businesses to reach out to customers. To make the most of that opportunity, you need a great mix of customer service and timing. Bruce Birkett explains why that’s a great strategy in this post.Avoid These SEO Mistakes for Your New Website
Good SEO starts with your own website. But there are lots of new small business websites out there that make some common mistakes when it comes to SEO. Ian Spencer outlines some of those mistakes in this post, along with some tips to avoid them.
Want to see your favorite small business content included in an upcoming community roundup? Send suggestions to email@example.com or simply submit your posts to the BizSugar community.
Mobile Dashboard Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Experts Share Better Ideas for Business Dashboards and Brand Marketing" was first published on Small Business Trends
Creating an online store is as easy as signing up for an account on any number of platforms and listing a few products for sale. But creating an online store that’s actually successful — is a different thing entirely.
Data suggests consumers are increasingly doing their shopping and buying online.
Take a look at the following tips to make sure that your first online store is a success.Creating an Online Store Make Sure There’s a Market for Your Product
Before you even think about actually opening an online store, you need to make sure that there’s a market for your potential product. Do some online research to make sure that your product is something that people are actually searching for and buying online.
Steve Chou, the online store expert behind My Wife Quit Her Job said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “You really need to validate the idea first. You don’t want to buy a whole bunch of product unless you know you can actually sell it.”Check Popular Marketplaces
A great way to research is to look on popular platforms like Amazon, eBay and Etsy. See how many people are selling products similar to yours and how their sales are.Do a Small Trial Run
Before you go through all the trouble of building your own store, try selling a few of your potential products on Amazon or similar platforms first. That should give you an idea of how they might sell and if there are any changes you need to make first.Use a Popular Marketplace First
For your trial run and early on in your online store business, Chou recommends sticking with popular platforms like Amazon, eBay or Etsy. They’re much cheaper and easier to set up and use for a short period of time.Don’t Buy More than You Can Sell
Early on in your business, and even as it grows, make sure that you don’t buy more product than you’re able to sell. Buying in bulk can save money. But buying too much can get you stuck with a lot of unmovable product (and debt) if the market for your product changes.Add Your Own Storefront Once You Grow
Once you’ve really gotten a feel for your new shop and products, you may want to open up your own online storefront. There are several options for doing so. Just make sure you don’t rush into a decision.Look into Open Source Tools
Chou recommends that tech-savvy entrepreneurs go the open source route for their storefronts. Platforms like WordPress allow you to completely customize the shopping experience. But they take some tech know-how.Or Use an Easy Storefront Tool
However, ready-made storefront platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce can make the process of setting up an online store much easier. If you find that you’re not able to navigate the open source tools, Chou says that these platforms work just fine.Find a Pricing Model that Works for You
If you do look for an ecommerce storefront solution, you’ll have many different options to choose from. Each store’s needs are different. So find one that has the features and pricing that works for you. Some charge a flat monthly fee while others take a portion of sales.But Make Sure it’s Scalable
But you should make sure that whatever provider you choose is something that will work for you in the future as well. For example, a platform that charges a percentage of sales might sound attractive to a store with low sales. But as you grow that could change.Offer Convenient Payment Methods
You also need to think about what payment methods you want to accept — credit cards, PayPal, or others. Different platforms have different built-in payment systems. So make sure that the one you choose is going to make purchasing easy for your customers.Include High-Res Photos
When customers visit your online store, whether it’s on your own website or a platform like Amazon, they need to be able to clearly see the products you’re offering. That means you need clear, high-res photos that showcase your products in the best light possible.Don’t Use Manufacturer’s Photos
Chou says, “Never use the manufacturer’s photos. Always take your own. Chances are there are hundreds of other sites out there using those exact photos. And you want to stand out.”Show Every Angle
It’s also important to include multiple photos of each product so that customers can see every side. You may also want to include photos that give perspective in terms of size, fit and other factors.Use Straightforward Titles
The titles you give your products are often what lead people to find them in the first place. It may sound tempting to use cutesy titles. But you need to clearly state what the product is so that people know what you’re offering and are able to find it via search.Cater Titles to the Platform You Use
Some platforms have different search practices. For example, items with clear item descriptions at the beginning of their titles tend to show higher in searches on Etsy than others. Be aware of the search practices of whatever platforms you use so that your items show up in front of as many potential customers as possible.Look into Popular Search Terms
You should also keep an eye on your own analytics and popular search terms related to your products. That could give you some insights into major keywords that you should use in your titles or descriptions.Write Your Own Descriptions
It can also be beneficial to write your own descriptions, rather than using those from the manufacturer or another source. You want your descriptions to stand out from other sites.Keep an Eye on the Competition
Through the course of running your shop, you should always look at what competing shops are doing. And make sure that your photos, titles and descriptions stand out.Look at Online Reviews for Similar Products
You can also gain some potentially valuable insights from looking at the reviews of products similar to yours on sites like Amazon. It could tell you about changes you may need to make or features of your own products that you should really try to promote.Use Common Complaints in Your Descriptions
You can even use some of that information in your own product descriptions, if it applies.
Chou explains, “For example, if you’re selling yoga mats and you see that the reviews on Amazon all say ‘these yoga mats are too thin,’ you could include in your product descriptions ‘our yoga mats are extra thick.’”Make Changes Based on Analytics
You should also constantly be aware of your site’s performance. If there are certain products or types of descriptions that are performing better than others, look into why that may be. You could need to change up your titles, photos or descriptions to make sure your other products perform just as well.Keep an Eye on Load Times
Customers hate it when they have to wait for pages to load. If your website takes seconds to pull up products and information, you’re probably losing customers. You may need to simplify or change providers if that’s a problem.Set Clear Shop Policies
When people buy things from an online store, there are a lot of different factors involved. How long will it take the product to ship? What all is included in each purchase? How much is shipping? Include all of that information on your site so that customers know what they are getting into.Include Information about Returns/Refunds
You also need to make information about returns or refunds readily available. They’re bound to come up, no matter how great your items are. So be prepared.Create Policies that Work for You and Your Customers
Creating those policies means finding a balance between what’s best for you and what’s best for your customers. Every store is different. So you have to come up with policies that won’t make your customers angry but also won’t make you lose money on every transaction.But Keep Customer Service in Mind
Even with clear policies, sometimes there are issues where you need to go above and beyond. Make sure that you listen and respond to customers who complain or come to you with questions and try to deal with them in a way that is satisfactory.Don’t Overlook the Logistics
You also need to make sure that your shipping and logistics process is dependable. If you do this part yourself, you just need to create a system that works for you. But if you rely on another provider for logistics services, you need to really do your research beforehand so that your customers will be happy with the experience.Encourage People to Buy More Products
Each company also needs to find the promotions and offers that work best for them. But Chou suggested that store owners take a look at their average order size and order free shipping or other offers for orders just above that average amount. That can encourage your customers to increase their order size.Let Customers Know Where they’ve Seen Your Products
If your products have been featured in any popular magazines, shows or similar media, let your customers know that. Add it into your product descriptions or include a small banner on your photos so that customers looking for that particular product know they’ve found it.Keep Customers Coming Back
Once a customer has made a purchase from your store, your work is far from over. You need to continue communicating with those customers through email, social, or other online methods in order to win their business over and over again.Utilize Incentives
Offering discounts or other incentives for future purchases is a great way to bring in repeat business. Consider offering a discount code as a thank you for their initial purchase, which also lets them know how much you value your customers.But Don’t Bombard Them
However, it’s important to not send out too many emails or updates. Your customers may get annoyed and decide to unsubscribe. So keep the communication focused on really relevant sales or updates.Encourage Customers to Share
Your store can also benefit from your customers sharing their experience. Ask them to leave reviews or photos of their items on your site to better inform future buyers. Or create a social media campaign to get them involved.
Online store photo via Shutterstock
This article, "34 Suggestions for Creating Your First Online Store" was first published on Small Business Trends
Being an entrepreneur isn’t a career choice, it’s a calling. And this means that it’s a very personal experience. There are countless experts and gurus out there who are happy to share their “blueprints” for success. But at the end of the day, you are the master of your destiny.
It’s easy to feel lonely and overwhelmed, but the bottom line is that you are not alone. Check out these books I’ve pulled together for entrepreneurs of all ages and at all levels of experience. One thing you’ll notice is that while many of these entrepreneur survival guide business books have helpful tips and strategies, all of them are focused on helping you craft your life and your business in a way that works for you.Entrepreneurship Stories The A.D.D Entrepreneur By Matt Curry
Author Matt Curry (@MattHybrid1) looks at his A.D.D. and he says it’s common for most entrepreneurs to have this condition. But, instead of looking at it the way so many teachers and doctors do — as a problem — what if you looked at it as a superpower; harnessed it and used it to leverage your strengths and create great things?
That’s what “The A.D.D. Entrepreneur” is all about. Curry shares his personal experiences, insights and strategies in this crazy short and easy-to-read book that any crazy busy (or A.D.D.) entrepreneur will appreciate.Endless Encores: Repeating Success through People, Products, and Profits By Ken Goldstein
Have you just come off a huge success? Whether you’ve launched or sold a company or a basic product, this is the ideal time to stop and take a close look at how you’re going to repeat that success. There’s no better way to take a quick break to enjoy your success while thinking about how you’re going to repeat it then reading this engaging business parable by Ken Goldstein (@CorporateIntel). In “Endless Encores: Repeating Success through People, Products and Profits” you’ll meet a successful man who is worried about being exposed as a fraud and the woman CEO with multiple successes shows him the secret to repeating his successes consistently.Performance Breakthrough: The Four Secrets of Passionate Organizations Second Edition By Mike Goldman
It’s one thing to be passionate about your business. But how do you engage your employees to be just as passionate about your business so that you can all share in the growth and profits? That’s the question answered in “Performance Breakthrough: The Four Secrets of Passionate Organizations Second Edition” by Mike Goldman (@MGoldman10). This easy and fun to read story reveals the four secrets for creating a more passionate, productive and profitable organization. An added bonus is that there are case studies that prove out the concepts and the strategies are basically FREE and don’t cost you a penny.Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works By Roger Martin and Sally Osberg
Doing the right thing and making money are not mutually exclusive principles. It’s called social entrepreneurship. Roger Martin and Sally Osberg explore this concept in their book, “Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works.” Whether it’s climate change, poverty, literacy or anything in between, it will continue if we only consider throwing money at it in the form of aid. We can have a massive transformation in these areas similar to Uber and AirBnB. In this book you’ll learn how social entrepreneurs change systems by getting inside of them. THey dig deep to find the underlying problem and transform it.Over 50? Start Your Business!: Build Wealth. Control Your Destiny. Leave A Legacy. Kindle Edition By Brian D. Jones
If 50 is the new 30, then you’re never too old to start a business. That’s the assertion behind “Over 50? Start Your Business!: Build Wealth. Control Your Destiny. Leave a Legacy. Kindle Edition” by Brian D. Jones (@TheMaturentrepr). You’ve lived the first part of your life doing what was expected of you and for other people, now it’s time to create a life for yourself. Why not start a business? This book will be your guide. It’s specifically written for mature entrepreneurs and based on solid research and proven best practices that will help you avoid a lot of common pitfalls that face older entrepreneurs.Overcoming Overwhelm — Head Games and How to Win Them No One Understands You and What to Do About It By Heidi Halvorson
How many times have you heard the phrase “Perception is reality.” And how many times have you beat your head against the wall wondering how you can change someone’s perception of you — especially when you think it’s wrong or incorrect? “No One Understands You and What to Do About It” by Heidi Halvorson (@HGHalvorson) provides an answer. This is the power of this little book with big ways to change the quality of your life. You’ll learn how perception works, how the personality of your audience influencers how they see you and how to correct a bad impression. Definitely worth a read.One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness By Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter
If you feel like you’re constantly saying “Too much to do, not enough time” to yourself, then you’ll want to grab yourself a copy of this powerful book. Read “One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness” by Rasmus Hougaard (@Rasmustpp) and Jacqueline Carter (@JacquelineTPP). You’ll learn how to work differently and get more focused, calm and have less mind clutter. That means you’ll be able to manage your time better and have less stress in your life. It’s called mindfulness and includes easy to apply tools and techniques to enhance your performance.The Simplicity Cycle: A Field Guide to Making Things Better Without Making Them Worse By Dan Ward
How is complexity like a two liter bottle of soda? We crave it, it’s satisfying and occasionally exactly what’s required. But in large doses, both can become dangerous to the healthy functioning of our lives. That’s the central idea behind “The Simplicity Cycle: A Field Guide to Making Things Better Without Making Them Worse” by Dan Ward (@TheDanWard). The author suggests several techniques for identifying the complexity problem and fixing it, including how to overcome several types of wrongheaded thinking—such as the idea that complexity and quality are the same.Listen …Till You Disappear By Martin Kettelhut, PhD
“Listen … Till You Disappear” by Martin Kettelhut, PhD is about just what the title implies. This book flew in under the radar in December of 2014, but I’m still including it in this list because the topic is one every leader and small business owner can never get enough practice on … listening. As so many spiritual leaders, management gurus and grandmothers have told us, when you listen, you can get anything you want in life effortlessly and ethically. This is a deeply psychological and even spiritual read. Not for everyone, but for those that are ready to hear … er … listen.The Morning Routine Blueprint: How to Wake Up Early, Energized and Motivated Everyday Kindle Edition By Mike Fishbein
Eliminate overwhelm by starting your day on the right side of the bed. This short, easy-to-read book will help. In “The Morning Routine Blueprint: How to Wake Up Early, Energized and Motivated Everyday Kindle Edition” author Mike Fishbein (@mfishbein) outlines a morning routine that will take you from tired to transformed. Here’s the best news, you don’t have to follow Fishbein’s routine, he will show you how to craft your very own routine. And the even better news is that you can create a new routine whenever you want. And a special bonus section even outlines and evening routine — to set you up for an awesome morning!
Nightstand Books Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Entrepreneurs Survival Guide: 10 Business Books for Your Nightstand" was first published on Small Business Trends
While many doctors and health care clinics are utilizing and seeing value in social media platforms to strengthen patient relationships, many are forgetting the biggest online engagement tool still is...
(PRWeb November 12, 2015)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/11/prweb13077905.htm
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Trends for 2016: Digital Marketing Insights for Your Franchise
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