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How To Set Up a Facebook Business Page 2015

just how to setup-facebook-page- imageHow To Set Up a Facebook Business Page 2015 is an update to the article posted back in 2012. Many changes on Face necessitates a fresh article. In today’s economy no small business can afford to ignore the value social media can add to their business.

Continue reading “How To Set Up a Facebook Business Page 2015”

Cost Effective Ways To Market Your Small Business

Cost Effective Ways To Market Your Small Business imageThese Cost Effective Ways To Market Your Small Business, considers the different options to market business products or a service. These are honestly, low cost options to promote a business, new or any existing small business.

All too often small business owners fall into the trap of relying on only one marketing strategy or method and invariable the “word-of-mouth” strategy is the primarily source of business.

If you are looking for ways to market a small business with no money, or spend very little, this article is a “must-read”

In a previous post I eluded to a survey that found that the #1 concern of small business owners was: finding new customers.

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I found the following article by Janet Attard, which in my opinion is excellent advice that small business owners should action.

Ways To Market a Small Business With No Money
What’s the best way to promote your business? How can you advertise your business and get your name in front of potential prospects when money is tight or you’re just starting up? How can you get the word out about your business in the most affordable way?
Promoting a business is an ongoing challenge for small businesses. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, these proven marketing strategies will help your business find new customers without spending a fortune.

1. Cost Effective Ways To Market Your Small Business image 2Plan your attack. Define who your best prospects are, and then determine the best way to reach them. Be as specific as possible. Is the decision maker the CTO of the company, the director of human resources, or a 37-year-old working mom? Will you find them on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest or Facebook? What about in-person networking at local business meetings? Will they be searching for your type of product on Google or Bing? Do you want to start promoting your business to them at the start of their buying cycle, or when they’re about ready to pull out their credit card and make the purchase. Write your answers down, and refer to them before you start any new marketing tactic.

2. If you don’t have a website, get one set up. We offer an all inclusive, no monthly cost, once off charge of less than R1,000 website service that encompasses the latest mobile responsive technology.

Cost Effective Ways To Market Your Small Business image 4

3. Set up a listing for your business in search engine local directories.
Google and Bing both offer a free listing for local businesses.
To get listed on Google, go to Google My Business.
The benefit of paying: You have a single location to enter your data to make it consistent and available on multiple online directories that your customers might search to find what you sell.

4. Set your business profile or page up on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. Be sure your business profile includes a good description, keywords and a link to your website. Look for groups or conversations that talk about your type of products or services and participate in the conversations, but don’t spam them with constant promos for what you sell.

5. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a business card and business stationery, have them made up — immediately. Your business card, letterhead and envelope tell prospective customers you are a professional who takes your business seriously. Be sure to list your website address on your business card and, letterhead and any handouts you create.

6. Sign up for an email service, and send an email newsletter and/or promotional offers to customers and prospects for your business. Be sure you ask for permission to send email before putting any person’s email name on your list. One good way to build a permission-based email list of people who want your mailings is to give something away. It could be a free ebook, or even a free tip-sheet on how to do something related to your business.

7. Get your business cards into the hand of anyone who can help you in your search for new clients. Call your friends and relatives and tell them you have started a business. Visit them and leave a small stack of business cards to hand out to their friends.

8. Talk to all the vendors from whom you buy products or services. Give them your business card, and ask if they can use your products or service, or if they know anyone who can. If they have bulletin boards where business cards are displayed (printers often do, and so do some supermarkets, hairdressers, etc.), ask if yours can be added to the board.

9. Attend meetings of professional groups, and groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or civic associations. Have business cards in a pocket where they are easily reachable. Don’t forget to ask what the people you speak with do, and to really listen to them. They’ll be flattered by your interest, and better remember you because of it.

10. Pay for membership in those groups that attract your target customers.If the group has a website and publishes a list members on the site, make sure your name and website link get added. Once it is added double check to be sure your contact information is correct and your website link isn’t broken.

11. Become actively involved in 2 or 3 of these groups. That will give you more opportunity to meet possible prospects. But remember: opportunists are quickly spotted for what they are, and get little business. While you won’t want to become involved in many organizations that require a lot of your time in, you can –and should– make real contributions to all of them by offering useful ideas and helping with projects when possible.

12. Look for something unusual about what you do, and publicize it. Send out press releases to local newspapers, radio stations, cable TV stations, magazines whose audiences are likely to be interested in buying what you sell. Be sure to post the press releases on one or more online press release services, too, being sure to include links to your website. To increase your chance of having the material published, send along a photo (but not to radio stations) with your press release. Editors of printed publications are often in need of “art” (drawings or photos) to fill space and break up the gray look of a page of text.

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13. Write an article that demonstrates your expertise in your field. Send it to noncompeting newspapers, magazines, and websites in your field that accept submissions from experts. Be sure your name, business name, phone number, and a reference to your product or service is included at the end of the article. If the editor can use the article you get your name in print, and possibly get your contact information printed for free, too.

14. Publicize your publicity. Whenever you do get publicity, get permission from the publisher to reprint the article containing the publicity. Make photocopies and mail the copies out with sales letters or any other literature you use to market your product or service. The publicity clips lend credibility to the claims you make for your products or services.

15. Ask for work or leads. Contact nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges, and even other businesses that have customers who may need your services.

16. Network with others who are doing the same type of work you are. Let them know you are available to handle their work overloads. (But don’t try to steal their customers. Word will get out, and will ruin your business reputation.)

17. Offer to be a speaker. Industry conferences, volunteer organizations, libraries, and local business groups often need speakers for meetings. You’ll benefit from the name recognition, contacts and publicity.

18. If your product or service is appropriate, give demonstrations of it to whatever groups or individuals might be interested. Or, teach others how to use some tool you use in your work.

19. Put videos of your product or service on YouTube and other video-sharing and slide-sharing sites.

20. Send out sales letters to everyone you think might be able to use what you sell.Be sure to describe your business in terms of how it can help the prospect. Learn to drop a business card in every letter you send out. Follow up periodically with postcard mailings.

21. If you use a car or truck in your business have your business name and contact information professionally painted on the side of the vehicle. That way your means of transportation becomes a vehicle for advertising your business. If you don’t want the business name painted on the vehicle, consider using magnetic signs.

22. Get on the telephone and make “cold calls.” These are calls to people who you would like to do business with. Briefly describe what you do and ask for an appointment to talk to them about ways you can help them meet a need or solve a problem.

23. Get samples of your product or your work into as many hands as possible.

24. Offer a free, no obligation consultation to people you think could use your services. During such consultations offer some practical suggestions or ideas–and before you leave ask for an “order” to implement the ideas.

25. Learn to ask for referrals. Ask existing customers, prospects and casual acquaintances. When you get them, follow up on the leads.

Cost Effective Ways To Market Your Small Business – Ask for referrals

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26. Use other people to sell your product or service. Instead of (or in addition to) selling your products yourself, look for affiliates, re-sellers or people who will generate leads for you in return for a commission on sales. Be sure your pricing structure allows for the fees or commissions you will have to pay on any sales that are made.

27. Get together with businesses who serve the same market, but sell different products and services. Make arrangements to pass leads back and forth, or share mailings.

28. Have sales letters, flyers and other pertinent information printed and ready to go. Ask prospects who seem reluctant to buy from you: “Would you like me to send information?” Follow up promptly with a note and a letter that says, “Here is the information you asked me to send

About Word of Mouth or referral marketing
Word of mouth or referral marketing is the business equivalent of a free lunch. Sure it’s nice when it comes your way and you appreciate it, but do you really want to rely on it to feed your family?

By being solely reliant on word of mouth, you’re putting the fate of your business in the hands of others – hoping they both like you and remember you often enough to regularly send new business your way. This is an extremely dangerous path to be on. If it’s similar to what you do in your business, now’s the time to start building a much more robust marketing system.

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Conclusion
The strategies offered above by Janet are straight forward, effective and most of them are virtually free. In my opinion it touches on 99% of “must-use” avenues of marketing.

All it takes is the time to sit down and draw up a plan of action and prioritize the strategies you want to focus on. Persistence and patience is called for when developing the optimal marketing strategy.

One last thought I want share is: measurement!
Know where your business comes from. What use are 10 different strategies and you do not know which are delivering results. Ask your customers: “Where/How did you find out about or service or product?

search phrases:

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Small Business Marketing Strategies

small business strategies image stressedFocusing on Small Business Marketing Strategies may change you business fortunes. Most small business owners are so caught up trying do manage their business, that they neglect to pause, ponder and put things in focus again.

Small business is fast becoming the major contributor to GDP as well as employment in most economies, yet are often managed “seat-of-the-pants” style.

I discovered this excellent article at Smallbiztrends.com and decided to share it with my South Africa audience.

I have also included an interesting snipped from an article by MarketngProfs on their Real-World Education for Modern Marketers Blog. These results were based on data from a survey of 408 small business in the US.

The following article is worth reading:

5 Keys to a Great Small Business Marketing Strategy as published by smallbiztrends.com
What’s the difference between the confident entrepreneurs who lead growing businesses and owners who can’t get out of survival mode? It all comes down to this:

All successful businesses have a clear marketing strategy that makes everything they do more effective.

Unfortunately, many busy small business owners get so caught up in tactical daily marketing execution like building a website, sending email, tweeting, advertising, optimizing a landing page, blogging and so on, that they are not taking the time to work on the decisions that’ll improve the performance of their tactics.

small business strategies image 3 2015

Strategy is simply the decisions you need to make so your tactics work better. Your marketing strategy is the foundation for creating awareness, generating interest, closing new sales and continuing customer engagement. Your marketing strategy guides your company culture, your products and services mix and your pricing.

There are many things to consider when crafting a successful strategy, but there are five key decisions that over the years I have seen help hundreds of small business owners grow their sales and create sanity in their businesses.

The 5 Keys of Marketing Strategy
1. Who is your narrowly defined target customer?
2. In which category does your business exist?
3. What is your unique benefit?
4. Who is your real competition?
5. How are you clearly different from your competitors?

To make your tactics work better, to grow your business and bring sanity to your world, you have to decide on the single, simple answer to each of these questions and commit to not changing it for a year or two.

This is focus. And focus is almost always the difference between a business that grows profitably and one that never seems to gain any momentum. You can continue to hope that “next time that email is going to work better,” or you can develop a clear focus and a realistic strategy.

Who is Your Target Customer?
The first decision in any marketing strategy is to define your target customer. “Who do you serve?” always needs to be answered clearly before you can execute any tactic effectively. This means you have to say “no” to other potential customers who might buy from you but who are clearly bad fits for your narrow focus. This takes time to develop the discipline, but you can’t do effective marketing without it.
Focusing on a well-defined target may make you uncomfortable at first, but stay the course and follow through. An accountant friend of mine changed his business from “doing taxes for anyone in Phoenix” to “a CPA who does taxes and investments only for physicians” – his best customers who have special needs. He made this change over a period of two years and tripled his business, narrowed his service offerings and strengthened his pitch.

If you are spending time and money on marketing but your efforts are not driving enough sales, the problem is almost always that you haven’t narrowed your target market definition enough to be effective. The narrower you define your market so you can focus on those that you can best serve and those that can best service you, the more effective your entire business will be.

What is Your Category?
Your category is simply the short description of what business you are in. What few words would someone say to describe your business? Starbucks is “high-quality coffee” Chipotle is “fresh Mexican burritos.” My friend’s tax business is simply “tax accounting for physicians in Phoenix.”

Most business owners can’t resist over-complicating their company descriptions. This leaves people unsure of what you actually do, which weakens your marketing effectiveness. Here’s a simple rule: If someone can’t clearly remember your category description a month after you meet them, they were never clear about what you do in the first place.

Clearly defining your category helps amplify your marketing and sales efforts. Think of what it would take to be the best – the leader – in your category. You’re not the leader?

Then narrow your category definition (or your target market focus) until you are the leader. A focused laser can melt steel at a distance, but the same light undirected has no effect. Be laser-like in your focus.

What is Your Unique Benefit?
Your unique benefit should highlight the one (or two) main things your product or service actually delivers (benefits) that your target customer really wants, not a long list of all the things your product does (features).

At Infusionsoft, we know our customers don’t just want our software: They want to grow sales and save time. We don’t describe everything our software does or the hundreds of benefits, we keep our focus on those three key benefits in everything we do. And the simpler we describe it, the better our marketing works.

Who is Your Competition?
When someone is looking to buy a solution to a problem, they will quickly make sense of the alternatives to compare against – your competition. However, most entrepreneurs haven’t specifically defined who their real competition is and don’t focus their messages to create clear differentiation for their buyers. This frustrates the buying decision process and makes your marketing efforts weaker.

You need to be clear in your own mind about what your biggest competition is. If you are a tax accountant, is your competition really the other tax accountants in town? Other CPAs or financial planners? DIY tax software? Doing taxes manually? National tax accounting chains? Each competitor type would create different comparisons, so you need to narrow it down to one or two main competitor types.

Why Are You Different and Better for Your Target Customer?
Once you have defined your competition, make a list of all the things you do differently and better. Then rank each of them by how important these factors are to your target customer. Pick the top one or two and put them on your homepage and include them in your elevator pitch.

Don’t overcomplicate this. People just want to know one or two things to move their decision along. Is it cheaper? Do you have faster delivery? Best personalized service? Are you the only accountant who exclusively serves physicians in Phoenix?

What Does Your Marketing Strategy Statement Look Like?
When you put the five key decisions of marketing strategy in a sentence form, it looks like this fill-in-the-blank statement:

Your company name is the leading category for target customers that provides unique benefit. Unlike competitors, your company does unique differentiator.

Our growth rate doubled when we focused and committed to this clear and simple marketing strategy.

Try it for yourself: Fill in the blanks to create the marketing strategy statement for your own business. Get some perspective from employees, friends and best customers. List all the possibilities and then make some decisions. Say it out loud a few times. You should feel clarity and power coming through. It will also show you a few things you could stop doing in your business that would create more focus.

Can you see why it makes no sense to Tweet, to send a broadcast email or build a new website if you are not clear about your marketing strategy that has laser-like focus? Doing these tactics without a road map – your marketing strategy – will not deliver the right customers and will give you fewer sales than if you had invested the time to implement a focused marketing strategy.

Here’s the real secret that successful companies practice with extreme discipline: Creating a clear marketing strategy is not what companies do after they get big, it’s what small companies do to grow and get bigger in the first place. More

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More about differentiation, which, to me is so vital:

Differentiation Strategy Defined by 1000ventures.com

Differentiation is about setting your company, product, or service apart. It distinguishes your brand from all others.

Your differentiation strategy is an integrated set of action designed to produce or deliver goods or services that customers perceive as being different in ways that are important to them.

Why and How To Differentiate

Differentiation is the key to successful marketing, competing, and building your sustainable competitive advantage. A superior product or service means nothing without a way of somehow letting your prospective customers know about it. Your differentness can be any customer benefitthat separates you from your competitors. You must find that difference and communicate it to your customer.

As I commented earlier, many or most smallbusiness owners have to be “jack-of-all-trades”, Here is an interesting survey result

Response of small business owners as their greatest challenge running their business:

Biggest Challenges 

  • 55% say finding enough time to get everything done is a huge business challenge.
  • 43% struggle with managing everything themselves.

·  40% say finding enough money to invest in their ideas is a huge challenge

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Do you agree with the article content?

Please feel free to share your comments or experience

Small Business Marketing Strategies

How To Start a Business

Many people ponder the question: How to start a business? or Google: How to start your own business?

Working from home is certainly the ideal situation many people desire when considering how to start a business!

The fact is that working from home or establishing a home based business is not rocket science, nor expensive or even difficult.

All it takes is to decide on your niche (interest), planning, loads of determination and perseverance.

But beware; starting your own business or working from home does require discipline and effort: no boss to look over your shoulder, so persistence is a must.

How to Start a Business. Benefits

The image below says it all!

benefits_working_at_home-how to start your own business image

In this day and age of the internet, you have to be aware that people will in all likelyhood turn to the internet to find information or a product and if you are not present online, your potential customers will not find you.

We do not have realiable statistics of people earning their living from a home office in South Africa. The image below shows USA stats.

work at home stats image

Many business analysts agree that with the internet and its proven potential for business makes it easier to connect with potential business.

This implies that your business should have a niche-focused and have mobile responsive website as the primary means to showcase your product or service.
This actually a “no-brainer” as this will cost you less than R1000, no monthly expenses and full and free support.

momobile responsive design when starting a business

Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s) contribute around 40% of South Africa’s gross domestic product. Economics predict that more than 80% of all new jobs will be created by SSME’s and this is a global trend, including South Africa.

Starting a home-based business is fast becoming a trend in South Africa, rather than the exception and this includes highly qualified and professional people.

Honestly, it does not matter whether you are school-leaver, a stay-at-home mom, pensioner or even disabled, anyone can start their own business at home and succeed.

In deciding on what business to start,  or how to start a business, look at you passion, interest or skills. It is much easier to get going if you are familiar with your intended product or service.

The basic steps involved in starting a business should include:

How to Start Your Own Business: Business plan

Put your ideas on paper. Brainstorm ideas and even discuss it with family members or close friends. Not everyone will always agree. Do not be put off by negative attitudes.

  • Your plan or notes should include the:
    What?
    Where?
    How?
    When?

And then the all important 4P’s
the-marketing-mix-or-4ps imageProduct
Products are the goods and/or service that your business aims to provide to your target market. When developing a physical product you should also consider quality, design, features, packaging, customer service and any subsequent after-sales service.

Research and query Google as to what people are searching for in your niche. Use one of the many free online “keyword-research” tools like Wordstream.

Your keyword may be wedding ideas, birthday cakes, kiddies parties, copy writing, translation service, home improvement, etc.

The Wordstream keyword search tool has a built in free keyword search volume tool; the relative volume is their estimate of how often particular keyword phrases are searched on. The higher a keyword’s relative volume, the more frequently that keyword is searched and that is what you want.

This is an aspect we include in our Low Cost Web Design package, as we use paid tools like Market Samurai to determine the best keywords to use on your mobile friendly website

Place
Place refers to distribution, location and methods of getting the product/servive to the customer. This includes the location of your business, shop front, distributors, logistics and the potential use of the internet to sell products directly to consumers. With a product or service, your website platform becomes an integral part of doing business and effecting delivery.

Price
Price is the amount of money that your customers must pay in order to purchase your product or service. There are a number of considerations in relation to price including price setting, discounting, credit and cash purchases as well as credit collection if you are considering this option.

With our website designs, we are able to include ecommerce features and collecting money online.

Promotion
This aspect refers to the act/process of communicating the benefits and value of your product/service to your target audience. It then involves persuading general consumers to become customers of your business using methods such as Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, direct marketing, personal selling and sales promotion.

This is where website content is very important and should speak to the needs of potential customers. Your website is a marketing tool that is on duty 24/7 and works for your business, even if you are asleep.

How To Start Your Own Business- Popular niches or areas suited to home based business:

1. Copy writing – this is the ideal work from home job for those who have a good command of the English language.
2. Marketing & Advertising. With some creative skills you could design flyers, business cards and marketing items.
3. Affiliate Marketing: Promoting a downloadable product someone else created. There are thousands of products ranging from Self Development to Business Coaching.
4. Building on skill set or interest. This is huge and can be anything from catering service, commercial cleaning service, woodworking or a car mechanic.

start your own business as pool cleaner image

There is hardly a product or service that cannot be found or sold on the Internet.

Conclusion

When considering how to start a business or how to start your own business, do not fall into the trap of re-inventing the wheel. Follow the principle of kis: Keep it simple and and avoid “over-thinking” your business concept. Research your niche and see what other are doing.

Contact us and find out how our service can help you start your own business at a very low cost.

How To Start a Business / Start your Own Business

Importance of Responsive Design for Websites

Mobile usage in South Africa and Africa is continuing to grow rapidly, particularly in South Africa, many of the Internet users do not have access to a Telkom  fixed-line and a desktop computer, thus their mobile device is their only access to the internet.

Mobile use in South Africa is growing by the day: about two-thirds of all web use comes from a mobile devices, or iPad.

Responsive-Design-imageWhen customers visit a website and experience a page that is “unreadable and does not speak to their needs, they will simply leave the website.

While large companies have separate mobile sites due to the file size, most SME websites should be mobile responsive, like this site.

A mobile responsive site means that the website code is compiled in such a manner that only one website is prepared for the client.

The following article that appeard in Huffington Post offers greater detail and technical explanation

Responsive Design: Why You Need It

In early 2014, the number of mobile users accessing the internet surpassed the number of desktop users. What is different about tablets and mobile devices is the variety in screen sizes. Websites can no longer be designed with a fixed number of pixels. Even gaming consoles, e-readers, and web terminals can now surf websites.

Interacting with websites using a touch screen is often extremely clumsy. Usually, just to scroll and see what you want, you need to resize the page several times. Websites not optimized to vary screen size and content means scrolling in two directions to read a few sentences. Smaller devices also experience long loading times to access all of the content and images. These images often are ridiculous in size.

The Responsive Approach

One of the best ways to reach your customers and show them you care is by redesigning your site using responsive web design. Responsive web pages automatically adjust themselves to any screen size and reorder content based on the device. Smaller devices need to reload just as quickly using weaker processing power with a wireless connection as desktop powerhouses with land lines.

Content often needs to be rewritten, too. For smaller devices you want concise, easy to understand text. Images should be smaller in size. Responsive design is about enhancing the users’ experience by anticipating their needs. For instance, by providing the most relevant links on your mobile landing pages, you reduce the need for typing in text boxes, a strenuous activity that is difficult on some devices.

Here are some tips for bringing your website up to date:

  • Think of mobile users first. As more people now use mobile devices, you wantto use mobile design as your ground zero. By designing for tiny touchs creens, you’ll focus on the most relevant content first. The chances of the information being optimized for any device drastically increases, as scaling up is easier than trying to remove content you’ve deemed critical.
  • Think ahead. By looking from the customers’ point of view, you can better tailor your content. What products and services are web users typically looking for when they visit your landing pages? What contact information will they desire? Do customers often make appointments or request at-home services? Never apply images or content that serve as obstacles to your CTA.
  • Scale up appropriately. When moving from content for phones versus larger tablets, it makes sense to add content without compromising speed. iPads are perfect for testimonials, special event flyers, and longer blog posts. With desktop computers, you can begin adding Adobe Flash content, video segments, and advanced plug-ins. More pages can also be added, since searching becomes far easier. Your company’s history and manufacturer information are prime examples.

Optimizing the User Experience

Bringing the best to customers is partially due to experience and market expertise, but there will always be a percentage that relies on trial and error. It is imperative that your company installs analytic tools to monitor how the different device content performs. Google Analytics tools provide extensive reports that give information on:

  • How many people visit your site
    • Where they live
    • Their interests
    • Demographics on age, gender, and race
    • The keywords that led users to your site
    • Which landing page they loaded
    • What kind of device they are using
    • What content they accessed
    • How long they spent perusing your website
    • And more

This information is invaluable and can be used to optimize content. For instance, Analytics lets you track what web users type into your search boxes. If a large number of customers are turning up the exact same search, your company will want to consider adding a direct link on the landing page.

Another possibility is that your webpage retention time is far above average when compared to your competitors, but your webpage hits are fairly low. This is an indication that the information is more or less what your demographic wants to read, but your SEO needs to be improved to reach more people.

If you are launching your website for the first time and beginning with mobile, Scott Baxter, Founder of PlayYourCourt suggests you use these two tried and true methods to judge content that is relevant to users:

1) Google Experiments. This tool allows you to launch several landing pages or other pieces of content simultaneously, and then randomize who visits each page. The Experiments tool will provide data on user retention time and customer responsiveness. After collecting enough data, you can tweak your website to provide the most relevant content.

2) Scale up slowly. After launching, the most important content for the desktop webpage is already completed. You can add extra content and see how it affects traffic. If a page added for frills fails to deliver, it can be cut.

After you launch your responsive site, adapting to future changes is much simpler. Cameras powered by Android recently became popular. These cameras have web capability. More products like these continually swell the market on a monthly basis. Yet with your new website, all you will need to do is make minor tweaks.

The above explanation is quite a mouthful.

Why “break-your- neck” over the technical detail when you can get a fully mobile responsive website design, custom built for your business for less than R1000 once off.

Contact us today and let us make your business visible to your target audience

Preventing Small Business Failure

Improve business with website design imageWhile researching some topics for this blog, I came across this article published in Huffington Post.

As a concern focused on providing essential Internet exposure to small business, 3 aspects of the article stood out, viz:

  • No marketing plan
  • Not managing your brand online
  • Not communicating with existing customers

As a service that provides a complete website design package, it is quite comical and also sad listening to some of the questions prospective clients put to me, such as

  1. Does a website really work?
  2. What a website do for my business
  3. But I do not need all the social media hype!

Here is the Huffington Post article

Top Preventable Causes For Small Business Failure

There is nothing gloomier than empty storefronts on Main Street. Yes, the economy was rough on commerce for a while, but still many businesses fail unnecessarily.  If I’ve gained any wisdom about business, it’s that there is a learning curve and you must always improve your skills for your business to thrive.

Here are the top preventable causes for small business failure.

Not saving enough money- People with assets have options. If you don’t save enough money before you start your business, you may not be able to hang in there until the business can generate any real revenue. It takes on average 12-18 months to break even in a new business, let alone replace your corporate salary.

Lack of a niche focus– Too many small business owners sell to anyone they think has money. Take the time to develop a well-defined niche for your business. It is so much easier to develop a marketing plan when you are clear on your target. By the way, specialists can always charge more money.

No marketing plan- Too many small business live off referrals, which is good, but that eventually will dry up. You must put some effort each day into generating sales for your small business.

You can make a call, send an email, write a blog post, and ask for a testimonial on LinkedIn from a happy new client.

Do not rest on your reputation. Actively let the world know you are open for business.

Not managing your brand online– It’s now easier than ever to build a brand online. It’s also just as easy to damage your business brand. Do you have a good, helpful website? Do you Google yourself and your business monthly?

Do your social media accounts tell people how to hire you? Do you have a blog that hasn’t been updated in six months to a year? Do you have bad reviews online that you have not responded to?

Can your website be seen easily from a mobile device? People will search for your company online before they ever call you, what would they find about your business today?

Not communicating with existing customers- It’s cheaper to keep a customer than to go out and get a new one. You must have a database, CRM system and email marketing program to communicate with your customers so that they know all the ways they can work with you. At least monthly, your customers should hear from you.

No clue about how hard it is to run a business– People start small businesses for many reasons. They hate their job, need some side money or always wanted to open a shoe store or cupcake shop. The trouble is that too many people do not take the time to really think about what their life would be like as an entrepreneur.

It’s a tough lifestyle, at first. Think about what you want out of life first, and then build a business that supports your personal and professional goals.  Develop a life plan because you do not want to start a business that is NOT a good business for you.

Lack of fiscal discipline– If you do not run your household with a budget, you won’t run your business with one.  You must make business decisions based on up-to-date financial information. Know your latest numbers by the 15th of every month. Ask yourself “Why” three times before making a purchasing decision for your business.

No network “Your network is your net worth.”  You must spend time cultivating the market to develop and nurture your professional and personal connections. Your first customers will come from your personal network. If you have no network, your business will not be able to survive.

What recommendation could you share to help stop small business failure?

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Preventing Small Business Failure

Just Why Is A Responsive Website Design Important

responsive ecommerce website designDo you know what you are buying when you order your website design?

In the first instance, static website design simply do not cut it any more. This is the problem with almost all cheap website design packages.

As a business owner you should be aware why your website should be mobile friendly and responsive.

That simply means that it should adapt and re-optimize your website content to be viewd on any mobile device or tablet

Here is some compelling information regarding Responsive Website Design to consider

8 Reasons Why to Invest in Responsive Web Design

If you are thinking about a new website or redesigning your current site, you have undoubtedly considered building it using responsive web design. Responsive design is a web development strategy that results in a single website which dynamically resizes and reconfigures to various screen sizes, devices and orientations. In other words, instead of having a separate site for desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, responsive design delivers a single set of content and code that caters to all audiences. Although building a site with responsive design requires a larger initial investment than a traditional web design project, the investment is well worth it for most businesses. Here are 8 reasons why:

8 Reasons Why to Invest in Responsive Web Design image campusparc 300x184

See a responsive design in action. View the site in various devices, or simulate device sizes by resizing your browser window to see how the site seamlessly adapts.

One single site for all audience versus separate mobile sites: Building a site using responsive design techniques involves separate design templates and CSS3 code for each target device or browser size. This means that a single set of files and content is used for desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. For programmers and marketers, this significantly simplifies the process of managing the site and ultimately makes it more cost effective.

Invest now to save late: 

  1. When building or rebuilding a website these days, all of the choices can be overwhelming. Having built hundreds of websites for businesses across nearly every industry, we can sympathize. But consider this statistic: by 2014, mobile internet is predicted to take over desktop internet usage (source: Microsoft Tag). So responsive design, though it increases the initial project investment because it simply takes more design and development time, will most
  2. certainly save your business time and money in the not-so-long-term.
  3. Mobile audience is rapidly growing: 

The digital world is changing, and your site needs to change with it.  According to Internet WorldStats there are 2.3 billion internet users in the world, and by 2015 there will be 2.1 billion mobile users. Start catering to your multi-device mobile audience now, as they make judgments about your company based on the appearance and usability of your site. Responsive design can help you make a positive impression and avoid scaring mobile visitors away.

Reduce page load time to cater to smartphones: 

  1. Did you know that 74% of users will leave a website after waiting only five seconds for it to load (source: Compuware)?  Because you can turn on and off specific elements of a page with responsive design templates, you have the ability to slim-down the “heavy components” in the mobile version of your site and reduce the page load time.

Good for SEO: 

  1. Google, who has more than 2/3 of the search engine market, loves responsive design. Here’s why. When generating search results, Google looks at how much traffic a particular site gets, with the thought that more traffic equals more credibility. Having separate sites for different devices splits site traffic into different URLs. Responsive design results in combined all traffic into one domain, resulting in one site with larger traffic and increasing the search engine appeal and theoretically its ranking. Additionally, responsive web design makes it easier for Google to discover all of your content since it’s crawling a single site. Speaking purely technically, Google also likes sites that have the same HTML for all devices and that use CSS media queries, but if you’re a marketer and your eyes just glazed over, read on to the next point because we’re talking about YOU!

Deliver a full mobile site for marketers: 

  1. Regular mobile versions of sites are generally scaled back to just the top pages, as determined by the business. That does not fare well for marketers, whose mission is often to tell people about something that they didn’t come to the site for. With responsive web design, smartphone and tablet versions of sites can include promotional space, enabling marketers to draw attention to key products and services to their growing mobile audience.

Many CMS platforms support responsive web design: 

  1. If you are evaluating which content management system to use for your website project, be sure to check whether the CMS supports responsive design. Many of the top CMS platforms including Sitecore, Sitefinity, Kentico, Drupal, WordPress and others have built-in features to support responsive design.

Your competitors are investing: 

  1. People are seamlessly moving from one device to another – often simultaneously – and expect a rich website experience no matter what their device. For this reason, businesses are realizing that responsive design is no longer just an option, but truly a must-have. Chances are that your competitors are investing in responsive web design, so don’t get left behind.
  2. responsive web design

MediaNovakCom

Responsive Site #Design vs. Mobile Design – Which One is Right for You? http://t.co/ABB1btSEKr #Photo #design

This is a clear explanation of why a responsive design is important when choosing the best service for your business

Why Is Responsive Web Design So Important For Your Business?

Our Package includes only the latest technology, Content Management System Platform and is 100% mobile responsive. No need for a seperate mobile website.

Website Design

Is Small Business Planning Still Relevant

marketing_plan-e imageThe phrase “Fail to plan and you Plan to Fail” does not only apply to big business.

Small business owners are often so caught up in coping with the day to day events of their business that they most often just “crisis manage”

Do you manage your business because you have clear goals, or does your business manage You?

The following article provides some valuable insight and tips.

7 Important Components of Your Small Business Marketing Plan

Many small business owners don’t bother to create a marketing plan, and that’s a mistake – a well-crafted marketing plan provides guidance on how, why, and to whom you’ll deploy your marketing message. Though you can choose to make it as long and detailed as you want, there are generally 7 important components of a marketing plan that you’ll want to be sure to include.

Let us add a video in the mix as well

Small Business Marketing 101: Creating a Marketing Plan

We’ll cover how to determine your business goals, marketing options and budget. Presented by Lauren Zirilli, Marketing Communications Manager.

Your Marketing Plan should incorporate your online presence as well

Social Media for Small Businesses: What Blogs, Forums and Social Networks Can Do For You

Presentation originally given at the 2008 COSE Small Business Conference in Cleveland on Oct. 22, and then to the Cleveland Digital Publishing Users Group on Oct. 30. Audio to come.

Take the information above and x 10. That is how relevant social media is to small business marketing

Please leave your comment, like and share

Social Marketing For Small Business

The Ultimate Online Marketing Guide For Small Business. Valuable and free information that will help your business marketing

In this second part of the Article by Marc Knoll on the topic of Internet Marketing for Small Business, he discusses the various Social media platforms available to connect with potential business.

Continue reading “Social Marketing For Small Business”