:: Competitive Intelligence
Some companies compete by getting into the minds
of their competitors. Competitive Intelligence is the process
of collecting information about competitors in a competitive
environment. These tips and tricks will help marketers better
understand competitive intelligence, and how to effectively
compete in their marketplace.
:: Take Advantage of Technology
With the surge in iPhones and iPads businesses
are making the most of the new technology. Check out these
:: More Small Businesses Exporting
The Export-Import Bank says it is on pace to back
5,000 new small-businesses exporters by 2015, part of an
administration-led effort to encourage smaller firms to
pursue global markets amid weak demand at home.
:: Businesses Need Freedom
The U.S. government needs to get out of the
way of business to allow for job creation, Rep. Renee
Ellmers said in her partys weekly address Saturday.
The freshman Republican representative is a former nurse
and married to a surgeon. She said their small medical practice
in Dunn, N.C., is an example of how government regulations
are affecting businesses.
:: Signs, Signs, Signs
You can market your small business in a lot of
sexy new ways, but hold on. Do not overlook one of the most
tried-and true ways to let people know about your business.
I am talking about signs.
The concept is hardly ground breaking, but that is why they
are easily forgotten. Signs are cheap and easy, but best
of all they work.
:: Free Advertising for Small
You heard correct. Free advertising. If you
are starting a new home-based business, advertising online
is essential to your success. Advertising however, can be
extremely costly. Posting ads on Free Classified sites can
be a good way to start getting your name out there, learning
how to position your business, and to test your ad copy.
With online ads like Facebook or Google Ads, you can
quickly rack up huge costs because the wrong people are
clicking on your ads. When they click, you pay. If you post
free classified ads, you don’t pay anything, unless you
want to be showcased on a main page or at the top of your
There are several free classified sites that you can
use for home business advertising. Craigslist, eBay Classifieds
and Kijiji are the biggest ones I know in North America.
Some others are Backpages, BOCOnline and iNetGiant, to name
just a few. If you search for ‘free advertising’ or
‘free classifieds’ in your country or city you may find
:: Small Business is Passion
Deluxe Corp. unveiled Thursday results of a small
business survey of more than 500 social-media-savvy entrepreneurs,
revealing most started their businesses as a result of personal
The growth engine for small businesses used PartnerUp, the
first online social network for small business owners and
entrepreneurs, to survey a growing demographic of social
media savvy self-starters.
:: Small Business Pessimism
In its monthly report, entitled Small Business
Economic Trends, the National Federation of Independent
Businesses found that small business optimism declined for
the third straight month during the month of May.
The reason for that continued pessimism seems related to
reports of low sales. Indeed, when asked what single problem
most concerned the surveyed small business owners, poor
sales was the most frequent reply.
:: Are You Prepared for Retirement?
Nearly two-thirds of small business owners fear
outliving their retirement money and one-third plan to work
into their 70s, according to a new study.
The retirement views of the nations small business owners
are radically shifting, said a news release about
the study conducted by the Guardian Life Small Business
Research Institute. The Institute, part of Guardian Life
Insurance Co., polled 1,433 small business owners who operate
companies with two to 99 employees.
:: Need Business Cards?
This is a great new site with business
cards templates. Choose the business type and you will
see an assortment of cards that can be customized to suit
your business needs. See the Business
Card Store for details.
:: SBA Export Business Planner
Want to increase your slice of the U.S. $1.7 trillion
export pie of goods and services? The Small Business Administration
has launched its Export Business Planner to help you.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the export is not just
the province of corporate giants. Nearly three-quarters
70 percent of all U.S. exporters have fewer than 20 employees,
the SBA said.
This new, free online tool will help small businesses gauge
their readiness to export and help them develop an export
The Planner is downloadable PDF file that features an extensive
compilation of worksheets, export research and information,
including quick links to websites, video profiles, training
podcasts, trade statistics, contact information to counseling
resources such as SCORE and small business development centers
, a list of current SBA lenders and much more.
:: Facebook Ads for Small
The data reveals that Facebook ad offerings are
making inroads with local merchants, which could put pressure
on companies like Google and Groupon for share of local
marketing budgets. Thanks to huge consumer adoption, ease-of-use,
and low barrier to entry, Facebook continues to be the most
popular way for merchants to market their business: 66 percent
use the social network for marketing. Facebook Ads is benefitting
from the social network’s high level of adoption with
a 94 percent awareness rate among local merchants.
:: More on Small Business Social Media
For under a thousand dollars a small business owner
can create their own multimedia empire and reach their target
audience. This means that they do not have to hire a public
relations firm to get them booked on CNBC or profiled in
a glossy magazine. They can create their own broadcasts
with the help of consumer grade cameras, a few wireless
microphones and a felt backdrop all for a fifth of the price
that a firm might charge them for one month of consulting.
The next step in the process is to flood the social media
universe with your content and use it as a de-facto broadcast
network for any programming you come up with.
Business Social Media
:: Small Business Technology
Small businesses get started for all kinds of reasons—a
great idea, recognition of an underserved niche, loss of
a job, boredom, desire for additional income, and plain
old foolhardiness. But to succeed, businesses need to get
their tech right, from the very beginning.
But where to begin? How do you get a web site and a .com
address for your business? Are online email services likes
Gmail the best option for communicating with customers?
Do you need to invest in servers and computers for you and
any potential employees? Do you need a wireless network?
These can be daunting tech questions for starting a business,
but they don't have to be.
The answers all depend on the type of business you are running
and your business goals. Our step-by-step guide will walk
you through some of the most important early steps and give
you pointers for getting started on the rest.
:: No Vacation for Small Businesses
A large majority 79 percent of small business owners
do not feel guilty for taking a vacation, reports the AmEx
survey of 500 small business owners.
But other reasons not to get away loom large:
- Busy work schedules 37 percent
and affordability 29 percent affect some owners hesitancy
to take a vacation this summer.
- Entrepreneurs are less plugged
in than they were in 2008, but 68 percent still check in
every day while on vacation, and 18 percent say they check
in several times a day.
- Rising gasoline costs will affect
half of small business owners vacation plans, keeping them
closer to home or staying home altogether.
- The uncertain economy is affecting 57 percent
of small business owners vacation plans. Still, 46 percent
of small business owners surveyed say they will take a summer
vacation this year.
:: Small Businesses Get Social
More than 600 million people are on Facebook, including
at least 150 million Americans, or one in two adults. Twitter
recently topped 300 million accounts. Small-business owners
are trying to capitalize on social media to promote their
businesses and broadcast messages.
Kerpen offers the following five tips for small-business
owners venturing into social-media networking.
:: Small Businesses Embrace the Cloud
Entrepreneurs and small businesses have led the
way in cloud storage adoption and still comprise the largest
faction of cloud users, but this is quickly changing. Larger
companies are following suit, investing more in cloud technology
to meet their business infrastructure needs in today’s
global, distributed business environment.
Businesses have always had the need to store, share and
back up data. Traditionally, this was done with on-site
physical file servers, tape backups, file transfer protocol
- FTP and virtual private network - VPN systems. While these
methods offer high speed and performance, they are expensive
and increasingly impractical and cumbersome in todays collaborative
:: Blogs are Standard for
Building a blog is no longer an option for most
businesses. If you doubt it, just look at some of the figures
below. In the first link we see an oft repeated idea that
blogging is dead. It might be better to say that blogging
is not cutting edge anymore. It is becoming mainstream.
And, particularly when it comes to small business, it is
becoming clear they are now standard equipment.
are Standard for Businesses
:: Small Business Influencers
The Small Business Influencer initiative honors
contributors who have made a significant impact on the North
American small business market. Nominate
a Small Business Influencer.
:: Small Businesses Save
Time and Money
Computer programs designed for smartphones and
tablets save small businesses more than a billion hours
and $17.6 billion a year, according to a new report from
the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.
The study, Saving Time and Money with Mobile Apps: a
Small Business Apportunity, looks at the growth of cell
phone and other mobile technologies and why small businesses
are using mobile applications to solve key business challenges.
Nearly half of small businesses use smartphones compared
to a fifth of the general consumer market. Owners
and their employees are using mobile apps to squeeze more
productivity from their work week, reducing overhead costs,
increasing revenues and sales-related activities, improving
competitiveness and even allowing firms to add jobs.
:: Benefits of Shopping Online
Why buy online? Why not buy online? Have you ever
considered the pros and cons to shopping at a retail store
vs shopping online? Lets take a look at the advantages and
disadvantages of purchasing online...
Advantages Of Shopping Online...
1. Saves Time
If you already know what you are looking for, shopping online
can save you a significant amount of time. With just a few
clicks of the mouse, you can place your order and move on
to other things.
of Shopping Online
:: Small Business Marketing
Total marketing spending by U.S. small businesses
will expand in 2012, as an increased number of firms invests
in advertising and promotional activities. According to
New York-based Access Markets InternationalPartners, Inc.,
overall spending is expected to grow 4% rebounding from
2010 recessionary lows.
These findings from AMIs 2010 - 2011 U.S. Small Business
Marketing Activity and Spending Study reveal that apart
from social media marketing, which is estimated to grow
a considerable 35%, most marketing categories are still
slowly rebounding from the economic downturn.
:: Small Business Tax Headache
Taxes always give small-business owners a big headache.
Today, we hear there is more pain coming their way.
In Charge colleague Laura Saunders writes in an article
that the Internal Revenue Service, which is moving aggressively
to collect more taxes from small businesses, is now seeking
small companies software files.
The IRS is telling some businesses already under audit that
they must turn over records kept in popular software progams,
such as Intuit Inc.s QuickBooks or Sage Groups Peachtree,
according to the article.
Small-business groups are pushing back, saying the IRS should
realize that they are not big firms with elaborate accounting
systems or lots of tax professionals on staff Ȓ and that
they ca n not easily turn over very specific files. Instead,
to comply with the IRS requests, many small businesses must
turn over complete electronic records Ȓ and there is no
telling what the IRS might do with that, they complain.