402, 2016

Advice Every Small Business Owner Should Ignore

Small Business Advice|Comments Off on Advice Every Small Business Owner Should Ignore

When you're starting a business, it seems someone is there to hand out advice around every turn. Perfect strangers begin offering their opinions on how to develop your brand, run your marketing, and handle your finances.

Follow these tips on Advice Every Small Business Owner Should Ignore.

Hire people you knowAdvice Every Small Business Owner Should Ignore

How many people have told you to stack your team with friends, colleagues, or former employees? We think the best hiring decisions are based on finding the individual with the expertise and skill set that meets the company's needs, rather than trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. You may also be more reluctant to fire a friend, but when an employee is not working out, it's sometimes best to part ways.

Find a better market

Has anyone told you there's no room for you in the market? Even if the field is crowded, your goal is to define your company and find its place. Evaluate your target industry and find a void that needs to be filled.

Undercut your competition

It's hard not to feel pressured to be cheaper than the other guys. But as your business grows, and your loyal customer base expanders, you may find you're still losing money. Focus instead on valuing your customers and find a way to stand out.

Market for free on social media

There are those that claim starting a business today is easier due to the "free" marketing on social media. While starting an account might be free, developing fresh content, keeping up on new technologies and cultivating engagement online requires significant time. And time is money!

Last but not least... Spend it to make it

Even if you're doing everything you can to keep expenses down, starting a new business is a risky undertaking. Investing in your business requires creative thinking and strategy to produce more money in the long run.

Your takeaway?

We hope you're able to take bad advice such as this with a grain of salt. People mean well, and finding someone to help guide your business and mentor you is invaluable. But know that you're in charge. Trust your gut, and weigh your decisions based on your own expertise. Need someone to lend an ear? Contact the team at ENews Networks today.
1711, 2015

Shift Planning for the Small Business Owner

Get Organized, Small Business Advice, Tips and Tricks for Bike Shops|Comments Off on Shift Planning for the Small Business Owner

Shift Planning Running a small business is a complicated task. And keeping track of staff’s shift timings, managing their workflows and leaves, and scheduling their shift changes are just a few activities that consume most of the startups resources and time. While most businesses still rely on spreadsheets to manage shifts and vacations, others have turned to online scheduling tools designed to make the process simpler. One such tool is ShiftPlanning.com. This service helps you create and share schedules, manage vacation and shift requests, and send alerts via email and text message. And if you have time on your hands, then go for its mobile app that allows you to manage these activities on the go.
2712, 2014

Don’t Make These Marketing Mistakes

Customer Loyalty, email marketing, Facebook, Marketing Advice, Other, Sales and Marketing, Small Business Advice, Small Business Selling Tips, Social Media Tips, Tips and Tricks for Bike Shops|Comments Off on Don’t Make These Marketing Mistakes

There are a few glaring marketing faux pas that crop up everywhere, from newsletters to email campaigns, over and over again. But what could seem like a small social media offense to you could actually be costing your business thousands of dollars — a price most early-stage startups can't afford to pay.

To find out which marketing mistakes are truly embarrassing, I asked a panel of entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) for major marketing don'ts. Their answers are below:

1. Using a hashtag for everything

There's been a lot of hashtag blacklash (hash-lash?) that I've seen on the marketing end of either established brands or emerging startups. Try to make sure your hashtags aren't already being used, and try not to overcrowd your messages with hashes — it'll seem like you're a teenage girl tweeting out to the world. You wanna appear professional, yet engaging. So be strategic with your social media choices. - Rob Fulton, Exponential Black

2. Not engaging with your customers on social media

It drives me nuts when brands post so many things about themselves yet don't respond in the comments when people ask for more information. If you have time to write the post, talk to your people. As clichéd as it is, social media is all about connections. Your page should be entertaining, educational and a resource of inspiration with your own unique brand voice. The benefit of doing this right is creating the perceived value of your company. Having a high perceived value is a great recruiting tool.   - Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations

3. Buying followers to boost credibility

It's a sad paradox really. You create a Twitter profile for your startup, but have no following to start with. Not good for social proof right? So, you do what you've heard some brands are doing: You go out shopping and buy 1,000 to 10,000 Twitter followers for a few bucks. Problem solved! How's that for instant credibility! But wait, is there a catch? Of course there is. The followers you just bought are not real. If they are, chances are they are not in your target audience. But you know the worst part? What do you think happens to your credibility when people find out you've cheated your way to "social media stardom?" Or Twitter suddenly filters out the fake followers? Take this lesson to heart: Build real relationships from the start. You'll be glad you did. - Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media

4. B2C incongruence

I saw one local restaurant come and go because it catered to a younger demographic with graffiti-style art and over-the-top innuendos on its menu. Although the food was top notch, that avant-garde environment was inconsistent with the demographics of the area. - Daniel Wesley, DebtConsolidation.com

5. Waiting to "go viral"

Web traffic, video views and RTs do not all come organically. First, marketers need to create compelling content. Second, they need to promote it to a highly targeted audience that may begin snowballing by word-of-mouth. Startups do not always realize that engagement is earned, and that there's a lot of marketing that goes into even the most innocent of viral videos. If you want anything to start getting traction, make sure you do your part in making people aware that your content even exists. - Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

6. Looking to a PR firm for a quick media fix

PR firms are way too expensive for most startups and you do not get enough bang for your buck. Back in the day when media was centralized, I could understand how a PR firm could be useful. But now? Don't think you should go with a PR firm because "they can get you in Tech Crunch." Focus and build relationships on your vertical. Provide value to the community when you can. An industry-specific blog with 2,000 daily readers can be more valuable than a widely read broad website. Focus on these things and be your own cheerleader (even create a pseudonym if you'd like). - Adam Stillman, SparkReel

7. Worrying too much about imitators

Being the new kid on the block is never easy, but as you start to do things right, the bigger guys will inevitably start to “borrow” from your playbook. And while imitation is the biggest form of flattery, it can be challenging to stand by and watch your brand value become confused in the market. Trust that your audience will support you and your brand and focus on continuing to be one step ahead. - Jess Levin, Carats & Cake

8. Using Facebook ads

I have spent a lot of money on Facebook ads for hundreds of companies. Seventy percent of the companies out there will not benefit at all from Facebook ads while 10% will thrive on them. You do have to find out which one you are. Twenty percent of companies basically break even. I recommend setting aside a $500-$1000 budget for Facebook ads. Test several ads and targeting audiences for a couple different landing pages. Spend the money evenly throughout the week. You will find out if it works within seven days. Run it every day of the week. You may find it works on certain days and not on others. Test to see if it works but don't bet the farm on Facebook Ads, as it doesn't work for most of the startups I've worked with. - John Rampton, Host

9. Advertising without testing

Most marketing requires a component of paid marketing in the form of ads, but it is vital that you focus on getting a positive ROI from those ads. We made the mistake of running an online ad campaign right after launch without ever analyzing and testing our early user flows. We found that our campaign was an utter failure because nobody converted. We then focused heavily on improving conversions, retention and monetization, which led to our next campaign being a resounding success. Don't waste money on ads without making sure they will work first. - James Simpson, GoldFire Studios
Thanks Mashable!
409, 2014

Empower Employees with EveryoneSocial

Customer Service, Small Business Advice, Small Business Selling Tips, Social Media Tips, Tips and Tricks for Bike Shops|Comments Off on Empower Employees with EveryoneSocial

Grow your Social with EveryoneSocialeveryonesocial image

Time to change how you think about employees and their phone When we owned a bicycle shop my husband and I were always so upset by our staff checking in on Facebook or texting their friends. But as time passes and I embrace social media I realized that if you can't beat them join them. Or even better encourage them. YEP empowering your staff with social media might just save you time and grow your business. Now this of course doesn't mean that I would be ok to see them on the phone and ignoring customers which is easy to do when the brain is concentrating on reading. You will need to communicate your expectations that the phone and social take 2nd to helping customers that come in the door.

My Favorite employee social tool

My favorite social media tool is EveryoneSocial. The app encourages businesses to engage employees as “social ambassadors,” making them key parts of the company’s social media strategy. The website empowers employees to find engaging content they can share with their followers on different social networks using EveryoneSocial’s powerful content discovery engine. Alternatively, EveryoneSocial can recommend articles and websites for employees to share, giving your company a very large voice that’s much more personal than a generic Facebook page or Twitter account. Imaging how powerful it would be if your staff as your brand ambassadors.Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much - Helen Keller Giving them the outlet to do this could be just what your small business could benefit from. I like the a powerful analytics engine to track how much employees are sharing, as well as how well they’re driving clicks. The analytics even allow you to get employees competing against each other for the top sharing spot. And we all know how healthy a bit of competition can be. EveryoneSocial drives home an important thinking shift in social media. The future of social media is not just Facebook pages, Google+ pages or Twitter accounts. The future of social is in empowering individuals—including your employees—to share your products one with another and your customers. The more you promote and empower your employees and key staff some social media management, the stronger social media success you’ll have in the future. It is worth giving it a try.
409, 2014

5 Keyword Research Tips

SEO, Small Business Advice, Social Media Tips, Tips and Tricks for Bike Shops|Comments Off on 5 Keyword Research Tips

Google Keyword ToolLet me show you 5 Keyword Research Tips that will end your Keyword research problems.

1. Swipe your Competitor’s Keyword Research

Why not let your “established” and “authority” competitors do the keyword research for you? You can ethically “swipe” your competitor’s keywords by using these Google’s Free Keyword Tool.

Use Google Keyword Tool

Here’s what you need to do. List at least 5 top competitors that are ranking in the top results for your targeted terms or niche. Let me use “Keyword Research Tips” as an example of a keyword/keyword theme that I would like to target. I will then Paste the Top 5 URLs that are ranking for this term in Google Keyword Tool’s Website Box Change your location and language based on your targeted demographic. Choose Global and English if you are targeting a worldwide audience. Choose exact match or phrase match as keyword match types. I prefer to use phrase matches because it can help me find “hidden long tail keywords” later on. The great thing about this strategy is that you’ll immediately see the search volumes for the keywords you’ve chosen. Select keywords that you think will be relevant to your niche and group them together to create tightly themed set of keywords.

2. Find hidden long tail keywords in the phrase-match/exact match difference

This strategy can help you uncover hidden long tail keywords that might be less competitive than most keywords. The secret here is the difference between Phrase Match and Exact Match Search volumes. Google Keyword Tool usually shows the Phrase match and Exact match search volumes, but they seldom release related long tail keywords to target for your SEO and PPC campaigns. Basically, you’ll need to find the phrase match and exact match search volume of a particular keyword. If there’s a huge difference between the search volumes, then you have a winning keyword. Try to find the “missing long tail keywords” through Google instant searches or try some PPC advertising to drive some impressions and clicks which will help you identify these “hidden keyword opportunities”. Here’s an example of what I mean:   SEO search terms           SEO Tools (in Google Global Search) “seo tools” (phrase match) = 90,500 [seo tools] (exact match) = 33,100 “SEO Tools” Phrase Match/Exact Match Difference = 57,400 SEO Services (in Google Global Search) “seo services” (phrase match) = 246,000 [seo services] (exact match) = 49,500 “SEO Services” Phrase Match/Exact Match Difference = 196,500 Obviously the bigger opportunity lies in optimizing for the term “SEO Services” since it has 196,500 hidden long tail keywords. These hidden long tail keywords includes: “seo services canada” “seo services toronto” and more The idea here is to find keywords that have huge differences between the search volumes of the phrase and exact match and create content around those keywords.

3. Blog on upcoming events and product launches

Monitor competitor product releases, industry updates and industry news. If you can rank and optimize for keywords that are not being searched today, but will be highly searched in the future, then you’re in a great position to generate tons of traffic for that search term. Here are just a few examples: black-friday2           Date Based Searches Black Friday 2013 Boxing Day 2013 Product launches [Product name] launch [Product name] review [Product name] information Basically, these strategy relies on anticipating keywords that will be highly searched in the future. These keywords are easier to rank in the search engines because no one is still optimizing for these terms.

4. Add geo-targeted search terms to your Keywords for Local Search

If you are promoting a local business, or you offer products and services to a local demographic, adding geo-location keywords for search can help you rank a lot faster than regular keywords. Here’s another example. If you want to optimize for “Seo Services” it might take you several months, or even years to outrank your competition. Instead try adding geo locations to your keywords: seo-services-3 “Seo services Canada” “Seo services Toronto” These keywords might have less search volumes, but they are highly targeted and more likely to convert than the Fat Head keywords.

5. Mine your existing Google Analytics Data for Long Tail Keywords that you might have missed

Do you know that you can find tons of keyword research data from your existing Google Analytics data? Of course this will only work for old websites with some organic or paid search traffic before. Using Google Analytics Regular Filters you can create a list of long tail keywords. You can filter keywords with 3,4,5,6,7 or more keywords in the search phrase. This will help you find content ideas, keywords opportunities that you might want to include in your next blog post. Keywords