Small Business Loan Rates

Is Your Small Business Online?

Nothing I can think of will make a small business grow faster than to bring it online with your own professionally designed website. The age of the Internet is upon us and business owners must adapt to this new form of advertising, or risk being left in the dust by their competitors.

What are the common reasons business owners give when explaining why they still aren’t online?

“I don’t understand computers and the Internet”
“It is expensive to set up a business website”
“Our advertising budget is too small for that”

Well, let me dispel those myths right now.

Professional business websites can be designed, developed and run easily, without the business owner knowing a thing about computers or the Internet.
Small business websites are ridiculously inexpensive. For less than the cost of ONE MONTHof phone book advertising, a website can be designed. Then, it’s just about $ 25 per month to keep that website going. Considering the immense value and exposure a website offers, it’s the best deal going in advertising.
Your small business advertising budget will thank you for having an online presence. In addition to costing far, far less than print advertising, your new website will result in more customers and hence, more sales.

A small business website widens your exposure: And it doesn’t just increase it a little bit either – it increases it a lot!

If your business currently relies on referrals, word-of-mouth or personal recommendation, that’s not sufficient to get a wider client base. To really reach out and attract new customers, you have to widen your advertising net. Fortunately, a small business website does that easily and gets you world-wide exposure instantly!

The internet connects people with your business whom you wouldn’t otherwise even make a connection.

In today’s age, people own property and businesses in your town and they don’t even live there.

If a landlord lives in another state and needs to have someone local fix something in a rental, do you think the landlord looks in your local phone book yellow pages? Of course not, the landlord “Googles it” and finds a local business online.

If you aren’t online, you lose out!

A small business website also makes it possible to sell online.

Online commerce is the fastest growing segment in the business community. Both goods and services can be sold online and having your own website makes that possible. Innovative clients of ours sell everything from spark plugs to slate pool tables online.

The same thing applies to services: Doctors, lawyers, contractors, accountants, plumbers, mechanics and other professionals all advertise online.

Don’t be left out, get your own small business website today!

I invite you to view our professional, affordable websites.

Small Business Advertising Tips

When watching TV or flipping through a magazine you often see advertisements from large corporations like Coca Cola, Ford, and Nike, have you noticed that these companies aren’t selling you a specific product or service. The reason for this, is that the purpose of their advertisement is to sell you brand preference and brand loyalty. This is great, if you have millions of dollars to spend on a branding campaign and your comapny is a household name with millions of people. Unfortunately most small businesses do not have the luxury of immediate brand recognition and loyalty by millions of consumers. So what can you do to have more effective adverting on a shoestring budget? Let me share with you a few secrets of effective small business advertising.

Advertising: Does Yours Work?

Secret 1

Stop trying to sell with your ads. You adverting is not a vehicle to sell a product or service. When you do this, most of the time, you are throwing your advertising dollars down the drain. I believe that less than 1% of the audience that sees an ad that tries to sell will actually take the next step and make a purchase. It is probably much less than 1% but I’m being optimistic that your advertising dollars spent up until now have been well spent.

Secret 2

Look for and then identify the main concerns of your target market and use these as the basis for each ad or mini article you use as a promotional tool. Whether you write a 30 word print advertisement, a 30 second radio commercial, or a 600 word advertorial (an advertisement made to look and sound like a news story), take a look at what you wrote and see if you are trying to sell something to your audience or are you trying to inform them. Consumers, for the most part are looking to be educated about a product or service, told that the features and benefits of using are right for them and then made to feel that by purchasing your product or service they have made the correct decision. You still need to grab your audience’s attention and keep them interested in your advertisement, but make them feel as if they are learning something that will help solve a problem or need.

Secret 3

Don’t expect one advertisement to do all the work and bring in loads of clients and customers. Advertisement is a system of engaging and informing consumers at all points of contact. You need develop a marketing and advertising system where all you advertisements work together to relay key messages to your audience.

Advertising is part art but also part science. There is a proven formula for making small businesses advertising more effective. The trick is what you say within the confines of the advertising formula. But that is another article. Stay Tuned!

-End-

Nicholas Pavlich- Management Consultant/Marketing Specialist/Account Manager

Small Business Support Has Big Impact

Standing in front of the crowd at the recent Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards luncheon, I was awed to see so many supporters of the small business community.

This support is exactly what we need to help boost the economy as we continue to watch the Dow Jones Industrial Average fluctuate and read bleak business headlines on a daily basis.

Small businesses and organizations, such as the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center, need our support now more than ever. By backing entrepreneurs, we encourage economic activity, creating an increase in production levels and spurring businesses to add jobs. These new employees will spend their earned wages on goods and services that are produced by these firms, further adding to production levels. This cycle continues, prompting additional economic growth. Likewise, any reduction in small business support will decrease overall economic activity and can shrink the overall economy.

But why is it vital to focus on small businesses and not the larger companies? It’s these small companies that continue to adapt and change and grow.

Research by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy shows that small businesses create most of the nation’s net new jobs. It also revealed that small businesses are 13 times more innovative, and they bring dynamic ideas and fresh products to the marketplace.

It is this innovative mindset that landed Terry Daniel and Lou Pringle of Exhaust Productions Inc. in the limelight. The entrepreneurs were honored with the 2008 Small Business Person of the Year Award at this year’s luncheon. When manufacturing started to shift to China, the team decided to switch gears by moving into the performance motorcycle industry and Rush Racing products.

By taking the time to recognize companies, such as Exhaust Productions Inc., the Northwest Indiana SBDC is continuing to foster the development of small businesses and spotlight the entrepreneurial spirit. It is our mission to have a positive and measurable impact on the formation and growth of small businesses in the region and state. We have workshops, one-on-one consulting, referrals, training and other essential business tools to help guide small business owners toward success.

The entrepreneur is a risk-taker. It takes courage to make the leap, which is why community support and resources, such as the NWI SBDC, can make such a big difference.

Joshua Lybolt

Small Business Twitter Tips

Twitter for business has become a very popular and effective tool for small business and home-based entrepreneurs. It’s become a great way to reach out to new prospects and keep a trusted connection with existing clients.

Customers today are getting more difficult to attract. Part of the reason is that they don’t like the in-your-face marketing that is all too common today. Twitter gives you a chance to connect and let your followers decide if you’re interesting enough to continue to follow or not. And hopefully interesting enough to do business with.

Twitter is not only a wonderful social networking tool but it is also very effective when used efficiently as a PR weapon. Small business Twitter users have found that it can raise their leads in just a few days worth of twittering.

So you’re asking how you can use Twitter for your business?

1.) Look for your friends in real life

Twitter is different than other social networking sites. ‘Followers’ on Twitter are different than ‘Friends’ on Facebook. Unlike Facebook, not all of your Twitter followers will be friends – many will be customers. But you still want to have a solid base of people who you consider friends following you on Twitter to get started with.

It is not a good idea to go around adding anyone who you see is active on Twitter. In Twitter world, that can be annoying to its users. Build your followers deliberately and a little more slowly and start by following people you know.

2.) Search for people who tweet about your industry – they are your niche

Follow people who are smart in your business. And look for people who follow them for you to follow. Get a re-follow will build your follower list with the right profile of followers.

Make sure that you look for people who might be interested in what you have to offer and don’t send a Tweet that is overtly asking for a sale. Twitter users don’t like spam…but then again, who does?

If you want to effectively apply small business twittering, you should start of actually reading what prospective clients say in their Tweets and give a smart “tweetback” before you follow him or her on Twitter.

3.) Be proud of your business, but don’t be TOO proud

If you Twitter for business, it’s okay to let people know what you do and about your business. But don’t mention promos every single time you post a tweet. That’s spamming…and people will begin to tune you out.

If you come off too cocky and annoying, no one will start following you and those who did before will un-follow you. Instead, tweet about your industry, relate your tweetbacks to it and even post in some links. But don’t cross the spam border.

Most Twitter successes come from genuine concern of the small business Twitters. Clients develop real interest and attention when they realize that the people who are meticulously maintaining the Twitter profile really wants to help them.

Small business Twitter usage is great when you want to directly reach your target market. Just make sure that you use it correctly. Make sure that at least an hour is spent in maintaining your Twitter account, so that your profile would be active, and remain interesting to people.

Trent is an experienced Internet marketing consultant that has helped small businesses and non-profit organizations realize explosive sales and results. A speaker at many top conferences, Trent has been helping his clients for over 14 years. He is a frequent contributor to Breakthrough Marketing Methods. Get your free 7-day educational eCourse: “The Secrets to Internet Marketing for Small Business” at http://www.BreakthroughMarketingMethods.com

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