July 2010

5 Fabulous Resources to Tackle Small-Business Questions

It doesn’t matter if it’s been two weeks or several years since your entrepreneurial intuition led you to create an online enterprise; the fact remains that no matter how far your e-commerce skills take you, no small-business owner is prepared to handle the many unfamiliar hurdles that are certain to arise.

However, don’t become overwhelmed by moments of uncertainty and sink-or-swim scenarios that can generate an endless stream of questions in your mind. It’s important to know you’re not alone. And as you dive deeper into your brand development and marketing strategies you’ll find that these puzzlements will cause you to rethink the ways you once searched for answers and information.

Some of the best advice around comes directly from someone who has already overcome the same obstacle. Therefore, you’ll want to visit online resources – there are many – designed to service small-business owners with helpful tools such as Q&A forums and the ability to connect with other entrepreneurs in your industry.

Below you’ll find five valuable sources, thanks to Mashable.com, to get you started.

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Why Your Company Needs a Business Blog

Business blogs are one of the primary components of Web 2.0 marketing, offering manifold benefits to any company. These benefits only manifest themselves, however, if you use your blog properly, which can be difficult to do. Many business owners ask themselves if a blog is worth the time, money and effort it takes to maintain it: the answer from the experts is a resounding “yes.”

Why You Need a Business Blog

A business blog provides an opportunity to add fresh, relevant content consistently and serves as a means of communication between you and your customers. Instead of updating your website on a daily basis, constantly shifting images and updating text, you can inform clients of sales and new products on your blog. Blogs feature easy-to-use software, meaning you can add a new post in a fraction of the time it takes to update your site.

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Setting Up Your Online Business for Search Engine Success

An increasing number of budding entrepreneurs are turning to the internet as the catalyst for their business endeavors. Many recognize the low startup costs, minimal overhead and instant access to a global market and dive into an internet business headfirst, not taking the time to research their options thoroughly. Just as with a brick-and-mortar store, it’s imperative to do your due diligence to conceive a marketable product with adequate levels of supply and demand, establish a breakeven point and determine if you have the time, money and perseverance required to make your business a success.

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Six Social Media Mistakes to Avoid and How to Correct Miscalculation

While many self-starting individuals and businesses have excelled using social media to promote their enterprise, others have witnessed little or no success with interactive media and are left puzzled as to why.

What most people don’t realize is that their lack of success with social media might be attributed to their own actions. Below you’ll find six common social media mistakes, courtesy of SocialMediaExaminer.com, along with simple solutions to get back on the road to success.

Mistake: Making the Wrong Connections
Many new business owners are misguided by their elementary entrepreneurial intuition, which tells them that the larger the spectrum of consumers the better the chance of sales. While reaching out to the masses is important, the key to establishing connections with potential customers is to focus on your target consumer – i.e. the demographic that your product/service was intended for.

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US Businesses Struggle to Utilize Social Media Marketing

Despite the fact that social networking sites were originally created to facilitate communication between people around the globe, they have morphed into a powerful, free tool for business marketing. And since companies like Facebook and Twitter were founded in the United States, it’s natural to assume that Americans are the ones who are using these tools to the greatest advantage. But according to a new survey from Regus, the US actually is behind the global average when it comes to using social media to attract customers.

Just 35 percent of companies in the US say they have garnered new customers via social networking, compared to a global aver of 40 percent. The US ranks eighth behind established global players like Germany and China, as well as emerging economies like India and Spain. With 38 percent of small businesses and 27 percent of large corporations currently using social media, it certainly isn’t a secret here in the US, which begs the question: why are we so ineffective at using it?

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How Do Social Media Sites Make Money?

From small businesses to international corporations, everyone is looking to capitalize on social media to expand their clientele and promote their business. One of the main draws of various social media sites is the fact that they are free, which is pretty amazing considering Facebook alone has over 500 million users. As you can imagine, creating efficient software that performs flawlessly on this scale is a labor-intensive task requiring a full team of individuals. And since these social media sites are free, the obvious question then becomes how do these companies stay afloat, let alone turn a profit?

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Improve Your Facebook Page and Increase Fans with Simple Equation for Success

Gather round business owners, social media newbies and not-so-savvy computer nerds – this is something you’ll want to hear. Do you find yourself lost, frustrated or just plain overwhelmed by the concept of social media? Do you struggle to integrate such platforms into your online business? Well, prepare yourself a dose of good news.

According to a recent case study, the key to unlocking a successful Facebook page is as simple as believing in your cause and exhibiting that faith throughout your marketing plan.

The subject of the study was the Facebook page of the California State Parks Foundation and the results were jaw-dropping. In just 14 days (plus media coverage) the foundation’s fan base jumped from 517 to 33,000 people.

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