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Internet marketing is not what it used to be. Not so long ago, it was thought by many established technical entrepreneurs that you could build up the fan base for your Internet service, and turn the popularity into cash.
This is no longer the case, and it’s not as easy to move from Likes to generating a profit.
Startups like Pinterest, Tumblr and Foursquare are now beginning to notice the bind that they’ve managed to squeeze into. Unless they were set up with some sort of monthly payment plan, quick profit with minimal effort takes the form of an advertising move.
Some of these startups have resolved to free themselves from the bind, however. Tumblr is expected to bring mobile advertising into its marketing strategy. This comes but a few months after users were afforded the option of buying more desirable post placement.
Though, Pinterest seems to be taking a slightly different approach. Like Facebook, Pinterest will now afford marketers viewer demographics, and a running tab of their most popular posts, and this takes the stance that viewer activity is valuable to Pinterest users. Assuming you could then turn the activity into profit, you could see a substantial return.
As web-marketing tools become more popular, they drive the price of established services down, which puts a serious hold on established services’ ability to turn a profit.
Another reason that Tumblr and Pinterest may be having trouble connecting the dots is because someone else is pointing them out on the map. Instead of focusing on direct marketing strategies, Foursquare is now providing location data to affiliated companies. Internet business like Path, Vine, Instagram and Evernote, as well a multitude of other location-based features are run by Foursquare.
Many entrepreneurs find this to be extremely clever. Foursquare has chosen to leave the direct marketing ring, and turned itself into a business to business web-tool. Through Foursquare, companies can request location data and retrieve it, making the web-tool an extremely valuable small business asset.
Still, Facebook is already using location data, though in a different template. Either way, it is predicted that it may replace Instagram in the near future. It is also important to note that the data revolution could drive down the profits of individual companies, like Tumblr and Pinterest, as more of the same means more competition. Small business owners should be able to rise above this. By the time the first consumer is aware that a marketing trend has begun to take shape, the small business owners who intend to stay in business will have long moved onto something else.
Meetings don’t have to be boring for achievement of set goals. The importance of formal meetings cannot be over emphasized and this implies that measures and methods of making them to be maximally productive must always be sought. They are to ensure that participants are actually willing to be part of the team due to the fact that they enjoy.
- Avoid sitting down
- Be the boss of the meeting
- Have some kind of filter list
- Have some fun
- Reward team members
- Value every persons input
- Develop a culture with your participants
Standing in meetings make people go straight to the point and avoid wasting time on unnecessary discussions because of the discomfort of having to stand long hours. It is also likely that contributions will be mentioned in details to prevent the possibility of revisiting what is already done. Walking is also very effective especially for the people who have difficulties facing others squarely which most of the time hinders their productivity.
This method calls for some sort of measured control without being over bearing. It calls for the ability to act like a choir master where you are able to control the varying emotions and reactions of the different participants in the meeting. This ensures that all participants maintain their calm and keep tolerable levels of understanding. This is a sure way of enhancing understanding despite the fact that opinions could be conflicting.
This is a sheet where you record all the upcoming suggestions and discussion items. This will ensure that you remain within the limits of the set agenda and not wander away and end up discussing non related issues thus achieving no goal. The listed important topics could be scheduled for the next meetings.
Jokes are a great way to lighten peoples moods irrespective of how serious they are .meetings are usually intended for finding solutions and action plans. This does not mean that participants should not laugh for actually doing this could release tensions that come with the pressure of meetings and deadlines and should be encouraged.
The achievement of solutions through meetings should not be taken for granted. Organize some kind of celebration for all participants to show your appreciation of their input and results. This will challenge them to perform better next time since they know they are recognized.
This calls for understanding especially of the fact that people are differently and so is there response. Do not lock anyone out just because they take time to contribute. Instead encourage all people to chip in by making it a round table discussion and not one man based.
Coming up with routines that must be done in the meeting goes a long way in fostering a sense of belonging. Thing like specific rules on time that is well known by every participant will increase the meetings effectiveness. You could come up with penalties for late comers to discourage the behavior.
Presentation skills are an essential facet to business operations, no matter how trivial. This is as much a universal truth as is the sun rising in the east, but while countless people accept its ideology in the corporate world, few truly understand it.
Presentations have a tendency to hide behind convenient labels, like “promotion.” In truth, if you have a desire to be the brightest star among your co-workers, you must present yourself in a way that ‘promotes’ your highest abilities. At its core, setting out to win your boss’ approval is nothing more than a presentation of your strengths.
Should you find yourself in a position where profit rides on the communication of important ideas, it is important to bear in mind that presentations can make or break a multi-million dollar sale. Corporate sponsors place a high responsibility on presenters, for their financial success is dependent upon the organization and subsequent communication of key points.
One of the leading causes of stress in the workplace is misinformation. Sharpening up your presentation skills will ultimately play to your advantage, as in order to lead a team, one must possess extraordinary communication skills.
While many presenters fail to communicate key points before losing the interest of their target audience, still others have managed to reduce 30 minutes of information to as little 90 seconds. Learning to identify key points saves time not only in presentation but in preparation, leading to further stress reduction and better communication.
In order to lead a team in the achievement of a common goal, one must be able to effectively communicate a singleness of purpose in a way that informs, motivates and calls to action. Here, communication of key issues becomes tantamount to professional success.
While in terms of advertising, presenters are the men and women behind the curtain, scrutiny from the media determines the validity of key points. It is an unfortunate reality that your reputation is dependent upon what you do and don’t do in front of the camera, but it is a reality that you must bear in mind.
While becoming a better presenter may not find you in the corporate job that you’ve always dreamed of, it may or may not give you a leg up over the man or woman standing next to you. What do you have to lose?
A study conducted in 2008 by the Corporation for National and Community Service indicated that corporate volunteerism is essential to the long-term success of large and small businesses. However, most small business owners are hesitant to participate in volunteer programs because their main priorities are to minimize their operational costs and increase their market share. Keep reading to find out why such entrepreneurs would be better off by choosing to be volunteers.
1. An Opportunity To Get To Know Your Community Better
Most volunteer programs aim to benefit the surrounding community. By volunteering in such a program, it would be a great opportunity for you to understand the community within which you operate your business. As such, you would be able to identify any unfulfilled needs that the community has and which your business can help it to fulfill.
2. It is a Step Towards Creating and Developing Your Business Culture
One of the easiest ways to create a good business culture is through teamwork, which is a vital key of all volunteer programs. By engaging in these programs, small business owners can improve their employees’ teamwork skills. Ultimately, teamwork usually improves the morale of employees and this is likely to impact on your business positively. Allowing your employees to make suggestions on which volunteer programs the business should support develops their sense of pride in the business culture.
3. It Creates a Positive Reputation for Your Business
Participating in volunteer program enables the community to get to know both you and your business better. The community will most likely appreciate your work ethic if you are willing to contribute your time towards nonprofit generating programs. When you decide to volunteer, it is important to ensure that you do a great job since this will build a good reputation for you and your business.
4. You Can Foster a Mutually Beneficial Relationship with The Community
Businesses that support their local communities are more likely to receive support from them. It is barely possible for small businesses to thrive if they operate within communities that are struggling. By participating in volunteer programs, you would be able to contribute towards building a strong and vibrant community. You can also network with other small business owners whose experiences can enhance your business skills.
5. You Can Gain Some Tax Advantages
Some volunteer programs enable business owners to donate their goods and services. If you take part such programs, you may be eligible for tax relief from the government.
6. You Are Able Get Free Advertising
When you volunteer, the organization/program you join will mention your business name during all its activities and meetings.
7. Through Volunteering, You Can Integrate Good Values into Your Business
All businesses, whether big or small, have a corporate responsibility to make a difference locally or internationally. You can fulfill this responsibility by participating in programs that solve various problems within the community.
Economist Milton Friedman once remarked that as long as a business enterprise operates within the confines of the law, it has no other responsibility except to make money. And while it is certainly true that a business cannot operate for long without turning a profit, Friedman’s dictum strikes many as somewhat overly generalized and devoid of ethics. But do ethics even play a role in the affairs of business”
Corporate enterprises are technically considered as people in the US, with all the rights and obligations extended to citizens as human beings. But certainly most people conduct their lives and relationships with others with something more than a sense of their purely legal obligations on how to navigate each interaction. So the question remains: should businesses feel compelled to do the same”
Getting There from Here
Getting There from Here
The fact is that most large corporations started out as the quite small fruit of one person’s passionate belief in a product or service. Long before a balance sheet enters such a person’s head, they have consumed themselves with the benefit their idea will bring to other people, and how best to deliver this benefit to the community at large.
Steve Jobs, when once asked to reflect on Apple becoming the most profitable company in the world, said that making money was the last thing on his mind when he started developing electronic devices. He simply wanted to build apparatuses that worked, and looked, better than any others available.Jobs perspective demonstrates that the driving force behind most small businesses doesn’t seem to reflect the view of Milton Friedman and has much more to do with the ethics of serving, rather than simply profiting.
The Key to Success
Webster defines ethics as the moral principles that govern a person’s, or a group’s, behavior. But do ethics in business pay” Business consultant Peter Drucker thinks they do. Drucker points out that most small businesses that view clients as neighbors, as well as customers, tend to survive and prosper, while those that see people simply as markets tend to struggle.
Drucker has identified two key components to small business success: provide something useful, and do no harm. Those are certainly two fundamental elements of being a good neighbor, too. The bottom line to small business success may be as simple as bringing a sense of personal ethics to the enterprise.
It sure worked for Steve Jobs.
Small businesses are experiencing slower sales growth, and most business owners have a pessimistic outlook of the economy. This is according to a recent survey carried out by PNC Financial Services Group Inc. The survey, which sampled about 1700 small business owners, shows that only 23% of them plan to hire new employees in the coming 6 months.
The percentage represents an increase of 3% compared to 2011, but a decline by 5% from the numbers in spring. The number of respondents who think the national economy will become worse increased by 14%.
The majority of respondents were concerned about the impact of the elections on their business. President Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney addressed the concerns of small business owners during their campaigns. The two leaders debated on small business issues and both of them supported cutting taxes. What was clear is that both Obama and Romney recognized the importance of small businesses in the economy and vowed to pursue initiatives that would spur their growth.
Back to employment matters, the job market has been showing modest gains. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month. In October, more than 170,000 new jobs were added. However, the rate of unemployment rose from 7.8% in September to reach 7.9% in October.
With the Obama administration back in office, it remains to be seen how the business environment for will be like. The major concern of most of the respondents surveyed is sales. According to Sageworks, the sales volume from SMBs is growing but at a decreasing pace. Another concern of most SMBs is access to capital. While not many small businesses are looking for financing, those that need the funds find it difficult to get them.
When you think of Thanksgiving, the things that come to mind probably include turkey, family, pumpkin pie, and backyard football games after dinner. You might be wondering if it’s appropriate to celebrate this holiday at work, if in today’s world it would be just another hassle to plan. Even though Thanksgiving might not traditionally lend itself to an office party, it can raise your employees’ morale and boost their motivation. Here are some reasons to consider celebrating Thanksgiving at your office.
The word gratitude means to be thankful for and appreciative of the blessings in your life. It is not just a vague emotion, however. It is also an action. When you and your employees take the time to reflect on your blessings in your jobs and your lives in general, you’ll find that the world seems a little brighter, a little kinder. You’ll notice that in your interactions with others, you’re a little more understanding. This can work wonders in your relationships with each other and with your customers.
We all have hectic, fast-paced lives. Taking a little time out to be thankful for what we have and to celebrate the often-overlooked and -misunderstood. Thanksgiving holiday is even more important in this environment. When you give your employees the chance to slow down and appreciate what they have (and, indeed, show them that they are appreciated in return), you’ll reap the benefits. Practicing gratitude can renew their (and your) spirits.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Money is crucial to the success of any small business. Whether you are a one-person operation or have a few employees, there will be bills to pay, employee salaries, equipment and supplies to pay for and other expenses. These expenses can stifle the growth of your business and thus it makes sense to find financing early on. Here are five top ways of financing your small business:
If you are running a very lean startup, your personal savings can kick start the business and help it stay afloat. There are examples of successful businesses that have made it through with bootstrapping. If you are thinking of starting your own business, start saving for it.
Savings from Family
Your family members can help you fund your business. Some will do it out because of the familial ties they have while others may want to come in as investors expecting a return.
Angel investors are usually wealthy people who believe in your business and would like to help you make it successful by providing funds. An angel investor will expect profits and may want to have a say in the way your business is run.
Venture capitalists (VCs) commonly finance startups. Getting money from a VC can be a lengthy process and you need to have your business facts right. VCs usually consider your business plan, management team and your commitment to make the business a success before providing funds.
Merchant Advance Loans
Merchant cash advances can help your business when money is needed fast, perhaps to pay for a sudden expense. The merchants will usually not look at your credit score to finance you. Merchant loans are usually given to companies that have started seeing some positive cash flow.
When you think of Disney, you might think about amusement parks, animated movies and people dressed in giant plushy mouse costumes.
But have you ever stopped to think about Disney and what their business model could mean to your small business? Namely, what would it be like if Disney ran your office?
If there is anything that the Walt Disney Company knows, it’s to provide a complete and total experience for their customers, not just a product. Actually, they don’t provide anything customers because they don’t refer to them as customers. They’re called “guests” when they visit a Disney Park and the employees are “cast members”. That’s the value placed on everyone involved with Disney, and it’s something your small business might want to consider as well.
Your small business might be very different from Disney, but you can take this total experience approach and apply it.
If you have an office, what are you doing beyond just providing the service that you set out to provide? Think about what your office looks like, how your employees dress and what the materials you send out to customers and potential clients look like. What is the message you send with all of these aspects of your business and how can you streamline them and everything else you do to provide a total and complete experience for your “guests”?
Or if your small business is a shop or service provider, you can apply the Disney principles as well. If customers come to your store to pick up products or items post-service, what is their experience inside the shop? Is it clean? It is inviting? Do you and your employees make customers feel safe and welcome?
Your business succeeds when clients and customers feel like you are looking out for their every need. Disney knows this better than anyone.
About The Author
David Nikolic is the owner of United Virtual Office, a leading provider of Virtual Offices for entrepreneurs and small businesses. A Virtual Office includes an address at a prestigious business location in the US, live virtual receptionists, courier services and more.