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Building Influence Online Can Help Grow Your Business

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs are trying to use social media to get their message out to the masses, but are they actually building influence? Or do they know why they should be building influence? We want to help educate you on why your business should be an ‘influencer.’ Yes, you may be posting on a blog or social media about your product or service, but that is not building influence. In some forums, such as Google+ communities and LinkedIn groups, posting strictly about your product or service and providing a link to your blog or webpage is seen as ‘link dumping’ or ‘spam.’ These practices are frowned upon and can actually have a negative impact on your influence level and your brand. So why should you build your online influence? Well...

How Well do you Know Your Customers? Can you Name Each of Them?

There is a café in Toronto called the True Love Café. From time to time, I will stop in for a coffee on my way into the office. I am by far not a regular, but the owner remembers my name every time I go in. That is what I call customer service. However, knowing your customers and knowing them by name is very different. There is a special skill that many politicians have learned, and that is remembering names and faces. When you are able to address a customer or potential client by their name, they instantly perk up. Dale Carnegie wrote a book in 1936 “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that was inspired by Simon & Schuster senior staffer Leon Shimkin after attending one of Carnegie’s speeches. One of Dale Carnegie’s most important messages was to “re...

How Should Small Business Owners Deal With Holiday Season Stress?

This can be a very stressful time of year for small business owners. Even those who do not celebrate Christmas can get stressed in December and early January. It is almost expected that small retail owners are stressed by the crowds, but they are also stressed by wondering if they will make enough sales to get into the black or make a profit. For non-retail small businesses, the holiday season can be even more stressful. Quite simply, it is because of the holidays that customers and clients have their attention diverted elsewhere. Some clients take extra time away from their offices to get in that Christmas shopping mood or to attend holiday celebrations with employees, friends and family. So having that business meeting or making that business purchase is not at the top of their list of t...

An Entrepreneur Needs to be a Detective

Before entrepreneurs begin working on their business venture, they need to do some detective work. Thinking of starting a business is similar to how you buy a car. You just don’t walk into a random dealership and say you want to purchase a car. You need to do some research before making such an important investment. Bottom line:  You want the car that is best for YOU. The first piece of detective work an entrepreneur needs to figure out, is if there is demand for his or her product or service. If there is a market, who else is in that market and what market share do they hold? Sometimes gathering market and competitive analysis information requires some detective work of talking to experts in the industry – or even potential buyers of the product or service. While looking for demogra...

How Else can you Benefit From Your Competitors?

Your business should be focusing on the niche market that you serve the best – that specific customer group who depends on your products and services. But what stands in the way of serving that niche? Your competitor or your own marketing? Learning how your competitor carves their niche and gets their customers might help you find your specific piece of the puzzle. The market is a big place and that there’s plenty of room for multiple successful companies in any competitive business space. Helping the competition and hopefully leveraging some of their insights can help improve your products by learning about their mistakes and failures. Knowledge is indeed power. It is important to know who the smart people are in your industry, and to learn from them. Do not try to duplicate your su...

Working in a Friendly Manner With Some Competitors Will Help Your Small Business

Every business has its competitors, but picking and choosing who you need to compete with is more important. You could be a local coffee shop that is independently owned and operated, but down the street is another independently owned and operated coffee shop that is also doing a good business. That shop down the street has loyal customers that are not the same as yours, but you consider them competition. Your customers prefer your brew of coffee and their customers prefer theirs. One day a Mega coffee shop chain opens up on the other side of the street. Do you fight both competitors or do you ally with the other independent shop down the street to keep your business? Small business owners and entrepreneurs have heard it a million times – that their business or solution should focus on a n...

Don’t Play the Price Game With Competitors – Outshine Them With Your Product and Customer Care!

The consumer of a product or service that has been deeply discounted in order to get the deal, have to wonder what hidden costs they will incur and and when the price will go up when the deal period is over. If you were leasing office space for rent at a great price for 6 months, do you know what the price will be for the remainder of the term of the lease? These are important things to point out to customers when they tell you they are being offered a great deal by your competition.

Having a Scent Friendly Office

A while back we blogged about having a scent friendly office space. What we did not cover in that blog was the effect that scents may have on customers or potential clients. This past weekend opened the eyes of this blog writer to the effects of scents on visitors. While I was hired to assist a photographer at a rental studio space, I witnessed other people having problems with scents in the workspace. In this case, it was not an individual who had too much perfume or cologne on – it was an automated air freshener that was overacting and putting too much fragrance in the air. At one point one of the models took it upon herself to take the battery out of the device so she could breathe! Yes, workplace and office space odours do happen, but trying to mask them with artificial scents and spra...

Overselling may Lose Business, but Engaging may Gain Customers!

When you see businesses on Internet forums promoting their product or services, sometimes red flags go up because it feels like a commercial – or that their products is being forced down your throat! As a consumer, getting the hard sales pitch can be a turn off. So as a small business marketer, you have to consider how your potential customers are receiving you messages. When it comes to promoting your business online in places like Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, or other social media, you need to know that these social media outlets are not about a place to sell what you are offering, but a place for you to connect with your target audience or to keep up with your peers. Far too many small businesses who are not selling their product or service online try to get buyers to make a purchase of...

What Google Business View can do for Your Small Business

Google Business View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views of your business location from positions along many streets in the world. Now you can have Google Business View come inside your small business and allow your potential customer to explore it. Originally called Google Business Photos, it was initially offered to a few select cities around the United States. More recently, Google Business View has expanded to many different countries and includes photographers in most cities in the United States and Canada. While the program is run by Google, the photography is taken by specially certified photographers (referred to as Google Trusted Photographers). These photographers can take up to 200 panoramas per business location – but as few as...

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