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Why Free Website Builders can be bad for Your Small Business

When an offer mentions the word “free,” it is not uncommon for a small business owner to get excited – particularly when free means something of value to them and their small business (such as website improvements and/or online marketing assistance). There have been countless free website builders that have come and gone, and that’s one of the main reasons why you will want to be careful in choosing a free website builder. This blog idea was submitted to us by one of our office-space tenants who spent months cleaning up the problems he had after using a “Free Website Builder.” They told us that they now believe the only thing free they can count on as being truly free, is the free coffee, tea or filtered water they get at our office space. So, we decided to look into the proble...

Be Clear What Deliverables you Expect From Freelancers and Vendors

One of the biggest problems that occurs between a small business and a freelancer is that instructions were not made clear enough from the onset – and what was eventually delivered (called deliverables) were not what the business expected or needed. As a small business owner you know what you want – but you may not have been clear enough with the freelancer regarding specifically what you need from them in he first place. One of our virtual office clients decided it was time to re-brand and hired a graphic artist to come up with a number of design concepts. The look and feel of the concepts were great, but the final deliverable files were not useful to them because the format was wrong. While the designer was wrong to give unusable files, the client had not given them the specifications an...

Being Late is bad for Your Small Business

This past Friday I ran into an one of our office space tenants while in the kitchen getting complimentary coffee at Telsec Business Centres. She was visibly upset. Upon asking her the problem, she told me that a salesman from a potential new vendor was an hour late – and the particular meeting room she had booked was not available for another hour. Her problem was not with the business centre, but with the guy who showed up late and did not call. Had he called to say he was going to be late, she would have immediately re-booked the particular meeting room she wanted for a later time. As a small business owner, it is extremely unprofessional to be late for a business meeting – even if you are the customer. Not informing the person you are meeting with that you are running late might not jus...

Are you Using Conversation Marketing Without Knowing it?

Inspired by an article written by Sarah Burke of GetSpokal.com about Conversation Marketing, we wanted to talk more about how your small business uses – or should use – conversation marketing. Are you talking TO your customers or WITH them? A conversation is really a two-way communication. So, if you are just talking to your customers, you may not be communicating with them. Having a conversation involves both sides listening to the others’ point of view. Far too often a salesperson will anticipate a rejection and have a scripted response ready, but that is not a conversation either. Many small business owners may often believe that they are communicating with their customers, but in reality they are not actively communicating – they are just ‘talking at’ their customers....

Why Small Business Owners Send or Receive Referrals From Competitors

There are times when goodwill between competitors can go a long way, not only in terms of healthy competition, but in the eyes of your customers. When you are too busy to fit the customer’s time frame or faced with a challenge or demand that you cannot satisfy, referring them to a competitor who can satisfy their immediate needs will earn you credibility in the eyes of that client. That client will most likely come to you rather than your competitor with his or her next order. It is not just direct competitors that you need to get to know and send referrals to, but people in your industry who offer something different or an alternative to your product. For example, when a “Steel Roofing” company has a customer who cannot afford their product, they often recommend a good t...

What Kind of Learning Should you as a Small Business Owner be Doing?

One of the bigger themes of many small business blogs and advice givers it to keep learning. But what does that really mean? What do you as a small business owner need to learn? Learn more about your own product or service. Sounds simple, but after the initial launch of a new product or service, many small business owners forget what goes into accessing raw materials or the platform they are delivering it on. Learning more about the innovations in the manufacturing process of your product or the raw materials, can help you learn about finding new ways of improving your product offering. Watch what your competitors are doing. You may not want to copy or duplicate what your competitors are doing, but learning about how and what they are doing could help improve your processes, or even be a w...

Tips on Continuing to be a Successful Small Business Owner

Small business owners are always searching for ways to stay successful by constant innovation and introducing new products or services. But sometimes it is not that simple. We have compiled a list of things to do and things not to do that have worked for many small business owners who want to continue their success. While they might not directly speak to your small business, the overall concepts should speak volumes to you as a small business owner. Success is not achieved overnight and it may take time to see results. Experiencing the success of launching a new product or service may often take as long as it did to launch your new business in the first place! Patience is too often forgotten when a small business tries to introduce a new product or service. The fact is that customers may p...

Small Business Owners can Choose to Hire Employees or Contractors

When a small business owner starts to see a need for more people to work within his or her business, they are faced with the dilemma of hiring an employee or contracting the job out to a freelancer. Both situations have their advantages and disadvantages. The hard part is deciding which is best for your small business. Before exploring the pros and cons of using a contract worker for your small business, you should check to see the laws in your country regarding contractors. In Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency sees a contractor as an employee if you are the only company they work for. If hiring an employee, consider that an employee is more likely to view your company as offering potential job security. Therefore they are more likely to invest more of their energy into furthering your com...

What is the Coffee Situation at Your Small Business Office? What is it Costing You?

Look around any office space of a business, large or small, and you will see either coffee mugs or paper coffee cups on many of the desks. Coffee is a large part of the business environment, but some business owners often do not consider what it is costing them when they do not provide coffee in the office on a regular basis. Some businesses offer their staff free or subsidized coffee in the office as a perk (no pun intended) of the job. Unless they are using a quality office coffee service, the coffee can be “hit or miss.” When a small business owner offers a coffee maker and the supplies to go with it, the quality of the coffee depends on the person whose job it is to make it that particular day. Unless the person making the coffee each time it runs low is the same person, th...

Keeping up With Your Small Business Content When you are Running out of Ideas

In some of our previous articles about blogging and content creation, we have mentioned about keeping your content relevant to your customers and followers. In other postings we have mentioned that the key to keeping your audience is keeping up your blogging and social comments, not letting too much time pass between them. This is not always easy, as sometimes you just cannot come up with ideas for your content that you have not already posted. In a recent blog, we advised small business owners not to try to follow trends, but to build on their previous successes. This might not be as true when it comes to what blog and social media content you may want to create. But you you always want to be current and relevant in the content you are providing to your followers. The last thing you want ...