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Is Your Small Business White and Gold or Blue and Black?

Unless you have been away from the news and social media for the past number of days, you have probably seen or heard postings about a dress in the U.K. that is causing controversy over what colours it is. Some people will see a white and gold dress in dark shadow, while some people see a blue and black dress that may be washed out in bright light. Then again, some see one interpretation and then switch to the other. This dress colour controversy has taken over the Internet for the past number of days and has become a viral debate, but what does it mean to your small business? On the surface, it probably looks unimportant, unless you are the designer of the dress or a retailer that is selling them. But the fact that a mere perception of colour can create such a debate shows how online imag...

Losing Focus on Your Small Business

So you had a great business idea – but what happened to it? Did you forget your core idea or did you get distracted? Small business owners are easily distracted by other plans or ideas primarily because of  the media they follow. That great idea they had may have been that “next great idea,” but they got distracted by something that might have sounded better at that particular time. We live in a time where social media influences us on a daily basis, but we often forget about our best ideas and most promising business strategies because social media. Remember, innovations occur because of new ideas that small business owners and entrepreneurs come up with. If you are a true entrepreneur or small business owner, you maintain your focus and continue to make your product or idea b...

Recycle and Revisit Content

As a small business owner you are often faced with the problem of coming up with new content for your blog and social media. But have you considered recycling and re-purposing? Just like the paper you use in your office or that can of cola can be recycled, so can some of your older blogs or social media posts. A great amount of your best work can often be re-written or re-purposed to fill your current needs. Quite often content you previously created can be updated and re-used to serve a new purpose or be re-focused to a different audience. Remember that delivering your message in various ways (especially over time), can not only increase the retention and impact of your message, but it allows you to describe what you are saying from several angles or perspectives. Re-purposing content is ...

Using Technology to Research Your Next Small Business Office

At some point your small business will need to look for an office, whether it is your first office or an office upgrade to bigger space. It may sound simple, but once a small business owner starts his or her search they find out it is not that easy. It is all about coming up with a plan – but first you need to know what it is you are looking for. Use a spreadsheet to come up come up with your list of your office needs and wants, as well as a comparison chart of which office space providers will fulfill those criteria. This will help you establish a short list of office locations, but first you need to do some research. Your first step in finding possible offices for your small business is to do a Google search for office space and find the ones located in the area you want your office to b...

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...