The Best Apps that Makes Small Business Owner's Lives a Little Easier

Nov 30, 2018

For Hiring Employees:

Hiring employees is one of the most difficult things for small business owners. It’s a process that is time consuming and takes a lot of effort, and can cost a business unecessary dollars if they're not sure what they're doing. Wasting hours going through unqualified resumes, or applications through a site that just isn't capturing the right people is frustrating. To save time and energy, business owners rely most on these trusted brands for their hiring needs:

  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Glassdoor
  • For Effective Email Marketing:

    Email marketing has become essential for businesses, as it truly is one of the biggest ways to communicate with your potential customer. It’s a marketing effort that is effective in driving results and isn’t costly. These brands make email marketing easier with great layouts and a user-friendly interface.

  • Hubspot
  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • Effective Payment Methods:

    The payment strategy and the ways you accept payment is so important to a business. Most people usually pay through a debit or credit card, so you want the most trustful and smooth-operating transaction service that makes a good experience for you, and for the consumer. Each of these brands has different offers, so be sure to do your research and pick the best one for your business:

  • Paypal
  • Stripe
  • Apple Pay
  • Ecommerce:

  • Online sales is the way that most of retail businesses are making money. Layout, product viewing, purchase paths and usability are factor into securing a sale, so you want to make sure that youre using a great site or service that helps you capture that sale.
  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • Bigcommerce
  • Customer Relationship Management:

    The relationship you have with your consumers determines how successful your business will be. That’s why it’s so important that you have a database that organizes customer information and keeps it safe. These are some of the most trusted sites for relationship building:

  • Hubspot
  • Salesforce
  • Zoho
  • Website:

    As a business owner you know how important your website is in gaining traffic and sales. You want to make sure that your website is easily accessible and appealing. For some of these sites, you don’t even have to know coding to create a website anymore because there are plenty of website management services that can help you build out the perfect website. The ones most used by business owners are:

  • Wix
  • WordPress
  • GoDaddy
  • Shipping:

    Shipping out products to customers and vendors is important to your business. When people shop online typical one of the things that they look at the most is shipping and handling service. They consider things like cost, time, and reliability. As for business owners, they need to trust these company to deliver these goods in tact and on time. The most trusted shipping brands are:

  • FedEx
  • UPS
  • USPS
  • The End-of-Year Health Check for Your Business

    Nov 30, 2018

    You have made it through another year in business, that’s a great accomplishment! Now you’re ready to start a planning for 2019. Before you dive in, make sure to close out this year with the highest possible sales, clients or profits. The best way to do this is by getting organized, reviewing your businesses performance, and coming up with strategies to capture, improve and increase business.

    Sort Documents

    Now is a good time to organize business documents. This is the time to make sure you have all your business and tax forms in order and to get rid of any unnecessary cluttered piles of paperwork that you have. If you don’t have one already, you should get a tax advisor to help you out. They will be helpful in making sure to sort out anything that could be alarming to the IRS and useful in making sure that you’ve accounted for all deductions.

    Feedback

    The feedback you give and receive from your employees will give you a better understanding of how your business is doing. Although getting feedback from your employees is beneficial, it’s not always easy since some people don’t feel completely comfortable giving their honest opinions. A few ways you can get their anonymous opinions is through surveys or a suggestion box. Providing feedback is just as important receiving it. If you don’t provide it, your employees won’t know how they are doing in their role. If they are not aware then they can not make improvements that could potentially really help the business.

    Say Thank You

    Remember to thank those who are keeping your business in business, especially those who have given a referral. The best way to do this is by doing something personal such as writing them a card, giving loyalty cards, or offer a discount.

    Review Inventory

    Make sure you have accounted for all the inventory that you ordered and sold. If you have a lot of inventory you can plan for markdowns and/or promotions.

    Review Client List

    It’s time to go through your client list and organize it into leads, clients, past clients, and those who are uninterested. Organizing this client list into what they are will allow you get a better understand of how your business is doing, and what kind of marketing is working best for you. The worst thing you can do is waste your efforts on a tactic that unbeknownst to you, isn't working.

    Analyze and Set Goals

    As you look back on the year, did you achieve everything you wanted? Analyzing your past will help you form goals for the future. Look at what your business strengthens were this year and where you fell short. Take the time to also reflect on your mission and vision statement and determine whether you are heading in the right.

    The 5 Kinds of Shoppers You Encounter During the Holiday Season

    Nov 30, 2018

    1. The Coupon Queen

    With a box full of coupons, determination in her eyes and her hands gripped tightly on her shopping cart, she's ready and on a mission. She also brings the store mailer with her to point out sales, and clips extra coupons, making sure to not be slighted by the cashier on any possible discount. Every penny counts with her, and she's sure she knows your store, pricing, and stock better than you do.

    2. The Perpetual Returner

    With or without a receipt they come marching in your store all too frequently, indecisve, acting clueless over the clearly posted return policy of your store. They frequently throw off your store's profit to return ratio, and much too often have difficulty finding the reciepts. They even know your employee line-up and have targeted the "weaker" staff, those who are newer, nicer and entertain the perpetal returner's repetitive questions. You love customers, but you love them more when they keep the merchandise they purchase.

    3. The Confused but Eager One

    They’ve got a lot of questions... a lot of questions. They basically have a store associate shop with them the entire time, and mosey around asking about which sales apply to which racks and where clearly marked items are located. They’ve got questions from the return policy to the lifetime warranty to the way each product is priced, but at least they're nice about it.

    4. The Flustered Mom

    Four children, a husband, five nieces, and three nephews to shop for this holiday season. She’s one of those last minute shoppers, that forgot what day it was almost every day, but woke up three days before Christmas realizing it was time to go shopping.

    5. The One-Stop Shopper (the one that cleans out your inventory)

    They shop for the holidays, but reluctantly. There's no holiday spirit, just a transparent frustration over the inconvenience of the season, and want to put forth as little effort as possible. So, they come to your store, and buy everything in stock so they don't have to bother going anywhere else. They pretty much account for most of your holiday sales by purchasing so much all at once.

    6. The Eternal Browser

    They will be browsing your store till closing and will probably end up walking out empty handed. They don’t just browse, they try to make a connection to every item they see. They want to see, feel, touch, question and maybe even meditate the meaning of life while perusing your isles as well. You don't even know if they have a wallet.

    Separating Your Business and Personal Accounts

    Oct 29, 2018

    As a small business owner you’ve dedicated your life to your business. Your time, energy and money have all automatically become dedicated to the success of your business, and the lines of your personal life and your business-owner persona have been blurred. But this doesn’t mean you should funnel all your personal finances into your business, or your businesses profits into your personal. From the get-go you should establish two different accounts, a personal and a business account. Besides it being logical, clearly separating business finances and personal money with reduce any issues with the law. It will minimize your chance of a lawsuit, be much clearer to file yearly taxes, and allows for a clearer financial portfolio of your business’ gains or losses.

    Apply for a Business ID (EIN) This is the first step before setting up a bank account. This identification number will protect your business and your personal information. It’s basically a social security number but for your business. It will also prove to the IRS that you are a legitimate operating business.

    Open a business checking and savings account to fully separate your finances. It will allow you to clearly see what your revenue is, your profits, and your losses. Banks have different requirements for opening a business account, so make sure to research and find the one that best fits your wants and needs. The longer you wait to open a business account, the more difficult it will be in the future. Having the two separate accounts will allow you to claim assets. That means in case anything happens to your business, your personal assets can not be seized.

    Opening a business credit card is needed when paying for business expenses. It will allow you to build up credit for you business.This will especially be helpful if you ever need a merchant cash advance or financing for equipment and materials.

    Pay yourself salary, just because you run the business does not mean you shouldn’t get paid for your work, and for personal needs like applying for a mortgage or a car lease you need proof of employment history/salary records. You should be able to have a reportable salary and have the same benefits that your employee’s have. The amount you make should be based upon the revenue you have left after taxes and other business expenses have been accounted for.

    Keep receipts to stay organized. For example, there may come a time when you use your personal card for a business expense, and having this receipt will clarify the purpose of that purchase, and any others in this format.

    Getting Prepared for Small Business Saturday

    Oct 29, 2018

    Sure most of us are excited about Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s Small Business Saturday that entrepreneurs and business owners should get excited about. Small business Saturday was first launched in 2010, and since then it has grown in popularity and become just as significant as Black Friday.

    To small business owners, it’s a day full of opportunity, necessary planning, and the challenge of knowing how much inventory to stock up on. To save yourself from worry, we have come up with a list of helpful ideas that can make Small Business Saturday successful and profitable.

    Know your products/services

    It may sound like common sense, but it’s so important to be well-versed in all your products and/or services. Customers will have questions, especially if it’s their first time coming into your store and purchasing from you. If there’s a story behind your product, make sure it’s told. If it’s pertinent to your product and individuality, then make sure there’s proper signage - people love a good back-story, and it’s a great way to sell the product to those that aren’t sure. Be informed and confident when selling your products, but most importantly be consistent and clear with sales, and overall pricing information.

    Prepare your employees

    Make sure that your employees are well-trained and able to accurately discuss all products and services that you carry. Since this is one of the busiest sale days of the year, everyone in your store should be very well- trained on the register, and brought up to speed on anything that may be rusty to them, like voiding a sale, or how to take percentages off advertised items. These are the kinds of things that can slow down your store when it matters most. Another way you will want to prepare is to have enough coverage for that season, especially that day. When the holidays are near, employees tend to work more hours than usual. Make sure to tell them ahead of time so they can plan accordingly, or hire extra holiday help (and be sure to train them well.)

    Market promotions

    Know far in advance what kind of sales or promotions you’re offering, how you want to advertise and apply them. This day is great for having sales and getting foot traffic into your store, so offering returning customer incentives is the perfect promotion for reaping the rewards after Small Business Saturday is over. You may want to have cards, flyer or a pamphlet printed to give out with every purchase, with your store name, stating the incentive (a percentage off their next purchase, or share on social and get a coupon etc.) and thanking them for shopping.

    Remind customers

    November is the time when we all start getting overwhelmed by the approaching holiday season, so send a friendly reminder to shop small on Small Business Saturday to all your social media followers, a mailing list if you have one, and possibly even advertise locally. Some towns offer a Small Business Saturday event by advertising it and listing all stores participating- so be sure to be on that list if it exists. At the very least, there’s always flyers, facebook or the good old fashioned newspaper to get the word out.

    Confirm Deliveries

    Call your vendors and partners well in advance to make sure that deliveries are still scheduled and confirmed in preparation to stock up for the influx of shoppers. Do an inventory count and check for quality of all the items on your shelves. If new faces enter your store and see dusty old items, broken items or hear that you’ve run out of something they wanted quickly, they won’t recommend your shop to anyone else.

    Plan a partnership

    Since the holidays are all about coming together, it’s the perfect time for businesses to do the same. For example, let’s say you own a boutique. Partner up with the local bakery and offer little sweet treats to your shoppers while they’re browsing your store. Make sure the bakery they are from is properly credited so if customers like them, they know where to find the bakery. The bakery in return could have a flyer near their register about your store, with coupons to hand out to shoppers.

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