Taking Advantage of the Trends of 2012 in Your Small Business

Well, as a former businessperson in retirement I am often contacted by a small business startups and asked questions about how best to do business in such a dismal economy. In fact generally the questions are accompanied by excuses and complaints. Indeed, just as the economy presents challenges, hardships, and crisis for small businesses, I would submit to you on a reciprocal side it also unveils excellent opportunities at every turn. Indeed I’d like to talk to you about this for a moment if I might.

Is it possible to take advantage of the economic downturn and slow growth economic trends? Is it possible to take advantage of other cost-saving strategies to improve efficient marketing in 2012? Yes it is, and let’s go ahead and talk about this for a moment

Slow Growth Economy

A slow growth economy means your competition is not expanding as fast as it normally would. It also means if you’re starting a new business you’re going against businesses that are well-established, but ones which are also experiencing challenges with cash flow and have been beaten down. If you come into the market hot and heavy, they may not be able to compete, they don’t have anything left in them.

Consumers – Low Cost High Volume Strategies

Gaining market share very rapidly in a downturn economy is pretty easy if you use a low-cost high-volume strategy to gain market share. This also creates an abundance of referrals, and a very large customer base extension to perhaps market segments you would normally not have.

Inexpensive and Over Qualified Labor

Downturns in the economy also mean that fewer people are employed, and that means some top-notch people who are over qualified will be willing to work for you at half the salary. This means you can put together a significant team of experienced employees. When the economy is cooking along very nicely, you will be able to do this.

Deals on Supplies, Inventory, Vendor Assistance

When times are tough and other small businesses are hurting, that means your vendors, suppliers, and those who sell your inventory to you are willing to make deals, give you better terms, and offer you assistance. That’s free for the taking, and it will lower your costs, allowing you to pass those lower costs onto consumers to grow your business.

Low Cost Loans

Right now interest rates are at an all-time low, and if you can qualified to get a business loan, the amount in which you’ll have to pay back later in interest is quite reduced. If you can get the loan, this becomes an advantage to your business. Your competition may not be able to get the loans because they cannot prove their cash flow is adequate enough considering the hardship they’ve had going through during the last recession.

Deals on Business Location Leases

Lastly, right now some retail centers have extra unoccupied space, and they are willing to do deals to fill out the spaces, improve their own revenue, and allow them to keep those business buildings from being foreclosed on. This gives you the advantage in negotiating a good deal on a lease with excellent more favorable terms well below what your entrenched competitors are already paying.

Therefore I ask that you stop complaining, and start using your mind and thinking about how to take advantage of the current economic crisis. Please consider all this and think on it.

Small Business – SEO Basics – Where Do You Begin Promoting Your Business Online?

Many small business make the mistake of beginning with their website when they want to begin promoting their business online. For those who are inexperienced, this would seem the logical place to start. Unfortunately, just having a website is not enough. You must be able to get traffic to the website in order to do business online.

Ideally, you would have consulted with an SEO specialist before having your site built. For most, that is not the case. There is a great deal to learn when it comes to how search engines work and how to get buying traffic to your website. You do not have that kind of time to spend. The logical solution is to hire someone with experience to help you along the way. It does not have to cost a great deal but you do need to spend money on your website to get the full potential from it and to bring your website in front of your prospective buyers.

One of the first things your web consultant will want to do is define who your target market is. This is done through keyword research and market analysis. Once your market is clearly defined and the choice keywords selected, you will be able to make the little changes to your website and all of your promotion materials that will bring traffic to your website. More traffic means more sales.

In a few months, once your website begins to build traffic, your consultant will be able to help you monitor the progress of your success. She will take the time to put together a monthly report so you will be able to see what is working and what is not. Once you see trends of success, you can then tailor your efforts and streamline them into spending more time on what is working and less time on what is not.

Because search engines and traffic trends are ever changing, your SEO consultant will be a valuable asset to your business. Their business depends on staying on top of these trends so you can be sure your website promotion campaigns are as current and effective today as they were in the past. You are busy running your business. You do not have time to spend staying on top of another industry, namely SEO.

Your SEO consultant will take the time to work with you to find a solution within your budget. Even small business, or should I say, especially small business, can benefit from a helping hand when it comes to SEO. This service is not reserved for big businesses. Who knows, when you start getting enough traffic to your website, your small business may just turn into a big business.

Barrier Busters of the Top 6 Most Common Misperceptions of Mobile Small Business Apps

The trends are very telling – mobile small business apps is the smart way to reach your audience.

The latest research shows that the primary reason small business continues to place traditional advertising such as their annual yellow page listing is because everyone else does.

With the sharp downward trends of traditional advertising it’s time to go where your audience already is. Let’s examine closer where you can improve a much higher promotional ROI with your mobile apps for small business investment.

First Steps Toward Mobile Apps for Small Business

1. Know your current ROI.

What is your yellow pages (or other print) actual ROI?

How many new customers came to you through your print listing?

What was their average purchase amount?

Does your incremental sales margins cover the cost of your print ad?

2. Start small. Take just say 10-15% of what you are already spending and pilot some of the mobile small business apps.

3. Leverage both. For example, use your yellow page listing to include a promotion that drives traffic to free Facebook business page such as opting in for a discount coupon.

The Most Commonly Perceived Barriers for Mobile Small Business Apps

Anything new and different always has initial barriers.

Let’s explore whether they are fact or fiction so that you can decide if this exciting and fast growing medium is right to consider for your business.

We’ll start with the most common perceptions.

  • Time – Overwhelmed business owners have little time to research new technology for mobile small business apps and consumer tastes.

Fact- Customizable templates offer turnkey solutions for even the most non-technical business owner.

  • Cost – Normal development costs for mobile apps can be costly. Typically $4,000 to $15,000. Don’t forget multiple technology formats and future software changes create additional costs.

Fact – Affordable options are now available for the smallest promotional budget.

  • Branding and Customization – Mobile app templates don’t allow me to express my unique brand, benefits and features for my business.

Fact – Menu driven templates allow you to choose which small business apps functions will engage your target audience the most. You can even choose your own logo, color, look and feel that mirrors your web site and print collateral. This custom menu approach saves you thousands of development dollars.

  • Technology – How could I ever keep up to be sure my mobile small business apps can be viewed on Android, Apple iOS, Blackberry and Windows smartphones. How about all the different tablets?

Fact – Exciting cloud based solutions mean all that back office technology stuff is done for you so your business apps are always easily accessible to your customers, no matter what device is in their hand. More importantly your information is secure.

  • ROI Tracking and Control – How do I keep up with a repeatable tracking system for my mobile apps?

Fact – You select the measurable traffic and customer conversion indicators you want to track and the system does it for you. Once you decide what you want you can maintain your system in less than 15 minutes a day.

  • Type of Business – My business isn’t about connecting with local mobile shoppers like restaurants and Realtors. I don’t see how mobile business apps would work for me.

Fact – If you have a product or service that provides additional value to help people with solutions they need there are mobile business apps waiting for you to connect to. Because of the widespread use of smart phones across all demographic groups (1 billion by 2016 globally!) every business has a sizable audience to reach.

Think outside your local market. With mobile apps it’s time to consider regional, national and even a global reach.

While this article emphasized smart phones don’t forget to include tablet users, another exploding mobile platform many small to mid-size businesses are not effectively connecting with.

With a world gone mobile the time is now to rid all the barriers in helping your mobile small business apps connect with growing your business.