Looking to give your small business — and yourself — a productivity makeover? You may want to consider using David Allen’s Getting Things Done, a popular time - and task-management system.
small Business questions
The general premise of an air travel assistance company means that you have to be available whenever people are traveling. That-s all day, every day of the year. Christmas, too. But not everything requires a 24 hour commitment, and I-m trying to start setting some boundaries around that premise.
November 19 is National Entrepreneurs- Day. In fact, this entire week has been declared in recognition of entrepreneurship by Presidential Proclamation. Didn’t have it on your calendar? No problem: We’ve got five ready-made ways for you to commemorate today.
Admit it: As much as your business relies on email for communications with customers and business partners, you probably need to send or receive a fax document at least once a week, and that isn’t likely to change soon. Data from Research and Markets suggests that the fax service industry will reach $2 billion in 2016, a compound annual growth rate of 15.2 percent compared with 2011.
No one likes to waste time, and for small-business owners, wasted time almost always means wasted money.
Is the customer really always right? Ask a few small-business owners whether the cliche is true, and it’ll get refuted by a chorus of “no’s.” Sure, everyone wants to cultivate happy, loyal customers. But the real world includes difficult people, too.
We do a lot of things at Cranky Concierge, but not all the things we do are necessarily things I want us to be doing. The best example of this? Frequent flier award redemption.
Kelly LeFevre loves to make her clients feel happy, pampered, and confident through jewelry. These days, however, LeFevre is feeling the same way. But it has nothing to do with jewelry and other fashion accessories. LeFevre-s Aurora, Illinois-based Kele & Co. is the latest Love a Local Business winner and the recipient of a $25,000 hiring grant from Intuit.
Once upon a time, customers made purchases based on the information that was given to them via merchandising, promotions, and salespeople’s suggestions. Then came the mobile technology boom. Emarketer estimates that by the end of 2012 there will be nearly 116 million smartphone users in the United States. By 2015, that number will exceed 176 million.
By John Calder
Wednesday, January 5, 2005; 7:00pm EST
On January 1, 2004, the "CAN-SPAM Act", short for "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003", took effect. Marketers who send any form of commercial email as defined by the act will need to comply with CAN-SPAM rules in order to avoid legal consequences. The act was designed to reduce unsolicited commercial messages, sent both as email and to wireless devices such as cell phones.
There is of course much debate about how effective this law will prove to be in stopping spam. After all, spammers can easily send their messages from email servers located overseas, in locations beyond the effective reach of US enforcement efforts. Many marketers feel that spam will continue flooding us as ever, while legitimate, opt-in marketers, who want to comply with the law, will have to jump through time-consuming and sometimes expensive extra hoops to be able to send email. In fact, many believe that the act will lead to an upsurge in spam regardless, because it seems to be legal as long as it meets the requirements of the act.
For marketers to comply with the law, they need to follow some simple guidelines provided for in the legislation. Virtually all marketers who run email lists are already in compliance with most of the law. Generally, any business communicating with existing customers or prospects by mail must include in their emails a valid return email address that is active for at least 30 days after commercial email is sent; a physical mailing address, valid and NOT a P. O. Box; and a way for recipients to opt-out of future mailings. In addition, the subject line must not be misleading or deceptive, state in some way the message is an advertisement or commercial in nature, and the marketer must honor opt-out requests. Again, probably none of that is too much different from what you're already doing, except perhaps for the addition of the physical mailing address.
If you send mail from one of the online mailing services, chances are they've already asked you to make necessary changes to comply with the act. But if you run your own autoresponder, have you remembered to add your physical mailing address so that it will be placed on every email you send out? Have you added it to any one-time messages that you may send from the autoresponder accounts that may be included in your hosting account? Have you added it to any scripts that you have that generate email?
If you receive any opt-out requests, you must stop sending email to the requesting account within 10 business days. Again, for marketers using autoresponder software, that usually happens immediately, so no worries there. You may also not sell or lease email addresses of those who opt-out of your mailings without their consent.
Certain email is exempted from the CAN-SPAM regulations. For example, email that is transactional in nature, or that is a "relationship" message, may not be covered. This would include, for example, sales receipts, announcements of product bug patches, change of membership login information, etc. Still, to be safe, it may be best to make sure all of your email communication is compliant. CAN-SPAM is vague about the rules as they apply to existing and inactive business relationships, and when such relationships end.
Now that you're aware of the act's requirements, you'll want to review every email you send, from every site you own, to comply with the act and avoid the severe civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance. This article isn't intended to be legal advice - see a professional for that.
About the Author
John Calder is the owner/editor of The Ezine Dot Net. Subscribe Today and get real information YOU can use to help build your online business today! http://www. TheEzine. Net RSS feeds are available.
In every business, there-s always pressure to increase revenues. Looking at our business, I realized we were in a tough spot in that regard. If we decided to raise rates, we would probably kill demand, but we did need to increase the amount of money that was coming in the door. So we started looking beyond the customer for revenue, and so far, it-s working well in more ways than one.
You’ve just returned from a weeklong vacation, with the tan to prove it. Now it’s time to get back to business. Don’t let a pile of to-do’s overwhelm you. Stop for a moment and pat yourself on the back: The fact that you took a break will likely benefit both you and your company.
As part of our innovation efforts at Intuit, we are working hard to partner more with the outside world. One of the groups that we feel particularly strong about is the startup and entrepreneur community. Last year, we organized the first Entrepreneur Day where we invited 40 companies out of more than 100 applicants to meet with senior business leaders and propose how they could collaborate with Intuit to develop new products and services. Quite a few of those companies were invited for further discussions after Entrepreneur Day, resulting in several trials, most of which are still ongoing.
Running a small business often requires shifting your competitive spirit into overdrive. But there can be equal value in stopping for a moment to offer advice and guidance to your peers, particularly new entrepreneurs who want to join you on the fast track, but are struggling with challenges you’ve already overcome.
After the long, difficult process of actually hiring someone culminated in, well, hiring someone, you might think that things got easier. Not so fast.
Susan Zimmerman operates a retail store on Cape Cod and a small tech-consulting business in Wellesley, Mass. Lori Richardson does sales consulting from her Boston office and started a successful Seattle networking event. Melody Biringer organizes networking events, celebrates women’s success in city guidebooks, and runs Biringer Farm Products, a specialty food company in the Pacific Northwest. All three serial entrepreneurs spend much of their spare time helping other small businesses grow.
It’s official: Google+ is big and poised to get bigger. Google recently announced that its social network had surpassed 100 million users just nine months after its launch, and that means the value to small-business owners is both high and on the rise.
Tired of hearing about health care? It would be tough to blame you. The headlines seem to trumpet nothing but certain doom: skyrocketing costs, prolonged political battles, and tens of millions of uninsured Americans.
So you decided to outsource yourself — and your small business — to someplace outside the United States with better weather, nicer scenery, and lower overhead. But even though you’ve escaped the typical 9-to-5, Uncle Sam still wants a piece of you.
The funny thing about Evernote and other so-called note-taking apps: Most don’t support note-taking of the actual handwritten variety. That’s a shame, because discreetly jotting down shorthand during a critical client meeting trumps pounding away at an awkward virtual keyboard every time.
By Dean Phillips
Monday, November 22, 2004; 7:50pm EST
I know I'm going to ruffle a few feathers with this article, so let me just say right now that all MLM marketing (AKA network marketing) companies are not scams. Obviously, there are some good, reputable companies out there.
However, there are so many bad ones that I'm compelled to lump the entire industry together. If you're thinking about getting involved with MLM, my advice would be, DON'T!
However, if you're bound and determined to test the waters, then, please take this one bit of advice: Before getting involved with any MLM company, investigate, investigate and then, investigate some more. Don't believe and get caught up in the hype.
Ahhhh yes, the hype! After you attend a MLM rally, you and your MLM colleagues are as fired up as a pack of hungry dingo's, ready to jump through burning hoops and run through concrete walls! And then reality sets in. You're buying all of these products, but you're really not selling a whole lot.
In fact, other than the products you sold to a few family friends and co-workers, you really don't have a lot to show for all of your efforts, now do you?
That's why I'm so against MLM. Because it's simply not for the average person. And let's be honest here, most people are average. And unless you have outstanding sales ability and/or people skills, you're simply not going to make any money with MLM.
In additon, the market is so completely over-saturated, most of the time, you'll find that the people you're trying to sell to are other distributors, and if you're all trying to sell products to each other, that ultimately means nobody is making any money!
Well, somebody is. A handful of super salespeople way, way up there up at the tippy top of your upline! If you listen closely, you can hear them all saying in unison "KA-Ching!" Want to borrow my binoculars, so that you can see them?
About the Author
Dean Phillips is an Internet marketing expert, writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Questions? Comments? Dean can be reached at mailto: dean@lets-make-money. net
Make Money Online! Internet marketing expert, Dean Phillips will teach you how to make money online, starting today...Guaranteed! For details just visit my website. Website: http://www. lets-make-money. net
You may have heard of “marketing automation” before, but what does the term really mean? Should you turn your outreach efforts over to a robot? Not exactly.
Business is booming at your restaurant or retail store, and you’re considering opening another location. But doing so will require a significant investment. Are you biting off more than you can chew?
You’re ready to invest in your small business by buying some online advertising. Where should you spend your money? It depends on your needs and what you want to accomplish. Here’s a look at three types of ad campaigns to help you determine which one may best suit your company.
More small businesses are picking up mobile technology than ever. By the end of 2012, nearly half of companies with fewer than 500 employees will use a smartphone, notebook, or tablet computer to run some part of their operation, predicts technology industry organization CompTIA. And although adoption will be slower among companies with fewer than 10 people on staff, close to one-quarter will go mobile during that same time frame.
Perhaps you became an entrepreneur, at least in part, thinking you’d have more freedom and control over your work schedule. Perhaps you’ve since discovered that sneaking away from the office is even harder to pull off now that you’re running the show. However, it isn’t impossible — and finding a way to free yourself, even if it’s just to work remotely, has very real benefits. Here’s how to get away from your desk, at least for a little while.
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and use Google AdSense to make a few extra bucks on your website or blog. How do you do incorporate the advertising without alienating your audience — especially when you have no idea which ads will pop up at any given time? Having weight-loss products constantly appear on a body-acceptance site or a prime rib promo show up on page for vegans isn’t cool, and neither is promoting your biggest competitor. Here are a few tips for running AdSense without hurting the user experience.
James Chartrand, a copywriter from Montreal, built a reputation as the chief “man” behind the writing and web design firm Men With Pens. Frequent blogging on both that site and the popular Copyblogger won over a large and loyal audience, so Chartrand wasn’t sure what would happen to the business with the announcement that “he” was actually a “she” in December 2009.
Detroit’s Eastern Market bustles with funky retail stores, a farmer’s market, and live music on Saturdays. But as Brittney Mabry and her family strolled through the popular outdoor shopping district in 90-degree weather one afternoon last summer, they realized that it didn’t have an ice cream shop.
Just when most people thought print journalism was going down the tubes, with newspapers consolidating and laying off reporters and readers turning to the internet, journalist Michael Stoll launched the San Francisco Public Press. The independent, nonprofit broadsheet, which sells for $1 a copy, follows what Stoll calls a “new model for local news.”
Jason Falls is a social media expert, founder of the consultancy Social Media Explorer, and co-author of No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing. By offering straightforward explanations of how social media can accomplish what businesses want — growth and more money — Falls has carved out a niche in the social media industry. He (@JasonFalls) now has more than 42,000 Twitter followers.
Fans love businesses in Central Point, Oregon and Anthony, New Mexico!
A former pro athlete turned author, speaker, and angel investor, Lewis Howes (@LewisHowes on Twitter) sustained a career-ending injury and wound up sleeping on his sister’s couch before starting a seven-figure business. He’s hosted hundreds of webinars and authored two books on the power of LinkedIn. Howes also founded The Sports Executives Association and co-founded Inspired Marketing, which offers online courses on using social media and creating successful online businesses.
Mac or PC? The new MacBook Air is a sleek and shiny temptress, but when you’re running a business, you need to think about more than your computer’s coolness quotient. You want a machine that works for you and your small business. Before you purchase a new system, ask yourself the following questions:
Laura Fitton (@pistachio on Twitter) co-authored Twitter for Dummies and founded oneforty, a social business marketplace that helps users discover tools to help streamline their social media presence. Here, she shares her tips on sharing useful content and creating an effective online presence.
While the office water cooler is known as being a place for casual conversation and juicy gossip, its main purpose is to provide the water we all need to remain healthy and productive. In fact, the human brain is made up of 85% water, and mild dehydration (a loss of just 1 to 2 percent water volume) can lead to headaches, confusion, fatigue, and negative moods. You can keep yourself alert and in the game by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
Pamela Slim is a business coach, author, and speaker who helps frustrated employees break out of their corporate jobs to start their own businesses. Her blog Escape From Cubicle Nation ranks among the top career and marketing sites, and her similarly titled book is selling well, too. She has nearly 24,000 Twitter followers.
Back to school is big business, representing the second largest consumer spending event outside of the holidays, according to The National Retail Federation (NRF). The best news for small business owners is that you don’t have to actually be in the back to school market to piggyback on this cash cow. Here’s how you can jump on the craze whether you-re selling backpacks and pencils or not:
Everyone has a bad experience with a company from time to time. But what if that company is your business and that customer just won’t stop blabbing about it all over the internet? When an unhappy customer — or, in some cases, an unethical competitor — starts badmouthing your operation online, you’ll need to take action fast or risk seeing your profits drop. Here’s how to make sure your business’s Google results are always glowing.
Since the day we opened for business, we-ve used good old-fashioned accounting software sitting right here on my desktop computer. But things are changing, and I want to get more people involved with accounting. That opens up a ton of new options, but I-m not quite sure which way to go.
Chicken farmers know the drill: It-s easier - and more profitable - to trade eggs or hens as barter for other types of food than it is to sell them at market.
Renowned “search expert” Danny Sullivan leads the news and information site SearchEngineLand. com, which covers Google, SEO, pay-per-click, and just about everything else related to search engines and search marketing. We talked with the Newport Beach, Calif.-based journalist about building a Twitter following, setting up a search engine-friendly website, and gaining insight at the Search Marketing Expo.
We-ve already tipped our cap to some of the brilliant entrepreneurs of the big screen. Television has created some memorable small businesses over the years, too. Some of them might not make recommended models for your business, but they should at least be good for a laugh (or cry).
Most people know Ann Handley much better as @MarketingProfs. At least, that’s her Twitter handle for over 100,000 followers.
A blog is a useful - and almost essential - marketing tool for almost any small business: Good blogs offer customers insight into your company and all the exciting things that are happening there, and they demonstrate and share your knowledge about your industry while building community.
Deciding to go into business for yourself can mean working hellishly long hours, investing huge sums of money you may never see again, and spending more time wooing potential partners and customers than you spend with your own family.
Your business may already be recycling a full range of materials. Paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal are all generally collected by commercial recyclers, and making receptacles for these materials accessible to your staff makes it easy for them to do their part in reducing your waste stream.
By Stephen Brennan
Wednesday, January 5, 2005; 6:30pm EST
Fighting Fire With Fire Won't Douse The Fire by Stephen Brennan In the last few weeks, I have noticed an increase in tools or methods devised exclusively to fight the Spam fight. I applaud the originators ideals and their ingenuity, but I must voice my concern about the way in which such concepts can often backfire, sometimes in the nastiest of ways. I abhor spam. I hate it with a vengeance and would do ALMOST anything to rid the Internet of it entirely. The worldwide financial consequences alone run into billions of dollars annually.
It is comparable to the disruption that the propagation of viruses causes and is responsible for creating a completely independent niche market for the sale of tools and software programs designed simply to combat it. Although, I would imagine that even those engaged in this area of marketing would also welcome it's demise, however unlikely it might seem at the moment. The latest is a web page that we are all being asked to link to which, as I understand it, will result in the email addresses listed on that page, which are 'known' spam originating addresses, being inundated with so much spam, generated by their own 'spiders' (entities which crawl the Net looking for email addresses) that their data will be effectively useless due to the spider being effectively sent on an endless 'loop'.
A simple but brilliant little idea - But is it safe? What if an innocent email address should find it's way onto that web page? What if one is maliciously placed there? Does that email address get caught up in the vicious circle of unsolicited email? Maybe not, but even if the method precludes this particular 'backfire', more to the point, is it right to spam the 'spammer'? If you rob a thief, doesn't that make YOU a thief too, regardless? The fact remains also, there hasn't been a means of stopping spammers that has worked yet.
Will they be somehow able to turn this idea around and use it against the Internet population? I can understand the anger, frustration and the sometimes, sheer desperation that some may feel after having been an especially badly 'bashed' spam victim, but doesn't this type of 'payback' solution smack of 'Internet vigilantism' or 'taking the law into one's own hands' (something that is wrong and dangerous, no matter how justified and tempting it may seem to be)? Apart from the obvious 'dragging down to their level' in which this method results, isn't it illegal? Are the people who have put together this web page and promoted it's use in danger of the authorities deciding that they too, are contributing to the daily plague of spam? I do hope not, as I know their intentions are based in a sense of fighting a huge, common evil.
I heard that the first 'high profile' case against a spammer in the U. S., resulting in a hefty jail term, concluded only last week. I know that the wheels of 'justice' do turn slowly, in almost everything but I believe the reason for that is so that mistakes and more injustices do not result. That is my concern with Internet citizens deciding to, as I said, take the law into their own hands and perhaps overlooking where their actions may backfire, or worse, give the spammer an even more powerful tool with which to assault their victims. I shudder to think what spammers, especially those who fall victim to this new idea, might do if they find the identity or email addresses of the devisor/s of this idea. We have relatively new laws to deal with spam and it's perpetrators.
As I said, there has been, to my knowledge only one 'notable' and 'highly publicized' instance of the law at work, where the Internet community has been able to feel a sense of 'justice' and, yes......payback, revenge, whatever. Give the Law a chance. Again, I do understand the need for action and I know exactly how people feel about those who would spoil one of the communication, information and media marvels of this, and the last century. However, I think we need to, at least, give the law a chance to make a difference before we even think about resorting to such means to dissuade spammers from plying their trade. If to no one else, we owe it to ourselves.
About the Author
Stephen Brennan runs the 'Home Based Business and Affiliate Center'- http://www. online-plus. biz and is the author of 'The Affiliate Guide Book' - The definitive guide to becoming a successful Internet Affiliate (at little or no cost) - available at http://www. ebooks. online-plus. biz.
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