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3 Tips for Protecting Your Brand after a Daily Deal

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Once you’ve released a “daily deal” through a site like Groupon or Living Social, your focus needs to shift immediately from marketing to managing the surge in website traffic and stepping up online customer service. A Cornell University study shows that Yelp reviewers who mentioned “Groupons” and “coupons” gave the sponsoring companies “strikingly lower rating scores” than those who did not participate in an online promotion. Although how much a lowered Yelp rating impacts business is generally unknown, the study cites restaurant-industry findings that “a one-star increase in [an establishment’s] Yelp rating leads to a 9 percent increase in revenue.”

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Should You Become an Agency Subcontractor?

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Marketing your services as an independent creative professional can consume a big chunk of your time, and it’s stressful not knowing when the next project — or paycheck — will come in. One option is to sign up as a subcontractor for a larger agency, such as a PR/marketing or staffing firm, that will sell your services and can help you line up more consistent work. But is subcontracting worth it? Consider these pros and cons before signing on with someone else.

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When Should You Pay for an Extended Warranty?

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Computers and other electronic gear can be expensive — especially if they’re out of warranty when something goes wrong. But is paying extra for an extended warranty when buying new business equipment really worth it? Or are you better off taking your chances? Before plunking down the extra cash, consider these questions:

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Tech Review: Epson WorkForce 635 All-In-One Printer

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Small business offices are often as cramped for space as they are tight on cash, which makes multifunction printers particularly attractive. In this first edition of Tech Review, I’ll be looking at the Epson WorkForce 635 all-in-one, a new device that bundles fax, copying, and scanning capabilities with very high-speed ink jet printing, all in one package.

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4 Customer-Service Lessons from Amazon

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U. S. consumers will spend an average of 9 percent more with a business when they’re impressed with its service, according to a global survey conducted by Echo Research. High-quality customer service not only can convince people to buy more, but also helps companies drum up repeat business and attract new clientele.

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-Microenterprises- Find Financing Support

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Sometimes a little bit of money and know-how are all it takes to turn an idea into a successful microenterprise. Reign Free (pictured, right) was living out of her car in 2005, when a neighbor lent her $7,000 to jump-start her San Francisco Bay Area business. The Red Door Catering has since grown from a one-woman operation to a 20-person company with two locations in Emeryville and Oakland, Calif.

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How to Wage an Effective PR Campaign

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When most people hear “public relations,” they think “press release.” However, an effective, results-oriented PR campaign entails much more than that. Here are five tips for getting print, broadcast, and online news outlets to cover your small business.

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How to Become an Online * - Star

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Dina Kaplan (pictured) was holding down her dream job as a reporter for WNBC in New York City in 2005 when she received a call from a friend, Mike Hudack. He and a few engineers were building a platform that would enable talented producers to showcase * - s online, and they needed her help launching the company. Kaplan soon joined the startup that would become Blip. tv, helping to shape the business, raise capital, and form critical partnerships.

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5 Ways to Make Your Trade Show Booth More Exciting

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Fall has arrived, which means conference and trade show season is hitting full swing. Perhaps your company is one of the many small businesses that will set up a booth in an exhibit hall — and you’re wondering how to get attendees to stop at yours to see what you-re all about. A simple touch is better than a heavy hand, says Linda Musgrove, president of the Florida-based training firm TradeShow Teacher (follow her on Twitter at @tsteacher). Musgrove tells clients that a few very basic pillars will hold up any successful trade-show booth. Here’s her advice:

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Using Twitter and Coupons to Build Customer Loyalty

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twitter to build customer

In 140 characters or less, Parties That Cook shares a regular stream of recipes, events and news for its foodie followers on Twitter.

Occasionally, the San Francisco-based small business, which organizes cooking parties and team-building events, also offers a discount code exclusive to its followers, giving them anywhere from $10 off to 50 percent off the ticket price for its individual cooking classes.

Each time it does, it sees a surge in the number of followers, currently at more than 1,400. On days with promotions, it adds new followers three times faster than on normal days.

“We consider the offer a success because it’s not as much about selling discounted tickets as it is building customer loyalty,” says Crissy Gershey, Parties That Cook’s director of marketing and business development.

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The Harried Lifestyle of the Small-Business Owner

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The lifestyle of a small-business owner often reads like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster: There-s boundless action, enduring suspense, and constant drama. Mix in a few laughs, the obligatory blood, sweat, and tears, and at that point, who needs Bruce Willis? The exploits of a small-business owner can make even the most hair-raising antics on the silver screen seem tame.

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4 Ways to Turn Your Urban Homestead into a Business

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Chicken coops, vegetable gardens, and rainwater collectors are popping up in backyards across the U. S., as a new breed of DIYers known as urban homesteaders strive to become more self-sufficient. From growing their own apples to knitting their own winter sweaters, these resourceful city folk are working to become less dependent on others — and, in some instances, they-re finding ways to turn their efforts into profitable small businesses. Here are four ideas to consider.