What is Important to small businesses across the United States now?

Marketing is probably one of the most important aspects of having a successful business nowadays, especially if you are a business selling directly to the customer.

Depending on what type of business you have, the need to market it can vary considerably.  Not long ago, the prospect of having a website to market your business was a daunting experience, especially if you wanted it professionally done and serviceable.  Now, with the advances in technology, the prospect of NOT having a website means you are losing business or are not getting any business through a medium that can be very profitable for you.

What are then some of the best ways to market your business, get more customers, and establish a web presence for you and your business?

  1. Social Media – Whether you want to advertise using Facebook, Google Ads or any other type of social media, go ahead and do it, but why not try using social media without spending too much in the beginning. Test the waters first, then dive in if you think it may be more beneficial to pay for advertising. Make sure you measure the benefits.  If you are spending too much and getting too little, perhaps that is not the best use of your marketing budget.
  2. Website – If you don’t have one, then you are not taking advantage of one of the most beneficial ways to market your business.  You do not need to know how to code to have a professional looking website, and you do not need to be a giant business to market your business online. There are many websites dedicated to helping you have a website that will market your business.  Even your Local Chamber of Commerce office can have a suggestion or two about managing your website .  Give them a call.
  3. Local Advertising – If your customers are local, it makes sense to advertise in your community first and expand to other places later on. This will also give you an idea about the best way to maximize your marketing budget.

One of the most important factors that as small business owners we tend to forget, is the consistency required to market your business. Having a website, in the beginning, might be monumental for you, but leaving it sitting there with no constant effort on your part is worthless, and relying solely on having a website to market the business is not going to be very beneficial for you.  Marketing your business well requires more than having a website and a Facebook page.  We recommend you invest some time reading about marketing trends that do not require a huge budget.


The Small Business Owner and The House’s Tax Reform Bill


Well, there you have it, folks.  The House’s tax bill, if it passes will indeed benefit the small business owner. If you are indeed a small business owner, this is good news for you.  According to many analysts and bipartisan groups, for the average American taxpayer, the bill changes very little or none at all. But, according to them, the small business owner does have something to look forward to if the bill passes.

To read more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Two big reasons the House’s tax reform bill benefits small businesses

The House tax reform bill passed last week is really not much, if any, of a middle-class tax cut. Even the Joint Committee on Taxation — a bipartisan congressional group — concluded “the vast majority” of Americans (92 percent) will either pay less or see little change over the next five years and after that, only 40 percent of Americans will pay less taxes.

But then again, this bill was never really meant to benefit individuals. It was meant to benefit businesses. And to that end, it succeeds. Big corporations should be very happy with its passage, and so should small firms like mine. Why? Two big reasons.

According to the Tax Foundation, 90 percent of small businesses are pass-through entities . . . like mine (meaning the income produced by the business is accounted for in the owner’s personal tax filings). Research from 2010 has shown that the typical small business owner makes anywhere from $35,000 to $75,000 per year — reasonable numbers even today considering that the vast, vast number of small businesses are merchants, restaurateurs and operators of very small mom-and-pop firms, freelancers and independent contractors. The House bill will (after some last minute changes) allow most of these business owners to take advantage of a tax rate of 9 percent on their first $75,000 of income with a cap of 25 percent on the rest.


7 Marketing Automation Tools That Could Change Your Small Business

As every small business owner knows, wearing a lot of hats is how you keep your company in the black. The problem, of course, is that any business owner only has 24 hours in a day. Cramming business development, customer service, marketing, production, financials, and everything else on one to-do list is a recipe for disaster (and a complete lack of sleep).

The best way to overcome the limitation of time is by automating some of your processes — and marketing is one area ripe for automation. The key for small businesses is finding a tool that can automate many components of marketing at once, and these seven platforms take different approaches to automating marketing processes to make entrepreneurs’ lives easier.


Small Business Saturday

Greensburg Square Merchants urge shoppers to ‘Give us a chance’

GREENSBURG – Saturday, Nov. 25 is “Small Business Saturday.” As the kick-off weekend to the 2017 holiday shopping season begins, retail merchants all over the world prepare to greet the throngs of customers whose shopping habits will either make or break their yearly sales goals. In a tough economy, big “box” stores prepare to happily accept almost any form of payment in exchange for those lofty sales figures so important in determining their futures.

Jeff Emsweller, executive director of the Greensburg Chamber of Commerce was asked about Small Business Saturday. “It’s a great program that was started about three or four years ago by American Express.


 

Small Business Tools For Business

In today’s global market, the small business owner wants and is able to compete with the big companies around the world. By effectively using the marketing tools and management software available to them, they can reach customers across the globe to provide the goods and services that make their business a success.

Marketing and business tools that enable the small business owner to compete in a global market are available to them as well as the big guys.  The difference is the scale and availability of the talent around them.

If you have talented tech people around you, the business dealings you need to do will not be postponed because you need to deal with computers, marketing or software that you may not know anything about.  The talented people you hire to do the technical jobs  are there to make that part of your job a bit easier and hopefully a bit more enjoyable.

Some of the business tools small business owners can use to make their job a bit more enjoyable are internet marketing software that allows you to produce;

  • Email software that allow you to monitor the recipients opening rates, and personalized the emails to reach your intended target.
  • Blogging tools that allow you to produce content in an easy to use manner while keeping the quality to a high standard.
  • Lead generation tools that enable you to reach more customers while keeping in contact with the existing customers you have.
  • A CRM that allows you to keep your customers and the relationships you have formed active while keeping their data centralized.

Nowadays, the relationships the small business forms can be the difference between a successful business or one that is barely making it. Yes, there are many businesses out there offering the same  goods and services your business is offering, sometimes cheaper and some times better, but unless the difference is pronounced, the relationship you have formed with that client will keep their business with you because they have come to trust you and perhaps like you.

The small business tools you need are out there  to help you and make your business a bit easier to manage, choosing the most expensive ones is not always the solution, you just need to know what you need and research it a bit to see if that is what you need.


 

 

Small Business Optimism and Security

Many small businesses and big corporations are at risk of cyber attacks daily.  Companies like Target that spend millions of dollars on cyber insurance and other security measures, do not spend enough to make the cybersecurity risks less probable.

For small businesses that do not have the finances to spend protecting themselves against cyber attacks, the risks are always present.  And although cyber attacks may not be directed against them quite as often, protecting the personal and financial information of their clients should be one of the primary priorities of any business.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


A Decline In Small Business Optimism

On Tuesday, NFIB reported the September Small Business Optimism Index results, and they showed the Index fell 2.3 points to 103, which was below the lowest consensus forecast. In spite of the decline, the index remains at a high level, as can be seen in the below chart.

A larger percentage of the index components declined in September as the report noted:

“Six of the 10 Index components dropped in September. Three improved, and one remained unchanged. The bright spot last month was inventory plans, which gained five points as more business owners anticipate a strong 4th quarter.”

Below is a table showing the component changes from August.


Half of All Small Businesses Use WiFi Technology Almost a Decade Old

Small businesses are using older WiFi that doesn’t fit their needs on several fronts. A new Linksys sponsored survey says half of the small businesses polled are using WiFi technology that’s over eight years old. Beyond not being able to keep up with mobile expansion, business owners are concerned over the lags in security and speed.

Problems with Small Businesses Using Old WiFi Tech

These findings are important to small businesses still using older WiFi technology. Smaller enterprises that work online need to be both flexible and fast to respond to changing client needs. Your download and upload speeds are the flux to beat the competition to sales. Beyond that, they make for quicker networking with everyone from visitors to mobile employees.


House approves bill to bolster small business cybersecurity

The House on Wednesday approved legislation that would require the federal government to produce and disseminate guidance to help small businesses with cybersecurity.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, passed by a voice vote.

The legislation would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a nonregulatory standards laboratory housed in the Commerce Department, to produce cybersecurity resources for small businesses.

NIST produces and updates cybersecurity guidance for the public and private sectors that businesses can choose to use. President Trump signed an executive order on cybersecurity earlier this year ordering federal agencies to abide by the NIST framework.


 

Marketing Your Small Business The Smart Way

We all probably heard the saying” Think outside the Box” and for marketers and small businesses, that means finding creative, smart and financially achievable goals without spending too much time and money.  Marketing your small business doesn’t mean writing big checks for companies to market your business, or promote your services.  Creativity nowadays is something every small business owner can do without breaking the bank.

Follow the links  below for more news about small business


Think Small Business To Help America’s Middle And Working Classes Win Big

 In spite of a rebounding and more robust economy, many in the lower middle and working classes remain anxious and concerned about their futures. There has been low and slow wage growth and, as we discussed in our last blog, the changing nature of jobs, the middle class and the American Dream have pushed a large part of the workforce toward a gloomy perspective.

There have been various proposals to make the economy work better for America’s workers. The Trump administration suggests that a restrictive skills-based immigration bill (the RAISE act) that considerably reduces the number of immigrants will increase the chances for more and higher paying jobs. The Administration has also asserted that cutting corporate taxes will stimulate job creation and wage growth.


Small businesses expand, invest despite gridlock in Washington

Small business owners are tired of sitting on their hands while Washington dithers.

Despite lingering uncertainty over tax and health care policy, U.S. entrepreneurs are moving ahead with investment and expansion plans that could juice economic growth.

Thirty-two percent of small businesses are planning capital outlays in the next three to six months, the strongest reading since 2006, according to the National Federation of Independent Business’s August survey. And 27% say the next three months is a “good time to expand,” the largest share in 13 years.

A September survey of economists by the National Association for Business Economics, out Monday, predicts that business investment overall — by small and larger companies — will grow 4.4% this year, up from their 3% median estimate in December. Businesses that expand, buy new equipment or build new structures typically hire workers to operate the machines or occupy buildings, while the factories that make the products generally need to staff up as well.


Huge List of National Holidays for Marketing in a Small Business

National Kick Butt Day is coming up. Bet you never heard of that one, did you? Today it seems as if there are national holidays, a national day or national month for everything. In fact, there are over a thousand national holidays, national weeks and national months. Add bank holidays and major religious holidays, and you have one crowded calendar!

National days of observance have become trendy and popular in part because companies have learned to use them for marketing. Just look at social media. Judging from the hashtags for various food days, people days, pet days, medical condition days, military days or industry days — it seems like every single day is a national holiday or national day of observance on Twitter and Instagram.

If you’ve ever wondered, “what national holiday is today?” — we’ve got you covered. Our hand-picked list of national holidays for marketing appears below. But before we get to that list of national days, we have some advice.


 

Small Business and The Senate’s Health Care Bill

As a small business owner, do you offer health insurance to your employees?  Many businesses do not offer health insurance for their employees, and small business owners specially feel the pinch when offering health care coverage to them.  The Senate Health Care  Bill-if it passes-would alleviate some of the burden these small businesses feel, keeping in mind though that some other people would have to pick up the tab for it.

For more about this and other news, follow the links below.


Senate’s Health Bill Would Make Life Easier For Some Small Businesses

Some small-business owners burdened with high health care costs would get a break via an obscure provision in the health bill proposed by the GOP Senate. The provision would offer less regulation, more bargaining power and better prices.

But those benefits could come at a cost to others.

The clause, included in the proposal advanced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last month, would exempt insurance policies sold through “associations” from most Affordable Care Act mandates and state regulations. To be able to offer these plans to their employees, small businesses join an association, which may be loosely based on certain types of professional, trade or interest groups that offers insurance to members.


New Senate Healthcare Bill Slams Small Business Owners And Savers

Senate Republicans today released version 2.0 of their Obamacare “repeal and replace” bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

This version of BCRA is a major lurch to the Left from the original BCRA and conservatives supporting this process have some things to think about.

A Tax Hike on Small Businesses and Savers

The major departure from the original BCRA is that v2.0 fails to repeal the 3.8 percentage point Obamacare surtax on capital gains, dividends, and other savings (the “net investment income tax,” or NIIT). It also fails to repeal the 3.8 percentage point tax bracket for the self-employment tax and the payroll tax ostensibly earmarked for Medicare

In failing to do so, v2.0 of BCRA raises taxes by over $230 billion over a decade relative to v1.0 of BCRA.


US small-business optimism dips in June, remains near high

A gauge of U.S. small-business confidence fell in June as business owners expressed frustration over gridlock in Washington, according to a National Federation of Independent Business report released on Tuesday.

The group’s Index of Small Business Optimism fell to 103.6 last month from 104.5 in May, although it remains near its highest level in more than a decade. The index surged following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president last November, and in January hit its highest level since December 2004.

The rise was largely attributed to business owners’ optimism surrounding Trump’s promises of deregulation, tax breaks and infrastructure spending.

But Congress’ inability to deliver on those promises has muted confidence as business operators grow wary of political infighting over the health-care reform legislation, and prospects for tax reform are uncertain.


 

Ohio Small Business News

According to The Ohio Department of Taxation, Small Business tax breaks introduced back in 2013 by Gov. John Kasich is costing the state close to a billion dollars in 2015, and is expected to be much higher for 2016.  Talks to repeal the tax break are underway, with Governor Kasich pushing back against repealing it.

For more bout this and other news, follow the links below.


Ohio Democrats: State should end small business tax break to generate $1.1 billion a year

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Senate Democrats on Thursday pitched their idea to patch the $1 billion state budget hole — eliminate Ohio’s small business tax break.

Repealing the business income tax deduction, phased in since 2013, would generate $2.2 billion over the next two years, according to analysis from the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission.

Democrats said the money would cover the expected revenue shortfall without making cuts and leave another $1 billion to spend on education, health care, local governments, libraries and Ohio’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

“Some people will tell you there’s not enough money to go around, but our real problem right now is irresponsible tax policy,” Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights said at a news conference.

Specifically, Democrats would spend the additional $1 billion on the following over two years:


Kasich Pushes Back Against Repealing Small Business Tax Cut

An income tax break for Ohio’s small businesses in recent years is under fire from Democrats and some Republicans. They say the current budget situation shows it’s time to end that tax cut.

Governor John Kasich is firmly rejecting those suggestions.

Recently, state lawmakers in Kansas ended that state’s tax break for small businesses, saying it didn’t create jobs and cost the state too much money. A similar tax break is costing Ohio more than a billion dollars, but Kasich says he’s not for ending it.

“To raise taxes? Nah, we don’t raise taxes in this state,” Kasich said.

Kasich says the case in Kansas is different because that state didn’t cut spending at the same time the tax breaks were enacted, and he says Ohio did.

Ohio’s revenues $841 million short of projections for this fiscal year.


Small businesses in clean energy sector still hope for best

NEW YORK: Small-business owners who install solar panels or help customers use clean energy don’t seem fazed by President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, saying they expect demand for their services will still keep growing.

They’re confident in two trends they see: A growing awareness and concern about the environment, and a desire by consumers and businesses to lower their energy costs.

“It’s an economic decision people are making, although it also makes environmental sense,” says Suvi Sharma, CEO of Solaria, a Fremont, Calif.-based company that designs and sells solar energy panel systems.

Trump said he was putting U.S. interests ahead of international priorities in leaving the agreement that would, among other things, require the United States and other countries to report greenhouse gas emissions. The United States is the world’s second-biggest emitter of carbon after China, and carbon is one of the gases that scientists cite as a key factor in global warming.


 

Best Cities For Small Businesses. Where Are They?

Even though the number of added jobs for the first quarter of 2017 was not what analysts were expecting, the fact that businesses — if not hiring yet-are compensating employees with higher wages or other type of incentives is good for the economy.

The optimism small business owners indicated were feeling at the beginning of this administration, has not translated completely to added jobs.  When the second quarter arrives, we hope to have a clearer view of added jobs that will boost the optimism of the small business owner for 2017.

To read more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


The best city for small business in America is not in Silicon Valley

New York City surpassed Silicon Valley to become the top city for small business, according to Biz2Credit’s annual study of the Top Small Business Cities in America. New York’s growth has been fueled by the booming real estate market and the construction industry, banking and finance (including fintech), and the city’s thriving technology sector.

New York City overtook last year’s small-business city leader, San Jose, the hub of Silicon Valley, which dropped to the No. 4 spot on the list. Technology companies in Silicon Valley are still thriving, but it’s the supplementary companies that are faced with challenges of growing. The skyrocketing cost of living in Silicon Valley impedes the profits of many firms. Commercial rents, housing and labor costs weigh down non-tech businesses dramatically. Furthermore, taxes are higher in California, in general. Lacking that economic balance in the area has prevented San Jose from reigning as the leader in top small-business cities this year.


Small businesses hired fewer workers in April but gave their employees raises, Paychex survey shows

Small business hiring fell in April, but wages continued to rise for workers, a report by human resources firm Paychex said Tuesday.

The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.22 percent from the previous month to 100.50. The pace of small business employment growth is down 0.27 percent from a year ago, the company said.

“The decline in the April index mirrors what was reported last month by (the Bureau of Labor Statistics), which showed deceleration of job growth,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “At the same time, the wage report shows continued growth in both hourly earnings and hours worked over the past year.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that nonfarm payrolls grew less than expected, but average hourly earnings were up by 2.7 percent on an annualized basis.

Paychex said national hourly earnings for the month were $25.67, increasing 2.73 percent, or 68 cents, from last year. Weekly earnings were up 2.92 percent from last year.


These 4 tips will help small business owners drastically boost their earnings this year

Whether you’re running an established small business or just starting your journey toward entrepreneurship, it’s safe to assume most business owners are on the hunt for new ways to grow their enterprise and improve their bottom line.

And we should all want to help them do so. Why? According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses create nearly 70 percent of net new jobs nationally, and drive tremendous growth in our local economies. When small businesses flourish, everyone wins.

My father-in-law is a small business owner. As a result, I have seen first-hand the sacrifices they make on a daily basis, and am driven to design products and provide resources to help small businesses meet their goals and fulfill their dreams.

 In honor of National Small Business Week, here are four ways small business owners (SBOs) can drive business growth this year.


Tools To Help Your Small Business Succeed

Small business owners are notoriously hard workers with long hours every single day of the week. Software tools and applications that make their business a bit easier have become more readily available with the current technology.  Documents, appointments, on line calendars and applications they can access through their phones or other devices have become commonplace.  Their business can truly travel with them, and can provide the much needed time to spend doing other more enjoyable things.

To read more about new business applications and other small business topics, follow the links below.


3 Financial Documents Every Small Business Needs

Columbia, S.C. (WLTX) – Happy Money Monday to our entrepreneur viewers. Today we’re covering the basics to help you understand the financial health of your business.

Here are 3 financial documents every small business needs:

1. Balance Sheet – This is a great way to provide a financial overview of your business. If you’re a visual person, this financial report will be easier for you to understand as it’s displayed as a chart. The left side shows what your company owns (aka your assets), while the right side will show you your expenses and equity.

2. Cash flow Statement – Similar to your budget for your personal finances, the cash flow statement shows how money comes and goes for your business. This helps you understand how your business is operating on a day-to-day basis and will help you answer the question, “How much is my business truly making?”


What is Yext and Can It Help Your Small Business?

It you’re looking for a way to automatically sync your business information across 50+ directories such as Google Maps, Yelp and Apple Siri, Yext presents itself as a possible solution.

Last week, the New-York based company filed paperwork with the US securities regulators to raise as much as $100 million in an initial public offering.

What is Yext?

Yext is a data management tool that is designed to keep track of your business’ location-related information on multiple directories. The software allows you to sync your:

  • Business Name, Address and Phone Number;
  • Business hours, products and services, holiday hours, photos and videos, staff bios, menus, and calendars;

Why your small business needs a mobile app

Many small businesses are unsure whether they need a mobile app, many believing that their mobile website is enough. Are you staying relevant?

Are you app-solutely missing the boat?

These days, we carry our smartphones everywhere. People are using them to play, order food, make purchases, do research, communicate, check reviews, read books, find love and generally get by day to day. Some people are even running their business from their phone! In fact, many of you probably prefer using apps over your desktop when it comes to things like checking emails, updating your social media accounts or checking your online banking.


 

Is Online Advertising Working For You?

For some small business owners, online advertising seems to be a no brainer.  You can use Facebook ads to advertise your business or products, you pay the fees, and you wait for the results to start coming. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  Facebook advertising takes work.  You must consistently test what is working for your particular business, before you can actually get any results.  It is true that for some businesses you do not have to do too much for the ads to work, but for the majority of small businesses, testing your ads to see if they are reaching the right audience, seems to be the only way to go. 


62 Percent of Small Business Owners Say Facebook Ads Don’t Work

Are Facebook ads ineffective, or is the problem user error?

In January 2017, Small Business Trends released the results of a survey of over 2,600 small-business owners, revealing that 62 percent of them believe Facebook ads are ineffective. With complaints of little-to-no ROI, these entrepreneurs say they will not use Facebook advertising again. Some experts, however, challenge this viewpoint, saying that properly targeted Facebook ads do indeed provide results.

“When businesses don’t see the results they hope for, it’s usually because they haven’t done enough testing on their ad copy, visuals, and the ideal combination of information to target the right audience,” says Vitruvian Digital Advertising founder Kristie McDonald.

Jeanine Blackwell, founder of The Launch Lab, agrees, saying that marketers aren’t asking themselves the right questions to determine an effective target market for their ad campaigns. “The problem is that most advertisers only use the simplest of criteria to let Facebook know who they want to see their ads, such as gender, age, and income,” says Blackwell.


The Best Accountability For Small Business Owners

When Beth Savage became the owner of PQ Systems, the first thing she did was put together an outside board. “Why not have a board that is there for the sole reason of helping you and your team succeed?” says Beth.

Many business owners are reluctant to create an outside board. Some believe that their company is unique, and a board of outsiders wouldn’t work for their company.

Others rationalize that they already get enough advice from employees, family members, and paid advisors—such as their attorney, accountant or bankers. Still others can’t see the purpose, and they want to hold on to what they see as their autonomy.


Abrams: Sexy small business start-ups

Looking for a small business start-up idea? You might want to look to the bedroom. Because, and I know this may shock you, sex sells.

Romance has been around since, well, Adam and Eve. Businesses related to romance continue to do well and are increasingly mainstream. This past Valentine’s Day, even Burger King got in the act. For a very limited time and only in Israel, the fast food chain included a sex toy in an “Adult Meal.” The story spread like wildfire on social media because who can resist anything to do with sex?

While most sex-based businesses are small businesses, they typically seem seedy and are, often, exploitative. But here are some sex and romance-related small business ideas you that can still tell your grandma about and that won’t land you in jail:

1. Online dating site profile writer. Ask people how they met their partner, and the most frequent response you’ll hear is “online.” But few people know how to write appealing dating site profiles. My senior editor, however, met the man of her dreams on OKCupid. “Before we write anything at work, we research,” she said. “I thought I better do the same thing.” So she figured out how to write a witty, quirky profile, which attracted her perfect match. Friends then started asking her to write their profiles. “This could be a full-time business.” If your customers break up, they need to update their profiles, which means repeat business.