Tag Archives: small business

SMALL BUSINESS POLL RESULTS: 60% expect their business to grow in the next 12 months

Small business owners are generally optimistic about their prospects for 2011, but many still they think they’ll succeed largely without the help of the web and social media.

Intuit Inc., surveyed  small business owners about their outlook for 2011:

Sixty percent said they expect their business to grow in the next 12 months despite the economic climate — a 6% increase from December 2008. Yet, just over half (54%) of small business owners said a decline in their customer base was the hardest part of running their business, while 32% said delayed payments was their biggest problem.

When asked about the New Year, small business owners said the following:

  • Focus on retaining and growing my current customers (56%)
  • Expand marketing to attract new customers (41%)
  • Reduce costs and save money (30%)
  • Expand products and/or services to make more money (29%)
  • Invest in expanding operations (10%)
  • Hire more employees (6%)┬áPart of growing a customer base depends on having a strong web presence and yet almost half (46 percent) of the respondents said they do not have a website. Yet, the majority of respondents (71 percent) agree that social media is effective when it comes to keeping current customers engaged.

How do consumers find these small businesses? Nine in 10 of the respondents said word of mouth, and just 41 percent said via their website despite the fact that consumers eyes and ears are online for much of the day.

Blogs? Almost non-existent among small business, with 91 percent reporting they do not have a blog.

Social media: Only 27% of respondents use Facebook, while only 8% use Twitter. Two thirds (67%) of respondents said they did not use Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare.

Asked what they would do if they had access to a new line of credit, small business owners said they would:

  • Increase marketing and/or advertising budget (48%)
  • Expand your range of services and/or offerings (42%)
  • Invest in new technologies (32%)
  • Hire more employees (13%)
  • Increase your social media budget (11%)

It appears that small business are also thinking more about doing business on the go, with 46% of respondents saying that accessing their accounting and financial records from their mobile phone is appealing; 38% would like to be able to process credit card payments on their mobile phones.

Creating an effective newsletter for your company

Creating a newsletter can appear to be an easy task, but creating one that engages your readers and motivates them to keep reading your emails can prove to be slightly more challenging. These tips will help your design a newsletter that will make your business boom and strengthen relationships with your clients.

  • Share useful content about your business and/or products
  • Position your company as the experts
  • Create a catchy subject line to prompt your readers to open the newsletter
  • Personalize your newsletters to address the recipient
  • Search for useful information that relates to your business
  • Keep it clean, simple, and easy to read
  • Design a custom template
  • Provide full contact information for your company
  • Include a promotion or a special offer

Ten inexpensive ways to promote your business

Business promotion and running a successful business go hand in hand. Promoting your business should be a conscious effort and cannot be relied on others to do it for you. Although you can budget for it, promoting your business does not have to be too costly. Here are some ways to promote effectively without making your wallet lighter.

  • Business stationary is a great tool. Make sure to include your phone number, fax, email, and website somewhere on the document.
  • Write about what you know. Draft articles on topics that relate to your business. Get them published on blogs, local newspapers, and magazines.
  • Create social media accounts and develop material for a blog. Remember it’s one thing to just have the account but it needs to updated frequently.
  • Do you go to various events and promotions? Hand out freebies with your logo on it. T-shirts, pens, and bags are some useful ideas.
  • Contact your local radio station. Find a show that appeals to your interests and inquire about being a guest speaker.
  • Volunteer with local organizations, charities, and philanthropies.

Face to face promotion can be one of the most effective ways to promote your business. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to establishing a successufl small business.