Category Archive : NEWS

2016 came and went so quickly. As far as businesses go, no year ever feels totally satisfying. That said, goal setting remains important. Goals are defined as the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. New Year’s Resolutions are the perfect opportunity to organize your business aspirations for the next 365 days. According to a study conducted at the University of Scranton, only 45% of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions, while an even lower 8% actually end up achieving those resolutions. Make the most of 2017, and be part of that 8%! Here’s some inspiring resolution ideas for your business, and a few tips on how to see those goals through:

Improve Time Management
There are only 24 hours in a day, so plan your time wisely this year. Make a point of gaining awareness about how you spend your time at work. Are you dedicating too much time to one area? Are you forgetting to make time for yourself? Time management could be as simple as taking a lunch break, or as complicated as breaking up a project wisely.
Advice: In order to improve your time management, you must be disciplined. Self-motivation is important. Find it in yourself to set a plan, and stick to it. Becoming lenient or less strict with your timing is a slippery slope! You will find better results for this resolution if you

Focus On Your Employees
It’s easy to take your loyal, hardworking employees for granted. This year, try to pay attention to their contributions to your business. Let the gratefulness sink in. It feels good. Alternatively, focus on training/hiring solid, reliable people. Notice which individuals stand out, or fall short.
Advice: Next time a member of your staff goes above and beyond, express your gratitude to them. Or, if you notice that a certain employee is not performing well, do not be afraid to address and confront them. Chances are, they will appreciate your attentiveness, and you can both benefit from the confrontation.

Increase Revenue
This is an obvious goal for any business owner. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done! Financial planning is important for the success of your business. Perhaps 2017 is the year to enforce a new financial plan, or improve upon your existing strategy.
Advice: Keep up with digital marketing using SLNconnect. Create great content and make sure to share it on social media. Customers will respond well to content such as promotions and deals. Solid digital marketing will lead to an increase in revenue over time.

Hopefully one of these resolution ideas inspires you to achieve one of your own this year. 2017 holds endless possibilities- do what you can to optimize those possibilities for your business!

If you own a business, you know how quickly time goes by when things become busy. That’s why planning ahead is key to running your business smoothly. Sure, you can get away with procrastination. But it feels so much better to plan in advance, so you can actually remember to enjoy your business, especially during the busy holiday season. Here are a few reasons you should start planning now, not later:

1. Success
When you make a plan for the future, chances are you have an end goal to that plan. Planning ahead, therefore, allows you to reach a goal and find tangible success in your business.

2. Preparation
Planning ahead also allows you to be prepared for a multitude of scenarios. Once you know what to expect, you are more likely to handle a given situation in the best way possible.

3. Control
With the ambiguity and unpredictable nature of business ownership, you should take advantage of the things you can control. One of those things is planning. Whether its an event, a strategy, or something as simple as employee hours, planning can never hurt.

4. Efficiency
If you set a plan, you are more likely to take action efficiently. This means less time and effort on your part, which is always a plus.

5. Fulfillment
When something goes as planned, you will find it fulfilling. As aforementioned, you probably have an end goal to any plan you set. Meeting that goal will remind you why you love your business so much.

6. Direction
Plans are like maps. They have definite direction, just like your business should. Planning ahead will help you refine the direction of your business, and benefit you in the long run.

Hopefully after reading this, you feel more motivated to start planning now, rather than later. The evidence is clear, and the plan is now in your hands!

Joining a local Chamber of Commerce can be a hard decision for many business owners. Some look at it as just another incoming expense, and assume it’s not worth the trouble. But what it all comes down to are the member benefits, which often vary between chambers. However, there are many perks across the board to becoming a member. Keep reading to learn seven advantages of joining your Chamber of Commerce!

1. Publicity
Having your business appear on your Chamber’s website will give your business the extra boost you’re looking for. In addition, word-of-mouth referrals are a timeless form of marketing which should not be underestimated.
2. Networking
Regardless of your business’ size, networking is a key component to a success. Connecting with other business owners through the Chamber opens up a world of advice and camaraderie.
3. Sales
Did you know that in a study conducted by the Schapiro Group in 2012 showed that 80% of consumers were more likely to purchase a product or service from a Chamber member? Sales are an important, if not the most important, part of running a business. Your Chamber of Commerce boosts your reputation and therefore contributes to the sales you depend on.
4. Growth
Are you looking to expand your business, or even form a partnership eventually? If so, joining your Chamber can connect you to potential investors, or even instill the confidence, stability, and experience to expand your business.
5. Community Involvement
Becoming a member is simply a great way to give back to your community. It feels rewarding to participate, and also feels rewarding in terms of your business.
6. SEO
Since most Chamber websites have an authoritative relationship with various search engines, a direct linkage to your business’ websites/webpages will cause those search engines to reward your site just by association. This means your website will be rated higher and hopefully generate more traffic.
7. Member Benefits
These will vary among Chambers, but for the most part, becoming a member is usually worth it. Some benefits may be things like discounts, or connections to trade shows or other events. Not to mention, SLN partners with Chambers all over the USA and Canada, and we have an extensive list of benefits just within our platform! Make sure to inquire about us when you join your Chamber!

As aforementioned, becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce is usually worth it. If you have a small amount of money left over in your annual budget, you should consider joining, so you, too, can reap all the benefits you just read about!

Running a small business is not easy, that’s no secret. Sometimes, it can feel like nobody understands challenges you face on a daily basis. Hopefully you’ll feel better understood after reading your small business horoscope. Learn how to run a successful small business based on your Zodiac sign:

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)
As an Aquarius, you’re very independent, so owning or managing your own business comes naturally to you. Your dislike for limitations and dull situations may cause you to act out from time to time when it comes to your business. Instead, use this to rise to the occasion and become the best you possibly can- this way you’ll feel unlimited and successful. You also love helping others, and are a born good listener. Use these traits to your advantage and spike customer service at your business. Work one on one with your customers, since you have a knack for assisting them, and hearing them out. Occasionally, you may be uncompromising in terms of planning and strategizing. Just remember, compromising is a key part of running a small business, so try your best to be amenable with colleagues. Do not take it personally when an employee or customer disagrees with you- instead look at this as a way to improve your business and learn something new.

Pisces (February 19- March 20)
Pisces- you are a creative force to be reckoned with! Your gentle, intuitive, wise attitude makes you the ideal small business owner. Compassion is your natural instinct, which makes working with customers rewarding for you. You are able to truly grasp your business’ value and purpose, however, you dislike criticism of any kind. Try to look at things constructively, rather than losing hope. In addition, you tend to be fearful and sad when things are uncertain. Unfortunately, in the world of small businesses, nothing is certain. Learn to have faith in your business’ future, and you will feel more satisfied. Focusing on your personal needs such as sleep, music, and visual media will allow you to channel even more success into your business.

Aries (March 20- April 19)
Aries: You possess a perfect balance of confidence, determination, optimism, and passion- all extremely important ingredients for a successful small business. Your passion brought your business to life, so keep trusting and following your instinct. At times, you may find yourself feeling short-tempered or impatient. Maybe you do not bring these qualities to your business, and you should keep it that way! Being patient with your customers and colleagues may present a challenge for you, but its nothing you can’t handle. Being the natural leader that you are, you appreciate the role you play in your small business. Your dislike for work that does not use one’s talents may at times interrupt certain parts of your business. It may be in your best interest to hire an employee who excels in the portions of your business you shy away from.

Taurus (April 20- May 20)
Being the practical, devoted, responsible Taurus you are, you excel as a small business owner. You enjoy working with your hands, so it would benefit you to perform hands on work within your business. You may shy away from sudden changes and complications. This can be difficult, as it may cause you to shut down or feel frustrated. Resist the frustration, and learn to face complications head on. The immediate confrontation will satisfy you. You are also extremely stubborn! This is a strong trait for you which cannot be reversed, so you must learn to work with it and loosen your standards (without necessarily lowering them). Learning to be more compromising will greatly elevate your small business success. Beyond this, you are talented in many arenas of creativity and problem solving, both key components to running business smoothly. Customers and colleagues appreciate your patient demeanor and your wittiness. At the end of the day, your business is hopefully as reliable as you are!

Gemini (May 21- June 20)
Gemini’s portray a gentle and affectionate persona, and tend to be very curious and adaptable. This makes you a great small business owner. Customers find it easy to trust you, as you genuinely look out for the best interest of others. It’s likely that you can understand the customer’s perspective! You dislike alone time, and thrive in social settings. It would benefit your business to work one on one with customers. Your weakness comes in the form of nervousness and indecisiveness. Both these setbacks can feel limiting, but are only there for you to overcome. Receiving input from trusted employees may help decision making easier for you. Too much routine turns you away, so try to lend your time to different areas of your business for optimal success. Overall, your ability to chat with nearly anyone stands out to those who know you. Try to use this to your advantage when connecting with colleagues, customers, and anyone else you encounter during business hours.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Hey there, Cancers! Your highly imaginative outlook, along with your persuasiveness and helpfulness shaped you into the business owner you are today. You embrace your hobbies and passions, so hopefully your business allows you to express those. You also approach hard tasks with vigor and determination; if you use this to your advantage you could find amazing success in your small business. Some days, you may have a tendency to feel moody and insecure about your business. This can feel like a set back, but as long as you leave your fears behind and keep dedicating your best efforts into your business, you will see positive results. Since you function best when your life is balanced between work and play, make sure you set aside time to relax outside your business.

Leo (July 23- August 22)
Leos- your passionate nature and creativity make running a small business come naturally to you. You have a cheerful demeanor, and a warm heart, which causes customers to feel comfortable around you. Take advantage of this and focus on sales, as you likely excel in this area. You also tend to act stubbornly, especially when facing a difficult reality. Although it may take more effort and strength for you, its important to face issues head on within your small business. If there is a dispute between employees, a financial concern, or any other problem, swallow your pride and dissolve it as quickly as possible. Furthermore, take time to appreciate your customers more, and your business will be positively impacted. When your business sees success, treat yourself to a special dinner with friends or go shopping, since you respond well to rewards. You deserve it!

Virgo (August 23- September 22)
Virgo, you are analytical, kind, hardworking, and practical. Those traits make up a pretty solid business owner. You may excel in managing your employees, and focusing on the “numbers” in your small business. Shyness, worry, and a self-critical attitude can at times take over you. You tend to be very hard on yourself and your achievements, so make sure that you take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Owning/running a small business is not easy, but you do it! Finding a balance of work and play will elevate your personal happiness greatly. You may strongly dislike rude or entitled customers. Try to see the best in them and give them the benefit of the doubt. In small businesses, the customer is always right (even if they are wrong!). Set aside time to read books, appreciate nature, and spend time on yourself in order to bring your best self to work every day, and reach your small business goals.

Libra (September 23- October 22)
As a libra, you are cooperative, diplomatic, fair-minded, and social. These qualities shaped you into the small business owner you are today! Your cooperation shows within your small business, and appeals to both colleagues and customers. You have the ability to communicate with customers, so use this to your advantage and boost your small business’ customer service! You tend to avoid confrontations when it comes to disputes between others or yourself. This can present many challenges if gone unchanged. It’s worth it to take the extra effort to confront conflicts straight away instead of instinctually putting them off. Your business can only run more smoothly because of this! You love sharing with others, so try hosting an event for your customers as a fun way to share and appreciate them. Conformity has never appealed to you, however, so keep being the unique individual you are, and running your business in the best way you know!
Scorpio (October 23- November 21)
Scorpios make the perfect small business owners. If you’re a scorpio, you know how much passion drives your life. It’s lucky your passion lead you to owning a small business! Your resourcefulness makes you stand out among other businesses. One thing you dislike is dishonestly. Because of this, it would benefit you to hire individuals who you trust. As you have a tendency to be distrusting and secretive, especially when it comes to your business, it is truly important that those working around you are familiar and trustworthy to you! Beyond all these attributes, your brave attitude allows you to face difficult realities with ease, and because of that your business is more stable. Lastly, you are a true friend to others, so try to treat every customer as a true friend, to earn points for customer service!

Sagittarius (November 22- December 21)
Sagittarius: Your idealistic persona makes you a visionary when it comes to owning a small business. You love freedom, so an owning or managing position fits you well! In addition to these great qualities, you may feel very impatient and constrained at times. Although difficult, you should make an effort to be patient when it comes to your customers or colleagues and remember how important they are to your business. Being the people pleaser that you are, customers overall respond very well to you. Just remember not to promise more than you can deliver when it comes to the product or service your business supplies. At the end of the day, you should seek time outdoors, or relaxing to balance out your work ethic.

Capricorn (December 22- January 19)
One quality that stands out in Capricorns are their management abilities. Business owners need to manage employees, time, money, customers, and plenty of other things. So if you’re a Capricorn, you lucked out! You appreciate quality craftsmanship and services, so its likely that you hold your small business to very high standards. You tend to be a know-it-all, thanks to your intuitive and smart nature; just make sure to keep this in check when addressing colleagues and co-workers. You may also expect the worst in difficult situations. Try not to bring this into your small business! You need to truly believe in the success of your business in order for it to happen. Overall, your responsibility, discipline, self-control, and determination make you an excellent leader and example to employees and everyone!

Pokémon Go has become an overnight sensation.  This AR (augmented reality) game has more active users than Twitter and more engagement than Facebook.  It has become the largest mobile game in US history in less than a week, passing the previous record holder, Candy Crush.  Everyone is a part of the Pokémon Go craze and small business revenue has seen a dramatic increase because of the mechanics of the game.  Your small business may see an increase too if you do these things.

Pay to have Pokémon be at your store front.

A pizza shop owner paid $10 to have certain Pokemon appear in his shop and sales instantly rose 75%.  This ROI is unprecedented for any business.  This pizza shop used Lure Modules, which lures Pokémon to specific locations.  You can buy these Lure Modules in game and can set them for specific times during the day. Here’s the step by step guide to creating a ‘lure’ for your business:

  • Tap the red Pokeball at the bottom of your display
  • Tap “Shop”
  • Scroll down and tap the purple, box-shaped Lures to purchase. You’ll re-direct to your app store’s payment system
  • Once back in-app, tap the red Pokeball again, then tap “Items”
  • Tap the purple Lure to activate! (Inc)

Promote at Pokestops close to your store.

This is another inexpensive way to promote your business.  Download the game yourself and see where the Pokestops are around your storefront.  Go to those storefronts and put up a sign, poster, pamphlets that promote your business.  The promotions don’t even have to be Pokémon related but they might grab more attention if they do stick with the Pokémon theme.

Have your business play the game and post it on Social Media.

Tons of professional sports teams social media posts have involved Pokémon go because they know posting about it opens them up to a new market of people.  The Cleveland Indians encouraged people who go to their games to post pictures of the Pokémon they caught inside their stadium to their Twitter account.  The LA Clippers, Orlando Magic, Arizona Cardinals, and others are all posting about Pokémon Go because they understand how it will benefit them.  Posting about Pokémon on social media is going to increase your followers and increase your views.  Pokémon is the hottest content out there currently.  

This may be a fad, but the cost of promoting your business through Pokémon Go is extremely inexpensive and the return rate can be substantial.  The current engagement rates of the game are massive and there are already stories of small businesses taking advantage of the Pokémon hype.  Digital marketing is about being creative, innovative and thinking outside the box.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to help your small business.

In Summer, many chambers host an annual Sidewalk Sale, giving small local businesses an opportunity to gain new customers, and create buzz around their merchandise or deals. Because some customers wait all year to make purchases until this yearly sale, small businesses need to take advantage of the plentiful foot traffic in order to sell as much product as possible. Easier said than done. Does your town participate in a blowout Sidewalk Sale? If yes, keep reading for some foolproof advice on Sidewalk Sale success.

First of all, pricing is key. Low prices will attract more customers, so think about what your small business can afford to mark down. Also, make sure to buy some bright colored sticker rounds to advertise the reduced prices. Do not just write the new price, instead include the percentage saved. Customers are more likely to respond to a tag that reads “Save 85%!” than one that reads “$10”.

Here’s another idea: use incentives simply to get people to walk into your small business. Offering complimentary refreshments, or even a free small item such as a sticker or keychain, will attract countless individuals who want the most out of your chamber’s Sidewalk Sale. If you contribute positively to their Sidewalk Sale experience, they will probably return the favor.

In addition, an attractive and well-thought-out display will appeal to customers. Represent your small business’ personality, and remain true to your image. Get creative and make some signs to advertise your deals! Still target your primary customer, just like you would with an ordinary display within your business. If they like what they see during the Sidewalk Sale, they will be willing to visit your business again.

You could also play some music to make shopping fun for your customers. According to pyschologicalscience.com, background music influences buying behavior. Therefore, your small business should jump on it and play upbeat, encouraging tunes!

Do not forget to promote your Sidewalk Sale using Save Local Now. Utilize SLN’s email marketing to remind customers about the sale dates, and your business’ hours. Also, design unbeatable deals and promotions exclusive to the sidewalk sale such as Buy One Get One, or a FREE item with purchase.

None of these strategies will work, unless you stay organized. Make sure you and your staff members are punctual during the sale. At least one employee should be indoors and outdoors at all times. Choose a specific set-up and take-down time, and focus on keeping a consistent schedule if your Sidewalk Sale last more than one day. Be more efficient by using folding tables, and a tent for your outdoor display.

Now that you know these strategies, your business can make the most of your annual Sidewalk Sale. Good luck!

Small businesses are constantly telling others the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of their business. Who do you sell to? What do you sell? When are you open? Where are you located? Why did you open? These are all questions worth answering, as “word-of-mouth” marketing will always be important for small businesses. But, much of the chatter occurs online in this day and age. That means your small business is responsible for providing this general, yet important information to the online world; on your website, and on your Save Local Now digital platform. How? Try writing a business bio. Here are a few ways to make that bio concise and effective:

Showcase Your Main Offering
A business bio is your opportunity to represent your small business in your own words. Make sure to highlight the most important products or services you sell so your message is clear and simple. Write with the intention of making people want to do business with you!

Use Only One Point-of-View
This is a simple way to make your business bio sound professional and well-written. Choose between first person, second person, and third person when writing. You want smooth, flowing sentences, easy for your customers to read! For example, if you say “I want to invite you to experience our business,” make sure all your text is written in that manner.

Make It A Group Effort
Sometimes having other people read your writing highlights its strengths and weaknesses. More than likely, your small business has multiple employees who can contribute creative and valid ideas to your company bio.

Write Genuinely
You want your business bio to stay true to your business image. Even though it should be filled with positive attributes, try not to sound like you are bragging. Establish a tone which captures the feeling of your small business and your authentic personality!

Keep It Short and Sweet
Make sure everything you include in your business bio is a necessity. It should clearly outline a few, if not all, of the questions mentioned above in a simple, brief way. A paragraph, or a few paragraphs should be enough.

A business bio can elevate your small business’ image when written effectively. Grab a pen (or a keyboard) and get started!

Did you know that 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the truest test of how much a business values them (2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey)? Chances are, your business already employs a few methods to increase customer service. Good customer service requires  a positive attitude, teamwork, and creativity. All of these attributes lead to higher sales. Once in a while, your business should consider treating your customers to a special event or party to drive sales, and also remind your customers how much you appreciate them. Here’s a few pointers:

– Keep your event local. Choose a location close to your business so customers do not have to go out of their way, and the experience feels personal.

– An event could also be hosted inside your business. Invite customers for complementary food and drinks while encouraging them to shop, or offering a special deal along with your event.

– You could also use your event to promote a best-selling or new product. Invite the product’s representative to come to the event and talk to customers!

– For a more sophisticated event, serve appetizers and refreshments, for a more casual gathering, go with a cookout to appeal to a family oriented crowd.

– Whatever event you choose, make sure the event represents your business image. It should reflect your business’s personality and appeal to your target customers.

– Make sure to promote your event using digital marketing, personal reminders, in-store signage, and invitations for your customers. Save Local Now offers email marketing and easy to use deals and promotions templates for your business- perfect for organizing this type of event.

– Do not be afraid to socialize with your customers! Add a face to your business and get to know customers on a deeper level.

– Always remain professional. Even while you’re socializing, it’s important to keep a responsive, appropriate attitude.

Hosting an event to promote your business does not have to be intimidating. So go ahead and plan a fun, casual, and complementary event for your loyal customers. Show them how much you care about them, and they will return the favor!

For many small towns, June and July are the peak of tourist season. It can be overwhelmingly busy for local businesses who have limited space and time, but want maximum sales. The following are some strategies to help YOUR local business grow during these busy summer months:

1. Use or Sell Local Products
If you are a restaurant, this could mean using locally grown vegetables and fruits. If you are a gift shop, offer products created by local artists, or merchandise unique to your community.

2. Reach out to your Chamber of Commerce
Coordinate with the Chamber and other small businesses to use Save Local Now as a marketing platform, supporting local shopping!

3. Make it Easy for Tourists to Shop Again
Make sure you have a user-friendly, updated website, where customers who live out of town can visit to make purchases from afar.

4. Participate in Local Fairs or Events
Set up a booth and get involved! This is a way to grab the attention of tourists who could become new customers.

5. Remind Tourists Why Your Business is Worth Returning to
Email marketing and Search Engine Optimization are key components to grabbing the attention of long-distance customers. Along with these tactics, social media is a smart way to stay in contact with tourists. Keeping active accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can only increase business. Lastly, Save Local Now allows you to create enticing deals and promotions, while pushing out your information, which keeps customers returning again and again.

So don’t shy away from June and July. Embrace tourist season and make the most of it. You will meet new people who can become customers all year long!

As a small business, it’s important to choose a marketing channel that offers the best results with the most prudent resources. Nowadays, more small businesses prefer social media marketing to other marketing channels, to help increase their brand’s reach, increase sales, and expand their professional network.

In order to know how social media can help promote your business while saving you valuable time and resources, we’ve compiled six tips on social media marketing for small businesses.

Tip #1: Use social media marketing to sell your products and services

Before major social media networks made the foray into e-commerce, the selling relationship for businesses looked like this: listen, help solve problems, and make the sale. With the rise of social selling, the opportunity to connect with potential customers during the research phase got much easier with social media engagement tactics.

Tip #2: Large networks like Twitter can improve your customer relationships

With 72% of people more likely to make a future purchase from a small business after they interact with them on Twitter, there’s no reason for companies not to be on Twitter. The key to finding success on social media is to be on the social network your customers are on—and with over 200 million active users, there’s a high chance many of your customers are on Twitter. Twitter can help your business build relationships with customers, and connect you with the businesses and communities you are interested in.

Tip #3: Social media marketing can drastically increase your reach

Social media advertising has made it possible for companies to increase their reach through targeted ads and sponsored messaging. Social media marketing provides businesses with an opportunity to reach customers across the world—as opposed to a more traditional advertising medium such as a billboard, which is only visible to people on a particular route in a single city.

Tip #4: A LinkedIn business page can expand your professional network

One of the most important social networks, where all businesses, big or small, should have a presence, is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows businesses to provide authenticity and credibility of their brand through a business page that houses information covering the bases of who, what, and where of your business. It also allows small businesses to be in a space where professionals, potential investors, and customers are.

Tip #5: Facebook Page can improve your business’s customer support

Providing customer support can be expensive and time-consuming. But, with social media networks like Facebook, you are provided with an outlet to effectively solve customer problems. With the availability to post on your Facebook wall or send private messages, customers can connect directly to companies if and when they have a problem or feedback.

Tip #6: Use your social media presence to manage your brand’s online reputation

Trust is an important element in obtaining customer loyalty, and one of the best ways to gain this trust is giving people easy online access to information about your company. Neglecting your social media presence is one way of losing the opportunity to gain new customers or nurture current relationships. Gain the trust of your current and potential customers by creating social media profiles like a LinkedIn company page, Facebook business Page, Twitter profile, or an Instagram account. This puts a voice (and a face) to your company, which will give people more incentive to trust your brand.

 

Original article posted here.