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Custom Toll Free® Blog

April 18th, 2014

Small Business; Business Growth; EntrepreneurWhat do Legos have to do with small business? Legos may appear to be a peculiar choice for establishing the small business mindset required for success. No, they can’t teach us tutorials in finance, marketing, and information systems, but they help form the foundation needed for small business success. After all, you can have all of the business acumen in the world, but if you do not possess the type of entrepreneurial spirit that defines small business success, then you can you can expect to fall short of your small business expectations.

The following list demonstrates that what it takes to make it in Lego also plays a role in defining small business success.

Fearless

Think about it. Diving right into a Lego project means having the type of go-getter attitude small business owners need to turn a profit. In addition, when you are thinking about what to build, there is a certain level of creativity that comes into play. When you are thinking about a “Lego project”, the sky is the limit, isn’t it? Treat your small business dream as a fearless child treats a bag full of Legos: Just do it!

Dedication

Anyone who has tackled the construction of a Lego structure understands to reach the project's fruition. The Lego builder has to put in a significant amount of time in planning the project, as well as dedicate substantial energy to make it through the long project. Small business owners can expect to work well into the night running their operations.

Creativity

As mentioned above, designing a Lego structure requires a certain level of creativity. Never take the safe design route when building your small business, but instead, try different designs that defy conventional “Lego wisdom”. Small business owners need to have a high level of creativity to separate their small business from the competition. As with Legos, thinking outside the box will help your small business grow.

Delegation

Two heads are better than one, right? Sometimes designing a large “Lego project”, or small business in this case, may involve recruiting team members to help finish the job. A great business design or model starts with an amazing idea, but sometimes turning that idea into something physical requires the help of team members. Delegate when and wherever possible.

Building a Lego project first begins with an idea, a vision. You look around at the Lego pieces you have available to build your idea. How can you take those pieces or resources that you have available and create something that is a physical form of an aspiring idea? Turning that project into a physical reality takes creativity, dedication, motivation, a level of fearlessness of failure and a drive for success.

 

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April 17th, 2014

Small Business, Business GrowthSeveral months ago we posted an article on how small businesses really suffered from this year’s harsh winter. Plunging frigid temperatures, snow, ice, and the works have forced small businesses to cut costs, close down shops for a couple days, and have even prevented customers from going out and spending money. Now that most areas are finally beginning to see signs of spring, are small businesses finally on the mend?

As we now stop and look around and finally see plants sprouting and the grass turning green, it’s amazing to think that not two months ago we thought this season’s winter would never end. But did small businesses suffer as badly as we originally thought?

Of course there were many victims, however, while the weather in February was significantly worse than January in many areas of the country, statistics show that lending increased in February, which was up by 23 percent from the previous winter, strengthening the economy overall. While it may seem contradictory that, yes, lending increased because small businesses are in need of resources that they don’t have, in most cases, an increase in lending really means that small businesses are confident in their stability and overall growth.

As we saw previously, many small businesses, particularly restaurants and retail, really took a hard hit this winter. However, while business for these particular industries was slow, there were few business failures reported. Overall, the government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) budget is a little smaller this year, indicating that the organization and economy expect fewer small business failures. Furthermore, unemployment continues to slowly decrease, hanging out at around 6 percent.

All in all, there were no doubt small business victims from this year’s winter. But as bad as it was, it could have been—and was—worse in previous years. Overall, business and the economy continue to slowly be on the rise, especially since customers are eager to get out, enjoy the nice weather we thought we would never see again.

And while small businesses might be eager to put this winter behind them, they shouldn’t forget about next year’s without first considering a toll free vanity number which could be your saving grace during another harsh winter.

 

 

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Uncategorized |
April 15th, 2014

Small BusinessSmall business owners need to exude the "Glass is half full" optimism that motivates employees and attracts new customers to their small businesses. While it is great to have a positive attitude, the fact is reality lurks behind every small business counter and under every small business desk. The reality is things can go wrong with your small business.

Here are the five worst things that can happen to a small business so you can do whatever it takes to avoid them.

No Vision

Running a successful small business begins with a vision. You do not have to be clairvoyant, but you had better mold a clear vision that you and your team continually strive to achieve. The vision should clearly define at least one small business objective, such as becoming the best supplier of used automotive parts in the greater Boston area. Keep your small business vision simple and attainable, as well as constantly in view of the entire small business team.

Lacking an Online Presence

When customers today want to search for a business offering a particular product, or in a particular industry or niche, where do they turn? The majority of people who are searching for a particular business hit the web. The days of the “yellow pages” are just about gone, except for maybe the old-fashioned among us. All in all, establishing and maintaining an online presence is incredibly essential for the overall success of a small business. This should be the top five goals of every small business.

Poor Communication

Like any type of relationship, communication is a key element. The same goes for small businesses. Poor lines of communication among customers and team members can lead to utter disaster and failure. When team members aren’t on the same page with one another or with you as their manager, this trickles down and becomes apparent to customers. Customers depend on a small business team to provide them with accurate information on products or services. High turnover creates poor service and it can be one of the most costly items in a small business income statement. All of these can be avoided by practicing some effective communication.

No Recruitment Strategy

The shotgun approach to employee recruitment leads to a slew of unqualified candidates. While this approach may be quicker or cheaper, it can often do more harm than good. A good team is one of the most important assets to a small business. Recruiting and establishing an intelligent, competent, and loyal team will do wonders for the growth of your small business. Small business owners should always be looking for the best of the best and the top talent to join the team.

Poor Customer Service

Customer service often represents the deciding factor that customers use to choose where to shop and conduct business. Poor customer service ranges from rude staff members to a group of employees that do not know how to describe the products and services a small business offers or offer information or viable solutions for customers. You are better off putting up the "Closed" sign than providing inferior customer service. You want to encourage customer satisfaction, and one of the best ways to do this is to offer a toll free vanity number.

Operating a small business no doubt requires a significant amount of positive energy. By providing poor customer service, poor communication, operating without a clear vision, and lacking an effective online presence, you can expect to drain the positive energy before you reach the end of your first year in business. The good news is there is a lot small business owners can do to easily fix or avoid the five worst things that can happen to a small business.

 

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Uncategorized |
April 11th, 2014

Toll Free Vanity Numbers; Small Business Communication; Small Business; Google; Vanity Toll FreeThrough the years, Google has provided small business owners with several online communication tools to level the playing field against larger competitors that possess more resources to devote towards marketing strategies. For example, Google Local allowed small businesses to achieve high rankings in Google's vaunted search engine. Now, Google has added another tool that helps small businesses increase their online presence.

Google's Customer Service Phone Schema

The search engine giant recently announced that it now supports improved schema markup and rich snippets for small business location pages. Integral to Google's new schema is the display of small business phone numbers devoted to customer service, including bill payments, bill support, and technical information. Every phone number marked up by a small business specifies if the number is toll-free, accessible for the hearing impaired, and the geographic location of phone coverage. Small businesses can also specify additional categories, but Google only presents the three primary bits of contact information within each rich snippet.

More Information

On your small business website contact page, you can include other markups that include the small business address, primary phone number, operating hours, or any other information you want your customers to know about your small business. If you operate several departments, such as departments within a grocery store, you can assign separate columns within each rich snippet.

Google lays out the information clearly for your loyal and potential customers to read. It also provides you with detailed technical information on how to create the marked up snippets, as well as code examples that help small business owners promote their products, such as restaurant menus and florist flower lists.

What This Means for You

Google's inclusion of toll-free numbers within the rich snippet means small business owners should consider converting their standard phone numbers to toll free vanity numbers. The benefits of acquiring toll free vanity numbers include greater customer recognition, improved brand awareness, and a higher return on your marketing investment. With the addition of Google's new schema, you can further leverage your toll free vanity numbers to garner more market share.

 

© alexskopje - Fotolia.com

Toll Free Benefits |
April 9th, 2014

Vanity and Branding, Small Business Communication, Toll Free Vanity Numbers, Small BusinessSmall business owners always look for an edge to stay ahead of the competition, especially larger businesses that can devote more resources towards marketing strategies. However, many small business owners try the wrong strategies when it comes to marketing their products and services. By acquiring vanity numbers, they can boost small business awareness and receive a higher return on their marketing dollars. The benefits of vanity toll free numbers also include enhanced customer and brand recognition of your business and a stronger market presence.

Now that you understand the myriad benefits of vanity numbers, you should learn more about how to implement the low cost marketing strategy for your small business. The key to establishing vanity small business communication lies in following three simple to implement steps.

Decide on Number of Lines

You can add as many vanity numbers as your small business can support. The support does not solely involve technology, but rather the number of qualified team members who have the knowledge and friendly customer service skills required to handle customer queries. Friendly customer service is especially important for dealing with potential customers who want to learn more about your small business. When in doubt, start with one vanity toll free number and then expand your lines, as more team members become comfortable with handling incoming calls.

Create a Catchy Vanity Number

You can go with the standard vanity toll free numbers that people have dialed for decades. Yet, by establishing catch vanity number combinations, you ensure loyal and potential customers remember and easily recall your small business. For example, florists can utilize several catchy names, such as 1-800-FLOWERS to attract new business. Make sure you promote your catchy vanity numbers on business cards and the door that greets everyone who walks into your small business.

Sync Your Vanity Number with a Domain Name

In order to really ensure brand recognition, take your toll free vanity number one step further and tie it into your web domain name. Make both work for you simultaneously. When a potential customer looks you up on the web or calls your toll free vanity number, they won’t hear or see one without the other. This is powerful reinforcement that will instantly boost brand recognition, and your numbers.

Above all, you want to work with a professional provider who understands every facet of running a vanity number campaign; preferably a provider with a strong record of helping small businesses increase their presence within the community. Start with a catchy vanity toll free number and take advantage of the enhanced services that get your small business noticed by prospective customers.

 

Vanity and Branding |
April 8th, 2014

Content Marketing, Small Business, Entrepreneur; Toll Free Vanity NumbersContent marketing involves the creation of fresh, relevant content that utilizes the keywords potential customers use to find your small business online. This is the good news. The bad news, however, is that many small business owners commit one or more of the following eight deadly sins that sink their content marketing strategies before their content can truly come alive.

Content Does Not Equal Selling

Never use your content marketing platform to pitch products and services. Your customers visit your small business website to learn how to solve problems and gain insight into how to accomplish specific tasks. Tone down the sales voice; it’s not as effective anymore. You primary goal is to build trust, not alienate website visitors by publishing blatant sales pitches.

The Guest Blogger No One Likes

Very few of us have the mental spigot flowing 24 hours a day. Therefore, we need to find guest bloggers who possess knowledge about our small business niche. Your content marketing strategy can flourish with the right guest blogger, but you must ensure he or she does not run off your readers because of insolent responses to comments and insulting content.

No Supermen or Superwomen Required

You run a small business, which means your hands are in several pots simultaneously. A common content marketing mistake is trying to manage a content marketing strategy yourself. You should delegate responsibility to other team members who have the ability to write compelling content about your small business. You can even hand over the entire content marketing strategy to an employee who may have a lighter work load.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Did you know that showcasing videos on your small business website and social media is a key element to a strong content marketing strategy? Do not fret if you do not know this, since most small business owners make the same content marketing mistake. Uploading "How to…" videos on YouTube or even sharing them on Twitter or Facebook can turn a mundane content marketing program into a sparkling addition to page one of Google's search engine.

Using the Shotgun Approach

Another common content marketing mistake entails small business owners using the information shotgun approach to reach their website audiences. Concentrate on your area of expertise and target your audience with useful information about topics you understand. If you want to cast a bigger net to reel in more website traffic, then recruit qualified guest bloggers in other niches to broaden your content.

Recycling is Good for More than “Being Green”

Too many small business owners make the mistake of writing about a topic and then never revisiting the topic down the road. You should never revisit a topic that you wrote about last week, but wait a few months and apply a different spin on a topic that received an above average number of comments or visitors. Recycling content keeps important issues in the minds of your potential and loyal customers.

Stand Up and Stand Out

The formulaic approach to writing small business content does nothing to set you apart from the competition. Although following a few blog-writing standards and introducing seductive titles and verbiage makes sense, you must integrate your unique personality into your content and try varied approaches to writing creative content. A consistent and established tone is important. Putting your personality into your content is the best reason to market your small business.

Cheapskate

You can make the mistake of running your content marketing strategy on a cheap marketing budget or devote the necessary financial resources to introduce your small business to a larger audience. There is no such thing a just a "little bit" of content marketing. You’re either in it to win it, or you’re not. Start getting financially serious about your content marketing strategy and get ready to put into the investment. You won’t be let down…unless you choose to make these deadly content marketing mistakes.

One of the most neglected common content marketing mistakes involves toll free vanity numbers. Small businesses that acquire toll free vanity numbers should list the numbers on every blog and web page. This provides your website visitors with a free and convenient way to contact you and learn more about your small business.

 

© ratch0013 - Fotolia.com


Uncategorized |
April 4th, 2014

Toll Free Vanity Numbers; Small Business; Social Media Marketing; TumblrDid you know that you can now use toll free numbers to leave audio notes on your Tumblr blog? For entrepreneurs and small business owners, think of the possibilities! This is a new, innovative, and creative way entrepreneurs and small businesses can connect with customers and target audiences while on-the-go.

For those entrepreneurs and small business owners that use Tumblr as a part of their online and social media marketing strategy, this is a great opportunity to really enhance and align your social media marketing strategy, small business communication, and brand all by setting up your toll free vanity number through your Tumblr account. Have a quick thought or announcement you want to share with your customers or audience? Dial and post. It’s really that easy.

For those entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not use Tumblr, but may have a toll free vanity number, perhaps this is reason enough to set up a new Tumblr account. If you already have more social media than you can handle, perhaps it’s time to review and revise your current social media marketing strategy to focus your efforts on a medium that works better or is easier to manage. If you do find yourself always on-the-go, as most entrepreneurs and small business owners are, then it may be time for you to take advantage of using your toll free vanity number through Tumblr so you can engage in customers and reach your audience more easily.

toll free vanity number really is more than just a number. It’s also way more than what is still often perceived as an obsolete form of communication. A strong and effective toll free vanity number can really open the doors to enhance your marketing strategy, improve and boost small business communication, and provide an effective mode of communication to your customers in a way that is unique and easy to remember.

 

© carballo - Fotolia.com

Uncategorized |
April 3rd, 2014

Toll Free Vanity Number; Small BusinessAfter considering the benefits of acquiring a toll free vanity number, you decide to move ahead and make the vanity number an indispensable part of your marketing strategy. However, you may fall into the same trap that snares other small business owners. Although small business owners may take time to decide whether to acquire a toll free vanity number, they spend very little time coming up with a competitive number. After you create your toll free vanity number, you need to answer a simple question: How competitive is it?

What Makes a Toll Free Vanity Number Competitive?

The primary factor that determines the competitiveness of a toll free vanity number is how memorable the number is to customers who want to contact your small business. A competitive toll free vanity number sticks like glue in the memory of your customers. You can create a catchy word that epitomizes your small business or string together easy to remember numbers that roll off the tongue of your customers. In either case, creating a catchy vanity number enhances the competitiveness of your small business.

The Benefits of Acquiring a Competitive Toll Free Vanity Number

A catchy vanity number represents the greatest benefit of acquiring a toll free vanity number. You can expect to attract more new customers who learn about your small business from friends and family members who easily recite your new toll free vanity number. Moreover, there are three other reasons to acquire a competitive toll free vanity number.

Stronger Market Presence

They say perception is 100 percent reality, and the perception of potential customers says your small business vanity number creates a stronger market presence. The number makes your small business appear more established than competitors who rely on standard phone numbers to answer customer inquiries. A toll free vanity number also boosts your brand by creating prestige.

Customer Peace of Mind

A catchy vanity number puts prospective customers at ease. You build a level of trust that engages new customers because they feel your small business is more accessible than the small business owner down the street whose telephone number is a string of random numbers. When you create a catchy toll free vanity number, you develop an impressive small business image.

Money in the Bank

With a toll free vanity number, you spend very little to receive a substantial increase in new customers. Enhanced customer recognition translates into increasing the worth and value of your small business. You have additional ways to reach more customers and ring up more sales.

 

© freshidea - Fotolia.com


Toll Free Benefits, Vanity and Branding |
March 25th, 2014

Small Business; Online Marketing; Toll Free Vanity Numbers; Business GrowthYour small business website represents an extension of your physical shop or store. Therefore, you need your online store to attract new customers and generate sales. However, many entrepreneurs find making money online to be an arduous task, mostly because they are not aware of the various ways to achieve business growth online.

When your small business website isn't making money online, don’t hit the panic button. You might just need to address traffic and effective online marketing strategies, as well as think outside the marketing box by acquiring toll free vanity numbers.

Build it and They May Not Come

You cannot make money online by adhering to the Field of Dreams principle of "Build it and they will come." Small business websites must develop strategies that increase online traffic by ranking high in Google's hallowed search engine.

Content is King

Too many small business owners think they are boosting their websites by flashy images and graphics. The fact remains that Google rewards entrepreneurs who produce fresh, relevant content that utilizes the keywords submitted by potential customers. Fresh, relevant content can comprise of "How to…" blogs and individual web pages that describe how products and services help customers solve problems. Savvy small business owners enlist the help of experts in their field to write about pertinent topics that engage visitors to their websites.

Inbound Links

Both Google and Bing place inbound links at the top of the search engine page ranking criteria. The more inbound links your small business website garners from high quality sites, the more visible your small business becomes online. Entrepreneurs need to perform research to recruit trusted web publishers that reap the benefits of high traffic numbers. You experience small business growth when the visitors to other high traffic sites find your small business link and click the link to learn more about your products and services.

Social Media

Social media sites are not just for the bored and lonely among us who need a little virtual companionship. Entrepreneurs benefit from social media participation in several ways. Your small business interacts with followers who find your small business website via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Social media places a face with a small business, which triggers more of an emotional response that leads purchases. You receive instant customer feedback on social media sites by activating alert features. Entrepreneurs should think of social media as a strong brand builder, much in the same way that toll free vanity numbers build brands.

1-844-Make-Money

Toll free vanity numbers should roll off the tongues of loyal and potential customers. Catchy words that emphasize your business provide you with instant customer recognition, which goes a long way towards building brand awareness. Above all, toll free vanity numbers provide the greatest return on your marketing investment. This means you spend little and put your small business back into business growth mode.

 

 

© momius - Fotolia.com

Toll Free Benefits |
March 21st, 2014

Small Business; Business Planning; Business Growth; Entrepreneur; Toll Free Vanity NumbersEntrepreneurs are tasked with a HUGE responsibility and challenge: running a small business. There are a ton of things to consider, worry about, and think about…and as a result, they never have any time. For those new entrepreneurs who are attempting to launch a startup, you’re probably the most overwhelmed. Where do you start? What does your marketing strategy look like? How are you going to pay the bills? And how do you effectively reach your target market and get your brand on the map? Start with a solid business plan.

Even in creating a small business plan, there are still a ton of things to consider and to include that it after you’ve named all your goals, objectives, and plans on how to get there, you’ve got over twenty of pages. Isn’t there an easier way? Yes, there can be. Rather than think and try to plan for everything under the sun, because you really can’t do that, cut your business plan down to just a few simple yet key areas:

Stick to the Goals. When you first sit down to put together a small business plan, forget everything else that might be bouncing around in your mind and concentrate on your goals. Why do you want to start your new small business? What is the value of your product or service that you want to “sell” to your customers? What do you want to get out of your small business? What do you want your customers to get out of your small business? These are all questions you need to ask yourself at the forefront. Sticking to your goals and keeping them in mind will help you pave your way to the top, and will certainly help you stand out from your competition.

What Will it Cost? The next thing that every new entrepreneur or small business owner needs to think about is the cost. What will starting a small business cost you in terms of financial resources? This is what makes most entrepreneurs and small business owners nervous. What are you willing to sacrifice personally to make your small business work? What will happen if your small business fails? However, while we can easily become so consumed by the money factor, small business owners and entrepreneurs also need to keep in mind what starting a new small business will cost you in terms of your personal life and your time. How much of your personal life are you willing to sacrifice to make your small business succeed?

Content Marketing = Getting to Know Your Customers. Another key area that entrepreneurs and small business owners need to consider is a strong and effective content marketing strategy. A good content marketing strategy means getting to know your customers because you need to know how to reach them, what gets their attention, how you can offer an individualized and personalized experience, and how your products or services can solve their problems.

Much like weight loss, there are a ton of articles, programs, speakers, and services that many organizations offer to help small businesses strengthen their content marketing strategies. All in all, the best content marketing strategy is one that works for you and your business that best reaches your customers. Getting to know your customers is the ultimate and the most proven content marketing strategy that is bound to work.

Toll Free Vanity Numbers. No small business should be without one. Offering a toll free vanity number to your customers is a simple and insanely cost effective way to strengthen and grow your brand. Even though it is incredibly easy for customers to look up and connect with a small business via the web or social media, it’s also incredibly easy for customers to recall a good vanity number when they see or hear one. Put the two together and you’ve really got something: an important key to your small business plan.

 

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