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February 27th, 2014

Small Business; Entrepreneurs; Toll Free Vanity NumbersRunning a small business is not something most people are cut out to do. In fact, entrepreneurs who own and operate small businesses comprise a very small percentage of the workforce. Yet small business owners represent the backbone of the American economy by creating over two-thirds of new jobs and sustaining neighborhoods in every major metropolitan area.

So, why do small business owners create the level of envy in everyone else that borders on downright animus? Well, it starts with the small business skills that many are called upon to possess, but only the strong can achieve.

The Elusive Entrepreneur Dream

We are told that the entrepreneur skills that everyone hates are innate skills, genetic mutations that immediately manifest at birth. Either you have the skills or you don't. However, you can develop the small business skills that everyone hates by demonstrating immense self-discipline with a touch of creativity.

Organization

Entrepreneurs do not possess a unique organization gene, one that allows them to multitask several projects at the same time seamlessly. Organization is an acquired trait that demands discipline and the use of advanced small business technology. The computer that sits on your small business desk or the Smartphone you hold in your hand is much more than a gaming device. Several software vendors offer organization tools that range from electronic daily planners to features that alert you when it's time to attend your next meeting.

Team Builder

Successful small business operators draw the ire of competitors because they have the skills required to recruit the best team members. They eschew conventional recruiting tactics, such as publishing print and Internet ads. The best entrepreneurs skillfully recruit talent by networking with current team members, friends, and family. They find highly qualified employees by reaching out to workers at other businesses that they frequent. Above all, the small business owners that are the envy of everyone else devise a list of traits and skills they desire for each position in their small business.

Master of Numbers

Nothing irks people more than running into an entrepreneur who can recite financial numbers with the ease of a seasoned public speaker. You cannot evade the numbers game when you run a small business, but you do not have to possess an advanced accounting degree to demonstrate your financial numbers proficiency. Small business owners simply need to harness the skills required to understand balance sheets, income statements, and basic bookkeeping. With a little diligence, they can also master the concept of pricing and business models.

Thinking Outside of the Box

It's one thing to hate the skills entrepreneurs learn, but the level of animus rises to a new level when it concerns the skills small business owners possess naturally. One of the most coveted intrinsic skills involves thinking outside of the box. For small business owners, this does not mean putting on the mad scientist hat and devising ways to take over the world. Thinking outside of the box can be as simple as acquiring toll free vanity numbers. The benefits of having small business vanity phone numbers includes creating a stronger market presence, increasing brand recognition among your customers, and maximizing marketing return on investment.

 

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February 25th, 2014

Small Business Technology; Toll Free Vanity NumbersSmall business technology levels the playing field between small business owners who operate on tight budgets and large corporations that seemingly have an endless supply of cash. The best small business technology enhances communication, increases data accuracy, and facilitates interaction between you and potential customers. Unfortunately, many small business owners believe that simply investing in small business technology is enough to put them over the competitive hump.

On the other hand, this isn’t always the case. Small businesses need to ensure they know how to use business technology and that they are using it correctly. Here are the three primary small business technology errors made by small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Get off My Cloud

Cloud small business technology provides entrepreneurs with an affordable way to access important data. However, this means you place all of your small business financial and operational data in the hands of someone who works outside of your small business. Human and server errors have caused countless deletions of critical small business data. One of the biggest misuses of small business technology is relying on third parties to organize and manage small business data. Store all of your data in-house and hire a professional you can trust to manage it.

Anti-Social Behavior

Social networking has morphed from a way for friends and family to connect into a vital marketing strategy for small businesses. Small business technology budgets do not see a hit from implementing social media marketing strategies. However, your financial statements can reflect how you use social media technology incorrectly. Many small business owners engage in arguments with customers over Twitter and Facebook, they incorrectly use hashtags, and even put post inappropriate content. All are recipes for disaster…

Open Invitation to Steal

The recent identity theft that afflicted thousands of Target customers during the 2013 holiday season demonstrates the importance of investing in advanced security protection for your small business information technology platform. Yet, most small business owners barely get beyond setting up a firewall to discourage hackers let alone have a clue as to what constitutes their IT security features, such as antivirus programs and spam blockers. Ignoring these tools gives hackers an easy and open invitation to steal.

Low Tech Wayto Attract New Customers

Possibly the most significant way small business operators incorrectly use small business technology is by spending money on technology that they do not need. Not all of the bells and whistles you add to your IT system attract new customers. You can bring in more business by simply add toll free vanity numbers. Moreover, small businesses should consider the high return on investment provided by easy to acquire toll free vanity numbers. Inexpensive to purchase and operate, toll free numbers create a brand identity among people who remember your catchy toll free phrase. 

 

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February 21st, 2014

Small Business; Entrepreneurs; Toll Free Vanity Numbers; Toll Free BenefitsThe advantages of running small businesses far outweigh the disadvantages. However, many aspiring entrepreneurs fall into bad habits, from allowing stress to consume them, abandoning their personal lives, or even failing to implement visions and meeting goals. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish what you need to accomplish.

You may think you require a boot camp session in entrepreneur 101, but instead you can follow some simple lifestyle tips to get your body and mind on the right small business track.

Exercise

Entrepreneurs barely have time to eat or sleep, much less take care of their bodies, but study after medical study clearly demonstrates the health benefits of adhering to a regular exercise regimen. Simply walking 30 minutes a day can alleviate a significant amount of stress. Disavow the typical entrepreneur mindset to forgo exercise for extended stints in your computer chair.

Nutrition

Entrepreneurs are always on the go, so they typically make poor nutritional choices that inevitably drain them of the energy required to sustain their small businesses. They grab sacks of unhealthy fast food or don't eat at all. You can work through lunch, just remember to pack nutritional foods in your lunch bag, such as fresh, vitamin rich fruits and vegetables.

Sleep

"I'll sleep when I die" is a frequent phrase tossed around by high-octane entrepreneurs. Well, you can expect to die at a much younger age, if you do not get at least six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis. Sleep revitalizes your always-running engine, as well as harnesses the things you learned from your busy day.

Don't Answer the Phone

In fact, turn off your electronic gadgets for extended periods of the day to eliminate the types of distractions that knock you off your focused track. When you arrive home at night, turn off your technology gadgets or put them away for a little while. Instead, find something to do that…

…Soothes Your Mind and Soul

It can be relaxing music, a period of reflective meditation, or play time with your loving canine, or spend time with your family. You need down time to rejuvenate your creative juices and have something to do besides ruminate over your latest small business idea.

Delegate

Entrepreneurs who run small businesses tend to want to do it all. They insist on being involved in every decision and refuse to empower members of their team. You can expect your small business to fail, not to mention a trip to an early grave, if you don't learn how to trust your team to make decisions.

Keep it Simple

Many small business entrepreneurs believe that the more complicated a business idea, the better chance of the idea working. They apply the same logic to marketing by spending way too much time on complicated strategies that never work. You can make your life so much easier and less stressful if you decide to keep it simple by acquiring toll free vanity numbers.

The benefits of toll free numbers impact small businesses on a large scale. Toll free vanity numbers free up time for you to pursue other things, such as implementing some of the healthy and helpful tips to help entrepreneurs improve their lifestyles and live longer!

 

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February 20th, 2014

Small Business; Small Business Marketing Tactics; Content Marketing; Toll Free Vanity NumbersYou have several small business marketing tactics at your disposal, from handing out product samples to setting up toll free vanity numbers. Most small business marketing tactics require time, resources, and countless hours of research to properly set up. However, content marketing only requires small business owners to get in the right frame of mind, not dig into their pockets to attract new customers.

What is Content Marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute (yes, there is an institute devoted to content marketing), "Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience." The primary objective of any content marketing program involves converting website visitors into lifelong patrons of your small business. Now that you know about the importance of content marketing, let's get in the content marketing zone.

Mind Control

Getting into the correct content marketing frame of mind does not mean you have to dive deep into meditation or think warm, fuzzy thoughts to clear your brain of unwanted clutter. You have to think like a writer, adhere to a writing schedule, and utilize all of the small business marketing tactics and resources to present your small business content in the right form.

Think like a Writer

No, you don't have to get an English degree or have a few cups of coffee before you write each blog or create web page content. You simply need to think about topics to write about, develop outlines for each topic, research some relevant keywords to your small business, and create a rough draft of the content the way you see it in your head. If you don't possess the skills or the desire to write, then turn to one of your team members for inspiration. Just ensure that the content marketing writer helping you understands your small business and the goals you want to achieve with your content.

Thirty Days, Five Blogs

The most effective content marketing programs adhere to scheduled blog posts and web page content updates. Potential customers expect posts to appear on certain days and address topics that allow you to earn trust. Use a monthly planner or create an editorial blog calendar strictly for scheduling blogs and website content updates. Select a team member to hold the content marketer accountable for adhering to the content marketing schedule.

Expand Your Content Marketing Horizons

Don't limit yourself to just website content. Your small business can benefit from small content marketing via social media, Google+, guest blogs, and even videos, audio, and other forms of media. Spread the word, create a buzz, and go viral in all ways you can.

Custom Toll Free Content

So what does content marketing have to do with toll free vanity numbers? The answer lies in your goal to establish a content marketing mindset. A catchy phrase or slogan that stays with your customers can create the perfect toll free vanity number. By putting together seven letters to create toll free vanity numbers, you have successfully adopted the simplest and one of the most effective content marketing strategies of all.

 

 

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February 18th, 2014

Small Business; Entrepreneurs; Small Business Technology; Toll Free Vanity NumbersSmall business owners must find ways to stay competitive with larger companies that have more resources to expand their market share. The best way to remain competitive with larger businesses involves increasing brand awareness through the implementation of advanced technology strategies.

Most small businesses, however, such as grocery stores, auto part shops, and independent restaurants, do not have the resources to always keep up with the trending gadgets and deploy new technologies to enhance their operations. Small business owners have their hands full already with trying to pay the bills, managing employees, attracting new customers, and just keeping their business alive.

But online marketing has changed the technology game for small businesses. Most technology strategies do not require small business owners and entrepreneurs to invest financial resources. Small businesses can implement effective mobile, email, and social media marketing campaigns, without draining budgets. Nonetheless, small businesses and entrepreneurs should ask four questions before investing in new technology.

Onsite or Cloud Technology?

Onsite technology requires small business owners to perform hands-on duties, such as installing new software and backing up data. On the other hand, cloud technology automatically backs up, secures, and retrieves small business data whenever you need it. Cloud technology also allows small businesses to access third-party extensions by working with other cloud-driven technology solutions. Instead of having to worry about upgrades and reboots, you can spend more time answering customer questions and growing your small business.

What about Customer Data?

The primary reason for implementing the latest small business technology is accessing and analyzing data quickly to improve customer experiences. Ask any technology provider whether you own your small business customer data. You need to ensure the provider cannot resell your customer data not only to protect your customers' personal data, but also your small business financial information. Small business technology must allow your small business to terminate the contract, export business data, and move the technology to another platform.

How Much?

Small businesses operate on tight budgets. Therefore, avoid the temptation to buy technology features that your small business does not need. Moreover, closely examine the annual contract, monthly rate, and hidden fees. Search for the small business technology contract that provides you with financial flexibility and no legal hassles. Most small businesses cannot afford to lock into long-term contracts that do not allow them to terminate the agreement.

Is There a Cheaper and Easier Way?

Small business technology does not have to clean out your cash reserves. You can simply establish toll free vanity numbers to expand brand awareness and provide superb customer service. Toll free vanity numbers should include a memorable and viral phrase that customers can easily recall and pass on to their friends and family. Although advanced technology can help your small business attract new customers, toll free vanity numbers produce more profits by providing you with a greater return on your marketing investment.

 

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February 14th, 2014

Entrepreneurs, Small Business, 2014 Olympics, Toll Free Vanity NumbersEntrepreneurs face daunting challenges when it comes to running their small businesses. In fact, only 9 percent of small businesses survive the first five to ten years of operation. Everything from onerous taxes and regulations to mismanagement doom the vast majority of entrepreneurs who risk the security of working for a large company for the freedom of making it on their own. How can entrepreneurs succeed in an increasingly volatile economy? The answer lies in learning from the athletes of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The Attributes Shared by Olympians and Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have several resources to cull tips on how to succeed in running small businesses. The SBA provides invaluable tools for small business owners to receive financing and organize accounting documents. Many successful entrepreneurs thrive because successful small business owners mentored them. Yet the best lessons that entrepreneurs learn come from Olympians. For entrepreneurs to last more than ten years in our rough economic climate, they need to possess resilience, motivation, creativity, and commitment.

Get off the Ground to Fight Another Day

Virtually every Olympic gold medal winner has faced some form of adversity during his or her career. Adversity can include career-threatening injuries, the inability to master maneuvers, or intense competition. Entrepreneurs face adversity every day, from no-call, no-show employees to rapid changes in government regulations, and even rising operation costs. As is the case with gold medal Olympians, entrepreneurs must possess the resiliency to overcome obstacles.

Think Outside Convention

If you watch Winter Olympic events such as the halfpipe and figure skating, you notice the competitors have mastered many of the same moves. What differentiates the winners from the rest of the field is the creativity displayed in perfectly executing unique maneuvers. Successful entrepreneurs not only master the fundamentals of running a small business, they also take the type of chances that translate into small business gold. For example, small business owners who think outside of the box may establish toll free vanity numbers to enhance brand awareness.

Commitment to the Vision

Olympians commit to their vision of bringing home the gold one day. They exhibit the discipline to train daily for several years until the big event arrives. You can have the greatest small business idea, but it means nothing unless you demonstrate the commitment to see your vision to fruition. 

 

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February 13th, 2014

Small Business, Native Advertising, Toll Free Vanity NumbersThe world of Internet marketing is replete with catchy phrases and buzzwords. Most of the catchy buzzwords quickly move over for the next big online marketing strategy. A few buzzwords, such as content marketing, appear to have staying power. So, where does that put native advertising, a concept that gained traction during 2013? Is native advertising just another online marketing buzzword that we can expect to fade away? Or does it have the potential to be an integral part of small business online marketing strategies for years to come?

What is Native Advertising?

Online marketers construct native ads to mirror the content that surrounds the ads on any given web page. For example, a web page that discusses the types of camping gear can accompany native ads that promote the varied types of gear. Instead of distracting users from reading content, native ads become an integral part of web page content.

The Benefits of Native Advertising

Small business owners that have historically run banner ads to promote their small businesses may be surprised to learn that native ads pack more bang for their buck.

According to a study conducted by IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough:

  • 25% more website visitors view native ads than banner ads
  • Website visitors look at native ads 53% more frequently than banner ads
  • You can expect website visitors to access native ads four times per online session, compared to only 2.7 times per session for banner ads.

What Small Businesses Can Expect from Native Advertising in 2014

The rising popularity of native advertising should usher in the era of the "native product" some time during 2014. Native products represent the collaboration between news, technology, and advertising that transforms content marketing beyond the traditional realm of text and images. Native products implement platforms and technologies to provide enhanced user experiences and increased website visitor interaction. As with toll free vanity numbers, native products provide small businesses with a cost effective way to develop relationships with prospective customers.

Complement Native Products with Toll Free Vanity Numbers

By implementing the concept of native advertising, small businesses can expand their reach and attract more customers by establishing toll free vanity numbers. The key to creating an effective toll free vanity number involves developing a memorable phrase that reminds both potential and regular customers of your business, like 1-800-FLOWERS, for example. Once you establish one or more toll free vanity numbers, be sure to recruit highly trained customer service professionals to handle the myriad questions you can expect to answer about your small business products and services.

 

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February 11th, 2014

Small Business; Entrepreneurs; Toll Free Vanity NumbersSuperheroes such as Batman and Superman came from nowhere to catch free falling victims that villains pushed from tall building ledges. Similarly, a depressed housing market, stagnant job growth, and skyrocketing prices have pushed the American economy into a seemingly irreversible free fall over the last several years. The question on the tips of many economists' tongues is can entrepreneurs play superheroes and help save the American economy?

Small Business Job Growth

Did you know that entrepreneurs that operate small businesses create nearly 70 percent of the new American jobs? Instead of outsourcing jobs overseas, entrepreneurs create permanent positions that require continuous education, training, and professional development. Employees who work for small business entrepreneurs typically take the entrepreneurial spirit with them to other companies or in the pursuit of opening their own small businesses. Moreover, small businesses tend to price their products more competitively than larger companies, which dampens inflation.

Show Small Businesses the Money

But there are still challenges. One of the factors that limit small business growth involves financing. Since the financial meltdown of 2008, entrepreneurs have found it very difficult to acquire financing for startup costs that are associated with new businesses. Lenders only want to approve loans to larger, more established companies that have proven track records of growing revenue and profits. Financing smaller startups involves heavy risks for lenders.

Entrepreneurs provide the impetus for improving the economy by creating jobs, but it is hard to create jobs when financial institutions refuse to lend to smaller businesses. However, there is good news. Small business operators have several options for relying less on banks and other financial institutions. One of the tried and true ways involves setting up toll free vanity numbers.

Toll Free Vanity Numbers Spell Growth and Success.

You do not need to change out of your business clothes and into a cape to help save the economy. An increasing number of entrepreneurs have found that establishing one or more toll free vanity numbers attracts more customers to their small businesses. A toll free vanity number not only secures a business’s reputation and brand recognition, but it also secures their overall small business growth and success.

Once a prospective customer sets foot in your store, or visits your ecommerce website, you have the captive audience required to make sales. Toll free vanity numbers create a strong market presence for your small business by boosting brand awareness, enhancing customer recognition, and developing instant credibility.

 

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February 7th, 2014

Small Business; Small Business Growth; Small Business Communication; Small Business Technology; Toll Free Vanity NumbersYou have assembled the quintessential small business team. You recruited the most talented and savvy team members who are well-versed in leadership, operations, and technology. Your small business should leave the competition in the dust, but you have a small problem to overcome: communication with regular and prospective customers.

While communication seems like such a simple concept, it is often one of the hardest facets of a small business to improve and manage. Like any relationship, whether it is professional or personal, communication between teams and cuwwwstomers is of the utmost importance.

How to Enhance Small Business Communication

Before your team interacts effectively with customers, they must first learn how to communicate with one another. No, they do not need to earn a PhD in Communications to thrive in a small business setting. They just need to follow a few time-honored small business communication tips.

Reach Out to Someone Electronically

We all use email today. In fact, we use email (and even texting in some cases) to reach out to team members, clients, and vendors for various reasons in business. But do we ever really stop and think about how we email? Or our email etiquette? Yes, there is such a thing. It’s so easy to open an email, read it, and respond to it without thinking. But this isn’t always the best practice. It’s incredibly easy to misinterpret someone’s tone or message in an email. Especially if they come across as short, demanding, or even yelling (in cases when team members type in all caps). Small businesses should educate team members in proper etiquette to ensure smooth and open communication throughout the business.

Remember to Have a Sense of Urgency

One of the ways to boost small business growth involves establishing quicker response times. Instead of conducting several meetings to reach a decision, small businesses often grant team members the autonomy to make decisions on the spot, especially when it involves customers. Give your team members access to a piece of mobile technology, whether it is a laptop, tablet, or Smartphone. This will enable them the flexibility and convenience to take their work on the go, which increases productivity and boosts morale. Technology is a big investment for any small business, but it will no doubt have a larger return. An increase in productivity and efficient communication will ultimately lead to happier customers, more leads, and higher sales.

Don’t Forget the Personal Touch

No matter how advanced technology becomes in the workplace, you cannot expect to communicate effectively strictly through electronic channels. Encourage your team members to meet face-to-face as much as possible. Personal interaction fosters the type of trust required to form a cohesive team. Schedule meetings regularly to discuss ongoing projects and express team member concerns. Address customer complaints that you receive via your toll free vanity numbers during personal interaction.

Connect with Your Customers through Toll Free Vanity Numbers

Your long time regular customers do not want to hear a busy signal when they call your small business. Prospective customers shop somewhere else when you do not promptly return their emails. The solution to your small business communication problems lies in establishing multiple toll free vanity numbers. Multiple toll free vanity numbers provide you with instant access to regular and prospective customers. Moreover, vanity numbers enhance your small business name recognition, which leads to new customer business.

 

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February 5th, 2014

Small Business; Small Business GrowthSmall business operators have myriad ways to measure the success of their small businesses. Of all of the metrics used to gauge small business success, sales and marketing invariably appear near the top of the list. However, do you know that you can measure sales and marketing by using a methodology that does not include dollars and cents?

You can measure small business growth in terms of grit.

What is Grit?

Dr. Angela Duckworth has spent time and money researching grit. The University of Pennsylvania professor defines grit as "sticking with things over the long term until you master them." She adds that gritty people approach success as a marathon, not a sprint. Grit represents resilience, perseverance, and dedication. In the world of small business, grit has several applications to sales and marketing.

How Grit Influences Small Business Growth

The primary goal of most small business operators is to grow sales from one year to the next. Small business operators can implement numerous strategies to grow sales, from slashing prices to introducing innovative products. Yet we know that most small business sales strategies fail to drive sales. This is where grit comes in, as small business operators who possess unassailable grit never quit trying to adopt successful ways to boost revenue. They keep at it until they discover the right small business growth strategy. Small business owners must remain determined to grow revenue by searching for the right online marketing mix.

When True Grit Really Matters

No other facet of running a small business requires more grit than online marketing. You can expect to fail miserably at attracting new business online, but you must stay with your online marketing program. Content marketing, which includes regularly posted blogs, requires small business operators to create fresh, relevant content that informs website visitors. Staying on top of your small business social media pages requires gritty dedication. Brushing yourself off after getting pounded by an online marketing failure presents the ultimate test of grit.

Small Business Grit Means Thinking Outside the Box

You can stick with conventional ways to grow sales or demonstrate the grit required to master new business growth opportunities. One effective and affordable way to grow sales is by creating personalized vanity toll free numbers for your small business. By choosing a toll free vanity number, you can expect your online business to establish a stronger market presence. You also boost brand awareness by creating a catchy number that easily rolls off the tongues of potential customers. A highly recognizable toll free number increases new customer referrals and repeat business.

 

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