Month: April 2016

4 Tools That Make Your Small Business Look Big

Being a small company has its benefits: You’re agile, able to change directions at a moment’s notice. You’ve got autonomy, as your business is independent of a giant conglomerate. No, you’re not attracting the same number of consumers as a household name business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look every bit as professional to the consumers you do reach. You can make your small business look big.

Build/Update your Website:

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) estimated last year that 50 percent of all small businesses still didn’t have a website. Without a presence on the web, your small business can easily go unnoticed by potential customers. Now the good news: It’s easier than ever to create a website, especially one that your customers can access from their mobile devices. More than 75 percent of mobile phone users access the internet through them, and the number will rise to nearly 86 percent by 2018. Google now favors sites which work well on mobile in its search results: You definitely want to be one of the top results when people go looking.

There are many free or low-cost tools now to build a website. Choose a design labeled “mobile-friendly” or responsive, which means it will automatically adjust to any platform, from desktop or laptop computers to tablets and phones. If you have an existing website, you should be able to update it to the newest technology simply by choosing a mobile or responsive design. Remember, there are ready made designs for every industry now, from healthcare to restaurants.

Establish a marketing budget.

Procter & Gamble spent $2.64 billion on marketing in 2014, the most of any company in the world. A small business certainly can’t match that, but any small business that hopes to grow must budget some amount to get its products in front of consumers. While people may say a product “practically sells itself”, nothing does, which is why many companies spend so heavily on marketing.

How much do you need to spend to look big? A recent survey by CMO magazine found big businesses spend, on average, 11 percent of their total budget on marketing and advertising. If you don’t have a budget, take a look at your revenues. CMO found that marketing spending was about 6.6 percent of revenue, down from 11 percent in August 2012. (Generally a business which sells to other businesses can put less into marketing than a business that sells to consumers). If you want to launch a big campaign but don’t have the resources in hand, you may be able to secure outside funding to do so. One chiropractor I know planned a large mailing about some new services. He knew 10 new customers would be more than enough to justify the cost of the marketing and secured short-term funding to pay for it. With careful planning, he met his goal and repaid his funding.

Grow your social media presence.

P&G shocked the ad world in 2014 when it sharply cut its traditional advertising budget and put more money into digital ads and social media platforms. Social media is an absolute necessity now.

But which social media platform will make you look bigger? If you’re in a professional business and you need to connect with professional colleagues, I’d recommend LinkedIn. If you run a restaurant and you want to show people how great your food looks, try Instagram, which is also a great tool for connecting with teenage consumers. See which sites the big brands in your industry use, and use that as a guideline.

While social media started as free, it is becoming increasingly less so. Big brands pay big money for placement in front of the right consumers, and Facebook has been trying to nudge more of its small business users into becoming advertisers. If it’s going to be hard to run your social media presence and your business, you may need to invest in someone to do your posting for you. Ask to see their past work, and if they are going to be freelance, make sure they’re not also working for a competitor.

Beyond simply creating content on Facebook or Twitter, it’s vital to track your conversations there. Luckily, there are social media tracking tools like Perch, which lets you watch not only your activity on social media, but what your customers are saying about your business and what your competition is doing.

Spend money to make money.

Big brands invest in their business every day. The right website, consistent marketing and the use of modern marketing tools like social media are all key–and they are easier than ever for small businesses to have as well.

Daymond John’s Top 7 Tips on How to Launch Your Product Like a Shark

We called the multi-millionaire fashion mogul to glean his tips on how to promote your product like a shark. Here are his top seven:
1. Know what your customers will want.

Your first step when launching a new product is to think backwards, John says. Brainstorm on ways you can make the product something your target customers would want to buy in the first place.

“Like I did with FUBU, we created a product for people who understood us and who were just like us, people who love rap music and who love rap culture,” he says. Envision your ideal buyers — what they generally like and dislike, what pains they have that need to be solved — then build your initial product concept in a way that will “speak to them.”

2. Directly involve your target customer in the creation of your product.

“You don’t build it and they will come,” John says. “You have your target customer be an integral part of your entire launch, from concept and beyond.” For example, when he came up with the concept for his latest book, he polled his followers on Twitter and other social media platforms on what color they’d like the book cover to be and which topics they’d like to see broached in individual chapters.

“I gave them choices so they felt part of the launch process, rallying them around the product and driving up the likelihood that they’d actually want it,” he says.

3. Build a vocal community around your product ahead of launch.

Brand ambassador community-building is key long before you launch, John says. Like he says he did with The Power of Broke, if possible, send out early versions of your product to potential brand ambassadors, influencers on social media with large follower counts who can amplify news of your coming launch. The end game is to preemptively build brand loyalty through early brand ambassadors.

John did this long before social media came on the scene, in the heart of his stomping grounds in Queens. “Before FUBU got to the LL Cool Js of the world, before we became official and before social media got big, I made sure all the coolest kids in my neighborhood that everyone respected had my stuff on,” he says. “They took a bullhorn and talked it up in the rap community, which then influenced the influencers and maximized our reach — from neighborhood to city to world.”

4. Gather as much feedback on your product as you can. Then gather some more.

To attract brand ambassadors who get behind your product and promote it, John suggests collecting their first impressions and making any necessary tweaks before you launch. “To get people who will truly love your product and spread the word, make them proud of it and make sure you don’t embarrass them by putting something out there that isn’t 100 percent,” he says.

Be sure to ask the brand ambassadors you recruit what they do and don’t like about your product. What would they like to seem improved and why? “Pay attention to what they say because it’s critical to your product’s success,” John says.

5. Cross-promote your product with power players.

O.P.M. doesn’t just mean other people’s money, John says. “It can also be other people’s momentum, other people’s mind power, other people’s marketing and other people’s manpower.” You should strategically latch onto all these things when releasing a product via power players in the realm or industry you’re selling in.

For example, John tapped marketing pro and Entrepreneur contributing writer Jeffrey Hayzlett to cross-market his new book when it launched. “I say cross-market because this is where it really goes both ways,” he says. “I promote Jeffrey and then he promotes me, on his Twitter on his podcast — wherever is going to make the highest impact. I borrow his audience where they live and the same goes for him. We’re in a mutually beneficial relationship. My book is being moved and he’s passing value on down to his readers and listeners.”

6. Get your product on local retailers’ shelves first.

Think locally, aim globally. The reality, John says, is that small mom-and-pop shops will promote your product far more than a larger, big-box retailer. “Neighborhood boutiques and small, local retail shops are the fabric of communities,” he says. “Important conversations happen there. The owners typically have trust with the neighbors who shop there and their endorsement of your product goes far.”

If your wares become successful from initial small-store sales and the buzz grows loud enough, the big retailers will eventually come knocking. “They’ll see that they don’t have to risk too much because they’ll see and know that your product is working and they’ll want to back it as well,” he says.

7. Don’t forget to say “thank you.”

The final step in promoting your new product is to do something your mom taught you to do: express your gratitude by saying thank you often and genuinely. “Once people are part of your brand tribe, show them you’re thankful for their purchase, then show them you mean it,” John says. One way John did this with his FUBU customers was to send them free products when they’d bought a certain amount of items.

More recently, with his newest book, John personally thanks people who buy the business how-to at his book-signings. “I look them in the eye, connect with them and say ‘thank you.’ They then snap a picture and spread the moment on social media,” he says. “They’re going to remember me over the person who just took their money and said an empty ‘thank you.’ At the end of the day, the reward is loyalty.”

Conquer Your Fears!

http://angelnetwork.com/ammlive/ – Greg invites you to work through the business challenges that cause you fear and unease:
He walks you through a technique that help you conquer your to-do list and thrive!

**What is Angel Investors Network?
Angel Investors Network (AIN) was created by a group of successful entrepreneurs, investment bankers, angel investors, marketing and management experts, lawyers and accountants who have built companies in a diverse set of industries.
AIN offers investors an opportunity to participate in the buying and selling of businesses, making equity investments, and providing debt financing to businesses with the opportunity of managing risk and creating wealth.
AIN also works with investors, marketing strategists, management experts and financial gurus who combine their skills and experience to work with our target entrepreneurs and make them highly successful business owners.

We are more than just Angel Investors. We are a community of experts that invest our time, expertise, and money in exchange for equity with the objective to perpetuate free enterprise, capitalism and support the entrepreneur spirit while creating wealth, happiness and fulfillment for all those involved.

Ask The Right Questions To Take Your Business Forward

http://angelnetwork.com/ammlive/ – Greg’s Tip Of The Day – There is a lingo in the business world and everyone in it needs to learn it. Be sure to “Ask the right question” to move your business forward. “And”… have the right answers – even when you don’t know the answer!

**What is Angel Investors Network?
Angel Investors Network (AIN) was created by a group of successful entrepreneurs, investment bankers, angel investors, marketing and management experts, lawyers and accountants who have built companies in a diverse set of industries.
AIN offers investors an opportunity to participate in the buying and selling of businesses, making equity investments, and providing debt financing to businesses with the opportunity of managing risk and creating wealth.
AIN also works with investors, marketing strategists, management experts and financial gurus who combine their skills and experience to work with our target entrepreneurs and make them highly successful business owners.

New York Investment Banker Praises Angel Money Marketing LIVE

Jordan Selleck, a NY investment banker shares his comments about the 1st ever Angel Money Marketing LIVE event.

Angel Money Marketing LIVE is the only event in America where entrepreneurs learn the art of marketing their investment opportunity.

See www.angelnetwork.com/ammlive for more about Angel Investors Network

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