managing
Facebook contest to grow your business

Can a Facebook Contest Help You Grow Your Business?

by Cidnee Stephen

One of our clients had a great idea for a contest. We decided to use Facebook as the platform for a couple of key reasons: Their page was relatively new and it needed a promotional shove to build the company’s brand on Facebook. We knew it was a very inexpensive promotion to run, thus reducing... Read more »

planning
Call to action

5 Ways You Can Use CTAs to Convert Customers

by Cidnee Stephen

Nothing breaks my heart more than visiting a website that is well laid out and has great content, but has missed the mark in converting visitors into customers through an effective call to action (aka a “CTA”) system. This is like investing all your money in a beautiful store front, but keeping the doors locked... Read more »

planning
If I gave you a $100,000 marketing budget what would you do?

If I Gave You a $100,000 Marketing Budget, What Would You Do With It?

by Cidnee Stephen

Let’s face it: developing a marketing budget for a small business is usually not a very big priority. Typically, we just don’t have enough money to warrant having a formal marketing budget. Sometimes we just ignore doing one because it’s depressing. After all, if you don’t have any money to put towards a marketing budget,... Read more »

managing
A few of the goodies Crane gives out to interested people.

Does Your Business Have Swag?

by Lisa Furgison

Promotional gear, goodies, swag—whatever you call it, items with your company name and logo are a great marketing tool. They provide a way to connect with customers, improve brand awareness, and help drive your sales up. Crane, a home appliance and wellness company, uses promotional gear to promote their brand and products at various events and trade... Read more »

planning
5 ways to spy on your competition

5 Ways to Spy on Your Competition

by Sarah Brooks

Most companies are continually looking for ways to get an edge over their competitors, and a time-honored method is simply to spy on the other guys. Technically, it falls under the category of market research, unless, of course, it’s actual spying. But, we’re not going to get into corporate espionage here—we’ll stick with the “market... Read more »

managing
YELP

How Your Business Can Master Yelp

by Lisa Furgison

In the past decade, businesses have had to jump on the digital train to stay on top of new trends, capitalize on new markets, and expand reach. From social media channels to review sites like Yelp, there’s a lot for entrepreneurs to monitor in the instant feedback, smartphone-crazed world we live in. Yelp, for instance,... Read more »

starting
league2

Welcome to Summoner’s Rift: Why a Free Start Can be Better for Business

by Ryder Cochrane

At first glance, the business model sounds insane—a game that you can download and play for free. Not a free trial, not on a basic account, the game can be played forever while never spending a single penny on it. You read that right—the game is free. Anybody can play it for as long as they... Read more »

managing

How to Grow Your Business by Setting Goals [Webinar]

by Sabrina Parsons

We all have goals for our business, but sometimes we forget how important it is to clearly define these goals. This is especially true when it comes to financial goal setting for small businesses, where often financial goals are only vaguely defined or based too heavily on assumptions. Many small business owners may keep a... Read more »

planning
Why Businesses Fail

What is the Biggest Cause of Business Failure?

by Arlene Soto

There are many reasons businesses fail: lack of money, changes in the economy, ineffective management, employee turnover, theft, illness, or death of the owner are just a few. According to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), the main reason businesses fail is ineffective management, whether it be poor planning or not understanding all that is required... Read more »

managing
gatorade

Gatorade and the Kings of Cool

by Ryder Cochrane

When you are developing a marketing plan, it’s important to focus on the aspect of your product that you mean to be the selling point. You have to have that thing that makes you stand out from the pack, and that’s what you focus on. You’re the cheapest. You’re local. You’ve got the highest quality product.... Read more »

managing
hugh macleod business cards

Why Hugh MacLeod’s Art Should Not Be on Your Business Cards

by Candice Landau

Regardless of the industry you're in, when networking or selling, moving the focus from you to someone else that bears no relevance to you, is terrible. Your business card should aid the discussion you've been having rather than direct people away from it. Read more »

planning
Shoestring Marketing Budget? Get Your Customers to Do It For You

Shoestring Marketing Budget? Get Your Customers to Do It For You

by Sarika Periwal

To survive as a business you need sales, and to generate sales you need marketing. It is for this reason that most businesses set aside a sizable chunk of money for advertising, but wouldn’t it be grand if you could generate sales by getting your existing customers to do your marketing for you? If you... Read more »

planning
omni-channel retailing

What Is the Future of Retail?

by Candice Landau

If you own a brick-and-mortar business, or are thinking of setting one up, you’ve likely seen plenty of reports that imply the future of shopping is online and that it is also “mobile.” You’re right to be concerned about what this means for your business, but perhaps not in the way you may think. Firstly,... Read more »

planning
Orange is the New Black Season 2 Cast Photo

How to Run a Business in Prison (Orange is the New Black, Season 2)—Minor Spoilers

by Jonathan Michael

The Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black, takes a gritty, poignant, and hilarious look at life inside a women’s federal prison. The show premiered in 2013 to critical acclaim, and in June 2014 Netflix released all 13 episodes of its second season. The show recently won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy... Read more »

managing
Killer home page

How to Engage Customers with a Killer Homepage

by J.R. Garrett

These days, just having a website won’t cut it. You need a sticky website—one that engages visitors, persuading them to stay on your site and explore your brand further. That simply won’t happen without a killer homepage. Think about it: Your homepage is where visitors decide if you’re worth their time—and you’ve got about six... Read more »

planning
How to Calculate Your TAM (Total Addressable Market)

How Big is Your Potential Market, Really?

by Caroline Cummings

Whether you’re a startup or an up-and-running business, you should know what your total potential market opportunity is for your products or services. I’ve coached many companies over the years, as well as judged several business plan competitions, and I’m always surprised by how most business owners can’t confidently tell you their total market potential.... Read more »

managing

Should You Use LinkedIn Showcase Pages? – Level Up Fridays

by Jonathan Michael

Every Friday I’ll provide basic tips on how to improve the way you promote your business online and increase your audience engagement. There’s one important element missing though, and that’s your voice. What tactics are you trying? Are they working? Tell us about them in the comments below. It’s Friday, so kick your feet up, grab your... Read more »

managing

4 Tips to Create a Killer Slideshare Presentation – Level Up Fridays

by Jonathan Michael

Every Friday I’ll provide basic tips on how to improve the way you promote your business online and increase your audience engagement. There’s one important element missing though, and that’s your voice. What tactics are you trying? Are they working? Tell us about them in the comments below. It’s Friday, so kick your feet up, grab your... Read more »

planning
shutterstock_170322269-1024x656

A Complete Guide to Forecasting Sales for Your Monthly Subscription Business

by Noah Parsons

We’re living in a subscription world. More and more, everything that we do and use is no longer being sold to us directly. Instead, we’re now paying monthly for all kinds of things. While a lot of press has been given to the Software-as-a-Service boom (SaaS), subscriptions are everywhere now. Some subscription models, like gym... Read more »

managing
shutterstock_128422049

When ice.com – a Top 500 Internet Retailer – Uses Mentors, You Should Too

by Candice Landau

For fine-jewelry ecommerce website, ice.com, access to mentors has helped the company build brand awareness, gain industry-relevant knowledge and improve site-wide conversion rates. Learn more about where you can find mentors for your business and what to look for in a good mentor-mentee relationship. Read more »