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Small Business Blog | Advice and Tips on Small Business

10 Small Business Mistakes

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1. Lack of an Online Presence – In this day and age people assume that everything is online. It can be quite a shock to search for a business only to find that they don’t exist in cyberspace. It’s important to have a well-crafted website or even just a Facebook page so that customers can find your business.

2. Information is Hard to Find – Have you ever looked up a restaurant, only to find that while they have a website their menu or opening hours are impossible to find? In such cases, you’ll likely go somewhere else. This is a common mistake with the websites of many smaller businesses. When designing your online presence, think about things from the customer’s point of view and put the most important information in a prominent place.

3.No Social Media Presence – This is different from a total lack of any online presence, as a social media presence is a modern form of marketing that not every business has caught up to. Use social media to your advantage, it is a form of advertising.

4. Not Looking for Help – Many people are unaware that there are services out there to assist small businesses. In the UK there are many financial assistance schemes or grants available. These tend to be regional, so contact your local council for more information.

5. Confused Branding – Your business should have an image that customers recognise. It is important to find a successful brand that works for you and stick with it.

6. Cheap Workmanship – When hiring staff such as graphic designers or someone to work on Search Engine Optimisation, if the price seems too good to be true then it probably is. If you can’t afford quality work then invest some time in doing it yourself, or be prepared to be disappointed with the results of your website, logo or brochures.

7.Underestimating the Benefits of Being a Small Business – As a small business, you have certain advantages that larger companies don’t. There is the ability to appeal to a niche market, your knowledge of the local market and the trust you can build with consumers on a more personal level. Think about what your business can offer that others can’t.

8. Unrealistic Expectations – As a small business, of course there are certain limitations you must face. Consider what you can realistically achieve and go about that aim to the best of your ability. This will allow you to focus more than if you were attempting to achieve an unrealistic goal and wasting your resources in the process.

9. Extreme Pricing – Avoid under or over-charging for your product or service, as both can damage your business in different ways.

10. Hiring Friends, Not Workers – This is a major pitfall for many small businesses because in an attempt to give a job to someone you know you risk missing out on someone who would excel in that role. Remember, your staff are there to help your business succeed, not to repay favours.

Ideas: 10 Small Business Opportunities

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Despite the fact that you should never, ever think of starting a small business, all businesses have to start small. You should think of starting a BIG business small and then developing it as fast as possible. How did Tesco start? One shop. That was it. But owner, Jack Cohen had a vision.That said, here are ten

businesses that you can start in a small way and grow as fast as you wish.

Online

Start a domain flipping business. You can buy domain names for as little as ten dollars and “flip” them for $500, $1,000 and sometimes much more in a matter of weeks. You need a bit of guidance here so Google it and you will get some ideas. You need very little capital to start.

Start a blog. Write about something you are passionate about. Something about which you have some knowledge. You don’t need to be the next J. K. Rowlings, just write as you would talk if you were talking to a friend. Then monetise the blog by promoting affiliate products to your readers.

Write articles. Several websites online offer article writing opportunities. They offer articles to other website owners who need them for their own blogs or websites and constantly need new writers to write the articles. You won’t make a fortune but £200 – £300 per week is easily possible without leaving home. You do need a reasonable command of the English language for this one.

Trading online. Sell goods on eBay, Amazon and so on. Amazon is great – you supply the goods and they do all the selling for you.

Start a membership website. If you are good at knitting start a knitting site. Members will pay you, say, £17 a month for good content, articles, knitting patterns and so on. If you only have 200 members that’s £650 per week!

Offline

Start a cafe. No, start a chain of cafes. Just start with one. Think of a theme to make your cafe different. You might have a safari theme, a seaside theme or a rock’n'roll theme.

If you know anything about fitness become a personal trainer. Plenty of people these days are willing to pay a personal trainer a retainer every month.

If you have any skills at maths and accounting become a freelance bookkeeper. Many small businesses need a bookkeeper part time and are willing to pay a monthly fee.

Start a gardening and landscaping business. Busy office workers and business owners often do not have the time to tend to their gardens and will welcome someone to do it for them.

Open a virtual office. Supply telephone answering services, secretarial services, printing and mailing for small businesses who do not have the time to do it themselves.

10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips

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Online marketing through social media is the key to success for any business these days. Sites such as Facebook or Twitter are especially valuable to the small business owner. Below are ten tips that can help you to make the most of social media.

1. Be Recognisable – Craft a brand with an image people can become familiar with. In the sea of small businesses, it’s important to be recognisable in order to inspire consumer trust and brand loyalty.

2. Have a Target Demographic – Think about who your potential customers are, and target that age range, gender, or geographic location. Try to avoid wasting time targeting absolutely everyone, and instead tailor your social media marketing to those who are likely to pay for your product or service.

3. Broaden Your Media – Don’t limit yourself simply to Facebook. Keep up with social media trends and form a presence on sites that target your market. Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn and Google Plus are all examples of the vast array of social media available to you.

4. Take a Personal Approach – Consumers like to feel important. One way to achieve this is through utilising media that speaks directly to the customer. Use something like Facebook’s chat service to gain customer feedback, or post media such as a video or photo that introduces yourself and your staff. Social media allows for an added personal touch that lets people feel connected, and as a small business you can build on this relationship in a way that larger companies can’t.

5. Build Networking Links – Like, share, friend and create with other small businesses in your area. Networking through social media is a great way to find out about local business opportunities, such as markets or events relating to your product or service.

6. Develop a Voice – An online persona goes hand in hand with a recognisable brand. Each individual who posts through your business’s social media accounts should be familiar with the voice and tone you want to use in your updates, as well as how to properly address customers.

7. Remain Professional – It may be tempting to be casual when interacting with consumers via social media, however it is important to remain professional at all times. This means conducting yourself respectfully and using proper language online.

8. Showcase Your Business – Don’t underestimate the power of photographs. If you’re selling a product, use sites like Instagram to regularly show off your goods and get people interested.

9. Remain Active – If you wish to market with social media, commit to it. Don’t let your media stagnate, only updating sporadically. Set a schedule for posts and stick to it.

10. D.I.Y – The great thing about social media is that it’s accessible to everyone. You don’t necessarily have to outsource tasks to an expert if you can’t afford it, a social media marketing campaign can be a small investment of your time that will result in lasting benefits to your business.

Latest Small Business News in the UK from Around the Web

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Is UK business falling behind?
To be fair, the European statistics need to be set in context; it would appear that many of our counterparts in the small business sectors of France, Italy and Spain, for example, are leaning heavily on the banks and other lenders not to pull the rug …
www.smallbusiness.co.uk

Small business tips: How to do market research
Jose Scheuer is a lecturer in business and marketing at the London School of Business and Finance. For her, market research is important because the competition is so much tougher these days. She revealed: “Whereas in the past a small business had …
www.theguardian.com

Small business insolvencies fall over 12 months
Businesses employing two people or less represent more than 1.5 million small companies in the UK. The overall business insolvency rate fell to 0.08 per cent in July from 0.09 per cent in July 2012, representing the third consecutive month that the …
www.smallbusiness.co.uk

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