Tag : the

Business – The Atlantic #cheapest #business #cards


#business

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The Atlantic

Business

August’s Perfectly Fine Jobs Report

The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs last month—growth that’s favorable enough to keep an interest-rate hike in 2016 a possibility.

How Ransomware Became a Billion-Dollar Nightmare for Businesses

One cybersecurity firm estimates that extortive attacks now cost small and medium companies at least $75 billion in expenses and lost productivity each year.

Was It a Mistake for Trump to Focus on the Economy?

Jobs Day in 2016 has become an anti-climax, thanks to an improving climate that aids Hillary Clinton. So why is the Republican still painting a bleak picture?

Samsung’s Recall

The company announced that in some instances the battery in the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone exploded.

72 Hours on the Fire Line, Every Week

Armando Alvarez has been fighting some of California’s worst fires for 15 years, working shifts that can go well beyond his regular hours and last up to 18 days.

At Work in Two Genders

Observations from accomplished trans women about power and leadership in the office

Being the Person Behind the Badge

Officer Cabria Davis talks about rebuilding community trust with the police in Camden, New Jersey.

The Dangerous Life of a Trash Collector

Angel Veloz talks about his work ethic and why he dropped out of college to drive trucks.

The Real Reason Peña Nieto Fears a Trump Presidency

If Donald Trump follows through with some of his campaign promises, he could wreak economic havoc on Mexico.

Apple Pushes Back

Tim Cook, its CEO, described as “maddening” the European Commission’s finding that Ireland should recoup 13 billion euros in back taxes from the tech giant.

Minimum-Wage Hikes Go Straight to the Ballot Box

Blocked by lawmakers, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington state will decide for themselves this November whether workers get a raise.

The Pill, the Condom, and the American Dream

Poor kids are finally narrowing the achievement gap with rich kids. Is contraception the cause?

August’s Best Reads: Flint, the Fed, and the Business of Game Shows

The month’s most interesting stories about money and business from around the web

The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street

Richmond was once the epicenter of black finance. What happened there explains the decline of black-owned banks across the country.

The Mail-Order Brides of Jamestown, Virginia

In its early days, the first English settlement in America had lots of men, tobacco, and land. All it needed was women.

How Alumni Are Reading the University of Chicago Letter

Over the past week, my alma mater has been all over my (and probably your) news feed. The general dramatic…

Who Wouldn’t Want Apple to Pay Its Taxes?

The Irish finance minister and … the U.S. Treasury?

Someone to Talk to Upon Returning From War

After serving in Vietnam, John Cowart spent three decades helping soldiers who were struggling with the effects of military service.

California’s Smart New Retirement Plan and the Industry That Opposes It

Many asset-management companies fear a program that would reduce something they depend on: consumers’ confusion.

Why the EC Ruled Against Apple

The European Commission ordered Ireland to recover up to 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) from the tech giant over what it called “illegal tax benefits.”

Fewer Unions, Lower Pay for Everybody

If organized labor were as strong today as it was in the late 1970s, nonunion men without a high-school diploma would be earning 9 percent more, according to a new study.

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Units of Study – The University of Sydney Business School #small #business

#new business opportunities

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Unit of Study

Business opportunity and strategy design assignment (35%), start up financials (15%), group business plan (20%), presentation (25%), peer review (5%)

For small open economies such as Australia’s, new business opportunity identification and exploitation are often critical to firms’ long-term growth and survival. Identifying new markets, developing new products and implementing new business models are highly-regarded and valuable skills for entrepreneurs and business managers alike. In addition to exploring the special problems (and advantages) associated with entrepreneurial start-ups, the unit explores commercialisation and corporate venturing. Topics include opportunity recognition, strategy development, business planning and investor documentation, venture capital and other funding sources, as well as entrepreneurial and creative leadership. The unit is structured around learning from engaged practice, and requires students to work with startup and early stage businesses.

2002-2016 The University of Sydney. Last updated: 2 May, 2016

ABN: 15 211 513 464. CRICOS number: 00026A. Phone: +61 2 9351 2222.



The 4 Best Business Internet Service Providers of 2016 #bakery #business #plan


#best business phone

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The 4 Best Business Internet Service Providers

When searching for the best business Internet service provider, there are several factors about your Internet usage that you must consider. Price, availability, and speeds are the most obvious factors to think about, but it is also a good idea to determine how many people use the Internet at once and what they use it for on a daily basis. The number of web users and different types of web activity have an impact on your actual Internet speeds. If you re also interested in getting phone service at your business, it may be smart to look for an Internet company that offers discounts when you bundle phone with your Internet.

Verizon FiOS Internet is ideal for businesses that require extremely fast Internet solutions. Their 300 Mbps download speed is far and away the best in the industry at the moment, and their 65 Mbps upload rates should be more than enough for most businesses. Prices are slightly higher than what competitors offer, but the speeds available at Verizon are unmatched anywhere and can be highly desirable for some businesses. However, if price is a major concern, you can often save money by signing a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless, or by purchasing phone service in a bundled deal. An Internet subscription with Verizon also gives you access to Wi-Fi hotspots all over the country, which could be extremely useful if you travel frequently for work. If any of these services match your business needs, it would be smart to look into Verizon FiOS Internet.

AT T s U-verse® Internet rounds out the list of best business Internet providers for their fair pricing. Their speeds are considerably slower than the other companies on this list, and they require a one-year commitment with all of their plans. However, their prices are also far more affordable than many other Internet providers, and if your business is smaller, their 24 Mbps top download speed could be all that you need. They also offer some excellent choices for bundle deals, as they offer several different solutions tailored to different kinds of businesses. Most of their plans include both phone and Internet services, while some also throw in data backup, remote tech support, or even a smartphone. If any of these solutions sound like a match for your business, take a closer look at AT T s business Internet services.

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Find the Best Small Business Credit Cards – Compare 133 Card Offers

#business credit cards

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Credit Cards

Banking

Investing

Mortgages

Loans

Insurance

Credit Cards

Banking

Investing

Mortgages

Loans

Insurance

Business Credit Cards

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines. and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.

Additionally, this site may be compensated through third party advertisers. However, the results of our comparison tools, blog content and editorial reviews are based on objective analysis. For more information, please see our Advertiser Disclosure .



How To Start An Online Business – The Ultimate Guide To Making

#start online business

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How to start a successful online business

PASSION IS NOT ENOUGH.

How do I get started?

Repeat after me:
PASSION IS NOT ENOUGH

Most “experts” teach you that once you find your passion, you’ll magically become wealthy.

I don’t have to tell you that this plan is missing a few vital steps, such as an actual plan. Before you invest your time and energy creating an online product, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I know which idea will be most profitable?
  • Will people actually pay?
  • How do I bring in traffic and buyers?
  • What can I do to set my business on autopilot, so it runs on systems instead of on my (limited) time?

Step 2

Solve the right problem (it’s probably not what you’d expect)

I asked readers, “What excites you about starting an online business?” Over 1,000 readers responded with ME-FOCUSED responses about what they wanted from an online business.

OK, we all want something for our work, whether it’s extra money, more free time, or the ability to be our own boss and give ourselves vacation days when the weather’s nice.

But what about your customers?

Nobody will ever give you money to solve your problems. but they’ll love you and happily pay you if you help them solve theirs. And by focusing on them, you’ll immediately stand out in a sea of online businesses that are only looking out for themselves.

What would happen if you said, “I’m really good at helping my friends with their relationship problems. I don’t want to just help people 1-on-1…I want to help THOUSANDS of people.” Or “I love helping people get in shape. I want to help as many people get fit as possible.”

It’s a huge psychological shift.

Once you’ve identified something you believe in, you need to know what idea people will pay for, how much to charge, and how to sell it without being sleazy.

It starts with figuring out what kind of online business you want.

Which online business ideas work best?

When you’re starting an online business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by tactical minutiae. Should you create software, a physical product, a coaching system, or something else? How do you choose the right software, create your website, figure out drop shipping, and accept payments?

But when you drop what doesn’t work I spent years figuring this part out you’re left with 6 main options for an online business. I’ve systematically tried them ALL over almost a decade, and I’ll let you know exactly which ones are good and bad.

Your 6 options for starting an online business are software (including apps), physical products, ads, affiliate marketing, coaching, and online courses. And they aren’t all created equal.

Coaching is the single-best way to start learning business skills.

Many people don’t even think they can launch an online business. Then hold themselves back by saying things like, “I’m not an expert at personal finance, finding a dream job, or [fill in the blank].”

“I don’t know anything people would pay for!”

Are you sure? Unless you’ve actually tested your idea, the answer is “no.”

“But Ramit, my idea’s too weird/dumb! Nobody would ever pay to learn about it.”

I used to think that, too, until I discovered how many other weird people are out there. Here are just 3 profitable courses I’ve seen in the past year:

  • Toilet Trained Cat. Train cats to use the toilet. Revenue from books and courses.
  • Hear and Play. Learn to play piano by ear, without sheet music or years of lessons. Revenue from courses.
  • The Ultimate Disney World Savings Guide. Vacation at Disney World for half price. Revenue from ebooks.

Do these seem like ideas for normal, successful products? Of course not. These people simply found something they’re good at, then tested the market to see if other people were willing to pay for their knowledge.



Turnkey Business – The 5 Components #doing #business #as


#turnkey business

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The 5 Components of a Turnkey Business

Here is the script of this video blog on how to create a turnkey business!

Hi, I m Glenn Smith, the Growth Coach in Houston, Texas, and I want to talk to you today about how to create a turn key business, and specifically, I want to talk about the 5 Components of a Turn Key Business.

Great business leaders build great businesses that can run without them. That s what I encourage all the business owners I work with to work toward. To create a business that can function and perform consistantly and predictably, without their constant presence and their constant attention.

The 5 Components of a Turn Key Business are these that I have listed here: Marketing, Selling, Fulfillment, Admin, and HR.

Every business has to have these 5 basic systems. You might call them the 5 major systems of a turn key business.

If you re a soloprenuer or a small business owner with just 1 or 2 employees, you may want to take HR and make it a sub-component of Admin and only have 4. But if you have multiple employees, and you re going to grow to even more, you definitely want to have a separate component that s HR.

This area covers things like talent acquisition, training and development, coaching and correction, conflict resolution, performance management. All of those things are key pieces of your HR system.

Admin is typically the back office type things like bookkeeping, accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory control, data management, compliance issues related to taxes, personnel law, and issues like that. They come under the Admin system, and you want all of that documented and running very well.

But the 3 core systems of a business are these first 3: Fulfillment, Selling, and Marketing.

Marketing is lead generation. You want to generate a certain number of qualified leads for your business. So you build a marketing engine or marketing system to do just that. This will include all of your major marketing mediums:

All of those systems make up your marketing system. You want to document them all and make sure it s measurable so that it s producing the number of quality leads that you want.

Then we move to selling. This is lead conversion. Marketing is lead generation, selling is lead conversion. In your business, your selling system may be a transactional system like in a retail business, or it may be a consultative selling system like in professional services, or it may be a bidding or quoting system. Whatever it is, you want to define it, document it, and refine it. Build it out as your selling system.

The third core system is fulfillment. This is where you deliver your product or service. And you document here exactly how you do this to ensure that every time it s done with excellence and quality.

These are the five major systems of a turnkey business. I want to encourage you as a business owner to build it, document it, and train people to operate it. IF you document it well with checklists and measurable outcomes, you can train people to do it with excellence every single time.

As a business coach. this is what I help people do. This is what business owners hire me to help them with. In fact, we have a two-year program that we take business owners systematically through to help them create turnkey businesses.

I hope you found this to be helpful and hope it elevates your vision and mindset about what your business can be. Thanks for watching.

Related Posts



A List Of The Worst Business Advice You Can Follow – Ever

#business advice

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A List Of The Worst Business Advice You Can Follow Ever

There’s plenty of advice out there for how to start and run a business. But not all of it is good. In fact, there are some common sayings that are actually some of the worst business advice out there. The following includes some of the worst business advice you can follow.

The Worst Business Advice

Do What You Love

Although it may seem like a nice notion, this popular saying is widely considered one of the worst pieces of business advice out there. Just because you love doing something doesn’t mean that others will find it helpful or necessary. And if no one buys what you’re selling, then doing what you love won’t really get you anywhere.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Likewise, simply building an offering doesn’t mean that you’ll actually attract any customers. This saying implies that if you put in the work, there are customers out there who will support your business. But if you don’t do the research and find a market for your product or service, you very well could be in for a rude awakening.

The Customer is Always Right

This popular saying is meant to encourage business owners and employees to work hard to accommodate customers. And while customers and their opinions are generally important to the success of businesses, they’re not always right. If you’re constantly giving discounts or changing your offerings every time a customer makes a demand, you could be hurting your brand and your bottom line.

Never Turn Down a Paying Customer

Likewise, you shouldn’t assume that every customer you get will help your business. Especially if you have a consulting business or provide some other service where it can be necessary for you to work with someone over the long-term, it may very well be in your best interest to only take on a few very select clients.

Don t Quit Your Day Job

This is some of the worst business advice out there because there’s no right path for every entrepreneur. If you’re just starting out, it may very well be in your best interest to keep your full-time job while building a business. But then again you might be better off quitting and putting all your time and effort into your new venture. When it comes to making this decision, each entrepreneur has to decide based on his or her own set of circumstances, and not listen to a single one-size-fits-all recommendation.

Stay Away From Established Markets

Some experts claim that in order to start a successful business, you need to find a brand new niche or a huge gap in the market. But that’s not always true. You can start a business in an established market as long as you have at least one small thing that customers will appreciate to set you apart.

If You Want Something Done Right, You Have to Do It Yourself

Too many business owners try to do everything themselves because they have a hard time trusting anyone else with their business. But the fact is there are experts and great potential employees out there who can help you do things better than you could all by yourself.

It s All About Who You Know

Personal connections can certainly be helpful when it comes to running a successful business. But putting such a huge emphasis on them can discourage some people who aren’t well connected from starting businesses. You can always build connections as you go.

Stick to Your Plan

A business plan is a helpful tool. But it shouldn’t be the ultimate, unchanging guide for your business. Sometimes things change, and you should be able to adapt your plan to those changes.

Follow an Established Path to Success

Some experts think that there are just one or two ways to make it in the business world. But young, innovative entrepreneurs are forging their own paths every day. So don’t let anyone tell you that there’s one path you HAVE TO take in order to succeed.

Keep Your Business and Personal Life Separate

While there can be some merit to this piece of advice in certain situations, it’s no longer an absolute rule. Some small businesses actually thrive because the owner or the team shares their personality with customers. You don’t need to air all of your personal drama on social media. But being a little bit open and personable with your customers can be a good thing.

All Attention is Good Attention

Drawing attention to your business, especially during the early stages, can be difficult. So when you get any type of attention or press it might seem like a good thing. But if that attention isn’t in line with your brand and the image you want to portray, it could be doing more harm than good.

Hire the Most Experienced People

Experience can be a very good quality when looking to build your team. But it shouldn’t be the only quality you look for. Finding people who are enthusiastic, talented, creative and who share your vision for your business can be just as important if not more so.

Offer the Lowest Prices

Plenty of new businesses fall into the trap of trying to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering the lowest prices. But that isn’t always sustainable depending upon your costs and your business model. And it could damage your reputation moving forward.

Work Hard and Success Will Come

Hard work is certainly important when it comes to running a successful business. But it is not the only thing that matters. Don’t think that just because you’re putting in long hours and trying your best that success will eventually come. Sometimes it s more important to work smart than to work hard. Ultimately, the results you get are what matter.

Don t Try New Things

If you’ve found one or two things that work in your business, it can seem like a safe bet to stick with what works. But doing that won’t allow your business to grow as quickly as you might like. Trying new things can be risky, but it can also be rewarding.

Never Say No

Saying no to new clients, partnerships or opportunities may seem like a bad business strategy. But if you say yes to everything, you could be spreading yourself too thin or taking your business in too many different directions. You need to be very intentional when making those decisions so you can be sure that they’re going to benefit your business in the long run.

You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

This can be true in some circumstances. But you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that making big investments in new equipment, employees, training or other resources, will magically make your business better. You need to be smart about how you spend. And besides, many entrepreneurs have built highly successful businesses with very few or almost no resources at all .

Never Stop Working

You have to work hard to run a successful business. But you also need to find a balance, or else you’ll burn yourself out and find yourself too uninspired to run your business successful. The risk of burnout is one reason work-life balance is an absolute must.

Give Up

Not all businesses succeed. In fact, most don’t. But this is still some of the worst business advice you could ever receive. It’s never up to someone else whether you give up or not. If that’s a decision you need to make, it should be based on more than just outside opinions. Never let others decide when it is time for you to throw in the towel.

What are some of the worst pieces of business advice you have ever heard?

Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird. and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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Green Business Opportunities in the Obama Era #business #yellow #pages


#green business

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Green Business Opportunities in the Obama Era

1. Consultant. Green Irene (started by PJ Stafford and Rosamaria Caballero Stafford) is an example of a company that was founded to fill the need for eco-consultants. The main tasks of eco-consultants are to point out opportunities to become more conscious about the environment and to provide information on where to procure green products for home and business use.

2. Energy. One of the fields increasingly gaining popularity these days is solar energy. And although current-technology solar panels are already installed on houses and buildings, this niche remains open for further advances in research. It can be quite difficult as it requires workers to be familiar with solar technology and mechanical know-how. Similarly, there is a high demand for wind turbines to replace or supplement traditional electrical sources. As a result, some institutions, for instance rehabilitation programs, are encouraging ex-inmates to learn skills needed to manufacture and install solar panels on homes and businesses.

3. Funding. Government funding is normally hefty whenever the attention is focused on an industry in hopes of sparking development. For example, there are various programs out there that afford discounts to companies involved with transitioning from conventional energy to renewable energy resources. Also, websites like the Environmental Protection Agency list of national and even state and local organizations that provide financial incentives to green businesses.

4. Farming. Organic farms have always been in with the masses. The demand for vegetables that grown without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Thus, one area that one can look into is in using natural predators to eliminate pests that can damage crops.

5. Franchises. Franchising is another area where there are incredible opportunities for business. They offer the materials necessary to set up a green business in numerous locations throughout the country. A great franchise area to focus on is in energy auditing, which shows how to reduce consumption in an eco-friendly manner and examines energy practices of businesses.

Although some of the business opportunities are fit for large-scale operations, this list goes to show that there are still tremendous green business opportunities for small business owners and one-person operations.

Lorna Li is a business coach, entrepreneur and Amazon rainforest crusader, with a passion for green business, social enterprise, and indigenous wisdom. She helps changemaking entrepreneurs harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make a bigger impact, while designing the lifestyle of their dreams. She is an Internet marketing consultant to changemakers. and works with innovative tech startups, sustainable brands, social enterprises B-Corporations on SEO, SEM Social Media marketing.

Latest posts by Lorna Li (see all )

This WordPress Theme is Powered by Genesis Framework

I’ve built dozens of custom WordPress websites using both free and premium WordPress themes. If I were going to do it all over again, I would have built every single one on the Genesis Framework.

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==> Why I Recommend the Genesis Framework
Tara Kekaha from Oakland was about to launch a new online business promoting sustainable tourism and accommodation. She trying to determine what kind of website she needed to power her business, in addition to the best way to name it. I can t say enough about Lorna s expertise in this field. So many options and routes to take when you re starting out. I m starting my new business and have questions about choosing a domain name Do hyphenated names work? How do I choose what domains to purchase? What types of names are going to be successful for SEO? Does .co work as well as .com? She clearly has a lot of experience and (I m sure) has saved me a lot of time, work, and worry. It s good to know there s someone there who cares about changing the world, being green, and has all that experience to boot.

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As a business coach, Lorna demonstrated not only utmost dedication to our interaction but an exceptional capability to envision equitable scenarios with a critical mind for realisable solutions and a fine sensibility to my needs and concerns. She acts, works and lives according to the best and most honorable principles I have encountered in humans to date.

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Working with Lorna has been an excellent experience! The level of detail and information that she has is enormous. As a speaker in the Green Business Entrepreneurs Summit I was amazed at the quality and the amount of information that Lorna has about the green economy and the green social media scene.

Lorna hired me as a blogger to assist in a link building campaign for a top national solar company. Lorna manged the remote team with deft efficiency. I was very impressed to see that within 90 days, the client ranked #1 for a highly competitive solar keyword.

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Lorna is adept at creating media that tells the story of social entrepreneurs, in a way that not only promotes the business, but inspires other entrepreneurs to follow in their footsteps. Her insightful videos, audio podcasts, and digital products provide detailed, step by step guidance on how to become a profitable, purpose driven business.

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Lorna is a master at both online and traditional green marketing. Her website is consistently at the top of search rankings as a result of her persistant hard work, as are various articles and sections of TriplePundit.com which she has contributed to from time to time.

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Free business advertising for businesses in the UK #best #small #business #to

#free business advertising

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FreeIndex for Businesses

Free advertising that really works!

Get found online and win new business

FreeIndex receives over 2.5 million page views every month.

Every UK business regardless of size or budget can win business and gain new customers for FREE by advertising on FreeIndex. You’ll get your own page and your own traffic.

Yes – it really is FREE, and over 1,500 testimonials shows you that it really works. For more info on how it’s free click here .

Free Business Leads

The ONLY site in the UK to send you FREE business leads

Once you’ve registered. we’ll send you genuine business leads by email and text message for free.

You can choose which types of leads you want to be notified about.

Every month, around 2 million worth of new business is generated through the FreeIndex MultiQuote system.

No one else provides businesses with FREE leads.

Create an amazing business profile

Your FreeIndex business profile is your shop window to the world, giving potential customers all the information they need to choose your business.

You can add all kinds of information to your profile including photos and videos and you can make changes whenever you want.

You also get a free web address, and so if you haven’t got a website yet, your FreeIndex profile will do the job perfectly.

Collect and manage your customer reviews

80% of consumers check online reviews before making a purchase

FreeIndex provides a perfect, independent platform for collecting and managing your customers’ comments.

Good reviews not only provide you with a powerful selling tool, but also boost your business up the rankings on FreeIndex.

You can also display your reviews on your own website using a range of tools we provide.

Optional Premium Membership

As requested by our members we have developed an optional Premium Membership package which gives you a highlighted listing, priority on business leads, no 3rd party Ads and other benefits helping you win more business.

Premium Membership is entirely optional and costs as little as 27p a day.

We will never hassle you to upgrade.

There really is no competition.

FreeIndex
Free local and national business advert
Free business leads
Free to add photos / videos
Free review management
Free website address
Free to respond to leads & no success fee
Free social media integration
No spam, no cold calls – guaranteed
No selling of your company data
No credit card required

Other Directories
Free local listing
Your own business page
Pay for page features
Pay for local and national coverage
Sales calls to upgrade
Sells your company data

Other Lead Gen Sites
Initial registration fee
Tie in to minimum contract
Charge for new job alerts
Charge to quote for work
Charge for access to contact details
% success fee of your profit



Advertising: The Basics #start #business


#small business advertising

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Think you have a great product? Unfortunately, no one’s going to know about it unless you advertise.

Advertising, if done correctly, can do wonders for your product sales, and you know what that means: more revenue and more success for your business. But be warned: it is not a panacea.

Below you will find a list of what advertising can and can’t do for your business, along with the steps you can take to start using advertising to your business’s advantage.

What Advertising Can Do For Your Business

Remind customers and inform prospective customers about the benefits of your product or service

Establish and maintain your distinct identity

Enhance your reputation

Encourage existing customers to buy more of your product/service

Attract new customers and replace lost ones

Slowly build sales to boost your bottom line

Promote your business to customers, investors, and others

What Advertising Cannot Do For Your Business

Create an instant customer base

Cause an immediate, sharp increase in sales

Solve cash flow or profit problems

Substitute for poor or indifferent customer service

Sell useless or unwanted products or services

Two Important Virtues of Advertising

You have complete control. Unlike public-relations efforts, you determine exactly where, when and how often your message will appear, how it will look and what it will say. You can target your audience more readily and aim at very specific geographic areas.

You can be consistent. Presenting your company’s image and sales message repeatedly to build awareness and trust. A distinctive identity will eventually become clearly associated with your company. Customers will recognize your brand and product quickly and easily if you’re consistent in presentation.

Two Drawbacks of Advertising

It takes planning. Advertising works best and costs the least when the planning and preparation are done in advance. For example, you’ll pay less per ad in newspapers and magazines by agreeing to run several ads over time rather than deciding on an issue-by-issue basis. Likewise, you can save money by preparing a number of ads at once.

It takes time and persistence. The effectiveness of your advertising improves gradually over time because it’s impossible for every customer to see every ad. You must repeatedly remind prospects and customers about the benefits of doing business with you. The long-term effort triggers recognition and helps special offers or direct marketing payoff.

Getting Ready to Advertise

Use the following steps to help draw a blueprint for your business’s advertising plan:

1. Design the Framework

What is the purpose of your advertising program? Start by defining your company’s long-range goals, then map out how marketing can help attain them. Focus on advertising routes complementary to your marketing efforts. Set measurable goals so you can evaluate the success of your advertising campaign. For example, do you want to increase overall sales by 20 percent this year? Boost sales to existing customers by 10 percent during each of the next three years? Appeal to younger or older buyers? Sell off old products to free resources for new ones?

How much can you afford to invest? Keep in mind that whatever amount you allocate will never seem like enough. Even giants such as Proctor Gamble and Pepsi always feel they could augment their advertising budgets. Given your income, expenses, and sales projections, simple addition and subtraction can help you determine how much you can afford to invest. Some companies spend a full 10 percent of their gross income on advertising, others just 1 percent. Research and experiment to see what works best for your business.

2. Fill in the Details

What are the features and benefits of your product or service? When determining features, think of automobile brochures that list engine, body and performance specifications. Next, and more difficult, determine the benefits those features provide to your customers. How does your product or service actually help them? For example, a powerful engine helps a driver accelerate quickly to get onto busy freeways.

Who is your audience? Create a profile of your best customer. Be as specific as possible, as this will be the focus of your ads and media choices. A restaurant may target adults who dine out frequently in the nearby city or suburban area. A computer software manufacturer may aim at information managers in companies with 10-100 employees. A bottled water company may try to appeal to athletes or people over 25 who are concerned about their health.

Who is your competition? It’s important to identify your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what your competition offers that you lack – and vice versa – helps you show prospects how your product or service is special and why they should do business with you instead of someone else. Knowing your competition will also help you find a niche in the marketplace.

3. Arm Yourself with Information

What do you know about your industry, market and audience? There are many sources of information to help you keep in touch with industry, market and buying trends without conducting expensive market research. Examples include U.S. Government materials from the Census Bureau and Department of Commerce. Public, business or university libraries are also a good option, as are industry associations, trade publications, and professional organizations. You can quickly and easily learn more about your customers by simply asking them about themselves, their buying preferences, and media habits. Another (more expensive) alternative is to hire a professional market research firm to conduct your research.

4. Build Your Action Plan – Evaluating Media Choices

Your next step is to select the advertising vehicles you will use to carry your message and establish an advertising schedule. In most cases, knowing your audience will help you choose the media that will deliver your sales message most effectively. Use as many of the above tools as are appropriate and affordable. You can stretch your media budget by taking advantage of co-op advertising programs offered by manufacturers. Although programs vary, generally the manufacturer will pay for a portion of media space, time costs or mailer production charges up to a fixed amount per year. The total amount contributed is usually based on the quantity of merchandise you purchase.

When developing your advertising schedule, be sure to take advantage of any special editorial or promotional coverage planned in the media you select. Newspapers, for example, often run special sections featuring real estate, investing, home and garden improvement, and tax advice. Magazines also often focus on specific themes in each issue.

5. Using Other Promotional Avenues

Advertising extends beyond the media described above. Other options include imprinting your company name and graphic identity on pens, paper, clocks, calendars and other giveaway items for your customers. Put your message on billboards, inside buses and subways, on vehicle and building signs, on point-of-sale displays and on shopping bags.

You might co-sponsor events with nonprofit organizations and advertise your participation, attend or display at consumer or business trade shows, create tie-in promotions with allied businesses, distribute newsletters, conduct seminars, undertake contests or sweepstakes, send advertising flyers along with billing statements, use telemarketing to generate leads for salespeople, or develop sales kits with brochures, product samples, and application ideas.

The number of promotional tools used to deliver your message and repeat your name is limited only by your imagination and your budget.

The Advertising Campaign

You are ready for action when armed with knowledge of your industry, market and audience, have a media plan and schedule, know your product or service’s most important benefits, and have measurable goals in terms of sales volume, revenue generated and other criteria.

The first step is to establish the theme that identifies your product or service in all of your advertising. The theme of your advertising reflects your special identity or personality and the particular benefits of your product or service. For example, cosmetics ads almost always rely on a glamorous theme. Many food products opt for healthy, all-American family campaigns. Automobile advertising frequently concentrates on how the car makes you feel about owning or driving it rather than performance attributes.

Tag lines reinforce the single most important reason for buying your product or service. “Nothing Runs Like a Deere” (John Deere farm vehicles) conveys performance and endurance with a nice twist on the word deer. “Ideas at Work” (Black Decker tools and appliances) again signifies performance, but also shows reliability and imagination. “How the Smart Money Gets that Way” (Barron’s financial publication) clearly connotes prosperity, intelligence and success.

Comparing Advertising and Public Relations