Five Tips For Small Businesses Hit By Natural Disaster

tips for businesses surviving a natural disasterBack in late June 2006, after a lifetime of erroneously thinking that living in the Northeast meant I was immune from natural disaster, I learned that I was wrong when the Susquehanna River flooded its banks and chased me and my family to a mat in the middle school gym.

Looking back, I could nod and agree with all the standard advice about natural disasters but I think it might be more helpful for me to tell you a few things that can help your small business in similar circumstances but that nobody is likely to tell you.

Be prepared. Most of the time, major weather events (such as storms and floods) and certain other natural events (like wildfires) will let you know they’re coming.…

Continue reading

Four Challenges and Solutions to SMB Project Management

management challenges and solutionsSmall to mid-sized businesses have unique challenges when it comes to managing projects. SMB’s often don’t have the processes or systems in place to efficiently support the current size of the organization or its future growth, so projects are critical to future success. At the same time, SMB’s have limited resources and small training budgets which can adversely affect projects. SMB project failure can result in investment dollars and staff time down the drain, not to mention disruption in your organization. Don’t jeopardize your operations and profitability.

What is the best approach? Consider these four challenges and solutions:

1. Lack of full-time resources – Resources in SMB’s often have multiple responsibilities.…

Continue reading

Making Every Penny Count with PPC

PPC advertising - every penny countsIn tough economic times, businesses are looking to cut corners and boost ROI in every way they can, and often the first thing to be cut is the marketing budget. The irony of such an approach is that marketing is necessary to achieve consistent sales and growth. Rather than completely cut marketing from your company’s budget, the smarter choice is to optimize your marketing strategy and calculate returns, and hiring a PPC management firm can help “¨you do just that.

The risks involved with traditional advertising

When you place a print ad in a newspaper or magazine, you are taking a risk.…

Continue reading

Are Your Customers Satisfied? – Using Online Surveys Effectively

online customer surveysSmall businesses are famously agile and attuned to the wants and needs of their customers. But as they begin to grow, or as market conditions begin to change, staying on top of customer requirements can be a tricky feat. If relationships become too tenuous, an aggressive competitor will prey on those weaknesses and poach “at risk” customers.

Online surveys are an excellent tool for gauging customer satisfaction and identifying at risk customers, as well as for clarifying new trends in the marketplace and unearthing changes in the customer base. With the intelligence gathered from a strong survey program, you can modify your product or service based on real-time feedback, thereby improving satisfaction, loyalty, and profitability.…

Continue reading

Social Media Strategy: Free Is Nice, But Is It Good For Your Business?

free social media marketingSocial networking technology has made it very easy for people to share their opinions, rate favorite products, and communicate with others. This activity is happening every day, everywhere, and for practically every product that exists. No matter how big or small your company is, if you have customers, you can bet they’re talking about your brand or product somewhere. So what are you doing to influence that conversation?

As a small business, you probably have limited budget and resources and you need to be sure any investment you make in social media is worthwhile. Does it make sense to pay for a branded online community or can free public social sites deliver the same benefits?…

Continue reading

Juliet Was Wrong, Names Really Do Matter

choosing a domain nameNames matter … especially when it comes to your online business.

High atop her balcony, the love-struck Juliet laments her lover’s problematic surname, declaring, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” While technically she’s right, you wouldn’t want to put Juliet in charge of your online branding efforts.

In fact, when it comes to your online business, choosing a domain name is the first big step – and truly the most critical – in securing your brand and growing your business. So what separates the good, the bad, and the ugly? Let’s take a look.

Five Tips for Choosing the Right Domain Name

1.…

Continue reading

Tips To Help The Small Business CEO Get PR

public relations marketingA small business owner constantly thinks about trying different forms of marketing to attract new customers. After all, especially in today’s economy, marketing can make all the difference giving you a leg up on the competition. Traditional marketing programs like brochures and direct mail or even social media marketing platforms like Twitter and Facebook can provide a sizeable competitive edge.

But another area of marketing that’s very popular right now is something that we all want for our business, although it can be very challenging to accomplish. Every small business CEO wants good public relations (PR) for his or her company.…

Continue reading

The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

business strategy and tacticsFor many organizations, strategy (the “why we’re going to do what we’re doing”) is one of those mysterious, behind-closed-doors activities conducted annually by a small group of senior leaders. It’s viewed as a superior mental and managerial activity.

In contrast, tactics (the “how we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do” – the execution element) is typically thought of as the grunt work, relegated to and performed by the rest of the organization. Yet, it’s these tactics – the focused activities performed by every person, every day – which are the difference between organizations that perform predictably and consistently – and those that don’t.…

Continue reading

Growing Pains – Positioning Your Business Now for the Upturn

recovering from the recessionWhat do you see your business doing 12 months from now, when we’re out of the recession and making the upturn?

If you’re like many U.S. businesses, you will be playing catch up to where you were before you cut staff and put projects on hold to reduce costs.

You don’t want to be behind when the economy begins strengthening and coming out of recession. Many companies are going through tough times right now, but the smart ones are positioning themselves for growth so they are ready when the economy recovers.

Four Problems You Don’t Want to Have to Deal With

What happens when companies grow before they have the processes and technology in place to support the growth?…

Continue reading

Creating Organizational and Individual Accountability In 5 Easy Steps

Creating Organizational and Individual AccountabilityHere’s a five-step process for creating organizational and individual accountability, which will help to achieve extraordinary results in any organization:

1. Establish the organization’s top three objectives. This means the significant few, not the important many. (This is what we at Six Disciplines refer to as Vital Few Objectives- VFOs). Once identified, these vital few objectives must be clear, concise, measurable, obtainable – and assigned to one individual to be responsible for achieving.

2. Assign each of the objectives to a specific team member.

3. Ask each team member what resources he or she needs to win. To help people win, team leaders must remove the barriers or roadblocks that stand in the way.…

Continue reading