Rise of the Video Marketing Empire [Infographic]

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According to recent research, the average Internet user is likely to watch roughly 206 videos each month. Based on that statistic, it may not surprise you to read that almost seventy percent of marketers now incorporate video into their marketing campaigns. In the following infographic, we’re making the case for video and including information that will convince you of how important developing and sharing video is to your overall content marketing efforts online. We’ll start by including a number of compelling statistics about the state of video today. Next, we’ll outline the evolution of video in marketing. Then we’ll shed light on the power … [Read more...]

5 Most Popular Word Press Plugins for Small Business Sites

The need for effective content marketing has made WordPress an essential part of most business websites. WordPress (WP) blogs and plugins make it easy to publish high quality articles that build trust and credibility with readers, promote the business brand and eventually get more conversions. According to WordPress, over 60 million users have picked WP as their content management platform. Due to the massive developer support that it enjoys, several plugins are now available to help you customize your WP website. Here is a brief review of the 5 most popular WordPress plugins for small business websites. WP Touch Mobile Plugin The rapid … [Read more...]

Top Knowledge Management Software to Improve Customer Service

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Managing frequently asked questions (FAQs) of customers can be a daunting task, especially if you have a big collection of information to maintain. But this task is easier done using knowledge management software which you can easily integrate to your website. Here are our top 10 recommendations: 10. ProProfs ProProfs is an application that enables businesses to reduce online queues on the FAQ. It can manage your database of information and make them easily accessible to your customers. By integrating this application to your website, customers can find instant answers to their questions in 90 different languages anytime … [Read more...]

Breaking Bad: Turning Negative Coworkers into Team Players

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There's always one bad apple in the barrel - that one employee at work that's always complaining and raining on everyone's parade. But, you don't have to let that one person bring down the whole company. While you certainly can't fix every bad employee - you might have to fire them - you certainly can try to reform them. Here's how. Institute Team-Building Exercises Team-building isn't something everyone enjoys. Even your best employees might sigh at the idea of having to interact with people in unrelated departments or with people they may not get along with in their own department. But, team building and leadership training … [Read more...]

Consumer Psychology and The E-Commerce Checkout [Infographic]

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Anyone who has attempted setting up an online business will know the difficulty. There are many aspects to e-commerce, a strong brand identity must be established, then there are the products to consider – is there are market for what will be sold? Who is your target market? Does anybody else sell similar products? How will you be different? Then work must begin to develop a website which will not only appear to consumers to be trustworthy and professional, but also easy to use and provide detailed content and high quality imagery which will entice shoppers to make a purchase. In order to be discovered it is also advisable to invest part … [Read more...]

Protecting Yourself as an Advisor or Service Provider

If your business model is based around providing a physical product, or you make or do something that has a visible and tangible result attached, then it is quite easy to give your customers what they expect, and prove that this has been done. They have something they can touch or see that proves that you have carried out your side of the deal, and if that isn’t up to standard this is obvious to all parties. If however your business is based around service provision, or you are an advisor of some kind, then it can be difficult to deliver to a customer in the same way as those with a physical end result. In this type of work there is a mutual … [Read more...]

3 Reasons You Should Continue to Use Email Marketing

By Phil Frost There have been rumors that email marketing is dead -- or at least dying -- for quite some time now. Should businesses invest time and energy into email marketing, or is it following the Yellow Pages to near extinction? My prediction is that email is not going anywhere. It's neither dead nor dying. In fact, as you'll see later in this article, sales from email marketing are actually on the rise over the past few years. Despite all the flashy new online marketing tools, apps, and social media sites, the oldest online marketing tactic, email marketing, is still one of the best ways to generate sales in your … [Read more...]

Why Purpose Matters in the Workplace

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By Brett Farmiloe Today's employees want their work to have meaning. Today's leaders have the largest influence in creating meaning in the workplace. But, more than 70 percent of American workers dislike what they do for a living. This poor engagement at work is costing an estimated $550 billion in loss of productivity in America. As the global workforce undergoes rapid change, here's why you must become a purpose driven organization. Learn how to successfully attract, select and retain the best people who care about something more than a paycheck and bottom line.   Brett Farmiloe is a company founder, published author and … [Read more...]

A Small Business Cash Flow Crisis is Restricting Business Growth

The news has recently highlighted many reports of SMEs in difficulty due to cash flow crisis problems and a lack of funding. A recent report of over 500 businesses in the UK by Ever line has now confirmed this fact, suggesting that small UK companies are experiencing a serious cash crisis. In fact, in this report, 7 out of 10 companies said that regular access to cash flow was a vital part of maintaining a healthy company but nearly 30% of these companies struggled to keep a regular cash flow in check. This has many implications, including the fact that there is less opportunity for business growth. Of the companies surveyed, 23% have … [Read more...]

A Good Break Area is Vital for Happy Employees

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Every business loves a hard working employee that is enthusiastic when coming in to work every day. Having a good break room is a business’ way of saying “thank you” to the staff that dedicate themselves to their job. Creating such a room within the office can steadily increase moral and send productivity through the roof. A recent American study conducted at a call centre concluded that when 50% of workers took regular breaks, their productivity increased by a third. Many office staff tend to communicate via email or on other digital means, but reintroducing that face to face communication with a break room is the perfect way to align … [Read more...]

Is Working With a Remote Staff Right for Your Business?

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By Matthew Manos Remote collaboration has a lot of pros as well as a lot of cons. However, the nice thing about these cons is that,with the right precautions, they can be solved. The following are a series of things to prepare for when hiring remote people to work with you on a project. Reliability Is Key Have you worked with this person before? If not, consider working with them on a very small project -- something that will require 2-3 hours of their time, max. After this initial engagement with the collaborator, ask yourself the following questions: Did you enjoy working with them? Did they respond to emails in a timely manner? Were … [Read more...]

7 Factors That Make A Great Website

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Your online presence is very important. As you plan for your website, you need to take a couple of factors into consideration. There is no point in having a domain and some web space if no one is able to use your site, let alone find it. You need to make sure that your website is the best that it can be. Here are a couple of tips that you can use when building a website for personal use or for your business: Excellent Content Content is definitely king. You hear this term a lot, but what does it really mean? The web content on your site is an important factor. The volume of your content doesn't mean a thing if it is not of good quality. … [Read more...]

4 Ways to Prepare Your Startup for Long-Term Growth

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By Phil Laboon Trying to get your small business off the ground can be as exciting as it can be nerve-racking. Here are some key actions to take while you are still in the earliest stages in order to protect your long-term growth and help your new business start out right: Plan for the Unexpected Take the time to create an in-depth business proposal that outlines a plan for your potential growth, accounting for turns that the industry might take. Many startups are so busy “treading water” that they don't plan on having lasting, core strategies in place for major industry changes that could have been predicted. Companies that are quick … [Read more...]

Word of Mouth Advertising is Still a Growing Trend

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In the days before the Internet, most advertising was done indirectly through word of mouth. Sure, there were mediums like flyers, brochures and television commercials; however, once a few people tried the specific product or service and liked it, they began to recommend the company behind the innovation to family and friends. Even in the day and age of the Internet and social media where news can quickly spread like wildfire, word of mouth is still a lucrative form of indirect advertising that businesses would be wise not to overlook. Why Word of Mouth May Pack a Bigger Punch than Direct Advertising Obviously, people trust their family … [Read more...]

Make Your Small Business a Big Business with IT

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Information Technology (IT) isn’t just for the big contenders, it’s also a way for small businesses to appear big, while setting the stage for dynamic growth. IT services that can aid a small business can affect their accounting, their online presence, their inventory, and their delivery. A small business that leverages IT to their benefit creates a business model that does more with less and has the potential to go global. Integrate IT Services to do Twice the Work Once you invest in accounting or inventory-tracking software, you can integrate it into your business model to do more than one thing. Accounting software like QuickBooks … [Read more...]

5 Battle-Tested Lessons from a Bootstrapped Startup

For the last 4 years, I’ve been running Hello Scheduling, an employee scheduling and time clocking company.  Our business is 100% bootstrapped – we’ve never taken outside funding -- and profitable.  Over that time period I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.  In no particular order, here’s what I’ve learned: 1. Don’t Recreate Existing Solutions.  When you’re running a technology startup, one of your most precious resources is engineering time.  Engineers love to build things and sometimes they have a tendency to build software that already exists.  This tends to be a waste of time and resources. Does your team … [Read more...]

Employee Engagement – How it Affects Key Business Outcomes

Companies with an engaged workforce can successfully surpass companies without. Owners and CEOs must do everything in their power to educate executives and inform them that employee engagement has a significant impact on their company’s overall performance. To mitigate business risk and reap financial benefits, employee engagement becomes compulsory. Studies have shown that there’s a sturdy link between organizational performance and employee engagement. Companies with increased levels of commitment can successfully outperform those that lack devoted employees. Whether we like it or not, some managers and executives overlook or … [Read more...]

5 Startup Lessons for Fast-Growing Companies

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By Kit Hickey Within our first month of publicly launching Ministry of Supply in June 2012, we sold more than 6,000 shirts and gained 4,000 customers. Our company grew fast because it had to. We were an adolescent trapped in a baby's body -- we had to learn how to sprint before we could learn how to walk, and we had some serious growing pains as we tried to scale production from 300 to 6,000 shirts a month. However, we quickly realized that by empowering our customers and empowering our company, we could truly grow the way we wanted. Everything we do comes down to empowering people to be their best. As a co-founder, I focus a lot on how … [Read more...]

Awesome Social Media Campaigns That Provided Huge ROI

More and more, world-renowned brands have started to focus on social media to reach a wider audience, expand their target market, increase their revenue, and build brand awareness. Here is a brief overview of seven campaigns that stand for their significant return on investment: 1. Old Spice Real Time Videos Given the significant drop in the sales rate, Old Spice has decided it is time for a comeback. They orchestrated it with real-time videos! The campaign encompassed over 180 funny videos in reply to the user comments on Twitter and other social networking campaigns. The results were more than satisfactory given the fact that the Old … [Read more...]

Four Things You Should Know About Buying Ergonomic Office Furniture

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Ergonomic office furniture does not necessarily have to be expensive. There are many colours, styles and price points to pick from, making it easy for any company owner to purchase the office furnishings he or she needs without going over-budget. Following are four important points to bear in mind when purchasing this type of furniture. Why Ergonomic? Ergonomic office furniture is more comfortable than regular office furniture, improving the overall work environment. Such furniture also reduces common problems such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, neck pains and lower back pains, which helps by reducing employee sick days and increasing … [Read more...]

What Are Five Reasons You Should Outsource Your IT Services?

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When it comes to business, sometimes it just makes good business sense to let go of some of your control. Case in the point: IT services. For many businesses, IT services are put on the back burner unless something bad happens. Then they must scramble and either wait for an IT repair service or devote more staff towards getting the issue fixed. In many instances, it might just make more sense to outsource your IT services. Here are five reasons why you should consider looking into managed IT services: You'll Save Money: In order to run your own server, you'll need to devote a large amount of money towards IT … [Read more...]

Increase Productivity and Prevent Illness: How to Promote Basic Hand Hygiene in the Office

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We've all been there, the moment when we notice that one or a few of our employees or colleagues use poor hand hygiene. As employees click away at keyboards, touch door knobs, share copy machines, and more, in order to maintain the overall health of the office, it is imperative to promote healthy and correct hand hygiene in the office. Recently, LinkedIn posted an article by Facility Management Magazine that indicated, "50% of office workers admit that hygiene concerns affected their productivity." This belief is rightly supported, as there are statistics that indicate that poor hygiene should be a point of major concern for … [Read more...]

SEO Scams and How To Avoid Them

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The SEO industry has been around for over a decade now, and in that time, the rules have changed dramatically. Techniques that used to work may now harm a site. Some SEO service providers will take advantage of the volumes of old and incorrect information available online to convince small business owners of their legitimacy. Once contracted, they do nothing to help the business and simply rake in undeserved money. These SEO scams are all too common, but thankfully they are not difficult to spot. The Proposal: "With our service, you are guaranteed a #1 spot on Google." The Scam: No one except Google can guarantee a number one ranking … [Read more...]

You’re Hired: What you Need to Know About Taking on Staff

A lot of business owners start off as a one man (or woman) band. This can work well in the early growth stages of your company, as you have no one to be responsible for either financially or otherwise in the tricky initial weeks, months or years of the business. Once you reach a certain point however, you will need to either outsource some of the day-to-day business operations such as finance, or start to bring in some employees in order to be able to continue expanding and increasing turnover. So what do you need to do in order to have people work for you? It’s not just as simple as setting them up at a desk, but it is well worth the … [Read more...]

How Can a Small Business Benefit From a Consultant?

Small business owners don't have time to wait for flat sales to start growing again. If they don't take action immediately, it could be the end of their company. For those who own a small business, what can business consultants do to help you get out of your rut and start making money again? Find New Ways to Advertise Business owners who don't have a lot of knowledge when it comes to advertising online may think that getting organic traffic from search engines and through social media is the only way to get the word out about their companies. However, paying for traffic can actually be beneficial for a small business. With the right … [Read more...]

The 101 on the World’s Billionaires – An Infographic

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The 2013 Forbes Billionaires Index noted that there were 1,426 Billionaires in the world. That is 200 more than in the previous year. With a combined worth of $5.4 Trillion Dollars and 17% of them increasing their worth in the same year, it is safe to say that the wealthy are getting wealthier. Interestingly 60% of them are self-made, 86% are married and on average they own at least 4 homes. 87% are male, although in 2013 one woman did make the ‘Top Ten List of Billionaires.’ This infographic profiles the ‘Top Ten Billionaires’, from who they are, what age they are and the source of their wealth, to how much they are worth and where … [Read more...]

4 Effective Offline Marketing Techniques for Your Business

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A lot of emphasis is put on online marketing these days. So much emphasis is put on it infact, that it’s hard for smaller business owners to find any information on offline marketing techniques that can help to promote their business. Of course you shouldn’t choose either offline or online to promote your business; both routes should be used in harmony in order for a business to be successful. For example, social media is a huge online marketing channel and should be used by businesses no matter their size to connect with people, run competitions, get valuable feedback about their service, and provide excellent customer service. However, that … [Read more...]

10 Ways to Help Employees be More Productive

Motivating employees and maximizing productivity are two key management objectives, but enhancing performance among staffers can be an elusive pursuit, in some cases.  The relationship between employees and employers is complex, requiring ongoing tweaks to keep everyone on the same page.  On one hand, employees clearly operate for salary and benefits, but these are not the only things motivating them to maintain high standards on the job. Supporting employees with the tools they need to succeed and properly motivating them when performance slips keeps managers walking a fine line between being well-liked bosses and loathsome … [Read more...]

The Impact of Technology on Office Furniture

How can technology impact the way our office furniture looks like? Over the past 20 years we’ve gone from bulky computer monitors to super slim screens, so there’s no doubt that the general appearance of our offices has changed. Most businesses don’t even have computers anymore as they have the means to provide laptops for employees. In terms of interior design, every company wants to be practical. Yet, not many realize that functionality is directly linked to productivity. Workers want to feel valued, they want to do their jobs with pleasure and feel part of the community. Today’s advanced technology is a gamer changer. Here’s why: The … [Read more...]

Fostering Loyalty in a Digital Marketplace

Not so very long ago a customer's loyalty was formed face-to-face in a shop, and sealed with a handshake. But what do we do when there is no physical shop and no customer standing in front of us? The advent of e-commerce and a digital marketplace has changed the way in which most businesses connect with their customers on a personal level. Most every company needs to ask itself: how can we engage with people? How can our customer service evolve? The Rise of Social Media Social media has become an integral part of modern-day marketing. It is the first place a majority of your potential customers will come in contact with your business … [Read more...]