August 6, 2010

Top three must have for small business

Top three must have for small business
During a time where business are closing faster than they are opening, small businesses need to be sure to optimize all venues that will bring in potential consumers. There are certain things that small businesses should have in place in order to be successful. They must have a business website, accept different methods of payment and have a consumer feedback system in place. Today’s blog covers the top three things a small business must have in order to stay competitive and to drive in business.

Business website
I’ve said it once, and I will say it again. I am a firm believer that every business, no matter how small, should have a business website. It may not be a full fledged website that is equipped with e-commerce but it should at least announce to the world, who and what their business is about. Whenever consumers are curious about a business or need to know about a certain product, the first thing they do is look it up on the internet.

If a consumer is searching for a specific business and the business doesn’t have a website, chances are they will move on to another company that does have a website. It is imperative that businesses have an online presence that not only informs the public of their product or service but it should also be congruent to their offline appearance in order to strengthen your brand.

Accept credit cards
If a small business offers a product or service for a monetary exchange then they should accept credit cards. Many consumers do not use cash to make purchases and the fact that a store accepts credit cards encourages consumers to purchase a little extra since they don’t have to worry about having enough cash on them. Not everyone has or uses credit cards but more people are using debit cards to make purchases and businesses should be ready to adapt to any consumer purchase method.

Every business should have some sort of customer feedback system where they are actively seeking consumer opinions and implementing their feedback directly into their business workflow. Many businesses opt to include consumer feedback in their business operation and it prohibits them from capitalizing on the major benefits that consumer feedback provides.

Knowing exactly what products consumers are buying and what they think about the business products or services , not only helps the business save on inventory but it also gives helpful feedback on how businesses should market their brand. Utilizing some sort of feedback system will also help businesses stay consumer focused that promote a connection between their brand and the consumer.

In a competitive world where word of mouth is still the biggest marketing tool that any business could ask for, it is imperative that businesses keep up with industry trends and consumer needs. In order to do this, small businesses must have a business website creating an online presence so that consumers can easily find information about the business and its products or services. Small businesses can easily do this by creating a free website that details all the pertinent information about their brand.

Small businesses should also invest in expanding acceptable consumer purchase options in order to encourage consumer spending. Even the mom and pops corner stores are now accepting credit cards and expanding their consumer base.Finally, consumers should adapt a consumer feedback system that allows them stay on top of consumer demands and strengthen their brand through a consumer focused marketing plan. Small businesses can simply add a comment box in their store, while online small businesses can easily add a feedback section on their website or add a contact page where consumers can send feedback directly from their website.

Are you ready to meet consumer demands? 
Photo by: Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

August 5, 2010

Importance of keywords

Importance of keywords. photo by:
So it’s time to get a website up letting the world know that you have a product or service to offer. In order to optimize the exposure your website will get, you have to make sure that your website has all the necessary keywords to bring in traffic. Keywords are important because they dictate your visibility in search engines when potential consumers are browsing for products or services that you offer and they are also important if you plan to monetize your website with programs such as Google’s AdSense or Infolinks. The more you use keywords in your website content, the more money you can potentially earn. Keywords are a pretty big deal and should be considered when deciding what content to put on your website.

The key to using keywords is to do it in a way that your company’s message is clearly stated but hidden within the text are keywords strategically placed to bring in traffic and increase profit. When done correctly, keywords should appear to be subtle so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the websites content and the company’s message is intact. The best way to achieve that is to first pick the keywords you want to use to drive traffic and relevant ads to your website. In order to pick the right keywords you have to do research on what keywords to use.

How to pick the right keywords
Use the below guide to pick the right keywords for your website.

Step 1:
Make a list of phrases that are three or four more keywords that you think consumers will use to search for your website or websites like yours.

Example: Kelly’s Daycare Center
Keyword phrases
  •     Affordable daycare center
  •     Area daycare centers
  •     24 hr. daycare centers
  •     Women owned daycare centers
  •     Flexible daycare centers
  •     Daycare centers accept vouchers
Step 2:
Next test your keyword phrases with free online keyword tools like Google Keyword tool or Submit Express.

Step 3: 
Select the top five key phrases that are highly search and will blend in best with the content of your website.

Now that you have your top key phrases you are ready to create relevant content that will not only deliver the company message but will generate a profit and drive in traffic. Remember the key to successful keyword driven content is making sure that you chose keywords that match closely with your product or service. It should be a seamless transition that doesn’t interrupt the flow of your message.

August 4, 2010

Small business idea- freelance writing

photo by: Star Dusts-
As a freelance writer you have complete control over your business and work flow. Freelance writers are independent contractors that help companies fulfill their freelance writing needs. In order to successfully start your own internet business, you must have a complete understanding of what it takes to be successful. Once you have figured that out, you are ready to use the below guide as a simple way to get your home base business started.

Tips to get started
The key to most service base business is networking. In order for your business to be successful you have to get out there and get yourself known. The top five tips to get started are:

*Get a website for yourself
There is no better way to sell your service then to broadcast your talents and skills on a website. To start off you don’t have to get all fancy but a simple three page website will suffice.  Your website should include a section that gives information about you, a page with samples of your writing and a contact page. As you gain experience your website will grow with you. The point in the beginning is to just get your name and work out there.

*Start a blog
This is the best freelance marketing tool there is. Starting a blog not only showcase your writing skills and industry knowledge but it is the best way to market your brand, you. Make sure to interact with readers and whenever you get a chance make sure to market your blog.

*Get involved
Now it’s time to start networking and getting yourself exposed to the online writing world. Join at least two blogs related to your niche and join writing communities that can teach, inform, and allow you to make connections with other freelance writers. This is the easiest way to land solid freelance writing jobs by getting your name in the conversations of those who have a need for your service.

*Be an expert
Become an expert in your niche and showcase your knowledge by joining forums that allow you to answer questions related to your specialty. Answering questions not only helps those who are in need of the answer but it helps establish you as an expert on the topic.

Be patient
Viewership doesn’t happen overnight, so having patience will help calm the nerves and doubt about your business venture. Be firm to your goals and realistic in your expectations and success will happen as long as you allow the allotted time for your brand to grow.

These are just starters but it should give you a solid start to begin your own freelance business. But with any new business adventure it is best to make sure that entrepreneurship is for you and that you have what it takes to start a new business.

August 3, 2010

Small business idea – Consulting

Small business idea- consulting. Photo by: lumaxarts-
Everyone has something that they are particularly good at and that specialty can be turned into an online consulting business. Consulting is offering a service that requires a continuing push in marketing.  In order to start an online consulting business you must understand that communication is the key. Your success is highly dependent upon how well you sell and market your service. As a consultant you are constantly communicating what you do and how it will benefit the consumer. So having good communication skills is a plus.

Depending on how you plan to offer your service; you must be kept up with technology and industry trends in order to stay competitive. When figuring out how you will deliver your service to consumers, consider the following questions.
  •     How are you going to deliver your service?
  •     Are their more efficient ways to deliver your product?
  •     How is your competitor delivering their service to consumers?
  •     How can you deliver your service in more innovative ways that your competitor has yet to venture into?
Staying on top of technology and how it affects your industry will help you not only enter the market but market your brand in a profitable way.

Tips getting your consulting business off the ground
First you must lay the foundation for your business and know what services you are offering, who your target market is, obtain any necessary certifications/licenses needed, and know exactly how you will relay your message. Once you have the foundation laid, you are ready to get started. The below is a guide to help you get started.

Get exposed
Start a business website which will be the forefront of your business. Your business message should be clear and the service you provide plainly stated so that the reader can easily identify who you are, what service you offer and how it will benefit them. To start off your website can be simple and to the point but it should include the following:
  •     A page about your company and what qualifies your company to offer the service that you provide.
  •     A service page explaining what it is that your company offers and what the prices are for your service.
  •     Information page that gives useful information, guides and/or tips related to your service. Providing related information prolongs consumer’s exposure to the service you offer and it shows them that you are serious about the service you provide and it solidifies your status as a trusted expert on the topic.
  •     Contact page with at least two different methods of contacting you. You can add an email address as well as a contact form so that consumers can reach you.
Create a marketing plan that will announce your business to consumers. Make sure that your marketing plan includes a strong internet marketing campaign. Possible marketing ideas are: social media marketing, email marketing, create an eBook for free downloading, and create a blog about your service. Remember the key to any business that is based on offering a service is constant promoting and staying on top of industry trends. Any successful marketing message should always reflect how your service will benefit the consumer.

Get your business brand out there by joining communities and associations related to your industry.  Learning from industry veterans can give you valuable information and communicating with your industry peers allow you to gain client leads and recommendations.

If you are considering starting your own consulting business, use today's discussion to get you started.

August 2, 2010

Business software that’s perfect for your budget

When you start a small business you are responsible for all aspects of the business from general office needs to sales. Finding business software that will help alleviate some of the work will allow you to focus on the important things. Before you create a budget to cover the business software you need, first you should check online for free business downloads that you can use. This weeks discussions will be surrounded around tools and ideas that small businesses can use to help manage their business.

Today’s blog,  list free software that will help you manage your small business. gives small business the necessary software to create documents, worksheets, databases, presentations and photo editing. For small businesses who don’t want to deal with the hassle of Microsoft Office licenses can consider this free office software alternative.

Small business owners have free use of the package and can download the product to as many computers without worrying about licenses. works with most commercial vendors and should be easy to exchange files, it will even open up Microsoft Word 2010 documents. word document has a familiar format of an earlier version of Microsoft Word. This is an excellent alternative to Microsoft Office suite and the best thing about it is it’s free!

Free Management Software

Systems Online (SCT)
Free Accounting Software automatically keeps track of purchases, bills and other bookkeeping needs while freeing up time to do other things. Providing over 72 different reports, small businesses can successful manage their business and keep track over their inventory. Free Accounting Software can be downloaded to numerous computers without download restrictions.


Free Accounting Software allows you to set up, track, edit and manage the following areas:

    * Company management
    * Customer Service
    * Sales
    * Inventory Control

Other tools

    * Create quotes/sales order
    * Invoices
    * Credit and debit Memos
    * Purchase orders
    * Checks and deposits

 To download your free copy of Free Accounting Software and to read more including system requirements click here.

 Purchasing the necessary business software in order to run your small business smoothly can be pricey. You can end up spending hundreds of dollars on software that may require additional funds to be trained to use it. and SCT is offering similar quality software to small businesses but at an unbeatable price, free.

Did you find SmallBiz Stew to be helpful?

My goal is to discuss topics that will simplify the intricate parts of starting a small business to help alleviate some of the stress that’s associated with small business start-up. Did you find this information to be helpful, if so then please donate. Any amount is appreciated.