3 Incredibly Clever Ways Small Businesses Can Make More Money Online

As a small business entrepreneur are you looking for ways to make more money from your business without unnecessarily adding to your cost? Then this article is for you.

Frankly, many small business owners think that it’s easy to make your business a success online. But that’s not true at all. Fact is, it’s easy to setup a new business online but it’s not so easy to make it a success. There are a lot of high scale problems that might just confront you. These include, lack of attention or a more popular competitor taking all the business.

Besides, it’s possible that all the customers that you want are already buying the product that you offer from another business. And of course when this happens you can never see the type of profits you’d like to from your online company.

The question therefore is, how can you make your business more profitable online and transform a dwindling model into a money making machine?

While there are different profit making opportunities you can apply to take care of the situation I have the following to be truly outstanding. These simple ideas will help you make more money with your business without spending a lot of money to do it.

Clever ways to make more more with your small business

Simple Ideas to Make Money with Your Small Business Online

1. Increase Opportunities

Perhaps one of the best ways to make your business more profitable online is to ensure that customers have as many options as possible to buy.

To do this, you need to think about more than just your website or social media but rather what type of device your customer might be using. For instance, you might find that the majority of your customers are viewing your site on a mobile device. If that’s the case, it’s important that you ensure your site still works effectively when viewed on mobile devices. To do this, you need to make sure that it is mobile responsive.

Any top digital agency can arrange this for you and ensure that there’s no problems with a lost audience because they can’t view your site. Don’t forget this year Google have started penalizing site owners for not being mobile responsive. This should tell you how important it is.

Apps are important too. With the right app, you can get the attention of customers and ensure that they want to buy from your business. It’s important that the app is fun and easy to use.

You can also make sure that it has Third Party SDK Integrations. With this type of design, your app can connect to other areas of your business campaign. Due to this, customers will find it easier to get from one area to the other.

They can also use the app to check for updates from other areas of your campaign such as your Twitter. However, the most important thing about your app is it is fun and easy to use. If it isn’t, customers won’t keep it on their phone long enough for you to see an impact.

Make mobile buying easier on your site

2. Make Buying Easy

Next, you need to think about making buying for customers as easy as possible. It’s crucial that your customers can find the product they want and buy it immediately without delay.

The trick to making sure purchases are fast and easy is great security. If you have all the available security measures in place, you can get customers through as quickly as possible. You can even have ID systems that mean they don’t have to log in. Instead, the site remembers them, and one-click purchasing is possible.

You can also look at social media buy buttons. Rather than social content pushing customers towards your site, you can instead get them to buy right then and there. That way, there’s no chance of losing customers who didn’t follow the link. Or, who didn’t have time to click from one site to the next. It streamlines the purchase process, making things simple for you and the customer.

Make buying easier on your sitess

3. Expand Your Reach

If you expand your reach online, you can boost your customer numbers and reach a wider audience. This, in turn, will lead to higher levels of profit.

So, how do you boost your reach as a business owner?

Well, the simplest option is to make sure that you are constantly looking at ways to improve your marketing campaign. For instance, you should think about working on the quality of your content. Remember, quality is always going to be more important than quantity and will actually lead to a larger audience.

You might think that the best way to attract more people is to release as much content as possible. That’s not the case at all. In fact, you’re more likely to get increased interest if the content is shared more and that will happen if it’s a quality product. Therefore a little greatness will pay off a lot more than a ton of shoddy work.

It’s also possible to boost the reach of your business with new business partnerships. Look for a company that isn’t directly competing with you but shares the same market. You can then work together to create one massive marketing campaign that makes an impact.

Expand your business reach

Conclusion

In concluding this piece I will want to say that gone are the days when business owners were wondering if they should move their businesses online. Marketing your small business online is the best decision you have made but today that is not enough. The competition is increasing by the day. It is important therefore that you find out different ways to make more money from running that business online. Implement these simple but clever ways and you’ll see your business profits soar in no time at all.

How to Ensure Success with Your Small Business Accounting Records

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been running your small business for some time now, you should know by now that owning a business comes with a lot of tasks you need to handle. One of such is your accounting records.

As a small business owner you can never boast of success if you allow your accounts to get out of your control. It’s simply one of the most basic things that business owners need to get right.

That’s true for new, young entrepreneurs and experienced business leaders alike. The moment you take your eye off the ball, things are bound to slip away from you.

But there is really no need to be too daunted by the prospect of looking after your business’ accounts properly, though. It’s something that certainly can be done if you’re willing to learn and put in some hard work.

To get started and regain control of your small business accounts, you need to first know the basic rules. These rules apply to all kinds of businesses. They are the basic principles upon which good business accounting practices are based.

When you know and understand these rules, your task will become so much easier, which can only be a good thing for you and your business.

You will also need to know about some of the common pitfalls and mistakes that are experienced when managing a business’s accounts.

Below is what you need to know about small business accounting so your business run smoothly and profitably.

Small Business Accounting Rules to Follow

1. Track Each and Every Expense

Every little thing your business spends money on should be tracked and recorded. This is something that many people don’t realize is necessary. But all those small expenditures will mount up over time, so it’s always best to be clear about where the business stands.

To do this properly, you will need to have a system for organizing the business’ receipts. Remember that some of these small expenses might be tax deductible, meaning you could get a chunk of money knocked off your taxes later on. This makes tracking every expense and keeping every receipt even more worthwhile.

2. Develop a System for Bookkeeping

Do you have a good bookkeeping system in place for your business?

If you don’t, your business needs to fix this fast. You need to be using the best software available in order to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes. There are so many accounting software options out there, and they make your job of keeping control of the accounts so much easier than it would otherwise be.

You can also use things like intuit checks to add some extra security and oversight to your business’ finances. The system you eventually develop will be unique to your business; just make sure you have one.

Design a system for your accounting operations

3. Separate Business and Personal Finances

For many people who run small businesses, there is some crossover between their personal finances and the business’ finances. It’s important to make these separate from one another if you want to succeed and keep the finances in order.

You should aim to set up the business in a way that allows you to have limited responsibility. This will mean that if the business has debts, they won’t have to be paid by taking away your personal possessions. This is important for anyone who is setting up a business by themselves. If you fail to, your home and other assets could be at risk if things go badly wrong.

4. Follow Up on Invoices

Invoices are important because everyone wants to get paid when they’re owed money. But when you run a small business, it’s often a case of sending out the invoice and then forgetting about it. This is not the kind of practice that will be good for your business’s finances, though.

You should make sure that the invoices you send out are tracked. That way, you can follow them up and make sure you receive payment. For many companies, unpaid invoices are a real problem. And if you let them pass by without ever getting paid, the business will be deprived of its money.

5. Set Up a Strong Payroll System

If you hire anyone to work for you, even if it’s not on a full-time basis, you will need to have a payroll system in place. It’s not as simple as it might sound because you will have to make sure that the company is withholding the right amount of money to be paid in taxes.

If you don’t have a proper and professional payroll system in place to deal with these tasks, you will never manage your workforce properly. Things will become messy and, inevitably, mistakes will get made.

Setting up the payroll system isn’t a huge task, but it will certainly save you time and stress later on, so don’t put it off for long.

6. Determine Your Tax Obligations

Finally, you need to fully determine your business’ tax obligations. There are big consequences for businesses that fail to pay their taxes. It’s not a situation you want to get your business in, whether it was intentional or not.

If your business is run as a corporate entity, its tax obligations will be separate from your own personal tax obligations. And that means that it will have to pay corporation tax.

If you are confused by the situation in any way, don’t hesitate in hiring a professional tax advisor who will be able to clear things up for you. It’s better to do that than to make a big mistake.

Know your tax obligations

Major Small Accounting Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Simple Mathematical Errors

It’s sometimes the case that simple mathematical errors, even if they seem small at the time, can have a big impact on the overall accounts. It’s these simple errors that could lead to you getting a view of the business’ accounts and financial situation that is less than accurate.

When you have inaccurate records to use, you will make decisions that are wrong because they won’t be based on the real situation that the business is in. So, always check and double check the records before pressing ahead. This is an important thing to do, even if it might seem trivial now.

Little account mistakes could harm your business

2. Taking a Short-Term Approach

Taking a short-term approach to your business finances is not an option that is even worth considering if you want to sort things out properly. When you only focus on where the business’ finances are heading in the immediate sense, you won’t be prepared for what could be heading your way further down the line. That would be a big mistake and leave the business unprepared for future challenges.

So, to ensure that your business is sustainable in the long-term, you should take an approach that takes into account the future of the business. How is it going to adapt? Is there going to be money for future investment? These things are important.

3.  Getting Too Far Ahead and Forgetting the Basics

When you try to get too far ahead of yourself, you start becoming concerned with things that might not be so important. Yes, it’s a good thing to want to learn more about accounting. But only do this if you think that you have a firm grip on the basics. The basic things are the ones that matter most. And if you can’t get those right, then you’ll have a problem.

So, don’t try to complicate matters if they really don’t need to be complicated. It’s a classic mistake, but one that doesn’t have to be made. When you run a small business, you only need to get the basic things right to keep your business in strong financial shape.

4.    Not Getting Help When It’s Needed

Many business owners just assume that they are capable of going it alone when they start out managing their accounts. For small business owners with relatively simple financial situations, this might be the case. But you should be aware that if you are focusing on the financial side of things, then you will probably have to make sacrifices in other areas. You can’t ignore that fact.

You only have so many hours in the day, and it’s up to you to split your time between different tasks. If you think that you’re not going to be able to dedicate the necessary amount of time to the accounts, you might want to hire some help.

Get help when neccessary

5. Falling Behind

Falling behind with the accounting tasks that you need to take care of is one of the biggest mistakes of all. And the dangerous thing is that it’s so easy to do.

If you step back and stop paying attention to what you’re doing and what needs to be done for even a couple of weeks, you can fall really far behind. Making up that ground and fixing issues and problems that have arisen while you were distracted can be a huge challenge.

In truth, many business owners never manage to regain control of their finances once they stop paying attention to them. So, make sure that this is something that you are focused on all year round.

Conclusion

Now that you know more about what it takes to manage your small business’ accounts properly and professionally, it’s time to get down to work. Let the information and warnings above aid you as you try to make your business’ accounts balanced and healthy in the future.

Online Business Security Issues: Common Mistakes That Can Leave You Open To Attack

The Internet is a fantastic tool that every business owner on the planet would struggle without. It has taken something as difficult and complex as business and simplified it to make succeeding a whole lot much easier. Though success might not be a guarantee, but it is more likely than before.

However, for all its benefits, there are a lot of weaknesses also. The main one is hacking and cybercrime. Businesses have never been more vulnerable because hackers can access every piece of information. This means you cannot afford to make a mistake which could result in you losing your valuable business information and, possibly, cash.

How to avoid being a victim of online business attacks

So, how do you avoid this happening?

Of course, there are a lot you can do. One of such is learning about the most common mistakes that can expose your business to cyber criminals. Knowing these mistakes and what to do should enhance your security for the future. That being said, in this post you will learn some of these common mistakes and what to do about it.

But first,

What is Internet Business Security?

This can be simply defined as the protection of business data from theft, loss or unauthorized access, use or modification. Over the years, reports of cyber attacks on some big companies like Yahoo! and Ebay have made major headlines at one time or the other. Ironically, many small business owners lose sight of the fact that while attacks on big companies are quick to make the headlines there are many attacks on small businesses that are not being reported.

Besides, while many of these large companies are now getting the services of full-time security experts to maintain their business network security, the opposite is the same for small business owners. This is because they can hardly afford that luxury. For the small business owner it is therefore imperative that they know what to do to secure that business online.

Top 5 Cyber Security Mistakes Every Business Should Know/Avoid

1. Not Securing The Wi-Fi Router

The Wi-Fi is connected to your entire server. That might not mean much, but in reality it is a massive deal. It means that hackers can bypass your security protocols by going through your Wi-Fi connection. Ultimately, they go through the back door. Something as seemingly insignificant as your Wi-Fi connection could cripple your entire business.

2. Not Securing Your Email Accounts

Just like your Wi-Fi router, work email accounts are also often connected to the server, so the same rule applies. The problem you have in many respects is that you cannot trust your employees to use secure passwords. Most employees don’t use their usual password because it is only a work account. What difference does it make? They don’t have sensitive information stored on their work account. You, on the other hand, take a lot of interest in their work email account. It is best to create a random password for them, so you know that everything is safe and secure.

3. Using Free Or Poor Quality Antivirus Software

The free version of antivirus software is not up to scratch. For your laptop or tablet at home, it works fine because the threat is lower. But, for your business, you need a comprehensive package that will cover every possible threat. Quality software is a must, and it is worth spending that little bit extra just for a piece of mind. How do you know what is the best antivirus software on the market? Simply do a bit of research. Forums and product reviews are always a good choice because they are impartial.

4. Being Too Trusting

Attacks don’t just come from outside of the business. There are people that will take advantage if you do show any signs of weakness. It might be cynical to say so, but it is naïve to think you can trust everyone in your business. For that reason, only divulge information to a select few people so that you don’t leave yourself exposed.

5. Not Backing Up Offsite

Finally, get hold of an external hard drive and backup all of your files. Then, take the hard drive and put it somewhere secure. It doesn’t matter where you put it, as long as it is secure and not on the business premises. If you are attacked, you will need to rebuild. If, however, you only back everything up on your server, you won’t have any files to help you restore the business.

Conclusion

As you can see from the above, while online security can pose great threat to small businesses, it is not entirely hopeless. Simply knowing what the risks are, how vulnerable your business is, how cyber attacks could potentially affect your business and what you can do to prevent such attacks can all add up to help you prevent such attacks. You don’t have to be a security expert to do this. Empowering yourself with the right information, like the above, is sure to help you protect yourself and your business.

7 Easy Ways to Effectively Market Your Small Business

Simple ways to market your small business

Marketing is one thing that many small business owners would rather not “bother” themselves with. Unfortunately, without marketing you cannot really achieve that success you so desire.

Of course, as a small business owner you would rather want to spend your time running your business since you are good at that. But it’s a fact that simply building it and waiting for people to find their way to you is living in dream land.

If your target audience must know about you, you must market your business one way or the other!

So, the question is not IF but HOW! You simply must have a strategy in place to ensure that you are top of mind for your target audience. If you don’t do this, remember your competition is waiting by the side to take advantage of the situation.

Do you now see why marketing is something you must take seriously as a small business owner? Wondering how you can do this even when you do not know much about marketing or you simply do not have the time?

Let me quickly say that no matter the niche you are in, marketing you small businesses should be virtually effortless! It is not something you should struggle about.

Here are…

7 Proven Ways to Market Your Small Business Starting Now

1. Create a Regular Podcast

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to create one. If you can take an hour or two every so often to plan and make a helpful, valuable podcast, the customers will come flocking to you. Talk about interesting things in your industry, give tips, and even consider interviewing other people who you find inspiring. If you make them good enough, you’ll get a loyal following!

2. Write a Weekly Email Newsletter

Writing a weekly email newsletter to keep your followers and customers updated won’t take very long, and it’s a simple way to show them you’re still there. You can include all kinds of information in your newsletters, from what you’ve all been getting up to, to any exciting events coming up. Let your personality show through and show your readers that you’re human too.

3. Sign Up to Facebook

Facebook is one of the biggest and most popular social media sites today, so it’s a no brainer. You should build a business page and use it to market your business. You’ll be able to target your audience way more effectively, and get to know them a little more. There are so many ways that social media is beneficial. Not only will you be able to get valuable feedback, you can also provide top notch customer service. It doesn’t have to be Facebook you choose either; if you think you’ll find more of your market on Instagram or Twitter, then join them. Just make sure you don’t join more than you can handle.

4. Start an Exciting Giveaway

A giveaway is one of the most effective ways to get attention. If you give something worthwhile away, you should get lots of exposure thanks to your give away. Ask people to like it, share it with their friends, and follow your social media pages to get the most benefit from it.

5. Show Your Loyal Customers That You Care

A small business should recognize a loyal customer when they see one. Offer loyalty cards for your customers, so they can get money off or build up points. Send out emails to them with discount codes. You could simply send them a handwritten thank you note and a few chocolates to show them you appreciate their custom!

6. Update Your Site

Keep your site updated regularly so that you don’t begin to look stale or outdated. You’ll also want to make sure that you stay updated when it comes to things like onsite SEO. As SEO is always changing, you need to stay on the ball. Learn how Australian websites can recover local SEO from Google pigeon to give you an idea of what can happen.

7. Write a Weekly Blog

Write a quality blog each week to help your customers with something they may be confused about or want more information on. Give away your expertise and they’ll be more likely to work with you!

Conclusion

Can you now see that you have no excuse not to market your business properly? You can start even now by taking a couple of these ideas and working on them until you feel comfortable with what you are doing. Of course, once you have starting one tactic you can always add another on. Then another one. And then another one!

Make marketing your small business fun. Get going!

9 Effective Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners

Social media marketing for small business owners

There is no doubt that social media has revolutionized the world of small business marketing. It has created new avenues for small business entrepreneurs to promote their businesses without putting a dent in their finances.

Unfortunately, not many of these small business owners are making a success of their social media presence. While many have created social media profiles on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and Linkedin very few know what to make of it. It is not surprising therefore that after a few years of creating these profiles many throw in the trowel in frustration.

For example, in a 2013 social media marketing research published by SocialMediaExaminer.com, only about 29% of small business owners (self employed) agreed that their Facebook marketing was effective compared to about 46% businesses with 1000 or more employees!

This is indeed a testament that many small business owners are not finding it easy with social media marketing. And that shows that social media marketing is more than creating profiles on different social media platforms. You may create these profiles because they are free but if you don’t know how to forge deeper connections with potential customers and turn them into paying customers, you will only be wasting your time.

Related Reading: Social Media Vs Email – Which Is More Useful When It Comes To Small Business Marketing?

In this article therefore, I want to present to you a few ideas for making a success of your social media marketing as a small business owner.

First, let’s answer this very important question…

Why Social Media Marketing?

There are actually various reasons why small businesses want to jump into the social media marketing bandwagon. Apart from the fact that social media marketing is the “new” marketing, the low cost of entry is also a great incentive.

Besides, if used well social media is definitely the best inexpensive tool for acquiring more loyal customers, growing more brand recognition, gaining more repeat business and so much more. This is actually the biggest reason why small business owners, instead of expensive ad buys, are shifting to social media engagements in marketing their wares.

But to make a success of this you will need the right tactics. Here are top nine tactics that will be of great help:

1. Create a Social Media Marketing Plan

Remember time is of essence when it comes to marketing online. To make the best use of your time you need a plan. Creating a plan and setting goals for your social media marketing campaign will help you direct your efforts and also help in measuring what you are doing. Approaching your social media marketing with the “spray and pray” mindset will produce only frustration.

One of the areas your plan should look at is how you are going to integrate social media marketing into your existing marketing strategies. You should be able to lay out what goals and steps you will need to take and the social media tools you need in order to meet your marketing objectives.

2. Learn To Ease In

As mentioned above social media marketing requires time and patience. Most times as a small business owner you are also the marketing department. You must therefore avoid trying to jump in with a big splash!

If you start too big there are two scenarios you might end up with. One, you might end up being overwhelmed and ultimately neglect the whole thing or two, you might end up spending too much time on social media and neglect other importance business duties.

A better route is to start small and then grow things as you learn what works best for your time constraints and business goals. To do this you may need to choose one or two social media platforms where your customers are already congregating and concentrate on these ones instead of trying to work on too many platforms at the same time.

Take some time to research some influencers in your niche and see where they are concentrating their social media efforts on. If, for example you discover that most are spending more time on Facebook than they spend on Twitter, you can take that as an indication that FB is more suitable for your niche than twitter.

Your time can be more effectively used this way rather than trying to focus on all the social media sites out there.

3. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

Choose social media marketingFirst appearance definitely matters a great deal. Beyond trying to use social media to boost your brand visibility, it is also important that you put “personality” in everything you do. One way of doing this is by optimizing your profiles on these sites. Profile optimization will greatly help you gain more followers and also boost your SEO efforts.

Few things you can do to optimize your social profiles include using a real photo instead of using animals or anything that is not real. Write a good description about yourself or your company with specific keywords that indicate what you do.

A profile with your real photo will help people connect with you more easily while a good optimized description will help you drive more traffic from the search engines.

Recommended: How to Effectively Optimize Your Social Media Marketing For Success!

4. Create and Share Valuable Content

People on social media are looking to be entertained and informed!

Set yourself apart as an expert in your field by creating and sharing valuable content that both engage and entertain your followers. Of course, as a small business owner you are an expert in your target niche and you have sound advice and informed opinions to share with your social media followers.

Even in areas you don’t count yourself as an expert you can always search online and then create content around those questions and problems peculiar to your potential customers. This way your value to customers will skyrocket. If you can create your content with a professional touch providing plenty of links to other sites, blogs, or news articles, you will greatly increase your value.

5. Learn To Listen

You must understand that social media is about building relationships and not marketing. That may sound contradictory but it is the truth anyway. Instead of falling into the error of spending a whole lot of time talking about how great your product is or how great your business is, hoping that that will bring more sales, you should learn to listen to what your customers are saying.

Remember people are using social media to connect and converse with one another. Use it right by being a “friend” who is ready to listen and you will be able to build strong social relationships with you customers which will work great for you in the long run.

6. Cross-Pollination Your Content

Once you have created your social media profiles ensure that these are connected to your business website. One of the advantages of doing this is that it helps you to cross-promote your content reducing the time you would have spend in updating all your profiles. Also, it helps the search engines and social media websites correctly determine which website corresponds to which social media page.

All of these will boost your engagement rate and also traffic to your business site.

7. Make the Best Use of Your Time

Timing is very important as far as social media marketing is concerned. Apart from the fact that people have very short attention span online, these is also so much noise that instead of trying to “force” yourself into that noise, plan and schedule your updates – emails, tweets, status updates and blog posts – so that you can catch your audience when they are more receptive to your messages.

Do your research to know when best to update. Once you know the best time when your target audience is more receptive you can use tools like Buffer and HootSuite to schedule your updates so that they can be published at the right time.

8. Be Personal

As mentioned above social media is about personal interactions. When interacting with your audience on social media it is important that you make them feel they are dealing with another human being and not just a business. Done well this will inspire a greater feeling of loyalty toward your business. As a small business owner you have more opportunity of doing this as you can easily inject yourself and your opinions into every conversation. Nevertheless, remember you are there for business. Knowing this will help you take control of the conversation and then steer it to suit your business objectives.

9. Issue Calls to Action

Various researches have shown that people will not just engage with your content without your asking. For example, a report from the Buddy Media says Facebook posts with questions generate 92 percent higher comment rates than posts without questions. This means putting questions on your social media post will greatly help in engaging with your customers.

Whenever you post an update include some form of call to action that will engage your audience. You may ask a question or even ask them to fill in some blank spaces! These may drive more engagement thereby increasing the chances of your content going viral and bringing you greater success.

Recommended Reading: [Quick Guide] How To Use Social Media Marketing To Acquire Loyal Customers!

Conclusion

If you will implement the above social media marketing tactics for your small business you will definitely make a success of your social media marketing strategy. It will ensure increased business exposure and also more traffic to your business site.

However, driving that huge traffic from the social media sites without a lead generation strategy in place to capture new visitors to your site will amount to a waste of time and effort.

For social media traffic to be useful for your small business, it is important that you capture visitors’ contact info and then implement a system that will help you build long-term relationships with these new contacts.

A good optin builder that will help you build great landing pages and engaging calls-to-action is what you need. There are hundreds of such tools out there but one that I recommend is not only cost-effective but also very easy to use.

You can get more details about this great tool by clicking here.

Your Turn: What social media marketing tactics are you presently using? Will care to share with us in your comments below?