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NEW! Business Tips

  • March 23, 2015 Image preview

    A famous and humorous quote from the baseball legend, Yogi Berra, is “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” It leaves out, of course, the reality that the fork in the road creates uncertainty.

    When a business encounters uncertainty in the market, which fork to take is the question. It’s an indication of time to regroup, scan the horizon to uncover what’s happening in your environment, and look inward at your business to move in the right direction. We call this process strategic business planning.

    The first thing to do in strategic planning is to gather those in the organization who can provide information and insight. They include owners and managers as well as those closest to the customer. Revisit your mission and vision as a business. If you do not have a mission and vision, consider developing one. These can provide a guiding light for the company and help everyone understand what the firm stands for, what’s important, and how you will conduct business.

  • March 16, 2015 Image preview

    When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, it is easy to fall back on colloquial phrases as justification for not being willing to try different techniques or channels.  Probably for some more established businesses or business owners, phrases like “That’s the way we’ve always done it” or “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” are tossed about to keep from having to explore other marketing or advertising channels.

    I grew up the son of a furniture and floor covering store manager in a time where there were three primary means of advertising in a small town.  Our small town (less than 10,000) had two small newspapers and one AM radio station.  So, we had print and radio advertising available. The third means was posters.  Big Posters.  These had a simple message and filled most of the large plate glass windows on the storefront.  The messages were things like “Clearance Sale,” “Recliner Sale,” or “Mother’s Day Sale,” and were always in two to three foot tall letters on white paper.

  • February 23, 2015 Image preview

    Effective communication can be the single most important key to the success of your business. Being prepared for each type of communication is the foundation for being effective.

    Whether you are asking a client to pay their bill, or justifying a fee increase, it is the preparation before the call that can secure your success. There are techniques available to assist you. “Lifescripts” authors Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine offer guidance on “What to say to get what you want in life’s toughest situations.”

    The authors divide the process into three parts: strategy of the situation, tactics and a flow chart of probable conversations.

    Let’s explore the guidance the authors offer when asking a client to pay their bill. The strategy is that frequently there has been a clerical mistake, whether actual or pretend. Allow the client to check on it but schedule the second call. “Lifescripts” authors suggest:

  • February 16, 2015 Image preview

    Email marketing fills our inbox on a daily basis, so why is it so important to incorporate it into your small business marketing plan?

    The answer is simple: because it works! Email marketing is extremely effective when done correctly. It is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools and is also highly measurable because you are able to follow exactly how many individuals receive the message and whether they engage with its content.

    The best way to increase engagement is to have a clear call to action within your email. A “call to action” encourages the reader to follow through. There are different ways to engage the audience, such as posting a link to follow your business on social media, purchase a product or call for more information about a service. A clear call to action can make the difference between gaining new customers or being sent straight into the “delete” file of their inboxes.

  • February 09, 2015 Image preview

    Search engines and small business truly have a mutually beneficial partnership when it comes to accessing local information from the Internet! Most search engines offer a free listing service in which a business owner can claim a listing and add pertinent information about the business, such as location, hours of operation, contact information, and even a link to their website. The key to keeping a successful relationship between business owner and search engine alive is in the hands of the business owner. Search engines rely on business owners to help keep their information up to date, thereby making the search engine itself more credible. It is your responsibility to take advantage of this free service to help increase your online presence.

    There are many ways to go about claiming a listing. Different websites will have various procedures to follow to claim a business and add up to date information. Today I will focus on one of the most popular search engines, Google.



Business Tips Archive

The most current Business Tips article is available on the San Angelo Standard Times online newspaper The following Business Tips articles are provided for you in an Adobe PDF format.