Economy

Business Growing OnlineAs I listen to the latest economic news, I’m so aware of businesses that are struggling to survive. Even though business owners have more opportunity than ever to reach their target market online, many are not doing so effectively.  If you are not growing your business online, you are not alone. Here are some of the reasons businesses don’t grow online (and how to fix them).

  1. No clear goal – believe it or not, no one online really cares about your goals, they care about how you can solve their problem. Your online goal is to define what problems you can solve for your target market. Think in terms of how your product or service is the answer to a problem your target market is having and write that down. That is your first goal. Then you can set other goals around that.
  2. No target market – Now that you know what problem you solve, you need to decide who has the problem. If you have more than one problem you solve or your solution is good for different types of people, you should segment your market into subsets.
  3. No marketing strategy – Once you have defined what problem you solve and who your target market is, you must devise a strategy to make sure that the people in your target market know about your solution. You have to have a way to “get found” online by the people who are looking for you. Generally, people will find you through search engines or social media. So, you need to have an SEO strategy and a social media strategy.
  4. No way to convert - Once your target market has found you online, they can see that you have a solution for their problem. The next step is to get them to convert into a lead for your business. Depending on your sales funnel, your leads may need to be nurtured for some time. For others, once a visitor has converted into a lead, a sale may be closed very quickly. To convert visitors into leads, you need to have calls to action. Think in terms of “download this”, “attend this event”, “use this special offer code”, etc. You should have different calls to action for different parts of your sales funnel.
  5. Not analyzing - How will you know if your efforts are effective? Which calls to action work and which don’t? You should always analyze your online efforts to measure effectiveness.
  6. Not adjusting- When you analyze your results, you need to be flexible and adjust. Get rid of what isn’t working and improve what is working. If you are not adjusting and getting rid of what doesn’t work, you are wasting your precious time and money!
  7. Stuck in the past – If you have had the same website for years and are not sure if it is helping your business or not, you are stuck in the past. If you have not added any pages to your website in years, you are stuck in the past. One of the reasons we encourage blogging so much is because it is an effective way to add opportunities to get found, convert and grow online.

In today’s economy, businesses must use every opportunity available to grow. If they don’t, they may not survive. You are solving a problem for someone, you just have to make sure they find you!

If you are in Arkansas, come to the Blogging for Business seminar in Batesville on June 16th from 1 – 4 p.m. You can click on the button below to register. Wondering how effective your website is? Click on the website analysis button and we will send you a free website analysis!

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Can Your Business Adjust?

by Christi on March 9, 2009


As I have mentioned before, I grew up in a family that owned small businesses. One thing that I learned from them is that, to be successful, you must be agile and learn to adjust. As an example, one of my families businesses in the ’70′s was selling RV’s, and campers. As you may recall (if your old enough) the late ’70′s were not friendly towards anything that used a lot of gas. With gas rationing and people standing in line on their appointed days to get gas, selling RV’s wasn’t working. The change? Sell motorcycles instead! They adjusted to the economic climate.

What does your business need to do. We definitely need to take advantage of the low cost opportunities provided by the internet. See what your competitors are doing online. Are they taking advantage of blogs and social media to connect with customers? Are you? Is there a niche opportunity for your business? Times are tough but let’s do everything we can to make our businesses succeed.

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Alert: Stimulus Scam

by Christi on March 3, 2009

flying-money

Got the following from Herb Lawrence, ASUBTDC Director:

The ASU Small Business and Technology Development Center just received an e-mail from our Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse (SBDCNet) concerning a new scam that has hit the Internet promising small businesses and individuals Obama Stimulus Checks AND Grants as part of the Federal Stimulus Package.

For $95 for the first month and $73 per month thereafter you can purchase “FREE” GRANT SOFTWARE” to get your share of the action. If you follow the ads you find pages with questionable advertising practices like fake blogs with fake comments and a fake “ads by google” all of these are attempts to relieve you of your money but you will never see any grant money or stimulus check. The economy has been hard on many small businesses in our area without being taken advantage of through this scam.

I am attaching a link to our SBDCNet website that provides the details about the scam at Scam Alert! There are No Obama Stimulus Checks or Grants that will provide you with more information.

To date the new stimulus bill DOES NOT include any tax refunds like we saw last spring/summer. What the new stimulus bill WILL DO IS put more money into existing programs to build infrastructure. Yes there will be some new grant money in the package BUT most of it is going to existing programs and to state or local organizations that already have grants or grant programs. Bottom line is that there NO GRANTS for small business start up or bail out.

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center Network is in the process of developing seminars around the state for small businesses to learn about legitimate opportunities for small businesses under the stimulus package. We anticipate rolling these seminars out in the next four to six weeks once the details of how the stimulus package monies will be allocated has been determined. Unlike the SCAMS these informational seminars WILL BE free of charge.

If you would like more information about these seminars as they are developed send me an e-mail at HL[email protected] and we will make sure you are informed about these as they come out.

Please feel free to forward this to any other small businesses you may know and invite them to sign up to our newsletter to receive updates on assistance and other small business news at it comes out.

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How Will Your Business Survive

by Christi on February 18, 2009

Making an Adjustment

Making an Adjustment


Growing up in a family that owned small businesses, I learned very early that businesses have to be flexible in order to survive. ASBTDC Director, Herb Lawrence, mentioned in his earlier post the importance of keeping up with your industry by reading e-newsletters, etc. I remember my father and grandfather reading the Wall Street Journal and other publications during any free moments they had. They watched for trends and adjusted accordingly.

So, how do you need to adjust for the current economic situation? Hopefully, you have always offered exceptional customer service, and, hopefully, you and your employees didn’t get lax about customer service while times were good.

Recently, I went to several local businesses to give them information about upcoming business seminars. Some of the businesses I visited won’t survive. In a couple, I had to search around to see if anyone was even there. At one location, the owner finally came out from the back and let me know I had interrupted his lunch! I was the only person in his store besides him and he missed an opportunity to make a good impression with customer service.

These days customers tend to look online for information about products even when they plan to buy them locally. Case in point: Last week I was looking for a product. The product was somewhat unique and I wanted to buy it locally if possible. I turned to the internet. I knew the stores in the area that might have the product so I wanted to look there first. After some time, I was frustrated by the fact that most of the local businesses didn’t have websites so I had no idea if they would have what I was looking for. I ended up ordering the product online.

So, just in the last week I have seen two great opportunities for local small businesses to adjust. Offer remarkable customer service and take advantage of the internet. How is your business adjusting for the current economy?

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