Posts tagged small business

Did you know that the holiday shopping season “accounts for 20 to 40 percent of their total yearly sales”? That’s why e-tailers need to kick their websites into full gear to be primed for the rise in traffic and sales. 

Improve the checkout flow. Odds are, your shopping cart flow has a bottleneck (or five). Remarketing solutions company SaleCycle wagers that close to 74 percent of all online shopping carts were abandoned in the last quarter of 2013. This means that on average, three out of every four people who were ready to buy something on your site decided not to during the checkout process…

Read seven more tips for optimizing your website for holiday traffic on OPEN Forum.

Did you know that the holiday shopping season “accounts for 20 to 40 percent of their total yearly sales”? That’s why e-tailers need to kick their websites into full gear to be primed for the rise in traffic and sales. 

Improve the checkout flow. Odds are, your shopping cart flow has a bottleneck (or five). Remarketing solutions company SaleCycle wagers that close to 74 percent of all online shopping carts were abandoned in the last quarter of 2013. This means that on average, three out of every four people who were ready to buy something on your site decided not to during the checkout process…

Read seven more tips for optimizing your website for holiday traffic on OPEN Forum.

Yes, the Yellow Pages still exist… and scammers are using them to cheat small-business owners out of millions!

Yes, the Yellow Pages still exist… and scammers are using them to cheat small-business owners out of millions!

Thanks to a shady associate, Bill Bartmann went from having a well-respected company and a net worth of $3 billion to facing felony charges with $0 to his name. (He was later acquitted and received an apology from the federal government.)
But he didn’t let that experience keep him from future success:

“We all stumble and fall. Maybe I’ve done it more cataclysmically than most. But you can learn so much if you open your eyes rather than blame everyone else and feel pity for yourself. You need to dust yourself off, turn around backwards, and learn what you could have done differently. When you can do that, big things can result.”

Learn how Bartmann and five other entrepreneurs turned their huge failures around on OPEN Forum.

Thanks to a shady associate, Bill Bartmann went from having a well-respected company and a net worth of $3 billion to facing felony charges with $0 to his name. (He was later acquitted and received an apology from the federal government.)

But he didn’t let that experience keep him from future success:

“We all stumble and fall. Maybe I’ve done it more cataclysmically than most. But you can learn so much if you open your eyes rather than blame everyone else and feel pity for yourself. You need to dust yourself off, turn around backwards, and learn what you could have done differently. When you can do that, big things can result.”

Learn how Bartmann and five other entrepreneurs turned their huge failures around on OPEN Forum.

Small business owners have had beef with online customer review site Yelp for years, with some saying the site filters reviews so the worst comments rise to the top. But research has found that the service has done some good in making “shop local” a lot easier for consumers:

… The revenues of Seattle restaurants between 2003 (pre-Yelp) and 2009 (post Yelp’s introduction), which found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating raised a restaurant’s revenues by 5 to 9 percent.

Read more on OPEN Forum.

Small business owners have had beef with online customer review site Yelp for years, with some saying the site filters reviews so the worst comments rise to the top. But research has found that the service has done some good in making “shop local” a lot easier for consumers:

… The revenues of Seattle restaurants between 2003 (pre-Yelp) and 2009 (post Yelp’s introduction), which found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating raised a restaurant’s revenues by 5 to 9 percent.

Read more on OPEN Forum.

Corporate retreats can be fun and a good use of money, if you do it right, OPEN Forum contributor Darren Dahl reports. Take the San Francisco-based company ZenPayroll—their 35-person team goes on a “workcation” twice a year. The team takes time for fun by incorporating hiking, cooking, dinners and wine tastings to the travel itinerary, along with working on big projects, says the company’s CEO and co-founder Joshua Reeves:

“The reason we go on a workation as a team is to give everyone a chance to collaborate in a different environment. Not only does the time away allow us to build a strong community, we also get an opportunity to work on cross-functional projects that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to complete.”

Learn about the four types of work retreats and how to incorporate them for your team on OPEN Forum.

Corporate retreats can be fun and a good use of money, if you do it right, OPEN Forum contributor Darren Dahl reports. Take the San Francisco-based company ZenPayroll—their 35-person team goes on a “workcation” twice a year. The team takes time for fun by incorporating hiking, cooking, dinners and wine tastings to the travel itinerary, along with working on big projects, says the company’s CEO and co-founder Joshua Reeves:

“The reason we go on a workation as a team is to give everyone a chance to collaborate in a different environment. Not only does the time away allow us to build a strong community, we also get an opportunity to work on cross-functional projects that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to complete.”

Learn about the four types of work retreats and how to incorporate them for your team on OPEN Forum.

Small business owners share the 6 apps they love using on the job, including ProPrompter, an ingenious teleprompter app that’s great if you’re creating scripted videos for your marketing efforts.

Work-life balance is hard for everyone to master, but perhaps much harder for business owners. For Marianne O’Connor, CEO of Sterling Communications, it took an unfortunate family emergency for her to learn how to put her personal life first:

"When you have a child who suddenly becomes very ill, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced … the sheer number of doctor appointments and emergency room visits. It was really the first time that I had to sort of reach out to my colleagues and ask them to fill in.”

O’Connor’s daughter is better now, but it made her realize she needed to take control of her schedule. She uses her weekends to spend quality time with herself and her loved ones instead of working. Learn how other entrepreneurs found work-life balance while growing their business on OPEN Forum.

Work-life balance is hard for everyone to master, but perhaps much harder for business owners. For Marianne O’Connor, CEO of Sterling Communications, it took an unfortunate family emergency for her to learn how to put her personal life first:

"When you have a child who suddenly becomes very ill, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced … the sheer number of doctor appointments and emergency room visits. It was really the first time that I had to sort of reach out to my colleagues and ask them to fill in.”

O’Connor’s daughter is better now, but it made her realize she needed to take control of her schedule. She uses her weekends to spend quality time with herself and her loved ones instead of working. Learn how other entrepreneurs found work-life balance while growing their business on OPEN Forum.

New SBA administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet just announced a change that could affect which businesses can be considered small.

New SBA administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet just announced a change that could affect which businesses can be considered small.

"Three economists went on a road trip…"

What sounds like the beginning of a joke, is actually the premise of ROADSIDE MBA: Backroad Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business OwnersIn it Michael Mazzeo, Paul Oyer and Scott Schaefer, former colleagues from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, went all around the country to find out what small businesses on Main Street could teach big businesses on Wall Street.

For 12 of the lessons they found on their travels, visit OPEN Forum.

9 Tips for Working With Bloggers

Like everything else, word-of-mouth, the way business owners traditionally get new customers, has gone digital with online reviews. Getting reviews of your products from bloggers is a great way to get word about your product out to the masses. But before you start reaching out, keep these nine things in mind:

  1. Do your homework to locate influential bloggers and reviewers in your product category.
  2. Decide on your goals for the review
  3. Provide all necessary information
  4. Be cooperative and accommodating
  5. Be generous with product samples
  6. Ensure that the product is a good match with the blog.
  7. Know that bloggers occasionally request payment in exchange for reviews.
  8. Remember to thank reviewers for their reviews.
  9. If you get a bad review, don’t defend yourself and your product.