Posts tagged small business

Predictions are already in for the 2014 holiday season, and retailers may have something to be jolly about this year.

AlixPartners, a consulting firm, predicts that 2014 holiday retail sales will rise 4.1-4.9 percent, according to ABC News. E-commerce platform Volusion predicts that small and mid-sized businesses could see their online holiday sales rise 9 percent year-over-year in 2014.

Read on for more holiday shopping season news on OPEN Forum.

Predictions are already in for the 2014 holiday season, and retailers may have something to be jolly about this year.

AlixPartners, a consulting firm, predicts that 2014 holiday retail sales will rise 4.1-4.9 percent, according to ABC News. E-commerce platform Volusion predicts that small and mid-sized businesses could see their online holiday sales rise 9 percent year-over-year in 2014.

Read on for more holiday shopping season news on OPEN Forum.

This Is Why All TED Talks Are 18 Minutes

"[That’s] long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention," TED curator Chris Anderson said in an interview with Carmine Gallo, author of Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. “By forcing speakers who are used to going on for 45 minutes to bring it down to 18, you get them to really think about what they want to say. What is the key point they want to communicate? It has a clarifying effect. It brings discipline.”

Read on to learn ways to make your presentations more engaging on OPEN Forum.

Flickr user: TEDx Somerville

10 Rookie Mistakes Startups Make When Building Web Traffic

1. Relying on search engine submission services

2. Not having a blog (or equally bad, an off-topic blog)

3. Not using catchy headlines or images

4. Not participating on other established sites

5. Not seeking publicity

6. Not communicating with your email list

7. Not advertising

8. Not paying attention to local listings

9. Not analyzing your traffic to see what works and what doesn’t

10. Not writing a marketing plan for your website.

Read on for how to fix these common mistakes business owners make in their rush to boost website traffic.

Never Hire the Wrong Production Company Again

More and more businesses are using video to stand out in an era where consumers need more than just snappy copy to engage with companies. Video done right can lead to viral successes like HelloFlo. And video done wrong… well, that will never happen if you hire the right production company!

Some advice when you’re trying to find the right team to bring your video dreams into a reality:

Cheap video comes at a premium.Be wary when a production company offers its services at a rate that seems too good to be true—the production team may just shoot from the back of the room on a tripod and call it a day. But it’s more expensive to do it wrong the first time and have to redo it. So find out what’s included in the total package: Are edits included? What about music licensing? Or travel expenses? Watch out for those additional costs that can be thrown in at the end and bust your budget.

Read on for eight more tips for hiring a video production company that delivers.

After 40 years in business on a historic shopping street, this antique store is going online to beat Brooklyn, New York’s rising rents and to give the owner a well-deserved rest.

What School Fundraisers Can Teach You About Business

Fun fact: School fundraisers are a $1.4 billion industry. (We know, we’re as surprised as you are.) 

So it stands to reason that school fundraisers—a business model in its own way—can be a good resource for business owners who have sales goals they want to hit, writes OPEN Forum contributor Geoff Williams. There are indeed a few lessons you can pick up from studying school fundraisers’ success:

1. Set a goal. “School fundraisers don’t usually last long,” Williams writes. “While you can’t restrict your sales period to several weeks, you can set short-term goals, which are likely to get you where you want to be faster than an open-ended mission.”

Read on for three more things you can learn from school fundraisers.

How Apple Watch Can Shake Up Your Business

Always a game changer, Apple’s latest announcement was an opportunity for the brand to not only unveil the newest iteration of the iPhone, but to officially throw its hat in the smartwatch ring. Apple Watch, expected to drop in 2015, will have a major impact on fitness tracking, the watch industry and small-business marketing:

…If you’re doing any sort of email marketing, email subject lines are going to be more important than ever. With room for about four to five words on the screen, you need to make sure you use those first words the best way you know how—or risk losing users, quick.

Read on for how Apple’s two other major announcements—Apple Pay and iPhone 6 and 6 Plus—will change your business.

What will the sharing economy—think Airbnb, Lyft, Uber and other companies that make it peer-to-peer sharing easy—look like in five years? OPEN Forum asked the experts, and they gave us their best guesses. 

Read more on OPEN Forum’s “Sharing Economy 2.0: Sharing a Peek at the Next Generation

Airbnb photo from Flickr user: Jay Galvin

What You Need to Know to Deliver a Great Speech

1. Deliver a performance, rather than a speech. Think beyond the words you’ll be saying to use performance tools such as inflection, gesture, tension, resolution and suspense.

2. Use the power of eye contact. ”Bill Clinton was a master of eye contact—watch any of his speeches, and you’ll see the master at work,” writes OPEN Forum contributor Mike Michalowicz.

3. Don’t hide behind the lectern. It’s a crutch, Michalowicz says. Moving around will keep your audience engaged, and will make you appear more accessible and open.

Read on for four more tips for effective public speaking.

Olive Garden Takes Customer Loyalty Programs to the Next Level

Buffets and all-you-can-eat specials have been a promotional standby for restaurants since time immemorial. But Italian food restaurant chain Olive Garden managed to bring a new spin to the business strategy:

Olive Garden introduced a new Never Ending Pasta Pass that, for $100 a pop, allows customers to eat all of the pasta, salad, bread and soft drinks that they can for the next seven weeks. … the chain will sell 1,000 of these passes on its web site. The special promotion is tied to Olive Garden’s annual “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” promo, which lets folks eat all the pasta they want in one sitting for $9.99 and runs from September 22 to November 9.

Read on to learn what this means for customer loyalty programs and small businesses.