If you have a small business, you know that consumers are guarding their spending now more than ever. In order to compete, and sometimes even to stay in business, small businesses need to offer more than their competition. Consumers are forgoing personal services such as haircare, massage, even extracurricular activities for their children because they simply have less dollars to spend on non-essentials. Consider making a space in your business to accomodate and entertain smaller children, enabling families to skip the cost of childcare when they visit your place of business. Clear out a corner, put down some washable carpet squares and a safety gate. Add some safe toys, a dvd player, some video games and you have instantly added value to your business.
Businesses for mothers
By Lori Bratz
Everyone excels at something that could be turned into a business offering; especially mothers. Mothers have to be hard-working, organized, patient, adept at settling disputes, and able to multi task, sometimes under a good deal of pressure. Perfect qualifications for a CEO! If you’re like most people, you have dreamed of owning your own business. The good news is that your dream is certainly within reach.
The main rule of thumb? Do everything legally. If you’re seriously planning to start a business, get online and find your state state department of licensing web site. www.sba.gov/hotlist/license.html.
Get a license to do business. It only costs a few dollars to get licensed.
Pay your taxes. If your business is doing so well that you have huge income tax, then congratulations! You’re a success!
Here’s a list of several business ideas that you can do from home. You can probably add more great ideas to the list if you’re willing to put in some time and creative thinking!
Adult Day Care Provider
Aquarium Cleaning Service
Baking (cookies, muffins, etc)
Bed & Breakfast
Cook (preparing meals for families or businesses)
Flower Designing (silk)
Gift Basket Service
Home Health Care
Knitting and Knitting Instruction
Personal Fitness Trainer
Vending Machine Route
About this site: LivingLiteNow.com is an established website that I have been working on for several years that has achieved top organic search engine placement. The clients wanted a more modern look and feel.
Development tool: Custom site built with CSS and HTML
Result: Site is aesthetically pleasing, modern, is a completely scalable website that is SEO-effective and is still at the top of the search engines.
I met Lori Bratz about 10 years ago at a Google workshop. She was the BEST thing I got from that class. Lori has been my webmaster since that day. She is a joy to work with, kicking ideas around and coming up with terrific results. She does the work faster than anyone I’ve ever worked with (I’ve had a website since 1994 and a LOT of webmasters) and she keeps my site updated beautifully. I’m on Page 1 of Google for “hypnosis weight loss” in no small measure due to Lori.
Lori is really, really smart and very funny; two qualities I need in people I work with—AND she answers her phone. If you’re looking for a quality website, professionally designed and problem-free, you need Lori Bratz.
Author, therapist and CEO of the Living Lite Weight Loss program, Katie Evans
Business owners are known for 2 qualities: #1. Tenacity and #2. A big ego! Let’s face it, if you own your own business, you are probaby a confident, success-driven individual who is willing to take chances. And while those qualities certainly contribute to your success, business owners must be careful to NOT let that ego get in the way of common sense when it comes to their business website. Time and again, I see a perfectly sound business struggle to find customers because they insist on using their name as a domain name! Ego, ego, ego.
Thing one: No one is searching for YOUR NAME to find a product or service. Unless someone has already recommended YOU (in which case you don’t need to spend money advertising to find me), I’m not searching for Joe Smith.
Thing two: Exception, if you are famous (Kristen Stewart), or if you are a busy as you want to be and don’t struggle to find customers (LoriBratz.com), OR if your name is Donald Widget, and I’m shopping for Widgets, then you’re all set. Otherwise, you need to set your ego aside and choose a smarter domain name.
By the way, if you MUST satisfy your urge to have a self-named website, you should know that you can have more than ONE domain name for the same site. SO, you could be JoeSmithRules.com and also SeattleChiropractor.com.
Make sense? If I needed a chiropractor, I might search for these keywords: Seattle chiropractic care, Seattle holistic chiropractor, Seattle chiropractor, Eastside back relief, sciatica pain relief Seattle , back adjustment Seattle , licensed chiropractor Seattle …
What do you think people would search for to find you?
Here is an article written by Janice Jenkins that explains the importance of a beautiful, professionally designed brochure that matches your company brand (website, business cards, postcards, flyers, newsletters, etc.).
Are your brochures helping your business or do they only hurt you further? How good is your brochure printing? Do you often apologize for your marketing collaterals because you feel they just do not make the cut?
If you are often unhappy with your print brochures every time you send them out to your target clients, then you need to re-evaluate yourself and your collaterals – whether you still want to pay for mediocre marketing collaterals that just do not achieve what you expect them to accomplish.
As one expert marketer used to say, owning a wrench does not make one a qualified mechanic. Just as a desktop publishing application does not make for an effective brochure with great copywriting and design template. A little thought and careful planning are in order. When you plan your brochure printing right, it can go a long way in creating marketing collaterals that not only incorporate the brand identity you want, they can also provide you with the means for your target clients to respond to you positively.
So why do you need a good brochure? First of all, a brochure is as important as your business cards. But more than introducing yourself to your target clients, your print brochures actually do more – they introduce your entire company to your target clients. Each of your brochure prints is an executive summary that gives your target clients an idea of what you do and what you can offer. Thus, your brochure is one of the more important marketing tools as you are afforded the means to do a little bragging without having to be embarrassed doing it.
Your brochure just gives you a way to create a lasting impression by putting your best foot forward in the most favorable manner.
Second, a good brochure is important because it affords you to get the success you want. It allows you to accomplish what you have set out to do in the first place – that is, to be able to grow and be successful in your industry. Hence, your brochure must be able to effectively communicate what is essentially your business. This means having to convey in the briefest and most concise way possible all about your business, your products and services. Your marketing tool must be able to reach out and move your target clients who know nothing of who you are and what you can do in the first place.
A good brochure is also important to have because it is necessary to leave a good impression to your target clients. People generally expect a professional and reliable company to have print brochures in their marketing arsenal. And it goes without saying that a professional and credible company would also have equally great and solid products and services as offerings. A good quality and professional brochure can help you build trust and reliance among your target clients which can make them want to learn more about you and your business.
Finally, a good brochure is important because it lets you introduce yourself and your company to your target clients that they get to have something concrete to make them feel who you are and what you can do. Thus, your quality brochure printing should be able to become both an opportunity to open doors for you, as well as become reminders afterwards for target clients to refer to in the future.
So here is the final question: does your brochure printing do all these? If not, then it is high time for you to scrap the brochure template you have been using and get a new one to fully describe the best that you can do for your target clients – so much so that they do not hesitate to act on your call every time they read your brochure.
The secret of website optimization is that there is no magic involved at all. Forget about tricking the search engines and work on defining your business correctly by logical, descriptive keywords.
Combating common website optimization mistakes:
List Spamming: Some “Website Specialists” believe that the best way to get “juice” is to spam list services like Craigslist. Posting to public forums every day only serves to annoy the community and will guarantee that you are flagged and removed and possibly even banned from the service.
Instead: Post to lists no more than every three days and delete your old listing. Exercise common courtesy.
Posting junk: Never try to “trick” your audience into clicking your links. That just costs you time and bandwidth. Driving unqualified traffic to your website is about as useless as inviting triangles to a circle convention.
Instead: Be as clear and descriptive as you can, and post only where you believe your target audience to be.
Using useless adjectives in meta tags: This is a common mistake made by the best of writers. Adjectives, or words that describe other words like, “Best, brightest and premiere” are not effective for meta tags because people who are looking for you are not searching for those words.
Instead: Use simple noun combinations that describe your business or service and physical location; Seattle Catering, Puyallup Flat Roof Replacement, Capital Hill Document Storage.
Be sincere in your aim to give the most comprehensive description of exactly what your business does so that people who are looking for you can find you as quickly as possible. Thoughtful logic will tell you exactly how to optimize your website.
The most frequently asked question I get is, “How can I do this myself?” Let’s first establish that building your own website is like installing your own fence instead of paying a contractor. It’s not going to look professionally done. It won’t be very hardy and you should expect it to break down more quickly than it would if you had invested in a pro. That said, you CAN do it. And, like building your own fence, you will be required to learn how to use the tools. You can’t just go toss some lumber and some nails on the ground and walk away. You have to actually build a framework. What is the main thing you want your website visitors to do? Buy a widget? Buy your service? That is your Call to Action. Make sure visitors know exactly what you want them to do when they arrive at your site. Create a clear Call To Action and put it in the body of your page.
Other pages might include About Us, Testimonials, Other products for sale, etc. So, go sketch out a plan for your site, keeping in mind your Call To Action!
Every once in awhile I get a frantic call from someone who can’t see their web changes because they are looking at a stored version of a website. One solution is to install a “no cache” meta tag in the header of the site. It looks like this:
meta http-equiv=”Expires” content=”0″ /
meta http-equiv=”PRAGMA” content=”NO-CACHE” /
Certainly you should encourage your clients to do some basic browser maintenance. I found this helpful step-by-step resource for helping non-technical people manage their PC housekeeping, written by the I.T. department at the University of Indiana.
“Each time you access a file through your web browser, the browser caches (stores) it. In this way, the files (including any images on the page) do not have to be retrieved anew from the remote web site each time you click the Back or Forward buttons. You should periodically clear the cache to allow your browser to function more efficiently. http://kb.iu.edu/data/ahic.html“