Small Business and Crowdfunding

Small Business and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can be a powerful fundraising tool for personal projects, startups and small businesses who need some financing help. It allows people to seek funds online as a loan for their company that they will pay back with interest over time. People may choose to invest in certain crowdfunds to make a profit while supporting a small business.

One of the reasons businesses choose crowdfunding as a way to obtain loans is that they are often more flexible than bank loans. Getting a loan from a bank can be more complex with a long application process and stricter rules about what the funds can be used for. With crowdfunding it can be easier to apply depending on the website used and businesses have more freedom with their funds.

There are two main types of crowdfunding known as reward crowdfunding and equity crowdfunding. Reward crowdfunding is a way to provide incentives for people to donate their money online such as VIP access, discounts, new versions of products or other rewards. Equity crowdfunding allows investors to provide money in exchange for shares in the company.

The most popular websites used for crowdfunding include Kickstarter which was one of the first reward crowdfunding platforms and is a great option for funding creative projects like films, video games or recording. Another commonly used crowdfunding site is GoFundMe which is one of the largest fundraising platforms with a community of over 50 million donors. These kinds of sites tend to charge processing fees and 5 percent of all funds raised to use their platform.

If you are considering using a crowdfunding platform for your small business it is important to keep in mind that you will need to a marketing plan in place in order to achieve your goal. Overall, crowdfunding can be a useful choice for businesses who need new resources for financial support.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Alexa, Grow My Business Online

Alexa, Grow My Business Online

The voice-activated digital assistant created by Amazon known as Alexa, has powerful potential not only to make the average person’s life easier but to help businesses in a number of ways. The growing popularity of Alexa is changing the way that people receive their information which can have a great impact on businesses. Using Alexa can streamline your business processes and also make it possible for you to connect and interact with customers on a deeper level.

Alexa has a number of features that can help businesses become more organized, speed up simple tasks and collaborate on marketing campaigns. Tools like Alexa’s email assistant and scheduling assistant can help make email marketing and other campaigns more streamlined. They allow you to connect with email accounts, search for data, coordinate meetings and schedule events so that everyone in your company can be on the same page for a campaign.

The voice assistant also has some features that make it possible for small businesses to connect with customers when they search for specific information. For example Alexa now has a feature called “skills recommendations” that provides users with information to help them accomplish a skill. Businesses can show up in the results for these inquiries as an option to help with their question.

Now Alexa also includes notifications which can offer a way for businesses to interact with customers by giving them updates even when they aren’t searching for something. Businesses can utilize these features in order to provide customers with valuable information that could potentially lead to more engagement and purchases. When customers find you through Alexa you can develop a more personalized interaction with them through the voice system.

Digital assistants like Alexa ultimately can be useful both as a business tool and an opportunity to advertise online and reach a new audience.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

The Netflix Digital Marketing Midas Touch

The Netflix Digital Marketing Midas Touch

Netflix has become a staple of entertainment in people’s homes and this is partially due to their smart advertising campaigns that get people interested in their content.

Netflix subscriptions have increased from 30 million  in 2012 to 120 million today and the number is expected to keep rising. People love Netflix because of the content but also because the product is personalized to give users what they want.

Netflix focuses much more on content personalization than other entertainment companies by using proprietary algorithms to predict what kind of content users will be likely to watch and hiding everything else. Although Netflix has spent a lot of money and time investing in engineers to create these algorithms other companies can still benefit from focusing on personalization.

Using tools that help personalize websites based on what users have visited in the past can be an effective technique in creating a more personal experience like Netflix.

Another technique that Netflix has proven to be very successful with is their email marketing campaign. Netflix emails contain branded content, moving images and GIFs to catch user attention and get them interested in watching new shows or movies as they are uploaded to the site. Their simple email designs incorporate themes from the show and are still easy to read for people who to tend to skim emails.

In looking at Netflix’s digital marketing approach, making things simple yet highly personalized tends to work best in reaching a bigger audience. People want things to be easy and to be uniquely catered toward them and their personal interests. Personalization helps anticipate users needs and wants, which will make them more likely to become a loyal customer.

Personalized content and simple advertising campaigns like email marketing can go a long way to appealing to more people overall.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Working for Clients vs Collaborating with Clients

Working for Clients vs Collaborating with Clients

When you provide a service your clients expect you to work closely for them in order to achieve their goals. Retaining clients means not just working for them but listening to their needs and feedback so that you can collaborate on a project that will be satisfactory to them. Client collaboration can be the main factor that determines whether someone will want to work with you again.

Collaborating with clients means keeping the lines of communication open and encouraging them to bring their own ideas to the table. Instead of maintaining complete control over how a project is completed, you can be flexible and incorporate their suggestions throughout the process of working with them. Clients will appreciate the fact that you continually look for your input instead of retreating to work on a project and providing occasional updates.

When you work closely with clients there are a number of mutual advantages that make the whole process easier. You can make decisions faster, get an early opinion before spending too much time on an idea, avoid misunderstandings or miscommunication while creating a much clearer dialogue. Clients will also have a greater sense of ownership when the project is complete which will make them feel good about working with you.

Ultimately, collaborating with clients helps build trust with them so that they know you have their best interests in mind. The relationship can move beyond simply fulfilling a contract and become a long term partnership. They might keep you in mind for future projects or recommend you to others because of your personal touch.

Collaborating allows both parties to learn from each other and create something that they know will be effective. The more you allow your client to be involved in what you do the better the outcome will be for everyone involved.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Should My Company Take a Political Stand?

Should My Company Take a Political Stand?

We live in complex times politically and the country is strongly divided on more issues every day. Companies may feel inclined to weigh in on their beliefs about the current political situation but aren’t sure how it will affect their business. While expressing positive company values can be important, it is sometimes best to tread lightly when it comes to taking a political stance.

Consumers are more interested now than ever in hearing a company’s political views but in certain cases it could lead to alienating or angering some audiences. Customers may respond positively to a political stance in some instances but there are also dangers that businesses need to be aware of. People believe that businesses should take action so taking a political stance could generate a lot of interest in your company.

Bigger corporations tend stay on the fence politically but smaller businesses can actually generate more awareness of their brand by being political. One thing to consider however is that taking one side of a debate is likely to cut down your potential audience by a certain amount. Not everyone is going to agree with your political stance and they may avoid buying from you if they are offended by your beliefs or actions.

Remember that one in five consumers have boycotted a brand because of a scandal or negative press. You also need to think about what stakeholders or investors might think of your political stance and how they will react. If people are not already aware of your political beliefs it could have a huge impact on your business’s success.

Taking a political stand can be a risky move and may work for some businesses more than others. In the end you need to weigh the potential costs and benefits to see if it is the right decision.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Yes Huge Brands are Using Tumblr and You Should Too

using tumblr brands for tumblr marketing

Tumblr marketing & tumblr brands – Most businesses marketing online focus on the traditional types of social media that everyone is expected to spend a lot of time on such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Now big brands are branching out to different platforms that can be equally effective such Tumblr. Even major businesses and corporations are incorporating Tumblr into their marketing and they are getting surprisingly great results.

Don’t Know About Tumblr Brands?

 

For those not familiar with Tumblr, it is a social blogging and sharing platform that is growing rapidly with some of the wealthiest user groups. Although fewer people use Tumblr than platforms like Facebook they do tend to spend more time consuming and sharing content on it. Tumblr users also fall into the very desirable demographic of millennials between the ages of 16-34.

Why Huge Brands Are Active On Tumblr Marketing?

 

Major brands like IBM, Glamour, Keds, Vans and even Coca-Cola have their own Tumblr sites where they share and interact with consumers. They can push new products, post content linking back to their site and reach people through interesting visual posts. One thing to keep in mind about Tumblr is that it is important to find out if your target demographic hangs out there because it is more useful for specific groups.

Why Tumblr Is Beneficial  For You?

 

Tumblr is beneficial to brands because it is an extremely visual platform and allows them to tailor their content to their audience. Bigger brands tend to use Tumblr to spread information and awareness but not oversell to their target audience. Tumblr offers the use of tagging and labeling to make content searchable and more easy to find online.

Although Tumblr may not be as popular a social media platform as Facebook or Instagram, it can be a useful addition to any advertising campaign. If your target audience hangs out on Tumblr then it can be a big boost to your business.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

When to Outsource Your In House Marketing

When to Outsource Your In House Marketing

As a business owner there are different options for how to approach your marketing strategies based on what will be more effective for your company. At some point you may have to decide between creating an in house marketing team or hiring an external marketing provider. Digital marketing can be crucial so making the right choice can strongly influence the success of your business online.

There are many different things to consider when you are deciding whether or not to outsource your marketing campaigns. Analyzing your business’s current needs and plans can help you get a better perspective on when you should choose to outsource. Looking at the pros and cons of outsourcing can also be a good way to make a decision either way.

There are many advantages to having an in house marketing team but if you are a smaller company and don’t have the resources to run your own digital marketing strategy then outsourcing might be the better option. An established marketing provider has more experience working with a business like yours and will understand how to approach your digital campaigns.

A new startup business that has no experience with marketing will need to outsource so that they can get started and not spend too much time or money on figuring out a strategy that will work. A marketing provider can get more immediate results and get your digital marketing plan up and running quickly. The main thing to consider if you are planning to outsource is to find a marketing company that fits within your budget and will not charge more than your business can afford.

Outsourcing can be a great option for smaller companies that need help with their marketing or any business that wants someone with more experience and expertise to handle their ad campaigns.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Should I Diversify My Clientele or Stay Niche?

Should I Diversify My Clientele or Stay Niche?

There are a lot of pros and cons to remaining a niche company or deciding to branch out and reach a broader audience. Some businesses find that their niche works perfectly for them and helps them stay true to their brand. They do one thing well and can focus on that rather than trying something new that could potentially fail or alienate their audience.

However, some companies might be more interested in converting new clients and feel too limited by having only a niche audience. A niche business can have steady and reliable income but a business that wants to expand will find that being too focused can hold them back. One of the dangers of being niche can also be that people lose interest in your products over time and by not diversifying you are leaving yourself more vulnerable to the shifting market.

Diversifying can take time but it can open up new possibilities for businesses that want grow and stay relevant. However, if you become too unfocused and stray too far from your core product you might begin to lose your existing audience. The best solution is to remain focused but innovative enough that you aren’t limited by your niche.

Every business should try to improve on what they do best instead of staying static and continuing to create the same product. You should make plans to diversify in order to meet new technology, marketing shifts and other changes so that you aren’t left behind by being too limited. Businesses don’t necessarily need to be a jack of all trades to diversify but simply need to continue keeping their products fresh and interesting.

There are benefits to both staying niche and diversifying but finding a balance between the two can often be the best answer to maintain an interested audience.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Busting the Myth of New Business Failures

Many people from all over the world are afraid of starting up their business ventures because of the myth that most startups do not last beyond a year. This has sadly made people give up on their dream starting a new business for fear of the unexpected and likely failure.

However, this myth is completely misleading, and the opposite is actually the truth! The majority, almost 80%, of all startups thrive for one year and beyond according to the most recent statistics from the SBA Small Business Administration.

Recent research from the small business advocate office of the SBA proves that over 75% of startups succeed in their first year of operation.

 

New Business Failure Percentage Rates – SBA Statistics - An Infographic from Best 4 Businesses.com

Embedded from Best 4 Businesses.com

Small businesses and startups are the backbones of every country’s economic progress. They are a major source of employment since that often employ locally. This simultaneously helps the people’s living standards while driving up the country’s economy.

During the recession for example, when many big businesses faltered, most small businesses withstood the recession and kept going strong. In the process, they helped their many employees weather the economic storms successfully.

Facts about Small Business in America

    • There are over 29 million small businesses in the USA alone. Out of these, about 23 million had no employees while another 5 million had employees. The number of large business is much less than the small businesses.
    • Over 99% of all firms in the USA are small businesses with the same percentage of paid employees.
    • Small businesses account for 62% of new job creations in the first quarter of every year.
    • About 4000,000 small businesses start every year, but only about 50% survive the first five years.

Why Small Businesses and Startups Fail

Though not all new businesses survive after the first five years, those that do, stabilize after being in business for a few years. A third of all startups survive beyond 10 years.

It is important to note that majority of those businesses that close their doors do not do so because they failed. Some opt to sell off their businesses while other people choose to retire and pursue other channels. So let’s explore the reasons why new businesses fail so you can prosper instead.

Failure to focus on the expectations

One of the reasons for business failures is due to lack of focus on long-term results. When any company fails to define its expectations, they are bound to fail.

Somewhere along the line, priorities change, which creates confusion and this, can lead to negative consequences.

If you start a business and define what you want to achieve in terms of revenue, cash flow, and customer retention, then there is no reason to fail. Be very clear to everyone in the company what you expect as the result. In this way, everyone will work towards achieving that goal.

Failure to invest time in employees

While most people think that marketing strategies are the ones that bring in the largest returns on investment in most businesses, it is not always the case. The people that you employ in your startup are the most crucial part of your growth. They are the body of your business, and in order to get the results you need, you have to train and treat them well.

Focus on their needs and they will focus on making your business thrive by attending to your customers better and since they will care more about your business and your company.

Sharpen their skills by offering training and reward them with benefits and promotions for work well done. A happy employee is a great investment. A discontented employee may contribute to your business failure.

Failure to listen to feedback

Some employers are so overly confident that they dismiss every information given to them about their businesses by employers, customers, and experts. Failure to listen to what people say about your business is a sure way of failing.

If you are the owner of a business and take it upon yourself to run all the affairs, it will wear you down and leave you frustrated. Eventually, you may think that you are running the business all alone without any input from anyone. The truth, on the other hand, is you do not let anyone in – to your personal and professional detriment.

Occasionally, ask your employees, partners and even clients what they think you should change. They will probably ask you to delegate some duties and work as a team instead of taking everything head on alone. If you listen and follow the feedback, the positive results will surprise you. Appreciating those that you work with and listening to what they have to say will make your business prosper beyond the one-year myth of failure.

Failure to choose the right location

If you want to beat the myth of your business failure beyond the first year, then be very careful about the location you choose. Choose a location that best suits your business or service that you are offering.

If for example, you are running a café, do not choose an area with low traffic. You need a place with heavy traffic where you are sure that you will have people coming in for meals at all times. If you run a courier service, do not choose a place where it is hard for clients to reach you with their deliveries. Choosing the most convenient places will ensure a consistent flow of traffic, and this should keep you in business for longer.

Failure to advertise

While many businesses flourish because of hard work, commitment, experience and sometimes luck, it is also good to give your business a push by advertising and marketing your products. Many startups may lack traffic because not many people know what they are offering. You can change this by advertising widely either online or on social media or by using banners and other means of advertisement. This way you know that you will attract paying customers and sell products that people are willing to pay for. Make your products stand out during your marketing campaigns and show reason why you are better than the next company is.

Failure to learn management skills

Good management is the backbone of success in a business. If you do not have good managerial or entrepreneurial skills, learn in order to save your business.

It is scary to start a new business. However, if you strive to work hard on your investment and ignore the myths, then there is no reason why you should not go beyond one year successfully.

Get rid of any bad habits and follow these failure-proof guidelines. You have to remember that without small businesses, the economy would not be what it is today.

Test the waters first before you jump into opening your business. Carry out enough research and know everything you need to know about the kind of products and services you want to sell.

You alone can prove the myth wrong. Good luck entrepreneurs.

About the Author:

Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your business.

https://twitter.com/best4businesses

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.