I Have a Small Business, Should I Advertise?

First of all, let me give you a pat on the back for taking the bold step forward. As a person who has been through it myself, I know making the decision to start your own small home-based business is not an easy one. So, congratulations, from the bottom of my heart, is in order. Take comfort in the fact that not a lot of people dare make the step and go to their graves wishing that they had taken the step…a small and seemingly insignificant one…forward.So now that you’ve given yourself a headstart or a new beginning, it’s time to get serious. How do you get business? Should you advertise? How big should your budget be? where do you start? How extensive should your online advertising strategy be? how much are you supposed to spend on advertising online? Is AdWords the only way out of the realm of invisibility…no, the right question is, is it the only door open?One word of advice, from one small business owner to another…never put all your eggs into one basket. There are lots of ways to find exposure and we should never limit ourselves to just one method. That would be like putting all your hopes into one advertising avenue and when it crashes or just doesn’t turn out the way you have hoped for it to turn out, your hopes crashes along with it.We want to prevent that and a small business, especially a start-up one, cannot survive without an emotionally trodden owner. The first thing you need to do is to adapt a BIG PICTURE mindset for your small business. As small as it is, advertising and marketing needs to be done in incorporating larger scale in order to reach maximum number of people within the shortest period of time using minimum the cost. Impossible? Think again.Now, the thing is that you can promote your small business in a big way using multiple methods of advertising and marketing. For a start, tell everyone about it. when I first started out my small writing and designing business, I printed out 500 business cards and handed 10s to people I am familiar with, 5s out to people I am QUITE familiar with and then 1 to those I’ve just met. Ask your friends and family members to keep your business card handy and hand them out to the people they meet whom they think might need the services that your small business provides.Contrary to popular beliefs, it IS POSSIBLE to advertise for free on the internet. I won’t go into that in this article since I know I can write a whole book on that one alone – but it’s possible and many people all around the world has been generating reasonable to mind-blowing traffic to their websites with proper search engine marketing, online promotion strategies, tie-ups, partnerships, affiliations, link exchange, article marketing…just to name a few. Free advertising is possible but it takes a heckuva lot of time, so you need to have the patience and diligence for that one.While advertising for free is possible, you should not rely on this method alone to get the word out because it might take YEARS! And I know you can’t sustain the cost of maintaining your small business this way, so you’ll definitely need to advertise. On whether to use a big or small budget, it all depends. I would strongly recommend jumpstarting traffic with advertising like AdWords or small, random banner advertising. But like I always say, don’t get ahead of yourself…keep to your budget and try to worm your way in to see if you can barter it in for something worth your time.Another popular method of getting the word out for small business owners is to populate the internet with links into their website via a network of people. Facebook is mighty popular these days and although I don’t know how long the fad is going to last, it’s worth a look. Article marketing is another fantastically effective (but time consuming) method of getting links into your website. Last but not least, you can always spend a small amount of money printing out brochures or small flyers, stand on the road side and hand them out to passer-bys.I have a friend who owned a small boutique and online business. With a tiny budget, she spent approximately USD$150 a month printing cute little bookmarks and handed them out randomly to people in shopping malls. She had the guts, determination and ‘desperation’ to just walk up to someone and introduce herself this way. “Hi, you don’t know me but my name is Lilian. I have a small boutique down the road and I would like to give you this little bookmark. The website address is here and there’s my phone number of it. Have fun shopping. Bye”. And she’d just walk off.Today, Lilian owns four boutiques in strategic locations and earning a handsome income from them. All because she started small and dared to just do it. (Pssstt! I have a feeling she’s earning even more than me now but…let’s just keep it between you and me.)

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How To Find and Size Up Good Businesses for Sale

Purchasing existing businesses for sale from someone who is looking to cash out of their business or retire is a great way to become an entrepreneur! You buy an already-proven and profitable business, and then use your skills and acumen to grow it further. However, finding owners who want to sell is not always easy. Consider this your guide for finding and sizing up good businesses to buy.Business Opportunities Rarely AdvertisedMost business sales are rarely known, largely because companies do not want the word getting around to their employees and customers, who might panic about the change. Instead, most business owners looking to sell are left with no choice but to wait patiently for a quality buyer, or use a broker to market their deals.Call-Mail-CallOften small business lawyers may know of a client who wishes to sell, however, it is typically best to focus on a particular industry and just contact owners directly. To do this, simply start calling business owners in your target industry, and ask if they know somebody who might be interested in selling their business. Often it helps to not expect an immediate answer, but instead give them some time to think about it.Instead, follow up after a week or two by mailing your business card along with an inquiry letter. Lastly, call again to see if they have any ideas. This strategy communicates the fact that you are a serious buyer. Even if the owners you speak to are not willing to sell, they usually know someone who is.Trade NewslettersIf the above strategy is not your cup of tea, or does not bring you quality leads, another thing you might try our trade newsletters or industry magazines. Often these will have classified ads for business owners in the industry looking to exit. These can be a great way to help you build leads in a particular industry.Business MagazinesBusiness publications, both those dealing with a particular region and particular industries, also have listings or even write ups of business owners who may be reaching retirement age. Many business owners in this stage of life want to retire, yet are unable to because they do not know what they will do with their business. You could be just the answer, by giving them a way to keep their legacy alive, but leave more time for golf and grandkids.Build Your TeamFinally, one of the best ways to both find deals and evaluate opportunities, is to surround yourself with a network of business professionals who can provide resources or advice. These should be investment bankers, lenders, business brokers, and venture capitalists. This way, not only will you be guaranteed to find a business to buy, but you will have a team of advisors in your pocket who can help guide the way.

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Importance of Online Reviews For Automotive Dealership Sales

Online reviews on automotive dealer’s website are valued features and play a key role in influencing the customer’s automotive buying decision. Online reviews are sought after by customers using Internet at every stage of car buying process, as they offer existing customer experiences on vehicle models, services, policies etc of particular automotive dealers. It is important to include online reviews and testimonials in dealer websites as they help in retaining the existing customers and builds initial trust among potential customers. It helps to increase sales as prospective customers prefer to deal with dealers they can trust.Positive Impacts:
Online reviews positively impact the dealership sales by increasing the confidence among both existing and potential customers.Credibility
Potential customers perceive online reviews as authentic, genuine opinions from other customers and feel that they are receiving accurate information. They provide an effective way for dealers to communicate with customers. A good number of positive reviews on dealer website mentioning satisfactory experiences of customers are likely to instill confidence among potential customers. The potential customer can feel more comfortable and satisfied when reading a comprehensive evaluation of the dealer from a large number of customers. Even, the way dealers handle negative reviews by customers by quickly and efficiently resolving problems increases the trustworthiness of the dealers. It is likely that such unhappy customers will revert back to the same dealer.Included In Consideration Set
The customers usually have a pre-defined set of vehicles that they prefer to buy. The automotive dealers in order to increase their sales needs to persuade the customers to alter their consideration set. The customer generated content like vehicle ratings and reviews, consumer ratings and reviews, dealer ratings and reviews can be effectively used by automotive dealers to alter the consideration set of these automotive internet users. The information given through dealer ratings and reviews can effectively target the new-vehicle buying customer segment. The reviews enhance dealer consideration among customers as both positive and negative reviews increases awareness level of the particular dealer. Also, positive reviews improve the attitude of customers towards dealers. Thus, expanding the consideration set helps to increase automotive dealership sales.Reassurance
The online reviews and testimonials at automotive dealer website provide reassurance to the new customers that the dealer stands for professionalism, quality, credibility, and security. Reviews by previous customers reassure the potential customers that it is safe to deal with this dealer and there is commitment to customer’s privacy. Providing reviews on dealership website also increases conversion rates as it increases trust and confidence among first time visitors. Thus, existing and new customers will confide upon the dealership that helps to increase sales.Negative Impacts If Not Monitored:
The negative online reviews can have impact on the attitude of customers towards automotive dealers.Left Out From Consideration Set
Online reviews influence the purchasing decisions of automotive internet users. Also, they are checked while researching for a particular car on the Internet. Thus, ignoring or not monitoring the online reviews means failing to effectively target the large segment of automotive internet users and getting left out from user’s consideration. Poor online reviews and testimonials can fail to persuade, build confidence and trust among first time visitors and lose out on important prospective customers.Needs More Time To Convince The Buyer
Online reviews and testimonials indicate the satisfaction of other customers due to better services and quality offered by dealer. Potential customers reading improperly monitored reviews are likely to view the dealer as less reliable and not trustable. Thus, the dealers may have to put in more efforts and time to convince the customers.As online reviews are like online conversations between customers, automotive dealers need to actively get involved in them that can result in sales growth. The automotive dealers can leverage online reviews and testimonials by existing customers to generate new customers by efficiently targeting them at each step of car buying process.

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