24 Cost Effective Ways to Promote Your Small Business

 

After thinking long and hard you have decided that is time to launch your own business.  You have a great product or service, you’ve come up with a compelling business name, all the paperwork has been filed and you have picked out the perfect location (or setup a snazzy new home office).  Everything seems to be set for your new independent life as a business owner.  And then you realize that nobody except your spouse and cat knows about your new venture.   So, how do you bring your fabulous new product to your target market's attention?  One way is to use the “build it and they will come” approach.  This is usually not particularly effective (even Google, who historically launches products with little fanfare, could benefit from a little more marketing).  The other, more effective approach is to get out there and promote your business.  Of course in the initial stages, marketing budgets tend to be miniscule.  On the other hand, many new business owners have time on their hands, while they wait to be deluged by orders.  Below is a list of 25 cost effective ways to promote your small business:

Read More

Is Facebook’s Valuation Justified? A Comparison of Key Financial Metrics to Apple and Google

The recent release of Facebook's S-1, the financial filings that are required to be publicly available prior to filing an IPO, has created a media frenzy. The report has been dissected and analyzed extensively, financial news networks can’t seem to stop talking about it and it seems that people who have never heard of an IPO are discussing it, fittingly, on their Facebook pages.   The most controversial issue, of course, is whether Facebook is actually worth $100 Billion. 

Although Facebook is unique in its global reach and ubiquity, the starting point for any valuation is to compare it with similar businesses.  I have chosen Apple and Google, given the similarity of their business models and their respective global dominance, to compare certain key metrics:

Read More
Comment

The William Shatner Guide to Business Diversification

 

I recently spent “an evening with William Shatner” in Montreal , courtesy of a Groupon deal which offered tickets at less than half of the face price. Not being a trekkie or a rabid fan, I was not intimately familiar with his body of work.  I had however seen enough of him to know that he was a funny and charismatic man, so I was interested to see what an “evening” with him would entail. 

The show, which was 3 hours long (far exceeding my expectations) had the 80 year old Shatner recounting carefully selected stories about his past, while an interviewer occasionally prodded and guided him.  Mr. Shatner did not disappoint – he was self-deprecating, eloquent and entertaining.  And, while the stories were meant to reflect positively on his life, his career and choices were also indicative of an extremely ambitious individual who had spent a lifetime seizing opportunities.  The results of his attitude of saying “Yes”, which he is trying to inspire in others through his show and latest book "Shatner Rules", have contributed to a fascinating, multi-faceted career and, perhaps unexpectedly, have led to a very diverse set of properties and holdings, some of which include: 

Read More
Comment

8 Top Notch Information Resources for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, business blogger and service provider to other small business, I’m always looking for resources that will help me improve my own business, and provide insight into the latest developments, innovations, tools and guidance on financial and tax matters.  Over time, I have bookmarked a list of the resources that I visit frequently:

Read More
Comment

Daily Spiel: Starbucks Logo, Duplicate Quickbooks Invoices, Promote your Small Biz Website

It's Not About the Starbucks Logo, Stupid

It seems that this picture is worth a lot more than a thousand words.  Starbucks removes Starbucks from it's logo and makes it more minimalist thereby joining the ranks of Nike, Apple and McDonald (explainersunnecessary).  This should allow them to change direction and pursue greater expansion opportunities.

Duplicating Invoices in Quickbooks

If you've ever wondered about how to duplicate an invoice in Quickbooks either because it is similar to another invoice or you want to create a recurring invoice :

Small Business Accounting Software for Canadians

There are actually two ways to do this:

1. Select the invoice you want to duplicate and click on Edit on your menu (or right click) on the invoice and select "duplicate invoice". Voila - you have a duplicate invoice.

2. Same as above, but instead of duplicate invoice select "memorize" invoice. A dialog box will come up asking you (among other things) "how often" to which you can select the appropriate time period (in your case it would be annually). You can then choose to either remind you when the invoice comes due or QB can automatically enter the invoice.

(Answered on Quora)

How to Promote a New Small Biz Website

Some great ideas for promoting your smalll business website.  Free options include signing up for Google analytics, setting up a business blog (search engines tend to rank websites with blogs higher) as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts.  Additionally, commenting on other blogs in your niche and answering questions on Yahoo answers and I would add on Quora and Business.com are other free and effective ways to improve your website exposure and establish yourself as an authority. 

 

Why the Critics are Wrong about "The Social Network"

As someone who has been wanting to see “The Social Network”, I was sceptical that it was going to be able to live up to it’s 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – the bar seemed way too high.   Also, I wasn't convinced that Aaron Sorkin, with his rapid fire, wisecracky, yet somewhat unrealistic dialogue, was going to be able to make the movie seem natural.  On the other hand, I was encouraged by the fact that Nine Inch Nails was scoring the movie and David Fincher was directing, (Fight Club is one of my favourite book adaptations). 

The movie’s opening scene, a conversation between Zuckerberg and his girlfriend, is immediately gripping.   The dialogue is fast paced and wisecrack heavy, but it actually seems completely credible and realistic.  You get an immediate sense of what drives Zuckerberg – he wants to prove himself and be recognized - without having to resort to clumsy or ham-fisted narration.   From then on, the narrative unfolds through a  series of flashbacks invoked by questions posed in  two separate depositions.  Jesse Eisenberg’s performance is understated and nuanced. He is able to communicate a great deal without any apparent change in his facial expression.  The Winklevosses are the quintessential Harvard “crew” – handsome, fit, entitled and slightly douchey.  Their encounter with Larry Summers (who knew that  he was the Dean of Harvard) is an illuminating (although probably embellished) detail. Justin Timberlake is totally convincing as Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster, who helped Facebook get it's first round of VC funding, although he comes across as being a bit of a dick.

Read More

3 Great Resources For Your Facebook Business Page

 

Every small business should consider setting up a facebook business page.  Except for your time (which is an opportunity cost), there are no explicit costs to setting up a page, and the rewards can be significant.  Keep in mind that, after you have set up your page and have found 25 people to like it, you are entitled to a "vanity" url (mine is http://www.facebook.com/montrealfinancial) This, in addition to being kind of exciting, is akin to reserving a domain name for your business.

Below are three articles that provide essential guidance and resources to anyone looking to either setup a business page for the first time, or enhance their existing page.  It is important to note that a facebook page does require regular updates, and  interaction to act as an effective marketing tool.

 

 

Read More

Noteworthy: August27, 2010 - Email Signature, Best Investment Advice, Client Referral Incentives and Questions for Small Business

Do: company, website and business twitter account

Dont: personal details, random quote

To increase your net worth - pay off debt that carries an interest rate greater than 5%, don't be afraid to not invest in times of uncertainty and take advantage of cash discounts.

Discounts, gift certificates and a simple thank you are examples of incentives to get existing clients to provide referrals.

For maximum effectiveness of online marketing strategies, owners of small businesses should (among other things) be checking search engine placement for their business, examine their sources of revenue (are you diversified?), and use social  media to their greatest advantage.

<!--f9b09e13af514549971d9d9071be43e2-->