The Elite 8 of Small Business Podcasts

As a professional, continuing to develop yourself is critical to success. We attend conferences to listen to expert speakers; read articles and pour over case studies; and follow the advice influencers share in books and online.

One of the most efficient tools in our arsenal of growing our knowledge is podcasting. Many of experienced thought leaders we learn from share their tips, strategy, and advice through podcasts. It’s an extremely effective tool to reach millions of listeners quickly and efficiently. Unless working with a media outlet, podcasters typically have full control over the branding and content shared in their podcast – allowing them to be their most authentic selves.

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Reaching Online Shoppers to Grow Your Brick-and-Mortar Store

Having a successful brick-and-mortar store is a proud accomplishment, but if holiday sales were slow for your business, your goals for 2017 might include ways to improve or expand. One possible strategy is online retailing. According to retail research firm Conlumino, in 2016, “online sellers dominated with a 17.1 percent increase in sales, while stores saw a 2.6 percent increase,” (NFIB). Foot traffic declined 3.9 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, signaling less people walking into stores but increasing the amount of their purchases.

How will your physical store keep up the pace with online retailers this year? By joining them! Reaching online shoppers does not mean your brick and mortar store will go by the wayside; it simply means you’re increasing your stores reach to a wider consumer base.

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Brands, Handle Negative Criticism on Social Media Like a Champ

negativecriticismSocial media is a wonderful tool to connect with loyal fans and potential customers directly and organically. It’s also a perfect opportunity for consumers to air their grievances, in both positive and negative ways. When the latter happens, it’s important for brands to have a plan in place to separate the trolls from the real-life consumer issues, and standard operating procedure to act upon in each situation.

When brands receive negative criticism, they have a few options to deal with it:

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Setting Yourself Up for Success: 5 Professional Resolutions for 2016

smbresolutionsIf you’re like me, this time of year is very nostalgic, brought on by remembering all the things 2015 has brought forward. For some, 2015 was a smashing success, while others suffered humorous gaffes and complete embarrassment on national television (here’s looking at you, Steve Harvey).

Whether 2015 was a boom or a bust, now is the perfect time to review how 2015 performed and set your personal and professional resolutions for 2016.

I PLEDGE: to Have a Crisis Communication Plan in Place

Working with hundreds of small, independently-owned veterinary clinics as part of Veterinary Hospitals Association, it’s become clear that many small businesses entrepreneurs don’t think of having a crisis communication plan in place until it’s too late.

To avoid a potentially business-ruining situation, it’s critical that businesses both large and small have a crisis communication plan in place. As marketing and sales professionals, you too should have a plan in place. Take time before 2016 comes to review any potentially disastrous situations which might befall your business, and sketch out what communication would need to take place should those situations arise. Have standard messages for social media, sample press releases, email communications, and letters prepared, and brief your team on who handles what if the time comes. It could be as simple as your website crashing or a sale going wrong on social media, to something catastrophic as your building catching fire or a bad article being written about you. In any case, having a crisis communication plan in place for 2016 is a must-have for all businesses.

This article was originally posted on Salesforce.com. To read the full article, please click here.

Don’t Be the Boogeyman: Are You Scaring Away Top Talent?

This article first appeared on Salesforce on October 28. To read the full article, please visit Salesforce.

In the movies, horror greats Michael, Jason, Freddie are all great at what they do – mainly scaring the wits out of movie viewers. But even they have their Achilles heels that lead to their eventual downfalls. Every company has their own Achilles heels as well, whether it’s a great story but lack of PR, or great product but lack of marketing.

For some, it’s keeping quality, talented team members on staff. It is an ever-delicate balancing act for management – delicate, but not impossible. So why is it so many companies have such a hard time with it? What are they doing that is spooking talented employees to run for the hills – or worse, the competition? Is it that their managers are the embodiment of the Wicked Witch of the West or Hades himself? Continue reading