Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Finding the right Web Hosting Service...

Amsterdam servercluster in its own rackImage via Wikipedia

The Start Up Spark has some great tips for small businesses on finding the right webhosting service for a website.

As the blog mentions, be sure you do plenty of homework before you decide who is going to do your hosting. For any small business price is going to be an important factor but you need to look beyond that.

Check to see what other small businesses are being hosted by the site and see what their experiences have been.

Also do an internet search of the companies name and you will most like find posting boards that talk about the service. While people on these boards tend toward the negative side, it will also alert you to issues that the company may have and that need to be avoided.

Also do not make your decision on what “free” items you get with your webhosting. I have seen webhosting services have all kinds of offer including free software but the free software is worth about what you pay for it. Do not use any of these free items to decide from one service over another.

Remember, your website is the first thing many of your potential customers are going to see. Make sure that you find the right web hosting partner for you and your business.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Overcoming Cheap Imports

Quality ProductsImage by Wade From Oklahoma via Flickr

The Babe of Business has a good article on how you overcome cheap imports by showing value and quality.

This is another area were your network can come in handy. While your big time competitors have big money to advertise their cheap products, you can use your network to get the word out about your products and the value and quality they have.

For example if someone in your group hears that a customer is planning to head to store “A” to buy a product, they can inform them that your store has a better quality product on sale that will last longer and you can do the same for them.

What you must remember is that you are not selling to the majority who think they are saving some money by buying something for a couple of dollars less but are getting far worse quality. You are marketing toward those who can see the value for the dollar, that they will be getting a better product for there money.

This is why it is so important to stake out your niche and take advantage of it.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Obama Stimulus Plan and Small Business

DENVER, COLORADO - FEBRUARY 19:  Financial adv...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Obama Stimulus Plan and Small Businesses - Join Us for a Townhall Meeting

The Small Business Trends website has announced it will be holding a town hall meeting tomorrow at 3:00PM eastern time which will discuss the Stimulus plan and how it will affect small businesses around the country.

The townhall meeting is scheduled to last one hour.

I would encourage all small business owners to make the attempt to listen to this broadcast.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Networking and Marketing Partners

Meeting Guy Kawasaki On the Network Solutions ...Image by shashiBellamkonda via Flickr

In my last entry I mentioned how important it is to get the word out about your business and the importance it plays in the economy.

However, you also need to build a network that will not only help you and your business but also be beneficial to other small business owners. Look for small business owners that own complimentary businesses of yours so that you can work together to promote each other’s business.

As a small business owner you do not have the money to go out and plaster the television with ads like your big time competitors. Therefore you need to look at less expensive ways to promote your business and creating a network is the best, least expensive way to do it.

One of the ways to build your network is to check with your locally owned business association for complimentary businesses. If you do not have that type of organization in your area check with the chamber of commerce, SCORE plus friends and family that may have suggestions for you.

You should be able to find many businesses that compliment yours. For example if you run an appliance store, you could work with repair people, stores that sell furniture but not appliances, home decorators and so on. You can refer clients to them with them referring clients to you.

Make sure that you feel comfortable with the people you network with. If you do not feel they will provide excellent customer service, consider finding someone else because you are putting your reputation on the line with a referral and joint marketing. Also make sure that the referring and the marketing are a two way street. If you find that you refer many clients over to your network but you never see any referrals from them then look into it. Sometimes it could be that you just have more people to refer than they do but you also don’t want someone to take advantage of you either.

Networking is an important marketing strategy for small businesses. Be sure to network with complimentary businesses that will fit your niche and your comfort level.

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