Category Archives: small business

Year Ending Resource Tip

CSV or (Comma Separated Values) is a handy way of getting data from one program to another where one program cannot read the others’ normal output.  A csv file is a text based format that transfer data found in a spreadsheet or a database table without formatting or formulas.  As a format for data interchange, it is simple, compact and ubiquitous.

In ecommerce, csv files are used primarily for importing and exporting product, customer, financial and order information to and from your applications.

Since most spreadsheet applications, accounting and crm (customer relationship management) software like Quickbooks or and Sage—are capable of reading and importing files stored in this format, csv files can be much faster, and consume less memory.

Csv files can be opened or edited by any text editors like notepad.  And, because it does not manipulate data but instead stores it as-is, csv files are safe and can differentiate between the numeric values and text.

Just remember write column headers only once and separate each cell or value by a comma and each row with a line.

Here’s a 56 second video on creating csv in a text editor like notepad.

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Have you had a Check-up? Your Small Biz Marketing Checklist for 2018

We’re in the 4th quarter of 2017, are you tracking your marketing results?

Are you retaining your customers? Attracting new customers? Increasing sales?

If you can’t answer these questions, or worse, if the answer is NO …. perhaps its time for a marketing checkup.  Get rid of what’s not working and focus your time and investment on what does.

Start by thinking about 2017:

  1. What were you marketing goals?
  2. Did did you meet them. If so, how ?
  3.  Have your sales increased, decreased or remained the same?  Why?
  4. What marketing tactics did you use and what were the results?
  5. How did you engage your  current customers, what was the results?
  6. Did you  receive referrals,  why …  what were the benefits your existing customers valued that lead them to refer you?
  7. Did you make referrals or recommendations?
  8. What areas could be improved and why?
  9. What was the time and investment spent to increase or maintain sales?
  10. What key issues are facing your market ,your business and your customers?

marketing2

Answers to questions like these, can help put you on track to defining marketing goals and strategies for the new year.

These are the top things to make sure you have taken into account as you look to market your small business in 2016.

1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

2. Focus On Content

3. With online review tools, relationship marketing is easier than ever.  Go the extra mile for your customers and make it easier for a happy customer to let others know about the amazing relationship they have with your business.

I Want to Talk About My 2018 Marketing Plans
 

5 Marketing Trends To Grow Your Business

Do you know the marketing trends that can help improve your marketing strategy? Here are 8 digital trends that are likely to dominate the marketing scene in 2018.

Digital marketing is ever-changing and rapidly adapts itself to new technology, new attitudes and new behaviors. As a business owner, you must  be aware of what’s on the horizon to make sure you’re prepared with the best marketing strategy for your organization.

Technology will have the largest impact on marketing in coming years. Whether it’s video production (and consumption) or wearable gadgets, rapidly developing technology will break boundaries and push us all out of our comfort zones.

Don’t know what to prepare for? Here are some digital marketing trends that are likely to dominate the marketing space in the new year.

Are you a Freedom Fighter?

Certain triggers influence our buying decisions.  Delving into research on changing trends and buying characteristics of customers and clients can increase sales revenue, profit margins and the overall success of a small business.

Research from Infusionsoft Small Business Market Survey profiled business owners into 4 buying groups, and help define the attitudes, buzzwords or triggers that influence our buying decisions.

Infusion Small Business Market Survey 2014

Infusionsoft Small Business Market Survey 2014

  1. Freedom Fighters {believes key benefits of business ownership are control and freedom.
  2. Passionate Creators { believes that passion is one of the most important qualities of a small business owner
  3. Struggling Survivors {say people generally don’t respect small business ownership as much as they do a corporate job.
  4. Legacy Builders {more likely to consider locally owned and operated businesses as a source of pride and as a key factor in choosing a vendor.

You can check out the survey here and decide … freedom fighter or legacy builder?  What type of business owner are you?

 

Happy to Dance

This adorable 3 year old is happy to dance, because it makes those around him happy.  We think it would be great if we all remember, being happy and making others happy is probably one of the key reason we are small business owners.

Thanks to DramaFever for the subtitles.  To view the full video go YouTube

Let me ask you … who are you happy to see happy?

6 Reasons to Start your Holiday Marketing Plan Now

6 Good Reasons to Start A Holiday Marketing Plan Now

By Caron Beesley, SBA Contributor

Published: October 1, 2014

santa elf

The holidays creep up on us fast, and it seems like each year the big retailers start their holiday sales sooner and sooner. Last year, for example, retail giants Walmart and Target both began their holiday deals well before Thanksgiving, with campaign planning no doubt starting several months prior.

Should your small business be doing the same and can you really benefit from jumping on the holiday marketing bandwagon sooner rather than later? Of course you can! Here’s why – and how:

There’s a lot of ground to cover

According to a 2013 report by Accenture, 23 percent of shoppers start shopping in the early fall, and nearly three quarters will be finished by the end of November! That’s a lot of ground to cover. Start late and you’ll miss the boat. Start sooner and you’ll have a rolling strategy to stay top of mind as key holiday milestones come and go.

The early bird gets repeat customers

According to a 2013 survey by Constant Contact, participating in holiday season marketing is a rewarding venture for small businesses, with 52 percent of respondents reporting that new customers attained during the holidays become repeat, loyal customers.

Poor planning = poor performance

Constant Contact also reports that only 31 percent of small businesses surveyed start planning for the holidays between two and three months in advance. Now this doesn’t mean that these businesses won’t be ready, but it’s more than likely that the campaigns and events that they run will be pretty generic. Without planning, these campaigns won’t take into account what’s worked well in the past (and I don’t mean gut feelings, but real, hard metrics). They also won’t allow much time for originality, no matter how creative you think you are.

These campaigns will probably work to drum up some business, but will they be wildly successful? Will they make your business stand out so much that new customers become loyal customers, even when the holiday décor is taken down?

Last-minute budgeting isn’t easy

Reactive marketing can quickly erode your marketing budget – cutting back money allocated to other areas and, at worst, eating directly into your bottom line. If you start planning your holiday marketing ahead of time, you can spread the costs over several months so that cash flow isn’t impeded and you are ready to roll come the holiday season.

Get better pricing

Starting early may also pay off in terms of securing a better deal on design and printing costs as well as other vendor incentives to help keep your campaign costs lower. Coming off the long slow summer, these companies will be eager to entice companies to start spending sooner rather than later.

Take a weight off your shoulders

Planning now can make an already stressful time easier to manage knowing that your campaign is up and running and delivering you a health return on investment.

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed.