Tis once again the season for year-end wrap-ups; and as today is the last Tip of 2016, it is once again a best of post. The following are the most popular Tip posts from 2016 in a number of categories, along with posts from previous years that generated the most traffic in 2016. If you missed them, or simply meant to check out the links but never had the time, here’s another chance to take a look.
5 Most Read 2016 Tip of the Week Posts
- 7 Types of Sales Promotion That Work for Small Businesses
Sales aren’t just for holidays. Crafting a sale that speaks to a specific customer need, or triggers a strong psychological “buy” response, can be successful at any time of year, can help set your small business apart from the competition, and can help promote customer loyalty that drives repeat full-price sales throughout the year for years to come. From a desire for discounts, to a fondness for free, to illusions of luck, and more, these strategies are sure to spur sales.
- ACH Security Requirements for Merchants
As a merchant you’ve probably heard about the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) to which all companies that process credit card transactions must not only adhere, but with which they also need to annually certify compliance. However, you have likely not heard as much talk about NACHA (National Automated Clearinghouse Association) ACH security requirements. This post tells you everything you need to know.
- 22 More Sites for Free Public Domain Stock Images You Can Use for Any Small Business Purpose
For images that you can use freely in your business projects, without providing attribution, your best bets are Creative Commons 0 (CCO) Public Domain Images. These are images the photographer has donated to the public domain, and can be used in any way, for any purpose. They can be modified, tweaked, used as the basis for your own creations, or combined with other images (as long as they are not sold as redistributed images collections). These sites provide a wealth of image choices, and you’re sure to find the perfect picture in at least one of them.
- Free HR Management System for Small Business
One of the main goals of the Tip column is to let you know about free software that can help you more easily tackle the drudgery of managing your business so that you can devote more time to focusing on the part of it you love—be that designing new products, perfecting customer service, or promoting your vision in the marketplace. The Sentrifugo Human Resource Management System is one such program.
- 14 Great Sites for Software Reviews and Free Downloads
To fulfill the ongoing mission of covering useful free software in the Tip column, I regularly scour the web for programs and apps to write about. I typically use resources anyone can access, if they want to take the time to do it. Hopefully, you have been able to use some of my finds to make your own life easier. However, I know that everyone has individual needs, and the search for useful, time-saving, productivity-boosting software can be never ending. This post lets you in on some of my go-to sources for software reviews and free downloads. Of course, stay tuned to the Tips column for new, innovative, and interesting, desktop applications, mobile Apps, and Cloud-based software. But, if you have a specific need at a specific time, then try one (or more) of the sources in this post for some great suggestions, some of which are available for free.
Post with Most Social Media Mentions
5 Critical Customer Service Don’ts
This is my favorite post of 2016, and it’s nice to see that others agreed and shared it. It is based on an actual encounter I had with the customer service department for the company that provides my home alarm system monitoring. You’ll get the whole (loud) sordid tale, along with highlights of things that make for an absolutely abysmal customer experience, and suggestions for how you can use these lessons to perfect customer service for your small business.
Most Tweeted 2016 Tip of the Week Post
Another Worthwhile Free Online Graphics Tool
Tip readers like free graphics and free graphics tools. This Tip is on Gravit, a single source that provides templates, graphics, design and photo editing in an easy to use online tool. Created by a team of German designers, Gravit bills itself as, “the world’s first web-based vector design tool… that allows everyone to create effortlessly all kinds of professional design, including web and screen design, mobile design, logos, flyers, business cards and more.”
Most LinkedIn Shared 2016 Tip of the Week Post
7 Types of Sales Promotion That Work for Small Businesses and 5 Critical Customer Service Don’ts (mentioned above) topped this category, closely followed by:
Small Business Gift Ideas (2016 edition)
Just published a few weeks ago, this annual round-up of holiday gift suggestions made the rounds of LinkedIn. (Thanks for the shares!) Along with suggestions for books and cool tech gadgets, this year’s list includes a section on office fun and one on customized treats from create-your-own ice cream flavors to create your own cookie concoctions. YUM!
2016 Post with Most Facebook Likes/Shares
5 Critical Customer Service Don’ts topped this list, but it seems Facebookers have a thing for customer service, as second place went to:
Great Customer Service Can Be Hard to Find
Based on an experience I had with Amazon customer service—which was incredibly hard to connect with, but incredibly helpful once I did—this post looks at how easy it is to contact an actual person via live chat at 10 top online retailers.
2016 Post with Most Google+ Shares
12 Important Small Business Signs
Written in celebration of Groundhog Day, and the much anticipated sign from Punxsutawney Phil (or your other groundhog of choice) regarding the early or late end to Winter, this post offers 12 types of important signs that you should be watching for in your small business.
2015 Tip of the Week Post with Most Views in 2016
Four Key Steps for Closing a Failed Small Business
This post didn’t make any of the best of 2015 lists, but has apparently found its legs (and its audience) in 2016. It was written shortly after a death in our family, and spurred by the initial grieving and fast following paperwork, legal requirements, and logistics of closing down a life. As we worked through it, I was constantly reminded of how similar this situation is to closing down a beloved, but ultimately failed, small business. While there is plenty of advice floating around about how to bounce back from a business failure and how to learn from it, that is the end of the process. This post covers the just as important topic of how to be prepared to handle everything involved in actually closing a failed small business.
2014 Tip of the Week Post with Most Views in 2016
15 Quizzes to Test Your Business & Management Skills
This post was the most popular 2014 post last year, and it retains its position in 2016. Take these small business, leadership & management, security, etiquette and social media quizzes to gauge your expertise, peg your style, and find your gaps. And, if you want to be quizzed even more, check out the 2015 follow-up post 20 More Quizzes to Test Your Business & Management Skills.
2013 Tip of the Week Post with Most Views in 2016
How Small Businesses Can Get Refunds for Late Package Deliveries
This post was the most popular 2013 Tip in 2014 and 2015 and continues its run in 2016. FedEX and UPS have 100% money back guarantees. If your package arrives even a minute later than promised, your shipping is free. Read this post to find out how to get a quick effortless refund.
A Really Old Tip Post with the Most Overall Views
How to go Straight to Voicemail & Leave a Message Without Calling Someone
Once again, this post is one of the most viewed on our blog, in the Tip of the Week category and among all posts. The company offering this service is still in business, so if you want to leave a message without ringing someone’s phone, you still can.
2016 Tip of the Week Post That Includes the Best Video
12 Small Business Video Laughs
This post is completely devoted to video clips highlight the humor in some of the day-to-day office activities familiar to many small business owners (and their employees), as well as some experiences and problems common to businesses of all sizes. Some will spur a belly laugh at their preposterousness, while others will likely spark a chuckle of recognition.
Best 2016 Infographic Post
Small Business Infographic Trends in 2016
Think of any small business related topic…there is likely an infographic for that. To hone in on what the current small business infographic conversation looks like, I performed a google search and filtered the results for “small business infographic” that were posted between January 1 and July 29, 2016. Within those I surveyed the top 50 actual infographic results (eliminating duplicate references and pages about infographics that did not contain them). The result is this infographic on Small Business Infographic Trends in 2016.
My Favorite 2016 Posts That I Hope You’ll Read if You Haven’t Yet
What’s In a Name? Death by Unfortunate Acronym
This post was spurred by the endless Twitter lambasting of George Mason University’s initial naming of their law school after the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The initially announced name, “The Antonin Scalia School of Law” was immediately tagged as #ASSoL and #ASSLaw due to the unfortunate acronym formed by the new school name. After a couple of days of ridicule, George Mason University announced that the name has been revised to “The Antonin Scalia Law School.” When my laughter subsided, I wrote this post about other unfortunate acronyms, and some tips to help you pick successful names for your small business and its products and services. You’ll laugh out loud—I promise.
Small Business Lessons from Shakespeare
Saturday, April 23, 2016 marked 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare the man. The words of William Shakespeare The Bard live on; and those words, written hundreds of years ago, are still amazingly relevant to the lives we live today. That may be a testament to Shakespeare’s gift; it may also simply be proof that however much society transforms and evolves, people remain fundamentally the same. As a proud English Major, I couldn’t let the anniversary go unmarked. This Tip post highlights many famous Shakespeare quotations and themes that speak directly to small business concerns.