Consumers love credit cards but don’t use the rewards

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Credit Card Payments | No Comments

The 2013 US Credit Card Satisfaction Study, completed by JD Power & Associates for the seventh consecutive year, revealed that customer satisfaction for credit card companies is continueing to increase after the turbulence of the 2010 Durbin Amendment settled. With American Express holding its place as leader of the pack, credit card companies are continuing to reap the rewards (and love) of consumers.

Speaking of rewards, this is one of the top reasons consumers sign up for and use credit cards, in addition to convenience and security. The odd part is, most consumers don’t understand the full terms of their credit card agreement, often getting enticed by low introductory rates and rewards programs but losing track of those benefits later.

Getting Paid is Taking Longer, Businesses Report

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Business to Business, Cash Flow | No Comments

Getting Paid is Taking LongerA recent report released by Sageworks showed that, on average, private companies are waiting an average of four days longer to get paid than in previous years, a trend that has been growing since 2008. While firms across all industries in the service sector are being affected, accounting and consulting firms are seeing some of the biggest increases in their accounts receivable timelines.

How to Use SlideShare to Grow, Market & Advertise Your Business

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Marketing, Strategy, Tip of the Week | No Comments

slideshare-blogSlideShare bills itself as the “world’s largest community for sharing presentations.” The company, acquired by LinkedIn in May 2012, claims to be one of the 200 most visited websites in the world with 60 million visitors and 130 million monthly pageviews.

SlideShare provides a platform for people to share their presentations, documents and videos with the public or with private groups. Anyone can upload their material, and content includes everything from professional product demonstrations, university lectures, how-to instructions, product reviews, as well as industry research, pedestrian humor, spiritual advice, and sports talk. You can search for presentations on a specific topic, or browse by any combination of category, popularity, media type, and language.

With such a wide range of content and quality, it is easy to dismiss SlideShare as another online waste of time. However, SlideShare gives savvy business owners the ability to learn from their competition, as well as educate themselves in areas of lesser experience. If employed strategically, SlideShare can provide significant knowledge and financial benefits to your small business. Here are four ways to use it to your advantage:

How a Small Business Can Lose Productivity with Incentive Plans

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in HR Strategy, Tip of the Week | No Comments

Are Incentive Plans Effective?Of the many components that make up a successful small business, productivity is one of the most important. As a small business owner, you are acutely aware of the value of doing more with less. Not only does this mean stretching budgets, but it also means getting the most out of every employee. If you are lucky, you have a dedicated staff willing to go the extra mile because they are as invested in the success of your small business as you are.

That ideal state is easier to achieve when your small business is really small. But once you start to grow, it’s time to start thinking strategically about ways to maintain high productivity. Instituting a recognition program that rewards desired behavior might seem like the way to go. And it can indeed be effective, often with a relatively small monetary investment. However, recent research shows that poorly implemented, award programs can actually hurt your business by decreasing overall productivity, demotivating your best employees, and creating only moderate, temporary improvement in the laggards.

A recent Forbes magazine post, How to Demotivate Your Best Employees, summarized a Harvard Business School study that examined an incentive program that rewarded perfect attendance (download the complete study here).

Maximizing the Power of Mobile for your Web-enabled Small Business

Posted by on Apr 4, 2013 in Mobile Payments, Tip of the Week | No Comments

Maximize the Power of Mobile for your Small BusinessMobile is hot. According to the Mobilenomics video from Socialnomics, not only is Google mobile search up by 400% with research showing that 70% of those mobile searches lead to action within an hour, but also that iPhone sales alone outpace births, and more people in the world own a mobile device than own a toothbrush. And yes, I checked.

As a small business owner, you cannot ignore the mobile trend, but neither can you jump blindly on the bandwagon. You need to understand what mobile means to your business; you need to understand how your customers use mobile devices to interact with your company; and you need to understand the role mobile plays in your sales process. A new tool from Google helps you do just that.

Small Biz Tech: Must-Have Productivity Apps for Small Business

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013 in Technology | No Comments

Every small business owner is perpetually hunting to find a few extra hours in the day. Many claim to have the secret to everyday efficiency, but we actually do. Okay, maybe we don’t (yet) have the golden ticket to getting more done, but we can show you some of the best productivity tools out there.

You don’t need an enterprise budget or an executive assistant to make these apps work for you and your business. Sit back, relax and sign-up for these must-have productivity apps for small business.

Attract Top Talent: How Creative Job Descriptions Get the Best Hires for your Small Business

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Hiring, Tip of the Week | No Comments

Dear CandidateSo your small business is starting to gain traction? How exciting! Once your small business starts to thrive, you quickly realize that you cannot do everything yourself. Whether you are just about to hire your first assistant, or are the leader of a team that is growing faster than you ever imagined, the ability to locate, attract, and hire the right people is a critical component of your business strategy.

We hear a lot of news stories about the unemployment rate nationwide, but there are a number of cities where unemployment is low. Regardless of the numbers in your city, the fact remains that finding the right team member requires more than simply posting a job opening that lists required experience, job responsibilities, and compensation. Although this approach may generate an avalanche of resumes, you’re unlikely to find the perfect match for both the position and your company.

A recent inc.com post, A Job Listing Should Be Like a Love Letter, suggests a different approach.

3 Online SEO Tools for Tracking Inbound Social Media Links

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Social Media, Tip of the Week | No Comments

Social Media MonitoringThere is more to a small business website than just a description of products and services, a contact page, and a buy button. If you are like many small business owners, you probably spend a significant amount of time and resources creating value-added content for your website. This can take the form of blog posts, industry overview pages, calculators, whitepapers, dictionaries, how-tos, FAQs, infographics, or simply an insider view of your area of expertise. The intention is to continually engage with your community of current and potential customers; to cement yourself, and your company, as a source of expert information in your market; and to be top-of mind when anyone needs what your company provides. But no matter how great the content you create, it can only achieve these goals if people actually see it.

If you use a web analytics tool, you have statistics for how many people visited a particular webpage, and where those people came from. But, that is only part of the story.

Is Hiring a Marketing Consultant the Right Choice for Your Small Business?

Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Tip of the Week | No Comments

If your small business has reached the point where you are deciding between adding an in-house marketing person (or team) and hiring an outside marketing consultant or agency, congratulations, you are on the path to successful growth. There is no arguing about the need for a well-conceived, well-executed, marketing strategy. But, there are many opinions as to how to effectively, and cost-effectively, get it done.

A recent Bank of America Small Business Community post discussed the pros and cons of creating an in-house marketing department vs. outsourcing marketing tasks to third parties. The post highlights common concerns such as whether an internal team will have sufficient objectivity, and whether an outside service provider will have sufficient dedication to your business. It also provides commentary from small business owners who have chosen different paths.

The decision you make for your own small business will be unique to your set of challenges and opportunities.

How Small Businesses and Their Owners Need to Approach Change

Posted by on Mar 6, 2013 in Tip of the Week | No Comments

As a small business owner, you have probably realized that the one constant in your business is change. You have likely also realized that the very fact of being a small business makes your company more nimble and better able to respond to marketplace demands than your larger competitors. If you are still a one-person operation, implementing a successful change is just a matter of putting your mind to something and doing what it takes to make it so. But, once your company has grown and you’re managing a team, then you need to “manage” change.

Although change management is certainly easier in a 20-person company than it is in a 20,000-person company, the fundamentals of leadership throughout the process are similar. A new inc. post, Change: A Play in Four Acts, provides an intriguing context in which to view the process.