Bootstrap Business Development

Taking steps to build your business


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Why SMEs Should Get Engaged to their Employees

by Annie Kile   March 2013

Recently I wrote a guest post on Merchant Processing Resource’s Small Business Corner.  This short, but power-packed post is all about how Small Business Owners can leverage employee engagement to attract and retain high-performance, highly-productive employees.   It also gives employees who work for over-controlling bosses some sound, logical arguments that it is in the best interest of the business for their boss to “Get out of the way and let me do my job”  without making the mistake of actually telling them to get out of the way and let you do your job.

Hop on over for a quick read you can take to the bank.  I’d love you to come back here and leave a reply that tells the tale of how Participative Management Principles (they’re in the post) have impacted your small business or your relationship with your boss.

Oh, and while you’re here, take a minute to sign up to subscribe to my blog — button’s to your left 🙂


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Helping People Online Find Your Local Business

Manta’s tip of the day is about local search ranking.  Some small biz owners – everybody from homentreprenurs to small retail to B2B – may not have this on their radar.

You definitely should.

 

Local search marketing tactics can be your ticket to gaining on “Big Gun” competition.    You might not think you’ve got anything you can leverage over Big Time competitors – however, the fact that you are local can actually be quit the competitive advantage.

The fact that you are smaller than the Big Guns can work in our favor as well because you can leverage your ability to provide more personalized service.

Manta’s advice is to “have a dedicated page for each of your company locations.”  But what if you’ve only got one location?  Easy – create separate landing pages customized for local neighborhoods in your specific community.  Remember, landing pages have domain names (i.e. different “web address”) than your businesses’ main website.

You can also customize landing pages the target specific “customer profiles.”  For example, one page that targets Boomers and one page that targets Millennials.  Again, each of the pages are dedicated to specific communities or neighborhoods.

Creating these pages can also assist in having your business picked up and placed on the “Google Box 7” – which means having your business pop up on Google’s first seven on SERP results.  Very powerful.

If you click the image on the top of this post you will see results for a search for a florist in San Francisco.  The image to the right shows what happens when a person living in the Mission District looking for a local florist performs their search.

Have landing pages optimized for both is an excellent tactic for achieving greater visibility and ups the opportunity for your local business to be found online.


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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

(Note:  I like my title.  It’s even more clever if you happen to be old enough to remember Tina Turner’s hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”)

For some people the number 13 is unlucky.  Others like to think of the number 13 as a  lucky number.  But “luck” doesn’t have anything to do with success.  But then neither does any notion you may harbor of being “unlucky.”

That can be hard for small business owners to swallow during times like these.  The economy has taken a huge hit on small business.  Hundreds and thousands of people have lost their jobs.  As a matter-of-fact, there’s a really good chance that you are one of them.  There aren’t any hard and fast statistics on just how many of those who have been laid off in the last few years have started their own business – probably because it is hard to count as it’s likely that a ton of us count ourselves as “freelancers” versus “small business owners.”

However, no matter what you call yourself, small business owner or freelancer, and no matter what the economy, your success is mainly limited by two things:

  • Your attitude
  • Your actions

Sure, when the economy sucks it doesn’t make things any easier.  Sure, when you have limited (or maybe even no) resources that sucks as well.  It would be a whole lot better if you were operating your business in a healthy, expanding economy.  It would be a whole lot better if you had unlimited resources to fund your business.  But I guarantee you – even if the economy was great and you had unlimited resources, unless your attitude and actions matched your desire, you’d still most likely fail.

Recently publisher and internet marketing expert Jim Kukral wrote an article on the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ website entitled “13 Reasons Why You’re Not as Successful as You Should Be.”  And I have to say that he pretty much hit the nail on the head.  I highly recommend you read it (after mine of course.)  Just as we should periodically examine our conscience to ensure we are living authentic, honest lives, small business owners can use Kukral’s “13” as a means to examine whether or not their attitude as well as their actions are limiting the opportunity for their (your) small business or freelance venture to succeed.

Once you finish reading Kukral’s article here’s a link to Tina – feel free to dance around your office or living room http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGoLq3c4SDc


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Good News for the “Not Creative” Small Business Owner

There’s so much talk around about the role of creativity and innovation in building better products and services as well as in marketing and customer service.  But, many small business owners may not pursue the tactic of creativity simply because they don’t think they’re “the creative type.”

And small business owners, especially Bootstrapping small business owners, need creative approaches to getting things done.

Good news: You’re human – therefore you’re creative.

Take some of the mystery out of creativity by watch this super-cool video by Steven Johnson who is definitely creative – especially in demonstrating how creative, innovative ideas come to life.


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Like Nike Says: “Just DO It”

I just get so jazzed when something I say or do makes even a small contribution to the success of another.  On one my group forums (Small Business Online Community at Linkedin.com) a woman posted a discussion topic related to overcoming price objection.

Here was my comment:

The first thing I do is find out if it’s really price they are objecting to. Quite often when you hear ‘price objection’ from a prospective customer or client it can simply be masking the fact that the prospect is not truly ready to buy. This is a time to start asking questions to find out exactly where your prospect is along the buying decision continuum. It can be as simple as your prospect wouldn’t be ready to commit even it were free for any number of reasons and they’re ‘hiding’ that fact behind a cost objection. If you end the conversation now, you may have lost a customer ready to buy in the future.

If, after asking probing questions, you determine that the cost is simply to high from the prospect to bear, or even if they simply are not willing to meet your price, have a couple referrals to a quality lower cost competitor to give to them. These are wonderful relationships to create with your competitors. For instance, I look for my competitors who have higher rates to refer to me. I am ready, and more than willing, to send clients to higher cost competitors when I’m not able to meet their needs.

Why would you want to do that? Great word of mouth marketing. You will be talked about as an honest business person with the goal of meeting the PROSPECT’s needs. That prospect you referred out because they didn’t want or couldn’t meet your price may end up referring clients back to you.

I recommend you read: Customer Centered Selling by Robert L. Jolles. I don’t know your background – but if you’ve never sold for a living and you are now responsible to sell your services, this is an excellent introduction.

May you prosper beyond imagination.
–Annie Kile

I was absolutely delighted to receive an email follow-up comment indicating that the woman who’d posted the discussion had just established a relationship with a competitor who will refer her those customers who can’t/won’t meet their price point.

I’m posting this because it is SO important to share stories of Bootstrapping success!  This business now has a referral source that did not cost her a dime to create – that’s just so cool!

As a startup one of my main networking activities is introducing myself to higher-end competitors for just this reason, trying to meet a goal of introducing myself to three such competitors a day.  This can be done via social networking as well as via an old-fashioned cold call.

OK – now you know it works, so just like Nike says:  “Just Do It”

Bootstrap Business Development:

Building Your Business One Step at a Time

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