By Samantha Garner | July 25, 2015
Here are some of the small business blog posts we found and enjoyed this week. Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy!
- Online retailers buck the trend and set up bricks and mortar stores at the Globe and Mail
- Darn, That’s Good at Free Enterprise
- Why Your Company Needs a Wellness Program at Small Business Trends
- Avoid the 5 Biggest Management Mistakes at Huffington Post
By Samantha Garner | July 18, 2015
Do you need to raise more funds than you can get through “love money” from family or friends, but don’t need as much as venture capitalists invest? Your small business may be ready for an angel. Angel investors are well-to-do people who invest money, usually their own, in start-up ventures. For that investment, they often get a portion of the ownership of the business.
So what do angel investors like?
- A patentable technology or process
- High-growth potential
- A product or service with a distinct competitive advantage or very unique selling proposition
- A strong team — preferably with experience
How to find angel investment in Canada
The secret to finding individual investors is through networking. Communicate regularly with business community members who are in touch with angel investors like lawyers, accountants, bankers and other business owners.
You may also want to investigate one of the angel networks that operate across Canada. Here are a few:
- National Angel Capital Organization
- Purple Angel
- Capital Connexion
- Angel Forum
- Angel Resource Institute
By Samantha Garner | July 11, 2015
If you’re looking for ways to keep some of your small business’ well-earned dollars in your piggy bank, try these free (or very inexpensive) resources to help you build a website, understand your target market, please your customers, and even get a business name.
- Websites like MOO let you print small runs of business cards from existing templates or from uploaded designs. This can often save you loads of money compared to traditional printing, and is great if you need a small amount of cards for an event.
- Check out websites like Kijiji and Craigslist.org for items on sale, cheap services — even free items. Of course, make sure to keep an eye out for scams. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Weebly and Yola let you create a free website for your small business.
- Google Trends can clue you in to what your potential customers are thinking, feeling, hating, loving, and asking for.
- FreeCRM, as you can probably tell by the name, is free customer relationship management software.
- Enter in some relevant keywords at NetSubstance, and it will suggest some possible brand names for your business.
By GoForth Institute | July 8, 2015
Welcome to the first in a series of articles written by small business owners, consultants, freelancers, and entrepreneurs just like you! We hope you enjoy these blog posts, and feel free to get in touch if you’ve got something you’d like to share with our blog readers.
When budgets are tight, marketing is often the first department to suffer. Payroll must be met. Taxes must be paid. Supply chains must remain open. If something has to be cut, it is all too often the social media budget, the mobile marketing budget or the content marketing budget. But businesses don’t have to be flush with extra cash to make a big impact on their brands. Here are five ways to increase visibility and boost sales without a major investment.
1. Use Video. If You’re Already Using Video, Use More Video
The single most important step a bootstrapped business can take to radically increase ROI and conversions is to incorporate video into their branding strategy. According to research, 92% of mobile video viewers share the videos that they watch online. Seventy percent of marketers report that video converts better than any other medium. Video keeps visitors on pages longer, is shared more often and amplified on social media more than anything else.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
2. Make Images the Backbone of Your Social Strategy
Image-driven posts dominates content marketing on social media. Research shows that tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets than tweets without images — and that is just Twitter. Across every social media platform — not just image-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest — image-based posts drive branding.
3. Be Consistent!
Organize and structure your design and theme consistently across all your channels. Use no more than three main fonts. Keep your colour scheme, logo and watermarks consistent on your landing pages, your social media pages, your shipping label template and your business cards. You should project your brand at every touchpoint your buyers encounter. This continuity reassures your buyers and increases your visibility.
4. Market to Influencers
Influencers are the top of the food chain in your industry. Maybe your influencers are celebrities or maybe they are bloggers. Either way, they have enormous social media following and hold incredible sway over the people who are your most likely buyers.
If you can get an influencer to retweet a tweet, share a post or, even better, recommend your product, you will see more traffic and possibly more conversions than you could have possibly received had you marketed directly to the masses. Here is a good tutorial on how to find and engage industry influencers.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
5. Engage in Blogger Outreach
Offer free product samples to the most important bloggers in your industry. If a powerful blogger writes about your product, it could result in a major bump in visibility and credibility from that blogger’s loyal readers. The key is to make it organic and natural — don’t make it a sales pitch and don’t offer anything in exchange for a review.
Marketers on a budget don’t have the luxury of being complacent. Creativity, however, can take thinly spread dollars much farther. Market to a few powerful influencers, not the masses. Make sure your layout and design project your brand consistently across all channels. Use images instead of dry text content, incorporate video wherever you can and reach out to powerful bloggers for product reviews.
Nick Rojas is a business adviser and professional journalist focusing on marketing, sales and financial strategies. He loves eating sushi, going for long walks by the beach, and helping businesses grow.
By Samantha Garner | July 4, 2015
GoForth Institute announces that its President Dr. Leslie Roberts has made the decision to change her name to Dr. Leslie McGeough.
This name change is effective immediately.