Blogging can be a large commitment, especially for small businesses or freelancers who don’t have a lot of time. Plus, many people don’t see the need for a company blog. There are, however, some major business benefits to blogging.Read More >
5 Ways to Cut Down on Your Business Carbon Footprint
Businesses have begun embracing the “green movement” in recent years. The value of going green is two-fold: it helps the environment, and – more importantly for most businesses – it improves their bottom line.
According to a report by the World Wildlife Fun and Carbon Disclosure Project, if American businesses were to cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 3 percent per year, businesses could “save up to $190 billion in 2020 alone or $780 billion over 10 years”.
Businesses of all sizes are seeing the benefits of going green. The Aspen Skiing Co. ski resorts decided to start small by changing out the incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones. This move has saved the company $10,000 each year since 1999. They have gone on to add solar panels and replace old boilers, all saving the company more money and improving overall efficiency.
Search engine giant Google has even embraced the green movement. In 2012, “it invested $200 million in a Texas wind farm, and in 2011, it invested $280 million in a fund that helped now-public Solar City finance more solar installations in America, focusing on the residential and business markets.”
Ideas For Your Startup to Go Green
While larger businesses have actively led the “green” charge, startups can take advantage of the environmental and cost savings that come with reducing your carbon footprint.
Merriam-Webster defines an entrepreneur as someone “who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money”. Basically, an entrepreneur is a person who doesn’t mind taking a chance on something new, hoping that the return on investment outweighs the risk and capital expenditures.
While anyone can take a risk, successful entrepreneurs have certain characteristics that help them succeed in crowded and competitive marketplaces and economies.
Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
Some small business trends are obvious, but less common trends are equally noteworthy
Each year, news outlets and small business blogs rush to discuss trends for the coming 12 months. The Huffington Post pointed to increased mobile use, continued paid marketing and social marketing, more e-commerce, and a surge in local searches as trends that will see businesses through 2014. Other outlets predict a surge in entrepreneurship and small business that will continue through the year.
These trends are well known and often discussed, but what about the often-overlooked small business trends? There are a few points that people might miss when it comes to small business, but these trends appear to be lasting.
Coworking spaces remain popular
Coworking was all the rage last year, but don’t expect this trend to go away. Nine out of ten coworking spaces are expected to increase their membership this year. It’s clear that there is a continued demand for the benefits that coworking provides, and the popularity of coworking is one trend that should continue throughout 2014.
Coworking has widespread positive feedback amongst freelancers, small business owners, and telecommuters, and is worth looking into.
Email still converts better than social media
Social media has been coveted as the “it” thing to catapult small businesses into the spotlight for quite some time. But is the return on investment as great as it seems?
Nope. When it comes to customer acquisition, a recent survey by McKinsey and Co. shows that email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.
Small business should still cultivate online relationships with their customers using social media, but the trusted email newsletter is far from dead.
The rise of Software as a Service (SaaS)
Cloud computing is an extremely popular business trend these days, but there’s another level that’s often overlooked: Software as a Service, or SaaS.
SaaS is often called “on-demand software,” and is a software delivery mechanism, where the software and data are hosted on a data center owned by the company providing the software. Salesforce, Basecamp, QuickBooks, and GoToMeeting are all examples of SaaS solutions.
SaaS is great because of it’s low cost and scalability. Now, a one-person firm can compete with larger firms, using the same software and keeping costs in check.
Online reputation management will continue to grow in importance
It’s estimated that 90% of consumers read online reviews before deciding to make a purchase, and that probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Many small businesses actively claim their accounts on review sites, but that’s not enough. Businesses must be proactive to garner the benefits of online reputation management.
Negative reviews on Yelp or Google can severely damage a business, so it’s important that companies observe and respond to negative customer feedback.
Conversely, small businesses should also pay attention to their positive reviews. Customer praise can be displayed on a company’s website and social media accounts, for example.
Trends will come and go every year. Some will be around for the long haul, and others will dwindle. Small business owners should remain aware of the common, newsworthy crazes, but shouldn’t forget to dig deeper to unveil some of the lesser-known business developments that are just as helpful.
You’ve made the decision to start or purchase a business. Now, it’s time to determine what type of business entity will provide you with the best benefits. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages so you may want to connect with an accountant or attorney before deciding. Here’s a review of all the major types of business entities available for your business startup.Read More >
How to Avoid Major New Business Pitfalls
Running a business is a difficult task. You need to grow your business without making large mistakes that could cost you everything. New business owners are notorious for making poor decisions that they could have avoided with a little research and planning.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency that assists in the establishment of small businesses to ensure free competition within the U.S. economy. Assistance comes in a variety of forms, including starting and growing a business, and finding loans and grants. The SBA also offers its own loans to qualifying businesses.
Google isn’t just for searching anymore, and the company has created a bundle of services that make running a business easier, faster, and cheaper. Google Apps for Business is Google’s comprehensive paid solution to help businesses work more efficiently, but even the freebies Google offers can make daily tasks simpler.