Strategic Growth Concepts’ CEO Interviewed About Mobile Marketing for Small Business

We would like to thank Justin Hong, host of the BlogTalkRadio show, ‘The Small Business MBA’ for inviting our firm’s CEO, Linda Daichendt, to be aBlogTalkRadio graphic guest on his show today for a discussion about ‘Mobile Marketing for Small Business’.  Topics discussed included:

  • the benefits of mobile marketing
  • explanations of the different types of mobile marketing
  • the Federal laws that affect a mobile marketing program
  • the results a small business can expect from a mobile marketing campaign
  • the costs of implementing a mobile marketing campaign
  • ways in which small businesses can use mobile marketing to promote their business and reach consumers

Be sure to listen to today’s broadcast by clicking HERE so you can take advantage of the special offer our CEO made available to the show’s listeners!

40 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence On

By Inside CRM Editors

If your business limits its online presence to advertising banners and blogging, it’s missing out. The Internet provides powerful networking opportunities that allow users to effectively target their audience by loggingSocial Media graphic on to social sites like LinkedIn, Digg and more. Take advantage of these tools by asserting your company’s presence online and reaching more potential customers, business partners and employees.

Social-Media/Social-Bookmarking Sites

Share your favorite sites on the Web with potential clients and business partners by commenting on, uploading and ranking different newsworthy articles. You can also create a member profile that directs traffic back to your company’s Web site.

  1. Reddit: Upload stories and articles on reddit to drive traffic to your site or blog. Submit items often so that you’ll gain a more loyal following and increase your presence on the site.
  2. Digg: Digg has a huge following online because of its optimum usability. Visitors can submit and browse articles in categories like technology, business, entertainment, sports and more.
  3. Del.icio.us: Social bookmark your way to better business with sites like del.icio.us, which invite users to organize and publicize interesting items through tagging and networking.
  4. StumbleUpon: You’ll open your online presence up to a whole new audience just by adding the StumbleUpon toolbar to your browser and “channel surf[ing] the Web. You’ll “connect with friends and share your discoveries,” as well as “meet people that have similar interests.”
  5. Technorati: If you want to increase your blog’s readership, consider registering it with Technorati, a network of blogs and writers that lists top stories in categories like Business, Entertainment and Technology.
  6. Ning: After hanging around the same social networks for a while, you may feel inspired to create your own, where you can bring together clients, vendors, customers and co-workers in a confidential, secure corner of the Web. Ning lets users design free social networks that they can share with anyone.
  7. Squidoo: According to Squidoo, “everyone’s an expert on something. Share your knowledge!” Share your industry’s secrets by answering questions and designing a profile page to help other members.
  8. Furl: Make Furl “your personal Web file” by bookmarking great sites and sharing them with other users by recommending links, commenting on articles and utilizing other fantastic features.
  9. Tubearoo: This video network works like other social-bookmarking sites, except that it focuses on uploaded videos. Businesses can create and upload tutorials, commentaries and interviews with industry insiders to promote their own services.
  10. WikiHow: Create a how-to guide or tutorial on wikiHow to share your company’s services with the public for free.
  11. YouTube: From the fashion industry to Capitol Hill, everyone has a video floating around on YouTube. Shoot a behind-the-scenes video from your company’s latest commercial or event to give customers and clients an idea of what you do each day.
  12. Ma.gnolia: Share your favorite sites with friends, colleagues and clients by organizing your bookmarks with Ma.gnolia. Clients will appreciate both your Internet-savviness and your ability to stay current and organized.

Professional-Networking Sites

Sign up with these online networking communities as a company or as an individual to take advantage of recruiting opportunities, cross-promotional events and more.

  1. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a popular networking site where alumni, business associates, recent graduates and other professionals connect online.
  2. Ecademy: Ecademy prides itself on “connecting business people” through its online network, blog and message-board chats, as well as its premier BlackStar membership program, which awards exclusive benefits.
  3. Focus: Focus is a business destination where business professionals can help each other with their purchase and other business decisions by accessing research and peer expertise. Most importantly, Focus provides open, quality information for all businesses that is freely available, easily accessible, and community powered. 
  4. YorZ: This networking site doubles as a job site. Members can post openings for free to attract quality candidates.
  5. Xing: An account with networking site Xing can “open doors to thousands of companies.” Use the professional contact manager to organize your new friends and colleagues, and take advantage of the Business Accelerator application to “find experts at the click of a button, market yourself in a professional context [and] open up new sales channels.”
  6. Facebook: Facebook is no longer just for college kids who want to post their party pics. Businesses vie for advertising opportunities, event promotion and more on this social-networking site.
  7. Care2: Care2 isn’t just a networking community for professionals: It’s touted as “the global network for organizations and people who Care2 make a difference.” If your business is making efforts to go green, let others know by becoming a presence on this site.
  8. Gather: This networking community is made up of members who think. Browse categories concerning books, health, money, news and more to ignite discussions on politics, business and entertainment. This will help your company tap into its target audience and find out what they want.
  9. MEETin.org: Once you’ve acquired a group of contacts in your city by networking on MEETin.org, organize an event so that you can meet face-to-face.
  10. Tribe: Cities like Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, New York and Chicago have unique online communities on tribe. Users can search for favorite restaurants, events, clubs and more.
  11. Ziggs: Ziggs is “organizing and connecting people in a professional way.” Join groups and make contacts through your Ziggs account to increase your company’s presence online and further your own personal career.
  12. Plaxo: Join Plaxo to organize your contacts and stay updated with feeds from Digg, Amazon.com, del.icio.us and more.
  13. NetParty: If you want to attract young professionals in cities like Boston, Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Orlando Fla., create an account with the networking site NetParty. You’ll be able to connect with qualified, up-and-coming professionals online, then meet them at a real-life happy-hour event where you can pass out business cards, pitch new job openings and more.
  14. Networking For Professionals: Networking For Professionals is another online community that combines the Internet with special events in the real world. Post photos, videos, résumés and clips on your online profile while you meet new business contacts.

Niche Social-Media Sites

Consider linking up with one of these social-media sites to narrow down your business’s target audience. You’ll find other professionals, enthusiasts and consumers who are most likely already interested in what your company has to offer.

  1. Pixel Groovy: Web workers will love Pixel Groovy, an open-source site that lets members submit and rate tutorials for Web 2.0, email and online-marketing issues.
  2. Mixx: Mixx prides itself on being “your link to the Web content that really matters.” Submit and rate stories, photos and news to drive traffic to your own site. You’ll also meet others with similar interests.
  3. Tweako: Gadget-minded computer geeks can network with each other on Tweako, a site that promotes information sharing for the technologically savvy.
  4. Small Business Brief: When members post entrepreneur-related articles, a photo and a link to their profile appear, gaining you valuable exposure and legitimacy online.
  5. Sphinn: Sphinn is an online forum and networking site for the Internet marketing crowd. Upload articles and guides from your blog to create interest in your own company or connect with other professionals for form new contacts.
  6. BuzzFlash.net: This one-stop news resource is great for businesses that want to contribute articles on a variety of subjects, from the environment to politics to health.
  7. HubSpot: HubSpot is another news site aimed at connecting business professionals.
  8. SEO TAGG: Stay on top of news from the Web marketing and SEO (search-engine optimization) industries by becoming an active member of this online community.

General Social-Media Sites

The following social-media sites provide excellent opportunities for businesses to advertise; promote specials, events or services; and feature published, knowledgeable employees.

  1. Wikipedia: Besides creating your own business reference page on Wikipedia, you can connect with other users on Wikipedia’s Community Portal and at the village pump, where you’ll find conscientious professionals enthusiastic about news, business, research and more.
  2. Newsvine: Feature top employees by uploading their articles, studies or other news-related items to this site. A free account will also get you your own column and access to the Newsvine community.
  3. 43 Things: This site bills itself as “the world’s most popular online goal setting community.” By publicizing your company’s goals and ambitions, you’ll gain a following of customers, investors and promoters who cheer you on as you achieve success.
  4. Wetpaint: If you’re tired of blogs and generic Web sites, create your own wiki with Wetpaint to reach your audience and increase your company’s presence online. You can easily organize articles, contact information, photos and other information to promote your business.
  5. Twitter: Is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question, “What are you doing?” by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called “tweets”, to your friends, or “followers.”
  6. Yahoo! Answers: Start fielding Yahoo! users’ questions with this social-media Q&A service. Search for questions in your particular areas of expertise by clicking categories like Business & Finance, Health, News & Events and more. If you continue to dole out useful advice and link your answer to your company’s Web page, you’ll quickly gain a new following of curious customers.

The original source of this article is InsideCRM.com, part of the Focus network of sites.

___________________________________________________________

If after completing this article you’re still not certain how Social Media can be utilized to market your company, we would be happy to assist you in developing a customized program to promote your business.  Please feel free to contact us via our website or via email at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

Dallas-based AT&T Hosts Makeover Contest for U.S. Small Businesses

By Pegasus News wire

It takes vision, hard work and sacrifice to successfully operate a small business in this ever-evolving and competitive marketplace. Savvy small business owners may have what it takes inside themselves, but do they have what it takes inside their office?

Furthering its commitment to small businesses, Dallas-based AT&T announced the AT&T Small Biz Tech Makeover contest for businesses nationwide. To thank entrepreneurs and small business owners for their continued support of and interaction with AT&T’s online resource center, AT&T is sponsoring an online contest for small businesses to win a technology overhaul for their business.

Contest prizes include Web hosting services, AT&T Secure Mail, AT&T Tech Support 360, a pair of 3G mobile smartphones and a variety of other advanced solutions that can be used to improve collaboration or drive small business productivity. Video submission by small businesses on why they think they need a technology makeover can be submitted to http://www.att.com/smallbizmakeover through August 31, 2009. Video guidelines and contest details can be found by visiting the “Contest” tab on the AT&T Small Business Facebook page (http://bit.ly/ContestRules ).

In addition to the contest, AT&T today announced its own “makeover” in the form of a redesigned online resource center. AT&T Small Business InSite (www.att.com/smallbusinessinsite ), is focused on the growth and success of small business customers by delivering robust and interactive “how-to” advice that helps both the seasoned small business owner and the “just-getting-started” entrepreneur integrate advanced business technologies into their businesses.

Contest for Small Businesses Seeking Investors

I recently received notice of a contest called ‘Pitching Across America’ to find the ‘hottest emerging companies across america’ who are seeking venture capital, so I wanted to make all of my small business readers aware of it. 

pitchacrossusa_400_092009 is the 6th year this contest has been held, and this year’s competition currently includes 130 Venture Capital and Angel Investor judges.  During each of the last 5 years, 50 companies have been selected to achieve investment funding based on the Executive Summary of their business plan.

During 2009, there will be 50 Top-rated Companies selected from across the US, and of those, 1 Company will be selected as the Top Emerging Company in America. All 50 companies will receive exclusive access to pitch to investors at FundingPost CEO events, inclusion in a featured VC mailing, a full year listing on FundingPost online, and the Top Emerging Company will even be able to pitch for free at every FundingPost event nationwide!  All of the previous years winners have raised capital since winning the competition!!

You can read the profiles of the participating VC and Angel Investor judges online by clicking HERE, and learn more about the contest and how to enter by clicking HERE.  You can enter until August 14th.

If your company is seeking to raise capital, then you need to explore this year’s ‘Pitching Across America’ competition, sponsored by Duane Morris.

Mobile Marketing is Topic for Radio Guest Appearance by Strategic Growth Concepts CEO

BlogTalkRadio graphicGiven the precarious state of today’s economy, small businesses are on ‘high alert’ for new ways of increasing revenue. While recent technology advances provide a variety of methodologies that can be useful in achieving this goal, there is one that has only recently come to the forefront of marketer’s awareness – Mobile Marketing. This will be topic of discussion during Strategic Growth Concepts CEO, Linda Daichendt’s upcoming guest appearance on the ‘Small Business MBA Show’ on BlogTalkRadio.  This show will broadcast live on Friday, July 31, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. EDT.  Click HERE to learn the details about the program – and some interesting information about Mobile Marketing.

Importance of Budgeting and Financial Management for Small Business

In this time of economic hardship, small businesses and micro-businesses are among those being hardest hit – particularly with their inability to access lines of credit to help maintain effective cash-flow.  Therefore, it is imperative that these business owners take the steps necessary to budget and effectively manage the funds they do have available.

However, it is a common occurrence that small businesses, particularly micro-businesses having 10 employees or less, tend to shy away from developing an operating budget.  Frequently the businesses are so small or so new that the owners are convinced they have no way of projecting their revenue and therefore have nothing to budget.  This is a serious mistake! 

Budget graphicIn spite of a ‘supposed’ inability to project revenue, the business is still incurring expenses, therefore it needs to develop a basis from which it can discern business trends and identify opportunities which will enable you to make decisions about how you are running the company.  A budget is one of the most important tools to help you do this.

To help you understand the value of developing a budget – and managing that budget – for your small business we offer the article below which recently appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

___________________________________________________________

Even startups need to forecast and plan–especially now.

By Asheesh Advani   |   Entrepreneur Magazine – July 2009

Most entrepreneurs detest budgeting. Working on something as old-fashioned as an annual budget confines the imagination and limits flexibility. Still, budgets are more important than ever in today’s market environment.

I’ve heard all the excuses for avoiding budgeting. “Startup cash flow is too unpredictable.” “One big customer order could change the course of the business, so what’s the point in setting a budget?” “I can’t predict the capital market, so how can I forecast how much cash I’ll raise and be able to spend this year?”

In my experience, these excuses mask the fact that right-brain creative entrepreneurs just don’t like left-brain financial planning. So, if you’re running your startup solo, you should force yourself to develop a budget to hold yourself accountable. Here are three reasons why:

  1. It will help you to become a better manager. When done properly, budgets can be extraordinarily useful in testing and refining your ability to forecast and manage. While boards like to use budgets to hold managers accountable, the startup CEO can use budgeting to test whether the drivers of his business hold true. One straightforward way to do this is to set an annual budget with a set of key assumptions (e.g., number of new clients; product price), then reforecast the year every quarter by updating those assumptions with the latest results.
  2. It will help you raise money. When I raised money from angel investors or institutional investors, I learned firsthand the importance of budgeting. Investment terms often specify that management must provide the investors or the board with an annual budget. Developing a company culture that tracks results to budget will help you meet and exceed the expectations of your investors.
  3.  It will help you avoid running out of money. The No. 1 risk to any startup is running out of money. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ll fluctuate between a conservative reality and an aggressive dream state, which keeps you motivated and helps you inspire others. When you build your budget, start with expenses, not revenue; they’re much easier to forecast. This will keep you grounded and reduce your risk of running out of money.

Asheesh Advani is president of Virgin Money USA, author of Investors in Your Backyard and founder of CircleLending, which pioneered the business of managing person-to-person loans and mortgages and was acquired by the Virgin Group.

Top 5 Social Media Tips for Small Business

A few years ago, using the Internet to market a small business simply meant to create a presence online with a simple, informational Web site.  Then came the demands of search engine optimization to ensure Google and Yahoo searches yielded top-ranked results for your company.

Social Media graphicToday, social media is transforming the small-business marketing landscape. Social media are Web- or mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. It’s not just for seeing who your high school sweetheart married. Businesses can tap into powerful networking sites and other social media to drive customers to their shops or companies.  If done right, small-business owners might even be able to slash their traditional marketing spending to zero.   Read how by clicking HERE.

Recovery Act Changes To SBIC Program Mean Increased Funding Available For Small Businesses

sba logoWASHINGTON – Effective today, small businesses that would otherwise have difficulty securing private equity or venture capital may find funding easier to get as a result of changes made as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company program.

“The Recovery Act expands SBA’s venture capital program to increase the pool of investment funding available to the Small Business Investment Companies licensed by SBA,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “We believe those companies will be better equipped by these changes to help sustain and grow small businesses for their next important growth steps.”

Read about the specific changes at http://snipr.com/mireo .

Fast Food Retailer Achieves 54% Opt-in from Mobile Marketing Campaign!

Fast food retailer achieves 54% opt-in from mobile marketing campaign!

The ability mobile provides to directly engage consumers with coupons and offers that provide the client with detailed feedback of what day of the week, as well as what time of day, that a response was generated from a product placed ad is a tremendous validation of return on investment. 

While results of 54% opt-in are certainly not standard for mobile marketing, the results ARE typically much higher than most traditional forms of marketing.  Results of 10 – 15% are fairly standard, though many mobile campaigns have achieved a response rate as high as 30%, compared to traditional media such as direct mail which typically results in a 2 – 3% response rate.

Read about it @ http://snipr.com/lppqx .

The Reality of Marketing

  • Marketing requires Money and/or Time
    • The more of one you contribute, the less of the other you will have to contribute
  • Marketing is useless without goals, and results measurement against those goals

ist2_4884809-business-charts-graphs - vertical - growth pageMarketing your firm doesn’t just “happen”, not if you’re going to be effective at it.  You need to identify goals, develop a strategy (based on the goals, the market, the industry, consumer knowledge and your available budget), plan the most cost-efficient and effective ways to implement that strategy, and put in place methods of tracking and analyzing the results of your marketing strategies.

Those that refuse to “get out from behind the counter” or “get out from behind the desk” and expect customers just to show up are doomed to find themselves in that large percentage of small businesses that fail.  You can avoid this by analyzing your business to determine who are your most profitable ‘types’ of customers, conduct research on your market area to determine where similar ‘types’ of customers can be located, identify the best methods of reaching those ‘types’ of customers, and then using that information to implement strategies designed to attract those customers to your business.

The above tasks can be conducted independently by small business owners who will put in the time necessary, or they can bring in outside consultants to assist with parts of it or all of it.  Remember – the more time you invest, the less money you have to invest!  Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive – especially today with the many new resources being provided by social media and mobile technology – but it still requires work to put the marketing in place in a way that will be effective.

Be a smart business owner – be realistic about the resources (time and/or money) that are needed to market your business effectively.  If you’re convinced that you just can’t put in the time yourself, please contact us at Strategic Growth Concepts to assist you.  We can be reached via our website or via email at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.