Our Small Business Roundup

By Lauren Simonds | Posted August 08, 2014

So much good information to help small businesses grow and succeed—so little time to find and digest it all. We can’t help your digestion, but each week we share the Small Business Pulse—a collection of interesting and informative articles to help and inspire small business owners.

Entrepreneurship

  • One of the most integral parts of owning a business can also be one of the most cringe-inducing. If you're among the many entrepreneurs and small business owners who find sales daunting, then it's time to start reading.
  • It's been a thunder-stormy summer in New England, which always puts me in mind of disaster preparedness. That's not a topic most small business owners think about until after the fact. But just because you can't control Mother Nature doesn’t mean you have to give her the upper hand. Try these severe weather tips to protect your business.
  • And speaking of severe weather in New England—the Small Business Administration has good news for Massachusetts business owners affected by the July tornadoes.
  • Let's move from natural disasters to the man-made variety. I'm talking, of course, about staff meetings. How do you take a universally reviled time-suck and turn it into a productive endeavor? Start here.
  • Finally: proof positive that size doesn’t matter. Their business may be small, but the impact could change the world and save countless lives.

Marketing

  • Content marketing is a hot topic for small businesses (for any sized business, really—even the self-employed). This week it seemed as though everyone was talking content marketing. When done right, content marketing engages customers, helps build your reputation, establishes you as an expert, and aids in converting visitors into customers.
  • Of course, you can't just slap some content on your site and expect to reap rewards. Just for starters, you have to know what to publish, when to publish, and how to publish. No way around it, you need a content strategy.
  • If every other small business owner and her sister dive into content marketing, how can you hope to stand out from everyone else? If you want to engage your prospects, it's time to get interactive.
  • But wait, there's more. Let your brand voice be the foghorn that cuts through the marketing din. Wait…what's brand voice? I'm so glad you asked.
  • One of the other major challenges small businesses often face with content marketing is coming up with actual content…day after day or week after week. If only there were some list of resources where you could find good content. Yeah, if only.
  • All that great content on your site won’t do you a world of good if no one comes to find it. If that's the case, you need to find out where your potential customers spend time online. Melinda Emerson, a.k.a., the SmallBizLady, knows a thing or two about how to find your online audience.
  • Rebranding; now there's a scary word. But even after all the time, effort and money you spent building your business, it might be your best course of action. Changing those gears can be a daunting task, and there's a lot to consider.
  • Every small business needs photos for its websites, brochures and other marketing material. Are you reluctant to use stock photography because it conjures up craptastick pictures of models wearing business suites and plastic smiles? These images may change your mind.
  • Or maybe you're reluctant to pay for images at all. If that's the case (after all, budgets are tight), be sure you understand the ethical and legal ramifications of using pictures you find online.
  • Small business owners like making money, but not too many like accounting and taxes. They say it's not how much you make, it's how much you keep. Maybe this crash course can help you keep more of your hard earned cash.

Technology

  • The theft of 1.2 billion passwords by Russian hackers sent everyone scrambling this week. And it also revealed the opportunistic nature of Hold Security—the company that discovered the hack. It will tell you whether your info was compromised if you buy an annual subscription from them for $120. Charming. Instead, assume you were and take these steps to protect yourself against future attacks.
  • And here's another handy guide—to small business tech support options. Who you gonna call?

 Friday Fun

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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