Writing a Business Plan

Writing a business plan is a vital first step when starting a business, in order to set out your proposition, your market, customers and competitors.  The business planning process will give you a feel for the various elements that will determine your success, from cash flow, to sales forecasting to your personnel structure. A good business plan will let you structure your finances efficiently, show potential investors the strength of your business, and focus your efforts on developing your business. A business plan isn’t written once; it’s a living document that you return to periodically to help you spot potential pitfalls before they happen.  Find out more by getting in contact.

https://www.thecentreformicrobusiness.co.uk/events/

You can get plenty of free advice and guidance on how to write a business plan on line:

Sample business plans and guides from Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and NatWest banks.

Business plan advice and guides can be found from ICAEW, CIMA, and The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

You can get help with a business plan if you’re out of work from the New Enterprise Allowance, which offers support with developing your business plan, as well as financial and mentoring help.

Taken from: http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/writing-a-business-plan/

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Financing a new businesses

A bank loan is not the only way that you can raise money to fund your startup business. For some businesses, particularly new riskier ventures, equity investment – raising capital through the sale of shares in a business – may be most suitable. For equity finance, there is a growing number of business angels prepared to back new businesses. The government provides generous tax relief to investors who want to support new businesses.

For less risky types of businesses, debt finance may be more appropriate. If you are struggling to obtain a loan to start a new business, you may wish to consider applying for a start-up loan. For alternatives to the high street banks for both equity and debt finance you could consider raising funding through alternative finance providers such as peer-to-peer lenders or crowd funding platforms.  Find out more by getting in contact.

https://www.thecentreformicrobusiness.co.uk/finding-your-funding/

Taken from: http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/where-to-get-start-up-advice/

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The Challenges Facing Small Business

5 Biggest Challenges Facing Small Business (Plus Solutions!)

Ask any small business owner and they’ll tell you: running a small business is anything but small. It takes dedication and lots of hard work to get off the ground, but creating your own profitable business can be beyond rewarding. To get from ‘small business’ to ‘large company’ status however, you’ll have to face some growing pains. If you’re a smallbiz owner or are thinking of starting soon, you’ll want to plan for some of the potential obstacles ahead.

Here are some of the biggest challenges you’ll face, and how you can conquer them:

5 Biggest Challenges Facing Small Business

Little To No Online Presence

There’s no denying it: people are turning to the web for just about everything. If your business doesn’t have a professional online presence, you’re already a step behind. Luckily, putting your business online isn’t the complicated and costly endeavor it once was.

Here is a checklist of essential elements for a successful online presence.

The solutions:

Get yourself a professional website. Be sure to optimize your website for mobile and beef up its SEO. This way, no matter what device people are on, they’ll be able to find you.

Determine which social networks your target audience frequents, and set up a professional account on them. Creating and maintaining a social presence is key to helping drive traffic to your website, and grow your business.

Conquer email marketing.

Little To No Online Presence

Lack of Marketing Knowledge

When you start your own business, you don’t get a handbook explaining the ins and outs of marketing. While there are plenty of resources to help small businesses learn these skills, it’s hard to find the time to filter through with an already jam-packed schedule from running your own biz. Even though you may be spinning multiple plates at once, marketing should be prioritized. Getting the word out about your business is crucial to its success – so don’t skimp here.

The solutions:

Subscribe to a trustworthy blog that provides detailed information and actionable tips on all things marketing for small business. 

Once you’ve done your research, put this new knowledge into action. Create a marketing plan that includes your target audience, measured goals, known competitors and initial advertising platforms.

Hire a marketing company to handle your workflow. If you really don’t have the time to market your business, it’s likely worth the investment to make sure someone else is marketing it for you. Do your research and find an agency that will fit your budget, understand your brand, and be motivated to help you achieve your goals.

Trying to Do It All Alone

This is a common trap that many self-starters fall into. While you may be able to maintain an insane work flow for a while, eventually your knees will start to buckle and your business will suffer. It can be hard to hand over the reigns to someone else, or to trust a new hire with important tasks, but as you grow it will become necessary. The money you spend on salary will almost certainly equal what you’d lose if you go at it alone.

The solutions:

While sometimes you may think you know best (and sometimes you’re right), don’t shy away from advice. Learning from others and their mistakes is a great way to make up for any lack of experience. And remember, just because someone gives you advice, doesn’t mean you have to use it.

Build a dream team. If you’re desperate to hire staff, you’ve likely already started too late. When growing your business, the people you choose to work with can make all the difference, so be sure to bring on talented people who will be a good fit for your work environment.

Getting (and Keeping) New Clients

Getting new customers is obviously good for any business, but what really makes things take off is having repeat customers. In fact, a repeat customer is likely to spend 67% more than a first time buyer. So how do you make it happen? Like so:

The solutions:

Price your products and services competitively. Doing your market research will give you an idea of what you should be charging. Use this information to price your products and services competitively and gain an attractive advantage.

Follow through with remarkable service. Even if you have an amazing product line, nothing beats top tier service with a smile. Warm professionalism and reliability go a long way, and should be worked into your brand’s values. And of course, leave the 10 things clients hate hearing most out of your vocabulary.

Follow up with your customers and encourage them to come back with incentives like special discounts and even memberships.

Balancing Quality and Growth

Congrats! Your business is succeeding and it’s growing every day. Now it’s important to put parameters in place that will help you scale to meet demand while maintaining a high level of quality.

The solutions:

Develop a company culture that values quality just as much as you do. Prioritizing this value in your training and team building will allow your company to grow as a unified brand that you can be proud of.

Do your best not to micromanage. If you have competent and trustworthy staff, you should be able to delegate tasks and projects to them while keeping a watchful eye. This will allow you to focus on important tasks of your own, like growing your product line or expanding into a new market.

Be an all-star team leader. Your staff will do their best work when you help make their job as easy as possible. This isn’t to say you should encourage 3 hour lunch breaks, but you should be creating a workflow that lets your employees perform at their best, and not be bogged down by unnecessary tasks.

Taken from:
August 4th 2015 | Small Business Tips

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Worst used Buzzword offenders named

Thanks to dotrising.com for the following:

Buzzwords, and the worst offender has been named and shamed.

LinkedIn found that the word “creative” was guilty of slaughtering the ears of marketing professionals across the UK, with “strategic” and “motivated” following close behind taking second and third place respectively.
Studying the language of its 17 million UK members, LinkedIn sought to find which buzzwords cropped up most often.
Take a look of the top 10 overused buzzwords, are you guilty of dispatching an overused offender?:

1. Creative
2. Strategic
3. Motivated
4. Passionate
5. Driven
6. Track record
7. Enthusiastic
8. Innovative
9. Ambitious
10. Extensive experience

Richard George, a LinkedIn spokesperson, said: “Marketers spend their lives building the brands of their companies and clients, so should be experts at building their own brands.

“We’ve revealed these “buzzwords” to illustrate how important it is to differentiate your own brand as well as that of the organisation you work for. By avoiding these commonly used words, marketers can make sure their profiles stand out from the crowd.”

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Get Paid on Time – and What if you Don’t

Guest Blog from Pierre Haincourt MCICM – Credit Limits International Ltd, Faversham, Kent

A local client who runs his own one man building company once told me: “you know Pierre, I think small businesses like us think that only large companies use debt collectors and that credit policy, client risk, credit risk, credit control, payment reminders, debt collection, County Court, are things that only large companies have in place”.

This is not the case. Small and micro businesses, more than anyone else, need to make sure they get paid for their work so they do not put the financial health of their business at risk.

There are a few simple things, “common sense” basically, which can very easily be put in place to avoid non-payment.

  • CREDIT POLICY:

How you treat your customers from receipt of their order to full payment of your invoice?

Today, you are happy: you have received a new order from a new customer.

If you run an online shop and payment has already been made through your website by credit card before you do the work or ship the goods, you are usually OK, except when you get a “chargeback” of course.

Otherwise, unless it is customary in your industry to get payment upfront, you need to decide if your customer is good for the money.

This is where your Credit Policy starts, and it does not need to be more than a few bullet points:

  • Assess the new client (gather information)
  • Assess the financial risk associated with the order (small, large…)
  • Determine the payment terms (on credit, full or part payment upfront)
  • What if you don’t get paid (letters, phone, email, visits)
  • Do you apply Statutory late payment sanctions (“Late Payment Act”)
  • Do you escalate in-house using “MCOL” or instruct a collection agency or a law firm

This does not have to be a one size fits all policy but you need to ask yourself these questions upfront, before you decide if you are going to accept an order from this client and give him credit.

  • CLIENT RISK :

Know your customers

Let’s get back to our online shop. When you shop online, you need to complete a client form:

Name, company name, address, VAT number, telephone, mobile, email, delivery address, etc.

You still need to gather this information when your customer comes to your shop, your office, your workshop or when you first meet him over coffee. His business card is not enough. If you have a new customer application form, you are a real pro. If you don’t, you need to at least gather basic information about your new customer as this is the foundation of a strong relationship.

Check if the company is Limited and which position your contact holds within the company. If the company is not a limited, it is good to find out the private address of the trader/partners. After all if you are doing business with an individual you want to know where that person lives, right?

You should also manage to get your customer’s bank details.

Do the chitty chatty and find out how long he has been trading, how business is going, how he is finding the market and write all of this information down later.

It will be interesting to see how close to the reality this is when you do your research later.

If the company is Ltd, go to companies house to get all the information about it: Since 22 June 2015, it’s all free! Although I am not sure if this will be forever. But for now, you can go to:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/launch-of-the-new-companies-house-public-beta-service

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/

  • CREDIT RISK :

Will you give your client credit and how much?

What trust are you prepared to place on him?

Now you know your client, you should be able to decide how much credit you are willing to give him and for how long. But even if your client is “good for £10,000 over 90 days” are you financially able to give him credit, and wait this long? Do you have a choice? What is the competition doing? Do you need to finance the transaction (now, this is another topic…)

Remember that Statutory credit terms are 30 days. A large client should not put unreasonable pressure on you for longer payment terms if 30 days is the norm in your industry sector.

Establishing what your costs are to produce the goods or services you are going to sell to your clients is a good place to start. If your market (= your competitors) allows it, try to get a part payment upfront. This is also your client’s confirmation that he is fully committed and it will at least cover all or part of your costs.

The size of the order is also critical. Again, depending on how your market and your competitors operate and what finance or credit you are able to get, you may need to give credit terms to as many clients as possible, or you may be able to get a meaningful part payment upfront, staged payments throughout the contract, Direct Debit, or better: full payment upfront.

Once the work is done you absolutely need to invoice your customers promptly, otherwise your cashflow will be adversely affected.

If the contract stretches over a fairly long period of time, you need to have agreed staged payments beforehand. Don’t run out of cash half way through. And remember: customers do not like surprises, so be clear about when you are going to invoice for your work and what your payment terms are.

Typically, you will take a number of actions in-house (letters, phone calls, emails, visits maybe…), add late payment charges in certain circumstances, and decide when you are wasting your time chasing what has now become a debt, and how you are going to escalate your collection actions.

  • CREDIT CONTROL :

You have given your client a credit limit and

30 days credit but they have not paid…

So you need to chase them for payment

Good cash management has to include a plan in case your customers do not pay you on the due date.

Late payment is now being viewed as a big “NO NO”

If you have done everything right, so should your customers.

But a customer is such a valuable commodity, especially when you rely on repeat business.

So even when they do not pay on time you cannot shout at them in the way they shout at you when you do not deliver on time…

So reminder letters or phone calls should be professional, tactful, inviting communication, at least initially. As the debt becomes older, reminders need to become firmer but always business-like.

Late payers are now officially considered bad for the economy and there have been a number of EU and UK led initiatives since the late 90’s which are starting to have an impact on our payment culture, 25 years later…

The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 which was last reinforced in 2013 enables you to add 8% above BoE interest rate, plus a fixed compensation sum per contract of £40 for contracts under £1000, £70 for contacts between £1000 and £10,000, and £100 for contracts over £10,000, and to recover reasonable collection costs which you incur when using a third party such as a debt collection agency to recover your debt.

See: http://payontime.co.uk/late-payment-legislation-interest-calculators

More recently the prompt payment code has been launched as a joint initiative of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). You can see who the signatories are and if your client happens to be one of them, you may want to remind him of his commitment to pay his suppliers early, and become a signatory yourself to promote good practice!

  • DEBT RECOVERY:

You did not get paid on time so you need to react quickly. What do you do about it?

You have a number of options. Doing nothing and letting your debt age is not an option.

Unlike wine, it won’t get better with age!

You can take your customers to Court yourself, online by using “mcol”:

https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

This tool is designed for traders to resolve their non payment issues themselves. However, do ask yourself if this is what you ought to be doing with your time.

Who is driving your business forward when you are collecting your debts throught the Courts yourself?

If you decide that this is for you, and if you win, you will get a judgment.

Alone, this judgment will not get you your money back.

It is merely a document from a Court validating that you are owed this money. To turn your judgment into cash, you will need to enforce it. To do so, you can instruct the “Sheriff” (as seen on TV!) if your judgment is for at least £600, or make an application to the Court to seize wages, bank accounts, or for larger debts obtain a Charging Order on your customer’s fixed assets.

Using a debt collection agency may give you a final opportunity to get the matter settled amicably and to get your customer back in one piece (if you still want him as a customer that is). They usually work on a commission basis so they should not cost you anything unless they collect, and if they collect all, their services should be free of charge (in business to business transactions only). All debt collection agencies do not offer the same levels of service so check what they offer and if the one you select is a “one stop shop” they should do everything including Court work. Others just focus on offering a local doorstep collection service.

You can also use a firm of Solicitors who will typically send a “letter before action” giving your customer 7 days to pay and issue a claim in the County Court if there is no reaction. Court fees have drastically increased in 2015 so check what the costs will be. Remember that you will not recover your legal costs in defended matters under £10,000 (Small Claims Track).

As you can imagine, reaching this stage is no fun at all, so remember to build strong foundations to your credit relationship with your customers so it remains a rare occurence!

Pierre Haincourt MCICM – Credit Limits International Ltd, Faversham, Kent

@pierrehaincourt

pierre.haincourt@creditlimitsinternational.com

Debt Recovery Specialist/Seasoned Negotiator/Published Author/Cashflow Advisor/Conference Speaker

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22 Facebook Marketing Tips for Small Businesses on a Budget

Found this useful article on Wordsteam, you can find the full story here

Lisa Smith

As Facebook seeks to deliver the content its users will enjoy most and find most relevant, organic reach has been on the decline. In fact, some say it is downright dead.

This presents a particular challenge for small businesses: You don’t have the same budgets as bigger advertisers to pour into paid posts to compensate.

“The harsh reality of Facebook today is that only about 1 out of 50 people who are already fans of your page will see any single post you make on your Facebook business page,” said Sam Underwood, director of business strategy at digital agency Futurety. “Long gone are the days of posting and knowing that many, if not most, of your fans will see that content.”

But fear not, small businesses—there is hope. Here are 22 tips for how to find the right audience and offer up content and experiences they’ll value, even with a limited budget.

  1. Post with intent.

According to Christina Hager, head of social media strategy and distribution at media company Overflow Storytelling Lab, small businesses need to be more mindful about how they communicate with their audiences.

You can’t just throw things onto Facebook and hope someone sees them,” she said. “You need to post with intention and then decide what you are going to do with that post”—in other words, whether you are going to boost it with budget.

To do so, Vicki Anzmann, chief creative officer at marketing agency Creativation Marketing, said to use Facebook Insights to help determine a good posting rhythm and content mix.

  1. Try to blend in.

“Find ways to convey your brand by being funny, out-of-the-box, informational or unique,” said Eric Johnson, SEO specialist and digital marketer at web design, SEO and marketing firm FeedbackWrench. “Do that, and you’ll be sure to reach a large crowd on Facebook.”

Look at grocery chain Meijer.

Per Johnson, this post shows below average results because both the design element and the copy strongly suggest a promotional angle.

“When coupled with a link to buy the product, Facebook’s algorithm was likely able to easily determine the overtly promotional approach that this post took on,” he said. “Due to this, the post was, overall, a failed effort.”

Meijer’s other sunscreen post, however, had more than 15 times the interaction because it exists purely for the entertainment value of reminiscing.

“Since there was no overtly promotional angle here, the post reached a much larger audience and garnered tons of engagements that got the Meijer brand noticed a lot more effectively than a direct sales approach,” Johnson added.

  1. Don’t post without a content calendar.

In order to plan effectively, implement a content calendar.

Via Falcon.io

“A content calendar is the most effective way to maximize your efforts while minimizing the time spent on Facebook marketing,” said Dan Towers, senior manager of digital marketing at marketing and advertising firm Arcane.

“You can plan out content at one time and by using a scheduling program, like Buffer or Sprout Social, you are able set it and forget it,” he added. “But don’t actually forget it—still monitor your posts and focus on community management. Your customers will appreciate it.”

  1. Optimize your profile page.

Because tabs serve as the navigation bar for your Facebook business page, it is important to make sure they are well organized and improve the audience’s ability to find information. By optimizing tabs, restructuring their hierarchy and including or removing important tabs, you provide the user with a smoother experience, said Mackenzie Maher, social media account manager at digital marketing agency Power Digital Marketing.

“If you are a service-based business, make sure your review tab is turned on. If you add tabs that link to your other social pages, make sure these are all grouped together. If you’re promoting an event or hiring for a new position, make sure these tabs are also turned on and advertise your information here,” she said.

Via HubSpot

“It is simple, yet seemingly obvious tweaks like these that are often overlooked but can make or break the user’s experience. They should never have to look that hard to find the information they need.”

  1. Establish a community page.

Ben Taylor, founder of freelance advice portal HomeWorkingClub.com, said community pages tend to give more organic reach than commercial business pages on Facebook.

“If you make the page invitation-only it makes customers feel special and is a good place to maintain relationships with them, one on one,” he added.

Taylor said he got the idea from the NicheHacks private mastermind group, which discusses affiliate marketing, and then set up his own advice group for HomeWorkingClub.com, which gains about 25 to 40 new members per week.

“When people sign up to my email list, they’re invited to join the group,” he said.

  1. Create a Facebook group.

Maria Mora, content director at digital marketing agency Big Sea, said to create a Facebook Group, not for promotional purposes, but to allow for an exchange of information related to a given business.

“For example, if you sell essential oils, you can create a Facebook group specifically about pet owners trying aromatherapy,” she said. “The key is to find a niche within your customers’ interests and give them a space to connect. As that group grows, you can sparingly share your content, such as relevant articles or whitepapers.”

She pointed to the Ethical Aromatherapy group, which is moderated by essential oil retailer Stillpoint Aromatics, and has more than 13,000 members. Mora said it was created as a resource for consumers to discuss where essential oils are sourced and how to use them safely and it grew organically through members inviting their friends.

However, she warned not to use the group to promote sales or calls to action. The Ethical Aromatherapy page, for example, allows discussion and recommendation of other essential oil importers.

  1. Be strategic about your group name.

When creating a group, marketing consultant Ron Stefanski recommended naming it after something people will actually search for in Facebook to increase the odds users will find it. He used this tactic when creating a Facebook group for his website, BengalCatClub.com, which has since gained over 10,000 followers.

“I personally think this tactic could work for any business in any area/industry—Facebook groups do really well to further the awareness of the brand,” he said. “I feel like it’s a good idea that most people aren’t using.”

  1. Keep adding to your Facebook story.

According to Bernie Clark, founder of digital marketing and advertising agency Majux Marketing, Facebook Stories make posting often to Facebook much more casual.

“Stories don’t even necessarily have to pertain to company-specific news, they could be anything from fun questions to interesting links, anything to keep your audience engaged and cause a higher likelihood for a click on your profile,” he said.

Nedelina Payaneva, digital marketing specialist at translation services firm Asian Absolute agreed, adding Facebook Stories don’t require slick production value either.

“This type of content has a casual, on-the-go feel,” she said. “Users feel like they are behind the scenes and that works. Similarly, Live feeds are increasing in popularity. From makeup tutorials to studio tours, brands can go live and interact with fans. These can be saved and shared, and have value on the replay side, too.”

  1. Don’t obsess over vanity metrics.

Per Tommy Baykov, marketing manager at WordPress hosting services WPX Hosting, small businesses tend to have more limited marketing budgets, which is why they should focus on the things that make a difference to their bottom lines—and not the ones that make them temporarily feel good, like likes.

“Depending on your business and strategy, CTR, 50% video views [and] messages received are just some of the much more meaningful and actionable metrics,” he added.

  1. Use Facebook for customer service.

Rafi Bitchakdjian, head of social media at marketing firm Cue Marketing, said smaller brands can lean on Facebook to help them deal with any customer service issues that arise much as corporations use bots to communicate with clients online.

“Audiences expect replies within minutes and Facebook is the ideal on-the-go platform to use when wanting to solve an issue or even just thank a customer for their positive review,” he said.

  1. Post with a (small) budget.

Underwood recommends adding a paid budget—even a small one—to ensure reach.

“Try experimenting with different types of content, messaging, imagery and times of day, and use Facebook’s built-in A/B testing system to see what can help stretch your ad dollars to the max,” he said. “Posting without a paid budget is now officially a waste of time—you’re much better off posting just occasionally with a small budget to ensure that content gets in front of your valuable customers and prospects.”

Underwood said one national restaurant chain client has a per-post reach of 1.06% of its total likes on Facebook over the past several weeks—and another Midwest-based food client has seen its per-post reach drop to less than 7% in the last several weeks.

“Both of these are representative of what we’re seeing across all of our client pages recently,” he added.

Keri Lindenmuth, marketing manager at web design and software development firm KDG, agreed Facebook ads are effective because they allow you to custom-tailor the audience by location, age and more.

“Sometimes it is best if these ads look and sound no different than a regular Facebook post,” she added. “We have found that promoted video and image posts work best.”

  1. Narrow your audience.

George Schildge, CEO of digital marketing agency Matrix Marketing Group, said the objective is to narrow down audiences and test to see which will produce the most results for a given objective.

“Think about it as if we were running TV ads and testing in different cities,” he said.

So, for example, for small batch coffee roaster EspressoLuv.com, he narrowed down Facebook users to those who like roaster Blue Bottle Coffee. From there, he can research what else these demographics like.

“I’ll do this until I have about 30 other pages to begin narrowing my target audience before I start testing my ad creative,” Schildge added.

  1. Consider boosted posts.

Per Greg Bullock, marketing manager at migraine relief company TheraSpecs, Facebook’s boost post feature allows users to expand the audience for their posts exponentially and target highly engaged and relevant prospects—with very little budget.

“Not only can it help you recoup lost organic reach from ongoing algorithmic changes, but it can increase visibility that ultimately generates traffic to your content and/or purchases for your product or service,” he said. “In fact, we have seen our most popular posts generate thousands of clicks for literally two or three pennies per click.”

And while Bullock noted there is tremendous value to setting up a larger campaign in Ads Manager, “sometimes you really only want a few clicks to get going. With boosted posts, you just set your target audience, your budget and you’re off and running.”

He pointed to this boosted post from TheraSpecs, which received nearly 1600 paid clicks at $0.02 per click.

Tommy Burns, marketing specialist at digital agency Bluehouse Group, however, warned that small businesses have to be even more careful about how they spend their budgets and boosted posts have less targeting, bidding and pricing options.

“Ultimately, that means you’re getting less bang for your buck on each advertisement placement,” he said. “Small businesses use boosted posts because they’re quick and they’re busy. Unfortunately, they are giving up control over the advertisements their audience sees.”

  1. Use boosted posts to optimize ads.

For his part, Kevin Namaky, founder of marketing education company Gurulocity, suggested using Facebook ads and boosted posts in sequence.

By creating two ads and giving both a small boost of around $50 to drive initial engagement, small businesses can see which ad generates the most engagement, such as likes, shares and comments. Then, Namaky said, advertisers can create a Facebook ad in Ads Manager with their conversion goal, but instead of recreating the ad, they can reuse the exact boosted post as their creative, complete with likes and shares already on the post.

“This will help your ad convert better than if you ran a new cold piece of creative with no likes or shares on it to begin with,” he added.

To run the exact same post with the social proof, go to your business page, scroll to find the boosted post and click on the date and time at the top of the post. The URL has a unique post number, which you can copy and paste when creating the ad by clicking on ‘use existing post’ and entering the ID under Creative,” Namaky added.

  1. Learn how to use Facebook’s Power Editor tool.

If you’re serious about Facebook advertising, Burns suggested learning Facebook’s Power Editor tool to promote posts.

“It allows you to set up A/B test campaigns, create custom audiences based on conversion pixels and use advanced bidding models,” he said.

  1. Use Facebook’s product catalog ads.

Kevin Simonson, CEO of performance marketing agency Metric Digital, called not using Facebook’s product catalog ads a “wasted opportunity.”

“This template is a surefire way to create a rich browsing experience for shoppers, encouraging greater product discovery and engagement,” he said. “It’s also the perfect tool for implementing dynamic retargeting. Not to mention, it allows you to connect an existing catalog from another platform, such as Google.”

One ecommerce client saw sales from Facebook remarketing increase by about 300% after implementing Facebook’s product catalog.

“Their ROAS went from 600 to 3000% and their CPA dropped from $45 to $9,” he added.

  1. Structure your pixel strategically.

Scott Selenow, president of marketing agency Immerse Agency, said the Facebook pixel collects data about who is visiting your website and allows you to retarget those consumers later.

Facebook also has a lookalike feature, which allows you to target people who have similar online habits as your site visitors.

“The next ad campaign you set up can be all that more successful if you are able to specifically target folks you know have a propensity to interact with your campaign,” he said. “This pixel can help you maximize that intelligent targeting.”

However, if your Facebook pixel is poorly executed, you’ll lose because you’re not getting the data you need, Simonson added.

“Smart brands do everything it takes to make conversion tracking, optimization and remarketing easier. Pixel is the perfect tool for doing so,” he said. “It’s what helps you find new customers who are similar to your website visitors. And, shockingly, many of the companies we audit don’t have it set up.”

A small business client was able to turn Facebook into a channel that drove eight figures in spend, which is more than any of its other paid channels.

“Without having their pixel in order, that never would have happened,” Simonson added.

  1. Use Facebook Custom Audiences to retarget users who have watched your videos.

Per Andrew Schutt, founder of internet marketing firm Elevated Web Marketing, one of the most consistently effective strategies is using video ads to retarget warm audiences.

“One of the great things about the Facebook Ads Manager is the ability to create custom audiences for your ads based on how long people watch your videos,” he said. “For example, a dentist might run a video advertisement to a cold audience talking about how important teeth cleanings are. After the teeth cleaning video has been running for a few days, we could then set up a retargeting ad that offers a discounted teeth cleaning to new patients.”

But, Schutt said, that dentist can choose to show the ad only to people who have watched over 50% of the teeth cleaning video.

“That way, we know they’re interested in teeth cleanings already, so our ad is going to be much more relevant and effective,” he added. “Whereas if we were to just serve that discount teeth cleaning ad to a cold audience, the engagement rate on the offer would be much lower.”

Schutt said he’s used this strategy with a solar panel installation company and a chiropractor to help generate leads.

“What makes this strategy so effective is that we only show that free offer to people who watched over 75% of the first video. So we know they’re interested in the benefits of chiropractic—we’ve already prequalified them, to a degree,” he said. “In a single week, with minimal ad spend, we generated 18 leads for [a] free [chiropractic adjustment].”

  1. Create saved audiences.

Unlike Custom Audiences, Saved Audiences are those you configure through the standard Facebook Ads targeting options. But instead of configuring your audience each time you create an ad or want to boost a post, you can create saved audiences that you can use each time you start an ad campaign, said Chris Smith, co-founder of digital marketing and sales coaching company Curaytor.

Via Udonis

“This is a great option to use if you plan on targeting similar audiences each time you create specific ads or boost posts from your page,” he said. “Especially when you start creating ads in mass quantity and boost posts regularly, it will save you a lot of time and money.”

  1. Test different bidding strategies.

Stacy Caprio, founder of marketing firm Accelerated Growth Marketing, said her #1 tip is to test different bidding strategies, including amount of bid and type.

“You can create four or five different ad groups for an identical ad with different bid amounts and types, let it run for a week or two, then kill off the underperforming ad sets and let the best bid results continue to run,” she said.

In addition, Simonson said Metric Digital has audited more than 1000 small businesses since 2013 and has noticed some companies use conversion bidding, but don’t have enough events tracked to optimize.

“Facebook insists that an ad set needs to generate 15 to 25 conversions per week at minimum to provide enough data to be successful,” he said. “Now, this could be difficult to reach if your company has just started advertising and your budget is small. In our audits, we will often see conversion bidding used on ad sets that are getting far less than this number of conversions. Meaning, if your ad sets can’t hit 25 purchases per week, you can try setting your conversion event to add-to-carts, or another event closer to the top of the funnel.”

  1. Don’t forget to test ad placements.

Try both the Newsfeed and right-hand-side ads to see what performs best. That’s according to Namrata Arya, head of digital marketing for domain portfolio registry Radix, who added, “The right-hand side ads, while cheaper than newsfeed ads, may not get you the desired amount of clicks or conversions.”

  1. Capitalize on link retargeting.

If you’re using Facebook retargeting ads to boost conversions and attract visitors to your website, you should use link retargeting, too. That’s according to Louisa McGrath, content manager at link management tool Rebrandly, who said this allows you to build out your retargeting lists and reach audiences that haven’t visited your website before, but which have been influenced by your brand on social media.

“Basically link retargeting allows you to add Facebook retargeting pixels to your short link when sharing curated content. Anyone who clicks on this content can be retargeted with relevant ads,” she said. “So you can retarget people who’ve clicked on media coverage, reviews or industry news related to your business, even if the link led to a third-party website.”

McGrath said Rebrandly is using this tactic to promote a Meetup in Dublin.

“The event page is hosted on a third-party site—Meetup.com—but because the short link includes a Facebook retargeting pixel, anyone who clicks on the link or types it into their browser is added to our Facebook retargeting list,” she said. “They’ll be presented with one of our banner ads on Facebook.”

Still not satisfied? Find even more Facebook advertising tips here.

Lisa Smith is a freelance writer who has covered the digital marketing industry for more than a decade.

 

 

Taken from an article on Wordsteam, you can find the full story here

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Popular Social Media Sites

Came across this blog and thought it was so good have reproduced it all here:

60+ Social Networking Sites You Need to Know About in 2018

Updated 1st June 2018

 Human nature by default has been programmed to be socially active to a certain extent. Some people are more active, while others are less so!

However, people have always been looking for ways to connect and network with each other. And, in this age of digitisation, people have found ways to be socially active on the internet, which is possible with the advent of the numerous social networking platforms and apps.

Now, even relationships begin, grow and end on social media. People no longer need a personal handshake or face-to-face meeting.

Social media sites have also grown in numbers by leaps and bounds. As per the statistics revealed on Statista, approximately 2 billion users used social networking sites and apps in 2015. And, with the increased use of mobile devices, this number is likely to cross the 2.6 billion mark by 2018.

So, in this article, we discuss some of the most popular social media sites that are being explored by the world today. You can find out if your favourite social media platform is a part of this list and even learn about some really good online social platforms that you can start using today.

Learn More About These Popular Social Media Sites

1 – Facebook

This is easily the largest social networking site in the world and one of the most widely used. And, Facebook was perhaps the first that surpassed the landmark of 1 billion user accounts.

Apart from the ability to network with friends and relatives, you can also access different Facebook apps to sell online and you can even market or promote your business, brand and products by using paid Facebook ads.

Recently Facebook has lost the trust of millions of its users by allowing 3rd parties to access over 87 million users’ personal data. This is a massive breech of trust and has created a feeling of unrest amongst the social media platform’s audience. So much so that there is now a #deletefacebook campaign where people are completely removing themselves from Facebook and using other networks instead. If you’re concerned about what Facebook is doing with your data, then why not check out my guide on alternatives to Facebook, and see if there’s a better place for you to interact with family and friends.

Number of active users per month: 1.59 billion approximately

2 – WhatsApp

Despite having been acquired by Facebook in 2014, this instant messaging platform exists as an independent entity.

It arrived on the scene much later than Facebook, but has been able to capture the imagination of millions of people across the world by giving them the ability to communicate and share instantly with individuals and groups. The WhatsApp call feature is just the icing on the cake!

Number of active users per month: 1 billion approximately

3- QQ

Tencent QQ (more popularly known as QQ) is an instant messaging (chat-based) social media platform. It became international (with more than 80 countries using it), after it was launched in China.

It can be used to stay in touch with friends through texts, video calls and voice chats. It even has a built-in translator to translate your chats. To find out more, head over to our Chinese Social Media stats page.

Number of active users per month: 853 million approximately

4 – WeChat

This is an all-in-one communications app for messaging and calling (similar to WhatsApp) that enables you to connect with the people of your choice. It was also developed by Tencent in China and can easily work alongside QQ. As per the BI intelligence report, the number of WeChat users are fast catching up with the number of WhatsApp users.

Related article: WeChat keyboard shortcuts

Number of active users per month: 697 million approximately

5 – QZone

Like QQ and WeChat, QZone is yet another social networking service developed by Tencent. It enables you to share photos, watch videos, listen to songs, write blogs, maintain diaries and so on. It also empowers you to choose the accessories and customize the look and feel of your QZone webpages.

Number of active users per month: 640 million approximately

6 – Tumblr

Having been owned by Yahoo since 2013, Tumblr serves as a social media cum micro blogging platform that can be used to find and follow things that you like. You can also use it to post anything, including multimedia, to a short-form blog. Moreover, it gives you the flexibility to customize almost everything.

Number of active users per month: 555 million approximately

7 – Instagram

Instagram was launched as a unique social networking platform that was completely based on sharing photos and videos. This photo sharing social networking app thus enables you to capture the best moments of your life, with your phone’s camera or any other camera, and convert them into works of art.

This is possible because Instagram allows you to apply multiple filters to your photos and you can easily post them to other popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. It is now part of the Facebook empire. Learn how to grow your Instagram audience.

Read more on Instagram Tools to help you increase social engagement and audience numbers.

Number of active users per month: 400 million approximately

8 – Twitter

This social networking site enables you to post short text messages (called tweets), containing a limited number of characters (up to 140), to convey your message to the world. With the growing craze for online shopping, Twitter also makes it possible to promote your businesses and even shop directly through tweets. Learn how to create the perfect Twitter profile.

Number of active users per month: 320 million approximately

9 – Google+

Owned by the tech giant Alphabet (Google), this interest-based social networking platform enables you to stay in touch with people by sharing messages, photos, videos, useful links to sites and so on. It also extends support for video conferencing through Hangouts and allows businesses to promote their brands and products through Google+ business pages.

Number of active users: 300 million approximately

10 – Baidu Tieba

Offered by Baidu of China, a search engine company, Baidu Tieba (known as Postbar internationally) is a social forum network based on the keyword searches in the Baidu search engine. This discussion forum works on the unique concept of allowing you to create a social network group for a specific topic, using the search, or even to join an existing online social group.

Number of active users per month: 300 million approximately

11 – Skype

Skype, owned by Microsoft, is one of the most popular communication-based social networking platforms. It allows you to connect with people through voice calls, video calls (using a webcam) and text messaging. You can even conduct group conference calls. And, the best part is that Skype-to-Skype calls are free and can be used to communicate with anyone, located in any part of the world, over the internet.

Number of active users per month: 300 million approximately

12 – Viber

This multi-lingual social platform, which is available in more than 30 languages, is known for its instant text messaging and voice messaging capabilities. You can also share photos and videos and audio messages, using Viber. It offers you the ability to call non-Viber users through a feature named Viber Out.

Number of active users per month: 249 million approximately

13 – Sina Weibo

This is a highly popular microblogging social platform in China that is known for its hybrid mix of Twitter’s and Facebook’s features.

Number of active users per month: 222 million approximately

14 – LINE

LINE is a globally available messaging social network that enables you to share photos, videos, text messages and even audio messages or files. In addition, it allows you to make voice and video calls at any time of the day.

Number of active users per month: 215 million approximately

15 – Snapchat

This is an image messaging social platform that enables you to chat with friends by using pictures. It allows you to explore news and even check out live stories that are happening around the world.

Number of active users per month: 200 million approximately

16 – YY

YY is a major video-based social networking platform in China that enables group video chats. In such chats, more than 100,000 members can watch a single person doing an activity. Such an activity can be anything from giving a tutorial video to singing karaoke, which helps the users earn virtual currency that they can later convert into cash.

Number of active users per month: 122 million approximately

17 – VKontakte (VK)

VK is one of the largest social networking platforms in Russia and has quite similar features to Facebook.

Number of active users per month: 100 million approximately

18 – Pinterest

This is a photo sharing and visual bookmarking social media site or app that enables you to find new ideas for your projects and save them. So, you can do DIY tasks or home improvement projects, plan your travel agenda and so on by using Pinterest.

Number of active users per month: 100 million approximately

19- LinkedIn

LinkedIn is easily one of the most popular professional social networking sites or apps and is available in over 20 languages. It is used across the globe by all types of professionals and serves as an ideal platform to connect with different businesses, locate and hire ideal candidates, and more. It boasts over 400 million members.

Number of active users per month: 100 million approximately

20 – Telegram

This instant messaging network is similar to WhatsApp and is available across platforms in more than eight languages. However, Telegram has always focused more on the privacy and security of the messages you send over the internet by using its platform. So, it empowers you to send messages that are encrypted and self-destructive. This encryption feature has only just been made available for WhatsApp, whereas Telegram has always provided it.

Number of active users per month: 100 million approximately

21 – Reddit

This social media platform enables you to submit content and later vote for the content. The voting determines whether the content moves up or down, which is ultimately organized based on the areas of interest (known as subreddits).

Number of active users per month: 100 million approximately

22 – Taringa

Taringa is one of the largest social networking platform in Latin America and allows users to share their experiences, content and more.

Number of active users: 75 million approximately

23 – Foursquare

This is a local search- and discovery-based social media platform that enables you to find the ideal places (based on your location) to go to with friends and loved ones. It also gives appropriate search results for the best food outlets, night entertainment places and more in your area. The social networking feature is now available in a separate app named Swarm.

Number of active users: 40 million approximately

24 – Renren

This is the largest social networking site in China and is literally a platform for everyone. It has been highly popular with the youth due to its similarity to Facebook, as it allows users to easily connect with others, quickly share thoughts and posts, and even update their moods.

Number of active users per month: More than 30 million approximately

25 – Tagged

This is a great social media site based on friendship and dating and, in 2011, it acquired another social networking platform called hi5. It enables you to socialise with others through games, browsing profiles, common interests and so on.

Number of active users: 25 million approximately

26 – Badoo 

This dating-based social networking site operates in more than 200 countries. It shares details about people nearby in your area and even about people whom you may have bumped into in real life.

Number of active users per month: 20 million approximately

27 – Myspace

This is a music-focused social networking site and provides an interactive and user-submitted network of friends. It also provides blogs, groups, personal profiles, pictures, videos and so on.

Number of active users: 20 million approximately

28 – StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is an intelligent social networking platform that finds or discovers content and recommends the same to its users. You are thus empowered to discover webpages, images, videos and so on and then rate them as per your interest and taste.

Number of active users: 25 million approximately

29 – The Dots

the-dots.com is a networking platform that helps everyone involved in the creative process connect, collaborate and commercialise helping build a stronger, more profitable and diverse creative sector. Born out of a genuine passion to make the creative industries more open and meritocratic, founder Pip Jamieson launched the platform in the UK in 2014.

30 – Kiwibox

This is a community-based social networking site, especially for those who live in New York. It offers an online magazine to target teens through fashion tips, advice and chat. It also allows young adults to let everyone know about their skills and interests.

31 – Skyrock

Skyrock is a French social networking site that offers its users a free and personal web space to create and post blogs, add profiles and exchange messages. Apart from French and English, it is also available in five other languages.

32 – Delicious

It is known for being the leading social bookmarking service. Having been launched in 2003, Delicious is ideal for storing, sharing and discovering web bookmarks. It also allows its users to tag them with any keywords.

33 – Snapfish

Snapfish is a web-based photo sharing social networking site that offers unlimited storage to its members for uploading photos. You can thus put away your storage space concerns for your vast collection of images.

34 – ReverbNation

This is the ideal social networking platform for musicians and professionals to connect with others in the music industry. It offers different tools to musicians to manage their careers and offers them the right access to their music industry partners and fans. 

35 – Flixster

This is an American social networking site for people who love movies and want to connect with like-minded people by sharing their movie reviews and ratings. Its users are likely to learn about movies and get information about new movies.

36 – Care2

This social media site helps activists connect around the globe with similar individuals, businesses and organisations that are making an impact on society. It also encourages people to lead a healthy and green lifestyle.

37 – CafeMom

This ad-supported social networking website is a community for mothers and mothers-to-be that enables them to get support and advice on various topics, such as pregnancy, fashion, health and food. It also helps them learn from the experiences of other mothers.

38 – Ravelry

Ravelry is a community-based social network that is targeted at people who are interested in fibre arts, such as spinning, knitting, weaving and crocheting. Such people can share their own collections, different ideas and learn from the experiences of other members for better collaboration possibilities.

39 – Nextdoor

This is a private social networking platform for neighbourhoods in the US. The objective is pretty simple: allowing users to get connected with the people in their area.

40 – Wayn

Wayn is a travel- and lifestyle-based social networking platform and offers its users the ability to discover where to go, what to do and how to meet like-minded people to share their experiences.

41 – Cellufun

This social gaming community can easily be accessed on the move from any mobile device. With this mobile gaming-based social network, users can socialise, create avatars, play games and purchase virtual goods.

42 – YouTube

YouTube is the world’s largest video-sharing social networking site that enables users to upload and share videos, view them, comment on them and like them. This social network is accessible across the globe and even enables users to create a YouTube channel where they can upload all their personally recorded videos to showcase to their friends and followers.

43 – Vine

This is an entertainment-based, short-form video sharing social media site where members can easily share videos that are six seconds long. It belongs to the Twitter family and allows easy integration with other social networking platforms to share and watch videos.

44 – Classmates

Classmates allows users to find, connect and keep in touch with friends and acquaintances from school and college. It is also possible for users to upload their yearbook from their school years.

45 – MyHeritage

This is an online genealogy social platform which supports more than 42 languages and empowers its users to create family trees, upload and browse through family photos and manage their own family history. It could also be used by people to find their ancestors and get more information about them.

46 – Viadeo

Viadeo is an online business-based social networking site that helps business people, mostly those in Europe, connect with one another. It is available in about different languages.

47 – Xing

This professional social networking site offers features that are similar to LinkedIn’s features, with its main users based in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. However, it is unique in the sense that it enables closed group discussions between the members of a certain company or business.

48 – Xanga

This blogging-based social networking platform hosts weblogs, photo blogs and social networking profiles for its users.

49 – LiveJournal

This San Francisco-based social networking site is available in Russia, as Zhivoy Zhurnal or Zhe Zhe. It enables users to maintain a diary, blog or journal, along with privacy controls.

50 – Friendster

Friendster was previously a social networking site to find friends and stay in touch, but is now a social gaming network for game lovers in Asia.

51 – Funny or Die

This comedy video social website is aimed at bringing together the funniest videos from the web. Celebrities follow this social platform a lot and it enables users to share, upload and rate videos.

52 – Gaia Online

Gaia Online is an anime-themed social networking and forums-based website. It gives users access to avatars, virtual world, games and so on.

53 – We Heart It

This photo-sharing social media site, which is available in more than 20 languages, is ideal for users’ daily dose of inspiration or motivation. It enables users to view and share highly inspirational images with their friends.

54 – Buzznet

This social media site allows users to share content on the basis of their personal interests in the form of videos, photos and journals. It also seamlessly integrates with Facebook.

55 – DeviantArt

DeviantArt is regarded as the largest online social networking community for art lovers and artists. It enables users to take photos of their artwork and share them with others.

56 – Flickr

This is another highly popular photo-sharing website. It serves as a platform to upload numerous high quality images, especially by photographers or people who love photography. It is also an efficient online photo management and sharing service.

57 – MeetMe

Formerly known as myYearbook, MeetMe is aimed at users who want to find new friends and chat with them. This makes it highly popular among teens and young students.

58 – Meetup

This social networking portal enables you to find groups of like-minded people, who have similar interest to you, near your locality (anywhere in the world). It also facilitates offline group meetings and you can become a part of such groups and their discussions.

59 – Tout

Tout is a social networking cum micro-blogging platform that allows you to view and share videos that are 15 seconds long. The videos that are shared on this platform are known as touts.

60 – Mixi

This is a popular Japanese social networking service that has around 20 million active users. It enables you to connect with your friends and loved ones in a convenient way and even based on your areas of interest

61 – Douban

This Chinese social networking site has something for registered as well as unregistered users. It enables registered users to record information and create content based on music, films, books and events in the cities of China. Unregistered users of Douban can find reviews and ratings of books, music and movies.

62 – Vero

Vero says that its “a social network for anyone who loves anything enough to share it – and wants control over who they share it with. Just like we do in real life.” 

Vero is a subscription based social network which has no ads and does not collect any personal user data. It’s a great alternative to Facebook as has some really lovely features. It’s a totally different model to Facebook in the sense that Facebook needs user data in order to make money from them.

Vero does collect some usage data which is used to see how often the app is used. Another great thing about the usage data they collect is how its displayed to you.  Vero want to address the issue of social media addiction.

63 – Quora

Quora is a place where people can share and gain knowledge by asking and answering questions.

 

I hope that the above list of social networking portals, which are suitable for different categories like gaming, making friends, dating, photo sharing and blogging, proves valuable to you.

 

Posted in  Blog TrafficSocial by Jamie 40 Comments

and updated 1st June 2018

 

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Ways to Market your Micro Business

Small businesses usually can’t afford the high marketing budgets that large companies take for granted.  Micro businesses must be creative and determined to achieve their marketing aims. Here at the Centre for Micro Business we know how to achieve this.  We can help with:  website, branding, words and pictures, video and much more.

To Help Small Business Tips published this on 6th July 2015

Once you have read though why not contact us to see how we can help.

Here we go!

24 Effective Ways to Get Free Marketing For Your Small Business

1. Create a powerful business website:

Your site is the touchstone of your online presence.

2. Submit your website’s URL to search engines:

Google and Bing both offer the option to submit links to their platform and speed up the indexing process. This will help you improve SEO and rank better on search engine results.

3. Give a talk in a professional conference:

Presenting your vision or sharing your expertise with a live audience is a superb way to find your way to the spotlight.

4. Ask happy clients to share their experience on their social channels:

What satisfied clients say about you will always sound far more convincing than what you say about yourself.

5. Set up a newsletter and grow your subscribers’ base:

Email marketing is a highly effective way to interact with potential and existing clients.

6. Optimise your elevator pitch:

Do you know how to sell your brand in a short, clever and enticing 30-seconds speech? If not, it’s time to practice.

7. Offer a free consultation meeting:

Get the conversation going by offering a one-time meeting, no strings attached.

8. Send press releases about news and events:

When you have something interesting going on, create a compelling story and send it to multiple PR submission sites.

9. Tag related people in your social media posts to encourage engagement:

Get people’s attention by tagging their social profiles in your posts.

10. Get featured on testimonial pages of services you use, testimonial pages are a win-win platform.

11. Write guest posts on relevant blogs:

Writing your own blog is great, but chances are that you can reach a broader audience by publishing your posts on blogs that already have a large readership.

12. Create a contest or challenge that requires social sharing:

Instead of asking for entries, get contest participants to share your content for you. Save money on prizes by offering your own product or service.

13. Network on LinkedIn:

The world’s largest business social network is great for generating new contacts, join in on industry conversations and highlight your unique professional edge. Be sure to start by checking out this article on smart marketing with LinkedIn.

14. Use a branded email signature:

Adding a logo and the link to your website will get you more clicks as well as increase your branding as a serious professional.

15. Establish yourself as an expert with a video blog:

Break down your field of expertise into key questions and turn them into informative video guides.

16. Chime in on trendy hashtags:

When you’re working on your daily social posting, have a look at the current trending hashtags and see if you can utilise them in your content to increase the reach.

17. Learn the power of Local:

Focusing some of your marketing energies on your local community adds a personal dimension to your branding. Local events, news and networks can give you faster results than aiming at a national audience.

18. Follow-up with past clients:

Don’t neglect to treat your clients with care and respect once they completed their purchase. If you show them continued attention they are far more likely to return for more.

19. Make sure vendors and contractors are on your side:

The people you work with daily can become devoted ambassadors for your brand if you take the time to build a meaningful business relationship with them.

20. List your business with online directories:

Excellent method to improve link building, which is an important way to climb higher in search engine results.

21. Volunteer your branded products for use in productions and events:

Visibility is powerful. Even if you don’t get a monetary return when you loan or donate your products to a short film production, a festival or a workshop, your brand presence still makes an impact.

22. Get involved with community projects:

Wonderful for your personal growth and for your business reputation.

23.Offer a VIP discount code to a selected group of followers:

Make them feel special with a limited offer that only they can enjoy.

24. Discover niche social media platforms:

Everyone is on Facebook, true, but smaller niche networks provide a far more targeted audience for your brand. If you find one that fits your industry, you should put some effort in establishing your presence there.

Taken from:
24 Free Ways to Market Your Small Business
July 6th 2015 | Small Business Tips

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Starting a business from home

13-newsIt’s simple to start a business from home and growing numbers of people are doing it. There are 2.9m home-based businesses in the UK and they contribute £300 billion to the economy.  As part of its long-term economic plan to back businesses, the government has made it even easier to start a business from home.

Here are some ideas you need think about when starting a home based business.

The Home Business Guide explains the process of setting up a business from home and dispels common myths. It covers business essentials like rates, insurance and health and safety considerations. You will also need to consider wether planning permission is required to run a business from home. The local planning authority will determine this on the individual merits of a case.  Check if your home business will be subject to business rates. Generally, you shouldn’t have to pay business rates for minor business use of the home.

The Health and Safety Executive’s homeworking guide will help you to check that your home business meets health and safety requirements.  Home business must still decide on the legal structure of your business. Sole traders, business partnerships and individual partners must register for self-assessment with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  Private limited companies and Limited Liability Partnership (LLPs) must register with Companies House.

You should let your landlord know that you are planning to run a business from home and get their consent before doing so. The government has confirmed that social tenants are able to start and run a business from home. If you own a leasehold property you should check your lease for any restrictions.

Taken from: http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/where-to-get-start-up-advice/

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So where do you get start up advice?

So you’re ready to start a business. The UK has a very supportive environment for startups, with a flourishing wealth of networks, groups and organisations for all types and style of new business, where you can get practical advice, ideas and make many valuable contacts.  Take good advice at this planning stage, and you may well avoid costly mistakes later on. A business mentor can give you honest and constructive feedback, as well as provide useful contacts and pass on valuable experience. There are mentorship programmes to suit all kinds of businesses, including startups.

All CMB mentors are fully trained – get in touch to see where we can help.

https://www.thecentreformicrobusiness.co.uk/westkentprogram/

There is a wide array of services across England, offered by National Enterprise Network, New Entrepreneurs Foundation, School for Startups, Women in enterprise, and Enterprise Nation to name a few.

You can get help with advice and support if you’re out of work from the New Enterprise Allowance, which can provide advice, mentoring support and financial help.

There are several membership organisations which represents and helps owners and directors of small and growing businesses, like Federation of Small Business, British Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors and the ICAEW Business Advice Service.

Taken from: http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/where-to-get-start-up-advice/

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