Looks like Microsoft Great Plains becomes more and more popular, partly because of Microsoft muscles behind it. Now it is targeted to the whole spectrum of horizontal and vertical market clientele. Small companies use Small Business Manager (which is based on the same technology
Far too often we see small businesses rush into doing things without planning and preparing. Unfortunately, marketing is a great case in point. Many small businesses set up shop and then hurry to get a brochure made up, develop a web site, and get out and start networking without much planning or preparation. And then they wonder why their results are so poor.
Contrary to popular belief, small businesses can survive a crazy economy by taking some proactive steps.
- Provide spectacular customer service — every time. Have a friend or colleague visit your business and provide feedback from a customer’s perspective. This person should be unknown by your staff and willing to provide a candid assessment.
Make sure your front and back office work like a well-oiled machine. Are the front line and the back office telling your customers the same thing?
Manage your customer relationships — return customers take the least amount of effort — use that to your advantage. Keep in touch often.
Review your strategic plan monthly (weekly is even better). Make sure you’re doing the things that will get you where you want to go.
Adjust your strategic plan as necessary. Your “smallness” makes you more flexible.
Communicate, communicate, communicate — with your employees and your customers. Nurture those relationships. Ask for feedback often.
No matter what kind of small business you have, you need read these “small business survival tips” which will help you to succeed.
Those of us in home based and small businesses are in effect selling our product. So becoming an effective salesperson is very important. Remember, however, that selling is not the only thing you do. Don’t forget to use your time wisely.
Buyers want both online and local information about where to buy Most small businesses are local in nature, serving people who live nearby. Their customers found them through traditional methods like the Yellow Pages or newspaper ads. So far, the Internet hasn’t figured prominently in their marketing efforts. That’s about to change, as Local Search methods become more widespread. Even for buyers expecting to spend their money close to home, more and more of them go to the Internet to locate desired products and services. They rely on search engines to find suitable vendors in the fastest, easiest way. Local Search combines the search query word or phrase with specific geographic terms, like city or zip code. That way, search results only include enterprises in that local area. Instead of information about a small enterprise being lost among millions of pages of search results, it shows up in a small pool of local providers. That’s good for them, as well as the person looking for what they provide. Small operations can easily be located by a whole new group of buyers Consumers don’t simply go to the Yellow Pages when ready to buy – as they once did. Studies show that an astonishing 36% of online searches are conducted to find local businesses. About a quarter of all Internet users already conduct local searches. They’d do even more of it, if the desired small business data were more complete. Local enterprises need to prepare for the impact of changing customer habits. An easy first step is to include your business in Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), along with the printed Yellow Page directory. That puts your enterprise on the radar screen. Learn how your business can make the most of Local Search by visiting http://www.yellowpagesage.com. You’ll find reliable advice from experts in Yellow Pages and Local Search so you can get more mileage from your promotional dollars. Start by getting comfortable with search concepts, and improve your odds of being found when people search online for what you offer. You don’t even need your own Web site to benefit from Internet Yellow Pages and Local Search. Learn the Relevant Terms Search Engine – method for locating the information available on the Internet; a program that searches Web pages for requested keywords, then returns a list of documents where the query terms were found Google and Yahoo, the major general search engines, have both shifted gears to make Local Search a priority when delivering relevant results. Spider (also called “crawler” or “bot”) – goes to every page on every Web site and reads the information so it can be available to searchers; to “crawl” a site it collects and indexes information from it Specialized Search Engines – narrow focus of information crawled and indexed, like medical, business, or shopping sites Keywords – word or phrases used by search engines to locate relevant Web pages; words chosen to improve a site’s search engine placement and ranking Search Query – search request, which the search engine compares to the spidered entries, then returns results to the searcher Search Results – compiled list of Web pages that a search engine delivers in response to a query; the number of items returned is usually overwhelming (in the millions), so searchers only bother to view results on the first pages Relevant Results – the test of a good search is whether the results obtained relate to what the person wanted to find, without a lot of irrelevant links Local Search – combining a geographic term in a search query to locate suitable providers in a specific area Pay per Click (PPC) – method of building traffic whereby site owners bid on search terms (keywords) that link to their site Geographic Terms – specific information about the local area that can be included in a local search: zip code, town, county, geographic region, state Top Ranking – sites shown on the first page(s) of search results Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – fine-tuning keywords and page content so the Web site rates high in search engine results Tags and Titles (on Web Pages) – provide site keywords and information to search engine spiders for indexing a site Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) – directory of business phone numbers and locations in a geographic area, organized by category; searchable data base accessed on the Internet Make your business easy for searchers to find The public is embracing the convenience of searching on the Internet to find information about local businesses. However, their searches for desired information are compromised because so many local enterprises don’t show up in the databases as yet. Those that do have an edge in their local market. Climb aboard! Make sure searchers can find you. For little or no money, you can expose your enterprise to the whole world. Whether or not your business has a Web site, you need to provide the information people are looking for in the places that they look for it. Local Search and Internet Yellow Pages open new avenues to buyers ready to spend. Best of all, they support and compliment your traditional methods of finding new business. So you cover all your bases. (c)2004, Lynella Grant
Many small businesses fail because their owners don’t pay enough attention to sales copy. Especially on their Web sites. If you want to be a member of the 5% Club that receives plenty of ongoing, consistent income, check out these points.