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Creating an Online Presence for Your Small Business

In these times of constantly upgrading technology, it is not uncommon for the average shopper to check out a business online before actually visiting. An online presence, or website, is imperative in building your small business, regardless if it is local, national, or even international. The internet is your key to introducing your business to the community.

Initially, there are plenty of options for websites. There are certain free website hosts online that give you a free web presence, as long as you don’t mind having ads on your site. The other option, and one that is most utilized, is that of hiring a professional website designer or design company to build your site. This gives you the ultimate freedom for your site design, as well as professional experience to back it up.

Starting out you have to have a good idea of your target audience. For example, a toy retailer would be oriented towards children and parents. A business dealing with the stock market, on the other hand, would be oriented more towards the white collar crowd. With a good feel for your customers, you will have a good ideal of the style of website you want. You can have a clean simple site, a flashy cutting edge site, a professional looking site, or anything else you would like. The imagination of your web designer and yourself is your only limitation.

One important factor to remember is that you don’t want to overwhelm those looking at your website. If, for example, you own a store, you won’t want to have every single product listed on the website at the front page. This is simply too much to take in. It is a proven fact that teaser pages do better. A teaser page is a webpage that tells a few of the more high profile items or services you provide. If you can appeal to the potential customers’ sense of curiosity, you will likely end up with a new customer.

There are certain pages that you will want on your website. Never settle for a single “landing” page. Regardless of the size of your business, one single page website will make you seem small. Of course, you will have your front page where you will identify your business and build the customers curiosity. Next, you will want a contact page with your actual address, phone number, email, and any other pertinent contact information, as well as your business hours. Next, have a page with actual photographs (professional) of your business, inside and out, and your employees happily doing their jobs. This will give your business a nice comfortable atmosphere to the customer.

These are your main pages, but the list of optional pages is limitless. You can have a history page, a coupon page where customers can print out coupons, a calendar of events if your store holds certain community events, an about us page describing the inner workings of the business, and the list goes on and on.
Once you have your website set up and going, it is important that you spread the word about it. Be sure and put your web address on business cards, newsletters, and advertisements. Make sure your employees spread the word about your new site also.

Websites are a proven success for any business. If properly created and managed, in many cases, websites have brought in more customers and sales than actual storefronts. Consider the concept of a door. Before someone walks into a building, they have to go through the door. A website is a metaphorical door for your customers to get to your business.

September 20, 2010   No Comments

Wholesale Week in Review – (September 17)

Does Free Shipping Pay Off? – September 15, 2010

http://www.internetretailer.com/2010/09/15/does-free-shipping-pay

Customers can shop numerous retail sites that offer free shipping; however, sellers need to know whether that free shipping offer is worth it. To know whether free shipping really does improve a site’s business, retailers who have already found success with free shipping promotions suggest experimenting with different product categories and pricing strategies. The goal is to get the customer to purchase more. This may be achieved by only extending free shipping to higher-margin products or by setting a minimum-purchase threshold.

7 Tips for Tapping Into the Product Video Sales Bonanza – September 15, 2010

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/7-Tips-for-Tapping-Into-the-Product-Video-Sales-Bonanza-70825.html

As the holiday season approaches, on-line retailers will be rushing to upload more videos to their sites. The reason is that on-line videos are proving to be quite effective in showcasing products as they engage potential buyers and ultimately increase sales. Seven suggestions on how to increase sales with the use of video are provided, including: select the best video production format for the site – full production video or the more cost-effective automated video; create videos of best-selling products first; embed current marketing messages and incorporate product reviews in the video; and ensure the video will be viewed by uploading to a popular website.

Work From Home As an eBay Dropshipper – September 13, 2010

http://blog.dropshipaccess.com/bid/43491/Drop-Ship-News-Work-From-Home-As-an-eBay-Dropshipper

eBay is the premier online auction venue, and an opportunity for a home business is to become an eBay dropshipper. Dropshippers simply select items of interest from a wholesale dropship product source and list them. It is suggested to write product descriptions and provide personal photographs for each item. There is no need to house any inventory. An eBay dropshipper is only responsible to sell product while the wholesale product source stores, packages, and ships all items.

September 17, 2010   No Comments

How to Save Ten Percent or More Every Month

One of the most simple yet overlooked ways to save money is the “imagination technique.” No, it doesn’t mean to imagine you’re incredibly wealthy, although that can be fun too!

The imagination technique involves picking a percentage of your monthly (or bi-weekly if you prefer) income that you would like to save. Say you would like to save 10% of your earnings, but like so many others, can’t seem to figure out where your money goes.

The next time you’re out shopping, you’ll use your imagination to pretend everything you’re buying is 10% more expensive. That grocery bill of $50? Pretend it was $55. Bought yourself a new article of clothing for $25? Your imaginary expense kicks in, it’s $27.50. As you can see, it doesn’t seem like much, but these little piles of 10% will stack up quite quickly.

You may be thinking this is going to be hard to keep track of. It does require a little bit of effort, but after you notice your savings adding up, it will become much easier. A great way to keep track of your imaginary 10% “pretend tax” is to just keep a little notebook in your pocket. After you make a purchase and get back in the car or get home, whip out your notebook and make a note of the 10% amount (although don’t wait too long or you’ll forget).

Now the hard part. Obviously you still have the money you pretended to spend, and it sure will be tempting towards the end of the month to use it. Don’t. Part of the imagination technique is to pretend that the money has actually been spent – it doesn’t exist anymore. Train yourself to accept the idea that the money is spent, it’s gone, and you’ll have to make do without it.

Of course if there’s an actual emergency or an urgent need for the money, you’ll have to use it, but isn’t that part of the reason you’re saving in the first place? Even a few weeks of using the imagination technique can add up to enough to fix minor car repairs or pay an unexpected bill.

This way of saving money every month is fun, easy, and the only effort required on your part is to make use of something you’ve always had – your imagination!

September 16, 2010   No Comments

Top Ten Horror Movies of All Time

It’s that time of year again. The nights are getting shorter, the wind is starting to bite, and Halloween is approaching. Nothing says tradition like settling down with a scary movie – or ten – but with Halloween only lasting a day, how should you prioritize your list of scary movies for the ultimate fright night?

10: Halloween (1978)

Of course.

9: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

It’s classic for a reason – that reason being the titular nightmares that seep from the movie into your brain. The claws, the claws!

8: Shutter (2004)

This horror movie from Thailand is the ultimate experience in jumps, chills and thrills, and it gives a whole new meaning to “looking over your shoulder.” For that time of night when you REALLY want to be scared.

7: Children of the Corn (1984)

It may be old and suffering from 80s special effects, but Stephen King is the master, and nothing proves it like a cult of crazy kids and a cornfield.

6: Chakushin Ari (2004)

Japan has perfected the art of creepy, ghostly girls with long black hair and a score to settle. The only thing scarier? Ghost girls who trail behind you on the ceiling…

5: The Amityville Horror (1979)

Your home should be a safe place where you feel protected from things that go bump in the night. If you believe that, don’t watch this movie.

4: Poltergeist (1982)

They’re heeeeeeere… and you’ll never sleep again! Which is a good, because you’ve still got a few more movies left to go.

3: It (1990)

Oh, afraid of clowns, you say? There’s nothing to be scared of. They’ll just slither out of the gutter drenched in blood and grinning with all their teeth. No biggie.

2: The Exorcist (1973)

Where do we even start? How about the infamous head-spinning scene? The crucifix, the shaking bed, the deep guttral voice issuing from the throat of a little girl? How about that terrifying spider-crawl down the stairs – backwards?!

1: Ringu (1998)

If you really want your kids to stop watching so much TV, this should do it.

September 15, 2010   1 Comment

Get the Scoop on DD’s Breast Cancer Awareness Products

The following is a great list of Breast Cancer awareness products. Buy them for yourself and use them proudly or share them with others and help spread breast cancer awareness during the month of October.

1. Wholesale 3 Button Pink Crystal Laser Mouse
This mouse is equipped with high definition laser technology which can be used on any surface. The double heart mouse is embellished with Swarovski crystals and can be used on both laptops and desktops. When you buy this mouse, Innovera will donate $5 to City of Hope to promote breast cancer research so you can feel good about using your mouse. This mouse is suitable for left or right handed users.

2. Wholesale Breast Cancer Awareness Lanyard Keychain
Attach your keys to this fun pink lanyard keychain. You never have to worry about not being able to find your keys in your bag as this pretty pink keychain will be easy to spot every time.

3. Wholesale Breast Cancer Awareness Embroidered Wristbands
Everyone knows that exercise is crucial for health and breast health is no different. Promote Breast Cancer awareness when you wear these pink embroidered wristbands. 2 Wristbands come in an assorted pack of pink and white.

4. Wholesale Pink Ribbon ReAction Mechanical Pencil 0.7mm
BIC plans to donate $75,000 this year with the sales of some of their products Their mechanical pencils are decked out with breast cancer ribbons ribbons and are refillable. 2 pencils come in a package along with lead and eraser refills. A rubber grip and D-Flexion technology makes these pencils comfortable and easy to write with. Show your breast cancer support as your write!

5. Wholesale Resilient Business Card Book Faux Leather Pink
This adorable faux leather business card book comes in pink and includes 12 plastic sleeves for extra card storage. Rolodex plans to donate $53,000 to City of Hope and when you buy a business card holder, $0.50 goes to meeting that goal. An additional card pocket and 10 note cards allows you ample space to store all of your important contacts.

6. Wholesale Leather Tote 11-1/2 x 4 x 10 Pink
Carry around all of your necessities in this fashionable pink leather tote. Now you can look trendy and support a great cause at the same time. 3-10% of the price of each bag goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Double handles make it easy to carry and a pink ribbon adds to the cute factor of this tote. The pink leather is accented with chocolate brown and has room for all of your things. Store your loose items in a small zipper pocket. There are also extra pockets to store your cell phone and any other small electronics.

7. Wholesale Caramel Mochaccino 8 Oz Can
There’s nothing better than a warm and indulgent Caramel Mochaccino. Fireside coffee will donate part of the profit of every Caramel Mochacchino sold to breast cancer research. 14 one cup servings of a chocolatey, caramel, coffee confection come in each can.Help support the fight against breast cancer – Each can contains 14 8-oz. servings of instant gourmet coffee.

September 15, 2010   No Comments

Growing Service, Reducing Costs – Outsourcing Secrets

Imagine a situation where a company could increase its service abilities and core competencies, grow its business revenue and reduce its cost structure. Does this sound impossible? Well, it isn’t. In fact, a number of small business owners and entrepreneurs do it every day. They effectively increase their capabilities and grow their business while reducing costs. How is this done and why is it so important for small business owners to know about it? It’s outsourcing and it allows companies to control their day to day operating costs while improving efficiencies and growing sales. Every small business owner must wear multiple hats. Finding the time for all the responsibilities of running a business can often be an exercise in futility. Freeing up that time means more valuable time spent closing on business opportunities. So, what are the best functions to outsource for small business owners?

Outsourced Marketing Increases Business Opportunities
A number of small businesses have excellent products and services, but aren’t able to maximize on their opportunities for sales in a given market. Outsourcing marketing allows companies to control their marketing costs while ensuring they concentrate their sales efforts on qualified leads and opportunities. It allows companies to better control their marketing budgets and expenditures while ensuring they have the time available to close sales.

Outsourcing Payroll Reduces Operating Expenses
Using an outsourced payroll company helps to lower a company’s day to day operating expenses and ensures they won’t be penalized for late or incorrect tax filings. Outsourced payroll companies are tax and government regulation experts and are up to speed on the most relevant tax codes. They manage all aspects of the company’s payroll and will ensure timely deposit of funds by direct deposit.

Outsourcing Accounting Improves Receivables Collection
Keeping customer accounts up to date and in line with their terms can often be extremely time consuming and costly. To alleviate this concern and free up time, a number of small business owners outsource their receivables collection and invoicing to an outside accounting firm. This allows them to benefit from a professional firm able to follow up on receivables collection and address any outstanding issues relating to invoices.

Small business owners must be able to continually lower costs and close on business opportunities. It amounts to freeing up time and allowing business owners to concentrate on business growth. When small business owners and entrepreneurs can concentrate on what they do best, the company as a whole will thrive. These outsourcing functions allow small businesses to reduce operational expenditures and improve service.

September 13, 2010   No Comments

Decorate for Halloween Using Wholesale Products

It’s that time of the year again: zombies, pirates, and ghosts, oh my! Halloween is a great holiday for children and adults alike. Kids love the costumes and candy, whereas adults love it because, well… when else is it considered socially acceptable to have cobwebs, pests, and dead things lying around your home? Time to make the most of it and get to decorating!

1. Spider Webs
Spider webs are one of those must-have things for Halloween. On this here site, you can find spider webs galore. There are webs that stretch across doors and windows, webs that glow in the dark, ones that hang across ceilings… the list is limitless.

2. Roaches and Rodents
Your Halloween home wouldn’t be complete without roaches, rodents, and other creepy crawlers. Be über nasty and get a variety. The next step up would be to leave open food containers lying around for a few weeks prior to Halloween. But don’t say you haven’t been warned: pest control is expensive.

3. Rodent Silhouettes
Thanks to rodent silhouettes for windows, even folks who don’t get the privilege of coming into your home can see what lurks within.

4. Skeleton
No Halloween would be complete without a decomposed body, would it? This skeleton can be hung or laid out on the ground.

5. Crime Scene Kit
Skeletons might be common Halloween décor, but you can add a touch of realism by creating a gruesome crime scene with it. If they call you morbid, they’re just jealous of your originality.

6. Zombie Chowing Down On Human Head
The human fascination with flesh-eating, dead people is something that psychologists are still trying to figure out. Regardless, zombies are all the rage this year. It appears as though he is rising from the ground, making it the perfect front yard prop.

7. Dangling Bats
In case webs, roaches, and rats aren’t enough, the bats dangling from the ceiling will provide the finishing touch. Halloween is once a year, so it’s time to go all out.

8. Skeleton Table Pieces
This is a set of three skeleton table pieces to prop on the kitchen or coffee table. One skeleton covers his eyes, another covers his ears, and the third covers his mouth. “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

9. Skeleton Door Cover
Undoubtedly, this will throw some much-needed humor into the ghoulish mix. Guaranteed, nobody has ever seen anything like it. The perfect cover for your bathroom door: a skeleton reading the newspaper on a toilet bowl.

10. An Utterly Terrifying Mask
Aside from turning your clean, cozy home into a filthy deathtrap, the other great thing about Halloween is something that no self-respecting adult wants to admit to themselves. It’s hidden there in your subconscious. After all the headaches and stress they’ve caused, you want to scare those little neighborhood brats. Don’t deny your perfectly natural urges. BOO!

September 8, 2010   No Comments

Get Ready for Halloween!


It may only be September, but the haunting presence of that most creepy holiday can be felt even now.

Today is the last day that you can get “Everything Halloween” at 20% off. So if you need to stock up on spooky deals, then head on over to DollarDays right now, and make sure that you fill your shopping cart with the creepiest goodies you can find.

September 8, 2010   No Comments

Leveraging Social Media to Boost your Small Business

Want to advertise the services that your small business provides with low cost marketing? Look into Social Media! Social media provides a forum for businesses to create an online presence that extends beyond the walls of your storefront and into the lives of your potential customers. A social media campaign that is executed correctly can build your clientele and spread the word about your business often without negatively impacting your bottom line or taking money out of your pocket. Below are some tips to leverage free social media sites to boost your business.

Create an Online Presence
There are many social networking sites out there that offer the ability for small businesses to create an online profile describing your services. Leverage all of those sites and ask that your employees sign up and associate themselves with your business. The more your potential clients can learn about your business, its employees, and its services, the better chance you have of them feeling comfortable enough to trust you with their business needs.

Consistency Is Key
There are many sites out there that target different audiences, but it is important that on each site, the message about your business is consistent. LinkedIn, for example, targets business professionals who often have established business contacts and a wealth of experience. LinkedIn is used by busy professionals to build and grow a network, and often to find job opportunities. Facebook, on the other hand, is a more social tool that is used more for entertainment then true business transactions. Create a presence on all of the social media sites that you can, but ensure that you consistently brand your business with a common message across all platforms. You do not want to confuse customers or potential clients who have accounts on all these sites.

Your Message is Contagious!
Social media is a great way to quickly spread the word about any promotions that you are offering and will surely get customers in the door. Advertising a promotion to your Facebook “fans” or to your LinkedIn “connections” or to your Twitter “followers” has an infectious and contagious element to it because each of your contacts on those social media platforms have their own networks, and often your message can reach beyond your own contacts and to the networks 2 or 3 degrees away. Advertising a promotion through social media is a quick way to get some “buzz” around your business and what you can offer.

Stay Current
Everytime you update the offerings of your small business, be sure to update all of the social media sites on which you are listed. You never know who may be lurking on those sites and looking for something specific that your company has just begun to offer. Stay current, do not let your content get stale, and you will be sure to lure in key customers who are seeking your new services.

Social media is a growing industry and the business world is still realizing its benefits. Following these few tips can help you to stay on the cutting edge and ensure that you do not leave your potential new clients in the dark. Good luck!

How has your company used social media? Can you give us a link so we can see an example?

September 6, 2010   No Comments

Wholesale Week In Review – (September 3)

How to Sell Wholesale Jewelry – September 2, 2010

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/7-Tips-for-Tapping-Into-the-Product-Video-Sales-Bonanza-70825.html

Selling wholesale jewelry is an economical choice for sellers as it is typically lightweight and rather small, keeping shipping costs low and negating the need for special storage. For one who is interested in selling wholesale jewelry, five tips are provided. A reliable source for the jewelry is key. A sample of the jewelry should be ordered before deciding to sell. Fake items should be avoided. More than one photo should be included for each item being sold. And, current best-sellers should be researched to see where the market lies.

September 3, 2010   No Comments