According to Bloomberg, a whopping 8 out of 10 businesses will fail within the first 18 months of operation – a sobering statistic for any startup.
To improve your chances of business success, taking some time to develop a digital marketing campaign can work wonders.
Not only will you be able to increase traffic to your web pages, but you can convert leads into bona fide customers with these simple services and tools.
Here are 8 small business essentials for 2016 that you need to read.
1. Whitespark – Citation Building
Having a network of citations is critical for business success. If it’s something you haven’t done yet, a site like Whitespark can make the whole process as stress-free as possible.
You will be able to list your site on local directories, increasing brand visibility to a local or regional audience. Google’s latest algorithms place a greater emphasis on citations, so getting your site listed on somewhere like Whitespark can be an excellent way to boost traffic from the search engine results page.
Whitespark isn’t just one SEO tool, but rather a collection of various tools that will help increase your rankings on search engines and generate more click-throughs and conversions.
You’ll be able to enter a keyword on the platform and find a list of citations, saving you a lot of time and hassle.
How does it all work?
Well, Whitepark scours the web to find the best citation sites for your company, essentially doing all the hard work for you.
2. BrightLocal – Citation Research and Cleanup
Citation building is critical for any small business. It enables you to expand your networks and increase exposure online – a must if you want to boost sales and generate revenue.
There are loads of citation tools out there, but BrightLocal is one of the most popular, used by lots of big-name brands.
You can start by cleaning up the citations you already have and updating your contact details (including the name, address and phone number of your brand) across various platforms.
Next, BrightLocal can help you gain a foothold on the search engines so traffic can trickle to your online store. The platform’s APIs make it easy to find insights in one place, too.
3. Themeforest – The Web-design Marketplace
Themeforest comes with a plethora of WordPress themes that will revolutionize the look of your website.
You’ll be able to attract more prospects and lead them through the sales funnel.
Research reveals that poorly-designed websites could influence purchasing decisions, something that could have an adverse impact on your bottom line.
At Themeforest, you can choose a theme that best suits your business brand, including HTML themes that you can customize yourself. Templates and themes start from $2, and there are thousands to choose from, including eCommerce themes and blog templates.
You can search for templates sing the platform’s search feature or find the latest additions on the landing page.
4. Fiverr – Outsourcing starting at $5
If you need a graphic designer or a social media designer, Fiverr can help.
The online marketplace, which accepts payments via a secure platform, has various creative professionals like Photoshop experts and designers to choose from.
Outsourcing services like this can provide you with more time to concentrate on other areas of your business, such as staff acquisition or talking to suppliers.
5. StudioPress – Rock Solid WordPress Framework
Used by a whopping 182,000 website owners, StudioPress is a premium WordPress theme creator that can transform the appearance of your site.
Want to attract a particular type of customer? Encourage high-value leads to land on your pages? StudioPress provides you with all the tools you need.
Features include responsive HTML5 themes that look great on mobile and attract people who are using smartphones and tablets to search for local businesses like yours.
You can also incorporate widgets and other layout options to convey important business information to customers.
6. SEMRush – Competition Analysis on Steroids
SEMRush is one of the biggest names out there when it comes to competitor analysis; this tool allows you access millions of domains and keywords so you can choose the right SEO strategies for your brand.
But what makes SEMRush different from all the other similar tools on the market? Well, firstly, the interface is easy to use.
Secondly, you’ll be able to find the paid and organic search techniques that rivals are using in your niche. This is perfect for keyword spread and will help you decide on which phrases will provide you with more bang for your buck.
Go ahead give it a try, enter your domain or a keyword here:
Competitive analysis is always a good idea for any startup, especially if you want to discover more about your local market. You’ll be able to see which companies outrank you on particular search terms, providing you with all the info you need to develop a killer SEO strategy that will boost inbound traffic and leads.
7. WPEngine – Fast, Reliable Website Hosting
Finding a good hosting website can be a chore for any small business owner, especially if they are a start-up.
With so many hosts out there, it can be hard to know where to start. Customer service, server uptimes, and speeds are factors that you should consider before you go any further.
If something goes wrong, or you just need some help, you can contact a customer rep using a number of different methods (including phone and email) and can keep your site running smoothly, something that will please your clients and customers.
8. 99designs – Professional Design and Branding Services
The world, it seems, is becoming increasingly visual. If you want to outrank your rivals and develop a customer base, you’ll need bold brand marketing that demands attention and tells the world about your company values.
Remember, creating an attractive website is important if you want to generate more leads; however, if you lack the resources or skills to do this yourself, using a service like 99designs can provide you with a return on your investment.
You will be able to choose a graphic designer who can incorporate on-page SEO techniques that will boost the position of your pages on search engines.
If you’re starting or running a retail or service business, then you’re probably trying to find good wholesale supplier. There are currently hundreds of thousands of companies in the wholesale distribution industry so finding and forming relationships with these wholesalers takes both time and research. So, if you’re just getting started, use this advice for how to find a good wholesale supplier.
The Wholesale Business
First, let’s take a look at the wholesale industry. This is a huge industry and tends to be highly fragmented. Only about 50 of the largest distributors generate 25% of the revenue. Wholesalers also serve retailers and service businesses through a wide range of channels and supply chains. At the top of this chain are the manufacturers who sell to wholesalers. Next, you have wholesalers who may also be known as regional distributors. They sell and distribute the good locally. Finally, there are brokers and jobbers who are responsible for delivering goods to small businesses such as independent produce stores.
When you enter the wholesale business, you’ll quickly find that it’s centered around volume. The more goods that you purchase, the lower the prices are, and the higher your profits can be. So, if you’re a small business, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to negotiate relationships from a wholesaler simply because your sales volume isn’t going to be that high. However, small wholesalers will sell and ship to small businesses and as long as you’re able to move forward and see increases in sales, you’ll be able to move up the supply chain. However, there are also wholesale suppliers who are willing to work with small businesses and you can reach good agreements with them that are mutually beneficial.
Probably the hardest part is finding wholesalers. This step takes time but there are a number of practices you can use to help improve your research efforts. First, start by searching the internet. You’ll want to search for wholesalers by product to help you find the suppliers that you can actually use. You can also search through online assocations, wholesale directories, or trade directories.
Trade shows and trade magazines can be good places to look but may not be your best option in some cases. Navigating a trade show takes both a budget and a significant amount of tie. However, you can use trade show directories to pinpoint events by industry and location to help narrow down your search. You can also look at magazines on your own time and find the wholesalers who are specific to your industry.
Word of mouth is also going to be helpful, although you may learn more about what not to do. Asking around at a networking event is a good way to find out who your competitors purchase from and finding out if their suppliers offer good service. You can also talk to brand manufacturers. They usually only sell in high volumes so this may not be a supplier, but they can refer you to those that will sell to small businesses.
When you think you’ve found a good supplier, you’ll need to make sure that you do your research first. Make sure to ask about volume discounts, order processing times, and return policies before choosing a company. Also, don’t forget to ask for references and do your own research. The Better Business Bureau is a great source of information and they serve almost as a background check for companies. A few hours of research can save you a significant amount of time and frustration in the long run.
Wholesale Suppliers Directory
If you’re not sure of where to get started, then you may want to look into Salehoo. Simply put, Salehoo is one of the largest online wholesale supplier directories today. Their directory encompasses over 8,000 wholesale suppliers and, as a member, you have direct access to all of them. What makes Salehoo stand out is that they’re interested in helping people succeed. You have access to articles and research related to navigating sales and marketing. They are well-rated by customers and also offer friendly and professional service so this is a good source to check out, especially for small businesses.
When you’re in the market for a wholesale supplier, you don’t have to approach this process blind. Use this advice to get started finding a supplier which will meet you and your company’s needs.
Information Technology (IT) is a growing industry, and can help your Florida small business get the advantage over competitors, improve client relations, and grow your business. Business owners who are looking for IT Support in Miami Dade and Broward have plenty of providers to choose from. However, choosing an IT support company is a difficult and time-consuming job. To choose the right IT support company for your business, ask yourself these questions to help make the decision easier for you.
What size company do I need?
Most of the time, you will want an IT company that is about the same size as your small business. If you are a smaller business, you may find that working with a large service provider is difficult in that you don’t get access to their best talent. On the other hand, if your business is large, you might not be able to get all the support you need from a small IT company.
Is this company excited about what I’m doing?
It’s important to have a service provider that is not only enthusiastic about the services they provide, but about what they can do for your company. If an computer support company seems indifferent about what they do, you may want to look elsewhere because this can make a huge difference in growing your small business. An IT company that is enthusiastic about what they do is more likely to be up-to-date on the latest technologies.
Do they understand my needs and problems?
Enthusiasm is important, but an IT company also needs to be able to actually help solve your small business problems and meet all of your technological needs. Ask any company you are considering about specific issues that you are having to see if they have solutions they can offer or if they have solved similar issues before with other companies.
What types of services do I need?
The types of IT services you need will help you determine what support service to choose. If you only need maintenance of your existing technology, then there are companies that do that. But if you are looking for a company that will be more proactive in their support, then you need to ask about that as well. Always make sure you know what is covered in the contract, because most of the problems between small businesses and IT companies are a result of a misunderstanding in support contracts.
Do they have good referrals?
Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from other companies that they are currently working with or have worked with in the past. Then, contact at least a few of those companies to ask specific questions about the experiences that they had with the IT support company.
Do I need a local IT company?
If you may need support in the form of a visiting computer technician, you will need to find a local company or a company that has a branch in your area, the closer the better. Typically, you will want a company to be within 2 hours of your business. If you are a strictly internet-based small business, you may then have a wider range of options.
When choosing an IT company, your first step should be writing out a list of what you are looking for in a company by using these questions. You also need to ask yourself what types of changes that you want to be made in your existing infrastructure. Having a clear understanding of your goals in regards to your desktop and laptop computers, computer networks, photocopiers, and other pieces of technology will help you find out which of the many IT companies out there can best help further your small business.
There are three things that all of these businesses have that have allowed them to make our list:
It’s both legal and ethical.
It has few barriers. This means that nearly anyone could start any of these small business without needing a doctorate degree in anything or a couple million dollars to get started.
It is feasible for small businesses. Although there are a number of business opportunities in areas such as biotechnology and the extraction of resources, most small businesses are not in a position where they can get involved in these industries, so they’re not on the list.
Now, here they are, our top 5 business ideas for 2014.
One of the biggest growing trends with North American shoppers is called show-rooming. This is the practice of going into a brick and mortar store, finding products you like, then ordering them online to get a better price. Ecommerce sales in the United States alone increased about 15 percent in the last year, reaching a total of $186.2 billion. This was the highest annual increase since prior to the recession.
Across the world, the total amount of ecommerce sales surpassed $1 trillion for the first time in 2012, and are expected to continue to rise. Because the increases in this industry are expected to continue, it’s a great one for any small business to get involved with. And, setting up your own ecommerce website is incredibly easy, so all you have to do is pick some products, put them in your web store, and you’ll be on your way to participating in this great business opportunity.
Day-Care Services and Nanny Services
Throughout North America, there is a serious lack in affordable childcare services. In Canada alone, it is estimated that there is only space for about 22 percent of kids under six in regulated child care centers. Because there will always be a need for child care workers, this is great news for someone looking to start a small business.
There are two different routes you can take with this opportunity. You could open a daycare center, or you could provide nanny and babysitting services to families by building a database of certified and experienced child care providers who are looking for work and connecting them to families and individuals who are looking for reliable and safe child care providers.
Gluten-Free Restaurants and Bakeries
Although there are a number of people who live gluten-free lives because they are allergic to gluten, there is a huge growth in people that choose to eat gluten-free for health reasons. Although many supermarkets, restaurants, and bakeries have gluten-free options, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the eyes of those who don’t eat wheat or gluten.
Opening a gluten-free restaurant that includes many of the usual delicious restaurant fares such as soups, breads, and even sandwiches is a great opportunity and would attract many gluten-free people who are looking for bakeries and restaurants that give them a variety of options rather than most that only have a couple gluten-free menu choices.
For people that are dealing with any type of serious illness or facing a complicated surgical procedure, they may look for the help of someone who can help them navigate through the medical system to make sure that they or their loved one gets the best possible care.
The good news is that you don’t actually need to have experience in the medical field in order to become a patient advocate, although it does help. There are a number of different career options within the realm of patient advocates, so you can find an area that is suited to your needs, and then start building a clientele of patients and people that need your help, and help them get the best care options.
Because of the number of people that are not confident in their own financial planning skills, financial advising and financial planning are both growing industries, and since as long as there is money people will need it managed, it’s a pretty safe industry to get into. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that financial planning jobs will have a 32 percent growth rate from 2010 to 2020.
This is a great business to get into, especially if you have some financial experience. Even without financial planning experience, you can start a small business employing financial advisors and providing services to people. There are also a number of specialties within this industry, such as retirement planning and small business financial planning that you can choose from.
Keep in mind that as with most small business opportunities, none of these ideas will get you rich quick. When done right and with a lot of work, however, they can become a long-standing business that will allow you to continue to be successful for years to come.
Also, even though these are our picks for the top 5 business ideas, we can’t guarantee that any of these will make you money. Before you start any business venture, it’s always important that you make sure that it is something that you can do, that you’ve done all the research, that you know the available market and how to reach them, and that you have plans in place to combat potential problems.