Top 10 New Year’s Resolution for Small Business Owners

Clare Earle - Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It’s the start of the New Year and millions of people around the world are reflecting on 2011 and are making New Year’s resolutions that will make them better, slimmer or healthier. As a small business owner you can also make a ‘corporate’ new year’s resolution for your business. In our next blog entry, we will share with you what Piranha Designs has promised to achieve in 2012. But now, let me share with you, what I believe, are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for small business owners:

  1. 1.Support Other Small Businesses

As a small business owner yourself support other small businesses by switching one of your current providers or suppliers to a small business!

  1. 2. Focus on the Growing Mobile Community

It is a known fact that more people are using their mobile phones to surf the internet and that this is a growing trend. You need to make sure that all your online marketing strategies are mobile-friendly. Have you ever tested how easy it is to navigate through your website via a Blackberry, iPhone or Android?

  1. 3. Put yourself on the Map

It is also true that more and more people are using the internet to source out local businesses; so make sure you can be found easily on Google Places, Bing maps, and Yahoo maps.

  1. 4. Share the Workload

As a small business owner your time is precious so reflect on where your time and effort is most fruitful and focus on that! Then pass on all the other tasks (admin tasks, blog updates) to other staff members or consider outsourcing. 

  1. 5. Socialise More

Chose a social network that will be used to market your business, there is a wide selection (blog, facebook, twitter, google+, LinkedIn) so make sure you pick the one that best suits you. If you are already using one of these social networks either commit to utilising it further to promote your business or chose a new network to take full advantage of.

  1. 6. Refresh Your Website

Do not fall into the trap of focusing on your facebook account and neglecting your website. There is no point in having an up-to-date facebook page that leads to an out-dated and inaccurate webpage. Remember to keep the content and look relevant and engaging!

  1. 7. See Your Staff as Your Customers

If you see your staff as your primary customers you will start to praise them and treat them even better than you are now. This will have the knock on effect of having a happier and more motivated workforce which will lead to higher productivity and improved customer service!

  1. 8. Prepare for the Tax Time

Make a commitment to yourself that you will have all the relevant paperwork in an organised fashion at least 3 weeks before the tax deadline; this means that you can avoid the mad rush and stress of getting all the paperwork ready at the last minute.

  1. 9. Socialise in the Real World

Online socialising should not replace real world socialising; instead they should complement each other! You can find very valuable clients or providers by socialising outside of your normal circles. Perhaps attend a conference or join an association. 

  1. 10. Treat Yourself to Some TLC

As a small business owner it is very easy to work yourself too hard and reward yourself too little. So make sure you treat yourself regularly with leaving home early one day or treating yourself to a day at a spa.

Remember to look at our blog over the next few days so that you can find out what Piranha Designs New Year’s resolution is for 2012.  

4 reasons to use Facebook to promote your business

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Facebook is taking over the internet. It is transforming the way people behave and interact online. Even if you don’t like Facebook or the idea of social media, it is fast becoming a necessity. Here are four reasons why you should consider using Facebook to promote your business.

1. Communication

It can be very difficult and expensive to communicate quickly with your clients and prospects. Maybe you need to print something out, or send emails. With Facebook you can spread a message extremely quickly and totally free. The best thing about it is that your Fans/Friends can also share that with their friends.

2. Awareness

Facebook have an effective and very affordable advertising system. You can specify exactly what type of person you wish to target, their location, age etc. Then you only pay per click, so you know every penny is being spent wisely. This can be a great way to build brand awareness.

3. Listen to customers
Listening to customers is something we all know we should do, but very often don’t find the time to. With Facebook it is easier to encourage feedback and listen to what your customers are saying. As Facebook is a more relaxed environment you may find that customers will actually tell you the truth!

4. Increase sales
If your customers are receiving communication from you, you are listening to them and responding this will, in the long run, have a very positive effect on sales.

There are currently 17,280 facebook members who live in Gibraltar. Are you speaking to them? Or are your competitors?

How customer reviews can boost sales

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, July 06, 2011
When you are using Amazon to find a product what do you do? You search, read the short description perhaps, and then probably the most important thing is you look at the reviews. How many good reviews has the product had? What are the bad reviews saying?

People like to buy things based on what others are saying about them, we automatically trust the buyer more than the seller. The seller will always sing their own praises, but the consumers will tell you the truth.

Very often people will simply buy products because they have high reviews, even if they are more expensive than a similar item with no or poor reviews. I know I do. I like to read the reviews to see if the product does what it is supposed to and if it is any good.

Studies have shown that the effect of having reviews on your site can be tremendous.
NetShops, which uses PowerReviews services ran a study which determined that reviewed products experienced a 26% lift in sales.

Using reviews on email marketing has lead to some astonishing results. Golfsmith International Inc. used some tests which showed that emails with reviewed products generated 42% more revenue than ones without.

It is important to note that consumers can read through fake reviews, also just one or two reviews are not enough. PowerReviews say that a minimum of 20% of products on a site need to have at least 3 to 5 reviews each in order to have any real social effect.

For some businesses, like mine, product reviews are not really possible, in these cases testimonials or case studies do the same job. Have you read our testimonials?

Our Piston Commerce software includes product review functionality, are you using it to its full extent?

More people buy from the experts. Are you an expert?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, June 09, 2011
On the web there are some websites that sell everything. Amazon and ebay are the biggest ones. These sites are hugely successful.

However there are also a large number of businesses that seem to offer a load of different services. This can be rather confusing and not as beneficial as it sounds. As business owners it seems good to have as many bases covered as possible, but as a customer this is not always the case.

Let’s imagine you are looking to buy a fountain pen.

Now you search online and you find many different websites selling fountain pens. One of them is a stationery site that sells thousands of products, it has good prices and looks interesting. Now you check another site and see that this one is a fountain pen expert site. It is a store focussed on fountain pens. They have a lot of information, good prices but above all they know their stuff, and that’s all they sell.

Who would you most likely buy from?
The stationery site that happens to sell fountain pens? Or the fountain pen expert?

On the web it pays to be an expert. There are many people out there who claim to do everything. It is often better to claim to do very few things and do them really well.

Can you focus your website a bit more? Can you perhaps make multiple sites each of them concentrating on one area of your business? Analyse your site, do your visitors know what you do straight away, and are you portrayed as an expert?

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to buy from the experts.

KISS - Keep it simple, stupid!

Piranha Designs - Friday, May 13, 2011
When I was at University my advertising tutor always used to remind us of these four words:

Keep it Simple, Stupid!

When you are designing or creating something, the tendancy is to over complicate things. We naturally think, it would be great to have this and this. Slowly what began as a simple, clean idea turns into a monster, with loads of different options and calls to action.

When planning your website you need to remind yourself of KISS, it will help you to work backwards. Always going to the lowest common denominator.

There is an interesting story about Google and how one customer helps to keep there website as simple as possible.
Google began receiving an email every so often with just a number on it, say 32. Then another number 37. There was nothing else in this email. After a while they figured out the message. The number was the number of words on the google homepage. This helped them to continuously simplify and remove words, the lower, the better. This simple strategy helped make the Google search engine so incredibly simple that it is extremely successful. Compare it to Yahoo who had hundreds of words and links. People just got lost. They just wanted to search.

When you are planning your site or trying to improve it, think, what are my visitors wanting to do or to read? How can I make the whole process as simple as possible? What steps can I eliminate?

Rather than adding more and more options, try removing some.

Looking for Investment? Try Angel List

Piranha Designs - Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sometimes you have a great idea, or your business is expanding but you could really do with a financial boost to reach the tipping point. (This is the point where you become truly successful). Nowadays it is not that easy to find investment, although there is still a lot of money out there waiting for a good project.

There is a website which puts start ups and investors together, almost like a very mini facebook for investors. Here quite a few venture capitalists and investors check all kinds of ideas and projects and choose the ones they are interested in.

It is well worth taking a look, especially if you have a great idea but need the funds.

The website is called Angel List and can be found here: www.angel.co

Why Facebook is set to own the internet

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Facebook has already changed the way people use the internet in an incredible way.

Facebook has recently been valued at $50 Billion, that is more than Time Warner and Boeing. How can this be? What does this mean to me as a business owner? Watch the video below for more information.



You need to make sure Facebook is in your marketing plans for the future, and start building it now.

How relationships can be built without ever having a coffee

Piranha Designs - Friday, February 18, 2011
The normal way to build relationships with prospects and clients is to go out and have a coffee, or if your lucky have lunch. This has always been the method of choice for most small business owners.

The trend is changing.

I want to tell a small story of how this is happening and how it can affect your business.

There are two web based businesses that I work closely with. I have never met any of their staff nor have I ever spoken to them on the phone. They are based in the USA and time differences and long flights mean that this is not really viable. But I have come to realise that it is not necessary either.

I found this company by just searching online for a software tool that I use. I visited their site, watched some videos, read the information and signed up for a newsletter with more tips on how to get the most out of the software. These regular tips included videos from their video blog, with personal guides on improving business methods. All this was free and actually incredibly useful and informative.

Over a period of time I became a customer and then began to receive even more information and more personal advice for free. Then I came across their facebook pages and got to see how they run the business and a little more of their real lives.

The strange thing is this, even though I have never met, spoken to, or even emailed the person in the videos I feel like I know him. I refer to him by his first name, I speak about him with other clients and friends. He has become a reliable reference and I like doing business with him.

There is a new type of coffee table and a new way of having lunch and it is a lot more informative, educational, useful and easier for you to manage. Its having a system do a lot of the work for you, it is the only way this person can 'have a coffee' with his 10,000 clients. It is the power of new media, the web and emails. Right now it is still at an early stage but soon this will become the norm.

Constant communication builds confidence

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Just before Christmas I realised how effective a long term nurture email newsletter can be.

Last year I purchased some really good photo calendars from Apple, using Iphoto. Whilst doing so I looked around at a few websites to compare pricing, I registered for an offer on a site called Photobox.

This began the continuous and automatic process of sending me regular emails with offers and discounts every 2 weeks. Whilst sometimes they were annoying, often they prompted me to take action, but as I had already bought these calendars and they last a whole year I really didn't need to buy anything else.

So Christmas came round again, I had been receiving these emails for almost a year without making a single purchase. What did I do?
I ordered this set of calendars from Photobox, they were in mind, they had given me offers, they were my friends...

I also recommended them to some close friends, before even seeing how good they were at their job.

There are many photo printing companies out there, and probably a lot of them are better/cheaper than Photobox, but Photobox had built a relationship with me, and their brand now occupied a space in my mind.

Now a question to you - is your business keeping contact with people continuously until they absolutely don't want to know anymore?

Do you have automated systems in place to keep contact and send offers to people that you have never actually met?

Is your website working as hard as it should be?

If not, you may be one of the many sites that loses out to the one who is constantly building a relationship and building confidence.

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