Best Ideas for Small Business Marketing

Best Ideas for Small Business Marketing

Since small business have a limited amount of time and a budget that restricts them, they often find it difficult to survive in competitive markets. However, below are several ideas that professionals recommend that small business can use to market their business.

Giving Out Free Samples

Owners of the business are advised to be open to providing samples of their products or trials of their services to customers. For example, it is obvious that a furniture company will not give away a free sofa to check whether the customer is happy with it or not. What they can do is offer fabric samples to their existing or potential shoppers so that they can assess the quality, the color or whether the sofa will fit in with their current décor. A simple fabric sample could influence the customer’s decision. In the same way, allowing a customer a trial of the service that you provide will give them an insight as to how beneficial your service is to their business or personal lives.

Take A Look At Your Online Listings

It is highly recommended that business owners should ensure that the information displayed online for their business is up to date, relevant and accurate so that customers are not misled in any way. There are several tools available now that make it easier for businesses to scan their profiles across Google, Facebook, Bing and other sites.

Do Not Ignore Email Marketing

Whether the business is looking to improve sales temporarily or in the long run, it is important to have a number of people on your email list. Customers can be encouraged to join your email lists through various offers on your website or blog. Once enough people join the network, the owners also need to establish and maintain a long-term relationship with these customers.

Update And Edit Previous Content

Another way for small businesses to increase their returns on investment can be through repurposing old posts. An easy way to do that is to post the same information in different formats like using podcasts for an already written article. However, another way to recycle content is through using one of the most popular posts and reposting it with recent and relevant information.

Employing Experts To Market Your Business Online

Hiring experts to increase awareness of your product or service can prove to be quite useful for small businesses. There are a number of organizations that not only create campaigns for you to run online, but monitor and manage them on your behalf as well. Amongst other services that boost your presence online, such organizations are trained to design websites, manage your digital listings and even display your advertisements to the target audience.

Market Your Product Through Demonstrations

Customers often prefer to have a true sense of the value of the product or service before they buy it. Therefore, demonstrations should be prepared beforehand and placed on blogs or websites in the form of screenshots, videos, free time sensitive trials or walkthroughs. As they add a human element to the product or service being sold, demonstrations can prove to be extremely useful for small businesses.

Setting Up Chatbots

Because chatbots are easily accessible and affordable, small businesses are often advised to use these to communicate with customers. Besides allowing owners to engage their customers by instantly replying, chatbots can be programmed to sell products, give automated replies to specific questions, create awareness about the product or service and even take bookings. A wide array of tools online can assist a business to select the best package to suit their needs. Customers can be kept updated about any relevant information relating to the product or service that the business is selling and at times, a viral buzz can be created to capture public attention.

Content Writing For Publications

Offering publications to write their content and contribute is a great way for business owners to market their product or service. Media outlets are always looking for contributors who would write their content either to be communicated locally or on a national or international platform. By doing this, the business can not only gain recognition but establish itself.

Participating In Charities

Getting Involved in charities or organizations working for a good cause can prove to be helpful when owners set out to market their business. A potential customer may decide to buy your product or utilize your service if they too believe in the cause and are looking to contribute to it. Also, charities boost a business’s image in the community.

Placing Advertisements At Grocery Stores

Though it sounds odd, this recommendation has proved to be quite useful. At times, people are willing to support small businesses that operate locally who can easily gain recognition by placing their brands on grocery carts or on shopping receipts.

Using Localized Marketing

Encouraging customers to buy their products from local businesses can also prove to be fruitful. Starting with advertisements placed in local newspapers or magazines and then moving on to running campaigns that are specifically designed to capture the attention of the locals can go a long way. Furthermore, word of your business can travel from region to region creating awareness and establish a brand image.

Hosting A Gathering

Potential customers can be brought in if the business has premises that can be used to host a gathering. Experts can be hired to keep the focus on the business and answer questions regarding the product or service. In this way, customers are kept engaged and relevant information is also communicated.

Branding Business Vehicles

Given that the product or service that the business offers requires knocking on doors, then branding vehicles can prove to be a profitable opportunity. There is no limit to potential customers who can be found anywhere. Therefore, driving around frequently can not only create awareness, but land clients for the business who are searching for the product or service it provides.

 

 

Cryptocurrencies – A Brief Guide about Digital Currency

 

Cryptocurrency is digital money that was invented to be secure. It is basically associated with the Internet that makes use of cryptography, a process of converting readable information into an unbreakable code to keep track of all transactions including transfers and purchases. Cryptography was designed to tailor to the need for secure communication during the Second World War. Since then, it has completely evolved in the digital world with important elements of mathematical theory and computer technology to become a secure way to carry out information, communications, and financial transactions online.

In present time, cryptocurrencies have become a universal phenomenon. While it is still geeky and not understandable to many people, financial institutions and governments are familiar with its importance. It’s really hard to find a major bank or large financial institute that did not conduct research about virtual currencies or publish a paper about them. There are even many accounting firms that have started so-called blockchain projects to educate people about blockchain.

However, beyond all the above efforts, the majority of people including bankers, scientists, developers, and consultants know very limited about virtual currencies. Most of them often fail to even understand the basic ideas of any cryptocurrency available today. In this article, we will walk through the whole section about cryptocurrencies to learn about where they originate from, how they work, and how they emerged as an important product of virtual cash.

What actually Cryptocurrencies are

In simple definition, cryptocurrencies are limited entries in a database that cannot be changed until someone meets the specific conditions. Units of digital currency are generated with a process known as mining which uses a computer and internet to solve complex mathematical problems that create coins. You can also purchase virtual currencies from brokers and store or use them through cryptographic wallets.

Financially, virtual currencies and applications of blockchain technology continue to be promising and expect more users to avail their benefits. According to experts, there is a strong likelihood of other transactions such as stock, bonds and other financial assets to be operated through blockchain technology. The cryptocurrency market is pretty fast and wild. However, no one can deny the risk of experiencing extreme validity in this rich ecosystem of coins. It is very common that a currency gains 20 percent a day, sometimes 100 percent and loses the same on very next day.

Bitcoins – The First Cryptocurrency

Created in 2009, bitcoin is the first form of digital currency which is still the best known to many people. Satoshi Nakamoto was the unknown inventor of the first cryptocurrency who never planned to invent virtual money. He built a peer-to-peer electronic cash system with the intention to invent something that many people could not create before cryptocurrency. According to Satoshi Nakamoto, this electronic cash system will use a peer-to-peer network for preventing double spending. It is an entirely decentralized system and functions without any server or central authority. Satoshi’s decision to make a peer-to-peer cash system resulted in the invention of cryptocurrency. Although bitcoins are complex and a bit technical, having a proper knowledge about them can make it as easy as ABC.

Peer-To-Peer Electronic Cash System

In order to work with mainstream cash, you need to have a payment system with an account, balance, and transactions. Almost all payment networks need to prevent double spending in order to help users prevent spending the same amount twice. This is usually done with the help of a centralized server which tracks record about the balance.

With a decentralized payment network, on the other hand, you do not have a centralized server. For that reason, every single entity of the network is recorded in order to carry out this job. All peers in the network need to have a list of each transaction to see if future transactions are legitimate or an attempt to double spending. At this point, it is interesting to understand how these entitles can keep a consensus about financial transaction records.

If a peer of the payment network disagrees about only single entity of minor balance, it causes everything to break. It needs an outright consensus to be rightly on the track. As a matter of fact, you would need to use a centralized authority in order to declare the correct status of balances. But Satoshi made it possible to achieve consensus without needing to have a central authority. Virtual currencies are important segment of this solution that make it truly fascinating and help it rolling over the world.

Common Cryptocurrencies

Aside from bitcoins that was the first and the most important digital currency to date, there are also many other cryptocurrencies that have taken the world by storm. These include:

Bitcoin

As the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin is the most commonly traded digital currency up to the present time. During it turbulent journey, bitcoin has also witnessed a time when it was soaring as high as $20,000 in the end of 2017 before it crashed down to $6000. As of May 2018, bitcoin has a market capitalization of around $128 billion.

Ethereum

Used in the ethereum blockchain, this is the second most popular form of digital money. Ethereum was invented in 2015, and has a market capitalization of about 56 billion dollars in present time. With the latest market value of $1300, this cryptocurrency has gone through a stormy history. Due to a major hacking event two years back, ethereum torn apart into two different virtual currencies and briefly brought down its value to as low as 10 cents. However, ethereum is stable now and has been proved hugely popular as a landmark for other virtual currencies using the code of ethereum blockchain.

Ripple

Developed in 2012, ripple is another famous distributed record system. It can be used to keep record of many sorts of transactions beyond cryptocurrencies, the developers of ripple has a working history with major financial institutions like Santander. Currently, the market capitalization of ripple has reached around $24 billion.

Litecoin

Litecoin is very much alike bitcoin but has faster moved ahead to bring different innovations such as faster payments and easier transaction processes. At this point, the market capitalization of litecoin is around $6 billion.

What Miners Do

Everyone can be a cryptocurrency miner. Having said that a decentralized network cannot delegate this task, cryptocurrencies need some sort of mechanism to prevent individuals from abusing them. The inventor of bitcoin set a rule for miners wherein they are needed to use their computer to qualify for this job. In, fact, they need to find a hash – an important product of cryptographic function that will connect the new block to its predecessor. This process is known as the proof-of-work and is based on the SHA 256 hash algorithm in bitcoin.

Mostly, there is no need to understand details about hash algorithm beyond that they can be the base of a cryptographic puzzle. You can only create bitcoins if you solve a cryptographic puzzle – a series of complicated mathematical problems. Once you have found a solution, you can build a block and store it in the blockchain. You can also add a coinbase transaction that can give you a particular number of bitcoins. As the difficulty of cryptographic puzzle increases the constant of computer power you invest, there is only a precise amount of crypto coins that can be generated in the given amount of time.

Transaction Confirmation

Cryptocurrencies consists of a peer-to-peer network. All peer have records of the complete history of each transaction and so the balance of each account. In this system, a transaction serves as a file that says, “Jamaica gives X bitcoin to Mark”, and is signed by Jamaica’s private key which is a basic public cryptography key. Once signed, the transaction is broadcasted within the network and sent from one peer to all other peers. All this works according to rule of a basic peer-to-peer technology.

Confirmation is a highly important part of cryptocurrency transactions. While the transaction is recognized almost immediately by each peer, it takes a specific amount of time before getting confirmed. An unconfirmed transaction not only remains pending but can also be forged. A confirmed transaction is set in record and is not reversible. Furthermore, confirmed transactions are part of an immutable record of historical transactions of blockchain.

Why Invest in Cryptocurrency

As a new form of money, the markets of cryptocurrencies have boomed suddenly which means your small investment can turn into a large money overnight. This attribute has also led professionals and unprofessional risk-takers investing in cryptocurrencies, finding them a quick way to make money or an important part of their investment portfolio.

Cryptocurrencies are secure and provide a level of anonymity. Their transactions cannot be reversed or faked. Moreover, there is a low transaction fee that makes virtual currencies more reliable than mainstream money. With the decentralized natural of cryptocurrencies, everyone can avail them. However, they can be difficult to set up and only some stores are accepting them for spending.

Investing in cryptocurrency can also work the other way. Like other currencies, the markets of virtual currencies go through instability phases and have dropped significantly many times. For that reason, you should be aware of the potential risks when investing in crypto coins.

Properties of Cryptocurrencies

Principally, cryptocurrency is all about token entries in a decentralized consensus database. The most interesting part of virtual currencies is that they are created on cryptography and strongly secured by math. They process of consensus-keeping is secured with strong cryptography.

Cryptocurrencies can be spilt into transactional and financial properties. For the most part, all forms of digital currencies share a common group of properties. Let’s start with transactional properties here.

Secure

Crypto coins are protected through a public cryptographic key system. Only the miner can use this key and send cryptocurrency. Since cryptography is a strong key of big numbers, it is almost impossible to break its idea.

Irreversible

Once confirmed, a cryptocurrecny transaction cannot be reversed by anyone. Once you sent money, it’s gone. Unfortunately, there is no safety net to help you prevent such situations.

Anonymous

In cryptocurrencies, transactions and accounts are not connected to real-world identities. You can make a specific address made up of 30 characters to receive bitcoins. Even though cryptocurrencies allow you to evaluate transaction flow, there is actually no need to connect to the real-world identity of miners with those addresses.

Genuine confirmation

Transactions can be confirmed by the miner only. It’s their job to take transaction, verify them as legit and broadcast them within the network. Once a transaction is confirmed, the miner adds its record to the database to make it a part of the blockchain.

No Need of Permissions

Digital currencies can be used without permissions. You just need a software program which can be downloaded for free to use. Once you have downloaded it, you can mine bitcoins and do desired transactions.

Globally Fast

Cryptocurrency transactions are broadcasted almost immediately within the network and are usually confirmed in a matter of minutes. They take place in a global network of systems and are completely indifferent from your physical location.

Below are descriptions of monetary properties of cryptocurrencies.

No Debt

No cryptocurrency represent debt as it just represents itself. It is quite unlike the fiat money on your bank account which is created by debt.

Well-ordered Supply

There is a specific limit of supply of the token in almost each cryptocurrency available today. As a rule of thumb, the supply of token is controlled by a schedule written in the code.

While they are still fairly new and unstable form of assets, cryptocurrencies are definitely gaining traction and are most likely to have more standardized uses in coming years. With its revolutionary properties, virtual currencies work like digital gold. The cryptographic key will most certainly make it easy for large-scale adoption including developing protection for investors. Cryptocurrencies are currencies that are free from political influence, promise to maintain and increase their value over the time.

The Biggest Challenges You Have to Face as an Entrepreneur

Internet connectivity has opened new doors for people to work from home. What was once just a fanciful thought is now a reality. However, not everyone is satisfied with working from home. Some people have it in their natures to do adventurous tasks. They are ready to face the risks and overcome the hardships that stand between them and the realization of their dreams. These individuals are entrepreneurs. They are passionate, daring, and full of energy to do something special. However, not everyone who wishes to be an entrepreneur becomes one. If you think you have the spirit of becoming one, here are some of the biggest challenges that almost every entrepreneur faces, and you will too.

The Biggest Challenges in the Path of Entrepreneurship

  • A Journey Out of the Comfort Zone

When you aspire to be an entrepreneur, you will have to live outside your comfort zone almost all the time. It is in the definition of being an entrepreneur to take risks. You might not have the resources to achieve your aim but that does not stop you from moving forward. You have to believe in your idea and dedicate your energies, time, and money to make your idea a reality. It is easier said than done. If you are an entrepreneur and you have only enough money to buy either your lunch or a component that completes the device you have been working on, you will buy the component.

In many cases, you will have to do extra jobs to save enough money to follow your dreams. As an entrepreneur, your enthusiasm is undying and your character is like a wall of lead.

  • An Idea That Solves a Problem

It is not uncommon to see people trying to become entrepreneurs based on ideas that don’t have any potential in them. You must come up with a solution to a problem. Sometimes, your idea seems unique but when you look closely, it does not create a problem. If your concept is not solving people’s problems, it will not sell. And when you have come up with something that people need, they will buy it even if your product seems unfinished and unrefined to you.

Therefore, do not put all your money behind a product or idea that seems unique to you. Uniqueness is not enough in the business world. When people go out shopping, they are looking for products and services. They are looking forward to finding a solution to their problem. Make sure your product does that.

  • A Product That’s Just a Product

Quite a few entrepreneurs have found themselves in this situation. You come up with a unique idea, you work on it, create a prototype, and next thing you know, you are standing in front of the investors. However, you can’t impress investors with ideas that are just unique. Investors look at your creations from many different angles. Even if they like a product, they will ask you a lot of questions. One of the concerns that most investors have is the scope of your idea. Sometimes, you have an amazing product, but it is just a product. At times, your product is great and it has the potential to turn you into a brand as well.

Investors are looking for business opportunities and onetime products are not very attractive for them. For this reason, you want to come up with an idea that can turn you into a brand. If all you have is a product, it should be good enough to sell like hot cakes.

  • Market Research

A lot of startup owners overlook this important factor. Market research is integral for any business’ success. What you might not realize is that even a great product will not sell if you don’t sell it to the right people. Market research is a crucial part of your business strategy. You have to know your exact target market to make your product a hit.

You will have to conduct surveys on the ground and online to know the people who will be most interested in your product. Secondly, you have to know where your target audience usually likes to hang out. For example, if your target audience is teenagers and those under the age of 30, you have to target them through social networking websites. However, the same strategy will not be as effective if your target audience is people aged 60 and above.

Last but not least, you have to know the buying power of your customers so you can price your product accurately.

  • Pricing the Product

Pricing your product can be quite a difficult matter unless you have advisors and marketers by your side. You have to consider a lot of factors to price your product precisely. The first thing that needs your attention is the cost you have incurred while creating your product. When you are new in the market, you only want to cover the costs with your price.

After discovering that people have accepted your product/service, you can start making some profit on your sales too. Lastly, when you have established yourself as a brand for a particular product, you can charge for your value as well. Take the example of a lawyer who can charge less or more based on the value he/she brings.

An analysis of your competitors’ products and their prices can also give you a good idea of what the price of your product should be.

  • Delivering the Sales Pitch

If the development of your product requires a lot of money, you will be spending some time presenting your product to the investors. In most cases, you will be standing before venture capitalists. These guys will scrutinize each and everything about you and your product. Sometimes, they might like your product a lot but not invest in it because of you. They will tell it to your face that they don’t like your pitch or perhaps you before turning down your request for an investment.

The power of your sales pitch can convince even the toughest investors. However, a weak sales pitch, on the other hand, can put off even the interested ones. To conclude it all, you should hire a proper sales person to be with you if you are not confident about your pitch and sales skills.

  • Having the Right Team

Do you think having a team means having a lot of people to share the burden of running your business with you? That’s far from truth. Many entrepreneurs make this mistake when they are creating a team. They have a few tasks that they think someone else can do better than them. In fact, they are just hiring people to work for their company. The real hiring process starts when you already have an established company, albeit small. However, in the beginning, you have to be very careful about picking your team.

The first rule for having someone with you is vision sharing. People you choose for working with you must share your vision. Keep in mind that the initial years are the toughest years for any businessperson in the world. If you have hired workers, they will work for compensation, salary, and bonuses. On the other hand, when you hire people who share your vision, they will stay with you during the toughest times because they are not with you only to make money. They are with you to make a dream come true.

  • Choosing the Right Funding Options

Funding is the blood of a business. Even if the business you have started does not require a lot of capital, you will need a lot of money when it comes to expansion and growth. However, the people and institution you choose for lending you the needed money matters a lot here. You have quite a few options to choose from. First and the easiest source of a business fund is your family and relatives. These people might not even ask back for their money. However, the biggest problem with this type of funding is its limit. Your family can only forward you so much loan amount unless they are some rich people of the city.

Going to the bank can be a huge problem too. In most cases, you can expect a rejection of your loan approval because banks don’t like to forward loans to small businesses. Sometimes, they want a credit history before they can forward you the loan. But how will you present a credit history when your business is only a few months old?

However, you must not ignore the other options you have available today like crowdfunding. Today, crowdfunding platforms are much more benefitting than venture capitalist funding for startups. You don’t have to offer a lot of equity in this model. In fact, if you can get some likeminded people to support you through their investments, you don’t have to offer them any share. A few samples of the product, first production units, discounted price etc. are some perks you can offer you investors.

  • Task and Responsibility Delegation

In quite a few cases, the owners of the startups do not have the confidence to delegate tasks and important responsibilities. What happens is that the owner has worked on his/her project for so many years, they start treating it like their baby literally. The idea of letting someone else manage things in their business does not please them. More precisely, they don’t think anyone else would understand the seriousness and intricacies of their business like them.

This way of thinking keeps many entrepreneurs from delegating responsibilities when they should. The success of your business does not lie in you managing everything. Instead, it lies in the right people managing them the right way. When you have a team, you can focus on other important things. In fact, you should be busy looking for ways to expand your business while leaving the internal tasks to someone else. When you act like a one many army, things start to falter. Not to mention, people don’t like to stay in places where their growth gets blocked by an owner’s mindset.

  • Social Media Marketing

Your social media marketing strategy can make or break you today. Social media has become the platform that most new businesses use for reputation management, brand visibility and brand positioning. Today’s businesses are using social networks to build a relationship of trust with their target markets. Take the example of blockchain projects in the past couple of years. Most of these projects were successful because of their strong social media marketing strategy.

Similarly, projects that had potential but no social media visibility had to fight people’s skepticism. When your team is not actively present on social media, people think of you as a scam. As harsh and straightforward as it may sound, that’s the reality today. You must stay in touch with your prospects to win their trust.

In addition to having a strong social media presence, you also have to do something for the damage control. At times, small mistakes and blunders can result in huge uproar from the public. In the initial stages, you don’t want to get involved in any controversial topics and give your opinions on them. Focus on your business, announce your progress frequently, let people know the rewards for their contributions and investments, and give them a clear roadmap of where your project is going in the coming times.

Concluding Thoughts

This list sums up the biggest challenges you will have to face as an entrepreneur. Yes, there are other things as well. However, as so it happens, these challenges are common for everyone who wants to be an entrepreneur. You have to show a true entrepreneur personality to be what you have dreamed of. It is how you overcome these challenges that prove the real entrepreneur in you. Don’t let these challenges scare you away from the thought of having your business. Instead, let them be the fuel that turns your spark of becoming something into a full-blown fire.