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Alyssa Gregory

Small Business Info

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5 Articles to Help You Provide Better Customer Service

Wednesday April 23, 2014

Customer service is an important part of every business, regardless of what you sell and who you sell it to. Providing good customer service is also a challenge for many small business owners. Part of the challenge is limited time and resources, but perhaps the larger problem is not knowing what to do to provide excellent customer service.

Here are five resources that will help you improve your customer service process and create loyal customers:

  1. How to Become Known for Excellent Customer Service
  2. 9 Tips for Providing Excellent Customer Service
  3. How to Use Social Media for Customer Service
  4. How to Ask Clients for Feedback
  5. 7 Ways to Communicate More Effectively in Your Small Business

Three Ways to Tame the Email Monster

Friday April 18, 2014

email signIf you rely on email as much as I do, you may have experienced having half of your day devoured by the email monster before you even see it coming.

It can be a constant struggle, but here are a few things you can do to keep the email monster in its place.

1.Tackle Email in Chunks

People who are sending you messages don't know that you're in the middle of a project or about to start a meeting when they hit send. And their intent is probably not to disturb your workflow, but if you check email constantly, you're letting the email monster monopolize your time. Schedule a few dedicated chunks of time throughout your day to check in and respond instead of doing it every few minutes.

2. Turn Off Email Notifications

Part of taking control of email and managing it on your terms is making it as unobtrusive as possible. Turning off all notification pop-ups, sounds, and other pings can help you limit the email distraction.

3. Use Rules

Regardless of the email client you use for managing your email, you probably have the ability to set up rules that sort, file, flag, delete and move messages as they come in. Taking some time to set up rules for incoming email can make it much easier for you to read your messages and focus on the most important email priorities.

Deleting liberally and acting immediately on the "quick and easy" messages can also help you manage the email monster. For more email management tips, read: 7 Email Management Tips for Improved Productivity.

Image (c) 7rains

5 Articles to Read Before Attending Your Next Conference

Tuesday April 15, 2014

conferenceSpring is in the air! And with the warmer weather comes small business conference season. There are small business conferences, events and expos popping up all over the place, and if you understand the value of face-to-face networking, you may be attending one or two small business events over the next few months.

Before you start packing your bags for your next conference, take a few minutes to read these five articles. This collection of tips will help you prepare for and get the most out of every event you attend this year:

  1. 5 Reasons You Should Attend Conferences
  2. How to Get Value from Small Business Conferences
  3. How to Write an Elevator Pitch
  4. Tips for Writing an Elevator Pitch
  5. Business Card Toolkit for Small Business Owners

Happy Spring (and happy networking)!

Photo © Vixs

Small Business Passion Isn't Enough

Tuesday April 8, 2014

wooden heartBeing passionate is one of the most common characteristics of successful small business owners. And some of the most successful small business owners have developed businesses based on their passions.

Passion inspires us to take risks, try new things and step out of our comfort zones. It's easy to see why passion is related to success.

But, while it may be powerful, passion isn't enough to create a successful small business. There are many other elements that need to go into the process, and when combined with passion, your business will have staying power.

Some of the elements I consider must-have's for small business success include a plan, a support system, goals, commitment and knowledge. Read today's feature article for more on what you need to successfully start a business.

Feature Article:
Is Having a Passion for Business Enough?

Photo (c) Ayla87

21 Tools for Tracking Your Online Reputation

Thursday April 3, 2014

Earlier this week, I shared an article that provided an introduction to online reputation management, a very important process for small businesses who want to protect their brand online (all of us!). It would be extremely difficult to track and manage your online reputation without access to the rights tools.

Today's feature article is a round-up of 21 online reputation management tools that will help you keep up with online discussions involving your business.

Feature Article:
21 Tools for Tracking Your Online Reputation

Online Reputation Tips for Your Small Business

Tuesday April 1, 2014

window shoppingRegardless of how actively you market your business online, there is a good chance that you not only have customers looking for you online, but that they are possibly also leaving reviews, comments, and feedback about your business.

All it takes is one negative comment or complaint in the form of a tweet, Facebook post, or blog comment that goes unanswered by your company to damage your reputation. It is very important that you have a way to become aware of this kind of feedback so you can monitor and protect your reputation.

Today's feature article includes tips on how you can monitor your online reputation and protect your brand.

Feature Article:
How to Monitor the Online Reputation of Your Small Business

Image © robtostes

Three Tools to Help You Start and Grow Your Business

Thursday March 27, 2014

toolsWhether you are just starting your business or looking for opportunities for growth, there are a number of tools that can make the process easier. Here are three of my favorite tools that I use again and again in my own business to get clarity and focus.

1. SMART Goal Setting Worksheet

This worksheet will help you measure your business goals against the SMART criteria in order to determine if your goals are achievable and worthy of your time.

2. Step-by-Step Marketing Plan Tutorial

Answer 10 questions and create a marketing plan that you can use as a blueprint for marketing activities in your small business.

3. How to Write a Simple Business Plan

This exercise provides a quick and painless start to the business planning process by asking you a series of questions about your business, your goals and your future plans.

For more business development tips and tools, visit the Startup section of this site.

Image credit: lusi

10 Business Books You Need to Read

Tuesday March 25, 2014

steve jobsHave you ever read a book that shaped your future? All it takes to be inspired and find renewed motivation from a book is finding the right message, at the right time. And you can increase your chances of that happening by reading powerful, advice-packed books.

While there are thousands of great business books out there, a few rise to the top. Here is my list of 10 must-read books for any small business owner.

Feature Article:
10 Books Every Small Business Owner Should Read

How to Stop Micromanaging

Tuesday March 18, 2014

manager with tieI have helped many small business owners learn how to delegate in order to grow their businesses, and one of the biggest challenges these small business owners face is avoiding micromanagement. It's a deadly trap that can not only harm a small business owner's ability to lead, but also set the entire team back.

You will never be able to let go of some of your day-to-day responsibilities and grow your business if you micromanage, so it's important to stop the cycle and learn how to delegate effectively.

Today's trio of feature articles focus on identifying if you are a micromanager, providing steps you can take to stop the ugly cycle, and help you learn how to delegate more effectively.

Feature Articles:

  1. Are You a Micromanager?
  2. How to Stop Micromanaging Right Now
  3. Delegation 101  for Small Business Owners

Photo © Mart1n

5 Quick Ways to Boost Your Bottom Line

Thursday March 13, 2014

money walletThere are some situations when you need a quick infusion of cash, even if you have a stable business with consistent profits. Perhaps you need to replace broken equipment, or maybe you're preparing for a big event. These types of situations require cash that you may not have readily available.

In order to accommodate these expenditures without falling behind financially, you need to plan in advance for your upcoming investment by building up your cash reserves. Today's feature article shares a few ways to boost your bottom line relatively quickly.

Feature Article:
5 Quick Ways to Boost Your Bottom Line

Photo © crossfire

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