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Alyssa Gregory

Alyssa\'s Small Business Info Blog

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5 Ways to Beat the Fear of Failure

Wednesday May 28, 2014

success or failureHaving a fear of failing is a very real challenge when it comes to starting a business, or doing anything outside of your comfort zone. Your fear can make you unsure about what you're doing, and it can chip away at your confidence.

Fear can be good because it often plays devil's advocate and forces you to fully think through the implications of what you're doing. But when the fear paralyzes you and strips away your power to move forward, it's time to fight back.

There are a few ways you can combat the fear of failure. Today's feature article lists five ways to do it.

Feature Article:
5 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure

Photo © cobrasoft

How to Take Your Work with You This Summer

Thursday May 22, 2014

summer vacationSummer vacation isn't just for school-age kids; we all need a break from the daily grind to refresh our perspectives and renew our motivation. Unfortunately, though, not every small business owner is in a position to walk away from the business, even for a few days.

Does that mean you should skip your summer vacation entirely? Absolutely, not! You just need to figure out a way to take some work with you so you can get the best of both worlds.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend working through an entire vacation without enjoying the change of scenery and the downtime, I do think you can be very effective at both staying in the loop and taking some time off if you create an efficient mobile office.

While mobility isn't the same for every small business, there are a some universal tips for creating an operational mobile office that allow you to work from anywhere. Today's feature article outlines what you need to know about creating a mobile office that will give you the flexibility you need to really enjoy the summer season.

Feature Article:
How to Create a Mobile Office for Your Small Business

Photo © gdt

Small Business Week: Marketing Tips

Friday May 16, 2014

marketingThis is our final post this week, celebrating National Small Business Week. Today, we're focusing on marketing.

A Marketing Plan

Regardless what type of business you have, a marketing plan can help you identify your marketing goals and create a strategy for achieving them. A well-developed marketing plan becomes your company's playbook, guiding your actions and measuring them against the goals you identified.

Marketing Ideas

One of the biggest marketing challenges for many small business owners is finding the right mix of marketing activities that reach their target market effectively without breaking the bank. This list of 101 small business marketing activities is a great place to get some inspiration for marketing activities you can try in your business.

Social Media Marketing

Social media sites are very popular and cost-effective ways to get the word out about your business, although they can be overwhelming to those who are new to social networking. This getting started with social media guide will give you easy-to-digest tips to get you started.

Wrapping Up National Small Business Week

And this post ends our week-long series. Catch up on the rest of our National Small Business Week posts that covered several major milestones of starting, managing and growing a small business:

Photo © Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Small Business Week: Money Management

Thursday May 15, 2014

moneyDuring this week-long Small Business Week series, we have covered business ideas and start-up tips and business planning and goal setting. Now, we're turning our focus to money management for small business owners.

Often the biggest question for aspiring small business owners is, "Where will I find the money to start my business?" The first resource covers that question: 4 Places to Find the Money to Start a Business.

If you are financially strapped and looking for ways to save on capital, our bootstrapping article is a must-read. And if you are like most small business owners I know, interested in boosting profits while increasing your bottom line, these articles will be very relevant for you:

And finally, let's talk about the value of having a professional help you manage your business finances. If you want to create a streamlined and efficient business, you should consider hiring an accountant and/or a bookkeeper:

Tomorrow, to wrap up our series, we're focusing on marketing and how you can promote your business effectively. Don't miss it!

Photo © PM Images/Iconica/Getty Images

Small Business Week: Business Planning and Goals

Wednesday May 14, 2014

mountain climberIn case you haven't heard, this week is National Small Business Week, and we're celebrating with a week-long series packed with resources to help you start and grow your small business.

Yesterday, we focused on developing a business idea, and shared a handful of articles to help you start your business. Today, we're discussing business planning and goal setting.

Business Plans 101

Having some kind of plan for your business is important, even if it's just a few loose ideas jotted down on a piece of paper. The simple truth is that without a plan, it will be very difficult for you to create a successful small business.

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? That's okay...and completely normal! The business planning process is notorious for giving aspiring small business owners everywhere a big headache. Start with this article: Business Plan Help for the Overwhelmed Small Business Owner

Then, browse the articles below for a few arguments in favor of taking time to write a business plan, a super-simple business plan shortcut, and a traditional business plan outline.

Goal Setting

It will be very difficult to put even the best business plan into action without a clear goal that includes action steps. This article will help you with every stage of goal setting so all of your hard work on your business plan won't go to waste: A Guide to Small Business Goal Setting.

Stay tuned for money management tips coming tomorrow!

Photo © Buena Vista Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Small Business Week: Business Ideas and Start-Up Tips

Tuesday May 13, 2014

business ideasAs part of our special series honoring National Small Business Week, today we're talking about business ideas and the start-up process.

Developing a Business Idea

Business ideas can come from anywhere -- hobbies you are passionate about, a problem you are trying to solve, or even an unexpected opportunity. Our first set of resources includes several lists of business ideas that you can browse for inspiration and to get your creative juices flowing:

The second part of developing a business idea is about testing, qualifying and rating the opportunity. Before you make any life-altering changes that can't easily be undone, take some time to first evaluate your business idea to see if it has the legs you hope it does. Consider the steps outlined in this article on qualifying a business idea when measuring the potential of a business idea.

Starting a Business

Starting a business can be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Not everyone manages the fear and uncertainty the same, but there are signs that will help you figure out if you are ready to start a business.

Start with this article: Are You Ready to Start a Business?

You may also find that it's helpful to thoroughly explore your passion, set goals and see what has worked for others. Here are some resources to help you get started:

Once you are ready to move forward, use this article as a guide through the process: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Small Business.

Tomorrow's post will focus on business planning and goal setting, and provide some resources for researching, writing and developing a plan for taking your business from the idea stage into action (and it doesn't have to be as overwhelming as that sounds!).

Photo © Blend Images - Diego Cervo/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Happy National Small Business Week!

Monday May 12, 2014

celebrate businessCongratulations if you are one of the millions of small business owners being celebrated this week. Pat yourself on the back for all of your hard work and dedication, and make sure you high-five your colleagues, too.

If you can't make it to any of the official events this year, visit the SBA website to watch the live streaming right from your computer. It's also the perfect week to carve out some time for your own business development and fine-tuning.

To help you focus on starting or improving your own business, I am kicking off a weeklong series on starting, managing, and growing a small business. Starting tomorrow, we'll cover business ideas and the startup process. Then we'll tackle business planning and goal setting, money management tips, and end with what you need to know about small business marketing.

In the meantime, get fired up to improve your business by visiting our Facebook page and connecting with other small business owners. Happy National Small Business Week!

Image © Caroline von Tuempling/Iconica/Getty Images

 

Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Small Business

Tuesday April 29, 2014

register domain name

If you are just starting a business, you are probably thinking about business names. And if you're thinking about business names, you should also be thinking about domain names.

Whether it's for online marketing purposes, or simply to protect your brand, every small business owner should take some time to explore the options when it comes to domain names.

Today's feature article walks you through the seven steps in the domain name registration process, and provides tips for helping you choose the right domain name, right from the start.

Feature Article:
How to Register a Domain Name for Your Small Business

More on Domain Names:

Photo © annaOMline

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

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