Archive | May, 2017

4 Pages Every Website Needs

4 May

website buildingSeveral of my followers* have pointed out that back in January (5 Things You Can Do (This Week) To Improve Your Business – 2017 Edition) I promised to post the 4 pages every website needs. So here goes:

First, let me say that I am a recent convert to the use of social media – I’m an introvert and don’t like to share – but the ability to disseminate information via the web is undeniable. And for small businesses, this power is invaluable – if used properly.

At a minimum, your website should contain 1) an dynamic Homepage that highlights your product(s) and/or service(s) & value to the customer, 2) an About Us page that conveys your story (and why you got into business), 3) a Content page that features customer testimonies, videos and even a blog (you can combine the Homepage and Content page as long as it doesn’t become too “busy”), and 4) a Contact Us page so people can reach you.

As you grow and scale your business you may need to add other features (real-time customer service, online ordering or reservations, account management, etc) but these 4 pages should suffice to get you started.

And you can get a bare-bones (mobile-optimized) website up and running quickly and inexpensively using services such as Wix, Squarespaces or weebly. (https://www.sitebuilderreport.com/)

For a step-by-step guide to building your website, check out this article from PC Magazine: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2484510,00.asp

* THANK YOU to all 739 of you for following my humble little blog!

10 “Must Read” Books for Small Business Owners – Revised & Expanded!

2 May

business books imageTo be an entrepreneur means being a lifetime learner. So here is my (revised and expanded) list of essential reads for every small business owner – whether you are a first-timer or a serial entrepreneur:

  1. The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau – Demonstrates how to find meaning and purpose by committing to a life-changing project or quest (or starting a business) and explains how to find fulfillment through physical journeys, artistic enterprises, philanthropic endeavors or political activities.
  2. Grit by Angela Duckworth – “One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.”
  3. The Startup Checklist by David Rose – A thoughtful and comprehensive checklist to help launch a new business (or to kick-start your existing business).
  4. Little Bets by Peter Sims – Little bets are a low-risk way to explore, develop and test an idea.
  5. A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink – Why it’s important for business owners to engage both the left-brain (sequential, textual, literal, analytic, and logical) and the right-brain (simultaneous, contextual, metaphorical, aesthetic, and affective).
  6. Messy by Tim Harford – Learn about the unexpected connections between creativity and mess; understand why unexpected changes of plans, unfamiliar people, and unforeseen events can help generate new ideas and opportunities as they make you anxious and angry; and come to appreciate that the human inclination for tidiness – in our personal and professional lives, online, even in children’s play – can mask deep and debilitating fragility that keep us from innovation.
  7. Contagious by Jonah Berger – Discover how six basic principles can help your business idea spread and stick.
  8. Raising Capital by Andrew J. Sherman – The A to Z guide on options for funding.
  9. Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce Patton – The classic guide to effective negotiations by creating win-win situations.
  10. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris – My daily inspiration with tools and tricks of the trade for whatever situation you face.

National Small Business Week: April 30 – May 6, 2017

1 May

Every year since 1963, as part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and its resource partners take the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and their supporters from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, these individuals are working to start and grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation and increase America’s global competitiveness. Here are 5 facts about U.S. small businesses:

• The SBA has established the following common standards for a small business, depending on its North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code: 1) fewer than 500 employees, and 2) $7 million in average annual receipts for most non-manufacturing industries.
• There are approximately 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and over 22 million are self-employed with no additional payroll or employees. Veterans represent 2.52 million of these small business owners with annual receipts of $1.14 trillion.
• Small businesses have generated over 65% of the net new jobs since 1995. Veteran-owned businesses employed 5.03 million people and had an annual payroll of $195 billion.
• 7 out of 10 new employer firms survive at least 2 years, half at least 5 years, a third at least 10 years and a quarter stay in business 15 years or more.
• 52% of all small businesses are home-based.

I am proud to be a small business owner and am honored to be an advocate, teacher and mentor to other small business owners. This week (and every week) let us recognize and support the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.