ringcentral-team
RingCentral Team
October 13, 2014

Tips For Small Business Owners (Part 1)

small biz expoThe San Francisco Small Business Expo was filled with business experts, and had advice from industry leaders in content marketing, sales, technology, education, etc. The expo displayed workshop rooms where people could go to listen to lectures about entrepreneurship and social media tactics. Here are two big takeaways from what was presented.

1) How to stay active on the road and everywhere else

This presentation, put on by Jess Stratton from Lynda.com—an education website that gives free video tutorials and online classes in everything from mastering a new software to general business skills— was adamant about online tools that can help you with productivity and staying focused. Using note-taking apps on your mobile device can help keep all your virtual documents in one safe and organized place. It also allows you to instantly sync your notes across multiple devices.

Put every contract you send to clients and customers in a PDF format so that the content is not compromised. You can utilize multiple features on your computer using Preview and Adobe Reader so that you never have to print your PDF files again. For example, sign PDF documents right from your computer using ink signing, or by taking a picture of your signature and uploading it directly to the document. You will no longer have to scan documents, saving time and resources.

Most small business owners initially work from home, which can be distracting and unproductive. If you are easily sidetracked by your social media accounts while you are trying to be productive, Stratton suggests using the software, Leechblock. Leechblock is an add-on to the Firefox browser that allows you to block access to certain websites for a period of time of your own choosing. You pick what websites you can or can’t access and for how long. Whether you are spending too much time on Facebook, Reddit, or some other website, Leechblock can help you to stay focused and increase your productivity when working on your small business development efforts.

2) Social Media and SEO for Local Businesses

For enhanced social media, best practices suggest that you integrate your Twitter feed directly into your blog or website. Simply create a Twitter widget of your tweets to embed in your website. This allows visitors of your blog to actively engage in your tweets, doubling your social media interactions instantly. It also allows anyone who is on your blog to see the latest developments of your business, which should always be updated on Twitter.

Make sure if you are a local business, like a restaurant, that you have excellent search engine visibility. According to Timothy Smith of Marketure, 85% of consumers use the internet to look up local businesses. Yet surprisingly, 56% of small businesses have no keyword information for search engine discovery. Combat this by utilizing keywords effectively. Localized keywords should always be used for localized businesses. This can be done through good meta info and citations—the more times your business shows up the better off your search engine results will be.

Another important factor to keep in mind is making sure that your NAP is consistent throughout the web; NAP stands for name, address, phone number. Often times, local businesses will lose clients because the address on their website is different than the one listed on Yelp. Check for consistency on important contact information frequently so that you know it is always accurate.

Last but not least, try to strive for positive reviews. Ask for reviews and give reasons for customers to give great reviews, such as consistently great service. Share these reviews on your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Then, utilize the feedback to give even better customer service next time.

We will be sharing more business advice from what we learned at this year’s Small Business Expo, so stay tuned!