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Archive for July, 2011

#SmallBizChat Highlights – Tips on How to Make Your SmallBiz Website Look Trustworthy & Credible

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Tonight we were honored to have been the guest on the #SmallBizChat! We would like to thank everyone for participating and sharing their opinions  on the chat and would like to especially give a special thanks to Tai Goodwin and Melinda Emerson for providing us with this great opportunity. Hope you all enjoyed the chat and benefited from learning all about how to make your small business trustworthy online! To find out more information about online trust and the KikScore solution, check out our presentation regarding the topic by clicking the link below:

After reading about the importance of trust seals, we would like to offer you a 90 day free trial at KikScore. When signing up  with KikScore, use the promotional code SMALLBIZCHAT to start the free trial and publicly demonstrate your trust on your homepage!

Thanks again!

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Archive for July, 2011

Putting the “Social” in Social Media: A KikScore Interview with Chris Visco

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Visco, the owner of both TheBestOfFood.com and PJ’s and Coffee Social Media Marketing. With PJ’s and Coffee, her team doesn’t only market your business on the internet; they build and maintain client relationships for your business. According to a recent HubSpot study, nearly 2/3 of US internet users regularly use a social network and that number isn’t falling anytime soon. This makes Visco’s business ever more important and beneficial to the small business community. She discusses her business and gives tips for the future of small businesses in our KikScore interview of her.

1. Tell us about PJ’s and Coffee and who you focus on serving?

PJ’s and Coffee is a full service social media marketing agency. We manage the social media accounts for all sorts of businesses. PJ’s and Coffee is the blog for and social media management branch of our main website, TheBestofFood.com. We used to focus mainly on restaurants in the Philly area, but as more businesses sought our service, we expanded into helping small and medium businesses in a variety of different industries.

2. How did you get the idea for PJ’s and Coffee?

Essentially, we promote local restaurants by providing them with reliable and candid reviews on our site. This assists locals and travelers visiting the Philadelphia area with dining recommendations. This was the idea behind TheBestOfFood.com.

After using social media to promote these restaurants, we realized the value of social media and the cost savings involved with it. With the emergence of Twitter, we talked to restaurants, explaining our desire to promote them. They also saw the benefit of using social media outlets and asked us to manage their Facebook and other accounts. We started out by operating Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare accounts. After engaging many clients using these sites, others approached us about our service, including mortgage companies, dispatch providers, dentists, and others, expanding well beyond the food industry.

Being the food blog for TheBestOfFood.com, the name behind PJ’s and Coffee came from the idea that people want to sit and relax at home in their pajamas with their coffee in hand, and have the intimate feeling of reading and talking about food. We then took the name and rebranded it to the social media division, envisioning people sitting at home in the PJ’s and interacting with others through social media outlets on their computers and phones. Thirty-one percent of people between the ages of 18-35 check social media sites before getting out of bed in the morning so PJ’s and Coffee seemed like a fitting, more casual name. We put the “social” in social media. Many businesses fail because they don’t understand that it’s about people, not products. We engage their target audience and promote them using our research media. Companies that engage their target audience have a higher success than those who “talk AT” people online.

3. What is PJ’s and Coffee focusing most of its energy on this year?

Obviously with the recent release of Google+, we are going to see how successful it is and how to best use it from a marketing standpoint. We will continue focusing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. though it depends on the business model and which company represents the brand the best. We look for where we can reach the most people and make the most valuable connections. For example, we represent a collision repair company that is equally successful on both Facebook and Twitter, though not as much on LinkedIn and Foursquare. For B2Bs, Twitter and LinkedIn are most successful, while Facebook and Twitter are best for C2Bs. Also, for companies that are targeting women and mothers, mommy bloggers are really influential and we try to engage with them.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others, what are those lessons?

First, engagement is critical. Businesses that don’t engage with their target audience become white noise. Secondly, practice makes perfect and not all strategies work for all business so you have to be ready to adapt and change. When we first started, we were very Facebook driven but then we started expanding when we saw other outlets were more beneficial. Some strategies aren’t as successful so you should learn and read as much as you can and if one doesn’t work, move onto the next.

5. Based on your experience as social media strategist, what do you see as 2 new trends for small business?

One new trend is the increased use of video marketing. Fifty six percent of online users are likely to view videos through social media websites, and we’ve seen the success of Youtube videos over the years. Talk Fusion is a new service for email media marketing and allows you to send video emails directly to your client’s inbox.

Another trend will be the redevelopment of websites for social media use. Many websites get more hits and visitors through social media outlets than web searches so because social media sites are driving web traffic, websites are becoming more social media friendly. It’s not easy to facilitate with many current websites and they will be redeveloped, allowing you to login through Facebook and Twitter accounts and shooting out business-related alerts, similar to the news feed of Facebook. In addition, they must become more photo rich to draw attention to their sites on social media outlets.

6. What is the biggest challenge that PJ’s and Coffee faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge??

Quite honestly, the number one challenge is finding people that are able to engage others online. It seems easy to just go on social media sites and chat, but finding quality marketing professionals to actually engage people is difficult. The instinct to promote online is to just shout out your business promotions. For example, by just shooting out listings and links to your website, businesses and their posts become white noise which consumers will tune out quickly. The key is taking your ego out and making it less about you and more about the customer, which takes a lot of discipline and training. I’ve engaged in a business (social media marketing) that requires a lot of time. It takes 20-30 hours per month per social media outlet, so my challenge is balancing profitability while also bringing in people who take a lot of time to train and learn.

Also, another challenge is dealing with businesses that need to adapt their methods for the long term. While there will be no immediate result, those companies need to realize that they have to be in it now to be profitable in the longer run.

7. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

The Social Network for obvious reasons.

8. How do the folks at PJ’s and Coffee let loose after a busy day working?

With a glass of wine at a favorite local restaurant. The thing about what we do is that anything can happen at any point during the day. It is 24/7 work because consumers are online at all times, whether it be 1am, 6am, or 11pm, and there are no afterhours, social media sites are being visited every second.

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

I believe all businesses should have a social media presence. Businesses need to learn that it’s not just about promotion, but it’s also a customer service tool. If someone has a complaint or a raving review about your business, they’re most likely to go online and post about it somewhere on the internet. You need to be on these sites to immediately address your customers and their issues regarding your business.

I’d like to thank Chris Visco again for a great interview! If anyone has any questions or comments for Chris, please leave them in the comments.

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Archive for July, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Small Businesses Fail, part seven: Location

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Location

You may be familiar with the age-old expression that the three keys to success in Real Estate are “Location, location and location“. Clearly building family housing in the middle of an industrial zone is not likely to attract buyers.

Similarly, Your Small Business must be located, well… as close as possible to prospective customers. A tattoo parlor in a retirement village might attract curious onlookers, but probably not enough buyers to keep you in business. A shop specializing in infant and toddler wear in a location populated by childless professionals is likewise doomed to failure.

The strategic importance of location in the physical world may be somewhat obvious, but what about in the virtual world of online business? “Location?” you might ask. “Isn’t online everywhere??” Well, yes and no. In the case of launching an online business, location applies to the likelihood of your website being seen and visited by your prospective customer or client.

If you build it, they will come” applies only to that baseball movie starring Kevin Costner. Many online Small Business owners and operators make the mistake of believing that once they’ve built their shiny, “Web 2.0” site, their work is done. The stark reality is that merely having a website, however well-designed, simply isn’t enough to guarantee a steady stream of paying customers. A website in the forest of the Internet that has no traffic makes no money.

There are more active registered websites than there are human beings walking the planet. That’s “billions“, with a “B“. This means that many websites languish in obscurity, receiving no traffic whatever. Clearly, steps must be taken to increase the likelihood of attracting potential clients to your site.

Here’s a short list, by no means exhaustive, of traffic building tips:

  1. Register your site with the major search engines (you can do this yourself – don’t wait to be noticed)
  2. Use “meta tags” and keywords properly (click the links for guidance)
  3. Create a Google Places listing (this is the equivalent of a listing in the local phone book white pages)


Just as you cannot take your existing clients or customers for granted, you can’t take your potential clients for granted either. Businesses, Small and large, depend on the steady flow of activity from clients old and new to survive.

The Internet, fast, interactive and virtual, allows Small Businesses to compete at a level that may be impossible if they are required to maintain a physical facility. But even a virtual storefront must be properly maintained, or it will soon display the digital equivalent of a “Going out of Business” sign.


Series inspired by “Top Ten Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail” by: Connie Holt, E.A. cholt@henssler.com
The Henssler Financial Group Position Paper
© 2004 The Henssler Financial Group | www.henssler.com



Cornell Green is Your Open Source CIO, guest blogger for KikScore. Visit him at http://opensourcecio.blogspot.com

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Archive for July, 2011

Top 5 Reasons to Join KikScore on Next Wednesday’s #SmallBizChat

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Gone are the days where interviews had to be conducted face to face, person to person. With the evolution of technology and now social media sites, Twitter has become the perfect setting to conduct an interview. In fact, Melinda Emerson has taken advantage of this and hosts a popular weekly #SmallBizChat to create a network for emerging small businesses to both teach and inspire one other. TaiGoodwin, the founder of Launch While Working, is another host of the #SmallBizChat (and you may remember her from our interview with her earlier this summer, which can be found here). The topics vary every week, all matters in regards to small businesses and the challenges they face. This helps and strengthens the small business community, aiming to prevent future small business failures. What makes these interviews different from your traditional one on one interview is that both the participants and guests can type in their answers to questions from the host, allowing for an interactive interview.

Next Wednesday, July 27th, our own Raj Malik has the honor of representing KikScore on the #SmallBizChat at 8:00 PM. He will be discussing online trust with Melinda Emerson, enlightening the small business community on How to Make Your Business Look Credible and Trustworthy Online. This #SmallBizChat is one that should not be missed. Here are the Top 5 reasons to attend next week’s SmallBiz Chat with KikScore!

1.  By participating in the chat, you have the chance to introduce yourself and promote your brand to both KikScore and the small business community.

2.  The statistics regarding online trust are shocking and detrimental to all small businesses, as many customers choose bigger, more popular brands as opposed to lesser-known small businesses. Therefore, it is important that you learn how to make your business look trustworthy and reliable to potential customers.

3.  Get fast knowledge and rapid responses to your online trust-related questions and comments.

4.  It’s more fun and valuable to be a part of an interview than just reading or watching someone else’s. Take part and be active!

5.  Honestly, you’re going to be on your computer and most likely Twitter anyway, so you might as well join the #SmallBizChat.

So if you have a rising startup or small business, or are just an ambitious entrepreneur, or just want to learn more about small businesses and online trust, take part in next Wednesday’s #SmallBizChat with KikScore! I will see you there, or I will see you on another time!

Here is more information regarding the chat and how to enter.

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Archive for July, 2011

A Conversation with Candice Cabe of “Day2Night Convertible Heels”: Venturing Into the World of Start-Ups

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I had the pleasure of talking to Candice Cabe, who is the CEO of an innovative startup called “Day2Night Convertible Heels.”  Her company focuses on simplifying life for women who want to be both practical and stylish.  Her business targeting women-on-the-go, and is quickly plunging into the entrepreneurial world.  We spoke briefly about her ventures, as well as what it’s like to be a small-business owner in today’s quickly-changing world of business.  Thank you, Candice for speaking to me and sharing your experiences with our readers.  We wish you the best of luck in the future!

Tell us a little bit about your business and what makes it unique.

We invented a high heel shoe that converts from high heels down to lower heels.  It is a new kind of technology.  The shoes have interchangeable heels so that women can wear the same pair of shoes but adjust the heel height.  It’ll be the first time that women can wear fashionable and much more comfortable shoes at the same time.

What prompted you to start this business?  Was there a problem you aimed on solving?

The main problem is that women love to wear high heels, but usually after a few hours of wearing them, their feet really start to hurt. They’re usually forced to carry extra shoes with them in their bag to wear to work in the morning or to go out at night.

One of the stories that I tell a lot is that I was packing for a trip – I had to go on a corporate trip down to Miami for a few days and I was told to pack lightly and not check baggage.  I was trying to fit all of these shoes into my little tiny suitcase and I noticed that I ended having three pairs of shoes that looked similar but all had different heel heights, depending on what I was going to be doing.  I knew that immediately when I was getting off the plane, we were going to be chartering a boat and going on that for a few hours, so I was going to need small heels.  Later, we were going to be walking around the tradeshow for a few hours.  I needed to look appropriate in my suit and wear medium-height heels.  Then we were going to go out for a fancier dinner at night so I needed to have high stiletto shoes.  All my shoes looked the same but had different heel heights.  Also, they were taking up so much room in my suitcase.  I thought that it would be so nice to have a travel shoe – one shoe that you can wear to multiple occasions.

What are your short-term goals for the next year?  What kind of things is your business focusing on?

Right now we’re working on refunding and financing.  We’re trying to get some money in the door to finish prototyping.  We are also going to have to invest in getting a mold made.  Once we have a mold, we’ll be able to mass-produce the shoes in China.  We’re also looking for a shoe designer and a shoe manufacturer.  We already have one, but we’re looking for an alternative one.  We’re also trying to close some deals – we’re hoping to do a licensing deal with an existing shoe company.  We’re talking to companies like Steve Madden and zappos.com.  It would be great to get a licensing deal with a larger shoe company.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for small businesses in today’s society and economy?  What do you see as the best solutions to these challenges?

Funding, for sure, is number one.  Another one is building a team and getting people to work for straight equity instead of money is difficult – so getting people to either quit their jobs or to work for you full time.

The biggest thing that I’ve done is just talk to everybody I know or everybody I can think of.  I go to a lot of networking events and tell people what I’m trying to do and what I’m struggling with.  People always want to help, especially if you specifically tell them what you’re struggling with, which makes it easy for people to introduce you to other people.

From your experience, what are the best ways to advertise yourself?  Do you make use of tools like social media?

We have been using a lot of social media tools.  We use Facebook and Twitter and we have our own website.  We’re working on search engine optimization, for example Google keywords.

Where do you go to find advice or to get information that is relevant to your business?  Where would you recommend that other small businesses in the community go?  How do you connect with other businesses?

There’s a book that I’d like to recommend to people.  It’s called The Four Steps to the Epiphany.  That’s a book that is helpful for this kind of business that can help business owners get some customers and prove that people want things in the way that you’re doing them.  It’s a good way to get information to people.

Have you had any problems with demonstrating trust to your potential clients or customers?

People seem to be pretty good with trust.  Sometimes people have issues with our particular product.  They are reluctant to believe that the product will hold up well and be sturdy enough and strong enough.  What we’ve done to reassure customers is have a couple of videos on our website demonstrating the shoes, how they’re worn, and how they work.  In the future, we’re hoping to get a lot of customer reviews, feedback, and testimonials from people.  Communication is very important.  We’re trying to put ourselves out there so that people can better understand what we’re doing.

If you could choose a dream spokesperson to represent your business, who would it be?

My dream spokesperson would be Carrie Underwood because we would love to have a celebrity that would be able to wear our shoes.  I think that a lot of people would follow suit.  She’s a rising star and an American Idol and holds a lot of credibility for young women in America.

What do you see as the future for small businesses like yours?  Are you seeing any trends or changes developing?

I’m in the startup world of Boston, which is a really big startup community and city.  It seems that more and more young folks are starting businesses right out of college.  Instead of graduating college and immediately trying to find a job, people are thinking creatively and taking entrepreneurial courses or looking up to other young startups.

Do you have any parting comments or words of advice to our readers and the small business community?

If you have an idea, you should act on it.  Ideas can be a dime in a dozen, but it’s really about execution.  I think that if people put all of their effort into starting a business…if they’re passionate about it and tell everybody they know about it, then almost anyone can start their own business.  I encourage people to start their own businesses and try to ground themselves with people who have done so and been successful.  It’s good to have mentorship from people who know how things work.

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview and I hope you gained something from Candice’s words of wisdom and many insights into what it’s like to own a start-up.  What do you think of her ideas?

Feel free to leave feedback here or contact Candice through her site: http://www.convertible-heels.com/Day2Night.html

Support her business here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2072356942/day2night-convertible-high-heel-shoes

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Archive for July, 2011

Nonprofit or Going for Broke: Ways to Demonstrate Your Business is Legitimate & Trustworthy

Friday, July 15th, 2011

As is the whole point of our business, we’ve talked a lot about the need for ecommerce and service businesses to prove trustworthiness via their websites. However, I now want to discuss how this issue concerns nonprofit organizations, such as charities.

People can often be just as wary of donating as they are of buying. It’s not all that uncommon for people to be scammed when they only want to further some cause. However, this hurts more than the people who buy into the scams; it hurts the overall reputation of nonprofits in general. As a result, people become wary and less willing to help out a new or unknown group.

Just like any other trust-based scenario, this problem can be alleviated by taking precautions when creating your nonprofit organization.

Let Them Know Who You Are

One of the important things that continues to be essential is letting visitors to your nonprofit’s website know who your management team is. Let’s face it: if you don’t want anyone to know who you are, then you probably shouldn’t be a part of a group that deals with asking for donations. Potential donors know this and it will be that much harder to demonstrate trust.

Of course, this issue goes farther than putting a few names on your site. How can donors know the listed person even exists, let alone an entire management team? Provide your emails and phone numbers so that people can contact you with questions instead of relying solely on an ‘About Us’ page. Although this sounds so obvious that it seems strange for me to bother mentioning it, the simple touches are often the most consequential. Nonprofits are thought of as caring and helpful, so you need to provide that personal touch. If you don’t, people will wonder why they are being asked to donate money to a nameless, faceless identity and back out.

Show Them the Money

Another, more unique form of information that you should provide in your nonprofit’s website is transaction data. In this blog post, the author accurately describes the issue of real and fake charities:

“You can set up a real charity using the exact same methods. The difference: a fake charity never does anything with its cash except deposit it in the bank account of the person who started the charity. A real charity reports where their money has gone, and is accountable for its expenditures to a board of directors.”

It’s obvious that false groups will take donations and deposit them into their own pockets. After all, a fake group certainly won’t give to it’s supposed “cause.” You need to realize that people can’t always take you at your word and will want to see where their money is going. If you can show current and potential donors where donations are being distributed, they’ll be far more likely to believe in you.

License and Registration, Please

Although everyone hates to fill out forms, your nonprofit can use it to your advantage in more than the standard sense. Form 990, which is an essential IRS form for nonprofits, can and should be utilized as a source of trust-building. Since the IRS needs this form to certify that your organization is in fact a nonprofit, potential donors will look for it as a source of recognizing your legitimacy. If you can, show it on your website. If you can’t, then be prepared to present it when asked!

We all like to take each other by our words, but it’s difficult when scamming gets in the way. However, if you can take advantage of these three tips, you are on the way to demonstrating that your nonprofit really is what it claims. Get into the donor’s shoes: what would you like to see as proof of legitimacy? If anyone has some suggestions, I more than welcome them. Share your thoughts so everyone can benefit!

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Archive for July, 2011

Advance Your Merchant Services for Your Small Business with Mobile Credit Card Payment

Monday, July 11th, 2011

The RAZR was once the biggest advancement in mobile phones in the U.S. Consumers went nuts to get the latest technological advancement. Now the RAZR is a thing of the past. If someone is seen with one of them they are often seen as outdated.

The same may be said one day for classic credit card processing terminals. You know the ones that are still connected with a phone line to a modem. Even those bulky, slow wireless credit card processing terminals are becoming a thing of the past.  Now there are companies that are developing the next age of credit card processing machines.  You may have even seen one if you have been in at an Apple Store lately!

With technological advancements such as, Pay Anywhere, it is possible to accept credit cards anywhere on your smartphone. This advancement is crucial for those who take their business on the go. Imagine a customer paying for a delivery order through an iPhone credit card processing terminal. Don’t have an iPhone? That’s fine you can turn your iPad, Blackberry, or Android into a credit card processing terminal as well. Not only is this tech savvy, it is also green! Seconds after the card is swiped, a receipt is text messaged and/or e-mailed to the customer. The best part is the fees associated with many monthly credit card processing contracts are more manageable that traditional card processing machines.

No Scary Fees

A lot of small businesses, and businesses that are constantly on the go fear that the fees of processing credit cards will out weight the extra business they bring in. It can be scary for a small business owner to commit to a lengthy contract that requires a monthly rental fee, monthly minimum fee, and the most dreaded cancellation or early termination fees. It is especially hard to compute if it will be worth it for a business to begin accepting credit cards, since there is no way to accurately predict the number of credit card sales that they will receive once they begin accepting them.

Pricing

Providers like Pay Anywhere makes accepting credit cards less scary for any business owner looking to expand their payment options. With almost none of the previously mentioned fees, a business owner has nothing to fear in trying it out. Even a freelance artist who would only use a credit card terminal a couple times a month could maybe benefit here too from this technology. No longer will you watch a sale walk away because the cost exceeded the cash in hand that the potential customer had. You may be able to get some providers to even eat the cost of the credit card reader as the provider gives that to their clients for free. At other places these could exceed the cost of 150 dollars. Try to find a provider that has no fees associated with the application process.

Some Benefits

This mobile processing technology, it is takes off, will benefit anyone whose business has them constantly traveling from sale to sale. The fear of a check bouncing for services rendered will be eliminated as you can have that customer simply swipe and sign with their debit card instead. General contractors will attract more job prospects by sampling accepting credit cards. Don’t be the one with the RAZR in 2011, be the one who had the iPhone in 2007!

We would love to hear about your experiences with credit card processing over a smartphone. Tell us about them please in the comments below.

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Archive for July, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail, part six: Versatility

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Versatility

Though many Small Businesses are one-person operations, in today’s economy, none can afford to be “one-trick ponies“.

Even if you can’t diversify your staff (especially if you work alone), you’d do well to diversify your skills. Every solopreneur has a specialty, but don’t focus exclusively on the thing you do best. What happens if the market shifts, or your existing clients have had their fill of the good or service you specialize in?

Begin by ignoring the voices in your head that say “I can’t…”, “I don’t…”, or “I’m only…”. You are an entrepreneur – something you may not have imagined being even a few years ago. Whether it was always your dream, or the result of a layoff due to the “Great Recession“, here you are! Don’t let the challenge of expanding your capabilities defeat you as success draws near.

Next, consider improving your business-critical skills, such as:

  1. Business communications
  2. Planning
  3. Financial management
  4. Networking


There are many courses available, locally and onlinedesigned especially to assist Small Business owners, operators and employees in enhancing their business related skills. Locally (New York City), I highly recommend NYC Business Solutions’ FastTrac New Venture course. This is a free, month-long course designed especially to, as their website states:

“…help you perfect your business concept, write a strong business plan and access resources to complete your launch.”

If you’re in New York City, and are in the first year or two of starting your Small Business, you MUST enroll in this course. The benefits are immeasurable – and how can you beat the price?

Consider also what you are good at that you could do for others, perhaps on an informal or advisory basis? Are you a good writer? Lend a hand to fellow solopreneurs and Small Business owners/operators/employees by proofreading drafts of their business communications.

Better at managing money? Although you may not be an accountant, you might have advicetipsspreadsheets, or prior budgetary management experience that would prove useful to friends or colleagues struggling to stay on top of their financials.

Success in today’s economy requires more than focusing on your core specialty; it increasingly involves thinking beyond direct financial compensationLending assistance to those who may benefit from your versatility is an excellent way to gain word-of-mouth recommendations and/or discover referral partners.

It’s basic human nature to help those who help us. And unselfish devotion to others, as contrary as it may seem, is an often overlooked component of professional and financial success.

As we’ve mentioned several times in this series, business is about relationships. As with any relationship, sincerity is a key aspect of forming those which last and flourish.


Series inspired by “Top Ten Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail” by: Connie Holt, E.A. cholt@henssler.com
The Henssler Financial Group Position Paper
© 2004 The Henssler Financial Group | www.henssler.com


Cornell Green is Your Open Source CIO, guest blogger for KikScore. Visit him at http://opensourcecio.blogspot.com

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Archive for July, 2011

3 Tools for Boosting Your Business’ Image

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

When businesses are in the startup phase, how and where to advertise is an important matter. In many cases, the internet is an excellent way to kick off the process. There’s a ton of different ways to hang up your “open for business” sign in the online world. These places can range anywhere from your own website to getting a shout out from one of your buddies who has a strong online presence. Let’s face it, though: no one has the time to take advantage of every opportunity. Founders and employees have far too much to do when starting a business, which causes certain opportunities to be neglected. It’s for this very reason that prioritizing where to advertise yourself is key.

Prioritizing, however, is no different than anything else, meaning that help from others is never a bad idea. In this case, help can come in the form of a few suggestions. In this spirit, we feel the need to mention three places that we use in the hopes that you can find new openings for advertisement and help your business grow.

#1: paper.li

If you want to augment your blog with something a little different, this is the place. Paper.li allows you to create your own online newspaper. Put articles up about what you want and have them connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Another great thing about this site is that you don’t need to come up with some way to find a staff of writers and editors. You’re free to link to articles about whatever you want and from wherever you want. In a sense, paper.li is an open newspaper company with a stash of unused articles. Pick out the ones you want and share them with your followers. For an example of Paper.li, check out The KikScore Startup & Small Biz Daily.

#2: CrunchBase

CrunchBase is a unique part of the ever popular TechCrunch. However, instead of news, CrunchBase provides an environment in which different technology-based companies, people, and investors can come together and market themselves.

Every company and person in this directory is editable and all changes are moderated for accuracy before going live. This helps to foster a sense of trust in what you are reading when looking through different information. Since TechCrunch is in itself a reputable site for technology information, you can bet the businesses on CrunchBase will be taken just as seriously.

#3: VentureBeat Profiles

TradeVibes, having been acquired by VentureBeat, is now VentureBeat Profiles. Similar in its setup to CrunchBase, VentureBeat Profiles contains useful information from a large list of businesses.

Ever a source for innovation news, VentureBeat aims to gather the information contained in VentureBeat Profiles to provide interesting stories while promoting businesses. In addition, news such as company press releases will be used to gather more information and help hype followers up for any upcoming events. Not all functions may be up for VentureBeat Profiles at the moment since they are continuously developing new ways to incorporate this newly acquired site, but that just means there is even more reason to keep an eye on it.

Hopefully these three sites will come in handy for you, just as they have for us. For another good source of suggested sites, take a look at this list that was compiled by Focus. As I’ve stated above, advertisement is all about where to market yourself. It’s not always the “cakewalk” we’d like it to be, but hey…what is? At the very least, we can help you get off on a good start!

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Archive for July, 2011

Small Business Community – Remember to Celebrate Your Freedom This Weekend!

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Every Fourth of July, millions of Americans celebrate Independence Day with picnics, parades, barbecues, concerts, carnivals, and other extravagant public and private events, all being capped off with fireworks. While everyone loves the holiday, enjoying their time off from work and spending time with family and friends, we should not forget the importance of the holiday and our freedom.

On the historic date of July 4, 1776, the United States Congress officially approved and adopted the Declaration of Independence, the document that our founding fathers used to declare their colonies’ independence from Great Britain. In doing so, the Declaration listed the grievances against King George III, justifying the independence of the United States, and furthermore, explained that everyone is endowed with certain unalienable human rights, most specifically those of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Our freedom was worth fighting for, and all Americans, especially entrepreneurs that started their own small businesses such as ourselves here at KikScore, should be thankful to still have all of the liberties that we were promised in that document. Without our freedom, no small businesses could be in existence; instead, we are allowed to pursue our dreams and make them come true. For small businesses, it is just a matter of taking the risk of beginning a start-up and then putting in the time and effort to make it succeed and prosper.

Have a great Independence Day weekend, enjoy the fireworks, and celebrate your pursuit of entrepreneurial happiness!

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