Looking to start a new business? If you want to succeed you need to have a solid plan. While writing a business plan can be a daunting task, you don’t need a fancy business degree in order to craft a good one. But you do need to have vision, passion, organization, and be willing to put in a lot of hard work.
Whether you want to write a business plan for yourself, the bank, or to show potential investors, you’ve come to the right place! Here you’ll learn how to create a strong business plan as well as learn from common mistakes that can hurt your chances of success.
One thing that virtually all small businesses have in common is a smaller budget than they would like. But, fear not, the amazing CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs is here to share their best budgeting tips for small businesses. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
A cold call is less appreciated than a “sales” email. But if you have a dinosaur sales manager you may not be able to stop cold calling completely. However, it only takes a few minutes to research a prospect on the web or social media. You don’t have to make “cold” calls anymore if you use these nine tactics.
Website traffic generation is one of the most vital parts to the success of any given website. I mean, without much traffic, a website is almost impossible to grow and expand let alone reach the goal target of passive/active income. But don’t worry, nowadays it’s not that hard to find people interested in your website and then send them to it. To show you a few examples (actually much more than a few), I have interviewed 50 digital marketers for their best way/ways of driving traffic to their websites. Here’s what they had to say.
Getting those oh-so elusive business referrals can be challenging, uncomfortable and even downright difficult at times. But, referrals are a vital aspect to growing a successful business. So, we have asked the incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share their best tips for getting business referrals. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
If you’re lucky enough to run a Business to Consumer (B2C) Company, you’re lucky enough to develop personalized social media B2C marketing strategies.
Daunting? A little.
But does this allow for creative expression? Absolutely.
Social media B2C marketing strategies are your company’s legitimate excuse to execute your creative vices. Unlike B2B marketing, where you have to align your language to industry expectations, B2C marketing allows you to speak directly to your customer.
The internet has transformed marketing, but you should still be skeptical about miracles. There is no guarantee of overnight success.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here’s a look at the nine biggest lies and half-truths the best marketing companies will not promise you.
There is a little bit of gray area when it comes to greenwashing. If you aren’t familiar with this term, greenwashing refers to the behaviors of companies who try to present themselves as ecologically conscious and environmentally responsible but without doing any good in the long run.
Don’t be that company. You know the one. They say they are sending coupons by email now instead of paper because they want to “Love the Trees of the Earth,” but it is just about lowering their expenses. If customers still must print the coupons and bring them in, this is really offloading printing costs with a greater interest in a different kind of green.
Many businesses tend to wind down over the holidays unless they run an operation favored by Santa and his elves. It’s tempting to put your feet up and put your marketing on hold until you enter the New Year. The reality is that while you go into a turkey-induced slumber for several weeks, your competitors may not be doing the same thing.
Overfed with countless advice making things look simple and obvious, webmasters often rely on their intuition, common sense, or gut feelings when it comes to SEO… and they often fail.
That’s why we decided to reach out to the experts in marketing—and in the SEO field in particular—and ask them one question:
What do you think is the #1 counterintuitive truth that other webmasters should know about SEO?
This case study, contributed by Victor, highlights how small business owners are the last people to pick up on changing consumer buying behavior until it impacts their bottom line. Victor highlights the five key changes in buyer behavior over the last decade that business owners should only ignore at their own peril.
Consumers interact with brands across a multitude of touch points through the buyer’s journey. Every interaction makes an impact on your prospects that will set the stage for the relationship, making it crucial to ensure that every touch point comes with a positive experience, but above all, companies must monitor the big picture: the total experience customers have from end-to-end in doing business with your company.
So, what does it take to create an incredible customer experience from end-to-end? Experts make a variety of recommendations from taking a top-down approach to continuously monitoring customer feedback across touch points, going the extra mile when it’s least expected, and more. There are myriad ways to influence the customer experience, so to help companies identify the most impactful strategies, we asked a panel of CX professionals and business leaders to weigh in on this question:
The holiday season is in full swing and while your competitors are out drinking hot cocoa and decking the halls, your business should take this time to get a leg up on them in 2017. There are many things that your business should do, plan and get ready for the upcoming year ahead. So, in that spirit, we have asked the amazing CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share their best business preparation tips and advice.
Entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists discuss how to craft a business plan that will impress investors and be a good road map for your company.
One too many businesses have written off the value of print-based marketing in lieu of shiny and exciting digital forms of marketing. Just because there are many more marketing channels available today than 10 years ago, doesn’t mean traditional forms of marketing don’t work anymore.
Print based marketing is as effective as before, but the rules have slightly changed. Once you understand them, your ability as a marketer to get results will improve.
Some small businesses might benefit from an app — but don’t waste your time and money if yours won’t. The current app frenzy was fueled in part by a 2013 Nielsen study that revealed consumers spend 89 percent of their time in apps. But before you jump in, pause to consider if an app is really the right thing for your business.
Networking is an essential aspect of almost all successful small businesses. But, what you shouldn’t do when networking can be just as important as what you should do. So that you can avoid these networking fails, we have asked the fantastic CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share the worst networking mistakes that they have ever seen (or done!). Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
Marketing and sales practices have shifted in recent years, and forever changed the landscape of doing business. If you are still selling and marketing like you did in the 80’s then this post is for you.
When a small business is successful, an owner will likely face the question of whether to grow. After a lot of soul-searching, many say no. Some worry that the quality of their products or services might be hurt because a larger company can be more difficult to operate. Or they don’t want to tip their work-life balance away from spending time with family and friends. Others want to grow, but the time isn’t right — they may be worried about the economy, and reluctant to take risks like hiring the staffers needed to handle more business.
No matter what a salesperson tells you there is no guarantee of overnight success. Effective marketing and PR is merely a tool to help you achieve your business and sales goals. Credible marketing and PR pros will set the right client expectations from the get go and will follow through with hard work and a clear strategy over a considerable period of time.
Here the 11 biggest lies and half-truths you need to know in order to overcome marketing and PR dishonesty.
Productivity is something that is sought after by each and every organization working today. Distractions like gadgets, psychological frustration, stress and lack of concentration appear to be haunting our lives more than ever. These distractions not only reduce productivity but also lead us towards failure in the longer run. Employees are always hired keeping in mind professionalism and are evaluated in their probation period using the yardstick of professional productivity. Ultimately if someone wants to succeed or wants to be more productive than others he should be working on his concentration stamina and his ability to grasp minute details along with the avoidance of things which keep on distracting him in his immediate work space. Here are few productive tips from well-known personalities:
If your website is like your welcome mat, then your web copy is the aroma that greets people when they’re on your doorstep. Do they smell warm, inviting chocolate chip cookies or garbage? In other words: does your web copy entice people to spend time on your website or run to the competitors?
I was curious how marketers and business owners find ways to attract visitors and potential customers through copy, so I interviewed 10 of them to get their mastermind strategies just for you.
All inbound marketers want to improve their efficiency in gaining customers while achieving instant – or at least rapid – results. From focusing on one goal to customizing and personalizing content or offering valuable incentives, there are many angles to consider and explore that can quickly boost conversions and ROI.
What are some of the optimal ways to expedite conversions and move prospects through the customer acquisition funnel? What methods have the most successful inbound marketers found most effective in producing quick results? To take a deeper look at the numerous tactics today’s most successful inbound marketers rely on to optimize the customer acquisition funnel when immediate results are a must, we asked a panel of seasoned experts to answer this question:
If you found yourself on an elevator with a potential customer or client, could you hook his or her interest before the doors opened? Most of us never really get to find out in real life, but having a short, honed sales pitch comes in handy in a thousand other everyday scenarios.
How do you structure such a pitch? What should it include? How can you strike the right tone? The devil is in the details. Here, experts reveal their best advice.
Marketing is a complex business function comprised of a multitude of strategies, tactics, channels, and other elements that today’s businesses use to reach audiences. The field of marketing as a whole evolves along with technology, constantly growing and shifting to accommodate the newest social media platforms and other channels that consumers use to research products, communicate with friends, family, and contacts, and generally spend their time in the digital world. Coupled with the real-world marketing strategies that are still employed today, it requires substantial processes and systems to sufficiently fuel the myriad touch points that exist in the average buying journey.
Ink-on-paper marketing products are decreaing. That’s likely no surprise to you. Outbound marketing pieces such as direct mail, rack cards, flyers, booklets and print ads are rapidly being replaced by digital alternatives. if there is a light at the end of the outbound marketing tunnel, it can be assumed it’s the headlight of a digital marketing train barreling towards your business.
Take a step back from the tsunami of websites, tablet apps or blogs, and you will find that marketers have been approaching outbound marketing the wrong way the past few years.
Victor Clarke’s company, Clarke, Inc., has successfully transitioned its business operation away from a dedicated offset printing company using the tools and techniques presented in this podcast. Today Clarke, Inc. works with businesses that do not have a dedicated marketing staff to manage their communications and redeploy them.
This post weighs the pros and cons of each to help you determine the right length for your blog posts. If you want to create content on a regular basis, then this can help you determine the best format for your posts.
Length is less important than the story you tell and the WAY you write it. In my blogging I follow a specific format that always begins with a very specific human moment that engages the reader. Once you pull a reader in, the rest of the blog can be as long or as short as necessary to complete the story.
Marketing is absolutely essential for getting the word out about your business. But, with consumers that are constantly bombarded with marketing, how do you make your fliers, advertisements (online or otherwise), social media posts and other marketing efforts stand-out from the crowd? Well, we have asked the CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share their very best tips for amping up small business marketing materials. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
Victor Clarke has been the owner of Clarke Inc. for 20-plus years evolving it from strictly a commercial printing firm to an inbound and outbound marketing firm using marketing automation. We recently checked in with him to gain some of his marketing insight. Here’s what he had to say:Victor’s company, Clarke, Inc., has successfully transitioned its business operation away from a dedicated offset printing company and now works with businesses that do not have a dedicated marketing staff to manage their communications and redeploy them. Clarke’s Inc.’s philosophy is to help its clients “Be Better and Do More”.
Victor Clarke has been the owner of Clarke Inc. for 20-plus years evolving it from strictly a commercial printing firm to an inbound and outbound marketing firm using marketing automation. We recently checked in with him to gain some of his marketing insight. Here’s what he had to say:
Digital marketing strategies can come from anywhere and everywhere as you will see in this post today.
We have 69 (I swear this was the number of quality responses) digital marketing strategies below from marketing agencies and regular entrepreneurs. These digital marketing strategies span the range in what you can do for your business from SEO to Social Media to Content Marketing to Website Creation and more.
Marketing collateral both supports and delivers your business’s primary advertising message. Traditionally it has been in hard copy form such as mailings, postcards, brochures, and newsletters, but digital media has become just as necessary for the mix. These include your website, e-versions of printed documents, and all branded forms of media (video, podcasts, slideshows, etc.).
In this post are our favorite tips for planning and distributing the most popular forms of printed collateral used today for local marketing – brochures, postcards, and booklets. I’m confident you’ll find a few good tidbits that will maximize your next marketing campaign.
Content marketing may not be new, but it’s rapidly surpassing other ways of connecting with customers.
Here are common content marketing mistakes to avoid, as described by marketing professionals and other ecommerce merchants with experience in this area.
If you’re looking for tips about how to grow an email list, you’ve come to the right place. We asked a handful of business owners and marketing experts for their go-to tips and tools for collecting email addresses they can then use to generate new leads, and stay in touch with existing customers.
Victor’s company, Clarke, Inc., has successfully transitioned its business operation away from a dedicated offset printing company. Today Clarke, Inc. works with businesses that do not have a dedicated marketing staff to manage their communications and redeploy them. This includes print and digital communications or some combination of both. Clarke, Inc.’s philosophy is to help its clients “Be Better and Do More”.
Email marketing! This happens to be one of my favorite topics. Why? Email is an incredibly efficient ways to market to your audience. Unlike the visitors who wander onto your site from search engine traffic, your email list is filled with subscribers who intentionally opted-in to hear from you on a regular basis.
But don’t get caught up in a numbers game. Whether your email list contains 10 people or 10,000, you can launch a successful email marketing campaign.
We’re sharing favorite email marketing tips from small business entrepreneurs around the country and around the world. A big thank you to everyone who offered their favorite tips! Let’s get started!
Boosting sales is a top priority for any sales-focused organization, but sometimes the pressure rises to close more deals to boost earnings for the quarter or achieve sales goals. Whatever the reason you need to accelerate sales, there are a variety of tactics you could employ to do so.
To learn what sales strategies leading sales professionals use when they need to accelerate sales and close deals faster, we asked a panel of top sales pros and business leaders to answer this question: “What’s your best example of a sales strategy that can be used to close deals faster?”
There are many reasons why people go for entrepreneurship, some have an amazing idea, some just want something more out of their lives, for some it means spending more time with their families. But, in almost all cases there is always the lure of managing yourself, being your own boss. This was one of the main reasons why Victor Clarke left his $100,000 job to start Clarke, Inc., a company which provides print and digital marketing material and advice.
In this post Spokal is showcasing real-life examples of small businesses who are succeeding in large part due to their blogging techniques. They’re trying to corner their market… and their techniques are working.
Networking can be a great way to boost your business connections and great way to, ultimately, boost business. But networking just to network isn’t the best practice. When you network, you can’t fake it; you have to be genuine.
In this episode we meet Victor Clarke of Be Better Do More. Victor share’s his experience on how to network and get referrals for your business. According to Victor, he helps clients market their marketing! He does this by using print, mail, promos, design, websites, etc. Also, he does this by bringing client ideas to life with an emphasis on high ROI.
Few people would claim that starting and growing a new business is easy. In fact, the growing pains for small businesses typically test entrepreneurs’ willpower and ingenuity to their limits. 5 inspiring entrepreneurs shared how they overcame the growing pains that threatened to topple their businesses, and the lessons they learned along the way.
Victor Clarke, the owner of Clarke Incorporated, walks us through a really tough time with his business and explains the steps that kept him from failure. He almost lost the business but before that happened he was able to make some hard choices and is now successful.
Content is Fire. Social Media is Gasoline.
The best social sites to generate qualified leads for business are LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Learn more about how Victor Clarke of Clarke Inc. leverages these sites to make Clarke Inc. thrive.
Helping people be better and do more with Victor Clarke
Victor Clarke, owner of Clarke Incorporated, went from the cutthroat sales industry in the hustle and bustle of Washington DC to buying a printing business in a small town in central Virginia after having a boss that made his life miserable.
Building a strong customer base can be tough. Turning those customers into long-term customers who’ll come back time and time again is even tougher.
We’ve found that creating a login feature keeps our customers wanting to work with us. With MyCorp Vault, our customers can login to access their business documents whenever they need them. We also consistently provide assistance to businesses throughout their entire lives with services like filing annual documents.
We asked our small business owners how they create long-term relationships with their customers and this is what they had to say:
We wanted to find out what strategies and tactics today’s thought leaders in content marketing find most effective for reaching target audiences and getting results. To do so, we reached out to a panel of leading experts in content marketing and asked them to answer the following question:
“What is the single most effective content marketing tactic or strategy for B2B companies and why?”
We’ve collected and compiled their responses into this comprehensive guide for the best, most effective content marketing tactics for B2B companies today.
Tony Gambone of Tough Talk Network interviews Victor Clarke regarding Clarke, Inc.’s latest eBook, “Upgrade Your Marketing to Integrated Marketing.” This 20 minute radio interview touches on a topic all business owners need to know about their marketing. Specifically, customers are not contacting your sales people anymore. They are silently searching your business on the internet and social sites. Your customers are 60% down the buying path before they contact you for more information.
This is not a fad. This is a trend that will continue to grow. Have you stopped to question why this is happening and how it’s affecting your business? Perhaps your small business marketing is out of date. Maybe some of those newfangled tactics like websites, email, inbound marketing, CRM and marketing automation for small businesses aren’t evil at all. To learn more after listening to the interview check out our webinar on You Tube.