Making The Case for Small Business: Big Business Just Can’t Keep Up

Small businesses are the heart and soul of the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration small business account for 65% of all new jobs and employ half of all private sector employees. These businesses are responsible for much of the innovation and growth that occurs in the American economy. According to CNN, two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. is created through small business ventures.

In contrast, large American corporations under pressure from shareholders have put quarterly profits ahead of corporate responsibility. Much of American manufacturing and a significant portion of the technology service industry have been outsourced to China and India. China’s cheap labor and India’s tech-savvy workforce are well documented in Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat. As the economies of China and India have matured so have wages in these countries. Outsourcing is no longer as cost effective as it once was. The New York Times reports that wages have increased by double-digit percentage rates in China and India over the last two years.

Unlike small businesses, large corporations can’t turn on a dime. Relocating a manufacturing plant can take months or even years. Small independent businesses have the flexibility to adapt quickly to changing market demands and are now proving their worth as the primary job growth engine in America today. One major advantage small businesses have is the ability to leverage the SaaS or Software as a Service model. Many large corporations are bound by proprietary internal database applications for tracking customers, inventory and sales. These large companies have to maintain huge amounts of hardware and infrastructure in sustaining these tracking methods. Small businesses now have a wealth of free cloud based tools they can access. Through social media channels small businesses can reach out to a large audience with little investment.

Here are a few ways small businesses can make the most of the internet:

Marketing

Advertising, promotion, branding and messaging can all be accomplished through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.

E-mail

G-mail is well known but About.com actually lists over nineteen different free e-mail services including such options as Zoho, iCloud, AIM and of course Yahoo.

Sales

There is a wealth of free Client Relationship Management solutions out there including Zoho CRM, Free CRM, SaasLight, Civic CRM and vTiger.

Research

Easy to follow customer surveys can be created with tools such as Zoomerang, Survey Monkey, QuestionPro and LimeSurvey. Web site traffic can be closely measured and monitored with Google Analytics and Quantcast. Spyfu is an excellent tool for sizing up your online competition and SEO Book offers a nice free set of utilities that work well with Firefox.

Project Management

Most of us are familiar with Google Docs but there are plenty of web based project management and collaboration tools out there such as Project2Manage, ProjectPier.org, Thinkature, Stixsy, Skype and Twiddla.

While many of the offerings listed above are free there is typically a charge for more advanced versions or usage of each service. Obviously, Google falls a class of its’ own with an incredible number of free and amazing business tools all designed to keep you using their “freemium” platform. Now more than ever before small business can make a huge splash with almost no traditional marketing. A viral YouTube video or a popular Facebook post can be more lucrative than a TV commercial or full-page print ad. Guerilla marketing is no longer the exception but instead it has become the rule for all businesses including larger corporations.

There are currently over 27 million small businesses operating in the U.S. and they are the primary force driving our economic recovery. Small businesses are also pushing forth the entrepreneurial spirit that made America great in the first place. As corporations now start to face the higher costs of labor and manufacturing in both China and India they will need to start taking a serious look at the U.S. labor force again. They will never be able to move or adapt as quickly as American small businesses can!

Small Business Just Got Advertising Boost

If you have ever advertised and marketed online, you have noticed that every click-through is not worth the price paid for it. Many potentially interested web surfers often only stay on your web property 2 to 5 seconds, and it is very difficult to inform potential buyers of the attributes of your products in that small window of time. In the past companies have sought to over come this problem by various methods such as, creating flashy websites, placing crucial information at the top of the page and purchasing larger numbers of ads to play the numbers game. The only problem is as time has progressed these have all been saturated concepts. These days, flashy websites are a dime a dozen, visitors scan web pages, zipping right past well placed, crucial information and buying large numbers of ads is expensive. Everyone is purchasing as many ads as they can afford. This intense jockeying for advertisement position has resulted in higher ad prices due to supply and demand and the subsequent raising of the barrier to quality advertising for small business owners.

Advertising, advertising, advertising, that is what grows a small business into a large business. Most small business owners find that they can not advertise in high traffic areas because the cost to do so is just too high.

Businesses that can afford the high cost of advertising online are usually better established firms. So, it is not uncommon for business owners to have a large dream held back by financial inequality.

Face it. Careful planning only gets you so far. Then you need money. The wall of “how do I get heard” appears taller than ever. Sure, small business owners can advertise on the same websites as big business, but it is a grim reality that the more money you have the better you can acquire premium advertising spots. Smaller businesses are pushed to areas that receive significantly less traffic. This makes for a disheartening reality check as small business owners realize that big money accounts get the prestige and carefully sought after notoriety. Even with pay per click, search engine marketing, the small business person quickly discovers that major keywords are beyond their reach.. If they advertise on a particular high traffic word their ad will appear several pages beyond the depth most searchers are willing to dig. You see, when searchers use search engines they typically look for their interests on result pages 1 – 5 maybe 1-7, If they don’t find what they are looking for, they usually try a different keyword search to locate what they are looking for. If your ad is on page 8 or 25 for that matter, your ad does not get seen. This is why conventional advertising does not work very well for small business.

Since the small business can’t out bank roll the larger firms, they must out maneuver them. They must be willing to do more, not spend more while focusing on the quality of visitors as well as the quantity. I mean, making each visitor count in some form or fashion. A new advertising method, called error marketing (www. errormarketing.com) prepares the visitor to stay on your web property longer, before the visitor actually arrives on the site., thus removing the advertising barrier for small businesses. Error marketing is placing small budget marketers on an even playing field with big business.

The “how to advertise” hurdle is one that has confused many would-be CEOs. Your product won’t sell if no one knows about it and its features.

We know that the ability to gain large-scale advertising can make a product successful but the cost of gaining that large amount of exposure can be enormous. A new advertising website TypoBounty.com is breaking down the barriers to small business advertising.

TypoBounty.com allows small businesses to offer bounties or small cash rewards for any errors that can be found on their website. Searchers come to the website looking for errors, reading the entire website. The visitor catches the full impact of your sells pitch and helps improve your sells pitch. This greatly increases the potential that they will purchase your product. Small businesses gain a visitor that is very attentive to the offer, and will read more of your offer. After all of your website’s errors are found and eliminated, the small business still receives massive amounts of traffic from visitors looking for errors.

If errors are found, owners pay the visitor a nominal fee for reporting it. In return, the owner gains massive amounts of traffic, from individuals that stay on their website longer catching the full impact of their sells pitch. The visitors are willing to read more of the site’s content, thus presenting the marketer a greater opportunity to sell. A side benefit is visitors learn enough about products to tell friends. With TypoBounty.com, the advertising is cheap, plentiful, expandable and helpful in making the small businesses grow.

“I was a little discouraged at first.” Says David Anderson, ” I just couldn’t find a way to break through the advertising ceiling. But since error marketing began, that ceiling has been blown apart. People dig TypoBopunty.com with such commitment my ad has a better chance of being seen often. Of course, it is best to be on top but even the bottom ads benefit. To find errors on my website, visitors must catch the full impact of my sells pitch. I like that.” Visitors dig deep into the site for opportunities to earn money for finding errors. So it matters very little where an ad appears, it can still receive massive amounts of traffic. Visitors to the small business’s websites bring with them bulging online money accounts filled with disposable cash. If they want the company’s product, they can buy it.

In a small business, every dollar matters. So, investing large amounts of money in advertising techniques that only result in 2 second visits to one’s website is very counter productive. Using the error marketing technique, increases the stickiness of the advertiser’s website. Visitors don’t just click over and click back. They stay. With more people knowing substantially more about a product and its benefits comes the increase likelihood of a purchase, referrals and residual word of mouth advertising.

So You’re Busy – Just Moving or Moving Forward?

Busy people… constantly on the move, with schedules that barely accommodate enjoying friendships or special occasions; these are the people who call and only have 5 minutes to talk as they return their carefully screened calls. They rarely answer their phones, they are too busy; where are they going, what are they doing, what are all those busy people really accomplishing?

These people imagine that the five minutes they grace you with are worth something precious; after all, they have taken valuable minutes out of their busy schedule to return your call. People who do this often fail to notice that the few minutes allotted to allow others to speak could never provide any meaningful conversation. You leave the conversation angry; they leave it with a check mark off their list of things to do. These are cursory responses to maintain an illusion of caring. Busy people don’t really have time to respond in an appropriate manner.

There is a strange phenomenon that occurs with very busy people. They set their goals and move at lightning speed to accomplish all the things they have determined are necessary to achieve them. Yet many times they find themselves midway or slightly more to the goal line and suddenly realize the destination they have been running towards could never really make them happy. It is a little like being on a power trip, which we should all avoid; they frequently take us someplace we weren’t planning to go.

They change course, again. And now they are busier than ever, they have to make up for lost time. Within all that frenzied movement, there is no meaningful accomplishment in arriving at a goal that has little value in the scope of their life. And so, they chart a new course and keep moving.

This kind of movement frequently masks emotional upheaval, inadequate or deteriorating personal relationships, a sense of superiority or a host of other imbalances in their lives. To slow down means one will be confronted with these facts; all the movement then becomes empty and meaningless. There will come a time when one cannot be busy enough or working hard enough to avoid looking at the things in their own life that have wasted their real value; their life energy.

If you are caught in this trap, you may benefit from the following facts:

1) Friends and partners would rather be rejected than neglected.
2) You don’t appear to be more intelligent or successful because of the movement.
3) The value of your friendship is greatly diminished when friends are treated as hindrances.
4) Your partner expects very little in your relationship as they are last on your list.
5) You appear unfocused and unable to control time and energy to employers.
6) Your health may deteriorate because you don’t have time to care for you.
7) Many people around you are disappointed in your responses.
8) People feel sorry for you because you have missed so much in life.
9) You look around you and notice that really successful people have taken the time to build a well- rounded life; they stopped and dealt with real and personal issues and moved forward.
10) You have arrived someplace where you would really rather not be.

If this defines you and your life, stop moving and take a close look at what you may have been avoiding; then start moving forward. You’ll be glad you did.