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2017 Small Business Tips
by Alex Cosper, Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The small business world of 2017 is both optimistic and faces huge challenges. The optimistic side is that cloud technology keeps improving so that businesses can cut major costs using cloud solutions. Ever since Salesforce proved last decade that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is more than just a fad, there's been a mad rush to the cloud, since you don't have to use or regularly upgrade your own hardware.

Thousands of upfront dollars budgeted for capital expenditures have been spared thanks to the advent of automation systems that can reduce overhead and produce output more efficiently than a trained staff. Customer relation management (CRM) software has become one of the foundations for organizing a business and its marketing lists. Some people simply subscribe to email marketing services such as MailChimp, paying monthly fees instead of for expensive professional software.

The cloud is ideal for a business of ten people, as it becomes the hub where employees log in to get assignments and communicate with supervisors and colleagues. It eliminates the need for certain businesses to have a central office, which can cut lease and energy bills. The more you can organize your business on one computer, the more you can benefit from a virtualized work atmosphere. Cloud services allow you to login to your desktop at any time from any location.

Don't be like Marissa Mayer of Yahoo. Even though she made millions for costing her company billions, she's not the business role model to follow, nor is any other leader who failed to improve the company's outlook. Mayer was famous for buying all kinds of software companies, but had little to show for growth from these companies. Yahoo is big biz anyway, which is a completely different league that small biz. Big biz gets several lifelines from big banks, whereas small biz relies more on building a loyal base of customers.

Here are more small business tips for 2017:

- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and that images can be easily seen on mobile devices

- Build an email marketing list and ask people for permission to subscribe

- Use SEO to attract organic traffic to your web pages

- Encourage customer to submit reviews for your website and third party directories such as Yelp

- Offer a weekly interactive blog that showcases your expertise

- Create customer personas using cartoon characters that reflect your target audience

- If you want to accelerate lead generation, experiment with PPC campaigns

- Only launch PPC campaigns when you have marketing money set aside

- Consider every PPC campaign to be a learning experience

- Always work on clarifying and refining your niche

- Identify your most loyal customers and reward them

- Find software to automate your most redundant tasks

- Promote your business by sharing web pages through social media

- Make sure your data is well protected with several layers of security










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