Running social media contests and promoting holiday sales on the Internet are simple ways that small and medium-size businesses can cash in on the holidays, writes Rob Marvin. Holiday-themed e-mails and free gift offers can also draw potential customers. Other advertising methods can include pay-per-click ads and holiday kickoff events, Marvin writes.
The Tory Burch Foundation has announced a fellowship program focused on helping women expand their businesses -- and for one lucky winner, that means $100,000. After 30 semifinalists are vetted, public voting will narrow it down to 10, who will receive grants, an assigned mentor for one year and a three-day trip to New York.
Some small businesses are closing their doors on Black Friday as a protest against the commercialism of the holiday season. Other entrepreneurs just aren't interested in competing with big-box stores' deep discounts. "This is one of the perks of being a microbusiness," says Nan Morningstar, co-owner of the Free Radicals boutique. "Since I'm the boss, I get to say if we're going to take a day off."
Employees and job applicants in Maine are now protected with a statute that puts restrictions on employers seeking to gain access to their social accounts, employment lawyer Alexander Nestor writes. Exceptions are allowed in some cases, however, such as to investigate misconduct, to comply with specific duties to screen applicants or when the information is publicly available.
Inbound marketing refers to the strategies companies use to maintain an ongoing relationship with loyal customers. Your website should draw prospects in, social media should be used to keep leads engaged during the purchasing process, and e-mail should be employed following a sale to keep in touch.
Consumers are making an effort to avoid annoying advertising, which makes creating valuable marketing content essential, writes Dan Antonelli, CEO of Graphic D-Signs. He explains five ways that content marketing can drive results for a small business.
Thanks in part to the enthusiasm of a few celebrities, Lyndsay Borschke's Tuck Shop Trading clothing business has gained some traction. The company, which started as a "one-woman e-commerce show," now has a handful of employees and a brick-and-mortar presence in Toronto. Now Borschke is looking to expand and considering whether to begin producing her products in the US.
Businesses may need to change to meet new demands, but constantly shifting from one priority to another without any clear strategic goal can sap the spirit of employees and managers. Instead, leaders should "place strategic changes, initiatives, and goals into a broader organizational context, or they risk losing good talent, burning out managers, and wasting money on programs that don't pay off," writes Ron Ashkenas, managing partner at Schaffer Consulting.
Lowered inventory growth has helped establish higher third-quarter economic growth than initially expected, according to analysts. However, higher inventories are still a threat to economic growth, according to the Bank of Montreal's economics team. "The larger inventory build suggests some downside risk to Q4 growth estimates," wrote the team to its clients recently.
Not all of the tips that sales managers provide to their reps are helpful, writes Tim Riesterer. In fact, tips such as "use a PowerPoint in your presentations" can backfire, as whiteboard presentations are generally more engaging. Managers should avoid telling reps to respond solely to identified needs of their leads or to focus on features and benefits rather than how they apply to specific problems customers experience.
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