SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

5 Business tips you can learn

Richard Branson’s story is the one that’s been told several times. It’s a tale worth fawning over; a rags-to-riches tale that gives many hope as they try and develop their own flagship brand.

The biggest reason for Richard Branson’s success is because of customer service. B2C companies, like Virgin America and Richard BransonVirgin Records are the most famous companies of all. Branson has said, “Simplicity and good customer service will win every time’.

1. Leave it if you don't enjoy it.

A lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and caffeine) makes a business successful. Branson said in a press interview, " When I started Virgin from a basement in west London, there was no great plan or strategy. I didn't set out to build a business empire ... For me, building a business is all about doing something to be proud of, bringing talented people together and creating something that's going to make a real difference to other people's lives."

2. Build a great team around you.

If you want to be successful, never forget to build a great team around you and reward them for their hard work. Understand what incentivizes and motivates your teammates. This is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur must have.

3. Take pride in your work

I enjoyed this year’s Virgin Stars Awards, where we celebrated some of those people who have gone the extra mile for us around the Virgin world. Many different companies, nationalities and personalities were there under one roof and it was very interesting to see what qualities they all have in common. The most important trait they all had was pride in their work and in the company they represent. You should always focus on helping your staff and take pride in them. In return they will shine through in how they treat your customers.

4. Take Risks
“The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all!” This is one of Sir Richard Branson’s favorite sayings. What I loved about him, was his ability to take risks to save the business he believed in.

He did whatever it took to save the company, and even mortgaged his own house. Virgin Records was sold to get the financing needed to keep the airline business alive. It was a hard decision for him but a right one (I guess). If I had to point out one thing that he does not lack, it’s guts.

Now I am not telling you to put your life at risk, but you should take risks and chances in what you believe. You are the one to determine what your business means to you and what it can become.
Just hold a vision and assess whether the risk is worth the return and if there is a chance that it might be... Go for it!

5. Think Simple
Your enemy is complexity. Only a fool will make things complicated. But It is hard to make something simple.I know it’s hard not to overdo things, when you’re still starting out. It is just because you want to make everything right, and you always tend to do things in a more complex way. The best way to solve business problems is to think simple (sometimes).

If you overthink and make things complicated you’ll only put pressure and tire yourself. When you face a challenge, calm down and analyze the situation thoroughly and then decide if it is a source of worry or not.


Think objectively and always have a game plan!

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How Food Startups are applying Internet of Food?

There is much to talk about when it comes to Internet of Things (IoT) in the Food industry. There are several emerging Food Startups that have adapted IoF and have integrated it into their business processes. The trend of Internet of Food (IoF) is enormous, as business are experiencing major difference after adapting these technologies.   Let’s look at two startups who are embracing IoT and bringing them into the food industry.

IoF

BovControl
BovControl is a Brazilian group which that keeps all information regarding Cattle farming on it’s data collection and analysis tool hosted on the cloud. This tool allows Farmers and Shepherds to track the Cattle and keep updated record of stock and trading. Using multiple digital tools such as charts and inventory graphs, BovControl controls effective exchange of information with farmers. After this first successful adaptation of IoT, BovControl is about to launch a second Cloud Offering which will provide information to Food providers. This is how BovControl applies Internet of Food (IoF) technology in it’s emerging business model.

Consumer Physics
When it comes to scanning, or analyzing content of food, Consumer Physics has kick started the market. With a mission to empower people to have a better understanding of our physical world, Consumer Physics has developed and produced a scanner that helps users identify the composition of food, medication, and plants.
Scan meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables for macro nutrient values (calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins), produce quality, ripeness, and spoilage analysis. Not only does this scanner work for food, but it is designed for you to create your own DIY material sensing applets to identify different materials of your choice. The possibilities are endless.

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GODADDY LAUNCHES GODADDY GOCENTRAL – HELPS PEOPLE BUILD AN AUDIENCE AND ACHIEVE RESULTS FOR THEIR IDEAS ONLINE

Mobile-Optimized Website Builder with Smart Learning System Headlines New
GoDaddy Service for Managing a Complete Online Presence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., January 25, 2016 – GoDaddy, the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures, today announced the launch of GoDaddy GoCentral, a new service that combines a mobile-optimized website builderGoDaddy with an integrated set of marketing and e-commerce tools to help anyone create an audience for their idea or business. GoCentral ushers in a new era of smart website creation defined by a focus on results, including attracting visitors and driving sales.

GoCentral enables people to design a professional website in under an hour, even on a mobile phone. With support for more than 1,500 ideas or industries, from plumbers to hairstylists to soccer coaches, users simply type in their name and industry or idea, and GoCentral’s smart learning system produces a near-complete website, pre-filled with relevant sections and professional images. GoCentral’s intuitive user interface helps anyone, including technology and design novices, easily customize and update their sites on the go. All sites created on GoCentral are built fully responsive and look great on phones, tablets and computers.

“Traditional DIY site builders got it wrong by forcing people to focus their time on tweaking page layout instead of generating results,” said GoDaddy Senior Vice President and General Manager Lauren Antonoff. “Many small businesses struggle to attract visitors to their sites, and the little traffic they do get is largely coming from mobile devices. We’re fundamentally changing the approach by creating a mobile friendly experience that lets customers focus on achieving their goals, rather than worry about site designs. GoCentral is unique in that it helps customers get noticed, reach audiences wherever they are, and drive real results, including sales.”GoDaddy’s smart learning system surfaces insights and actions to

GoCentral users to help them achieve their goals. For instance, upon logging in, customers receive engagement and activity updates and key ways to improve results, which might be something as simple as attaching their website to a social network or advice for developing a geographic-targeted Facebook advertising campaign. GoDaddy’s learning system is powered by smart algorithms and machine learning that evolve with customers throughout their lifecycles to optimize results.

Build an Audience & Sell Online
GoCentral’s integrated marketing features enable people to quickly improve their search rankings on Google and get their business on Facebook, leveraging the information and photos from their GoCentral website. This same information helps customers jumpstart email marketing campaigns so customers, even those with no email marketing experience, can engage existing contacts and collect new ones.GoCentral’s Online Store includes everything needed to sell online, with a focus on making sales happen. New improvements allow customers to check out fast with a streamlined mobile checkout with reduced taps and swipes. Apple Pay support is built directly into the product, as are major credit cards and Paypal. Integrated product and inventory management and customizable shipping simplify the selling setup experience.

GoCentral’s Super Bowl Debut
GoDaddy will give GoCentral the center stage in this year’s much-anticipated Super Bowl commercial. A special thirty-second TV spot is being created to kick-off a fully integrated GoCentral marketing campaign. The big game commercial plays to the cultural and commercial power of the Internet by way of iconic images and humor. It’s set to air in the first quarter of the Feburary 5th broadcast event which is expected to be viewed by more than 100 million viewers. It’s the first time GoDaddy has used its famed Super Bowl spotlight to feature a new service.

To find out more about GoDaddy GoCentral, visit http://www.godaddy.com/gocentral.

About GoDaddy
GoDaddy powers the world's largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures. With more than 14.5 million customers worldwide and more than 63 million domain names under management, GoDaddy is the place people come to name their idea, build a professional website, attract customers and manage their work. Our mission is to give our customers the tools, insights and the people to transform their ideas and personal initiative into success. To learn more about the company, visit www.GoDaddy.com.

Source: GoDaddy Inc.

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5 Truths it Rarely Helps to Tell Your Client

Matt Keener
Contributor
President of Keener Marketing Solutions

Some things are just better left unsaid. Knowing when to hold your tongue can make the difference between success and failure. To ensure success, avoid letting these phrases slip out of your mouth.

5 truths it Rarely Helps to Tell Your Client


1. What should I do?

You are a consultant, which means it's your duty to be three steps ahead. By asking for your next move, you're defeating the purpose of your professional existence. Stop, and think about this question from a client's perspective. He is already busy and stressed out. The last thing he needs is the additional responsibility of keeping you busy.

Of course, consultants want to stay busy. Aside from begging for your next task, there are ways to arrive at the same outcome without sounding so desperate.

For example, you might spend time reviewing old meeting notes to identify projects that never got off the ground. Or prepare some talking points about a recent case study. Weave these points into your next discussion with the customer. Use this as a launchpad toward new projects and - most importantly - new work for you.

2. You're wrong.

We’ve all heard the cliche that the customer is always right. Nothing in business is absolute, and no one is perfect. This is particularly true of your clients. Despite your clients’ shortcomings, it is important that you reduce unnecessary friction when possible. Although it is your job to provide your opinion, tact is an artform worth practicing.

When you disagree with a client, first try to find common ground. Ease into the disagreement rather than being brash. You might say, “While I certainly agree with your first point, I think we need to spend more time looking at…”

Clients appreciate being challenged so try to be constructive, and avoid totally crushing their egos. Remember, they’re paying the bills.

3. My rates are increasing.

As you add new clients, it is natural for your market value to increase. You’re becoming a scarce commodity, which leads to more money for you.

What about your existing clients? Most clients never think about your ever-increasing value to the market. They’re happy with the work you do, but they’re also content with your current rates.

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9 big small business social media no-nos

Social media marketers point out some of the biggest (and most costly) mistakes companies make when using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – and offer advice on how to avoid making these social faux pas.
social media online presence profile user 100614075 primary.idge
 
These days, just about every business, regardless of size, has a presence on social media. It might be just a Facebook or a Pinterest page, but chances are if you are a small business owner, especially a retailer, you have an account on one of the major social media platforms. And while having a Facebook and Pinterest (as well Twitter and Instagram) page can be beneficial, it can negatively impact your business if you make one (or more) of these nine small business social media mistakes.
1. Setting up a page and then not posting anything on it.
“The biggest mistake on social media that I see small business owners make is to set up a Facebook or Twitter [or Pinterest or Instagram] page and then [fail to update it] for months at a time,” says Stacy Erickson Edwards, owner, Home Key: Organized Social Media. "Not only does this send a message to potential customers that you don't care, sometimes people see it and think that you're not in business anymore.”
 
2. Not having a posting strategy/schedule.
“The biggest mistake any business can make on social media is inconsistent posting,” says Vincent Scatena, CMO, IMP Corporation. “If the business [doesn’t have a sound] posting strategy … potential followers will [be] less likely to engage. A simple solution to inconsistency is scheduling [posts]. This can be done via scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social. These tools allow you to schedule your posts in advance while providing the flexibility to update your posts when urgent news occurs.” And when you post consistently, on a regular schedule, it makes it easier for your audience to find and follow you.
 
3. Posting user-generated content (UGC) without the user’s permission.
“Re-posting user generated content is one of the most influential ways to engage with your fans,” notes Tom Kuhr, senior vice president, marketing, MomentFeed. “And while the content [may be] voluntarily submitted, you should always ask for permission before you [post it]. It avoids any breach of trust and will help get the word out [as] the user [will] tell their friends.”
 
4. Not responding to comments (in a timely fashion).
“Engaging with your social followers and customers is vital if you want them to know you care about them,” says Ry Colman, social media manager, Veterans United Home Loans. “Answer their questions, respond to comments (even if it’s just thanking them for sharing their thoughts) and address their concerns. Don’t delete negative posts. Instead, do your best to acknowledge the problem. Remember that the customers who voice their dissatisfaction are your friends [or potential friends]. Learn from them and show [them you are] dedicated to serving [them] and solving their issues.”
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