Post about "business"

Top Goal for Small Businesses: The Eight Most Important Checkup Questions for 2021

Are you happy with your business this year? What are you going to do differently? How can you hire the right people to support your vision? Sadly, many small business owners do not spend enough time planning for the future. It’s quite understandable. Managers must keep pace with the daily demands of their businesses, including payroll, taxes, product/service delivery, and customer expectations.Fortunately, the end of the year is the perfect time for a comprehensive evaluation of your company. Your business needs a checkup. Most people can relate to a checkup with their local doctor, depending on their background and personality characteristics (age, sex, family medical history). The doctor will conduct a variety of tests, including blood, vision, heart, and hearing.In fact, one element like an individual’s weight is not the only indicator of overall good health. Likewise, small businesses could benefit from a good checkup too. Successful entrepreneurs think strategically when engaged in a hostile, global environment.After 27 years of managing projects and conducting over 100 organizational evaluations of business organizations, I realize that both large and small organizations struggle in implementing their operations effectively. This article examines how small businesses need to conduct an effective checkup of their organizations.Welcome to the New Normal! Yet, nearly a year after this pandemic, the full impact on the U.S. economy is unclear. According to recent studies, more than four million Americans have left the workforce, and nearly 10 million are now unemployed compared with last February.In fact, the number of unemployed people continues to rise. According to a business study conducted between March 28 and April 4, 2020, small businesses have been heavily damaged by the lockdowns due to Covid-19.In an analysis of more than 5,800 small businesses (reaching a network of 4.6 million small businesses), the research highlighted the damage caused by the pandemic. The results showed evident damage of the pandemic. At this juncture, 43% of businesses had temporarily closed, and nearly all of these closures were due to COVID-19.Respondents stated that they had temporarily closed, largely pointed to reductions in demand and employee health concerns as the reasons for closure. In fact, the businesses, on average, reported having reduced their active employment by 39% since January.All industries have been impacted. However, retail, arts and entertainment, personal services, food services, and hospitality businesses showed significant employment declines exceeding 50%. Some businesses hope for assistance from the government.According to a Babson’s Goldman Sachs report, 88% of U.S. small business owners have already exhausted their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan; the Small Business Association gave these loans specifically to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the pandemic. These loans were helpful.Yet, these successes do not diminish the fact that more than 32% of PPP loan recipients already have laid off employees or cut wages. In fact, Forty-three percent of Black small business owners reported that their businesses’ cash reserves would be depleted by year’s end due to Covid-19.Today’s small businesses and entrepreneurs must retool themselves, given the potential impacts of Covid-19 have the necessary capacity to change their way of thinking because of their passion. However, small businesses must be willing to evaluate their current operations and make the required changes.For example, customers have largely gone online to purchase services due to the lockdowns. If a business does not have an online presence now, this company does not exist. Internet pioneer and CEO of PSINet Bill Schrader explains the significant of online visibility: “Almost overnight, the Internet’s gone from a technical wonder to a business must.”With the appropriate diagnosis of an organization, a business can develop more sustainable success. Thus, the right checkup is critical.Below are some critical questions to help you conduct your own self-checkup:

Do you have a clear vision for your business? What is it?

Do you know why your customers buy from you and why others do not buy from you?

What results are you getting from your marketing? Do you have an effective online presence on the web?

Are you collecting data or the right kind of data on your customers and competitors?

Are you keeping pace with your industry trends? If so, what are the key trends?

How are you measuring results (i.e., key performance indicators like cash flow and revenue)?

What are your key competitors’ marketing strategies?

Have you evaluated your strengths and weaknesses (i.e., SWOT Analysis)?

In summary, successful global businesses, like IBM and Google, have continuous systems in place to evaluate their performance. Let’s call this process an organizational checkup.Small businesses that want to succeed in this global and technological climate must be able to conduct this self-evaluation or checkup. This article demonstrated the relevancy of a good checkup to help improve a business by asking probing questions. In many cases, small businesses do not have to take on this organizational checkup along.There are various organizations like the Small Business Administration and local universities that can assist in this process. Have you conducted a checkup for your business this year? It’s not too late. Start the new year with a healthy business checkup.© 2021 by D. D. Green

Supercharge Your Google Local Listings

Stop Waiting on Traditional Search Engine OptimizationLooking for a shortcut to the top of the Google search listings? Tired of waiting on normal search engine optimization techniques to take effect?It’s well known that over 90% of people searching at Google and the other search engines never make it past the first page of results. As a matter of fact, about 47% click on the #1 result! The other 43% of searchers that click a link on the first page of their results are split between the #2 to #10 results. So it’s obvious that gaining a top listing will get you an inordinate amount of the traffic from any search on your target keywords.Did you know you can skip the entire search engine optimization process and skyrocket to the top of the Google results by using Google Local Listings? Simply by claiming your business in the Google Local Business Center, you can get higher rankings than the industry leaders that spend thousands every month on their search engine optimization efforts.Google Local Search BasicsMany people believe that Google determines search rankings simply by measuring how popular the site is. They figure the sites in the top positions got that way because a lot of people visit those sites. And the more visitors the sites get, the higher they rank in the results.But this is just one (very small) factor that Google uses! It’s not just a simple popularity contest. The Google spiders evaluate all the words on your site’s pages and determine which keywords you should be ranked for. Then, when someone searches for those keywords, they present the sites that use those keywords most effectively. In addition, the spiders count how many other sites on the internet have linked to your site. Those inbound links as they’re called are considered votes for your site. The more you have the better…especially if the links use the same keywords the searcher used.Using Google Local Listings to Quickly Get to the TopWhen Google presents search results to people that have shown local intent in their request, they put a special box in the results page that shows just the local results. Depending on how well the local businesses match the search request determines whether this box is placed on top of the natural search results or somewhere else on the page. But the box is always displayed prominently so searchers won’t miss it.Performing careful keyword research enables you to optimize your Google local listings. So when searchers search for the keywords you’re targeting, your listing will be prominently displayed above all the natural results.Supercharging Your Local ListingsWe discussed how important inbound links are to search engine optimization and top rankings in natural search. While the ranking of local business listings within a search result does not depend on inbound links, it does depend on what are known as citations. A citation is similar to an inbound link and the number of citations your site has matching the information in your Google local listings, the higher you’ll rank.How do you get citations? The easiest way is to go what Google considers the major data providers, which are sites like the Yellow Pages Directory, Yelp, and others. Double-check the information each of these sites have on your business matches what you have in your Google local listings. This will provide you many trusted citations and insure they corroborate what you’ve entered into Google yourself.