Leading Small Business Opportunity Laptop Ideas

There is a host of leading small business opportunity ideas that are capable of taking full advantage of laptop technology, combining to give an entrepreneur a clear edge over even much larger competitors.

Many of the best ideas revolve around the fact that a good laptop further enhances the advantage brought about by the World Wide Web where geographical boundaries and great distances are virtually wiped out. This has opened up excellent opportunities for many a small business owner to compete against leading colossal enterprises with deep pockets and virtually unlimited resources and to end up beating them at their own game.

The widely coined term “small is beautiful” has taken on a whole new meaning where small business is concerned as many smart entrepreneurs have grabbed the vast opportunities and doors that have been swung wide open by leading edge state of the art laptop computer technology.

The really exciting thing is that these ideas apply to virtually every small business industry or area that one can care to think of. This allows any smart, ambitious small business entrepreneur to take on a leading role in their respective industry or trade with the help of little else other than a good laptop computer.

Why Branding Is Important for Small Businesses

Often small businesses fall into two traps around branding – that they can’t manage it because they are small and that it is primarily about products anyway. While branding does feature the products or services that a business offers, this is only a small part of it. And branding is something that can benefit businesses of all sizes as well as being accessible to everyone. Here are a few reasons to seriously consider working on your company branding.

What is Branding?

Branding is about creating a unique identity for your business that means even when you sell the same products or services as someone else, you can stand out from the crowd and attract customer attention. Small business branding can often be seen as difficult to do as you can’t compete with the big company in terms of resources or manpower. And while this might be the case with resources, it doesn’t mean your branding can’t work for you just as well as theirs.

People relate better to companies that have strong branding and an identity. They vote for which branding works for them with their shop visits, clicks or purchases. By having strong, cohesive branding, your company can be the one that they notice, feel a connection with and therefore purchase from. It can also create brand loyalty and those crucial returning customers.

Recognition Leads to Trust

One thing studies have shown is that recognition of a brand builds trust and people are more likely to buy from a company if they feel they can trust them. Therefore, trust and reputation are key to business success and branding plays a big part in this.

By having that strong, identifiable brand, even the smallest company can begin to build trust with customers. This leads to customer loyalty – 48% of customers say they are more likely to become loyal to the brand during their first experience or purchase with them.

There are lots of ways to create that brand to build trust with everything from catchy slogans and memorable names to attractive and eye-catching colour schemes being used. But the most effective brands combine something of everything. They work on the principle that we retain only around one-tenth of the information that we see when we read something.

But if you include visuals with that information, this rate of retention rises up to almost two thirds. Therefore, having that catchy slogan paired with great graphics, a clear colour palette, brand voice and other elements means you have a better chance of people remembering what you do. That’s why visuals are so popular on social media and almost three-quarters of marketers use them ahead of even video.

Brand Reputation

As you attract attention for your brand and build trust, then you start to create a reputation, be it online or in the physical world. Reputation is crucial for business – it covers everything from customer interactions, product standard, feedback and even how you reward your customers.

That strong, positive reputation can even convince people to buy. 91% of shoppers asked in one study said they were more likely to buy from a brand that they viewed as ‘authentic’ than one that they didn’t. So building that brand reputation can gain you customers in a big way.

Using marketing teams to manage your reputation may seem like something that a small company cannot manage but this isn’t the case. By having external experts who take on tasks such as checking customer feedback, managing social media and creating the right content, you can quickly build and enhance your business reputation.

Making Sales

A strong brand increases the number of leads that you will generate and this, in turn, means making more sales. However, you need to maintain your reputation and standards when generating these leads or the work done by the brand can vanish. Response times, voice and even the actual content you use to handle leads all needs to be consistent with the brand.

Following through on your promises also helps build that reputation. Have a clear customer process with times outlined so customers know what to expect and make sure you follow it – that way people are impressed with what you do and more likely to tell others.

Business Growth

That strong, cohesive brand is crucial for other areas of the business growth. Staff morale, for example, can be a problem. If staff are demotivated, don’t know what the company stands for or feel unimportant, then this can lead to bad customer service. This damages the brand.

So by having a clear brand that employees can get behind, you can offer a better service to your customers. Staff feel proud to talk about what the company does or the services that it offers. And they learn to talk with the brand’s voice, ensuring all of their communications with customers offers consistency. This makes the company seem more friendly and approachable and this is another reason that customers become loyal to the brand.

Branding also stands out to potential investors in the business. According to a study by Reuters, some 82% of investors said that the strength of a company’s brand and name recognition were important factors in a decision to get involved with a business.
What this shows is that from all aspects of the business, branding is crucial. You need to have a presence that is recognisable from your social media profiles and website through to your physical store if you have one. The brand rules how you talk to customers and ensures staff can believe in it.

There are lots of ways that branding can help with business growth and success. This means that having a strong brand and optimised strategy to use it is vital to the long-term success and profitability of your company.

Dialing In on Mobile Apps for Small Business For More Fans to Become Customers

Once our mobile apps for small business are designed smartly for our industry it is time to turn our attention to our highest priorities – fans.

These are the people who may be today’s customers. With the right strategy you can soon develop tomorrow’s prospects. You can even expand geographically if it makes sense.

Target Audience – Target Needs

There are few businesses that can meet every type of group’s primary needs. Successful smaller firms often have an innate ability to attract a particular demographic group.

One of the keys to successfully using mobile apps for small business is to know the specific profile of your strongest demographic group.

Consider age, gender, income or even race, ethnic or faith considerations.

Next, are you primarily trying to reach current customers who already know your business and equip them to introduce your offerings to others?

Or, do want to engage a totally new group from the start?

Mobile apps for small business can easily be designed with loyalty and repeat business criteria.

Most mobile apps for small business primarily lead with something fun and engaging. Just be sure to keep the most dominant felt need your target audience is likely experiencing the most frequently.

Not sure what this is yet? This will be much easier to determine from your target demographic profile.

For example, a studio photographer targets early bird specials for high school juniors for the senior portrait market. Their mobile apps for small business targets busy working parents with attractive referral discounts as well.

One felt need that is often overlooked for mobile apps for small business surrounds status. Be sure to include a social forum where your fans can share what they are most proud of accomplishing.

Examples can include recognizing local sports teams and their fans championship season with a picture gallery. How about proud grandparents sharing their favorite pictures of special times with their grand kids? Don’t forget area alumni, chamber or association groups for posting professional awards and designations.

What Zip Codes Do You Want to Reach?

What is exciting about mobile apps for small business is that with a minimal budget you can literally reach anywhere in the world. Just think of the popular social media tools today that are a growing global phenomenon. Facebook is closing in on 1 billion registered users. Smart phones are forecasted to be at 1 billion users by 2016.

At the same time you can much more quickly become a local leader in your market with the right mix of mobile apps for small business.

In fact Silicon Valley recognizes this area as one of the hottest investments in the social, local, mobile market.

Here are some tips to help you grow your footprint as big as you want to.

Local – The local audience is fleeing traditional print sources such as yellow pages in droves. Instead the explosion of smart phone use makes mobile apps for small business the ideal place for your audience to find you. Be sure to really refine your unique brand and niche. The more you make it positive and interesting the more likely your new fans will want to share it with their friends.

Regional – If you have identified an unmet need with your brand and have an exceptional level of product and service why not look regionally? Do some important due diligence on the competition. Reach out to some local affiliate partners that can help you get off to a faster start.

It is often wise to have a clean and simple front door like a welcome or offer page on a regionally branded web site or landing page. Just be sure your regional brand identify is reflected throughout what you offer.

National – With e-commerce growing fast on the web more people are used to buying products from anywhere. Build on this with your mobile apps for small business. Once again 3rd party affiliates will be important to your success. Just be sure they have a strong established national reach and your product or service brings real additional value to what they already provide their current customers.

Other important factors in choosing the right mobile apps for small business include your ability to offer a unique enough product or service at the right price that will trump local offerings.

Any major change in geographic coverage requires thoughtful planning. Always make sure you can deliver what you promise with timely delivery and service. The reward of building confidence with your customers comes with equipping them with the right mobile apps for small business that they will want to share with their friends about what benefit you provided them.

Think Globally and Grow

With select products and services on the web it’s now more common for small firms to have a national and even global presence. Simply leverage that in your unique way with the right suite of mobile apps for small business. Just be sure you do the due diligence on complying with international commerce and taxation regulations.

Finding new fans you can turn into customers is made much easier with the right mobile apps for small business strategy.

Why Using Corporate Marketing Can Kill Your Small Business

So you’ve put your ads in the Yellow Pages and you’ve taken out advertising in the local press. It’s cost you a nice chunk of change.

And yet the phone still isn’t ringing.

There are a lot of good reasons why that could be, but one of the main reasons is getting sucked into the idea that the type of advertising used by big business is the best sort, and perhaps the only sort you should use.

But this is a fallacy, and most of the companies that use the TV ads with their catchy nonsensical jingles and glossy magazine ads with pouting models are successful because they’ve built a brand over decades. In most cases they’re successful even though their advertising is useless, and they could probably stop advertising tomorrow without any effect on their business.

But when you run a small business, you really can’t afford to take chances and wait years for a branding campaign to (hopefully) take effect. Using the glossy big business type of marketing is likely to leave you penniless and holding a one way ticket to a bankruptcy hearing.

The reason is simple: branding type marketing is all about image and, for the people who create it, the overpaid creative types in the big advertising agencies, winning advertising awards. And the marketing executives who work for the big companies get paid whether the marketing brings in any new business or not. If the marketing campaign won an award, it must be good, right?

But as a small business owner you’re in a completely different type of situation. If your marketing doesn’t bring home the bacon, you go hungry. An advertising executive working for a big company doesn’t have to worry about the power bills, the shop rent, the staff costs. The small business owner sees these (often substantial) costs go out of his bank account week-by-week and month-by-month, and he’s the only one responsible for making sure there’s money coming in to cover things.

What The Small Business Owner Needs To Do

The most important thing about marketing is that it can be measured, so you can see right down to the last penny how much it’s costing and how much it’s bringing in return. The way to do this is to forget about “branding” and “image” and use direct response marketing techniques that have been proven to get a response.

Every single part of your marketing, every ad you run or letter you send, should have a strong call to action. And then you should measure exactly how many sales leads a particular ad, sales letter or email brought it, and try to improve on it.

Don’t Trust The Ad Salesmen

The tragedy is that some of the people selling marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses have also swallowed the hype about branding. These people persuade small business owners to run ridiculous campaigns that makes the business look good but often doesn’t bring in a penny in revenue. These types of “marketing consultants” often think they’re doing the right thing, and when the marketing fails they feel blameless. But it’s the small business owner who feels the pain, not the consultant.

The advertising salesman from your local paper is often no better, and neither is the rep from the Yellow Pages. Don’t listen to them and be seduced by a pretty ad that makes you look good. In the end the only thing that matters are sales leads and profits, and to get that you need to use good old-fashioned direct response marketing that uses tested methods for bringing in the sales.