Summer vacation and social

June 21 marked the first official day of summer and we couldn’t be more excited! The summer season brings warm weather, longer days, and well-deserved time off.  For micro and small businesses, though, summer vacations can feel impossible. Small business owners feel conflicted about being away as it has real implications on the business. Yet on flip side, they’re working around the clock and need a vacation. On top of that, social never sleeps so allowing your social presence to dwindle while away isn’t an option.

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Website Text Vector

For your small business, your website plays an important role in establishing credibility and enticing people to become consumers. It is a primary method of verification among the public, and people don’t take website appearance lightly. If you’re an established business, your website is expected to reflect your level of professionalism and legitimacy. In fact, according to the Vistaprint Digital Impact Report on Online Identity,

“45% of people are unlikely to buy from a business with a poorly designed website.”

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Web design vector

For small businesses, websites play an integral part in building brand image, awareness and credibility in the marketplace. Crafting a thoughtfully-designed website demonstrates to your audience that you care about your business image as well as conveys a level of integrity that is consistent with a reputable brand. There are certain best practices for small business websites and we’ve gathered them here for your convenience.

Use these six tips as a checklist when you’re building your new website or modifying an existing site.

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Time management vector

Being a small business owner is an incredible feat. You’ve pursued your passion and made it into a reality. It is certainly exciting to be at the helm of a business, but it can also be overwhelming. You’re responsible for everything, and properly attending to every factor of your business takes time. You may have noticed that your day can easily be derailed by sales call or troubleshooting an unexpected and urgent issue. These kinds of interruptions are part of being a small business owner, but in order to maximize your time and not work 24/7, try setting a schedule. We have five recommendations for setting a schedule that works for you and helps you stay on track for reaching your business goals.

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Customer Service Vector

We recently touched on the importance of customer experience and how companies large and small are tuning into this relatively new business area. However, with the advent of customer experience, we can’t forget about good old customer service. Customer service is a company’s backbone, and plays a central part in any business’s success. Yet, in these ever-changing times, traditional customer service methodologies are no longer making the cut. Customers have higher expectations, there is greater competition in the market, and support is no longer an ancillary entity, but rather an integral part of the customer experience. As consumer demands increase, innovating with the changing atmosphere is necessary.  As a small business, it’s the time to up the ante and refresh your customer service strategy.

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World and Blog Icons

We’ve talked a lot about web design and best practices for setting up a professional business website, but once that’s complete, what do you do next? Generating traffic to your beautifully crafted website is the next hurdle to overcome. This is where backlinks come into play. Simply put, backlinks are inbound hyperlinks from one website to another website.

You may be thinking, “How is this relevant to my business?” Well, every backlink to your website increases your site’s popularity and pushes it higher in SEO rankings for your industry or niche; they improve your credibility and authority within the marketplace.

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Monthly agenda with sticky notes and pencil

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up social media accounts for your business and are gaining followers and increasing engagement daily. Your hard work is paying off, but do you feel like social media management is becoming a full-time job, on top of running your small business? With the numerous platforms available, all which have different functionalities and requirements – cue Twitter’s 140 character limit for tweets – it can be a cumbersome undertaking. You may find that you spend a shocking amount of time on this one piece of your business. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then keep reading!

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Smartphones with message icons swirling around

As small business owners, you know that networking is of utmost importance to building your business and credibility. Word of mouth endorsements are invaluable and you never know the connections you will make at an event or during an online networking hour. Yet, as a small business owner, attending hours-long events to establish relationships and potential partners is just not part of your daily routine because they’re a major drain on your most precious resource: time. Luckily in this fast-paced digital age, there are a number of professional networking apps that help you to network effectively on your own time.

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Gold medal with ribbon

Customer experience (CX) has become a hot topic over the past few years and with good reason. Superior customer service is no longer a primary requirement for attracting and retaining customers. The customer’s experience must be stellar, memorable, and positive in order to provide the traction previously supplied by white glove customer service. How the customer is left feeling dictates their impression of a brand and impacts whether or not they will return to the business. “When people make purchases today, they want that purchase to make them feel a certain way,” says Daniel Newman, President of Broadsuite.

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April 15 Calendar and Clock

Just like April showers bring May flowers, April 15 brings Tax Day. Even though we know it’s coming, somehow the tax deadline tends to sneak up on us. As a small business owner, you have an incredible responsibility for filing correctly and in a timely way to save both time and money. It takes time to properly organize and file taxes, and the 2014 Small Business Taxation Survey found that 40% of small business owners spend 80 hours preparing for their income taxes. Whether you DIY or employ an accountant, we want to take the heartache out of tax preparation and save you precious hours and resources.

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