Large lightbulb vs. bunch of small lightbulbs

Small businesses need small goals; that sounds trite, right? While it may sound ‘cute’, it’s actually quite true for businesses of any size. Small goals are not a reflection of the ambition or overarching strategy of a business, but rather speak to the strategic way a business approaches its long-term goals. Small goals enable businesses to chip away at large objectives and celebrate their wins along the way. It takes time and effort to get a business up and running in a sustainable way, so taking time to note accomplishments of any size bolsters morale and helps you refocus on the bigger business goals. Jack Nickell, the owner of Threadless.com, perfectly summarizes what it takes to start a company:

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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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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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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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National Small Business Week Poster

The second biggest holiday in the Small Business world is coming up in just about a month, and it’s time to start planning how you can get involved. National Small Business Week takes place May 1st -7th here in the U.S., and this year’s theme is “Dream Big, Start Small.”

Created by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) back in 1963, National Small Business Week provides:

“An opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and other from across the nation.” (SBA)

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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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home_office_gadgets

When you work from home, there’s a bit of a catch 22 we all must overcome. You are delighted to be able to control everything about your workspace, but you may find that you get overwhelmed trying to set up the ideal work-from-home space. We’ve tackled the issue of creating space for a home office before, if you really are starting from scratch. Once you have the space picked out, consider some (or all!) of the following office gadgets for making your home office truly your own:

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Productivity symbol

Running a small business can be a difficult job. The responsibilities can be daunting, and the tasks can quickly pile up. Running a micro-business can be even tougher. Similar tasks are placed on fewer people, and your to-do list can get crowded in a hurry. Compounding the challenge is the fact that many people simply procrastinate their duties. After all, why do something now when there will be time for it later? There’s no clear reason why some people tend to procrastinate. Research suggests that procrastination might actually be a factor of genetics, something that’s been passed down through the generations. Maybe you even fall into that category. But just because you might be a natural procrastinator doesn’t mean you have to give in to your instinctual behaviors. A variety of productivity tools are out there, ready to help you overcome the urge to delay what should be done right away.

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Bullseye - Content Marketing Mission Statement

Looking to get started (or start fresh) in content marketing for your small business? You’re in luck – we picked up some great tips at Social Media Examiner’s recent Social Media Marketing World conference and we’re dying to share!

The first session we attended was with content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi. One of the takeaways we most wanted to share with you from the presentation is the idea of creating a content marketing mission statement.

Long before you create a blog, brainstorm topics, or write your first blog post, it’s critical to make sure that you (and anyone else who will contribute) know exactly what it is you’re setting out to do. If you aren’t sure, how can your audience be?

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