Small Business Resource Center

Business Payments Can Be Complicated – But They Don’t Need to Be

ePayments PhotoThe payments process is one of the most vital functions of your day-to-day business operations, having a direct link to your cash flow activity.  Which is why an occasional review of the process to ensure payments are being made and received as efficiently as possible is always a prudent step.

It’s also a good idea to consider other options that could potentially save you time and money. When you look around at how other businesses do things, you’ll quickly recognize there are a number of differences that exist in the way bills are paid.

This is particularly true when comparing how consumers and businesses make payments. For example, although ePayments – which are electronic payments made over the Internet ­– are now used widely by consumers, the options available for businesses to take advantage of this technology have been, until recently, quite limited.

It’s no surprise then that the transaction a consumer makes with a business is much different than the transaction one business makes with another.

Read More

Your Website: 5 Seconds to Make a Lasting Impression

Stopwatch PhotoIf you only had 5 seconds to impress visitors to your website, what would you say? Is it as clear as meeting someone face-to-face and introducing yourself? If not, you may consider this important exercise to ensure your business makes the right impression.

Just don’t assume your website is making the impression you intend, test it! There are various methods to help evaluate brand impression and content, but today let’s discuss the 5-second test.

5-Second Test In A Nutshell

This is a simple exercise you can do anywhere.

Read More

Gain Control of Your Brand Online – One Click at a Time

Google SearchHave you ever found yourself in the grocery store trying to decide if you should buy the name-brand version of a product, or go for the generic- or store-brand?  Sometimes that decision is easy.  You just KNOW that the name-brand product will provide better quality and is worth paying a bit more. Sometimes you just KNOW that you’ll get equivalent quality from the store brand or generic version for a fraction of the price.  And sometimes you just DON’T know which one to buy.

What can make matters even more confusing is how close the brand you’re looking for is to the competing brands on the store shelves.  This can easily sway a customer who had every intention of buying Brand X when they entered the store, but instead, ends up buying Brand Y.

The Competition is There

Read More

6 Reasons the Denver Broncos Logo Design Works



One of the most recognizable logos in the NFL today certainly belongs to the Super Bowl-bound Denver Broncos.  The bold orange and blue design has been the cornerstone of the team’s brand since 1997 and enjoys the 3rd highest popularity rating from fans across the NFL.  And like many teams, their current logo has evolved over the decades from a very rough design in 1960 to the clean, memorable look they have today.

After five design refreshes over 50 years, here’s what Denver did right this time:

1. Hired a professional designer

In 1996, the owner of the Broncos, Pat Bowlen, looked to the creative staff at Nike to develop a logo that would be the horse equivalent of the NIKE swoosh.  Over the course of several months, a core team worked on refining half a dozen concepts until landing on the design used today.  And while most businesses can’t afford to hire this type of high-powered creative team, there are many affordable options available in the $200-$500 range.

Read More

10 Internet Statistics to Inform Small Business Marketing Decisions

1.  85% of U.S. adults use the Internet.  Pew Internet Research, 2013.

2. 73% of U.S. adults use a social networking site, with 42% use multiple sites.  Pew Internet Research, 2013.

3. 97% of consumers search online for products and loans with no credit check services—yet 58% of small businesses do not have a website. Google, 2012.

4. Every second, there are 400,000+ searches run on Google, Bing and Yahoo. comScore, Nov 2013.

5. 63% of mobile device owners access the Internet. Pew Internet Research, 2013.

Read More

2014 Small Business Resolutions Recap: 17 Resources to Get ‘Recommitted’

2014 GoalsWith January halfway complete, it seemed a perfect time see how everyone was doing with their 2014 resolutions.  Statistics show less than 10% of people achieve their New Year’s goal – so we thought it apropos to summarize the list of resolution ideas we’ve been sharing on our social networks, including helpful resources.  We wish you luck!

Read More

9 Free Small Business Tools to Help Keep Your Sanity

Small Business OwnerIf you’re running your business on a shoestring budget, you can still take advantage of fantastic tools to help manage your business – for free!  In today’s world where everything is in the cloud, you can manage, market and socialize your business with tools that actually are free.  Some have limited functionality for the free version (because the companies that provide them, really do need to make money too). However, they can still offer valuable assistance and if you really like them, you can always upgrade to a paid version.  In the meantime, check these free (for life) tools:

1. Google

Let’s start with the probably the most well-known.   If you’ve got a physical location for your business, it’s a must to sign up for Google Places for Business.  This gets you listed in Google Search, Maps, and more.  There’s also productivity apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive (provides cloud storage), and Google Voice (gives you one number for any phone you have).   For those of you who use social media (and you should be!), Google+ helps you share your brand.

Read More

Four Ideas to Fire Up Your Social Media Plan

Social Media IconsChances are, you’re probably using social media on some level, as the latest stats show 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social media . And while social media as a channel has opened up new opportunities for business to connect with people, it has also brought its share of challenges given the expanding and ever-changing social landscape.  So while it’s tempting to hop onto each new and existing social media network (like Snapchat!), you may want to consider these suggestions before taking that leap into the unknown:

1.       Start small, start smart

Before you jump on any single social site, take into account the inner workings of one network at a time. You’re probably on Facebook already. Have you read the terms of service for Facebook Pages? You’ll want to take a look at these before you start any type of promotion on Facebook or even put a cover image on your page.

Read More

What Every Small Business Needs to Know This Year

What Every Business Needs to Know

Originally posted at StatePoint.

For small businesses, adapting to the changing times is crucial. Periodically, it’s important to review what’s working and where there’s room to transform.

“The new year is a blank slate for small businesses, offering the opportunity to streamline everything from connecting with customers to cash flow management,” says Tim Carroll, vice president of small business engagement at Deluxe Corporation.

With this in mind, here are resolutions for small businesses to succeed in 2014.

Read More

[Free Webinar] How to Get Started in Social Media


Social Media 101 Full SizeFree Webinar: How to Get Started in Social Media.  Access it Here!

Still exploring how social media can help your business?  Please listen to our free webinar, geared to help you weed through the seemingly endless choices and help you focus on the most effective (and affordable) ways to market what you do.

In this session, you’ll learn:

Read More