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Take control of your business to take back your life

Take control of your business to take back your life

You didn't start your business with dreams of working all the time doing stuff you hate and answering to a ton of bosses, better known as clients, who don't understand what you do but want to tell you how to do it anyway. (whew – run-on sentence!)

Unfortunately, most people who start a business end up in exactly that position, especially if it's a service business. I'll bet you have, too. It's just so easy to get stuck in a rut that it's hard to take a step back and think things through.

Nobody else has the knowledge and experience that you do, though. They may have similar, but they'll never have exactly the same. That's what makes you so valuable to the clients who are the best fit for you to work with and not valuable to those who aren't. And that's great! You only want to work with the ones who fit, right? Unless you're a masochist, I already know the answer is yes.

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Regional Shop Local Online Store Launched

Regional Shop Local Online Store Launched

There are lots of Shop Local sites around, but the online store we recently launched for Virginia's Growth Alliance is a bit different.

This groundbreaking project, funded by Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, provides a free platform for businesses in Virginia's Growth Alliance economic development region to sell physical and digital products online, bringing support to local businesses on a world-wide scale.

  • Buyers can purchase from several vendors in one transaction.
  • PayPal distributes proceeds directly to each vendor.
  • Vendors have full control of all of their products, including pricing and shipping.
  • Vendors can create discount codes for use exclusively in buying their products.
  • VGA is providing all setup, training, and presence on the website free of charge to vendors.
  • A directory of currently 1200+ businesses is included, as not only retail sales are "shopping.”
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Good Content Drives Search Engine Placement

good content drives SEO

We've recently had an increase in questions and concerns from our clients about SEO. For those of you who aren't familiar, SEO is Search Engine Optimization. SEO, in simple terms, is the process of influencing search engines to find your website. Why would you want this? To drive interest and potentially sales.

For example, if you own an Ice Cream shop in Alaska (& I can only assume this is a very competitive business in Alaska) you want to be at or near the top when someone Googles Ice Cream Shop in Alaska... Correct? Of course you do!

Achieving high rankings in search engine results is as desirable a goal as say, having your company featured on the cover of a popular magazine (20 years ago). In fact, there's an entire market for companies to offer services which focus on nothing but increasing your rankings through SEO.

Depending on the services offered, this method can be perfectly valid for your business. But know this: Google (and other search engines) can (and DO) change their algorithms FREQUENTLY. They do this to prevent search engine manipulation. They do this for YOU, the end-user, to give you the best, most relevant and valid content on the internet.

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14 marketing tips to help small businesses make & keep New Year's resolutions

business marketing resolutions for 2014 new yearWith 2014 on the horizon, most business owners are thinking about New Year's resolutions. To help you along the way, I've come up with a list of 14 things (in no particular order) to think about in your 2014 marketing. This will kick off a series of blog posts where I explain the importance of each. See you in 2014!

  1. Consider co-marketing.
  2. Focus on what you do best.
  3. Follow industry blogs to keep up to date.
  4. Explore buyer personas.
  5. Update your FAQ's.
  6. Deliver a consistent message.
  7. Choose social channels that fit.
  8. Keep it simple.
  9. Use an email marketing system.
  10. Think about giving rather than getting.
  11. Start a blog, or actually use the one you have.
  12. Integrate your marketing efforts.
  13. Make sure you're mobile friendly.
  14. Examine your brand and position.


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