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NETWORKING TIPS.jpgMaintaining existing customers and finding new customers in an ever-changing market seems to get progressively more challenging. Savvy small business owners have found that smart networking has become one of the most effective tools in their marketing arsenal, providing a level of trust that advertising and marketing cannot deliver.

 

The best business networking groups operate as exchanges of business information, ideas and support. The most important skill for effective business networking is listening; focusing on how you can help the person you are listening to rather than on how he or she can help you is the first step to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship. Make the conversation all about them and not you. People love to talk about themselves. If you allow them the freedom to talk about themselves, you will be remembered as someone who took the time to get to know them. Remember, networking is not about the quantity of business cards you collect. It's about relationships.

 

Read more...

keep business green throughout the year.jpg
Does your business experience sales peaks and valleys based on either the day or the season? For many seasonal or time-sensitive businesses the peaks are often optimized and the valleys are opportunities. Let’s look at ways to maximize sales, cash flow, and time for a business that experiences such highs and lows.

 

Ideas to expand a seasonal business:

 

A seasonal or time-sensitive business can be extended to other periods. Look to your off-peak periods for ideas. For example, if your store sells Christmas ornaments, consider expanding into décor for other holidays like Halloween or Valentine’s Day and rotate your stock to cover multiple seasons. If you have a coffee shop, you could offer pre-prepared products or meals that could be purchased for other parts of the day (e.g., take-home dinners). If driving incremental sales during non-peak periods is important to you, there are multiple ways to achieve this objective.

 

Read more...

How John and Jane Became Successful Entrepreneurs

by Employee ‎08-20-2015 07:57 AM - edited ‎08-20-2015 08:04 AM

How John and Jane Became Successful Entrepreneurs.jpg

Five years ago, John and Jane embarked on their dream of owning a business.

 

They did all the right things to get started, from creating a business plan to hiring the right people. They went to networking meetings, joined their local chamber, placed ads, started using social media and created an impressive website. But their business didn’t take off.

 

Those basic activities just didn’t set them apart from their competition. John and Jane knew they had a great business. But the lackluster results were frustrating and one thing was clear. The business wasn’t growing fast enough and they needed to change what they were doing to get better results.

Read more...

8-19 image.pngIf you won $5,000 how would you use it to improve your business?

 

If you haven’t heard, the Verizon Small Biz Rewards program is running another sweepstakes giving one of our customers the chance to win $5,000* to help makeover their business. Five of Verizon’s small business customers will each win a $1,000 Staples® gift card.

 

The sweepstakes is open to Verizon small business customers who have FiOS Internet or High Speed Internet service, landline phone and/or TV service and who are Small Biz Rewards members. No purchase is necessary and the sweepstakes ends Aug. 31.

Read more...

Change: The Power to Grow

by Employee ‎08-13-2015 11:03 AM - edited ‎08-13-2015 11:17 AM

Change- The Power to Grow.jpg

Change. Those six little letters hold great power. Change is the booster engine in a business life cycle. It has the power to create positive results for a business including innovation, growth, cost reductions, improved customer loyalty, and greater employee morale.

 

So, why do business owners sometimes resist change?

 

Sometimes “staying the course” is more comfortable since shifting the course sometimes represents the unknown; however, change is the catalyst for future growth and can create great results.

Read more...

Keeping It All in the Family

by Employee ‎08-06-2015 07:36 AM - edited ‎08-06-2015 07:43 AM

teaser-May14-2015.JPG

Family-owned businesses have historically been the backbone of the American economy, making up approximately 80-90% of all enterprises in North America. With this large of a percentage there are some good reasons why there are a variety of best practices that have grown to support this business model.

Read more...

Healthy Businesses Don't Just Happen

by Employee ‎08-03-2015 07:45 AM - edited ‎08-04-2015 10:38 AM

Frank Coker.jpgGuest post by Frank Coker, CEO of Corelytics.

 

The health of your business is, in many ways, much like your personal health.

 

Regular check-ups help you understand if anything is going wrong. These routine check-ups include quick checks, like blood pressure, pulse and weight. Others are more detailed and require a lab expert, like blood sugar, for example, or cholesterol. Not only do these visits give you an idea of where your health is in the moment, over time they establish a pattern. If your pattern indicates you’re headed for a problem, you can start working to prevent that problem long before it takes its toll. Preventative measures dramatically reduce the cost of treating a problem, increase your odds of fixing it and decrease the stress that comes along with that fix.

Read more...

teaser-May21-2015.JPGMany people assume the most significant perk of being a small business owner is being your own boss. While this is often cited at the top of the list, many small business owners identify several other perks they never considered when they started their business, some being lifestyle related and others financial. 

 

Continue reading for other benefits of being your own boss.

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The Rewards of Name-Dropping Might Get You 20,000 Points

by Employee ‎06-16-2015 12:41 PM - edited ‎06-16-2015 12:54 PM

20,000-bonus-points.png

Sure, we can talk about ourselves. But at Verizon, we know the value of you dropping our name to other small businesses like yours. After all, you’re experiencing first-hand the advantages of Verizon solutions, so who better to spread the word about the network with 99.9% reliability?

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buldog-security.JPGNEW YORK – No one wants to worry about online threats or how and where to store their many files. A new solution from Verizon will ease these concerns.

 

The Security, Support & Storage Bundle provides Verizon small-business and residential  customers with comprehensive protection from viruses and malware on many connected devices; premium tech support to help keep customers’ technology running smoothly; and cloud storage for files, videos, photos and more.

Read more...

Verizon's third annual Powerful Answers Award program is accepting ideas until June 18. The program offers innovators, developers and entrepreneurs $6 million in cash prizes, plus the opportunity for winners to participate in an Accelerator program designed to help develop their ideas and bring solutions to market faster.
The Verizon Powerful Answers Award program seeks ideas that leverage cutting-edge technology to create solutions that deliver social good. The 2015 program is seeking ideas in three core categories, each with three subcategories: Transportation: How can technology enable better, more efficient ways to reduce the complexities of transportation and distribution in the physical world? o Smarter Driving o Public Transport & Sharing o Logistics and Distribution Emergency Response: How can technology enable first responders and emergency crews to locate and save lives faster; what solutions can improve long-term recovery for survivors? o First Responders o Search and Rescue o Long Term Relief Internet of Things: How can using technology behind the Internet of Things (IoT) enable new intelligent actions that will have wide-scale and beneficial impacts in the following areas? o Connected Health o Smart Cities o Smart Agriculture For more information or to submit your idea visit www.powerfulanswersaward.com. Submissions will be judged by panels of industry experts, and winners will be announced later this year. Verizon will award cash prizes of $1 million to the top winner in each of the three core categories. The second prize winner in each category will receive $500,000 and two third-prize winners in each category will receive $250,000, for a total of $6 million. If you are on Twitter search for #VZPAA for updates and information.
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Actionable Ideas for Time Management

by Employee on ‎05-28-2015 10:47 AM

Time management actionable items picture.JPGStarting today and every other Thursday we'll share tips from experts to help you gain an edge in running your business. Today we will focus on better managing your time.

 

As the sayings go, "time is fleeting" and "time is money." No one knows these concepts better than you, the small business owner. Here are seven suggestions to help you manage your most limited resource: time.

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With summer just around the corner, people’s thoughts turn to vacation and travel. As an avid traveler myself, I was eager to speak with Leo Zheng, owner of Top Star International in Flushing, N.Y., about his business, how he got his start and how Verizon’s small business services help him run his agency. Leo’s firm can book airline tickets, cruises or tours to anywhere. He gets many of his customers the best packages to Asia or Europe – the most popular destinations. Located in the heart of a diverse neighborhood, Leo is proud to serve his customers in both Chinese and English. He added that, while he advertises his business in local papers, he gets most of his customers by referrals. During my visit, Top Star International’s phones were ringing off the hook, and Leo’s team was constantly online to check the latest packages and prices. It was clear that reliable voice service and a fast Internet connection from Verizon were crucial in helping Leo operate his business. Leo shares more about his travel agency and what sets his business apart in this video. If you’d like to be profiled in a future Verizon Small Business Ready video, just let us know.
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Is Your Internet In The Fast Lane?

by Employee on ‎05-22-2015 12:55 PM

imagine for blog.pngJust as we keep our car ready to roll by periodically checking the air in its tires and getting it tuned up, small-business owners can keep their operation in the fast lane with reliable broadband and communications services.  

And now’s the time to act. For the next six weeks, until June 27, Verizon is offering small businesses free FiOS Internet-speed upgrade. For instance, a small-business owner who orders a new FiOS Internet and voice bundle with equal upload/download speeds of 50 megabits per second will pay the price of our 25/25 Mbps service for a two-year term agreement. 

Why’s that important? The level of upload activity on the FiOS network is expected to double by late 2016 and to continue to grow, according to Verizon’s projections. In addition, with the Internet of Things fast becoming a reality for small businesses, equal download and upload speeds will be essential for operations. If you have a number of devices using the same broadband connection, then a faster Internet speed can prevent delays in sending and receiving files.

If you aren’t sure how fast your current Internet service is, click here to test your speed. 

As you review your broadband and communications needs, you also might want to consider adding TV to entertain your customers and inform your employees. Verizon’s Custom TV (http://vz.to/TVforSmallbiz) solution allows you to pay only for the types of channels that will best interest your customers or employees.

For more information or to speak to one of Verizon’s expert small-business consultants, call 800-VERIZON (800-837-4966) or click here (http://vz.to/SpeedUpGrade). If Twitter is your preferred mode of communication, reach out to us @VZSmallBiz. 

Verizon is ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Very Small Business Wireline Service in the J.D. Power “J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Business Wireline Satisfaction Study”sm. The company was ranked highest for overall satisfaction, which includes the following factors: performance and reliability, customer service, communications, sales reps, cost of service and billing. 

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Watch Replay of Free Webinar: Small Business Growth

by Employee on ‎05-14-2015 02:23 PM - last edited on ‎05-22-2015 07:47 AM by Employee

pinkett_headshot  - 25.pngVZ Webinar Series ICON.jpgGuest post by Dr. Randal Pinkett (@RandalPinkett), featured  guest, Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, serial entrepreneur, international speaker, and bestselling author of Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business and No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash.

Individuals or Teams

What names come to mind when you think about entrepreneurial success?  I have asked this question of audiences on several occasions and the following names are frequently cited: Cathy Hughes of Radio One and TV One, Steve Jobs of Apple, Oprah Winfrey of Harpo Studios, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Anita Roddick of the Body Shop, to name a few.  I’ve noticed that almost always the responses I receive are the names of individuals.  It seems the perception of entrepreneurial success is that individuals drive it.  However, my experience has shown me that teams, not individuals, drive entrepreneurial success.

For example, Cathy Hughes and Alfred Liggins have been the forces behind Radio One and TV One’s accomplishments.  Steve Jobs teamed with Steve Wozniak to launch Apple.  Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Jacobs worked together to create the global multimedia empire known as Harpo Studios.  Microsoft was built upon the joint efforts of Bill Gates and Paul Allen.  And Anita Roddick co-founded the eco-conscious Body Shop alongside her husband Gordon Roddick.  History has shown that although we often focus on the individual entrepreneur, more often than not, they are not the sole driving force behind their company’s success. There is almost always a team that is the story behind a company’s story of success.

To read more click here.
Read more...

TV.jpgThis is a post by Michelle Swittenberg, vice president of mass business and marketing sales for Verizon.

 

Small business owners are constantly looking for ways to keep their employees current and/or to serve their customers better. And they certainly want the best value for their investment. Verizon delivers on both with FiOS Custom TV. We developed FiOS Custom TV in response to customers who have told us they want more choice and control over their TV service.It’s an entirely new way to buy TV that gives their employees and/or customers the channels they want.

 

With FiOS Custom TV, a small business gets 34 featured base channels, plus local broadcast channels, and at least two genre-based packs of channels out of a choice of seven. Business customers can select additional channel packs for $10 more each per month (a Regional Sports Network fee applies if the Sports Plus genre pack is chosen or added). The genre-based packs include: Sports, Sports Plus, News and Info, Lifestyle, Kids, Entertainment and Pop Culture. Click here to read more.

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March 28: Will You Sign Up for Earth Hour?

by Employee ‎03-26-2015 12:59 PM - edited ‎03-30-2015 07:20 AM

green.jpgWill you do your small part to contribute to global environmental change by signing up for Earth Hour?

It’s simple, just turn off non-essential lights for one hour, on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 PM. You can show your employees and your customers your business’ sustainability commitments.

The Earth Hour movement is led by the World Wildlife Fund to promote sustainable living, expand energy-efficiency awareness, and take a stand against climate change.

I know I always love learning about the good things businesses do and I do tend to favor those who are doing their part to make our community a little better. Click here to learn about the 500 Verizon buildings that will go dark this Saturday. Check out the infographic to get some tips on how you can get your business involved.

 

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VZSMBIZ-1088_February_Social_SweepsPostImage_FINAL.pngYesterday I shared the winners of the Verizon Small Biz Rewards Give and Give Back Holiday Sweepstakes. 

Today I want to let you know of the latest Verizon Small Biz Rewards sweepstakes called the Verizon Million Point Grant Giveaway. It’s easy to enter and one lucky – random – Verizon small business customer will win 1 million points, which equates to $10,000.*

The Verizon Small Biz Rewards program (https://smallbizrewards.verizon.com/) is available to most small-business customers with phone, Internet, TV, or cloud services from Verizon. Being a member has lots of perks, but customers must sign up. It’s easy and free. 

There are several ways to increase your chances of winning the grand prize in the Verizon Million Point Grant Giveaway. Log in and answer trivia questions to earn an entry for the chance to win the grand prize. Also, five Verizon small-business customers will win the first-place prize: 100,000 points redeemable for a $1,000 reloadable Verizon Small Biz Rewards Prepaid Master Card.  

Now will you become a Verizon Small Biz Rewards member if you haven’t joined yet? If you are already a member log in and get your entry in by April 21. 

The rewards program is just another benefit for being a Verizon small business customer in addition to the free webinars, the discounts, and more. 

Do let me know how you’ll use $10K to grow your business. Good luck!


 

Read more...

920_JanuaryWinners_Post_Image.pngLate last year Verizon Small Biz Rewards program launched a holiday sweepstakes available to its members. Customers enrolled in this program could log-in and enter as well as click on a nonprofit they favored to help Verizon distribute $15,000 it pledged to further support their work.

I’m thrilled to share that Steven and Carla Smargon of Platinum Electrical in Stoughton, Massachusetts won the grand prize of $5,000 on a Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard.

As winners of the Verizon Small Biz Rewards Give and Give Back Holiday Sweeps, the Smargons were able to select their favorite nonprofit to also receive $5,000 on a Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard from Verizon. The Smargons selected House of Possibilities, an organization that provides support to families who have children, youth and adults living with developmental challenges.

“Thank you very much! We are both excited and honored to have been chosen as winners. It is a great feeling to receive this gift, but being able to give back is just as sweet,” said the Smargons.

The Verizon Give and Give Back Holiday Sweeps didn’t just end there. Verizon also donated $9,900 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; $2,850 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; and $2,250 to Juvenile Diabetes Research. 

If you are a Verizon small business customer take a few minutes to enroll in the Small Biz Rewards program – it’s free.

The Verizon Small Biz Rewards program is running another sweepstakes which I’ll tell you about tomorrow or visit http://smallbizrewards.verizon.com. 

 

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Overcome Marketing Myths To Reach Your Full Potential

by Employee ‎03-10-2015 07:30 AM - edited ‎03-10-2015 07:40 AM

J Blaney.pngGuest post by Justin Blaney, featured Verizon Small Business Webinar Series guest, entrepreneur and No. 1 best-selling author of six books including “Evan Burl and the Falling.” 

Recently, I wrote about a new twist to marketing your business and/or yourself. If you missed it, click here.  

There are a lot of misconceptions about marketing. I learned a lot of them from business people, business school and innumerable business books. Here are a few examples of the things I was taught that were proven by experience to be myths:

• Marketing is important, regardless of the outcome.
I’ve found that marketing is worthless if it isn't effective for lead generation and increasing your sales.

• Good marketing can increase sales for any company.
Marketing can cause a spike in interest for just about any business, but increasing sales is a multifaceted beast. The quality of your product, the service that supports it, how you use your sales tools and your business model are just a few of these facets. Marketing alone won't make the difference.

(Be sure to click "Read more.." below.)

 

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Improve Your Business' Online Ratings

by Employee on ‎03-09-2015 12:05 PM

ratings - happy face.pngIf there isn’t a place on your company website for your customers to rate your business, there are third-party sites they can visit to provide feedback. Learn about the three main types of reviews and how to monitor and respond to customer feedback in an article featured on Verizon's My Business site.

While you can't control what is posted, you definitely want a sense of what is said about your products and/or services. Feedback can also provide insights into how your company (products or services) is perceived and if any tweaks on your end need to be made. Among small business owners surveyed recently, word of mouth or referrals are still the best way to gain new customers. 

 

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Verizon's Customer: Eddie's Custom Cleaners

by Employee ‎03-06-2015 01:08 PM - edited ‎03-06-2015 01:09 PM

My colleague, Bob Elek, recently met with Richie Alverio, owner of Eddie's Custom Cleaners in Tampa, FL. Richie gave Bob a tour of his facility and how his business handles the cleaning and pressing of clothes. I found it fascinating, but don't take my word for it - check out the video.

 

Richie also shares how Verizon FiOS Quantum Internet helps him run his business better, allowing for the ease of tracking customers' orders and more. 

 

Small Business Ready is more than a catchy phrase at Verizon - it's a commitment to helping our customers achieve their goals.

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What’s Your Internet of Things Strategy For Your Business?

by Employee ‎03-04-2015 02:10 PM - edited ‎03-04-2015 04:35 PM

VES IoT.pngHave you heard about the Internet of Things (IoT)? I feel it’s been everywhere. In case you are not in the loop it’s just hooking up things – like printers, refrigerators, etc. – to sensors and/or video cameras so it can be monitored and controlled via the Internet... from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop... to provide meaningful insights that will help transform the way we live and work.

Adoption of IoT is growing rapidly, but IoT isn’t yet widespread. Whether you’re in the public sector or private; big or small — if you don’t have an IoT strategy, you should. Download for free this report to learn more about what IoT is, what organizations are doing with it, and get some recommendations on how to get the most out of it.

This new report includes new research commissioned by Verizon from ABI Research which forecasts massive growth broadly, with the number of business-to-business IoT connections -- more than quadrupling between 2014 and 2020 -- rising to an estimated 5.4 billion connections globally.

Click here to download the report or visit http://vz.to/17RPKlk. 

 

Read more...

The New Way to Market: Helpeting

by Employee ‎03-03-2015 10:35 AM - edited ‎03-10-2015 07:43 AM

J Blaney.pngGuest post by Justin Blaney, featured Verizon Small Business Webinar Series guest, entrepreneur and No. 1 best-selling author of six books including “Evan Burl and the Falling.” 


Marketing is broken

Marketing has changed. Saturating the world with ads isn't enough. Making a superb product and hoping everyone finds us isn't enough either. We need a new method, a strategy better suited to the modern, oversaturated, mile-a-minute marketplace. 

This may sound surprising, but the best method I’ve found for cutting through the enormous clutter of this busy world is pretty simple. It's being helpful. You may be thinking, “What? That's the big idea?” That’s it. I've seen this approach work so well that it can do more than advertise a product. I've seen it work with finding jobs, donors and customers.

 

Read more...

VZ Webinar Series ICON.jpgJ Blaney.pngVerizon's small business team is bringing you another special webinar guest next week on Wednesday, March 11. Join this live free webinar so you can ask Justin Blaney your questions about how to increase qualified leads on prospects. Justin is an entrepreneur and No. 1 best-selling author of six books.

 

Below you'll find the details to join this webinar and learn Justin's simple, but powerful steps to increase sales. If you can't join live, watch the replay.

 

WHAT: Verizon 2015 Webinar Series: "Double Your Business's Qualified Leads in 2015!"

 

WHEN: Wednesday, March 11, at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT/12 p.m. MT/11 a.m. PT

 

WHERE: Admission to this live webinar is free, but please register at least one hour before it starts to receive a required "e-vite." Register here or visit http://vz.to/1E28oDM.

 

For more information click here.

 

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Verizon's Customer: Urban Juice

by Employee ‎02-24-2015 11:37 AM - edited ‎02-24-2015 11:44 AM

Guest post by Verizon’s Bob Elek, who visited Urban Juice recently and had the Green Day (kale, spinach, cucumber, pomegranate, apple, kiwi, lemon) and The Beatnik (beet, apple, lemon, ginger). Check out how two attorneys launched a business focused on fresh-squeezed juices and how Verizon is their technology partner.

 

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Is Your Business Diverse?

by Employee ‎02-05-2015 03:11 PM - edited ‎02-06-2015 08:45 AM

As we celebrate Black History Month it may be a good time to assess your business. Do you have employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences? This article featured on Verizon’s My Business site provides some good insights into some of the benefits – productivity, creativity, and loyalty – of having a diverse workforce. Let me know what you think. After you are done reading that article check out Verizon’s “Potential Of UsBlack History Month campaign featuring students with the odds stacked against them and how a national contest helped them to realize their passion and unleash their potential for greatness. Please take a minute to share their video on Twitter using #PotentialOfUs. While you are at it, tell us what you are passionate about.

 

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VZ Webinar Series ICON.jpgIt’s a brand new year, and we have been working to secure some inspiring guests who will share their successes and how they achieved and built their businesses. 

To kick-start our series of free, live webinars, next Wednesday, Feb. 4th at 2 p.m. ET, you’ll hear from Alex Blumberg, entrepreneur, radio journalist and producer. During the webinar, Blumberg will share how he became the CEO of his company and offer useful tips to fellow business owners and anyone considering starting up a business.

The best part of joining these webinars is the opportunity for you to ask our guests any questions you may have on how to grow your company. You can also send your questions on Twitter during the webinar, just use #vzsmb. For those not able to join our live webinar, a replay will always be available for you to watch at your convenience later that day.

 

Read more...

QuantumGatewayRouter.gifWith the fastest Wi-Fi available from any provider, Verizon’s most powerful router delivers more value for small businesses.

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How to Set Better Business Goals for the New Year

by Employee ‎01-21-2015 07:50 AM - edited ‎01-21-2015 07:55 AM

NewYearsGoals_1.pngBusiness growth starts with goals—learn how to set better, more achievable goals to help launch your new year. 

Successful small businesses turn each new year into a fresh start by setting smart goals. While everyone is promising to follow personal New Year's resolutions, you should also be outlining the goal(s) you want to achieve for your business during the coming year. 

Consider these tips for setting better (more achievable) goals: 

Brainstorm Better Goals 
•  Grab a huge whiteboard or chalkboard and spend time writing out all the ideas, dreams, wants, and needs that you have for your small business. 
•  Talk to your customers, and add their feedback to your brainstorming. Specifically, ask them what their needs are, and come up with better ways to serve them. 
•  Ask your employees to contribute, too. What ideas do they have for new opportunities or problem solving?
•  Also, think about how technology can help your business. What new products and services are your suppliers and service providers offering that can help you get more customers, provide better service and increase efficiency?

This article is one of many developed especially for Verizon’s small business customers, offering helpful insights for business growth. For more goals setting tips (how to choose and refine your goals) click here (or visit http://vz.to/1CPrJ8k).

 

Read more...

About Verizon's Small Business
Get news from Verizon about small business services and market trends that affect your bottom line. Here, you'll find tips and commentary from the Verizon small business group and other experts to help keep your business growing.

       


Contact the editor: ellen.yu@verizon.com

About the Authors

Mark Smith

Executive Director: Verizon Ventures

Photo of Mark Smith

Mark works with and identifies entrepreneurial companies for Verizon to invest in and fund.




Ellen Yu

Sr. Manager: Media Relations

Photo of Ellen Yu

Ellen provides PR support to Verizon's small business team, landlines and FiOS in apartment buildings and small and medium-sized commercial properties such as strip malls, and street-level shops and offices.


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