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Displaying articles for: August 2011

Guest post from Susan Wilson Solovic, who wrote “It’s Your Biz – The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Own Boss.” Susan is an award-winning entrepreneur, a journalist, bestselling author, multi-media personality, and attorney.  She is also the CEO of SBTV.com, offering news, tips, and helpful insights to small businesses.

 

 

An earthquake and a hurricane in New York City -- in the same week!  It seems every time I turn on the news, there is a natural disaster being reported somewhere across the country or around the world. The scenes of suffering and devastation can be heart-breaking and makes us think, “What if that happened to me?” It sure makes you realize how vulnerable we all are. Disaster can strike anytime, anywhere, demolishing our homes, ruining our businesses, and stealing friends and family members. Yet, very few of us take the necessary steps to be prepared for when a disaster hits.

 

Particularly, small businesses.

 

I’ve found that when there’s a natural disaster making headlines, small businesses get focused on learning more about disaster preparedness and managing their risk. Then, after things calm down and the headlines switch to other stories, entrepreneurs revert to business as usual. The sense of urgency to be prepared is gone.

 

What would you do if you faced a disaster? Are you prepared?  Can your business still operate? Your business could be hit with something unexpected tomorrow that interferes with your ability to conduct business operations. It doesn’t have to be a major natural disaster, either. What if the sprinkler system goes off in your building or a major pipe breaks, destroying all electronic systems, customer files and inventory? Think about what you’d do if construction workers nearby cut water mains and electrical lines causing outages for several days. Could you conduct business the next day?

 

It is impossible to prevent a disaster from striking your company, but you can take action in advance to limit the impact your business sustains. Here are a few thoughts:

 

Make a List of Business Essentials. Determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep your business operating.

 

Create a Contact List. Make sure you have a list of your suppliers, customers, and other business resources located at an off-site location.

 

Maintain Document Storage. Keep duplicate files of all critical business documents at a separate location.

 

Review Your Insurance Coverage. Be sure it is up to date and covers all your assets.

 

Secure Emergency Supplies. Have a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, water, food, first-aid etc.

 

For more information and a helpful checklist, go to Ready.gov.  It provides disaster preparedness information for your business and personal needs.  But don’t procrastinate.  Start your planning today. 

 

Let me know how you’ve prepared your business.

 

 

Editor’s note: Susan’s book is coming out in October and she is giving Verizon’s Small Biz Blog readers an exclusive peek into the first few chapters. Be one of the first 15 to make a post below and also send your mailing address to vzsmallbiz@verizon.net to get the first few chapters from It’s Your Biz – The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Own Boss. Once the book is out, we’ll mail you a copy.

 

We’ll be giving more copies of Susan’s book during her live Twitter chat tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET. For more information click here or follow @VZSmallBiz (search #bizbooks).

 

To give as many business owners this free resource from Verizon, please request one free book from the Verizon Author Series per every 60 days.

 

 

Please join me in welcoming this week’s featured author Susan Solovic, who wrote “It’s Your Biz – The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Own Boss.”  Susan is an award-winning entrepreneur, a journalist, bestselling author, multi-media personality, and attorney.  She is also the CEO of SBTV.com, offering news, tips, and helpful insights to businesses.

 

Solovic embodies ideas that make her universally—and intimately—relatable to all entrepreneurs: hard work, fortitude, and persistence.

 

This week Susan will share insights on how businesses can grow and market their business.  Her guest post will be uploaded shortly.

 

This Thursday, September 1, at 12 p.m. ET, Susan will be available for a full hour on Twitter (#bizbooks) to answer questions about her business, offering insights from her experience and giving tips to help small businesses.

 

When asking Susan a question on Twitter this Thursday please include #bizbooks in the Tweet so we can track it.  Of course, you can direct the question to @VZSmallBiz or @SusanSolovic  too, but add #bizbooks.

 

I urge all businesses to seize this opportunity to join our LIVE Twitter chat to get insights directly from Susan.  Consider our live Twitter chat as a free consultation with a business expert; so, why not participate?  Why not get some of your business issues addressed by one of our experts who may offer you a solution or some advice?   

 

To follow along the LIVE Twitter conversation this Thursday – Sept. 1 at 12 p.m. ET – search (http://search.twitter.com) for #bizbooks or follow @VzSmallBiz (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz).

 

For additional tips on how to join our LIVE Twitter chat, check out this past post or review this short video tutorial (just go about 59 minutes into this webcast).  Of course, don’t hesitate to post your questions below.

 

 

The core of social media isn’t much more than just talking to people and small businesses need to make time for it if they want to compete in the digital age. Read this article from smallbiztrends.com for more reasons (500+ million users on Facebook, 200+ million users on Twitter, etc.) and tips to incorporate social media into your business.

 

Here’s a good read from It’s Your Biz on can your business survive the unexpected?  We also ran a similar post with the focus on the importance of having your data backup as stated by a small business owner.   

 

We have mentioned the importance of a website – please do not be one of the 40 percent of small businesses that do not have a website.  This article gives tips to building a website that drives more business.  This article offers three simple strategies for your business website.  And if you need an affordable solution, check out Verizon Websites powered by Intuit.

 

As always, please share what you are reading.  Lastly, we have a few more copies of the books from the Verizon Author Series.  Be one of the first 25 to send us an email [vzsmallbiz@verizon.net] and request the book that you’d like to read… just the authors we have featured, of course. 

 

 

 

In an increasingly mobile and cashless society, small businesses more than ever need an easy way to accept credit cards on the go so they never have to say no to a sale. 

 

Whether you are a one-person operation, or a business with 50 employees, one of the big challenges for many small businesses is payment.  Many organizations are not equipped to take or process credit cards– until now.

 

Verizon Wireless and Intuit teamed up to deliver a game changer for the small- and medium-sized business.  The Intuit GoPayment will enable the entrepreneur to do something seamlessly – take plastic on select mobile devices and tablets.

Setting up an account is simple and takes less than 15 minutes.

 

All you need is the GoPayment card reader, available for $29.97 from any one of the 2,300 Verizon Wireless retail stores (It comes with a $30 mail in rebate debit card).  Users simply download the free GoPayment app to a mobile device.  The card reader easily fits into the audio jack of a supported smartphone or tablet. 

 

Credit and debit cards can be swiped through the card reader or entered manually through the free GoPayment app.  The transaction is processed immediately and funds are automatically deposited into a user’s bank account within a few business days. GoPayment can be used on the most popular devices on iOS, BlackBerry and Android platforms, including select 4G LTE smartphones and tablets.  Tablet and smartphone users require a data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2GB of data.

 

So, if you are a small business, and are intent on changing your cashflow and increasing your revenue, consider deploying GoPayment to change your business.

 

Additional information can be found at www.verizonwireless.com/gopayment

 

If your business is already using GoPayment, tell me how your game was changed.

Guest post from this week’s featured author Steven Sisler, who wrote “There’s More to Management Than a Big Desk.”  Steve is CEO of The Behavioral Resource Group Inc., a motivational speaker, teacher, coach and an Agent of Change.

 

 

After twenty-five years of working with people and over six years working directly with managers, leaders, HR directors within the corporate world, I have concluded that there is much more to management than the big desk they sit behind.

 

In business it’s all about relationships – no matter the size of your business, the quantity and the quality of the interactions matter. 

 

That said, it begins with your employees, if you have a strong team then you know they will help you build those relationships with your customers and/or clients.  If you have a solid team their care and dedication to the company will help attract new customers and/or clients and help grow your business. 

 

I have come up with the five stages of employee creation as outlined in my book.  Great employees are not discovered; they are created and it begins with you as you select the right member to join your business and how you nurture their growth which will help to grow your business.

 

1.    Recruiting. This is the process of finding the right fit for your company both in culture and behavioral attributes. This process is conducted through behavioral profiling, attitudes analysis and unconventional interviews, which is having real conversations about life, leisure, family, work, and relationships. A headhunter or a hiring manager should not do this if your company has one, but it should be done by a real person—that’s you, with feelings who’s unafraid of being vulnerable and upfront. Take the potential candidate to dinner with their spouse and find out if this is someone you want on your team.

 

2.    Training. This is the process of getting a new employee acclimated to their new tasks and surroundings. Everyone needs to be trained. When you as a leader don’t take the time to train your people, you create a survival instinct in them that usually cause them to act in a way that preserves and protects self above others. This is always at the expense of everyone around them; ultimately impacting your business.

 

3.    Deployment. People need to be sent. This produces a “mission” mentality in the one being sent. Many employees are just wandering around within organizations because they have never been sent. Their mission never quite defined. They show up every day without a mandate, without a mission. They are like sheep without a shepherd. Most employees don’t know their job description, so be clear and give your team their mission.

 

4.    Monitoring. Many times employees are treated like children. A business owner or a manager may punish subordinates based upon how the subordinate makes the owner/manager look. In these situations, every move the owner/manager makes in relationship to the employee is actually designed to elevate himself or herself at the employee’s expense. And when an employee figures this out, they instinctively start looking out for themselves at others’ expense. Monitoring is not micro managing; it’s keeping a pulse on a person for their benefit.

 

5.    Nurturing. You have to constantly bring people along until they learn to walk alone. This is true when new employees are brought in and when raising children as well. No matter how smart, educated or gifted, they still need to be nurtured into the company – into your company. This creates great people who feel a part of the team. Caring for people goes a long way. Over sixty years of data suggests that when people feel important and cared for, they will work extra hard for a person or a cause. As the owner of your business or as a manager, your job is to bring the best out of the people you lead.

 

It’s far more productive with employees when you are personal first and professional second, vulnerable first and valuable second. Take some time and consider your leadership style, make necessary tweaks where you need them and consider your employee’s needs. Then you’ll be on your way to managing a great team.

 

 

 

Note from editor:

Interested in reading Steve’s book to get more insights?  Be one of the first 20 to send an email to vzsmallbiz@verizon.net to request a free copy of his book courtesy of the Verizon small business team.  To get real-time insights from Steve Sisler join our LIVE Twitter chat tomorrow (August 25) at 6 p.m. ET.  For more information on joining the chat click here.

 

 

Please join me in welcoming this week’s featured author Steven Sisler, who wrote “There’s More to Management Than a Big Desk.”  Steve is CEO of The Behavioral Resource Group Inc., a motivational speaker, teacher, coach and an Agent of Change.

 

Recognized as one of the top behavioral profilers in the U.S.. Steven works with owners, managers, and teams in many countries including Canada, Germany, Switzerland, England, Amsterdam, South America, Austrailia, and the United States to name a few. Steven helps individuals understand how they are behavioraly wired for business, family and life. Steve is a personality consultant and a human nature specialist.

 

This week Steve will share insights on how businesses can create the best employees for their business by utilizing his 5-pillar process called; “The Maven Way.” His guest post will be uploaded shortly.

 

This Thursday, August 25, at 6 p.m. ET, Steve will be available for a full hour on Twitter (#bizbooks) to answer questions on how to manage with your heart instead of your head.   When asking Steve a question on Twitter this Thursday please include #bizbooks in the Tweet so we can track it.  Of course, you can direct the question to @VZSmallBiz or @SteveSisler too, but add #bizbooks.

 

I urge all businesses to seize this opportunity to join our LIVE Twitter chat to get insights directly from Steve.  Consider our live Twitter chat as a free consultation with a business expert; so, why not participate?  Why not get some of your business issues addressed by one of our experts who may offer you a solution or some advice?   

 

To follow along the LIVE Twitter conversation this Thursday – (Aug. 25 – at 6 p.m. ET, search (http://search.twitter.com) for #bizbooks or follow @VzSmallBiz (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz).

 

For additional tips on how to join our LIVE Twitter chat, check out this past post or review this short video tutorial (just go about 59 minutes into this webcast).  Of course, don’t hesitate to post your questions below.

 

 

 

Summer is winding down… check out this article for marketing ideas in September.  And yes, back to school, Labor Day, football season and more fall themes are in the mix.

 

Get seven tips to create compelling content, it’s speaking to businesses in real estate, but the insights are relevant to businesses in any industry.  And speaking of real estate, don’t forget that Verizon offers agents a referral program.  Learn how you can easily earn $100 by clicking here or visiting www.verizon.com/agentrewards.

 

This article offers seven resources for great content marketing ideas.   

 

In the event you are contemplating cashing in on your business, check out these tips to plan your exit.

 

If you missed it, check out this guest post on the benefits of incorporating your business.  Also, Wendy Stevens was this week’s featured author click here to read the insights she shared on local guerrilla marketing for your business.

 

Next week I’ll introduce author Steve Sisler and next Thursday (August 25) two of Verizon’s small business experts will be on the Irvine Micropreneur Program at 12 p.m. PT/3 pm ET. 

 

Have a great weekend!

Guest post from this week’s featured author Wendy Stevens, who wrote “Local Guerrilla Marketing” with Jay Conrad Levinson.  A powerful, dynamic speaker, and popular trainer, as well as a championship coach and mentor, follow Wendy @WendyStevens.

 

 

In the local online search game you cannot afford to be left behind, trailing your competition.  To get out in front of your potential and ideal customers and/or clients in the local search engine game begins foundationally, first and foremost with a “local search engine” profile of your business. 

 

Everyday people are searching online right there in their own hometown for – maybe, your exact business product or service. Every major search engine is actually rushing to become the next local phonebook.  With one billion local searches a month on Google alone there are a lot of fingers doing the walking and clicking online to find your business.

 

So now, is the time for you to get your business listed in online maps and directories and take advantage of the massive growing numbers of people using local search, to find business services and products of all kinds right there in the town your business is located in.  Statistics shows that about 69 percent of households use online search for products and services on a daily basis. 

 

Out of the one billion searches – local searches a month online – half of those are done on a mobile device.  The reason mobile matters so much is the ideal customer and/or client that is out there utilizing a local search is often times doing so, on their mobile device where maps and directories play such a vital and critical role in the selection process for the end consumer.  So the question really is how do local searches search in the first place? 

 

For instance, someone in Nashville seeking a chiropractor will type in “Nashville Chiropractor” or someone in Chicago will type in “Chicago Accountant.”

 

That’s the reality of search at the local level. We search by the city or town in which we are located. This behavior has driven search to be hyper-local.  So local geo-targeting means that search engines are utilizing local IP addresses and location to identify and serve up results based on the end users location.  There is a mad dash to be the next big player in the local directory game; search results are global, national, all around town, and just around the corner.

 

Test it out, go ahead and do an online search for “Contractor 37069.”  You may not have noticed it before but the first results displayed are local directory results complete with a map feature such as Google Places of Franklin, TN.  By clicking on one of the local listings, you’ll get all the information that’s available online.  It is almost like a mini webpage for that business.  This means that when your potential ideal customer and/or client searches for your local business they can easily find your business’ phone number, address and vital signs.

 

How do you create a local search profile for your business?

 

The search profile provides a valuable quality inbound link next to your site and is ranked individually in search engines which increases your overall brand presence.  Local search profiles are incredibly important as I mentioned because of the many searches done on a mobile device.  So when your potential customers are out and about using their Blackberry’s, Blueberries or their iPhones, most of them are looking for quick information like a phone number or an address as they are already out there mobiling around.  They’re looking for that last piece of information to execute that stop or that shop.  This means they don’t have the time to dig through your website to get your business information and if it doesn’t come up fast… this potential customer and/or client will probably go with one of your competitors who’s information was readily available. 

 

If you’re not listed locally you're missing out on potential customers that may be trying to access your business via a mobile device and ready to buy.  So, not having this local search presence means you’ll be missing out on providing your business’ services to these potential customers and/or clients. 

 

Below you’ll find some of my best tips for creating and developing local search profiles for your business: 

 

First and foremost, claim your listing by going to Google Places – it’s free!  This is a free service provided by Google which allows you to list your business on the web. Your business might already be listed but you can make your listing more dynamic by adding photos, videos, links and more.  You’ll also be able to see reviews that are being posted and keep your business’ information up to date including hours of operation, payment options and other details.  You never know what piece of information your potential customer and/or client might be looking for. 

 

Google will ask to verify the ownership of your business by either calling you at the number provided for your business or they will send a postcard with a verification pin to the business address you listed. 

 

Please don’t rush your submissions.  If your business has multiple locations, don’t submit them all at once because you could appear to be spamming search engines.  When listing multiple locations spread it out over a couple of weeks or months so search engines won’t classify you as a spammer. 

 

The bare minimum information requires your business’ full address, and zip code as many of us search by zip codes as well. Be sure to include a direct phone number including links to your main website.  This is all about niche marketing.  Does your hometown have a business association?  Use local specific search engines  like WickedLocal.com or yp.com, merchantcircle.com or, yp.com.  These are some of the popular local search engines and have unique audiences. The more places you can post your business with its local profile the greater audience you can position your business in front of directly right before they buy.

 

In case any of this feels overwhelming you can use services like, elance.com or odesk.com or perhaps hire a virtual assistant that can post the proper information for you.  Then it's ring, ring!

 

 

Note from editor:

The first 25 to post a comment below will get a copy of Wendy’s book courtesy of the Verizon small business team.  To get real-time insights from Wendy Stevens join our LIVE Twitter chat tomorrow (August 18) at 7 p.m. ET.  For more information on joining the chat click here.

Please join me in welcoming this week’s featured author Wendy Stevens, who wrote “Local Guerrilla Marketing” with Jay Conrad Levinson.  Wendy is a powerful, dynamic speaker, and popular trainer, as well as a championship coach and mentor.

 

Wendy has leveraged her experience as a former All American, MVP and NCAA National Champion as well as a Division I Lacrosse Coach at Vanderbilt University and proven that the basic principles of success hold true whether you're on the playing field or running your own business.

 

Recognized as one of the top online marketers and social media experts, Wendy has been showcased as a speaker and trainer as a multiple seven-figure internet entrepreneur. Wendy has assisted thousands of people tripling their productivity at work, sales and marketing as well as launching their own successful businesses.

 

Wendy Stevens, who knows what it’s like to walk on and win, after nearly seven years of preparation as a savvy marketer, is launching her new book co-authored by the legendary marketing expert Jay Conrad Levinson, Local Guerrilla Marketing. Guerrilla Marketing is the best known marketing brand in history, named one of the 100 best business books ever written, with over 21 million sold Jay's books appear in 62 languages and are required reading in MBA programs worldwide.   

 

This week Wendy will share insights on how businesses can get better results if they localize their marketing efforts.  Her guest post will be uploaded shortly.

 

This Thursday, August 18, at 7 p.m. ET, Wendy will be available for a full hour on Twitter (#bizbooks) to answer questions how to market your business better online and target your marketing efforts.   When asking Wendy a question on Twitter this Thursday please include #bizbooks in the Tweet so we can track it.  Of course, you can direct the question to @VZSmallBiz or @WendyStevens too, but add #bizbooks.

 

I urge all businesses to seize this opportunity to join our LIVE Twitter chat to get insights directly from Wendy.  Consider our live Twitter chat as a free consultation with a business expert; so, why not participate?  Why not get some of your business issues addressed by one of our experts who may have already gone through it?   

 

To follow along the LIVE Twitter conversation this Thursday – (Aug. 18 – at 7 p.m. ET, search (http://search.twitter.com) for #bizbooks or follow @VzSmallBiz (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz).

 

For additional tips on how to join our LIVE Twitter chat, check out this past post or review this short video tutorial (just go about 59 minutes into this webcast).  Of course, don’t hesitate to post your questions below.

 

 

 

Employee ‎08-15-2011 07:57 AM

Guest post by Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com, an incorporation filing service company.  Nellie is a strong advocate in educating small business owners and entrepreneurs about the importance of protecting their assets and is responsible for overseeing and managing the daily operations of the business. She blogs regularly at Mashable and Tweets from @CorpNetNellie.

 

If you think your business is ‘too small’ to be incorporated, think again.  There are many benefits to incorporating a business – most importantly, it protects you and your personal assets.  Whether you’re a freelance writer or cabinet maker, incorporating or forming a limited liability company (LLC) can be a smart move. After working with small businesses across various industries, I’ve assembled the key things you should know when it comes to incorporating your business. 

 

The benefits of incorporating your business:

 

  • Liability protection: First and foremost, the LLC and the Corporation (C Corporation or S Corporation) protect the owner’s personal assets from any liability of the company. That is, if your company happens to be sued, your personal assets (property, savings accounts) are shielded from any judgment. Of course, lawsuits are worst-case scenarios and there’s a slim chance you’ll ever run into legal problems. However, if you’re sued as a sole proprietor, you’ll be sued personally. And that means everything - from your children’s college fund to your retirement savings – is at risk. Also keep in mind that creditor judgments can last up to 22 years, so you need to worry about protecting the assets you have today as well as tomorrow.

 

  • Taxes: Federal income tax rates can be lower for corporations than for individuals. And as a corporation, you may be entitled to additional deductions.

 

  • Business credit/capital: As a corporation or LLC, it can be easier for you to access a line of business credit. Forming a C Corporation will be essential if you plan to seek Venture Capital funding.

 

  • Credibility: Adding LLC or Inc. after your company name boosts your credibility in the eyes of some customers and partners.

 

There’s more to incorporating a business as you have the option to choose, the three most common legal business entities in the U.S. are the LLC, S Corporation, and C Corporation.

 

  •  The LLC is great for a business that wants liability protection, but seeks minimal formality.  It's also the perfect structure for a business with foreign owners since anyone (C Corp, S Corp, another LLC, a trust, or an estate) can be an owner of an LLC.

 

  • S Corporation: The S Corporation is a pass-through entity for federal taxes (like the LLC). It’s great for a small business owner who can qualify: The IRS places limits on the number of owners and who can be an owner in an S Corporation.  Plus, all owners are taxed based on their percentage of ownership.

 

  • C Corporation: This entity is not recommended for small business owners. The C Corp is ideal for a business that intends to raise capital by issuing stock or attracting investors through VC funding.

 

Over the years, the incorporation process has been greatly simplified, so forming a corporation or LLC can be painless and affordable (even for the time-pressed, limited budget, small business owner).  Take some time upfront to learn about the different business structures and determine which would be best for your business. After all, both you and your business are worth it.

 

If your business isn't incorporated, why not?  Don’t hesitate to post any questions or comments below about the process of incorporating a business.

Employee ‎08-12-2011 09:40 AM

Stocks were down, then up, then down again this week, but your small business doesn’t have to run with the same yo-yo effect. Read on to learn how to make the most of these turbulent times with this roundup from the Web:

 

 

Are you in LA-LA Land?

 

If you’re in the Los Angeles, California area this weekend, don’t forget to stop by the LA Convention Center for the West Coast Expo (today through Sunday). The exposition and trade show is for small, medium, and large businesses with goods, products, and services to market on the West Coast.

 

Author Series Wrap-Up

 

The expansion of the Verizon Author Series brought us a live Twitter Chat with Melinda Emerson,  author of “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months; A Month-By-Month Guide to a Business That Work.”

 

Up next week, be sure to join Wendy Stevens, “Local Guerrilla Marketing” co-author (with Jay Conrad Levinson). The LIVE Twitter chat begins at 7PM (ET) on August 18.

 

For tips on how to join our LIVE Twitter chats, check out this past post or check out this short video tutorial (just go about 59 minutes into this webcast).  Of course, don’t hesitate to post your questions below.

 

This week's articles are compiled by Ryan Morris, social media manager for Verizon.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Employee ‎08-22-2011 10:50 AM

Guest post from Melinda F. Emerson who wrote the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months; A Month-By-Month Guide to a Business That Works. Melinda is known to many as the “Small Biz Lady,” one of the country’s leading small business experts. 

 

 

One of the top reasons why small businesses fail is because they try to sell to anyone that they think has money.  Now hear this:  If everybody can use your product or service, no one will.

 

That is why it’s important to have a niche – narrow in on your potential customers.  A niche has a particular market or specialty area where a company finds it profitable to concentrate its efforts. Niche marketing also offers an area of limited competition.

 

Why Niche? Niche marketing is cost-effective. By identifying your niche customer you can eliminate a lot of guess work and your marketing dollars will be targeted and go a lot further. The more specific your customers are the easier it is to meet their needs. You must study where they shop, where they live, how often they buy things, what their values are and what are their pain points—then armed with a detailed customer profile it is much easier to design custom solutions and sell to them.

 

Use the internet to dig deeper into your market. For example, I know an event planner created a website focused on Sweet 16 parties to advertise her business. She researched the key words people used to search for help with teen party planning and made sure to use those key words in her blog posts and marketing copy. Her business really took off after she launched her “princess for a day” website. Use the web to establish your niche brand, and become the ‘king’ or ‘queen’ of your niche.

 

Niche marketing is a major theme in my book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months; A Month-By-Month Guide to a Business That Works.  The book walks you step-by-step through the Emerson Planning System, which will reduce your learning curve as you start your business. 

 

Reduce the Competition

You must niche to get rich as a small business owner. Nowadays, all competition is global.  Competing on price is virtually impossible, so it is all about adding maximizing value for your customers. This means you must specialize in solving their core problem.  The best thing about running a niche business is that you reduce the competition.

 

Too many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to go after too broad a market. They chase too many clients in too many diverse industries.  As a small business owner you have limited time and limited resources to market your business. Do not chase every ambulance going down the street that you think might have money in the back.  After months of doing this, your business will be on life support in need of emergency care.

 

If you try to sell to anyone with money—you’re going to struggle in business. And you will not be known for anything.  One of the best ways to carve out a niche for your business is to position yourself as an expert. Try blogging, writing a book, doing media interviews on your topic, expertise or the services you are offering.  Make sure you create a social media footprint that shows that you are the go to expert in your field. People will “google “you before they even pick up the phone to call you for a quote.

 

Consider this; lots of people sell graphic design services, promotional products and desserts. Why should anyone buy them from you?  Lots of people sell marketing consulting services.   What makes your services so special? What difference does it make to my business if I use your service? Do you have an answer for this in your business?

 

Do you have a niche business? Tell me about it?

 

The first 23 to post a comment will get a copy of Melinda’s book courtesy of the Verizon small business team.  To get real-time insights from Melinda Emerson join our LIVE Twitter chat tomorrow (August 11) at 2 p.m. ET.  For more information on the chat click here.

 

 

 

Employee ‎08-09-2011 04:19 PM

Guest post from Shirley Chun in California, small business marketing manager for Verizon.  To get news specific to California, follow @VerizonCA (http://www.twitter.com/verizonca).

 

 

All across the country there are trade shows and expos for small business owners.  They are great venues to network, pick up some information and find other opportunities for your business.

 

At the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend, Verizon will be at the West Coast Expo (August 12 - 14), an exposition and trade show for small, medium, and large businesses with goods, products, and services to market on the West Coast.  This three day event will feature different pavilions with a focus on  ‘Business’, ‘Technology’, ‘Green & Health’ and others to provide opportunities for  attendees to interact with experts and vendors, to learn about, evaluate, test, and/or purchase new products and services. 

 

At this expo attendees can find:

 

  • Business workshops and operational literacy support necessary to grow, thrive, and sustain in today’s global market;
  • Technology usage to evaluate learning and enabling participants to stay connected, informed, and share information;
  • Sustainability lessons for your business and other workshops, seminars, and lectures.

 

Verizon will sponsor two workshops on Friday, August 12 – come and find out “the Tools to Help Your Business Get Down to Business.”  The workshops will have information on the breadth of our product portfolio from business applications such as Verizon Website Services powered by Intuit, Verizon GoogleApps, our super-fast FiOS Internet product offerings, and our leadership in bringing the 4G LTE network to more and more cities – Verizon has the services, apps and devices for your business – positioning your business for success and growth.

 

If you are planning to come to this expo, stop by the Verizon at booth #929 and ask for your free gift – simply mention that you read this blog post (quantities are limited).  Only our loyal blog readers will get this gift.

 

Tell us which trade shows/expos you are planning to attend in the Fall.

Please join me in welcoming this week’s featured author Melinda F. Emerson who wrote the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months; A Month-By-Month Guide to a Business That Works (Adams Media 2010).  Melinda is known to many as the “Small Biz Lady,” one of the country’s leading small business experts. 

 

As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure.  As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine recently named her one of the Top 20 women for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog (www.succeedasyourownboss.com).

 

This week Melinda will share insights on how businesses can better target their marketing dollars which will help to get more customers.  Her guest post will be uploaded shortly.

 

This Thursday, August 11, at 2 p.m. ET, Melinda will be available for a full hour on Twitter (#bizbooks) to answer questions on starting and running a small business.  When asking a question be sure to include #bizbooks in the Tweet so we can track it.

 

I urge all businesses to seize this opportunity to join our LIVE Twitter chat to get insights directly from Melinda. Consider our live Twitter chat as a free consultation with a business expert; so, why not participate?  Why not get some of your business issues addressed by one of our experts who may have already gone through it?   

 

To follow along the LIVE Twitter conversation this Thursday – (Aug. 11 – at 2 p.m. ET, search (http://search.twitter.com) for #bizbooks or follow @VzSmallBiz (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz).

 

For additional tips on how to join our LIVE Twitter chat, check out this past post or review this short video tutorial (just go about 59 minutes into this webcast).  Of course, don’t hesitate to post your questions below.

 

 

 

Employee ‎08-08-2011 11:11 AM

I’m excited to announce that beginning this week and every week in August, I’ll introduce you to an author a week.  This is an expansion of the Verizon Author Series, bringing additional business experts to offer advice and tips to help our community of small business owners run their businesses better, more strategically and more productively.

 

As always, insights from each author will be available as a guest post on the Verizon Small Biz Blog; additionally, each author will be available on Twitter (#bizbooks) for a full hour to share additional business best practices.  So, get your questions ready! 

 

All month long there’s an opportunity for small business owners like you to win a free book (limited copies available) from one of our newly featured authors – simply read our blog; follow the Verizon Small Business team on Twitter (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz); or fan the team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/VerizonSmallBiz) for more information.

 

Featured authors this month and their books, in the series are:

 

 

 

 

 

Since the April launch of the Verizon Author Series, an author has been featured every month to connect these experts to small businesses across the country.

 

For tips on how to join our LIVE Twitter chats, check out this past post or check out this short video tutorial (just go about 59 minutes into this webcast).  Of course, don’t hesitate to post your questions below.

 

If you have authors you’d like to suggest for the Verizon Author Series, please let me know.

 

 

We will bring four more authors to the Verizon Author Series this month so stay tune to this blog to get advice from Melinda Emerson, Steven Sisler, Wendy Stevens, and Susan Solovic.

 

Here’s a helpful article from the New York Times on the basics of accounting for entrepreneurs.

 

We re-tweeted this on @VZSmallbiz, but in case you missed this article (one of @SmartBrief’s most clicked article), it offers 12 cloud tips for the frugal CFO.  If you need more insights into cloud services, check out this guest post from Anita Campbell.   

 

Here’s five way to create some buzz for your business from Ramon Ray of Smallbiztechnology.com.

 

How can tablets help your business?  Here’s some insights.  If you missed this post, early this week, Verizon Wireless introduced the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

 

From John Jantsch, check out the five collaboration tools in his review.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Paul_Macchia ‎08-01-2011 01:18 PM

As ubiquitously conveyed in the tech, vertical and business media, tablets are becoming a widely adapted and user-friendly business tool -- and that’s a good thing.   Even better, they are affordable at price points near many laptops and ideal for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB).

 

Our current array of Verizon Wireless tablets includes the recently introduced Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with 4G LTE and the Motorola Xoom (4G LTE upgradeable in September), plus several others.  Verizon Wireless is the first carrier to support 4G LTE tablets.

 

4G LTE technology is the catalyst to get things done in the SMB realm.  It levels the playing field with your competitors and larger companies and gives Verizon Wireless business customers the following core elements:

 

  • Enhanced connectivity - rapid download speeds and low latency to get things done fast while on the go.
  • Improved Operational Models - Allows businesses to do what they need to do, but more efficiently.
  • New Revenue Models – 4G LTE combined with Verizon Wireless Solution Partners provides completely new innovations to revolutionize business.

The Samsung Galaxy 10.1 is a good looking, highly functional tablet that empowers mobile workers, SMBs and entrepreneurs to:

 

  • Access corporate networks, files and applications via the downloadable Citrix Receiver app. 
  • Download or upload huge files, even HD video and 3D CAD drawings, via 4G LTE—(expected speeds from 5-12 Mbps to download and 2-5 Mbps on the upload)
  • Stay on schedule with a calendar that syncs in real-time with Google and Exchange.
  • View and edit Microsoft® Word, PPT and Excel docs using pre-installed Quick Office app.

 

We’d love to hear your feedback and experiences on how tablets have helped your business.

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

       




Contact the editor: tumara.r.jordan@verizon.com

About the Authors

Tumara Jordan

Senior Manager: Verizon Business Markets

Photo of Tumara Jordan

Tumara is a contributor to the Business Markets Marketing team and she currently manages Social Media marketing campaigns.


Kelly Boyd

Marketing Analyst, Verizon Business Markets

Photo of Kelly Boyd

Kelly is a member of the OOF Verizon Business Markets Creative & MarCom team where she leads social media marketing.


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