Weekly Roundup – Improve Your Website, Introduce Yourself, Free Webinar and More
Hello, I’m Ellen! It’s a hot Friday in most places across the country... I know I can sure use some ice cream. While we all know how to introduce ourselves, it’s always good to get feedback, click here for some insights from BNET.
Now I know we are all winners here, but every once in a while something may not work out in our favor and we lose a little of our self-confidence, so click here for a short read to give yourself a boost.
This article caught my eyes… five ways to improve your website. Click here to get the tips from Entrepreneur magazine. In this blog, we have stressed a number of times the importance for a small business to have a website. If your business does not have a website, please set one up today. Do not be one of the 40 percent of small businesses that do not have a website. Verizon can help and offers Verizon Websites powered by Intuit, an easy do-it-yourself website building software… I say no more on this issue.
Onward and forward, for those of you who are social media savvy check out this article to see if Google+ is the ultimate content marketing platform. Here’s another article where Google+ is compared to ‘boring’ Twitter.
Next week, I’ll host another free webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center featuring Jennifer Prosek, author of Army of Entrepreneurs. Jen will give insights into how to motivate your employees and how to keep talent in the pipeline… just because you are not hiring today doesn’t mean you won’t hire tomorrow. To register for this live free webinar click here or go to http://bit.ly/p2G7Hw.
In the event you are a horrible boss – which I’m sure you are not – there are ways to reform. Click here to read this article from Fast Company.
As always, happy reading and stay cool!
Featuring Author Phil Simon: LIVE Webinar and LIVE Tweet Chat this Week
The Verizon Author Series was designed to bring experts to small businesses. This month we gave away featured author, Phil Simon’s book “The New Small.” We will give away more of Phil’s book the rest of this week and next.
This Wednesday, June 22nd, at 2 p.m. ET Phil will host a live (free) webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center and then be available for a whole hour on Twitter on Thursday, June 23rd at 12 p.m. ET to answer questions and offer advice.
I urge all businesses to seize these two opportunities to get insights from Phil Simon directly. Consider these as free consultations with a business expert; so, why not participate?
During this Wednesday’s webinar Phil will discuss what most forget: a small business now has access to many kinds of technology that used to be reserved for major corporations with budgets and infrastructures to make them deliver. And this all starts with website design. Learn why you no longer need to spend a great deal of money to great a professional web presence.
To register for the free live webinar click here (or go to http://bit.ly/lJlndU). Towards the end of the webinar feel free to ask Phil your questions or save your questions and ask him on Twitter. For more information about the Twitter chat click here (or go to http://bit.ly/edjtQT) just be sure to include hashtag – #bizbooks – and follow @VzSmallBiz (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz).
Of course, feel free to post your questions – get tips/advice for your business – in the comments section below and we’ll make sure Phil answers it during the webinar or on Twitter.
The first 25 to ask a question or a comment below will get a copy of Phil’s book.
Social Media Tips for Every Small Business
I had a wonderful experience yesterday at the events taking place in Washington D.C. during National Small Business Week. The Social Media Forum: Get Your Business Connected offered great tips to the many small – and medium-sized businesses in the audience. I even learned about a few businesses using very creative and low-cost tactics to market their business and creating that buzz -- that everyone wants -- online. Bottom-line, you have to have great content. I (@VZSmallBiz) tweeted insights during the forum as did many just search in Twitter for #sbw2011 to read all about it.
My colleague, Terrie Howard, Verizon’s small business marketing manager, and I met the very lovely Rieva Lesonsky, president and founder of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. Rieva was also one of the speakers at the Social Media Forum. Terrie and I asked Rieva to share some highlights from the forum – see the video below. I won’t say, ‘I told you so,’ but do consider reading this previous post if your business still does not have a website.
As always, let us know how you like our content.
Verizon Champions Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
It’s National Small Business Week. As I had mentioned on Friday’s Weekly Roundup, we feel everyday here at Verizon, we work to help small- and medium-sized businesses be productive, have the right tools and put experts at your fingertips. So in our eyes, every week we’re celebrating small businesses!
Here at Verizon we support SMBs by bringing a broad range of products and services to help you run your business better, faster and more productively. From our bundled solution which includes the essential services your business needs (phone, Internet, Internet security, online backup, Google Apps for Business, and an easy do-it-yourself website building platform) to additional cloud bases services, we are SMBs champions.
This blog too as well as the free, live webinars presented by the Verizon Small Business Center (replays are available on-demand) are developed to bring insights from Verizon as well as from our guests and I hope you find them useful and helpful.
I hope you take advantage and engage with renowned author Don Tapscott, who will be giving a live free webinar next Wednesday (May 25 at 2 p.m. ET) as well as be available next Thursday for one hour at 6 p.m. ET to host a live Twitter chat (#bizbooks) to answer questions and to offer advice. To win a copy of Don’s book be the first 25 to follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz) and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us you did it).
To help the Small Business Administration further celebrate National Small Business Week, we will give five full sets of all of the books from the Verizon Author Series to the first five who sends us an email (email@example.com) telling us why you’d like all these books, how you like our blog, what content you’d like to see, what help – if any – we can offer your business or give us some insights about your business. We’re just looking for direct insights from SMBs like you who read our blog… so expect some communication with us via email.
If you are a Verizon customer, a mom and run your own company, do enter in the Verizon Hardest Working Small Biz Mom Contest – this Sunday (May 22) is the last day for you to win $5,000 cash and other great prizes.
Note: Terrie Howard (watch her interview here) and I will be in D.C. later this week to attend some of the conferences and the luncheons taking place during National Small Business Week. If you’ll be at this summit send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can meet up, we are always looking to connect with our blog readers and our customers.
Stay tuned to this blog to get updates from the events taking place during National Small Business Week.
Learning and Growing Together
In some ways, we bloggers here like to think of ourselves as small business owners when it comes to the Verizon Small Biz Blog. Granted, our focus here is not generating sales from our posts, but to provide relevant, useful and insightful information for small/medium businesses… so you’ll keep coming back for more.
Running this blog has been a learning process… it’s always a challenge to develop worthwhile content. It took some time for us to determine which types of content were more widely useful and read than another. Over time, we changed some things up, brought in new bloggers, added some videos – all to improve and enhance the Verizon Small Biz Blog.
Back toward the end of December, after our pledge to award you a $25 AMEX gift card for promoting your business in the comments section here, we realized we didn’t set up the backend to quickly and easily extract all of your comments. (Mental note: It’s good to have a plan! Of course, the opportunity with American Express to help them promote Small Business Saturday came to us fast and furious, and we just jumped in and said, “Let’s do it!”)
We ended up having to manually input over 400+ small businesses’ information into a database so the cards could be processed. A heart-felt THANKS goes out to Terrie, Kevin and Kristine for doing the tedious work. While entering the information, I was sad to see how many businesses didn’t promote their very own business.
We know you are running fast and furious to run your business, but you’ve got to market your business to build awareness and get more business. Most importantly, make it easy for someone – anyone – to find your business.
A significant number of small businesses that posted to the blog to get the $25 AMEX gift card did not qualify because they didn’t list the necessary information as was outlined in the blog. As a one-time courtesy, we reached out to those who left a phone number, an email address or listed their website.
I was frustrated, shocked and disappointed that…
- On some well designed websites there was no contact information – not even an email address! C’mon, make it easy for customers as well as potential customers to find your business.
- The website services some businesses used were more interested in promoting their website services than the service of the business. Now, that’s just not right… the experience was a little confusing and seemed unprofessional.
- Some of the phone numbers didn’t work. Need I say more?
Of course, there are a lot of savvy business owners too. Becky of Hillig Auto Center posted a short description of the services her company offers; her company’s website; and an email address as did Rick with PC-ER, Inc. Dave of Phoenix Computer Specialists included all of his company’s information and even offered a 10% discount to fellow small businesses.
Bottom line, the AMEX gift cards are in the mail… and those that qualified will get the card. For those businesses that just didn’t provide any information or made it impossible for us to contact you… there will be a next time to “win” a gift card. By then, our operation will be tighter and we’ll get those cards processed quickly. In any event, we hope you’ll spend your $25 at a local business. Until next time, thank you for your patience.
Let’s continue to improve together – please post your comments below. And please… get a website… no matter the size of your business your company can not be invisible.
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- website small business leads
Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online
Depending on the report you read, roughly 40 percent of small businesses today do not have a website. And those businesses that are slightly savvy with a website typically have one that is static which does nothing to help bring in sales or even engage with customers or potential customers online – another valuable channel to bring in customers.
(This is a good read from the New York Times small business blog featuring a limousine company that for years treated its website as if it were an online brochure… one day this business owner made some changes and today, 85 percent of his business comes from the Internet… his website!)
Today Verizon launches a new TV spot featuring small business customer Elizabeth Heins from Long Island and a mother of two teens and an eleven year old. She recently opened a retail store selling unique clothing, accessories and jewelry. The last thing on her mind was setting up a website for her business.
Heins said, “I knew I needed a website and had the resources from Verizon, but I thought the process wouldn’t be easy so I put it off…”
Coincidentally, Heins was randomly contacted by Verizon’s small business team inquiring if she had set up her company’s website with Verizon Websites powered by Intuit. The call prompted Heins to give it a good look and she found it was very easy to set up her company’s website. Click here to see Heins’ website.
At Verizon, we serve many business customers. We’re seeing that with many small businesses, they are not embracing the web as a marketing tool. This puts them at risk of becoming invisible to today’s consumer, who typically turns to the web first to find information on local businesses, products and services.
We know many of you are busy running your business and don’t have the time to figure out what easy to use and essential tools can quickly elevate your online presence.
That’s why Verizon offers a total solution of essential tools so you can focus on running your business and not on figuring out what online tools your business needs.
Today, if your business subscribes to Verizon’s bundled solutions of Internet and phone or TV (or both) you'll get this powerful package at your fingertips:
-- Verizon Websites powered by Intuit (an easy do-it-yourself website “kit”)
-- Google Apps for Verizon with three free user accounts including a domain name and domain name email (i.e. @youbusinss.com)
-- Verizon Internet Security Suite (to help protect again virus, spam, malware and more)
-- Verizon Online Backup & Sharing (all data are backed up in the cloud)
-- free Wifi access
-- 24/7 technical support
Think of Verizon as your company’s virtual CIO here to help – offering up key tools, resources and more.
Should you have any questions for your virtual CIO, just enter it below in the comments section.
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- website small business leads