Small Business Blog Tips That Can Make A Big Difference.

Blogs have revolutionized the way that people do business. It seems that all the big companies are making use of blogs to promote themselves and market their products. However, corporate blogs aren’t just for big companies. Blogs can also be utilized by small businesses with great effect.

Setting up a small business blog is easy and has many benefits. They are powerful promotional tools and a great way to communicate with clients.

Here are some tips on using a small business blog:

1. Write Naturally and Honestly

Small business blogs can be more personal than large corporate blogs. It’s best to write in way that feels natural to you. Avoid writing needlessly complex posts filled with technical jargon. Doing so will endear customers and promote conversation, which is what a blog is for, after all.

As with any blog, you must always tell the truth. Blogs should address all issues, be it good or bad. This will ultimately beneficial as it helps builds trust the customers.

2. Post often and Respond to Comments

Remember to post frequently. Provide readers with plenty of content, so that they will keep coming back to your blog.

Comments are a vital part of blogs, providing useful feedback. Respond to reader comments often to build strong ties between them and your company.

3. Promote your business, Promote yourself

A small business blog is an innovative way to promote a business.

A good technique is to document your projects. This is good way to show how capable you are at your profession and to garner trust. This is especially important with small business, where reputations can make a big difference.

Blogs allow for unparalleled interaction with customers. Use this to get closer to clients, and to build bonds of trust. The information gained from readers is invaluable for improving your small business.

4. Be Informed and Informative

Read plenty of other blogs to gain useful information. Post comments and promote your own blog. Be an active part of the blogosphere.

Post links of related information on your blog, and use technology like RSS/Atom feeds to constantly provide your blog with interesting content. This is a great way to promote your business and be informed of everything concerning you industry. Besides informing your readers, it can lead to interaction and possible collaborations with other businesses, all of which will benefit a small business.

5. Search Engines

For those who wish to achieve higher search engine rankings, a blog can be an invaluable asset. The constant updating combined with the right keywords can raise search engine results dramatically.

Does Your Small Business Really Need A Server The Answer Is No.

As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.

Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.

Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?

Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.

And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.

Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.

VoIP 5 Tips to Improve a Small Business

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a method of electronic communication that is rapidly increasing in popularity. Used to make phone calls, VoIP technology uses a computer’s internet connection, rather than a cellular wireless or traditional wired telephone line. This technology is used not only by personal consumers, but also by businesses small and large. Here are 5 tips for using VoIP to improve a small business:

1. Use One Company for Internet and Phone – Any modern small business has a website and is likely already paying an internet service provider (ISP) for access to the internet. Rather than negotiating prices and dealing with customer service for two services, a company can save time, effort, and money by using their internet connection as their phone service provider as well.

2. Save Money on Long-Distance and International Calls – Unlike traditional telephone companies, VoIP services work regardless of the distance of the call, so pricing is not dependent on the number of local, long-distance, or international calls. This means that international calls, which can be especially expensive, can be handled without incurring additional costs. For small businesses that do business internationally or have business partners overseas, this can mean an enormous cost savings.

3. Better Voice Quality – Because of the nature of the medium and the wires that transmit the signals, VoIP services can provide cleaner, better-sounding phone calls than traditional phone companies. While it might not seem like a big change, having crisper more professional phone calls can be the edge a small business needs to win over customers or seal a big deal. Dropped calls or poor-quality calls, on the other hand, can devastate a company’s business.

4. Simplify Things for the Technical Staff – For small businesses, the internal technical staff is usually stretched thin at all times, and should be outsourced when possible. Keeping a business up and running smoothly 24/7 is no small task. Consolidating one’s internet and phone systems can provide a significant advantage, in terms of time and sheer number of technologies to monitor, to a company’s technical support and services team. For small businesses that don’t even have a dedicated technical staff, having a single number to call for technical support, rather than multiple numbers, can simplify things considerably. Prompt service and skilled technicians are key.

5. Additional Features Included At No Extra Cost – For starters, useful calling features like conference calls, call forwarding, and caller ID are all included for free. Additional features like video calls and video conferencing are also easy to add to VoIP services.

Starting a small business online,500in15,500 in15 review

Starting a small business online

How to take the first steps to starting a small business online. Today you can easily access anything from online shopping to job information online with just a click of your mouse.

If you already have an idea of the kind of business you plan to start you can begin by researching on the internet to see if this is something people are really searching to buy. You need to establish there is a demand for your idea. If not, however good you think it is, it is not likely to be successful.

If you are not sure exactly what your business will be you can browse the internet to find ideas. You can also visit your local bookstore and look for books and magazines on topics of interest to you. Again you should make sure there is a large group of people, or market, for this product or service.

By browsing the internet and clicking on a few sites of interest to you, it is easy to start an avalanche of information flowing into your email inbox. If you are venturing online for the first time and you have no previous experience it is very easy to feel overwhelmed very quickly. Most people seem to experience what is now referred to as “information overload” at some time.

One way round this problem is to look for an online marketing offer which will help starting a small business online a little easier. There are many online marketers offering a solution to your problem but how can you choose a good fit for you? Beginners in the online business field are often referred to as “newbies” so this is a good place to start.

You should look for an offer that concentrates on the basics for any online business rather than the latest trend at this time. If you can find a course that will take you step by step from the creation of your website, setting up your offer and getting visitors to your website this will reduce the time it takes. Why start from scratch when there are plenty of proven systems that work already.
I highly recommend you stick to one method to start with.

Enjoy the 5 minute video

Retirement Planning for Small Business 3 options

Wondering if your business is too small for a group retirement plan?

One of the keys to attracting and retaining top employees is to offer a high-quality retirement plan. A group savings plan conveniently helps employees save money for the future while reducing and deferring taxes today. Plus, the investment you make in a group retirement plan is an investment you make in your organization, your employees and your reputation. Everyone’s a winner.

Three options stand-out depending on what you want to accomplish with your plan and how much flexibility you need. These are: 401(k) plans, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs.

The 401(k) Offers the Most Flexibility and High Contribution Limits The traditional 401(k) is probably the most widely known retirement product on the market. It’s the fully loaded, high performance SUV of retirement plans. It’s generally defined as one that enables a business owner and employees to make consistent, tax-deferred contributions during the length of their careers.

SEP IRAs are Pretty Easy to Start and 100% Funded by the Employer Simplified Employee Pensions, more commonly referred to as SEPs, are also a popular retirement plan choice as they offer a contribution limit that’s similar to a 401(k). It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a 401(k) plan, but it’s got a good engine under the hood. One of the most important things to understand about SEPs is that 100 percent of the contributions made are by the employer (no employee contributions allowed) and these dollars are immediately vested for the employee.

The SIMPLE IRA is a Solid, Affordable Third Option

The SIMPLE IRA’s name is a bit misleading (it actually stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees). While both employer and employee can contribute to the plan, the employer must match and matching is vested immediately.

If you do decide that you want to offer a retirement plan, you are definitely going to need some professional advice and guidance. Pension rules are complex, and the tax aspects of retirement plans can also be confusing.

As a financial planning and wealth management professional firm, Mintco Financial has been helping its clients effectively plan for comfortable retirements.

Michael Minter, as a managing partner of Mintco Financial, is a trusted investment management professional who carries more than 16 years of experience in this challenging career field.

Throughout his professional history, Michael Minter has gained strong insight into what skills and knowledge is necessary to perform investment management, wealth building services, small business development and retirement plans.

Michael MInter is also author of the book I-Plan, a guide for your financial security.

Call Michael Minter at 813-964-7100 at Mintco Financial.

Retirement Planning for Small Business

Top 7 Small Business Tax Tips

Here are seven ways for owners of small businesses to save money on their taxes.

1. Incorporate Yourself: If you`re still a proprietor or partner of a business, it`s time to incorporate yourself. Not only will you limit your liability, but you may enjoy lower tax rates on small business income and other tax advantages as well.

2. Be Home Based: If possible, continue (or switch to) being a home based business. Not only will you keep your overhead down, but you will be able to write-off (or deduct) the business use of your home.

3. Income Split: Pay reasonable wages to your spouse and children. In this way, you can legally divert income taxed at your higher rate to your family members that are in a lower tax bracket.

4. Rearrange Your Affairs For Maximum Tax Savings: Can you make some changes to turn your hobby into a moneymaking business? Can you use that extra room in your house as a home office for your business? Can you arrange to use your car more for business purposes? Can you arrange for more of your entertainment expenses to be business related?

5. Document Your Expenses Well: Do you document your expenses well so that they would survive a tax audit? Have you kept a mileage log so that you can prove the percentage business use you claim for your vehicle? Have you kept receipts for all your entertainment expenses and listed the business purpose on the back of each receipt?

6. Be Punctual: File all returns and pay all taxes due (income, payroll, sales, et cetera) on time. This way, you avoid expensive late filing (and payment) penalties and interest.

7. Develop a Tax Planning Mindset: Some people only worry about their taxes during tax season. However, you will save a fortune in taxes, legally, if you make tax planning your year-round concern. Do you make business and personal purchases, investments, and other expenditures with tax savings in mind?