5 ways to keep coronavirus from stopping work at your small business

My Post - 2020-03-23T172025.292.pngAmid the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, there have also been moments of brightness. Citizens making music together from their balconies in Italy. People braving the supermarket to buy staples for elderly neighbors. Athletes donating money to hourly workers and staff whose jobs are in limbo.

Among the bright spots are the inspiring ways small businesses are getting creative to keep offering their goods and services. Notable examples include restaurants offering curbside pickup, fitness centers hosting virtual workout classes, and local retailers delivering purchases. Here are a few more ideas for small businesses looking for alternative sales avenues.

1. Reinvent your business

If you’re a brewery like Griffin Claw Brewing in Birmingham, Michigan, you probably never thought you’d be in the hand sanitizer business. And yet, that’s what dozens of breweries like Griffin Claw are doing. It’s a great lesson in creative thinking when facing business constraints.

Look around your space and reimagine what it could be. Maybe you can turn your kitchen into a community kitchen and focus on food delivery to the elderly. Or perhaps you can clear a space to sew masks for healthcare workers. Some of these efforts might go unpaid, but doing good work builds a positive reputation. And it’s possible some of the people you help now become your best customers later.

If you’re at a loss for ideas, reach out to the people who know your business best. You can still meet an employee over a video conference for a coffee and a brainstorm, even if you can’t meet in person.

2. Connect with clients virtually

Service-based businesses, in particular, may find it challenging to stay open while close contact is discouraged. But take a cue from the healthcare field: It’s been adapting a digital model for years. Telehealth connects patients with healthcare professionals by holding video consultations and monitoring well-being remotely, according to the American Hospital Association. Telehealth services include mental health services, occupational therapy, and medical consultations.

When in doubt, think like a doctor. What services could you offer via video chat, livestream, or phone? There are plenty of ways businesses can adapt their services to virtual offerings.

3. Consider (or reconsider) e-commerce

Maybe you’ve tried selling inventory online, or perhaps the thought of opening an online store is new. Don’t think about selling your products online as a way out of financial hardship right now. Think of online sales as a chance to build out an additional revenue stream that will serve your business for years to come. Check out these tips for getting your business online quickly and this list of online marketplaces that can help. – Read more

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What happens if you can’t make payroll? 11 steps to take to get your employees paid

My Post - 2020-03-16T171703.126.pngAs the coronavirus continues to spread, small businesses everywhere are feeling the effects. For many of them, the virus threatens more than their health. The CDC has advised employees and consumers alike to avoid contact with other people and limit time spent outside the house. The resulting slump in foot traffic has caused lost profits for business owners — and some say they’ve had to lay off employees due to the economic effects of the virus.

There’s always a risk that cash will leave a company’s bank account faster than it gets deposited, and that risk has only increased due to the current pandemic. Companies of all sizes have the potential to lapse on payroll. What’s more, very few organizations have the financial resources to preserve deep pockets.

So, what happens if you can’t make payroll next week? What happens if it takes weeks or even months to bounce back from the COVID-19 hit? Whatever you do, don’t stress out. You need to be able to think clearly and tactically to find potential solutions. Here are some recommendations to guide you:

Expect to miss payroll, even when you’re stable

In business, there are so many variables that you can’t control. As a leader and business owner, you need to confront these challenges head-on and believe that you are brave enough to face them. If you’re facing a financial emergency, stress has the potential to overwhelm and destabilize you.

As Stoic philosophers say, if you expect the worst—whether or not the worst actually happens—you’ll be ready to confront it.

“With anticipation, we have time to raise defenses, or even avoid them entirely,” writes DailyStoic.com, in an article about Stoic practices applied to business. “We’re ready to be driven off course because we’ve plotted a way back. We can resist going to pieces if things didn’t go as planned. With anticipation, we can endure.”

Let’s say that you don’t have a backup plan by the time you’re reading this article. You can still take steps to stabilize your operations and remedy the consequences. Here are some steps that you can take: – Read more

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How to monetize a website: 8 ways to drive revenue and build a brand

My Post - 2020-02-24T175013.745.pngA business website doesn’t just exist to advertise your products and services. On the contrary, a well-developed site can actually generate income for your company. But, knowing how to monetize your site is key.

Website monetization refers to the various methods used to convert site traffic into real online revenue. Not all monetization techniques, however, are appropriate for every business. Using the wrong advertising type or failing to take users’ privacy concerns into account can actually result in a reduction of traffic in the long term, so it’s important to know what will and won’t work for your business.

Let’s take a look at how to monetize a site, and figure out which type of monetization is right for you.

8 tips for how to monetize a website

There are a number of monetization strategies you can use, each one with its own pros and cons. Here are eight of the most common methods of monetizing a website, along with tips for deciding which option is best for your business.

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is the process by which a website earns money by promoting the products and services of another business. A good fit for product-centric sites, affiliate marketing affords the host website a commission when a visitor purchases an affiliate’s goods. For example, the Amazon affiliate program is one of the largest of its kind and provides marketers with a commission of up to 10% on product sales.

Although affiliate marketing can be lucrative, it’s important that website managers evaluate whether or not an aspiring affiliate is a good fit for the company. After all, showcasing ads for irrelevant or low-quality products on your website can annoy your visitors and diminish clients’ trust in your business. For these reasons, affiliate marketing is most appropriate for social networks, news sites, and forum sites where customers regularly post product reviews.

2. Banner ads

Banner ads are those rectangular advertisements that appear on webpages to promote another company’s products or services. Depending on the amount of traffic your site gets, banner ads can be a lucrative monetization strategy that brings in a monthly fee from paying sponsors.

High-traffic sites offer invaluable digital real estate for potential advertisers, and they can earn significant revenue from banner ads as a result. On the other hand, newer sites with few page views and those with comparatively low traffic are unlikely to make much money with this technique.

Aspiring advertisers should also note that not all web audiences are created equal. Whereas sites with large, wealthy audiences are typically ideal, smaller advertisers may be able to earn more if they target highly relevant sites. For example, a family-centric blog is far more attractive to a company that sells children’s clothing than a blog that promotes auto parts.

While banner ads can generate helpful revenue for your website, hosts should use their judgment when selecting potential advertisers. In the long run, showing too many irrelevant or intrusive display ads can affect user experience and turn people away from your website. You can only sell ad space on so much of your site, so you want to make sure you’re filling it wisely.

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t sell pop-up ad space. Pop-up ads already run the risk of annoying site visitors and impacting your site’s Google ranking. If you have a pop-up, it should be focused on your business, not someone else’s.

3. Site sale

While some owners view their websites as passion projects, others are content to spend just a short time developing a page before moving on to the next undertaking. Site flipping involves selling your website to an outside party in order to turn a profit. Many online resources exist for selling websites, including eBay’s page for website and business sales.

Not all websites are suitable for flipping, and salability tends to depend on overall income. To attract potential buyers, a website must generate a great deal of traffic or successfully earn revenue through other methods of monetization.

4. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads

Referring to “sponsored” ads that appear at the top and side of search engine result pages, pay-per-click ads are a great way to drive qualified traffic to your website. While most people in the e-commerce field are familiar with the concept of PPC advertising, website owners may not realize that these ads can offer an effective method of monetization as well.

Just as Google AdWords places business ads on the Google search page, Google AdSense performs a similar function for publishers such as website owners and bloggers. If your website offers tips for healthy living, for example, Google AdSense may opt to place ads for workout clothes or cleanses.

With PPC advertising, advertisers pay the host site for each click their ads receive. As a result, this monetization method is only lucrative if your site generates significant amounts of traffic on a regular basis. Additionally, the type of site you host can affect the value of your PPC advertising, as higher-cost products tend to pay more for clicks than those with lower value.

5. Email lists

Many websites use mailing lists to keep customers informed about new products and upcoming events. Business owners may not realize, however, that they can also earn money by “renting out” their email lists to other companies.

As the name suggests, email rental involves sending online communication to members of your mailing list on behalf of an outside company. If you have a robust mailing list, email rental can yield significant revenue for your business. In fact, a recent report suggested that the average email-list rental fee is $68 per thousand addresses.

Unfortunately, this monetization technique is not without its drawbacks. When you rent out your email list, you run the risk of annoying clients with irrelevant promotions. In the long run, you may even lose customers who opt to unsubscribe rather than continue receiving unwanted communication. Email marketing is a powerful tool at your disposal, and losing your own dedicated followers to make a quick buck can cost you in the long run.

6. Membership sites

A membership website is exactly what it implies: a site that offers users select content for a price. To succeed with this method, however, website owners must build a team of content creators and find users who are willing to pay for that content. VIP treatment, enhanced networking opportunities, and discounted access to products and services are a few of the perks that companies offer to attract premium members.

While membership sites offer benefits like continuous income, they also pose some challenges for site owners. Not only do these sites require more money to set up and maintain, small businesses may also struggle to produce the extra content needed to keep members engaged. Additionally, websites risk upsetting their regular visitors if they put some of their best content behind a paywall.

Monetizing your website with memberships can be a great source of funding. However, if your content isn’t up to the task, you’re far less likely to see a profit. Take the time to develop high-quality content and generate a solid web following before putting effort into membership-based monetization.

7. Sponsored posts

If you have a blogging space on your company site (which you should), you can accept sponsored posts from other companies. These companies will generally reach out to you with a desire to post on your site in exchange for money or a post on their site.

This can be a great way to get quality content on your site without the effort of writing it. It can also bring in additional money and give your brand more credibility. There is of course a huge but here: The brands you grant a sponsored post to need to align with your own company and audience.

You have your own product to sell, so make sure you’re not accepting sponsored posts from companies that directly compete with you or contradict your efforts. It’s also important to ensure the company posting on your site isn’t involved in any underhanded business dealing and isn’t currently the focus of bad press.

Lastly, if you’re going to link to a company’s site, make sure they have a quality site that isn’t filled with content you disagree with. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge component of having your content discovered online, and linking to questionable sites can hurt you. – Read more

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