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Big Ideas for Small Business...

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Whether you’re about to start a new business, relocate to new premises, or expand to additional locations, you need to be prepared to let the public know you’re ready for them. This requires some investment to have the materials on hand that will tell customers about your business and where they can find you. Here’s what you need, and how to get it in the easiest possible way.

What you need to get started

Whether you’re in retail, hospitality, technology, or a service business, the process for starting in a new location is roughly the same. To paraphrase from Field of Dreams, if you build it, they can’t come unless they know where you are. A new location means a new address and often a new telephone number. Your company name, logo, and other key information must be shared with the public through:

Banners. These are portable signs that can display your company information and/or product and service information. They can be durable for outdoor use. While popular sizes are 2’x4’, 3’x6’, and 4’x8’, you can customize a banner for your needs.
Brochures. These are pocket-sized descriptions of your business and what you do. They’re handy take-alongs for prospects when you attend trade shows and networking events.
Business cards. Don’t think the digital age has made paper business cards obsolete; quite the contrary. They’re still the easiest way to share contact information and, because of a physical presence, continue to be a reminder to the holder of what you do and how to find you. The quality of the card matters.
Custom stamps. There are many uses for custom stamps, such as affixing your logo to envelopes and packages or marking the date that materials are received. Custom stamps come in three varieties: the rubber stamp and ink pad combination, pre-inked stamps, or the self-inking stamps.
Flyers. If you’re having a grand opening or a special event, share this information with the public via flyers that can be posted locally.
Posters. Like banners, they are advertisements for your business in general or a special event in particular.
Signs for storefronts, in-store signs, and parking signs. Be sure to check with your city or town on any restrictions (e.g., size, placement) for outside signage.
How to get what you need to get started

The list of items that may be necessary or helpful to your business when you are about to open your doors can be obtained through in-store or online options. Consider, for example, using Staples Print & Marketing Services to meet all your needs. Staples is a longtime supporter of small businesses, and makes it easy to find the necessary products and services for your business in one place.

Special Spring Deals. Now is an ideal time to shop for your print and marketing needs because of cost saving opportunities from Staples, including:

10% off your purchase of $50 or more on presentations, booklets and documents valid through 6/24/17, Code 83744
20% off marketing materials (brochures, flyers and postcards) valid through 6/24/17 Code 71688
25% off custom phone cases, mugs and tumblers valid through 6/24/17 Code 87801
Final thought

Even if you’re not starting out in a new location, you’ll likely need print and marketing materials from time to time. For example, if you’re doing a special presentation, you’ll want handouts for attendees. If you’ve added a website or social media channels for your business operations, you’ll want to re-do your business cards so customers, clients, and prospects can readily find you. Again, a one-stop shop such as Staples can provide you with year-round solutions to help you succeed.
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Is Starting A Business Right For You?

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Many people toy with the idea of starting a business but hesitate to actually take the plunge and go out on their own. There are many reasons that people are held back from starting their own business.
One of the most common reasons that keeps people from starting a business is that they don’t feel comfortable about starting a business in a field in which they don’t have related experience. You don’t necessarily need experience – I successfully started many businesses without any experience, including a newspaper, a map publishing business, a bicycle rental business, a boat brokerage firm, and a book publishing company.
There are a lot of small businesses that you can teach yourself. Many good businesses you can start are just plain simple and you can learn how to operate them very quickly. Common examples include: lawn care, house cleaning, dog walking, house painting, tutoring and personal training. While these businesses are not glamorous, they are always in high demand. You can make a lot of money with even a simple business idea.
Financial risk is another reason that keeps people from starting their own business. This can be a very valid reason. However, the amount of money that you will risk will vary tremendously from one business to the next. Many businesses you can start under $10,000 and some businesses you can start for just about nothing. For example, I started a map business with almost no money by getting customers to pre-pay to have their advertisements included on the map.
But you need to do out a budget and include the cost of your living expenses until the business starts to provide solid cash flow. Often people underestimate how long it will take a business to start bringing in money. A simple local service business is going to produce positive cash flow a lot sooner than a new product business, for example.
One way to save a lot of money in starting a business is to run it out of your home. There are many excellent businesses that can be operated from home. Examples include jewelry making, art lessons, freelance writing, graphic design, and making gift baskets. The internet has opened up new, home-based business opportunities too. For example, you could start a social media business, developing and executing social media outreach for local businesses.
The great thing about a home business is the lower overhead. Not only do you avoid paying rent, but you avoid what can often turn into the “hidden” costs of a commercial space such as higher expenses for insurance, taxes, parking, electricity, build-out and more. Furthermore, a commercial space usually requires you to commit to a multi-year lease which adds to the financial risk if your business doesn’t work out as planned.
Still another reason people hesitate to start a small business is that they are reluctant to quit their day job. This is a very legitimate concern and I recommend that for most situations (i.e. if you are not starting a highly complex business) that you try to keep your day job and start a part time business.
Plan out your business carefully in your spare time and get really comfortable with your concept and your business plan before you get ready to launch. Even after you launch your business, I suggest you try to keep your day job. There are many great businesses that can be operated part-time, such as on the weekends.
Examples of good part-time businesses include garage clean-out, bartending service, floating art gallery, party planner, collectibles trading and test prep. One of the reasons it makes sense to start a business on the side is that it is difficult to predict how long it will take to be able to make a lot of money from your business. Often as you are starting a business you are testing different marketing approaches, ironing out problems and perfecting your product or service.
Finally, some people hesitate to start a business because the timing is not right. Waiting for a good time to start a business makes sense. Ideally you want to start a business from a position of strength, such as when you have a little money tucked aside, and not from a position of weakness, such as when you have been laid off from your job. On the other hand, if you wait for the “absolutely perfect” time to start a business you may never get it going.
There will be many factors that determine your ability to succeed in business, but one of the most important will be the business idea that you choose to pursue. Some ideas are much more likely to be successful than others. Some ideas you will find more fun. And some will be a better match for you. Starting a small business is your best route to making a lot of money today. There is no guarantee that your startup will be a winner. But by taking your time and carefully choosing which business idea to pursue, you will greatly increase your chances of success.
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56 tips to improve your website and how search engines view them...

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Here are our 56 tips to improve your website and how search engines view them

Include relevant content, relevant to your page description and Meta keywords.
Instead of changing your URL or redirecting from your old URL to your new URL, follow Google's procedure on URL changes to make sure your new site doesn't get skipped, or just avoid URL changes if you can.
Don't post duplicate content on your site, so if you quote another page only include a small excerpt and don't repeat your own content on multiple pages.
Avoid flash, even though it looks cool, flash and animated banners and intros annoy visitors and search engine bots don't read them.
Submit to quality directories.
Make sure your robot.txt files are not blocking destination URLs that you do not want blocked.
Choose your Meta keywords wisely and include them in your content.
Strive to obtain quality links into your site.
If you use icon or image links, include a text link.
If you operate an affiliate site, make your site a valuable resource, so people chose your site rather than go straight to your affiliate.
Add a site map.
Don't use link schemes.
Write specific content, so searches can find applicable results. Instead of writing "books," write "medical text books" or "organic cookbooks"; be specific.
If you include low quality links on your site, block them from being scanned by Googlebot.
Don't break up your content too much, like loads of banner ads and so on in the middle or your text, irritates readers and bots.
Write unique and compelling content.
Don't forget to include your page descriptions.
Don't bury text content in images.
Look for un-indexed URLs, URL with more than a few parameters or dynamic links, they may be skipped.
Stay up-to-date on SEO, your strategies need to constantly evolve.
Deliver what you promise, don't drive readers to inapplicable or irrelevant pages.
Carefully consider your titles, make sure to include targeted keywords.
Don't forget humor or other devices that attract and keep readers.
Add text links with anchor links.
Keep links out and in up-to-date.
Start a blog or forum if it makes sense on your site.
Join BBB or your local Chamber of Commerce or other reputable business associations.
Submit articles to respectable and active article sites.
Add Alt tags to images for people that disable images.
Validate and 508 your site for accessibility.
Submit your business description to Wikipedia or other popular information sites.
Consider adding maps or mashups.
Submit to multiple search engines.
Consider marketing some of your subpages or articles that have less competition.
Don't forget good old-fashion PR.
Start a little controversy.
Consider adding an RSS feed.
Write "top ten" lists, which are popular with article search sites.
Build a good site that others want to link to.
Eliminate grammar and spelling errors.
Publish a privacy policy.
Send out press releases when it makes sense.
Avoid hidden text and links.
Keep your content up-to-date.
Don't employ redirects or "cloaking."
Don't create pages with bad content, like viruses, trojans, malware and so on.
Steer clear of empty, unoriginal affiliate pages.
Make sure every page is assessable through at least on static text link.
Use text, instead of images to relate important content.
Check for broken links.
Don't put too many links on one page, even if it is a resource page, keep it well under 100.
Test out your site with a text browser.
Be leery of badly placed session IDs and arguments.
Employ the IF-Modified-Since HTTP header to let Google know if your content has changed.
Don't use "&id=" as a URL parameter, they are not indexed.
And last one Register Your Site on[1] and link to your site your will get high backlink.
All in all, you just want to create a site that you would want to visit - one that is useful and up-to-date; that's it, no magic, no tricks.
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