Commanding attention in a saturated market: a guide for small business owners

One of the biggest problems for small businesses today is getting noticed in a sea of competitors. While the Internet has opened up a world of possibilities, it has also made it difficult to stand out from other businesses.

What can a startup do to command attention in a saturated market?  Below, we will share a few tips on how to overcome the noise that many entrepreneurs face when marketing their business on the Internet:

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1) Use social media creatively

These days, many customers rely on social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter to make decisions about whether to trust a product or service. When it comes to building a relationship with them, the same rules of social engagement in real life also apply online.

Listen to customers before pitching to them. Asking them about what they want and actually caring about their concerns is vital to success in a social media campaign. Once it is clear how they feel, marketing strategies can be shaped, allowing entrepreneurs to tailor products and services to their target market.

2) Improve web presence using current SEO techniques

Another way to rise above the noise in a niche is to hire an SEO consultant. Knowledgeable about the latest trends in their field, they will be able to optimize a company’s website so its listing will rise up in the ranks of Google and other search engines.

There is more to this than simply building backlinks and stuffing a company’s web page with keywords. From improving a website’s usability, to simplifying copy so that customers can better understand its purpose, there is much that an intelligent SEO consultant can do to improve the web presence of a small business.

3) Work in tandem with an established brand

Building a brand from the ground up can be exhausting work. Why not hitch it to the rocket ship of an established brand? By reaching out to companies that are well-established in their space, small businesses can gain the sort of visibility that their competition dreams about.

By adding value to a larger company’s offerings, smaller businesses can improve their results in a relatively short period of time.

4) Give away product to top flight bloggers

Many people have  blogs and bloggers that they follow. In the past, a great way to increase a startup’s profile was to get their products into the hands of celebrities.

While this is still true in fields with a high degree of traditional media coverage, those in niche industries should endeavor to get their product or service reviewed by an influential blogger.

Once their review goes live on their site, a backlink will be provided, providing a measurable boost in traffic, giving the entrepreneur an opportunity to connect with a flood of new potential customers.

“How to make a startup look big and robust” is locked How to make a startup look big and robust

The fight for credibility is one of the hardest parts of launching a startup. In a space with well-established competitors, looking professional is vital for the long-term survival of a company.

Learning how to make a startup look big is a skill that an entrepreneur should master before taking on seasoned businesses in any niche. Below, we will discuss a few ways that this can be accomplished:

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Make use of top-quality web design

Nowadays,  most businesses use the web to hunt for new clients or vendors. When they have multiple companies to choose from, chances are good that they will go with the one that has a professionally-designed web presence.

By having an easy to navigate interface, these companies make it easy for clients to say yes to them. By fixing anything on their site that contradicts this philosophy, a startup can improve their client acquisition efforts.

Bonus tip: add a blog to your website to add another layer of credibility for your website visitors.

Increase the marketing budget considerably

When a startup begins its business journey,  nobody knows who they are. As such, it is vital that they focus heavily on marketing early on in their life cycle.

In order to pay for an ambitious promotional campaign that will get them noticed,  it is often necessary to cut back on certain areas of the business for a short time, or to obtain a loan.

In a marketplace that is often swamped with established players, this is a tough but necessary step to gain the traction a business needs to get itself to the next level.

Take advantage of the power of social media

Startups today have a leg up on businesses that were founded a generation ago: they get to take advantage of the power of social media.

Leveraged properly, this medium offers free promotional opportunities to those that are savvy enough to harness its power.

With cleverly written copy, attentive customer service, and timely (but tactful) responses to events that impact their industry, a startup can sound like an industry leader for only the cost of an intelligent social media manager.

Get a 1-800 number with an automated voice prompt system

If a startup wants to sound important,  having a 1-800 number with a professional sounding voice prompt system is a great way to create a solid first impression with potential clients.

So long as the voice prompts are not set up in a fashion that confuses and frustrates callers, having this system setup as a first point of contact will make a startup business look professional.

Whether looking to have your startup acquired or just build something meaningful, the above tips should help you make your startup look big and robust until it’s actually there.

3 Books that will stoke the entrepreneurial spirit

There’s no question about it, choosing to become an entrepreneur is no easy task. Fortunately, one can learn many of the soft skills required to become a successful business person by reading books by those who have had success. Here are are 3 book every entrepreneur should read.

Below, we will provide a brief synopsis of 3 books that will stoke the entrepreneurial spirit in any person that wants to begin building their own future.

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1) Purple Cow, by Seth Godin

Knowing how to advertise and market products effectively is key to success in business. By standing out above the noise made by the competition, consistent success can be achieved.

This point is driven home in memorable fashion by Seth Godin in his book, Purple Cow. In order to enjoy success in a marketplace saturated by distractions, he says that a product or service must be so remarkable that one can see how it differs from the competition when they first encounter it.

In today’s world, being different trumps conformity when different is the more effective, efficient and fun way to do things.

2) Crush It, by Gary Vaynerchuk

Being one of the most intense entrepreneurs out there today, Gary Vaynerchuk is a living, breathing example of how the power of hustle can lead to better business results.

The primary message of this book is this: most people that want to make it happen have all the intellectual capability and skills they need to succeed; the only thing that is standing in the way is work, and lots of it.

Hard work, intelligently applied, can lead to impressive results; Crush It provides the motivation and the road map that can help a wannabe entrepreneur to get on the the road to becoming a successful business person.

3) Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi

It’s not what one knows, it’s who they know: it’s been said time and again, but there is a large degree of truth to this maxim.

It is this point that has led Keith Ferrazzi to write his best-selling book, Never Eat Alone. The principle of this book centers around the fact that no matter how busy anyone is, we all have to eat.

Keith argues in his book that the ambitious entrepreneur should make the best use of this time by eating as many meals as possible with people from whom they can learn valuable skills.

By conducting themselves in a congenial manner and providing value to the other party, business people without a robust network can build one within a relatively short period of time.

Habits of Business Leaders Who Command Respect

In the business world, success is often not determined by objective markers such as IQ, but by whether one’s peers respect them as a human being.

Having the emotional intelligence to win the respect of those that surround them is an underrated success factor for business leaders looking to achieve their goals.

Below, we will explain how successful business leaders command the respect of those that they lead,  and those who they seek to influence in the marketplace.

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1) They set a great example for those under them

Through their actions, great business leaders set an example everyday that inspires those under their command to achieve amazing things.

When they say something, they mean it. When they make promises, they follow through on them. When a member of their team is struggling, they get down in the trenches and help them figure out what they need to do to succeed.

By aspiring to a high standard of professional conduct, these business leaders receive a great deal of respect from employees and executives alike.

2) They speak confidently when expressing their ideas

Language is an area that the respected business professional focuses a significant amount of attention on when they aspire to climb the ladder of success.

When they speak, they don’t bracket their assertions with qualifiers such as “This might be a bad idea, but…” or “This might sounds, stupid, but…”, as it would undermine their credibility.

Those that say such things seek to protect their ego from being injured by others,  but strong business leaders don’t shy away from dissenting opinions, so they don’t feel the need to wrap their statements in protective shells of speech.

This willingness to go out on a limb and expose themselves to criticism earns them considerable respect from their peers.

3) They own their successes and failures

The bold business leader doesn’t shy away from celebrating their successes, nor do they hide from their failures.

On the latter point, many respected business executives view their failures as stepping stones to the former, rather than something that they should be embarrassed about.

When successful people see this degree of maturity concerning the ups and downs of business from a business leader, they tend to have a healthy level of respect for that person.

4) They express the body language of a winner

Anybody can talk a great game, but when it comes to business leaders that dominate their niche,  those that have a confident air about them are usually the ones that end up on top.

Most effective communication is transmitted by body language through cues such as posture,  handshakes and eye contact.

Whether they are looking to impress a client, or do a deal with a fellow entrepreneur, respect is given to those that carry themselves in a confident manner via superior body language.