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Bad Habits for Small Business Owners to Overcome

We’re all prone to have some bad habits in our personal lives, and regardless of how much our family and friends may cringe at them, we shouldn’t allow them to have an impact on us at the office.

However, some new small-business owners may find their bad habits have seeped into their workplace. When this happens it’s not friends and family that are affected, it’s our employees and clients that are subject to them. This can lead to headaches and, unfortunately, may result in loss of business.

Here’s a look at some of the most common bad habits small business owners may find themselves struggling with, and some advice on how to overcome them from writers and experts.

1. Being Careless With Data

In the age of identity theft and hacking mischief, it’s important for any small business to ensure that its sensitive information is secure. Rieva Lesonsky explores this in a story for American Express’ Open Forum. She cites a 2013 survey that shows 69 percent of small business owners are “unaware or don’t believe their companies experience a financial impact if their data is lost or stolen.” The survey also reports that 40 percent don’t have any security safeguards in place, and 33 percent don’t require staff training on information security.

“This isn’t just a bad habit — it’s a dangerous one,” Lesonsky writes. “All businesses need to regularly back up their data, create policies for employee use of social media and the Internet, and install software to monitor and protect their networks.”

2. Ignoring Market Analysis

Small business owners must take the time and energy to truly understand the market, especially during the initial planning stages of getting the business off the ground. This includes knowing the competition and how a new business fits into the marketplace, David S. Bunton writes for The Huffington Post.

Bad Habits for Small Business Owners to Overcome
“Without that basic understanding, a contemplated growth strategy may not coincide with what’s best for the long-term value of the company,” he explains. “There are several notable high-profile examples of small companies that chose to expand too rapidly after encountering initial success. While opening more storefronts can be a positive development, it also stretches the business and creates burdensome overhead costs.”

3. Lacking Strong Relationships

Employees naturally want to believe in and trust their bosses. Small business owners should find the time to interact with their employees in a meaningful and productive way to get the most loyalty and productivity out of them. Failure of doing so could lead to poor employee retention, as Thomas Von Ahn explains in a story on LinkedIn.

“Spending time working closely with employees should result in quality relationship building, but many business owners are so fixated on productivity and making money that they fail to get to know their employees,” he writes. “Because this can come across as though they don’t care about their employees as people, it can have disastrous results when it comes to retaining good workers.”

4. Faulty Expectations

Having an optimistic outlook on a small business’ future can be beneficial for both the owner and his or her employees. However, it’s important that these thoughts and ideas are realistic. Rohit Arora discusses the problems with getting carried away with grand expectations in a story for Fox Business.

“Will your new coffee shop put Starbucks out of business? Probably not,” Arora writes. “It is foolish to believe your company can be the market leader overnight. There is only so much that advertising and PR can do. Word of mouth takes time to build. People may need to hear about your product or service a few times before they will consider taking advantage of your offer. The old saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ certainly applies. Very few companies experience overnight success, and many that do are fads. Plan for sustained growth by providing good value.”

5. Missed Web Opportunities

Every small business should have a Web presence, but a simple site with little information isn’t always enough. Entrepreneurs should take advantage of blogging opportunities to promote the business and its industry. Blogging can help businesses present themselves in the marketplace as thought leaders, and it can go a long way in bringing in more Web traffic that can potentially lead to more business, as Lesonsky writes.

“If it seems like just too much work to put a blog on your site, consider this: Adding fresh original content to your site—several times a week is ideal—will help you rise organically in search engine rankings. And Internet marketing company Hubspot reports businesses that blog as little as one or two times a monthgenerate 70 percent more leads than companies that don’t have a blog. … Stressed about what to write? Think about what customers want from you: tips, inside info and news.”

6. Poor Rewards System

No matter the profession, employees want to know that the work they’re doing is valued. As Von Ahn writes in his LinkedIn story, this includes not only how but also why they are rewarded for a job well done.

“Whether it’s a seemingly small reward (such as verbal acknowledgment of a project successfully completed) or a big one (a promotion), employees want to be recognized and rewarded for doing good work — and they deserve to be,” he explains. “Playing favorites, failing to stop and recognize hard work and hiring and promoting inferior workers can hamper morale.”

7. They Don’t Help Employees Grow

Small business owners that get caught up in day-to-day tasks may not stop to consider whether their employees are making strides toward accomplishing their professional and career goals. This can hamper a business’s relationship with its employees as well as their overall morale, Von Ahn describes.

“Business owners who are not interested in giving their employees the freedom or the opportunity to learn new skills or take on new responsibilities are not just holding their employees back—they’re also limiting what’s possible for the business. Giving employees freedom, along with responsibility, helps encourage people to improve and grow, increasing the likelihood they will be happy in their work.”

8. Short-Sightedness

The pace of a small business’s development can be frantic, especially in the absence of a strong support staff. Owners may find themselves knee-deep in everyday details and tasks, limiting the opportunities for long-term brainstorming. Lesonsky explains how this can be detrimental to a business’s success in her Open Forum piece.
“As small-business owners, we’re constantly busy putting out fires, as well as having to deal with the day-to-day duties of running our businesses,” she says. “But if you don’t set aside time to sit, think and plan for your company’s future, you might not have one. Schedule some time every week, even if it’s only an hour, to review your business’ progress and your goals. And make time once a quarter (at minimum) to get out of the office for an uninterrupted, in-depth strategy session with your key people. “

9. Lack of Delegating

This can be one of the more difficult tasks for small business owners to learn. Many have the instinct or tendency to lean on their ability to succeed using strict self-reliance, which can lead to being overloaded stress. Lisa Evans writes about this in her story for Entrepreneur.com.

“‘You can’t be everything to your business,” says Walker. “Sure, you can cram in an 80-hour workweek, but you likely won’t be able to keep up that pace. Invest in the best people you can afford, delegate tasks that match their expertise and trust them to do their job. This will allow you to focus on what you do best and the company to run smoother.”

10. Causing an Info Traffic Jam

When a small business owner becomes stressed out, they have a tendency to create more problems than they solve. One example of this is for the owner to bottleneck the decision process due to their lacking ability to delegate properly. When this occurs, decisions may not get made when or how they should, causing the business to experience less-than-desirable outcomes. Walker describes this in-depth in Evans’ story.

“‘Entrepreneurs like to have control,’ says Walker, ‘but forcing every decision pass through your office can cause your business to slow down, frustrating not only your employees but your customers as well. By hiring the right people and ensuring everyone is clear on the overall goals, you’ll allow your business to thrive.’”

Business Mistakes To Avoid

Millions of startups are created all over the world every year. While each business has its different purpose, most of them are not sticking. 

In five years, about 90% of those new businesses will go out of business. It is disappointing to see an idea or business come and go. The worst part is that it happens often.
The reason businesses shut down often is not because it does not work. If creating a business did not work, then why are there the Apples and Googles of the world? Why are the 10% successful? The main reason why many businesses collapse is because many people behind the businesses are not business savvy. Many people who create a startup learn about how business works after the startup has already been created.
Business Mistakes To Avoid
There are many people who also spend their money foolishly on their business. Just because someone grosses in $300,000 every year from a business does not mean that person is making $300,000 every year. Some people in this position only get the scraps.

Entrepreneurs have made many lessons available through their own trial-and-error experiences. By analyzing other entrepreneurs’ case studies as well as my own experiences, I have been able to come up with a list of seven business mistakes that you need to avoid so your business stays afloat and even makes a profit.

  1. Putting all eggs in one basket. Squidoo’s decline amazed many people around the web. What once got millions of daily visitors now got absorbed by HubPages. At the time, I put all of my eggs into that basket. This forced me to experiment with other ways to make money on the web. Kindle book creation ended up becoming the big one. However, I never put all of my eggs into that basket. I am also utilizing training courses and other options to bring in revenue as well.
  2. Thinking of profit in the wrong way. Sometimes a business is making a lot of money but the CEO is not. There are some businesses that make $1 million every year but have $2 million in expenses. Many people think of profit as the scraps after expenses take place. On the contrary, you should never spend your money if you know you won’t make a profit that way.
  3. Using social media too often. We all use social media, and other people love to use it as much as they can. A big mistake is using social media too often to the point where you are not getting any of your projects done. Social media is a great way to build an audience but not as great of a way to make money.
  4. Not having a vision. Having a vision allows you to identify where you want to be within a certain amount of time. Visions give us realities which may currently seem out of reach, but by striving to achieve your vision, you will take more steps of action to make that vision a reality compared to if you did not take the time to give yourself a vision.
  5. Not analyzing your own statistics. I am analyzing my statistics every day to learn more about my business, visitors, and customers. I discovered that adding a subscription box at the end of all of my blog posts worked very effectively. In fact, it has more than doubled the amount of subscribers I get.
  6. Never starting at all. Many people fear launching their business to the world because of criticism and the need to be perfect. In order to see how far your business will go, you need to start and launch that business first.
  7. Giving up too early. There are plenty of people who were once comfortable with the status quo before they created their businesses. To these people, the status quo offers security. Although gruesome at times, the status quo offers a guaranteed payment for every hour at the end of the day. Businesses do not guarantee any type of revenue. However, if you take the time to create a business and make it work, you will make more money than anyone from the status quo could ever dream of making.
Business is an awesome and dangerous world to be in. By avoiding these mistakes, you will be taking more of the danger out of business, and you will be able to focus on the awesome parts about having a business: you work at your own hours, you love what you do, and you make money too.
What were your thoughts on the list? Do you have an 8th business mistake that people should know about? Please share your thoughts and advice below.
Read more at www.business2community.com

Great Ways to Increase Google AdSense CPC

However you spin it, AdSense is still the biggest ad network out there. If you’re using it on your website, but still not making enough money? There are ways to change that. Raising your CPCs is one of them.

Google AdSense is in many ways like the stereotype of an angry girlfriend. They WANT you to make more money from their ads on your website. Of course they do – they get almost a third of what advertisers pay them for every click. But much like the stereotypical angry girlfriend, they are not about to tell you you what you’re doing wrong. Or how to fix it. No, they want you to figure it out yourself.

You already know the basics of the equation for a mutually beneficial relationship with Google AdSense. AdSense earnings rise when your audience and website traffic grow in size. Then you maximize revenue from each visitor by increasing your CTR. But why do CPCs stay low, or drop over time? If you already know why, scroll down to the tips on how to raise them.
Great Ways to Increase Google AdSense CPC
Why is my AdSense CPC low?
  1. Geography – The prices of mobile phones vary around the world. So do the prices of clicks. If your blog targets an audience in a country where clicks are cheap, your CPCs will suffer accordingly.
  2. Niche – Sometimes your audience just doesn’t convert. Or click. Or see the ads at all because they use ad-blockers religiously. Also, some niches have lower average CPCs that others. While real-estate blogs might enjoy relatively high CPCs, gaming blogs tend to suffer more from low CPCs.
  3. Programmatic media buys – Programmatic buying is a lucrative opportunity for advertisers. So some big fish are swimming away from Google AdWords. To top that, algorithm-based RTB lets brands get more bang for their buck, which leaves more lower-paying ads for you.
  4. Mobile – I don’t need to tell you how much traffic comes from mobile. Odds are, you are reading this on a mobile device. Or you got here through a notification on your mobile device. If your website isn’t mobile friendly enough? Google will make you pay in CPC values, not just SERPs.
  5. Video – Video ads are all the rage, but they are a double-edged sword when it comes to your CPC. Even if you never displayed one. According to Google, TrueView YouTube ads have caused a significant drop in CPCs all across the board. The lucrative placement of video ads is now accessible to all advertisers. By putting them on YouTube rather than your website, Google just gets to keep more of the money advertisers pay.
  6. Poor targeting – Not all advertisers know what they are doing. Actually, some of them are pretty clueless. They might think it’s the best idea to target vegan blogs with an ad for a steak-house. We both know this kind of carpet-bombing targeting will just lead to sad-looking CTRs and CPCs for publishers. But many advertisers just want more clicks for less cash. And you end up losing.
  7. Blocked advertisers – You obviously don’t want your competitors (or premium sponsors) advertising on your website through AdSense. So you add them to the blocked advertisers list in your AdSense account. But of course there’s a catch: Google AdSense penalizes you for it. Blocking even one advertiser can lower competition over your whole inventory.
  8. It’s the economy, stupid – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed that world economy is not doing that great. Between the US deficit and the fun in Greece – Google still has to show profits. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that Google AdSense revenue sharing dropped by 50 percent in the past decade.
  9. Seasonality – Your CPC can fluctuate wildly during holiday or election seasons. When advertiser budgets change, so does your CPC. Sometimes advertisers just want to show their client as many clicks as they can. Even if they’re low quality. They throw money at cheap clicks and since Google wants all their budget – they’ll shove those ads anywhere.
  10. Publisher Coalitions are gobbling up premium ads – Large publishers in some countries are forming coalitions, sharing data and revenues. And this trend is just growing. These coalitions attract brands and advertisers who simply don’t trust Google to keep their brand protected from bad placement. These coalitions put the squeeze on Google, which leaves you with lower quality ads to display.
  11. Size and quantity of ads – Some ads pay better than others. Not using the best converting sizes or having too many or too few ad units can lower your CPC.
  12. Improper ad placement – As much as Google wants your users to click ads, they also want to prevent publishers from tricking users into clicking. AdSense ad placement policies are there to prevent fraud, but it’s too easy to accidentally break a rule and lose revenue over it.
  13. Smart Pricing –
  14. If the clicks on the ads placed on your blog or newsletter don’t convert into business transactions? Google “smart prices” pretty much your whole account. And your CPCs can drop drastically as a result.
How Can I Increase Google AdSense CPC?

Target high paying keywords – Much of Google’s advertising still relies on keywords for ad serving. This is great for you as a publisher because this allows you to target higher paying keywords regardless of your audience and niche. You should already be optimizing your AdSense keyword performance like a stockbroker

Another thing you might want to do is include high paying keywords in content you create. Some keywords can bring hundreds of dollars per click, and you don’t have to bend over backwards to include them in your content. For example, any blog post related to any kind of lawsuit might trigger ads from one of the most lucrative keyword categories in the US – legal ads. Other lucrative keyword categories are loans, mortgages, insurance and rehab

To me, none of these are particularly cheerful or fascinating subjects, but I’ll throw in a lawyer joke for potentially higher CPCs. Wouldn’t you? But seriously, always keep in mind, it’s one thing to have a high paying ad appear on your website, it’s another thing to get clicks. For that, it’s not enough to simply throw in a few keywords. The page and website have to provide relevant and quality content otherwise you will get hit with Smart Pricing algorithms (more on Smart Pricing further down).

5 Ways To Tap Into The Power Of Blogging

Blogging has quickly emerged as a powerful resource to make a strong income. Before 2000, if you heard the word blog, you would have no idea what someone was talking about. 

WordPress did not even exist, and Blogger was launched in the middle of 1999. Less than 10 years after the first few blogs were created, many people reference blogs in their conversations. Blogging has become one of the core components towards online marketers’ successes. Millions of blogs are on the web, and more people want to get a piece of the action.

Now, blogs continue to grow in number. More bloggers want a reliable way to make a full-time income from the comfort of their own homes. The phrase home sweet home now has a new meaning. However, it does not take long for new bloggers to realize that the road to success and a full-time income is a long one. Many bloggers give up before they see their traffic increase at an exponential rate.

You don’t have to be one of those bloggers who gives up in the middle of the journey. You can stick with it and make a full-time income. In fact, with the right knowledge, you can reach the goal of making a full-time income from your blog quicker than most of the successful bloggers out there. In order to tap into the power of blogging, get the traffic you want, and get that full-time income, follow these five tips:

1. Be Committed: 
Blogging is not an activity that you can halfheartedly do. In order to become a successful blogger, you must be committed. You must write valuable blog posts that empower your readers, and you must write those blog posts at a consistent rate. I know there are some bloggers who succeed by writing at an inconsistent rate, but new bloggers who are not making as much revenue need to nail the consistency to boost commitment.
5 Ways To Tap Into The Power Of Blogging
5 Ways To Tap Into The Power Of Blogging
As you get more comfortable as a writer, I encourage you to write more blog posts and even increase the length of the blog posts that you write. The best way to become a better writer is by writing often. The amount of commitment you have for blogging determines how much you accomplish in that area of your life.

2. Grow A Large Social Media Audience: One of the most powerful methods of boosting blog traffic comes from growing a large social media audience and promoting your blog posts to that audience. My Twitter audience brings in a large portion of this blog’s visitors.

Not only does Twitter directly help attract more visitors, but Twitter also indirectly attracts more visitors. I know that there are several readers who visit my blog daily. Many of those people probably heard about my blog post in a tweet. Not only do people remember me from Twitter, but one of the big factors in SEO is the social media traffic that your blog gets. If my blog’s Twitter traffic doubled, then my SEO traffic would eventually double in a few days as well.

A large social media audience provides more direct traffic, better SEO, and more connections. I interact with dozens of my followers every day, and some of those interactions have turned into strong connections.

3. Optimize Your Blog For Getting More Subscribers: A blogger’s revenue is defined by how many people are on the email list. The most successful bloggers on the web also happen to have tens of thousands of blog subscribers. That’s not a coincidence. The difference between a blog subscriber and any other visitor is that blog subscribers can be notified about your latest blog posts through email.

I notify my blog subscribers at least once every week about my latest blog post. I don’t overwhelm them with multiple emails every day, and you don’t have to send daily emails in order to see life changing traffic. All you need to do is grow your email list larger and larger so each of the emails you send out attract larger audiences.

One great way to get more subscribers is by creating and effectively promoting a landing page that collects email addresses. Pop-ups are also great at getting more blog subscribers.

4. Create Your Own Products: 
Most successful bloggers make a large percent of their revenue from the products they create and sell to customers. Creating products such as books and training courses that a service automatically gives to customers will allow you to make money in your sleep. How cool would it be to wake up to an extra $200? I think that would be a great way to start off the day.

Many bloggers decide to offer consultation sessions and have ads on their blogs. I like the idea of offering consultation sessions. However, consultation sessions can only bring in so much revenue since you can only be available for your clients for so many hours. I believe consultation sessions can be used to achieve a five figure income, but a six figure income would be a bit too much (unless you charge a very high price for your consultation sessions or have numerous hours available for sessions).

Having advertisements on a blog, however, is simply not worth it. Most bloggers only make a few dollars from their ads every month. Advertisements can only provide a somewhat stable income for the big players who get hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. Even then, it would be more effective to promote your product instead of an ad. 99% of the time, a product sale leads to more revenue than an ad click. Offering multiple products also brings forth the possibility of returning customers. Who would possibly want to be a returning ad-clicker?

5: Optimize Your Blog For SEO: 
SEO is a powerful outlet for getting more blog traffic. Over three billion people search something on Google every day which means understanding the language of SEO will allow you to boost your blog traffic. I wrote an article about boosting SEO, but don’t stop there.

The Huffington Post wrote an article about SEO. So did Forbes. SEO is one of the most important ways to boost your blog traffic. Growing a social media audience is a reliable way to boost your SEO, and there are other methods as well.

To many new bloggers, intermediate, and even some advanced bloggers, SEO sounds very confusing. I remember when I first started blogging and struggled to understand what I needed to do to boost my blog’s SEO. Although writing valuable content is one factor towards good SEO, there are other factors that go deeper than providing valuable content. When I started on my journey, I found SEOmoz extremely helpful. Be sure to take a look at their free guide.

In Conclusion: Blogging is a fun activity that has the potential to bring in a large income. There are some bloggers on the web who make over $1 million from their blogs. Regardless of what you think of the idea right now, you could be the next blogger who makes a six figure income, a seven figure income, and beyond.

Blogging, and the web in general, has given our culture the unique ability for anyone to succeed despite the amount of revenue they currently make, age, and any other limiting factors. The web and blogging is filled with limitless possibilities. Utilizing these possibilities to spread your message will allow you to not only make a strong income, but also live the ideal life. I’d rather make no money at all than be at a despised $500,000/yr job that tears my family apart.

You have the option to love what you write blog posts about because you can write about anything that interests you. Frank Kerns, a very successful online marketer, started with dog training videos. His training courses he provided for dog trainers and owners got a large number of sales. No matter what you have a passion for, it can be turned into a blog and products.

Which of these tips did you like the most? Do you have any other tip you would like to add? Please share your thoughts and advice below.

Source: www.business2community.com
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