• Want to know how to optimize your new CRM setup? Start by finding a stellar CRM administrator on your team.

    Nearly 60% of Salesforce implementations are unsuccessful, always due in some part to an adoption problem. Rolling out a heavy new piece of software involves changing your employees’ processes, behavior and expectations.

    Having an internal champion to shepherd it through can make a substantial difference.

    How do you pick this person? Here’s who it should NOT be:

    • A member of your IT team: While this person is working with a solid piece of technology, your administrator needs to be someone who is familiar with your sales process and your sales team. This role is much more about hand-holding people than coding new fields into Salesforce. So don’t make the mistake of trapping your CRM know-how in the IT department.
    • The entire team: Putting everyone in charge of CRM means that nobody is really in charge. Democratizing Salesforce is a surefire way of ending up with duplicate, outdated
    Read More »from 10 Qualities your Salesforce administrator should have
  • How To Write Email Subject Lines Every Customer Wants to Open

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    Writing Email

    With dozens of emails hitting your inbox at 9am, how do you pick which ones to open? A more important question is how your clients and customers — the people whose attention will make or break your business — choose which emails to open. If you want to increase your open rates and deepen your relationships with new and existing customers, you have to focus on the most visible aspect of your email — the subject line.

    To help you with your writing process, try incorporating these three tips into your subject lines:

    Avoid Symbols

    Even if it describes a huge benefit to the reader, don’t include a symbol in the subject line. Why? Because it can earmark your email as spam. A 50% off coupon, for example, is highly likely to get filtered straight out of your recipient’s inbox and into their spam folder. According to business coach Jason Womack, “It’s best to avoid symbols in your subject line, unless you’ve gone back and forth with someone several times, and your risk of being considered

    Read More »from How To Write Email Subject Lines Every Customer Wants to Open
  • Drama

    Popular expressions, proverbs or sayings said in Spanish are known as dichos. A popular dicho is “guardar el drama para su mama”. Translated that means “save the drama for your mama.” For personal brands, that drama can be a reputation breaker – so save it for something or somewhere you’re not involved with coworkers, employers or customers.

    Recently, I experienced the drama wall. Another vendor and I were working with a customer and both of us were focused on solving an issue for a customer. We were communicating via email which means we didn’t have the benefit of body language or tone to help us decipher a complete context of each other’s message. As our solutions were not reaping the results we had all been hoping for and as the evening waned on, she expressed how late it was, then her emails included a question wondering if we were on the same team, or was I trying to pick a fight, then if I was challenging her intelligence. The communication quickly deteriorated. It was clearly

    Read More »from 3 Things you can do to save the drama
  • Eau, Yes

    The man who brought Perrier to America on how to keep the fizz in your business.

    Bruce Nevins is a serial entrepreneur across multiple industries, including beverages, lighting, and athletic apparel. A graduate of West Point and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, he launched Perrier in North America in the 1970s and expanded into domestic water through the acquisitions of Calistoga, Poland Springs, and Arrowhead. He also ran Pony Sporting Goods, a competitor to Nike; Napa Naturals, a fruit-based soft drink maker; and, in 2001, cofounded Dutcher Crossing, a winery. He is currently helping build Green Ray, an LED lighting company, and Agile Life, a patient transfer system that safely transfers injured and other bedridden people from their beds to their wheelchairs.

    In 10 words or fewer, what is the big idea behind your business?

    Creating or expanding a product category in the consumer field.

    What is the best advice you've ever received?

    Make sure your projections are

    Read More »from Eau, Yes
  • A Cheap Way to Try Out a Customer Loyalty Platform

    The Huzzah Loyalty platform in use at a cafe

    Perhaps you’ve noticed: Customer retention has been a frequent theme of this blog lately. We’ve reported on how customer loyalty programs are slowly gaining traction, about the big data science to keeping your customers, and on how companies have scaled up by focusing on existing customers.

    If your business is a retail shop, restaurant, spa, car wash, or similar consumer-facing merchant, then you already know that you could stand to benefit from getting more of your current customers to come back for more. But in a recent survey, 70 percent of small business owners told Huzzah Media that they simply don’t have the time or resources to improve their online presence, let alone initiate a customer loyalty program or set up a mobile app to keep those customers connected.

    So Huzzah came up with an offer that seems too good to be true. For just $1, the mobile app developer will set you up with a turnkey customer loyalty program. The company is offering to send any small business a

    Read More »from A Cheap Way to Try Out a Customer Loyalty Platform
  • Cybercrime

    There’s no turning back. We live in a digital world and for better or worse, businesses are married to the triumphs and pitfalls awarded by technology and the cybersphere.

    Unfortunately, those pitfalls are getting deeper and more dangerous as data hackers sharpen their skills and prey on small businesses. While big-box retailers are taking the bulk of the headlines, small businesses are becoming significant targets of cybercrime. A Symantec report found 31 percent of targeted attacks were aimed at businesses with less than 250 employees.

    But wait—for those of you who have ever been hit with an unsuspecting charge from your debit account – you ask, “Aren’t banks the real casualties of cyber-warfare?”

    The Great Divide

    It’s true there is a safety net known as “Regulation E” of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) which says that consumers hit with illegitimate electronic transactions are only liable for up to $50 given a swift report. The bank reimburses the rest.

    However, what’s

    Read More »from Legal Burden of Cybercrime Falls on Businesses, not Banks
  • Join our Live Twitter Chat with Tamara Monosoff

    Monosoff

    Join us next week, on Thursday, April 24th at Noon PST/3PM EST for a LIVE Twitter chat with Tamara Monosoff, best-selling author of Your Million Dollar Dream, The One Page Business Plan, Secrets of Millionaire Moms and more. We'll be taking questions live about the new edition of her best-seller, The Mom Inventor's Handbook and about entrepreneurship and starting a business in general.

    To take part, simply be on Twitter at Noon PST on the 24th and keep an eye on @YSmallBusiness, @TamaraMonosoff and the hashtag #TamaraMonosoff. There will be a free book giveaway and a great discussion with links to tips and more information as well.

    Tamara Monosoff believes in the creative entrepreneurial thinking of mothers (and fathers) who have fantastic ideas – but not always the steps to bring them to market. Her sage start-up advice guided a whole generation of Moms to become “Mompreneurs,” who followed her advice to entrepreneurial success using her acclaimed books.

    Monosoff is an award winning

    Read More »from Join our Live Twitter Chat with Tamara Monosoff
  • A Week to Prepare Your Tax Return? Typical

    (charts: NSBA 2014 Small Business Taxation Survey)

    And I thought the three full days I spent preparing my self-employed tax return last week was painful. Turns out most Yahoo! Small Business readers probably have it even worse.

    A survey released today by the National Small Business Association indicates that a majority (60 percent) of small businesses spend more than 40 hours per year grappling with the complex and inconsistent federal tax code, and 40 percent spend more than 80 hours.

    In addition, the organization's 2014 Small Business Taxation Survey revealed that 86 percent of owners must pay an external tax practitioner or accountant to handle their taxes; nearly a third spend more than $10,000 annually on federal tax preparation; and nearly half spend more than $5,000 in the form of accountant fees, internal costs, and legal fees.

    As NSBA First Vice Chair Tim Reynolds testified yesterday to the House Committee on Small Business, "This is before they even pay their actual taxes!"

    The NSBA survey release was timed to coincide with

    Read More »from A Week to Prepare Your Tax Return? Typical
  • The early years of a startup can be chaotic and desperate. Even a great idea needs capital to get off the ground. In the beginning you need cash, so you chase every opportunity. You say “yes” to anything and everything because you need clients; you need investment; you need to turn your idea into an actual business. You are excited and you want to grow, so everyone who offers you money is a potential client, a potential investor, someone you need.

    Unfortunately, every thoughtless “yes” leads you further into a trap. Too quickly you’ll take on too many things. You’ll have differentiated into too many products, options, and services, in an effort to please anyone who shows even a hint of interest in your company. In a few years, your company is just okay at a whole bunch of things instead of great at a few.

    Saying “yes” disrupts your focus.

    When you started your business, you probably had one great idea. You knew what you wanted to do, what kind of business you wanted to have. There was

    Read More »from Focus: The Most Important Quality Your Startup Needs
  • Why You Must Always Test An App Before Launch

    Business owners are hearing a lot about why they should build mobile apps: they’re great tools for marketing, good for building brand loyalty, useful for customer retention, practical for gathering customer data.

    Sure, but an app can really backfire for your company if it doesn’t work, gets bad reviews, or creates problems such as security breaches.

    Kevin Surace is CEO of Appvance, a company that provides app testing and validation. He says it’s a huge mistake to launch your new app without testing it first. And he says your app developer is not the person to do that. Yahoo! Small Business spoke with him about why and how you need to test your mobile or web apps before launch.

    Your company tests mobile and web apps for performance and security risks and can determine the root cause of bottlenecks when there are millions of users. This doesn’t sound like a service for the typical small business owner.

    Today, there are small companies that put out apps—startups that don’t have 5 people

    Read More »from Why You Must Always Test An App Before Launch

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