Blog Posts by Owen Linderholm

  • Small Business Reading – bad communication, business ideas and plans.

    customerdialogLast week we started this new blog series rounding up some of the best small business reading from here on Yahoo! Small Business Advisor and also elsewhere. We continue this week with some great advice and success stories.

    You should also take a look around some of what Yahoo! Small Business has to offer. Besides our domain name, web hosting and ecommerce products, we also have just added an innovative marketing dashboard that you can try for free even if you don't use our other products.

    We also have a tools section within Yahoo! Small Business Advisor where you can quickly and easily create a press release with a wizard, track packages, calculate loans and look up zip codes.

    We had an interesting set of stories in this week at Yahoo! Small Business Advisor that included the following:

    The inconvenient history of Silicon Valley. (It turns out that the entrepreneurial capital of the US was created on the back of LOTS of government support.)
    Four signs you're a terrible communicator.

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  • Small Business Weekend Reading

    What better time than National Small Business Week to kick off a new weekly series of blog posts rounding up the best of the week that we have found both here at Yahoo! Small Business Advisor and elsewhere?

    It's been a big week for small businesses and a big week for us too. We posted a series of original interviews with executives from American Express, UPS, Verizon, Constant Contact and Orange Soda about small businesses and what their challenges are and each gave some advice on how to succeed and how to work with them. Why is that important? Well, we picked those companies because they all provide important services TO small businesses in different areas - financial services, logistics (ie shipping and fulfillment), communications and marketing. Plus we learned some great facts. Did you know that about half the GDP and half the employment in the US comes from small businesses? Did you know that UPS is a classic startup by a teenager in a basement? Only in 1907, not 2007!

    We also

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  • National Small Business Week Interview: Orange Soda

    Orange Soda is a pioneer in providing social media services to small businesses. Until recently social media tools and services were really only available to enterprises and larger businesses. Orange Soda specializes in local online marketing and helping small businesses use social and online media to reach out and market in their community.

    Yahoo! Small Business Advisor caught up with Jay Bean, Chairman and CEO for Orange Soda to talk about small business today and the challenges and opportunities facing the typical small business. He spoke with us by phone for this exclusive interview.

    How important do you think small businesses are to the economy?

    Jay Bean: Obviously we all know that there are millions and millions of small businesses in America – probably around 23 million of them – and the vast majority of employers are small businesses. SBA statistics show that half of all employees in America are employed by small business. Half a million new small businesses start up every

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  • National Small Business Week Interview: UPS

    UPS adds its famous vansUPS’s latest slogan is ‘We [heart] logistics.’ But in most people’s minds, the company is a lot more than a fancy catchphrase. The company is synonymous with brown vans and brown-clothed, friendly drivers who are bustling everywhere dropping off packages. For the small business, however, UPS typically means two things – shipping and service. UPS offers a range of services that scale up and down from consumer service to large enterprise services but the company has a soft spot at its heart for the small business.

    Yahoo! Small Business Advisor caught up with Beth Mathews, the Director of Marketing for the small and occasional segment of UPS. She explained that the complicated title means that she is responsible for all marketing for all of UPS customers that fall into the small business category and below . In other words, small business and consumers. She spoke with us by phone for this exclusive interview.

    How important do you think small businesses are to the economy?

    Beth Mathews: We

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  • Branding Through Social Media Profiles

    By Tanya Smith

    socialmediaprofileA well branded social media profile is essential for small businesses today. The profile tells people all about you and the value you offer, and it can provide those in your circle of influence a place to connect and get involved. Having a well written social media profile can certainly enhance how well you connect with potential leads, but there are a few guidelines you must follow.

    The Social Media Profile Image

    Your picture is very much like a personal logo. People will instantly recognize your brand when they see it. Make sure it looks natural and that it fits the perception you want to create for your target audience.

    A headshot that shows part of the neck and shoulders is typically a good start. It shouldn't be too large or too small. Use the same photo consistently for all of your profiles so that your potential customer recognizes you. This increases the trust factor, because the more they see you, the more familiar your prospect is with your brand. If you have

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  • Online Marketing Revolves Around Your Reputation


    By TJ McCue

    It should come as no surprise that your customers research before they buy. But many small business owners don't believe in managing their brand and reputation online. Every business, from doctors (yes, even doctors) to lawyers to retail stores is judged online.
    Lisa Barone, at Small Business Trends, explains in her post: Why Online Reputation Matters to Small Business that "consumers are using social word of mouth, online reviews, and other online content to form a judgment about your company. The judgment they form is then strongly tied to whether or not they decide to purchase your product (or service)."
    How do you keep up?

    1. Set an email alert. This is one of the easiest ways to monitor if and when your brand name, product names, specific keywords, or your personal name are being used on Twitter, Facebook, or other review sites. Most alerts can also be sent as a text message (SMS) to your mobile phone.
    2. Sign up for a reputation tracking service like the Yahoo! Marketing
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  • Using The Big Picture to Keep Up with Today’s Customer

    By Brent Leary

    customerdialogIt's tough keeping up with today's socially-empowered customer. Armed with social networks and mobile devices, their adoption and adaptation to the latest technology is accelerating at breathtaking rates. Just look at what took place this past Christmas:

    • US online holiday shopping season reaches a record $37.2 billion, up 15 Percent vs. 2010 — a rate of increase almost 4X higher than the overall rate for retail.
    • 7% of Christmas Day 2011 total online sales made via iPad
    • As late as one week before Christmas 2011, one-quarter of consumers hadn't even started holiday shopping. (Consumer Reports)
    • Almost one in four retail searches online on Christmas Day were made using mobile phones or tablet devices, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
    • The number of adults in the United States who own tablets and e-readers nearly doubled from mid-December to early January, according to a new Pew Research study. (New York Times)

    These numbers paint a dramatic picture

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  • The Path To Recommendation – What Every Small Business Needs to Know


    By Paul M. Rand

    Think about the last time you got a new client or customer.

    There's an overwhelming likelihood that your new business came from someone recommending you. In fact, 92 percent of all consumers report that a "recommendation from people I know" is the biggest influence on their purchase behavior, according to a recently released study from Nielsen research. This percentage is well ahead of TV ads (47%), newspaper ads (46%) and even radio ads (42%).
    While recommendations have always been important, social media has fundamentally shifted the marketing dynamic. Today, consumers can share their positive — and negative -- word of mouth recommendations with hundreds, thousands and even millions of other people.

    Overwhelming Choices

    Every day, there is a new social media tool, process or platform being announced. And Google, Facebook, Groupon and a host of social media marketing platforms and providers are promising a never-ending stream of new business by marketing through their

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