Blog Posts by Owen Linderholm

  • 5 Creative Marketing tactics small businesses can use without breaking the bank

    Shawn PrezThe holiday season marks the time when companies begin bombarding consumers with expensive commercials and marketing campaigns. Toys “R” Us, for example, spent $88.3 million on marketing for the holiday season in 2012. Small businesses, with more down-to-earth budgets, often get lost among the multi-million dollar campaigns for major retailers and brands.

    This year, small businesses should focus on using unique marketing methods to reach a larger audience, instead of trying to compete with big retail advertisements and glitzy marketing campaigns. The following are five cost-effective and creative marketing tactics that will help your small business get recognized this holiday season:

    1. Social Media Marketing: Seventy-seven percent of adults in the 30-49 age bracket use social media, according to Pew Research Center. Since this age range represents a significant portion of those in a household with purchasing power, make sure you target your audience through social media platforms such as
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  • Making the most of Pinterest

    While Facebook and Twitter are the heavy hitters of social media for business, there are lots of other possibilities, from LinkedIn to Google+ to Pinterest. Each has its own uses as well as foibles and quirks as a social platform for business. But Pinterest stands out as especially valuable for any business where visuals count heavily. Studies have shown that in some areas Pinterest results in much higher rates of lead generation and sales.

    So how to make use of Pinterest?

    This infographic from Launch Grow Joy should give you some ideas.

    142 board ideas for entrepreneurs

    You can see the original here - or click on the image above to make it larger.

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  • Ooma puts some oomph in phone systems for small business

    Ooma Call LogOne of the few universal requirements for a small business is a phone system – or at least some way for customers to call you. Without it any business is cutting off the single most used way for potential customers (and thus potential revenue) to reach your business.

    Until recently, small business options have been limited to three basic choices. The simplest is to just use your personal phone systems for your business (home phone or mobile phone). This is fine if you are a one person business with no plan to grow further and if you are fully capable of separating your business and personal life.  The second option – and the one used by most businesses - is to call the local phone company and get business service at a minimum cost of $35 a month or so plus paying for equipment and for any additional service (long distance typically is not included in basic business plans). The third option is one of the newer VoIP business plans that is based in the cloud (essentially all operated and

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  • New tools now available to Yahoo Web Hosting customers!

    Yahoo Web Hosting customers:  starting this week you will have access to a range of simple, affordable, and effective tools to build and grow your business, right from your Web Hosting Control Panel.

    This is being rolled out in a phased manner, and when enabled for you, your Web Hosting Control Panel will include Live Web Insights, a free app available through Yahoo Commerce Central. This tool puts your finger on the pulse of your small business site, gives you a real-time view of how customers are exploring your site, and makes personalized recommendations to help improve traffic and sales.

    With Live Web Insights you can:

    • Know exactly what’s happening on your site in real time: Real-time information about current site visitors lets you see how your visitors are browsing your site looking for information on your products and services.
    • Get data-driven guidance on what to do next: Find your top keywords, referring sites, where your customers are coming from, your site’s growth and
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  • Independence is leading motivation for entrepreneurs

    A survey by BizFilings of 1,110 small business owners conducted this month (November 2013) highlights that the largest group of people becoming small business owners choose to do so because they are seeking independence. And the smallest group are those driven by becoming rich. BizFilings highlighted its survey in the infographic below. We aren't sure how valuable the flow of questions and answers is but the end result matches our experience with independence and passion being bigger drivers than money - which is a good thing since financial success from a small business only comes with lots of very hard work - so that work better be satisfying!

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  • The best 18 tablet apps for business: Winners of the Tabby Awards

    As businesses follow the wider market and become ever more mobile in their technology and operations, it becomes increasingly important to find mobile
    versions of business apps and even brand new apps designed for mobile devices. That’s why it is worth paying attention to the Tabby Awards where the focus is on business, unlike most mobile apps awards where more attention is paid to consumers and gaming.

    The Tabby Awards /Business, considers productivity tablet apps on all major platforms (iOS, Android and Windows 8) and results are announced as part of the TabTimes TabletBiz conference & expo. Here are the 18 winning apps:

    • Best Collaboration app: Fuze for iPad (iOS), by FuzeBox (USA)
    • Best Communications app: ClickMeeting Videoconferencing (iOS), by Implix (Poland)
    • Best Creation and Design app: Concepts: Smarter Sketching (iOS), by TopHatch (USA)
    • Best Data Access and Collection app: Citrix ShareFile (iOS), by Citrix (USA)
    • Best Education and Training app: Curious (iOS), by Curious.com
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  • Announcing a live chat with Envy Labs Founder Gregg Pollack

    The next in our weekly series of live chats will be with Gregg Pollack, founder of Envy Labs at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. PT) Thursday, October 3rd. As part of the Young Entrepreneur Council’s #StartupLab initiative, a virtual mentorship program, Gregg will appear live via video chat broadcast.

    Gregg Pollack is the founder of Envy Labs, a consultancy that builds big web applications, and Code School, an online learning platform that teaches software developers new skills. Gregg also helps run Orlando's BarCamp, the Orlando Ruby Users Group, the EdTech Orlando Meetup, and the Orlando Tech Events newsletter. His newest project is Starter Studio, a business accelerator in Orlando.

    #StartupLab is a free virtual mentorship program created by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of hundreds of America’s most successful young entrepreneurs. #StartupLab takes YEC's mission to help more people start successful businesses to the next level by offering millions of

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  • Highlights of our #GoSMB Twitter Chat with @UPS

    We held a live Twitter chat with @UPS on Thursday Sept. 26th. Participating was Melanie Alavi, UPS Retail Marketing Manager. Here are some of the highlights from that event.

    The chat took a basic Q&A format.

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  • Paypal Launches Breakthrough Small Business Loan Program – Working Capital

    PayPal Working Capital

    Paypal today announced a new loan program for small businesses that provides simpler and quicker access to capital as well as fixed and predictable costs and repayment schedule that is not tied to a fixed date. The program, while limited at first, is a radical approach to small business financing and one that could shake up the market for small business lending.

    Currently most very small businesses (3 or fewer employees) actually get most of their financing either in the form of self-financing or from friends and family or via a line of credit that is tied to their personal credit. Business loans from banks and cash lenders make up a much smaller percentage. You can get some idea of the small business lending landscape in this infographic.

    In addition, small business lending has been on a downturn since the economic crash and only this year has shown any signs of reviving. This is particularly true for online businesses where there are no physical assets against which to secure a loan.

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  • The YEC Launches Health Insurance Site For Startups and The Self-Employed

    Healthcare

    The Young Entrepreneur Council, an organization supporting entrepreneurship and startups (and a Yahoo Small Business Partner) has launched a website offering a healthcare solution for entrepreneurs, the self-employed and any individual or very small business.

    "As our nation becomes more entrepreneurial, and more Americans launch startups, start small businesses, and join the booming gig economy, YEC wants to be there to support business owners and newly job-unlocked individuals by providing them with access to quality, affordable health care insurance options throughout the United States," said Scott Gerber, founder of Young Entrepreneur Council.

    Yahoo Small Business spoke to Scott Gerber briefly about the new program.

    Gerber said that they actually started the project to create this new program over 15 months ago.  They began by talking to entrepreneurs about what is important to them in a health plan and rapidly realized that the biggest problem for entrepreneurs was the time to find

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