Great Items For A Dollar!

April 3, 2016, 11:16 p.m.

If you're considering starting out with your own dollar store, chances are you're a little intimidated by the process of selecting an entire retail store's worth of products.

You don't have to be. Abundant market research is available, and we have a great understanding of what the typical dollar store shopper is looking for.

Here are some surefire suggestions to get you started off right.

Party Supplies

Party supplies are a huge seller at dollar stores. There are always people in the market for them, and ideally they want to find supplies at a low price and all under one roof. That sounds like a perfect chance for your store to shine. Things like mylar balloons, tissue paper, wrapping paper, tape, and plastic table cloths are just the staples. You can get creative with all kinds of party favors and paper goods like invitations and thank-you cards.

Storage Containers

When ...

Keeping Good Employees

March 25, 2016, 2:25 p.m.

Do you have great employees? Hiring competent, capable people whom you can trust is essential to your success as a small business owner. But what about after the hire? Are you doing enough to make sure your valuable employees are committed to your business?

It may be tempting to think that with a down economy and a difficult job market, anyone who lands a job will be happy just to keep it. Unfortunately, this isn't truly the case.

In a recent survey of 1,000 full-time employees between the ages of 22 and 35, conducted by RecruitiFi, 86% of respondents expressed no concern over leaving a job to better pursue their professional or personal interests.

So what can you do? What types of strategies are successfully earning employee commitments beyond a year or two? Fortunately, there is data to help you make decisions.

LinkedIn ...

7 Signs Your Small Business Is Running Well

March 18, 2016, 1:17 p.m.

1. Motivated Employees

Keeping your employees challenged and engaged is key to lowering turnover rate. It should be no shock that satisfied workers are more productive and provide better customer service.

Fostering an environment where employees are comfortable with open dialog can help you respond quickly to issues in the workplace. When workers can express criticism as well as praise, owners can more easily uncover employee dissatisfaction.

2. Happy Customers

Satisfied customers reflect well on your efforts and give reason for an optimistic outlook. It's important for an owner to evaluate whether their company is making a positive difference in the lives of their customers.

When customers are happy, they'll spread word of their experiences and business will grow. A strong reputation for satisfied customers will help sustain your business for years.

3. Expert Credibility

Demonstrating expertise creates a leadership role ...

Finding Your Perfect Location

March 10, 2016, 8:37 p.m.

Anyone thinking about opening a retail store has invariably heard the age old real estate mantra "location, location, location."

And for good reason. It's true that the location of your retail store is one of the most important factors governing success or failure. After all, a great product and great customer service won't mean anything if your store is so out of the way that no one even sees it.

Study Demographics

So where do you begin? There are a number of factors to consider, but we'll start with demographics. Who are your target customers? Is your appeal strongly mainstream, or are you going more of a specialty route?

The broader your target market, the more competition you'll face. Meaning, you'll have to be located right alongside your competitors. As a specialty store, you can concern yourself more with locating closer to your target customers and less with competitive position.

...

Making The Most of Easter Marketing

March 4, 2016, 1:05 p.m.

Easter isn't just another holiday for your small business. It's quickly becoming one of the most lucrative, behind Christmas. Last year, Americans spent over $16 billion on Easter shopping!

That number is too big to ignore, and now is the time to get started working on your marketing campaign. A good Easter promotion can get your company noticed, drive in new traffic, and strengthen your relationship with existing customers. Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about how to make the most of this holiday season.

Promotions!

You can liven up any otherwise drab marketing effort with colorful and fun Easter imagery. The bunny theme is cute and appealing. If you can't do anything else, at least refresh your old ads to reflect the holiday.

Now is the perfect time to start promoting Easter cards and of course all kinds of ...

Local Stores Are The Foundation Of Shopping

Feb. 26, 2016, 12:03 p.m.

Despite all the perks and value behemoth online retailers like Amazon can give to customers, local businesses are still a preferred shopping destination. A slew of recent surveys show that consumers are spending locally and plan to for a long time.

Customer Service is King

Most local businesses can’t hope to compete with the prices at big box retailers or online stores, but customers are willing to pay a bit more if they feel that a local business can serve other needs. In one survey, 96 percent of consumers felt that local retailers were better at personalizing their services. They also believe that customer service in general is better with local stores, and that they are more likely to be treated fairly.

It’s Your Community

Good customer service isn’t the only reason consumers flock to local establishments. Over 70 percent of survey respondents felt that it was important to buy ...

Working With A Small Advertising Budget

Feb. 18, 2016, 7:10 p.m.

All small businesses, and especially those just starting out, have to be aware and savvy regarding the deployment of their limited capital. Further, without a strong, longstanding relationship with a financial institution they have little chance of borrowing a significant amount.

However, all businesses, and perhaps especially small businesses, need to keep committed to marketing themselves. Without effective advertising, a small business especially finds difficulty standing out from the more established entities in its industry.

Fortunately for the small business owner, recent years have seen the emergence of a new range of marketing technologies and strategies that are much less expensive while still remaining effective.

Social Media

Despite proving itself to be an effective marketing option, and its widespread prevalence in people's lives, many business owners still fail to maximize the opportunity that social media offers.

It can seem daunting at first. With so many social media platforms becoming increasingly ...

How Do You Know What Customers Really Want?

Feb. 9, 2016, 6:08 p.m.

How well do you really know your customers? If your company is like most, you're probably ready to admit that you don't know them very well. In fact, a recent study published by IBM found that only 4% of businesses are satisfied with their ability to ensure data-driven conversations with customers.

In today's customer-first culture, that's an alarmingly low number. Data-driven insight is the key to increased customer satisfaction. If you don't know your customers, how much can you really offer them? It's important to incorporate analytics into the customer experience for one simple reason: better customer interaction means better business results.

So why aren't more companies doing it? What does one have to do to use analytics effectively? We'll look at three strategies for success.

The Customer Journey

Every customer follows a unique path to reach your business. Through understanding the different ...

Search Engine Optimization For Small Business

Jan. 31, 2016, 11:07 p.m.

Within their effort to catalog the world's information, Google has created an algorithm that is used to determine how highly a site ranks for a given search query. The higher the rank, of course, the higher up the page a result is found, and naturally, the more visible it becomes.

For a small business owner, it's imperative to rank highly and therefore show up at the top of the list for search terms related to your business. Do do so, one must be aware of what Google's "spiders" will be looking for when they crawl a site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of ensuring that the spiders find what they're looking for ultimately awarding the site a high rank. Although best practices change from time to time, there are some staples of SEO that are always relevant. Follow this advice to improve your ...

Walmart Closes 269 Stores In Two Weeks!

Jan. 25, 2016, 11:55 a.m.

In a move that will affect more than 16,000 employees, Walmart will close 269 stores by the end of the month. As to the impacted employees, the company claimed it would "take all appropriate steps to ensure they are treated well."

Among the closed stores is the entire division of Walmart Express, 102 small stores.

Okay, so. People will be put out of work, or maybe they'll be fortunate enough to just have a longer commute. Maybe your neighborhood store will be gone. But what does the closing of all those Walmart stores offer as an opportunity?

It's an opening for neighborhoods to take back their storefronts. It's a pullback of the Walmart dominated retail landscape, to a place where regular people own and operate stores that serve the community.

It's a chance to have a life where your employment is ...

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