Tag: Business

Why Every Business Needs an Online Presence

Why Every Business Needs an Online Presence

Competing for customers in the digital era

Forbes reports that nearly 91% of online adults use search engines to find information on the web and nearly 65% see that search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies. The stakes are high, and it’s more important than ever that your business have an online presence. But, if you’ve already spent money on traditional marketing and haven’t seen much return for your investment, you might be wondering why you should invest in creating a web presence for your business.

You can tell potential customers about your business before Yelp does

Negative online reviews are statistically proven to drive away business. Even a single poor review on the first page of your business search results will drive away as much as a quarter of potential new customers, and three negative reviews could cost you nearly 60% of potential customers. You don’t need to have perfect 5-star reviews, which can be a problem in itself by making the reviews seem dishonest. But having an online presence allows you to control the narrative by featuring reviews from satisfied customers and build trust in your product.

Cost-effective marketing to a huge audience

If you are getting serious about building your online brand you are probably considering hiring some qualified professionals to improve your SEO and your site design. However, creating an online presence doesn’t carry all the overhead costs that more traditional print-based marketing does. You don’t have to pay for postage or copies, and you can reach thousands of potential customers with a few strokes of the keyboard.

A digital marketing team can identify your strengths and weaknesses

Digital marketing harnesses the power of data to show you what techniques are effective and what isn’t. We can see the rate-of-conversion for each campaign and the click-through rate of each category of product. This will allow you to identify what appeals to new customers and who your target demographic is. We can also help you tweak your branding so that you appeal to new kinds of customers and broaden your commercial appeal.

The referral market is changing even for small and local businesses

Particularly small businesses that get most of their clients by word-of-mouth need to adapt to changes in the referral market if they want their business to continue to grow. Customers who hear about you from a friend or notice your business storefront, will still use search engines to get information about businesses, looking up hours and pricing and reviews. With so many customers turning to your website before they set foot in the store, not being online is not an option.

Creating shareable content is a great way to get free advertising

By liking and sharing your content your satisfied customers become brand promoters. By having an online presence, you are creating content that your customers respond to and share on their social networks, which are often filled with like-minded consumers. It also creates a space for customers to engage with you and your business in a digital space that’s already a part of their daily lives. This allows you to provide better customer service and also to better manage your online reviews.

Local businesses need SEO

There are a few myths that keep local businesses from improving their SEO. The fight against big brands online can seem unwinnable and not worth the effort, especially if your business model is targeted to a local market. However, small businesses should keep in mind that new customers will be poached by new businesses that are wise to the way people use their smartphones to make spending decisions. Furthermore, there are many ways you can put local SEO to use for your own business, even if you aren’t a big brand.

Prioritize mobile accessibility

More and more customers will pull your business up on their phone at some point, looking to find their way to your brick-and-mortar store, to leave a review, or to make a purchase. Potential customers also use their phones to search for whole categories of services, from things as general as “good brunch places” to things as specific as “eco-friendly screen-printed T-shirts.” If your business website doesn’t work well on smartphones, you risk losing potential clients.

Find a web developer you trust

It’s important to find a web developer you can rely on to deliver good design and content. You have to work together to deliver excellent accessibility and a strong conversion rate. Without a person who is really on your team you may find that they can’t communicate your business vision. Worse, if they aren’t qualified they may charge you for a product they can’t deliver. If you are just starting your search for a new web-developer check out our recommendations for finding a trustworthy professional.

The internet is for everyone

Don’t be intimidated by building your business’s online presence. With the right tools and with professional support you can carve out your niche in the local markets, bringing in new customers and building brand loyalty. If you’re feeling intimidated or don’t know where to begin, reach out to our team here at Build/Create and we will strategize with you about how you can improve your online profile and reach new clients. No business is too small to benefit from the digital era.

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What is a Microsite and How Can It Help My Business?

Today’s business world is more competitive than ever, thanks to the rise of the digital age. Consumers have access to thousands of options, literally at their fingertips and with simple searches, users can find a business to meet their product or service needs. To marketers, this presents both a huge opportunity and a large responsibility, as companies must do everything in their power to make their businesses easy to find and to illustrate how they stand out from the competition.

Microsites are just one marketing tool that experts can leverage to make a brand stand out from the crowd. Learn what drives these search engine optimization (SEO) projects and how to make them work for your business.

What Is a Microsite?

A microsite is just what it sounds like – it’s a little piece of branded content that exists outside of your company’s homepage. Microsites live on a separate URL from your website but serve an important purpose for your company’s marketing efforts. Some examples of microsites include:

  • Blog Microsites: These are specialized blog projects that showcase your business knowledge and thought leadership. They echo your basic brand image but live on a different URL from your homepage.
  • Infographic Microsites: Infographics can work as microsites, as long as they function beyond your website’s main navigation. These serve as an interesting way to bring attention to a relevant issue or topic within your industry.
  • Branded Game Microsites: Some microsites take advantage of the recent “gamification” of marketing. If your brand image is fun, adventurous, or playful, you may be able to create a game that drives your current marketing efforts.
  • Marketing Campaign Microsites: Campaign-based microsites can serve as a central hub for a specific marketing effort, such as a sale.

Why Make a Microsite?

There are several reasons a company might invest in a microsite. For one, microsites give you the opportunity to step outside your box and get a little playful with branding and marketing strategy. While standardization on your current website makes your users feel comfortable (everyone likes being able to find what we’re looking for quickly and efficiently), it also limits your ability to experiment and be creative. A microsite gives you an outlet for this creativity and can help you achieve other business goals, such as:

  • Reaching a new target audience,
  • Creating brand awareness, particularly in a certain campaign, and
  • Fostering a new user action, such as signing up for an email subscription list.

If you create a microsite properly and market it effectively, it provides several benefits to your company. Some of these benefits include:

1. Brand Awareness

Microsites are an effective way to share elements of your brand. For example, a microsite dedicated to the launch of a new product can prove extremely effective in increasing your customers’ awareness of the product and the value it can bring to them.

Most marketing professionals know that building brand awareness is the key first step in closing a sale. As consumers become increasingly savvy – requiring research and reading reviews before making purchasing decisions – your brand presence is more important than ever for fostering growth.

2. Improved SEO

Your SEO practices are still an integral part of your marketing strategy. To rank highly on Google searches, you must have a user-friendly website, in addition to content optimized for search.

The right microsites tend to experience more shares across the web, which can be a powerful asset to your SEO efforts. Depending on your microsite – whether it’s a game, infographic, or even a blog – your users could share it on their social media networks and improve your online presence. This process – called link-building – has a strong effect on your SEO.

Some companies choose to create microsites based on keyword research. By incorporating these highly targeted keywords and creating a backlink to your original site, you can drastically improve your company’s SEO and outshine your competitors.

3. Better Customer Engagement

It should come as no surprise that engaged customers are better customers. They’re more enthusiastic about your brand, which means they’re not only more likely to make a purchase, but they’re also more likely to participate in a little word-of-mouth marketing of their own. If you can create a fun and interactive experience on a microsite, chances are your customers will tell their friends about their experiences. This works to generate more leads while improving your current customer satisfaction and engagement.

Contact TheeDesign about Microsites for Your Web Presence

Microsites might be small projects, but they’re powerful campaigns that serve several different purposes. They improve your SEO and encourage brand loyalty while generating new leads and excitement about your brand. On the other hand, these projects often require the help of a professional web design and development team. Improper execution could end up costing you time and money, without garnering desired outcomes. Find a partner with experience in these projects – don’t attempt to set them up yourself. Work with a professional web design team to create a top-quality microsite that will drive your marketing efforts forward.

Our award-winning web design and digital marketing team will help you craft a strategy and microsite that truly help your business succeed. Contact TheeDesign today to get started on the journey by calling 919-341-8901 or schedule a free consulation.

The post What is a Microsite and How Can It Help My Business? appeared first on TheeDesign.

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5 Easy Hacks for Business Owners to do Digital Marketing

It seems these days that small business owners have so much to do that they don’t have the time to spend on even the simplest digital marketing activities for their own company.

Most business owners consider allocating time for this task but feel overwhelmed because they are not sure what to do or the best way to do it. Should they add more to their website? How about social media?

The simplest answer is that there is value in almost anything you do when it comes to your digital marketing strategy, whether it is a short-term return or long term.

Content is Always a Good Answer

Company websites are often neglected because the idea of sitting down and writing about your business or industry may not excite you or you believe that you do not have the writing skills.

Let’s look at a few ideas to help you get over this hurdle.

Add an FAQ Page to Your Site

This is a quick and easy way to get very relevant content on your site that is useful to your customers and will be beneficial to Google.

Customers probably have sent you questions or requests for clarification. This information is almost readymade to copy and paste right onto that page. As you are thinking about these questions, think about your experience of what people have asked you before and add in a few lines to those as well. In very short order, you’ll probably have a full page.

Use a Transcription App

Sometimes you know you will be getting on a call to discuss a project or to answer some technical questions. Use your computer or tablet and while you are talking on the phone, have it transcribe as you are talking. You are not trying to record your client, this is just an easy way to get a lot of your knowledge down in writing.

On the same line of thinking, do you remember those earbuds that came with your phone? Plug them in and while you are driving, start talking out loud about your industry on such topics as:

  • Your process,
  • What makes you different from the competition,
  • The brands that you use, or
  • Why you only use these certain brands.

Some people can’t sit down and write 300 words but many of us can talk up a storm.

As an added recommendation, you may even want to find an inexpensive copy editor if you feel that this content is not suitable for the masses. Fiverr and Craigslist have plenty of people that will do this for very little money.

Images and Video From Your Cell Phone

With the prevalence of smartphones these days, everyone is nearly a professional photographer. You can turn the technology in the palm of your hand quickly into great content for your website and social media feeds.

Capture Images in Everyday Work

No, you are probably not a professional photographer. But, you probably see exactly what potential clients want to see about your business. Use that cell phone to capture everything you see for two days straight and sort through them later.

Images are useful and easy to upload to your website, Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, GlassDoor, and more. Capture not only industry-related photos but moments around the office. Potential employees look at these images, too.

Take Videos During the Day

Video is extremely underutilized in every industry. You may see what it looks like to clean a dryer vent, but the general public never has – leverage that video into more views and brand awareness. Believe it or not, these can be impactful, even thirty seconds worth.

Digital Marketing Videos

Upload them to YouTube. Since most websites now make it easy, embed that YouTube video on your website. Upload it to Facebook. If you are unloading a six-foot tall tire off of a flatbed truck, lots of people will watch that. Especially if it’s not more than a simple click on your site.

Even if the quality is not exactly perfect, the public is forgiving to a point and it will not degrade your brand. Try it out for a week.

Answer Industry Questions Online

Do you have any idea how many people ask questions within forums online? Reddit, Quora, hobby communities, and others specialize just in answering questions. Even something as easy as searching Twitter can be a great place to answer questions, bring attention to your brand, and maybe even link back to your website.

Q&A for Marketing

Even as simple a question as the one above can be found in seconds. Answering these questions can help build links to your site, build your credibility in your industry online, and help promote your site and your company.

Utilize Others To Embrace Their Passions

You’d be Surprised What Employees Want to Do 

I generally find that when I want to get something done, I get someone else to do it for me. You have a workforce of people with skills you didn’t even realize. Sometimes they are looking to do something just a little different for a change. Offer them four hours to go around the office and get pictures of people at work.

Some of them may even have drones for aerial footage that they’d be happy to do instead of a delivery. When things are slow around your office, this is the perfect time to utilize people that would be genuinely interested in trying different things and maybe even get a little bit creative for you. You never know till you ask.

Contact Us for Your New Digital Marketing Strategy

Your digital marketing doesn’t have to be a chore. Let TheeDesign make it easy by creating a customized digital marketing plan for your business.

Contact the internet marketing professionals at TheeDesign in Raleigh, NC at 919-341-8901 or schedule a consultation to find out how your business can benefit from strategic digital marketing.

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Starting a Small Business? You Will Need a Website

Right now, you are likely feeling a flood of emotions. Excitement at starting this new adventure and the greatness that you envision for it. Tentativeness when coming across aspects of your new business that are new to you. Pride that you are taking ownership of this new venture and possibly even of your life.

Although your to-do list is likely quite extensive, one item that you will want to highlight is building and maintaining a website. You can do this pretty much on your own or pay somebody else to do it, but, one way or the other, you will want to have a website for your new business for a variety of reasons.

It’s Your Storefront

Even if your business is not a home one and you have a space that is open to the public, there is a good chance that more people will visit your website than your brick-and-mortar location. And those who drive or walk by your business may want to research you online, including visiting your website, before stepping inside. However, if you do not have an online presence, they will likely either lose interest or respect and quickly make a decision to not give your business an opportunity to sell to them.

Keeping Customers Informed

Whenever there is information that you need to get out to your customers, having a website that you can update is essential. Of course, using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter serve myriad purposes too, especially where updating your customers go, but your website needs to be the focus. Do you have to close on Wednesday due to a planned power outage, staff meeting or other reason? Are you holding a sale on Monday? Update your website. Doing so will reach more of your customers and prospective customers than placing notes at your place of business.

small-business-website-design

You’re Now Open 24/7

You will most likely only have somebody working at your brick-and-mortar location during certain hours of the day. What are those interested in what you are offering supposed to do during the other times? Head to your website, of course. If it applies to your new business, you could even sell some or all of your products online while you are having dinner with your family, sleeping or otherwise relaxing.

Saving Money on Brochures

Instead of printing and distributing expensive brochures, you can instead place them online in PDF or a similar format and point those interested in what you are offering there to peruse your creations.

It Costs Little to Maintain

Although the start-up costs for your website will vary depending on whether you get it professionally designed or do it yourself, the costs to maintain it per month will usually be between $25 and $100 a month. Given all of the benefits of having a website for your business, spending that amount every month should not even be given a second thought, especially when you compare that to how much it would cost you to place an advertisement that quickly loses its value with a local media outlet such as a television or radio station or a newspaper.

A Place for FAQs

A page on your website listing the frequently asked questions that you receive or expect to receive has a number of benefits. Doing so makes your business more customer friendly in that they can find out what they need to know in an easy fashion, and having this so readily available lessens the chances that you will ever be inundated with these types of questions while you are looking to get other things done.

Although you are wearing several hats, do not diminish the significance of adding webmaster. The benefits of spending some time and finances on this easily outweigh any negatives. Learn more about our Los Angeles Web Development, or get an estimate today with our Web Design Pricing Calculator.

The post Starting a Small Business? You Will Need a Website appeared first on Connective Web Design.

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What Google Chrome Ad Blocking Means for Your Business

On February 15, 2018, Google added a feature to the Chrome browser that allows users to block especially disruptive and annoying advertisements from websites. The intent of Google’s ad blocking software is to improve the user experience, keeping users from having to deal with intrusive and frustrating advertisements while they are online. Though the concept of comprehensive ad blocking is appealing, the reality has raised some serious concerns for other businesses. Google’s continuously growing power over online ad revenue is worrisome for many companies, and ad blocking could have a significant impact on businesses around the world.

How Does Google Chrome Decide What to Block?

Google is basing its ad blocking criteria on the Better Ads Standards set forward by the Coalition for Better Ads, a group created by companies and trade associations interested in improving the ad experience for consumers. Google’s blocker takes the qualities in online advertisements that frustrate people and filters out ads with those qualities. Some of the frustrating attributes that Google blocks are video ads that play at an obnoxious volume, blinking display ads, popups with exit buttons that are difficult to locate, and prestitial ads that cover the majority of a webpage and make it difficult for people to see the content.

Google is not, however, blocking anchor ads (ads that stay anchored on the screen and do not move as you scroll through the page). Anchor ads can be on the top or bottom of the screen. According to a survey of 25,000 internet users, approximately 85 percent of mobile users reported that anchor ads did not bother them.

How Does the Evaluation Work?

Google gives websites passing, warning, or failing grades. The grades are based on the percentage of people who had poor experiences on the site and on whether the sites adhere to the Better Ads Standards. A site receives a failing grade if 7.5 percent of page viewers had poor experiences on the site in the first two months of the program, 5 percent in the four months following, and 2.5 percent after that.

You can view grade assessments online through Google’s Ad Experience Report. If a site receives notice of a violation, it has 30 days to fix it before Chrome will begin blocking ads on the site.

What Happens When a Site Receives a Failing Grade?

Once a site receives a failing grade, Chrome will begin blocking ads using a filtering system. First, Chrome’s ad filter checks whether the URL the user is visiting is from a site that has passed the Better Ads Standards. If the site has failed, Chrome then checks the network requests for URL patterns that are known to be related ad content. These requests can be for items such as JavaScript or images. If the one of the network requests matches one of the list of ad-related URLs, Chrome will block the advertisement from appearing on the page.

Once an advertisement has been blocked, users on the site will receive a notification on their screen saying that ads have been blocked and asking them if they want to “allow ads on this site.” The user then can choose if they want to see the advertisements.

Common Concerns About Chrome’s Ad Blocking

While many might feel that Google’s ad filtering efforts are completely legitimate and helpful to the user, there are some compelling arguments against Google taking ad blocking into its own hands.

One Company Having Too Much Sway

Many businesses are concerned about one company having so much control over what users see online. Yes, Google is basing their filtering criteria the the Better Ads Standards, but the creators of these standards are the Coalition for Better Ads, a group where Google holds significant sway. In fact, Google led the research and had a considerable influence over the study that led to the creation of the Better Ads Standards. Many of the companies that are also in the Coalition for Better Ads have reported that Google dominated the creation of the ad blocking criteria and find it suspicious that the majority of Google’s ad revenue comes from methods that are not banned by the Better Ads Standards. Google already has a massive impact on online searches, and this added control over the internet is worrisome for businesses all over the world.

The Decision-Making Process Is Too Black and White

Google’s ad blocking software requires have strict guidelines to follow. In the system as it has beens set up, the filtering process is a straightforward practice without any room for ads that may technically violate the Better Ads Standards but should not be filtered. Many businesses are worried that the strict filtering guidelines may lead to some advertisements being blocked that are not annoying or offensive to users. Various companies have requested that Google create an appeals process to give businesses the opportunity to state their cases if they believe that their advertisements have been blocked unfairly. So far, Google has not responded.

Future Impact of the Chrome Ad Blocking Feature

It is still unclear exactly how much of an impact Google Chrome’s ad blocking feature will have on the internet, user experience, and other businesses. The concerns that many businesses have are significant, but it is difficult to determine whether they are true threats so soon after the software has been created. If the feature succeeds in creating an online environment that is easier and more appealing to users, however, it could be an overall improvement for businesses and users alike.

Contact the PPC Professionals at TheeDesign

If you’re worried that your business might be impacted by Chrome’s ad filtering, contact TheeDesign today. Our PPC professionals can make sure that your remarketing ads meet the Better Ads Standards.Contact our pay-per-click specialists in Raleigh, NC at 919-341-8901 or schedule a complimentary consultation.

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Happy Small Business Week: 5 Local Search Tools to Help Your Growth

Happy-Small-Business-Week--5-Local-Search-Tools-to-Help-Your-Growth

If you’re like most small businesses, you rely on your community and local visitors to keep your business going. For you it’s important to stay relevant in your community, with your customers, and especially with local searchers. To do so you might find the amount of things you have to do to be a little bit daunting.

The truth is, that there are a number of great tools at your disposal, many of which are free. These tools can help you with map search, local search, and social media. Combined they can help your small business stay relevant and be in better shape for Small Business Week next year.

Google My Business

Google My Business is a great tool for small businesses that are just getting started in putting down their digital footprint. GMB gets you listed in maps, which allow for reviews and images to be posted to your listing.

As you grow you’ll want to encourage your customers to rate you on Google. This will not only look great for your online reputation, it has impacts on search rankings for your business.

HootSuite

If your small business is planning on using multiple social media accounts, HootSuite can help you streamline that process. It can also be used as a great social reputation manager. Being able to respond quickly to customer reviews, messages, complaints, or praise will help you keep folks happy.

HootSuite has several paid plans for larger businesses, but for small businesses who will only have one user – you can use the service for free. As you add more employees that might be managing social media, you can always move up.

Yext

Yext’s goal is to ensure your business is accurately listed in as many popular directories as possible. This is especially needed when if you move your business or haven’t been around a long time in order to get your listings populated organically.

While the service does have a cost, the benefit of having accurate listings, both for the user and the search engines far outweigh that. It may be hard to believe that not everyone uses Google for everything, but sadly, that’s the case. So if you need to make sure your listing house is in order, spend a few minutes and some money to make sure that it is.

Google AdWords (Keyword Planner)

When you first launch a website, getting traction can be extremely difficult. This is especially true if you’re in a competitive space, such as restaurants, so what’s a small business to do? One way to drive new traffic is through purchasing the keywords that are important to your business. Adwords helps you quickly get traffic to your website to help you get new leads while  you grow your organic traffic.

The other thing that it helps you do (and this doesn’t cost you money) is help you determine the value of your keywords. If you’re looking to rank for a specific thing, you can see the traffic in your local area by using Google’s Keyword Planner. This will help you determine if targeting these keywords on the page is worth it.

Whitespark

Whitespark works in a similar fashion to Google’s keyword planner, but it also gives you some insights into what your competitors are doing online. It also will help you get information on what things your website should be doing to help you boost your ranking signals.

For small business owners they do offer a free plan. This will give you a few searches a day to test your pages or your content and help you make changes. 3 searches may not seem like much, but when you’re also trying to run a full time business, it will probably be plenty.

Conclusion

With all the things that go into running a small business, marketing can sometimes take a back seat. If you’re solopreneur, it can almost seem like it’s impossible to market your business in such a competitive place. The truth is, that if you’re thinking of that, than probably most of your competition is too. So the fact that you’re looking for ways to beat them gives you an advantage already.

No, you can certainly make headway online, and with these tools it’s easier than you think.

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4 Reasons to Support Small Business

Happy National Small Business Week! If you weren’t aware, 2018 marks the 55th annual National Small Business Week, heralded by the US Small Business Administration. The Small Business Administration, otherwise known as the SBA, helps inform small business owners about the resources that are available to them.

Many laud small businesses as the “backbone of the American economy” and they aren’t wrong to do so: there are more than 27 million small businesses in America and together they produce more than 50 percent of America’s gross domestic product. “If they produce so much for our economy, why do we need to support them?” Good question! Here’s why:

Small Businesses Create More Jobs

Statistically, there’s about a 50% chance that you’re working for a small business right now. The SBA considers any business a small one when they have fewer than 500 employees, so the number of businesses that meet those criteria is large. However, the SBA cites a report done between 1993 and 2011 that shows that 64% of the new jobs created in that period were from small businesses.

This is due to the expanding phase of any new or startup business – the company needs more workers to get the work done. For any one particular small business, this phase will eventually end and no longer create new jobs, but new businesses will replace the ones that stop creating new positions.

Small Businesses Provide Innovation

The booming tech industry is a testament to the success of innovation. Americans know that if their ideas aren’t being pursued properly by their bosses, they can take their skills, experience, and creativity into their own hands and start their own company. How does this benefit you, though?

Innovation brings the consumer new products and ways of doing things, helping speed progress along. Innovations like rideshare programs, fitness apps, personal computers, and 2-day free shipping delivery have transformed the lives of many in the last 20 years. None of those things would have been possible without the entrepreneurial spirit of the small business owner.

Small Businesses Support Your Local Community

If you’ve ever balked at giving your money to a large corporation, small businesses are the way to go. Spending your money with a small business often will keep the money within your community. Small, local business owners are more likely to form partnerships with other local businesses, join the rotary club, sponsor the local soccer team and the school districts, and will make a point to give back to the community – after all, they likely live there too.

Small Businesses Provide Product Diversity and Larger Inventories

Because a small business isn’t beholden to corporate’s deals with distributors, it’s more likely that they’ll carry more than just two brands of a particular product. That helps keep monopolies from taking over the market and helps you ensure that you have the option to choose from a selection of great products.

Additionally, many small businesses will carry a larger inventory of product than their corporate counterpart. This is due to several factors: they aren’t held to the standards of the rigorous corporate inventory system, and they may be more willing to order more and keep it on the shelves for longer. If they’re out, they’re more likely to help you get the product you need more quickly and efficiently than a corporate store.