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Still in the process of writing a business plan? It can be really difficult to nail down a solid plan, especially when you’re not quite sure how you’d like to design and format the final product. As one of the more customizable platforms out there, Enloop is a valid option. In this Enloop review, we’ll
Struggling to nail down a business plan? There’s tons of options available to help you jumpstart your planning, but it can be a pain to figure out exactly which option is best for you. Business Plan Pro has been one of the most popular for over two decades, and it just might be exactly what
Consumer Shopping Trends for 2018
The survey results, which the company released today, offer several takeaways that should have small business owners feeling optimistic about the future. In addition to just under 27 percent of consumers saying that they’re likely to shop with small businesses even more in 2018, 75 percent also indicated that they’re likely to do at least some of their holiday shopping with small businesses this year.
Vistaprint conducted the survey with 1,504 adult consumers in the U.S., with results weighted against the U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey. So the panel provides an accurate representation of the population as a whole.
In addition to finding those positive trends for small business owners, the survey could also offer some potential tips for small businesses looking to appeal to more consumers. For instance, 60 percent of shoppers prefer to buy or interact with small businesses in stores. But 67% said it’s also important to them that small businesses have a website. So small shops can potentially attract the most business by having both an online and offline presence.
Additionally, the use of social media among small businesses is not considered to be as important to consumers as having a website. But shoppers do seem to take personalized and friendly service seriously; 69 percent said they would want to shop with a small business more if the owner knew them by name.
Overall, the results show a lot of positive trends for small businesses. Consumers seem to value the great service and commitment to the local community that shopping small offers. So even though many large businesses can offer low prices and easy to use websites, small businesses can potentially stay relevant by focusing on those factors that consumers value most when shopping with small businesses.
Sandwich Bar Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Shoppers Plan to Spend 25 Percent More at Small Businesses Next Year, New Study Finds" was first published on Small Business Trends
I have had the opportunity to work with the small-business community over the last twenty years.
That community includes people looking to start a business, those in the start-up stage, others growing to the next stage, and a cadre of people dedicated to support these folks.
I have seen businesses start but also shut down.
Over that time, I am often asked what is the key element to success.
A successful, sustainable small-business meets a need. It offers products and services at prices the market will pay. These businesses market themselves and watch their dollars carefully. The owner knows that he or she must do the daily tasks and also look forward and plan for the future. And the owner understands the importance of keeping up with the trends. While the initial product might be unique, it won’t stay that way plus the market itself will often shift away to new ideas and alternatives.
Yet even when following all of these important elements, some businesses make it and other don’t. So what else is at play?
Some people say its luck or timing. Others talk about the support network and mentors that a business owner has in place.
And there is support for those two factors as well.
But there is one more element I view as even more crucial than all of these. That element is passion!!
Some call it perseverance or focus. Neither of these quite capture the attitude though.
You have to want it. You think about your business constantly looking for ideas and concepts to follow.
One of the earliest business owners I worked with drove this idea home. There were ups and downs, and hurdles. His response was it’s all a learning experience and let’s keep learning. If you asked him about his business, he knew it would be a success.
Passion, it goes a long ways. No it isn’t the only thing you need but it sure helps when the road ahead looks rocky.
Back-to-school sales come before the big holiday season, and it is an indicator of how consumers will shop when Black Friday finally rolls around. The back-to-school ecommerce sales data released by NetElixir reports a 3 percent increase over the previous year, but a much better number in mobile orders and revenue.
A Surge in Mobile Ecommerce Growth
The 3 percent growth was significant, but the changing behavior of shoppers was more impressive. Mobile orders were up by 44 percent, while desktop orders were down 3 percent. And when it came to revenue, the numbers were even more dramatic. Mobile revenue was up by 64 percent, with desktop managing a meager 2 percent.
For small businesses still on the fence about their mobile presence, the latest data from NetElixir is a wakeup call.
Udayan Bose, CEO, NetElixir, explained the trend in mobile commerce. “Every year, the spend on mobile just keeps accelerating and we can confidently say that mobile sales percentage contribution will continue to increase. People are getting more comfortable making purchases directly on mobile devices, which means retailers need to be prepared to convert consumers on mobile.”
In another positive trend for mobile commerce, the average order value (AOV) is increasing, quickly closing the 30 – 35 percent gap desktop enjoyed. In the survey, the AOV of desktop now stands at $132, while mobile came in at $109. But a more revealing data is, the increase was only $5 for desktop and $13 for mobile from the 2016 figures, bringing the gap to under 15 percent.
How is it Going to Affect Holiday Sales?
In its Holiday Forecasts report, NetElixir is projecting a 10 percent ecommerce sales growth for 2017, which is down by one percent from the previous year. The company says 35 percent of all online purchases will happen through mobile phones.
Businesses integrating mobile presence with near-me searches along with buy online and pick-up in-store features will experience more opportunities.
Takeaway For Small Businesses
The NetElixir survey spanned 40 days, from July 27 to September 5, 2017. But in that time, the survey analyzed 80 million ecommerce sessions on mobile and desktop.
Simply put, mobile commerce is growing. And as a small business, you have to do all you can to have a mobile presence, and if you do optimize it for commerce.
Woman Buys School Supplies Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Back to School eCommerce Sales Jump 3 Percent Over 2016" was first published on Small Business Trends
Close to 11 percent of Americans believe owning Bitcoin is illegal, but almost half or 47.71 percent are also not sure. This is according to a poll commissioned by LendEDU and carried out by polling company OnePoll.
Are Bitcoins Legal?
Bitcoins are legal, however, the perception that they’re not is slowing its use.
From the $230 price in September 2015, Bitcoin has gone to the $4,000+ price of today. But even as the cryptocurrency is growing to new highs, the number of people using is still very low. In the survey, only 13.99 percent said they either owned or currently own Bitcoins, but a whopping 85.37 percent said they have never owned it.
When it comes to using Bitcoin for transaction and purchases, the numbers are better, with 39.57 percent saying they would. A little over a third or 34.1 percent said they weren’t sure, and 26.34 percent rejected it all together.
So What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, also called cryptocurrency, created and held electronically. It is a digital payments system that is not controlled by anyone. As a peer-to-peer system, the transactions are carried out between users, thus eliminating the cost incurred by intermediaries.
The Future of Bitcoin
What Bitcoin has going for it is a young demographic. While Americans over 55 are more reluctant, those between 18 and 34 are open to using, owning and investing in Bitcoin, the survey said. For small business looking to accept Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, the future looks promising.
The survey also looked at gender, and males owned and were more likely to use and invest in Bitcoin over females. But the discrepancies weren’t as large as other segments, with differences of less than 20 percent.
Who is Accepting Bitcoin?
The number and type of businesses accepting Bitcoin is growing. Microsoft, Intuit, PayPal, Dish Network and Overstock.com are a few examples. Retailers in the real-world also take it, including Target, K-Mart, Subway, Victoria’s Secret, and Whole Foods.
Bitcoin Processor Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "11 Percent of Americans Think Bitcoin is Illegal, But Business Use Growing" was first published on Small Business Trends
Asset Builders of Southwest Louisiana, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, actually started as a way to help low and moderate income residents save enough to buy homes in the area. But Asset Builders is now adding a Business Capitalization Component to help existing businesses capitalize on their investments.
In order to qualify for the program, business owners must live in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron or Jeff Davis parishes in Louisiana. They must be active in business for at least a year. They must have a business banking account, EIN, Schedule C (if applicable), and occupational license (if required by their local government). And they must also attend a program orientation to learn about other criteria and eligible uses of the grant funds.
Once accepted, business owners can open IDAs, which are savings accounts that match their deposits up to a predetermined maximum amount. That amount can vary for each business based on a number of factors. Essentially, it’s a way for businesses to make even more from the money they put into their savings.
More Local Small Business Programs on the Way?
For the community, supporting small businesses in this way can provide a big boost to the local economy. Small businesses are likely to hire local workers and keep their money in the community. So if this program is a success, it could potentially start a trend toward more local small business programs. And if other communities around the country use it as a model, it could provide a major boost to small businesses and the economy as a whole.
Louisiana Welcome Sign Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Could Louisiana Small Business Asset Building Program Be the Start of a Trend?" was first published on Small Business Trends
What good is it to teach people how to be good entrepreneurs if you don’t make more places for them to try out tiny business ideas?
Right now, once they finish the class, they need to have all their ducks in a row in order to go into business in the traditional ways. In order to afford a building or location and all the startup expenses and then survive the first year, they need to be clean and sober, have great credit, deep pockets, good connections, strong business skills, and a solid support network. This is asking too much of most people.
If they don’t have every advantage in that list, they’re going to need to start smaller, probably tiny. They’ll have to start by using the Innovative Rural Business Models.
Then they can slowly build up their resources, their finances, better credit, more connections, better business skills and find that support network as they go. While they’re already in business.
And the in-class learning is valuable, but the real-world experience of actually being in business, even a tiny business, is even more valuable. It’s one thing to listen to the lesson on cash flow; it’s another thing entirely to figure out how you’re going to pay for merchandise before you sell it.
Entrepreneurship is the best leverage point for improving the quality of life in your community. When you give people the tools and resources to earn their own money, you’re helping people gain the financial resources to take on the most pressing issues in your community.
Just make sure you don’t leave them stranded after class, with no place to go into business.
Does the thought of writing a business plan have your head spinning? Using business planning software like iPlanner.NET (not to be confused with the iPlanner calendar app) is a great way to approach these tasks head-on. In this iPlanner Review, we’ll talk about pros and cons, pricing and features, customer reviews and more. Once we’re