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25 Profitable Projects for your Welding Business

25 Profitable Welding Projects

Welding is a skill that you need to perfect over time with lots of practice. There’s no reason why you can’t combine it with creativity to make some money with these 25 profitable welding projects.

Profitable Welding Projects

TV Trays

This is a real blast from the past and something that harkens back to frozen TV dinners. That’s why even though the project is called TV tray dinner, you can use it for a side table. One of the best things about this project is it’s easy for beginners because the frame is simple.

These are an easy sell to folks looking for something different.

 Unique Tractor Forks

Big construction companies are always looking toward cutting costs. A good way to do that is by buying custom tractor forks that can be used for other purposes too. It’s a welding job but you need some of the bigger toys like a MIG welder and plasma cutter to get going.

In these volatile economic times, this is profitable because it allows managers to make on site modifications.

A Cool Fire Pit

One half sheet of steel is all it takes to get this project underway. Keep in mind you’ll need to make score marks on the sheet of steel for this project. Preparing the edges at the corners for welding is best done with a grinding disc.

These are great because of the safety factor– all the embers stay inside the edges.

A Metal Trellis

Lots of people are fond of growing vegetables in their gardens so this is a great way to make a little side cash with your welding chops. Keep in mind this one has lots of parts so you’ll need to do lots of clamping before you start welding. Some estimates say clamping takes almost 3 times longer than the actual welding!

Sign Holders

Small businesses are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves. Welding together some wrought iron to make up one of these holders is profitable. It allows entrepreneurs to make that all-important first impression.

Smaller versions can bring in up to $150. The bigger more ornate types can fetch as much a $600.

Residential Customization

Real estate is still on shaky ground although it’s improving slowly. People are looking to renovate rather than move  and that means things like iron fences and railings as well as handrails are the kind of welded home renovation projects people are looking for today.

Brackets for Architecture

Using 3/8-inch steel is the way to go here. If you custom weld a series of architectural brackets, builders and designers who are looking for something solid will help you to bump up your bottom line by buying them. You can make money by welding these in volume – try about 25 to 50 at a time.

 Older Auto Fixes

Bodywork is expensive for any car owner. Offering to do some welding fixes can save people that high cost of using that service in the garage. If you know some folks with older vehicles, there will come a time when they need something welded back together.

This can be a nice side hustle.

Fireplace Log Grates

These are great for people who can quickly put a grate together and sell it on Craigslist or your own website. Quick search phrases these at about $80 a pop.

Attachment For a Snowplow

These make it easier for small businesses that clean parking lots and such. Research tells us they take less than a week to complete and cost under $500 to make.

Utility Trailer

Getting creative with your welding projects can be profitable at the same time. If you try scouring junkyards for anything that’s old but still on wheels like an old trailer, you can use your welding skills to make it into a utility cart.

Repurposing what was considered to be old junk gives it an added selling attraction.

Mudroom Bench

All you need to get started here is 1-inch square tubing. You’ll need to know a little about metal cutting as well, but the finished product is always unique and a wonderful touch to any entranceway.

Arbor For The Patio

There’s lots of room for custom looks . Creativity is central here and at least one project we looked at repurposed fence railings and the legs from an old trampoline.

A Metal Heart

Simple is always best. Use an old bike chain here—get one from the local thrift store if you don’t have one. All you need to do is weld this into the right shape and you’ve got a nice garden decoration that sells because its unique.

A Wood Stove

All you need to get started is a cast iron door and a steel drum. If you keep your costs lower than $300 and sell these around that price, you’ll be undercutting what a brand new wood stove costs.

Wheelchair Ramp

A 4 ft. x 8 ft. ramp takes from 7:00 am to 4 pm the same day from start to completion. The welded steel frame stands up in all weather conditions.

Fireguards

Keeping curious fingers away from a fireplace or wood stove can cost hundreds of dollars if you buy a screen or guard from a home improvement store. Making these can cost you less than $30 when you use your skills as a welder .

Metal Gates

Ornamental gates are big sellers for folks who spend a lot of time outside. Wrought Iron is the most popular choice for a material.

These are perfect for the yard or the garden.

Car Ramps

There are times when mechanics need to lift up the front or backs of cars. Making specific ramps for each occasion fills a niche and can make you some money when you find the right customers. The selling proposition needs to be the fact that you’ll make a unique set for each garage.

Targets

Sport shooters are always looking for falling targets that they can use again and again. Here’s another excellent project you can use your welding chops on.  Everything but the hinges to flip the targets can be welded.

BBQs

These require a little bit more technical knowhow. But at least there’s still a profit after you invest a few hundred bucks and sell them. You can go as big as you want if you start with something like an old oil tank.

A Menorah

These can be welded together with different pieces of iron. One quick tip—make sure they hold the candles in little dishes so there’s no dripping wax.

Yard Art

Profitable for beginners looking to make a few bucks, these are generally leftovers and scraps fashioned into metal animals like fish.

A Shop Stool

If you’re a beginner looking to make something profitable, why not a shop stool? You may not sell it, but you’ll be getting better as a welder and that will lead to more money down the road.

Pet Gate

This is where fun meets profit. Metal tubing and metal hinges are all you’ll really need. You can sell these at your local flea market.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "25 Profitable Projects for your Welding Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



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25 Profitable Projects for your Welding Business

25 Profitable Welding Projects

Welding is a skill that you need to perfect over time with lots of practice. There’s no reason why you can’t combine it with creativity to make some money with these 25 profitable welding projects.

Profitable Welding Projects

TV Trays

This is a real blast from the past and something that harkens back to frozen TV dinners. That’s why even though the project is called TV tray dinner, you can use it for a side table. One of the best things about this project is it’s easy for beginners because the frame is simple.

These are an easy sell to folks looking for something different.

 Unique Tractor Forks

Big construction companies are always looking toward cutting costs. A good way to do that is by buying custom tractor forks that can be used for other purposes too. It’s a welding job but you need some of the bigger toys like a MIG welder and plasma cutter to get going.

In these volatile economic times, this is profitable because it allows managers to make on site modifications.

A Cool Fire Pit

One half sheet of steel is all it takes to get this project underway. Keep in mind you’ll need to make score marks on the sheet of steel for this project. Preparing the edges at the corners for welding is best done with a grinding disc.

These are great because of the safety factor– all the embers stay inside the edges.

A Metal Trellis

Lots of people are fond of growing vegetables in their gardens so this is a great way to make a little side cash with your welding chops. Keep in mind this one has lots of parts so you’ll need to do lots of clamping before you start welding. Some estimates say clamping takes almost 3 times longer than the actual welding!

Sign Holders

Small businesses are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves. Welding together some wrought iron to make up one of these holders is profitable. It allows entrepreneurs to make that all-important first impression.

Smaller versions can bring in up to $150. The bigger more ornate types can fetch as much a $600.

Residential Customization

Real estate is still on shaky ground although it’s improving slowly. People are looking to renovate rather than move  and that means things like iron fences and railings as well as handrails are the kind of welded home renovation projects people are looking for today.

Brackets for Architecture

Using 3/8-inch steel is the way to go here. If you custom weld a series of architectural brackets, builders and designers who are looking for something solid will help you to bump up your bottom line by buying them. You can make money by welding these in volume – try about 25 to 50 at a time.

 Older Auto Fixes

Bodywork is expensive for any car owner. Offering to do some welding fixes can save people that high cost of using that service in the garage. If you know some folks with older vehicles, there will come a time when they need something welded back together.

This can be a nice side hustle.

Fireplace Log Grates

These are great for people who can quickly put a grate together and sell it on Craigslist or your own website. Quick search phrases these at about $80 a pop.

Attachment For a Snowplow

These make it easier for small businesses that clean parking lots and such. Research tells us they take less than a week to complete and cost under $500 to make.

Utility Trailer

Getting creative with your welding projects can be profitable at the same time. If you try scouring junkyards for anything that’s old but still on wheels like an old trailer, you can use your welding skills to make it into a utility cart.

Repurposing what was considered to be old junk gives it an added selling attraction.

Mudroom Bench

All you need to get started here is 1-inch square tubing. You’ll need to know a little about metal cutting as well, but the finished product is always unique and a wonderful touch to any entranceway.

Arbor For The Patio

There’s lots of room for custom looks . Creativity is central here and at least one project we looked at repurposed fence railings and the legs from an old trampoline.

A Metal Heart

Simple is always best. Use an old bike chain here—get one from the local thrift store if you don’t have one. All you need to do is weld this into the right shape and you’ve got a nice garden decoration that sells because its unique.

A Wood Stove

All you need to get started is a cast iron door and a steel drum. If you keep your costs lower than $300 and sell these around that price, you’ll be undercutting what a brand new wood stove costs.

Wheelchair Ramp

A 4 ft. x 8 ft. ramp takes from 7:00 am to 4 pm the same day from start to completion. The welded steel frame stands up in all weather conditions.

Fireguards

Keeping curious fingers away from a fireplace or wood stove can cost hundreds of dollars if you buy a screen or guard from a home improvement store. Making these can cost you less than $30 when you use your skills as a welder .

Metal Gates

Ornamental gates are big sellers for folks who spend a lot of time outside. Wrought Iron is the most popular choice for a material.

These are perfect for the yard or the garden.

Car Ramps

There are times when mechanics need to lift up the front or backs of cars. Making specific ramps for each occasion fills a niche and can make you some money when you find the right customers. The selling proposition needs to be the fact that you’ll make a unique set for each garage.

Targets

Sport shooters are always looking for falling targets that they can use again and again. Here’s another excellent project you can use your welding chops on.  Everything but the hinges to flip the targets can be welded.

BBQs

These require a little bit more technical knowhow. But at least there’s still a profit after you invest a few hundred bucks and sell them. You can go as big as you want if you start with something like an old oil tank.

A Menorah

These can be welded together with different pieces of iron. One quick tip—make sure they hold the candles in little dishes so there’s no dripping wax.

Yard Art

Profitable for beginners looking to make a few bucks, these are generally leftovers and scraps fashioned into metal animals like fish.

A Shop Stool

If you’re a beginner looking to make something profitable, why not a shop stool? You may not sell it, but you’ll be getting better as a welder and that will lead to more money down the road.

Pet Gate

This is where fun meets profit. Metal tubing and metal hinges are all you’ll really need. You can sell these at your local flea market.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "25 Profitable Projects for your Welding Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

A Manager’s Guide To Effective Meetings

Sponsored Post

A Manager’s Guide To Effective Meetings

As a manager, it’s important to maintain communication with your employees. Though it may be tempting to fire off an email every time you have news to share, there are certain advantages that come from conducting staff meetings. Meetings help build company culture by bringing teams together to share ideas and questions, and they give employees time to be heard. There are two types of meetings — one-on-one and staff — that keep the channels of communication between managers and employees open.

Both styles of meetings have benefits for employees and managers. In a one-on-one, managers gain insight to what it’s like working as an employee in that company, what challenges they face as well as ideas for improvement. Employees often get direct feedback on performance during one-on-ones, as well as strategize self-improvement or set goals. Staff meetings are important when there is a lot of information to disseminate, which is beneficial to the schedules of everyone involved. Often, group meetings are used as brainstorming sessions.

Tips For An Effective One-On-One

1. How Do You Feel About Your Work?

It benefits your employees to know that you care about their well-being. According to a study conducted by employee engagement experts, nearly 70 percent of people surveyed felt undervalued at work. Asking employees for feedback tells them that their opinions and feelings are important. The information you gain from this question can directly benefit your company, as well. If there’s a pattern to the answers you get, it might be time to make changes in policy or personnel.

2. Are You Meeting Your Goals Or Those Of The Company?

It’s important that your employees connect with your business’ goals, and they will be more driven if they are meeting their personal goals, as well. Goal setting increases self-confidence and improves productivity, so it would benefit you to help your employees meet goals. During regular performance reviews, you can revisit goals, create an action plan of next steps and assist in any way you can, such as provide more training.

3. What Do You Love (Or Not Love) About Work?

It’s important to employees that they enjoy their work, and it’s just as important to you and your bottom line. A study found that happiness at work leads to a 12 percent increase in productivity. Ask them which parts of the job get them excited and which parts they dread. You may not be able to fix every problem, but there will likely be many you can fix through reorganization or delegation. For example, nearly all your employees dread filling out paperwork, but it’s a preferred task for one of your employees. Shuffling tasks to play to peoples’ preferences and skills increases the likelihood of happier employees.

Tips For An Effective Staff Meeting

1. Less Is More.

Inefficient meetings are costly as they pull employees away from work that directly move your company closer to its goals. Creating a timed staff meeting agenda with a well-defined intention ensures you and your team get the most out of the meeting within a reasonable time frame.

2. Discuss, Don’t “Dump.”

“Dumping” information on employees without actionable steps is best left for an email. Effective meetings should be kept on a schedule to ensure important topics are covered in a timely manner, and it’s important the staff meeting agenda includes time for discussion. This discussion should include deciding who is responsible for what and setting deadlines. Determining next steps and getting employee feedback is what separates a meeting from a “dump.”

3. Manage The Size.

When it comes to business meetings, “the more the merrier” doesn’t apply. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos created the “two pizza rule” of meetings and teamwork, which has become an industry standard. The rule states two pizzas should feed everyone invited to a meeting. Limiting the number of people invited to a meeting is shown to increase engagement and communication and reduce frustration.

Small Business Guide To Effective Team Management

University of West Alabama’s Small Business Guide to Effective Team Management is a free resource with tips on how to make great hires and foster a company culture that flourishes. Effective team management is one of the most important skills an employer can learn.

Other Effective Management Techniques

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business degrees have become one of the most popular degrees earned. Since 1970, the number of business degrees awarded tripled at the bachelor’s degree level and increased sevenfold at the master’s degree level. Because of this increase, employers have come to expect candidates to have a business degree on some level.

The online BBA program at University of West Alabama offers concentrations in accounting, business administration, management, marketing and computer information systems. Our program is competitively priced, and 80 percent of students receive some type of financial aid. Further your business career with an online MBA in the future. UWA online allows you to study in a convenient setting that allows you to maintain your professional and personal schedule. There are more than 50 online degrees available.

Photo via University of West Alabama Online

This article, "A Manager’s Guide To Effective Meetings" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

A Manager’s Guide To Effective Meetings

Sponsored Post

A Manager’s Guide To Effective Meetings

As a manager, it’s important to maintain communication with your employees. Though it may be tempting to fire off an email every time you have news to share, there are certain advantages that come from conducting staff meetings. Meetings help build company culture by bringing teams together to share ideas and questions, and they give employees time to be heard. There are two types of meetings — one-on-one and staff — that keep the channels of communication between managers and employees open.

Both styles of meetings have benefits for employees and managers. In a one-on-one, managers gain insight to what it’s like working as an employee in that company, what challenges they face as well as ideas for improvement. Employees often get direct feedback on performance during one-on-ones, as well as strategize self-improvement or set goals. Staff meetings are important when there is a lot of information to disseminate, which is beneficial to the schedules of everyone involved. Often, group meetings are used as brainstorming sessions.

Tips For An Effective One-On-One

1. How Do You Feel About Your Work?

It benefits your employees to know that you care about their well-being. According to a study conducted by employee engagement experts, nearly 70 percent of people surveyed felt undervalued at work. Asking employees for feedback tells them that their opinions and feelings are important. The information you gain from this question can directly benefit your company, as well. If there’s a pattern to the answers you get, it might be time to make changes in policy or personnel.

2. Are You Meeting Your Goals Or Those Of The Company?

It’s important that your employees connect with your business’ goals, and they will be more driven if they are meeting their personal goals, as well. Goal setting increases self-confidence and improves productivity, so it would benefit you to help your employees meet goals. During regular performance reviews, you can revisit goals, create an action plan of next steps and assist in any way you can, such as provide more training.

3. What Do You Love (Or Not Love) About Work?

It’s important to employees that they enjoy their work, and it’s just as important to you and your bottom line. A study found that happiness at work leads to a 12 percent increase in productivity. Ask them which parts of the job get them excited and which parts they dread. You may not be able to fix every problem, but there will likely be many you can fix through reorganization or delegation. For example, nearly all your employees dread filling out paperwork, but it’s a preferred task for one of your employees. Shuffling tasks to play to peoples’ preferences and skills increases the likelihood of happier employees.

Tips For An Effective Staff Meeting

1. Less Is More.

Inefficient meetings are costly as they pull employees away from work that directly move your company closer to its goals. Creating a timed staff meeting agenda with a well-defined intention ensures you and your team get the most out of the meeting within a reasonable time frame.

2. Discuss, Don’t “Dump.”

“Dumping” information on employees without actionable steps is best left for an email. Effective meetings should be kept on a schedule to ensure important topics are covered in a timely manner, and it’s important the staff meeting agenda includes time for discussion. This discussion should include deciding who is responsible for what and setting deadlines. Determining next steps and getting employee feedback is what separates a meeting from a “dump.”

3. Manage The Size.

When it comes to business meetings, “the more the merrier” doesn’t apply. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos created the “two pizza rule” of meetings and teamwork, which has become an industry standard. The rule states two pizzas should feed everyone invited to a meeting. Limiting the number of people invited to a meeting is shown to increase engagement and communication and reduce frustration.

Small Business Guide To Effective Team Management

University of West Alabama’s Small Business Guide to Effective Team Management is a free resource with tips on how to make great hires and foster a company culture that flourishes. Effective team management is one of the most important skills an employer can learn.

Other Effective Management Techniques

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business degrees have become one of the most popular degrees earned. Since 1970, the number of business degrees awarded tripled at the bachelor’s degree level and increased sevenfold at the master’s degree level. Because of this increase, employers have come to expect candidates to have a business degree on some level.

The online BBA program at University of West Alabama offers concentrations in accounting, business administration, management, marketing and computer information systems. Our program is competitively priced, and 80 percent of students receive some type of financial aid. Further your business career with an online MBA in the future. UWA online allows you to study in a convenient setting that allows you to maintain your professional and personal schedule. There are more than 50 online degrees available.

Photo via University of West Alabama Online

This article, "A Manager’s Guide To Effective Meetings" was first published on Small Business Trends



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NATSO Foundation Helps Alabama Fight Human Trafficking

The NATSO Foundation will join the Alabama Attorney General, the Alabama Trucking Association and Truckers Against Trafficking Feb. 12 in sponsoring a coalition meeting in Montgomery, Ala., aimed at coordinating ways to fight human trafficking within the state.

Truckstops and travel plazas have a critical role to play in reporting suspected incidents of human trafficking along the nation’s Interstate Highway System and are invited to attend this private meeting. 

State coalition meetings provide an opportunity to educate members of the business community, transportation and law enforcement about human trafficking as well as serve as an open forum to discuss human trafficking trends in regional areas.  

The event is scheduled to be held at the Office of the Alabama Attorney General from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is closed to press.

The NATSO Foundation is committed to engaging truckstops and travel centers in the fight against human trafficking. Attending regional meetings focused on human trafficking education represent an important component of a multi-faceted anti-human trafficking program.

To learn more about how to implement a comprehensive program to fight human trafficking and to access additional resources and tools offered by the NATSO Foundation download the NATSO Foundation’s Combating Human Trafficking Toolkit.

NATSO members are encouraged to train their employees in how to recognize and respond to suspected incidents of human trafficking using the NATSO Foundation’s online course,  "The Role of Truckstops in Combating Human Trafficking." The course is free to anyone in the truckstop and travel plaza community. Non-NATSO members should call Kimberly Roberts at 703-739-8573 orkroberts@natso.com to establish an account.

Truckstops seeking additional information regarding the Feb. 12 coalition meeting or who would like to learn about future coalition meeting locations should contact Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman at 703-739-8578 or twlazlowski@natso.com.

Click here for more information on all of the NATSO Foundation's initiatives to combat human trafficking.



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Why You Should Consider Scrapping This Unoriginal Type of Content

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. My personal resolutions always feel contrived, so several years ago I just stopped...

The post Why You Should Consider Scrapping This Unoriginal Type of Content appeared first on Copyblogger.



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Types of Crowdfunding for your Small Business

Types of Crowdfunding for your Small Business

Crowdfunding has become a viable form for funding a venture, project, cause, event and much more. For small businesses looking to bypass traditional sources of financing such as bank loans, angel investing or venture capital, it is now a great option.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a campaign, it is important to note there are different types of crowdfunding. And this doesn’t mean the platform or portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others.

The confusion stems from clumping crowdfunding under one umbrella, when in reality there are different types or models. Depending on your project, choosing the right model for your small business is critically important to ensure the success of your campaign.

Types of Crowdfunding

So before you get started, here is a quick primer on the different types of crowdfunding.

Rewards-Based Crowdfunding

When you talk about crowdfunding, the rewards-based model is what most people are familiar with. This is in great part due to the popularity of platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

This type of crowdfunding is used to launch everything from ideas of a product to fully functional prototypes looking to go into full production. For the investors or contributors, the reward is getting to buy the item at a much lower price before it becomes available to the general public along with other incentives

In addition to a discounted price, businesses also offer meeting with founders, trip to company headquarters and more.

Rewards-based crowdfunding has multiple benefits for a small business. This includes access to cheap money because you don’t have to pay interest or dividends on the investment.

With the right platform, the campaign also serves as a marketing tool for the product. Early adopters become advocates who grow its popularity with word of mouth promotion. This is so effective, big brands are now introducing products with reward-based crowdfunding to test them before they launch it.

Equity Crowdfunding

As the name implies this model sells off small shares or equity of the business to investors with the goal of delivering returns if the business succeeds. And of all the types of crowdfunding, it is the most complicated of the bunch.

Equity crowdfunding can be used by any startup, but it is best suited for more established firms looking to expand and raise large sums of capital for their next stage of development.

Businesses who launch equity campaigns have minimums which are much higher than the other types of crowdfunding. They can start anywhere from $500 to $1,000 and go much higher.

The complexity lies in the SEC compliances businesses have to abide by when using equity crowdfunding. This includes disclosures such as financial statements, tax returns, price of the sold securities, and more. And this is why experienced businesses should use this model to raise funds with equity crowdfunding.

Another potential problem is you will be selling a part of your company. If you don’t want to answer to outside investors and all it entails, this might not be the right vehicle to fund your enterprise.

Peer to Peer or P2P Lending

As a crowdfunding model, peer to peer or P2P provides personal unsecured loans to small businesses or individuals. The P2P platforms bring together lenders and those looking for a loan.

If you are a small business looking for an alternative lender, P2P provides a solution.

The amount of the loan and interest rates depend on whether you are an individual or a business. Based on the platform individuals can apply anywhere from $1k to $35K or more, while small businesses can ask from $15K to $350K or more.

The interest rates may depend on the loan grade, your credit, platform and other factors. As any other loan, make sure you fully understand your liabilities before you apply.

As one of the types of crowdfunding which deal in lending money, P2P platforms have to abide by state regulations. This is why P2P lending is not available in all states. So, before you get going, make sure your state allows P2P lending.

Peer to Business or P2B Lending

Peer to business or P2B works the same way as the P2P model, but it specializes in loans to businesses.

This is one of the relatively new types of crowdfunding, but it is gaining traction because it gives small businesses yet another funding solution.

Just as the P2P model the amount and interest rate also depend on a variety of factors. Because the loan is given to businesses, lenders in most cases want an established company with collateral.

This might not be for everyone, but if you need quick cash with manageable interest rates, take a look at P2B crowdfunding.

Donation-Based Crowdfunding

If you happen to run a not for profit organization, a donation-based crowdfunding is a great option to support the causes you are passionate about.

Unlike the other types of crowdfunding, the goal here is to help a cause. This can be issues affecting your community, city, state, country or the world for that matter.

With this type of funding the contributors don’t get a product or shares of the company. This type of crowdfunding is another channel to highlight a particular cause and get support from like-minded individuals or organizations who believe in it.

What is Crowdfunding?

Even though it seems like there are many different types of crowdfunding, they are basically the same thing. They take money from individuals and make it available to people and businesses looking for funding.

Where they differ is in the implementation of the funds they receive from their contributors/investors and the segment they address.

For small businesses who want to launch a new product, get a loan, or support a cause it means they no longer have to depend on banks to make it happen. Crowdfunding is a real option.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Types of Crowdfunding for your Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Types of Crowdfunding for your Small Business

Types of Crowdfunding for your Small Business

Crowdfunding has become a viable form for funding a venture, project, cause, event and much more. For small businesses looking to bypass traditional sources of financing such as bank loans, angel investing or venture capital, it is now a great option.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a campaign, it is important to note there are different types of crowdfunding. And this doesn’t mean the platform or portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others.

The confusion stems from clumping crowdfunding under one umbrella, when in reality there are different types or models. Depending on your project, choosing the right model for your small business is critically important to ensure the success of your campaign.

Types of Crowdfunding

So before you get started, here is a quick primer on the different types of crowdfunding.

Rewards-Based Crowdfunding

When you talk about crowdfunding, the rewards-based model is what most people are familiar with. This is in great part due to the popularity of platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

This type of crowdfunding is used to launch everything from ideas of a product to fully functional prototypes looking to go into full production. For the investors or contributors, the reward is getting to buy the item at a much lower price before it becomes available to the general public along with other incentives

In addition to a discounted price, businesses also offer meeting with founders, trip to company headquarters and more.

Rewards-based crowdfunding has multiple benefits for a small business. This includes access to cheap money because you don’t have to pay interest or dividends on the investment.

With the right platform, the campaign also serves as a marketing tool for the product. Early adopters become advocates who grow its popularity with word of mouth promotion. This is so effective, big brands are now introducing products with reward-based crowdfunding to test them before they launch it.

Equity Crowdfunding

As the name implies this model sells off small shares or equity of the business to investors with the goal of delivering returns if the business succeeds. And of all the types of crowdfunding, it is the most complicated of the bunch.

Equity crowdfunding can be used by any startup, but it is best suited for more established firms looking to expand and raise large sums of capital for their next stage of development.

Businesses who launch equity campaigns have minimums which are much higher than the other types of crowdfunding. They can start anywhere from $500 to $1,000 and go much higher.

The complexity lies in the SEC compliances businesses have to abide by when using equity crowdfunding. This includes disclosures such as financial statements, tax returns, price of the sold securities, and more. And this is why experienced businesses should use this model to raise funds with equity crowdfunding.

Another potential problem is you will be selling a part of your company. If you don’t want to answer to outside investors and all it entails, this might not be the right vehicle to fund your enterprise.

Peer to Peer or P2P Lending

As a crowdfunding model, peer to peer or P2P provides personal unsecured loans to small businesses or individuals. The P2P platforms bring together lenders and those looking for a loan.

If you are a small business looking for an alternative lender, P2P provides a solution.

The amount of the loan and interest rates depend on whether you are an individual or a business. Based on the platform individuals can apply anywhere from $1k to $35K or more, while small businesses can ask from $15K to $350K or more.

The interest rates may depend on the loan grade, your credit, platform and other factors. As any other loan, make sure you fully understand your liabilities before you apply.

As one of the types of crowdfunding which deal in lending money, P2P platforms have to abide by state regulations. This is why P2P lending is not available in all states. So, before you get going, make sure your state allows P2P lending.

Peer to Business or P2B Lending

Peer to business or P2B works the same way as the P2P model, but it specializes in loans to businesses.

This is one of the relatively new types of crowdfunding, but it is gaining traction because it gives small businesses yet another funding solution.

Just as the P2P model the amount and interest rate also depend on a variety of factors. Because the loan is given to businesses, lenders in most cases want an established company with collateral.

This might not be for everyone, but if you need quick cash with manageable interest rates, take a look at P2B crowdfunding.

Donation-Based Crowdfunding

If you happen to run a not for profit organization, a donation-based crowdfunding is a great option to support the causes you are passionate about.

Unlike the other types of crowdfunding, the goal here is to help a cause. This can be issues affecting your community, city, state, country or the world for that matter.

With this type of funding the contributors don’t get a product or shares of the company. This type of crowdfunding is another channel to highlight a particular cause and get support from like-minded individuals or organizations who believe in it.

What is Crowdfunding?

Even though it seems like there are many different types of crowdfunding, they are basically the same thing. They take money from individuals and make it available to people and businesses looking for funding.

Where they differ is in the implementation of the funds they receive from their contributors/investors and the segment they address.

For small businesses who want to launch a new product, get a loan, or support a cause it means they no longer have to depend on banks to make it happen. Crowdfunding is a real option.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Types of Crowdfunding for your Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



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NATSO Staff Share Product Mix Tips at AMBEST

Stocking the right product mix is central to not only meeting customers’ needs but also growing sales. NATSO has created a Product Mix To-Go Toolkit to help truckstop and travel plaza operators identify the right products for their locations.

Last year, Darren Schulte, vice president of membership for NATSO, and I shared tips and insight from the toolkit during AMBEST’s  30th annual meeting in Salt Lake City.

ProductMixtoGoToolkit.jpg

Schulte highlighted the five principles of a product mix: understand your customer, offer travel plaza must haves and specialty items that set your truckstop apart, avoid offering multiples of the same product, understand product life cycles and use that knowledge in sales, and understand what inventory is on hand and move out inventory that is dead.

“I am a huge proponent of knowing who is stopping at your location. You have to know who your customer is before determining what product mix you need,” Schulte said. 

To better understand customers, Schulte suggests operators ask themselves how many owner-operators they have compared to company drivers, if the majority of customers are four-wheel traffic or over-the-road truck drivers or if they see more local customers than travelers. He also recommends customer surveys and examining shopper behavior to understand if a location sees buyers or shoppers.

“Understanding the difference between shoppers and buyers can help operators tailor promotions to boost sales,” Schulte said. 

During the session, Schulte also offered tips for finding and stocking carefully selected unique products and specialty categories as well as managing inventory and SKUs. While unproductive inventory is often a cost of doing business, understanding the actual cost of dead inventory and finding effective ways to move it along can free up space for more profitable products.

These topics and more, including ten product mix no-no’s, are covered in more detail within NATSO's Product Mix To-Go Toolkit, which is available to download here.



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4 Benefits to Connecting Your Appointments and Invoices

Just because you work hard to offer the best to your clients, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept help when it could be necessary. By now, there are so many online tools and software solutions that can make things easier on you. While you are busy running your small business, these helpful tools can give you peace of mind.

Appointment booking system

If you run a salon, HR department, consulting firm, pet care service, or any other type of business that requires booking appointments and service scheduling, you’ve probably looked into the available appointment booking software online.

Booking these appointments is only the first step in making online tools work for you.…

The post 4 Benefits to Connecting Your Appointments and Invoices appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.



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Apply These 5 Secrets for Getting a Loan and Surviving in a Bear Market

Can a Small Business Get a Loan in a Bear Market?

Finding a loan is an important part of getting up and running or staying on track through the ups and downs of owning a small business. Well over half of entrepreneurs recently reported they weren’t sure they had enough cash to even start their businesses.

Small Business Trends got in touch with Krista Morgan, CEO and co-founder of P2Binvestor, to find out if and how small business can get a loan in a bear market.

She started by defining the term for us via email.

“In a bear market, banks become more risk-averse and will either 1) not provide SMBs financing at all or 2) provide loans to these small businesses at unfavorable rates,” she writes.

Look Beyond More Traditional Lenders

There’s a case that this is the situation now. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has halted SMB loan programs as of Dec 22 due to the ongoing government shutdown.  There’s a ripple effect that’s being felt by American banks causing them to curb the money they make available for small businesses too.

Morgan stresses there’s still a bright side because the market is diverse:

“Small businesses are fortunate with the wide variety of lending options that are currently available. With banks being more selective to whom they provide loans, alternative lending options become the obvious choice for these small businesses to access financing.”

Realize APRs will Be Higher

Still, she adds a caveat pointing to the fact that small businesses need to be aware that the APR’s and repayment terms, should they be able to get a loan from a bank or alternative institution, won’t be as low as they would in a better market. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the amount charged on any loan over twelve months.

Seek Out Alternative Lenders  as an Option

There’s at least one solution that was designed specifically to support SMB’s during down times when loan money is scarce.

Online alternative lenders were built to support and fund SMBs during down markets,” Morgan writes. “For example, P2Binvestor was built to provide high-end lines of credit to businesses that can’t receive bank financing. So, if banks become more selective and restrictive during a bear market, SMBs know they can access a large pipeline of lenders in order to get the financing they need.”

Develop a Plan for Market Downswings

Small businesses aren’t totally at the mercy of market swings either. Morgan writes that they should have a plan on how to withstand one of these bear markets and even succeed during a downturn. She writes that both banks and alternative lending institutions will be looking to see if any small business has put one of these financial battle plans in place.

She offers a tip:

“The more diversity you have in your payor base provides more security and confidence so even if some of your payors fall off the map during a recession, you still can sell your product or service and be successful.”

Morgan also cautions against taking on large loans because SMBs think their company can grow at a rapid pace during a bear market. She points out that it’s improbable any small business will grow at the same rate it did during a more lucrative bull market. Small businesses taking on loans during leaner times should focus on having money to operate businesses and get over any financial and market humps.

Although she says there aren’t any specific small businesses that stand a better chance than others of surviving a bear market, those that sell high-end luxury goods tend to take a bigger hit during downswings.

Develop a Must-Have Feeling for your Product

“Buyer behavior typically shifts when the market is down and people decide to buy ‘store brand’ goods as opposed to more select ‘niche’ products,” she writes. “At the same time, it is up to these niche businesses to market the product/service need to their customers.”

Finally, Morgan says if a business can stoke that “must have” feeling for their product or service by ramping up demand during the downtime, they should be successful regardless of the market cycle.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Apply These 5 Secrets for Getting a Loan and Surviving in a Bear Market" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Apply These 5 Secrets for Getting a Loan and Surviving in a Bear Market

Can a Small Business Get a Loan in a Bear Market?

Finding a loan is an important part of getting up and running or staying on track through the ups and downs of owning a small business. Well over half of entrepreneurs recently reported they weren’t sure they had enough cash to even start their businesses.

Small Business Trends got in touch with Krista Morgan, CEO and co-founder of P2Binvestor, to find out if and how small business can get a loan in a bear market.

She started by defining the term for us via email.

“In a bear market, banks become more risk-averse and will either 1) not provide SMBs financing at all or 2) provide loans to these small businesses at unfavorable rates,” she writes.

Look Beyond More Traditional Lenders

There’s a case that this is the situation now. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has halted SMB loan programs as of Dec 22 due to the ongoing government shutdown.  There’s a ripple effect that’s being felt by American banks causing them to curb the money they make available for small businesses too.

Morgan stresses there’s still a bright side because the market is diverse:

“Small businesses are fortunate with the wide variety of lending options that are currently available. With banks being more selective to whom they provide loans, alternative lending options become the obvious choice for these small businesses to access financing.”

Realize APRs will Be Higher

Still, she adds a caveat pointing to the fact that small businesses need to be aware that the APR’s and repayment terms, should they be able to get a loan from a bank or alternative institution, won’t be as low as they would in a better market. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the amount charged on any loan over twelve months.

Seek Out Alternative Lenders  as an Option

There’s at least one solution that was designed specifically to support SMB’s during down times when loan money is scarce.

Online alternative lenders were built to support and fund SMBs during down markets,” Morgan writes. “For example, P2Binvestor was built to provide high-end lines of credit to businesses that can’t receive bank financing. So, if banks become more selective and restrictive during a bear market, SMBs know they can access a large pipeline of lenders in order to get the financing they need.”

Develop a Plan for Market Downswings

Small businesses aren’t totally at the mercy of market swings either. Morgan writes that they should have a plan on how to withstand one of these bear markets and even succeed during a downturn. She writes that both banks and alternative lending institutions will be looking to see if any small business has put one of these financial battle plans in place.

She offers a tip:

“The more diversity you have in your payor base provides more security and confidence so even if some of your payors fall off the map during a recession, you still can sell your product or service and be successful.”

Morgan also cautions against taking on large loans because SMBs think their company can grow at a rapid pace during a bear market. She points out that it’s improbable any small business will grow at the same rate it did during a more lucrative bull market. Small businesses taking on loans during leaner times should focus on having money to operate businesses and get over any financial and market humps.

Although she says there aren’t any specific small businesses that stand a better chance than others of surviving a bear market, those that sell high-end luxury goods tend to take a bigger hit during downswings.

Develop a Must-Have Feeling for your Product

“Buyer behavior typically shifts when the market is down and people decide to buy ‘store brand’ goods as opposed to more select ‘niche’ products,” she writes. “At the same time, it is up to these niche businesses to market the product/service need to their customers.”

Finally, Morgan says if a business can stoke that “must have” feeling for their product or service by ramping up demand during the downtime, they should be successful regardless of the market cycle.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Apply These 5 Secrets for Getting a Loan and Surviving in a Bear Market" was first published on Small Business Trends



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3 Habits to Boost Creativity & Become a More Prolific Marketer

Maya Angelou once said, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

Oftentimes, this couldn't feel further from the truth. Imagine, for instance, the moment you finish your quarterly marketing campaign. You're ecstatic -- the campaign launched without a hitch, and you've already seen impressive conversion results.

But you're also exhausted. You feel you've used up so much of your creative energy already -- how will you ever come up with a new idea for the next quarter?

In these instances, it can feel like creativity is finite, and maybe even rare. But as marketers, we're tasked with both the burden and the joy of using creativity to succeed in our roles every day.

Fortunately, there are tactics you can employ to begin building the right habits to become more prolific in your role. Henneke Duistermaat, writer and creator of Enchanting Marketing, created the following hand-drawn infographic to help boost creativity, improve focus, and minimize self-doubt to become a better, more creative marketer. Take a look.

3-creative-habits-infographic-final



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The Best Programming Languages to Learn, According to HubSpot Software Engineers

When Liam Harwood, a Software Engineer at HubSpot, was in elementary school, he loved playing video games. But unlike most kids his age, he also created them. As a 10 year-old, Liam would spend hours hunkered over an old computer in his basement, coding simple games in QBASIC or Quick Beginner's All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

Liam quickly mastered QBASIC and created the most advanced games he could in the rudimentary language. But coding basic games didn’t scratch his creative itch anymore. He had visions for more sophisticated games and projects he wanted to develop, so, at the age of 13, he decided to teach himself as many programming languages as possible, like HTML, Javascript, Java, and Python, among others. By the time Liam graduated high school, his insatiable curiosity and unwavering passion helped him earn a full computer science scholarship to attend Marist College.

Today, Liam is a software engineer on HubSpot’s Design Platform team, where he works on the backend of our Design Tools, Template Marketplace, and other design-related services.

Now -- who says video games just rot your brain?

If you aspire to become a successful software engineer like Liam, but you haven’t learned any programming languages yet, don’t feel pressured to follow his exact path and learn every language under the sun. In fact, if you’re a beginner, Liam recommends only learning three.

“For anyone who wants to dive head first into the technical side of things and really understand how their programs work, I would start with C. It keeps things simple and straightforward, and is the closest a beginner would want to get to writing pure machine code. It also forms the basis for most modern programming language syntax, giving you the skills that can easily be applied to other languages,” he says. “On the other hand, Python may be a good choice for beginners because it has a very simple and digestible syntax, as well as extensive libraries that can help simplify complicated computations. Lastly, Java is another good choice because it’s one of the most widely used languages -- I use it here at HubSpot -- and similar to C, it teaches you fundamental skills that can be applied to other languages.”

Like Liam, a lot of software engineers agree that C, Python, and Java are the best languages to learn as a beginner -- they can help you grasp the fundamental coding skills needed to pick up other, more robust languages.

But some software engineers argue that honing your programing skills requires an even more foundational understanding of computer science. According to Josie Barth, a Software Engineer on HubSpot’s Big Data Infrastructure team, learning the principles of computer science -- not specific languages -- is what will sharpen your programing skills the most.

“While it’s common to get started learning on an object oriented language, like C++ or Java, I think it’s less about learning a specific programming language and more about learning the foundations of computer science, like data structures, algorithms, discrete math, operating systems, computation theory, and more,” she says. “I also wouldn’t necessarily bucket programming languages as beginner, intermediate, or advanced. You choose programming languages based on the kind of tasks you want to do. But there are definitely easier languages to get started on. For example, Java might be easier to get started on than C++ because Java abstracts certain concepts away, but if you needed to program within finer control of the machinery in mind, you’d likely use C++ over Java.”

So while learning specific languages will help refine your programming skills, mastering the fundamentals of computer science will help you reach your potential more than anything else. Because before Liam Hardwood was coding the backend of HubSpot’s Design Platform, he was programming simple video games on a dusty computer in his basement, building his foundational skills with an old language that was considered outdated, even back then.

However, this still begs the question …

1. Java

The Java Virtual Machine lets Java run on virtually any hardware and operating system, making it the most widely used programming language by businesses in the world. And with over 90% of Fortune 500 companies using Java to develop the backend of their applications and 62,000 Java programming jobs posted on Indeed.com last year -- the most out of any language -- Java will be in high demand for a long time.

2. Python

Python has a very simple and digestible syntax, as well as extensive libraries that can help simplify complicated computations, allowing you to hit the ground running when you want to learn other languages.

As a general programming language, Python is mostly used for web development and support for software engineers, but it’s also used a lot in machine learning, which helped it become the second most sought after programming language on Indeed.com, with 46,000 jobs advertised on the online job board.

3. JavaScript

Used to develop the front end of most business’ applications, JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages out there. With over 80% of developers and 95% of all websites using JavaScript, it’s easy to understand why there were over 38,000 JavaScript jobs posted on Indeed.com last year.

4. C/C++

C is the most simple and straightforward programming language around, and it also forms the foundation for most modern programming language syntax, giving you fundamental skills that can easily be applied to other languages.

A successor of C, C++ is an object oriented language, which aims to represent real-life objects as code and is more equipped for developing sophisticated applications, like system or application software, video games, drivers, client-server applications, and embedded firmware. Last year, over 31,000 C++ programming jobs were posted on Indeed.com.

5. C#

Another successor of the C programming language, C# is an object oriented language that’s intuitive to learn, making it the fifth most popular programming language for building software. Microsoft developed C# to run on their .NET platform, and it’s heavily used in video game development. Last year, over 28,000 C# programming jobs were posted on Indeed.com.



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Thinking about a Customer Review Strategy? Here are 9 Ways to Make the Most of One

Overhaul Your Customer Review Strategy for 2019

When customers speak, brands listen. That’s the baseline for doing business in a customer-centric economy. That’s why you just can’t emphasize the importance of customer reviews!

Customer reviews have come a long way from simple word-of-mouth recommendations to published online assessments dissecting your product. Through social media and customer review sites, customers easily share their best and worst experiences about a brand.

Thus, giving them a permanent and powerful voice in the creation and marketing of products. What do all these imply for marketers, operators, and customer service managers in 2019?

How Customer Reviews Impact Your Business

The simplest takeaway is perhaps the most obvious: awesome reviews often lead to awesome sales. In fact, nine in ten B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a trusted review. When people like your product and they share the experience, other people would be interested and would likely join the bandwagon.

Similarly, dismal reviews often lead to dismal revenue performance. A hotel service that generates far too many one-star reviews will be hard-pressed to book a long list of guests.

There are exceptions — such as critically panned films that fare pretty well in the box office, and vice versa — but these are rare. The rule of thumb is you’ll always want positive reviews and a strong reputation for your brand. It’s just common business sense. And it’s largely proven by research findings and popular customer service statistics:

  • Online customer service reviews influence nearly 9 in 10 consumers when making a buying decision.
  • When purchasing a product, 90% of customers are influenced by positive reviews.
  • Around 86% of millennials reveal that they are influenced by negative reviews when buying a product or service.

Without a Customer Reviews Strategy, You’re Losing Out

Given those numbers, any business that does not have an effective customer review strategy fails to benefit from customer feedback in many ways. They:

  1. Forego the opportunity to learn from their audience and keep customers engaged.
  2. Miss potentially game-changing suggestions on how to improve products or services.
  3. Eventually, lose dissatisfied but redeemable customers who are just waiting to be heard and adequately served.
  4. Ignore the golden opportunity to harness the marketing power of their most vocal supporters.

In short, any business that doesn’t have an effective customer review strategy in 2019 will fail to manage their overall customer service and experience.

Top 9 Ways to Make the Most of Your Customer Reviews

1) Publish and Promote your Top Reviews Consistently

Because customer reviews influence purchase decisions, ensure that you publish those reviews on business assets such as your website, online stores, and social media pages. A Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center study shows that displaying (at least five) customer reviews can improve conversion by as much as 270%.

2) Double Down on Negative Reviews to Find New Opportunities

Use customer reviews as a platform for improving customer experience (CX), customer service, and customer success. Skim online and offline reviews to find useful insights on how you can upgrade your products and services to meet customers’ needs/address complaints.

3) Let Customer Reviews also Direct your Product Roadmap

Glean general customer feedback for mentions of “wish lists” or “nice-to-have features” to use as inputs for continuous product development/evolution.

4) Combine Surveys and Analytics to Dig Deeper into Reviews

Use analytics-enabled surveys on social media to generate new or complement existing customer reviews and speed up problem resolutions. Enhance social listening with the right customer analytics tool.

5) Use reviews in your Brand Marketing Efforts

Use well-written, objective, and honest reviews to establish your brand’s authenticity and ability to make valuable connections with its users. Tap these user-generated content as social proof and deploy them as regular elements in your brand communication and content marketing efforts.

Doing so not only helps drive higher conversions as explained earlier but also delivers online ranking benefits since your website gets to publish fresh content on a niche topic.

6) Create Useful Content Users would Love to Review

Complement your customer referral efforts with a recommendations/referrals section in your customer reviews. Majority of buyers are willing to share their experience with other prospects but vendors just need to ask first.

7) Build a Customer Community and Increase your LTV

Give customers a voice in the way you evolve the products they use and you give them an extra reason to stay. Engaged customers have a stake in your brand tend to have longer and higher lifetime value.

8) Prioritize Reviews for Higher-priced Products

Research shows that customer reviews have a greater impact on high-value items (+380%) compared to lower-priced products or services (+190%).

9) Clean and Balance your Reviews Database

Give more premium on reviews done by verified buyers over anonymous accounts. Filter out known troll or fake reviews.

When CX Meets Customer Reviews

Structure Customer Reviews around your Customer Journey

Determine — through social listening, research, and reading reviews — the specific stages where customers are evaluating and talking about their experiences. You can then strategically place company-owned and managed feedback loops and communities into the experience.

Make sure Feedback is Closed-loop

This ensures that when a customer provides feedback via any channel, their feedback is received by a stakeholder who can intervene. Once feedback is given, the stakeholder follows up with the customer, addresses the feedback, resolves the issue, and re-surveys on that point.

Keep the Whole Process Data-driven

Deploy text analytics into any of your feedback measuring/monitoring systems to get full value out of customer sentiment and deeper insight into the customer experience.

Tips To Get More Genuine Customer Reviews

The question is not whether you need customer reviews. It’s how you get more of them. Being primarily rooted in the B2C space, customer reviews have also spread in the enterprise (B2B) sector. Here are some ways to generate more customer reviews in either environment:

  1. Draw up a coherent customer reviews strategy. In the strategy, include a list of touchpoints in the buyer journey (sign up, demo, etc.) where asking for a review will be effective and non-intrusive. Also, prepare a list of review sites you want to build a brand presence in.
  2. Make it ridiculously easy for your customers to leave a review. Display prominent sections, functions, or links in your website, online store, mobile app, newsletter, and other marketing/sales collateral which customers can use to submit reviews. Use an effective review management software to automate the process.
  3. Build positive reputation on social media such as Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Use relevant display plugins and optimize native reviews features such as Facebook review tab and LinkedIn recommendations.
  4. Incentivize customers who make objective and comprehensive reviews. Rewards can be highly affordable stuff such as tickets, vouchers, coffee, gift cards, and cupcakes.
  5. Depending on your industry and market, choose which relevant review sites (Yelp, Capterra, Amazon Customer Reviews, TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, etc.,) to create accounts in.
  6. Piggyback a review function on short, easy surveys.
  7. Leverage events as venues for taking surveys and requesting customers to write short reviews.
  8. Manage negative reviews and reinforce positive ones. Share positive reviews on your website and social media.
  9. Listen to what customers are saying and take action when necessary. Let them know that you’ve heard their concerns and you care about their issues.
  10. Promptly address negative reviews before they become a big PR problem. Acknowledge their emotions, practice empathy, and work out a solution.

The Best Customer Review Websites To Be On (B2B + B2C)

1) Amazon Customer Reviews

A key pioneer of user-generated reviews covering just about anything offered on Amazon’s massive online marketplace.

2) AppExchange

Run and owned by Salesforce, this marketplace allows users to search for and review enterprise software solutions.

3) Better Business Bureau

A consumer advocacy organization that provides information and recommendations about member companies.

4) Capterra

Great for finding comprehensive and verified software reviews. To date, the site has vetted more than 675,000 verified user reviews.

5) Consumer Reports

A magazine and nonprofit organization that predates the Internet by several decades. It publishes unbiased product tests and comprehensive, well-presented reviews of just about any consumer product.

6) Edmunds

An online review and rating site focusing on automobiles.

7) Facebook Ratings and Reviews

A way to gather and display product reviews and ratings on the world’s largest social network. May be used in tandem with ads.

8) G2 Crowd

An online peer-to-peer review platform for business software solutions. Best used for side-by-side comparisons of competing solutions.

9) Glassdoor

An online career platform that allows employees to write reviews and rate their employers. More than half a million companies have reviews on the site.

10) Google My Business

A service by the planet’s dominant search engine for businesses who would like to appear on search engine results, complete with contact information and user ratings.

11) Home Advisor

An online platform that provides reviews of home services and products targeting residential customers.

12) Manta
An online directory service that provides a review and recommendation feature for small businesses.

13) Software Advice

A company aiming to help customers make the best purchasing decisions when it comes to software. Their website provides detailed reviews and product comparisons.

14) TripAdvisor

A travel-oriented website that provides user reviews and recommendations of hotels, restaurants, transport services, tourist spots, and other related services.

15) TrustRadius

A review platform for business technology products, a professional community, and an online directory for member businesses. Because the site has no ads and vets all reviewers and reviews, you can be sure that reviews are reliable, objective and of high-quality.

16) YellowPages

A pre-internet directory formerly based on local landline telephone numbers. Aside from contact and background information on businesses, the modern online variant of the service also features user reviews/ratings.

17) Yelp

A local search and ratings platform that facilitates crowd-sourced reviews of local establishments and businesses such as restaurants and plumbing services.

18) Zomato

A search and discovery service focusing on restaurants, cafes, food deliveries, and other related services. The platform features user-generated ratings.

Summing Up

There are many things that influence buying behavior but few more powerful than the advice shared by people who have used the product or service being considered. Customer reviews represent the latest iteration of word-of-mouth recommendations.

They should be a top agenda for businesses wishing to remain relevant, drive revenue, and build their reputation.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Thinking about a Customer Review Strategy? Here are 9 Ways to Make the Most of One" was first published on Small Business Trends



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