Can You Pick Stocks Better than Your 401k?

If you’ve been reading or hearing about the stock market lately, you may be wondering why you’re contributing a percentage of your monthly income to your company’s 401k plan instead of just putting that money directly into the stock market. Indeed, stories of people who bought stock in Google or Apple early abound on the internet, as do articles stocks about people who followed a gut feeling and struck it rich.

The advantages of a 401k

While a 401k isn’t as liquid as a normal investment account, that isn’t to say that there aren’t any benefits to 401ks. One of the biggest benefits of investing in your company-sponsored 401k plan is the fact that you will likely get some form of an employer match in addition to the percentage of your income you elect to invest.…

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How to Make Money with SEO in 2019 - Whiteboard Friday

In the News: Employees Seek Meaning in Their Work; Best Cities Revealed

Another report surfaced this week. It suggests employees these days are more into working to find some kind of happiness rather than wealth.

Well, at least happiness is first on the list. These surveys don’t suggest employees want to work for peanuts.

But new data from Wrike this week suggests that more than half — 58% — of employees choose a happy workplace over one that makes them more money.

Again, this doesn’t say more money wouldn’t make them happy. But it does indicate and provide more evidence to the theory that younger employees seek something more from their work.

Are you doing enough to create a happier workplace? Is the work you’re providing employees giving them some source of meaning? Or is it a heads-down, moving forward approach that works for you and helps you lead your team?

Check out more from that Wrike survey.

Also, be sure to check out our just released rankings of the top small business cities in America. We’ve ranked the:

And then check out the rest of the week in small business headlines in our news and information roundup below:

Economy

American Companies Plan to Leave China, How Will the Trade War Impact Your Business?

Roughly one third of surveyed American companies in China will cancel or delay investments in the country due to the ongoing trade standoff with the U.S., according to a May report from the American Chambers of Commerce in China and Shanghai.

Marketing Tips

70% Would Spend More at a Local Business If They Sold ONLY Made in the USA Products

There are many reasons why consumers spend their money the way they do. It can be anything from brand recognition to environmental or patriotic support. The 2019 Cox Business Consumer Pulse survey on small businesses reveals 70% of Americans want made in the U.S.A. products.

23% of Small Businesses Say Visuals are Effective Content on Their Websites

Content is the way users engage with the website of your small business. This can be everything from blogs to podcasts and visuals such as photographs, graphics, and videos. According to a new survey from Visual Objects, 23% of small businesses said visuals were the most effective content in 2018.

Startup

The Hidden Mystery Behind Attracting and Retaining Employees with Tech

The booming job market is pushing companies to work harder to attract and retain talent to avoid the time and productivity losses that come with employee turnover. These losses are costly, with reports finding employers spend approximately 33 percent of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement.

Still Living Paycheck to Paycheck Despite Having a Successful Business? Here’s How to Stop

Many small business owners show skill earning money. But still fall short when it comes to managing it. Sure, they may have built a successful company. But too many still live paycheck to paycheck. On this week’s Small Business Radio Show, I talked with Avery Breyer.

Secrets of Building a Small Business Website Revealed

About one third of small business owners still do not have a website. Some might not want to invest in the cost. Others might think they can get by with just a Facebook page or Google My Business Profile. And a few may even feel like a website isn’t relevant for their business if they don’t sell anything online. But a website can benefit nearly any small business.

Technology Trends

54% of Remote Workers Feel Disconnected from Company, How About Yours?

A new survey from Workplace by Facebook reveals the disconnect which exists between employees who work inside company headquarters and outside of HQ. Remote Workers Feel Disconnected According to the report from the survey, the disconnect is preventing good ideas from rising through the business.

Image: DepositPhotos.com

This article, "In the News: Employees Seek Meaning in Their Work; Best Cities Revealed" was first published on Small Business Trends



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In the News: Employees Seek Meaning in Their Work; Best Cities Revealed

Another report surfaced this week. It suggests employees these days are more into working to find some kind of happiness rather than wealth.

Well, at least happiness is first on the list. These surveys don’t suggest employees want to work for peanuts.

But new data from Wrike this week suggests that more than half — 58% — of employees choose a happy workplace over one that makes them more money.

Again, this doesn’t say more money wouldn’t make them happy. But it does indicate and provide more evidence to the theory that younger employees seek something more from their work.

Are you doing enough to create a happier workplace? Is the work you’re providing employees giving them some source of meaning? Or is it a heads-down, moving forward approach that works for you and helps you lead your team?

Check out more from that Wrike survey.

Also, be sure to check out our just released rankings of the top small business cities in America. We’ve ranked the:

And then check out the rest of the week in small business headlines in our news and information roundup below:

Economy

American Companies Plan to Leave China, How Will the Trade War Impact Your Business?

Roughly one third of surveyed American companies in China will cancel or delay investments in the country due to the ongoing trade standoff with the U.S., according to a May report from the American Chambers of Commerce in China and Shanghai.

Marketing Tips

70% Would Spend More at a Local Business If They Sold ONLY Made in the USA Products

There are many reasons why consumers spend their money the way they do. It can be anything from brand recognition to environmental or patriotic support. The 2019 Cox Business Consumer Pulse survey on small businesses reveals 70% of Americans want made in the U.S.A. products.

23% of Small Businesses Say Visuals are Effective Content on Their Websites

Content is the way users engage with the website of your small business. This can be everything from blogs to podcasts and visuals such as photographs, graphics, and videos. According to a new survey from Visual Objects, 23% of small businesses said visuals were the most effective content in 2018.

Startup

The Hidden Mystery Behind Attracting and Retaining Employees with Tech

The booming job market is pushing companies to work harder to attract and retain talent to avoid the time and productivity losses that come with employee turnover. These losses are costly, with reports finding employers spend approximately 33 percent of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement.

Still Living Paycheck to Paycheck Despite Having a Successful Business? Here’s How to Stop

Many small business owners show skill earning money. But still fall short when it comes to managing it. Sure, they may have built a successful company. But too many still live paycheck to paycheck. On this week’s Small Business Radio Show, I talked with Avery Breyer.

Secrets of Building a Small Business Website Revealed

About one third of small business owners still do not have a website. Some might not want to invest in the cost. Others might think they can get by with just a Facebook page or Google My Business Profile. And a few may even feel like a website isn’t relevant for their business if they don’t sell anything online. But a website can benefit nearly any small business.

Technology Trends

54% of Remote Workers Feel Disconnected from Company, How About Yours?

A new survey from Workplace by Facebook reveals the disconnect which exists between employees who work inside company headquarters and outside of HQ. Remote Workers Feel Disconnected According to the report from the survey, the disconnect is preventing good ideas from rising through the business.

Image: DepositPhotos.com

This article, "In the News: Employees Seek Meaning in Their Work; Best Cities Revealed" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

Which cities are most popular with young entrepreneurs — say, between the ages of 25 and 34?  Funny you should ask. We’ve got the data right here. If you’re a young entrepreneur or a millennial looking for a place to start a new venture, consider these accommodating destinations.

The best cities for young entrepreneurs tend to have a younger population and “feel” to them.  They welcome first-time entrepreneurs and there’s a sense of community.

Our rankings are based on our proprietary analysis of U.S. Census data. The rankings reflect the percentage of young entrepreneurs to the overall population in metropolitan areas of the United States with over 50,000 people. We also identify factors such as industry clusters, lifestyle, infrastructure, costs, workforce availability and a thriving entrepreneurial community nearby.

Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

Read on for our 2019 rankings for Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs.

1. Salt Lake City

Known for its booming tech industry leading to the area’s designation as part of the Silicon Slopes, Salt Lake City is a magnet in the western U.S. for young entrepreneurs. Today, 1,973 young entrepreneurs call the city home, accounting for .17% of the population.

Plenty of networking and a welcoming business community are hallmarks of Salt Lake City.  Entrepreneurs like Robert Brady, the Founder of Righteous Marketing says he travels from his home base in Idaho down to Salt Lake regularly to network and connect with other entrepreneurs. “They are an amazing group of people.”

2. Oklahoma City

Often called simply OKC, the city is also OK with young entrepreneurs. You’ll find 1,842 of them living and working in the metro area, making up .13% of the population.

A key reason Oklahoma City made the list of best cities comes down to sheer demographics. It’s true, the city — and state for that matter — are trying to attract more millennials to boost the workforce. But Oklahoma City is already a young city with a median age of 34. And a full 67% of the population is under the age of 44. So younger entrepreneurs will feel at home here.

3. Denver

Millennial migration to Denver is now well documented. So the presence of so many young entrepreneurs in the metro area is a no-brainer. You will find 3,812 of them call the city home,  accounting for .13% of the population.

Millennial entrepreneurs in Denver like the active local lifestyle and have plenty to do when not running their businesses. Well known for their love of experiences over possessions, Millennials can follow their bliss with abundant skiing and hiking opportunities nearby. The city is also home to the largest number of microbreweries outside of Portland, Oregon.

4. Seattle

The city that launched Kurt Cobain and the Grunge revolution is still young at heart. Seattle has  4,421 young entrepreneurs — .12% of the population.

Besides the appeal of working in a community bursting with young entrepreneurs, there are plenty of other things to draw and retain millennials — and others. The city’s lesser known attractions include the appropriately named Waterfall Park and such other unique features as giant popsicle art!

5. Los Angeles

LA is home to 15,409 young entrepreneurs. That may make it sound like the city deserves a higher ranking here. But in the behemoth that Los Angeles is, that number represents only .12% of the metro population.

For over a century since the beginnings of Hollywood, Los Angeles has attracted young people on a quest for success.

As Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of SmallBizDaily and GrowBiz Media observes, “Los Angeles’s official name is literally translated as the City of Angels. It has long attracted people in pursuit of a dream. And while “making it in Hollywood” is not your typical goal, it still symbolizes the concept that dreams can come true.”

6. Portland

Oregon’s largest city keeps young entrepreneurs busy with 2,736 of them doing business in the metro area, or .11% of the city’s population.

And when not working on their businesses, these young entrepreneurs have plenty to do in Portland’s unique culture that celebrates “weird.”  For more serious pursuits, they can also visit the Portland Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo (that protects many endangered animals) and the Oregon Museum of Science and History.

7. Tampa

This thriving business center along Florida’s gulf coast has some great opportunities for young entrepreneurs too.  There are 3,402 working in the Tampa metro area making up .11% of the population.

The city’s major industries include finance, retail and insurance, But the local economy is also buoyed up by shipping, national defense, professional sports, tourism and real estate.

8. Minneapolis

One of Minnesota’s famous twin cities, Minneapolis also supports a large number of young entrepreneurs. There are 3,984 working in the metro area making up .11% of the population.

The city trails only Chicago and Detroit as the largest economic centers in the Midwest. And it is home to such Fortune 500 companies as Target, U.S. Bancorp and Ameriprise Financial.

9. San Diego

San Diego is named for a Spanish saint but the metro area is clearly revered by young entrepreneurs as well. There are 3,668 young entrepreneurs living and operating businesses here making up .11% of the population.

Local entrepreneurs love the San Diego area!  Eric Strate, Founder of Web Design San Diego says, “If you are a young entrepreneur, you have lifestyle check marked.” He adds, “As a young entrepreneur, we have more affordable housing compared to other large cities, as well as affordable shared office spaces for your new startup. So, if you are looking to live with great weather, access to lots of fun, affordable living and office space, then look no further than San Diego.”

10. San Jose

Located in California’s Silicon Valley, the area is already known for tech entrepreneurs. And there are many young entrepreneurs too — a total of 2,156 of them work in the metro area making up .11% of the population.

Besides its importance as a technology center, San Jose is also a global city, an important hub in the global economic network. The city is designated as a United States Foreign Trade Zone.

Methodology for Top 10 Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

As a young entrepreneur, there’s no reason you must build your business in one of the cities listed above. But consider the benefits.. If you haven’t yet started your business, take a look at some of these destinations. You might be surprised at some of the benefits.

This Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs ranking is based primarily on our proprietary analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE) and Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More.

Cities were ranked on the percentage of entrepreneurs in each category rather than the number of entrepreneurs. However, other data we reviewed based on information available to us included:

  • Population
  • Industry clusters
  • Lifestyle
  • Workforce
  • Costs
  • Infrastructure
  • Other startups nearby

Check out our infographic below for a shareable summary of the best cities for young entrepreneurs.

Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

This article, "Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

Which cities are most popular with young entrepreneurs — say, between the ages of 25 and 34?  Funny you should ask. We’ve got the data right here. If you’re a young entrepreneur or a millennial looking for a place to start a new venture, consider these accommodating destinations.

The best cities for young entrepreneurs tend to have a younger population and “feel” to them.  They welcome first-time entrepreneurs and there’s a sense of community.

Our rankings are based on our proprietary analysis of U.S. Census data. The rankings reflect the percentage of young entrepreneurs to the overall population in metropolitan areas of the United States with over 50,000 people. We also identify factors such as industry clusters, lifestyle, infrastructure, costs, workforce availability and a thriving entrepreneurial community nearby.

Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

Read on for our 2019 rankings for Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs.

1. Salt Lake City

Known for its booming tech industry leading to the area’s designation as part of the Silicon Slopes, Salt Lake City is a magnet in the western U.S. for young entrepreneurs. Today, 1,973 young entrepreneurs call the city home, accounting for .17% of the population.

Plenty of networking and a welcoming business community are hallmarks of Salt Lake City.  Entrepreneurs like Robert Brady, the Founder of Righteous Marketing says he travels from his home base in Idaho down to Salt Lake regularly to network and connect with other entrepreneurs. “They are an amazing group of people.”

2. Oklahoma City

Often called simply OKC, the city is also OK with young entrepreneurs. You’ll find 1,842 of them living and working in the metro area, making up .13% of the population.

A key reason Oklahoma City made the list of best cities comes down to sheer demographics. It’s true, the city — and state for that matter — are trying to attract more millennials to boost the workforce. But Oklahoma City is already a young city with a median age of 34. And a full 67% of the population is under the age of 44. So younger entrepreneurs will feel at home here.

3. Denver

Millennial migration to Denver is now well documented. So the presence of so many young entrepreneurs in the metro area is a no-brainer. You will find 3,812 of them call the city home,  accounting for .13% of the population.

Millennial entrepreneurs in Denver like the active local lifestyle and have plenty to do when not running their businesses. Well known for their love of experiences over possessions, Millennials can follow their bliss with abundant skiing and hiking opportunities nearby. The city is also home to the largest number of microbreweries outside of Portland, Oregon.

4. Seattle

The city that launched Kurt Cobain and the Grunge revolution is still young at heart. Seattle has  4,421 young entrepreneurs — .12% of the population.

Besides the appeal of working in a community bursting with young entrepreneurs, there are plenty of other things to draw and retain millennials — and others. The city’s lesser known attractions include the appropriately named Waterfall Park and such other unique features as giant popsicle art!

5. Los Angeles

LA is home to 15,409 young entrepreneurs. That may make it sound like the city deserves a higher ranking here. But in the behemoth that Los Angeles is, that number represents only .12% of the metro population.

For over a century since the beginnings of Hollywood, Los Angeles has attracted young people on a quest for success.

As Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of SmallBizDaily and GrowBiz Media observes, “Los Angeles’s official name is literally translated as the City of Angels. It has long attracted people in pursuit of a dream. And while “making it in Hollywood” is not your typical goal, it still symbolizes the concept that dreams can come true.”

6. Portland

Oregon’s largest city keeps young entrepreneurs busy with 2,736 of them doing business in the metro area, or .11% of the city’s population.

And when not working on their businesses, these young entrepreneurs have plenty to do in Portland’s unique culture that celebrates “weird.”  For more serious pursuits, they can also visit the Portland Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo (that protects many endangered animals) and the Oregon Museum of Science and History.

7. Tampa

This thriving business center along Florida’s gulf coast has some great opportunities for young entrepreneurs too.  There are 3,402 working in the Tampa metro area making up .11% of the population.

The city’s major industries include finance, retail and insurance, But the local economy is also buoyed up by shipping, national defense, professional sports, tourism and real estate.

8. Minneapolis

One of Minnesota’s famous twin cities, Minneapolis also supports a large number of young entrepreneurs. There are 3,984 working in the metro area making up .11% of the population.

The city trails only Chicago and Detroit as the largest economic centers in the Midwest. And it is home to such Fortune 500 companies as Target, U.S. Bancorp and Ameriprise Financial.

9. San Diego

San Diego is named for a Spanish saint but the metro area is clearly revered by young entrepreneurs as well. There are 3,668 young entrepreneurs living and operating businesses here making up .11% of the population.

Local entrepreneurs love the San Diego area!  Eric Strate, Founder of Web Design San Diego says, “If you are a young entrepreneur, you have lifestyle check marked.” He adds, “As a young entrepreneur, we have more affordable housing compared to other large cities, as well as affordable shared office spaces for your new startup. So, if you are looking to live with great weather, access to lots of fun, affordable living and office space, then look no further than San Diego.”

10. San Jose

Located in California’s Silicon Valley, the area is already known for tech entrepreneurs. And there are many young entrepreneurs too — a total of 2,156 of them work in the metro area making up .11% of the population.

Besides its importance as a technology center, San Jose is also a global city, an important hub in the global economic network. The city is designated as a United States Foreign Trade Zone.

Methodology for Top 10 Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

As a young entrepreneur, there’s no reason you must build your business in one of the cities listed above. But consider the benefits.. If you haven’t yet started your business, take a look at some of these destinations. You might be surprised at some of the benefits.

This Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs ranking is based primarily on our proprietary analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE) and Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More.

Cities were ranked on the percentage of entrepreneurs in each category rather than the number of entrepreneurs. However, other data we reviewed based on information available to us included:

  • Population
  • Industry clusters
  • Lifestyle
  • Workforce
  • Costs
  • Infrastructure
  • Other startups nearby

Check out our infographic below for a shareable summary of the best cities for young entrepreneurs.

Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs

This article, "Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Joe Galvin of Vistage: SMBs Satisfied with Digital Transition Miss Out on Potential Big Payoff from Digital Transformation

Last year I caught up with my buddy Joe Galvin. Galvin serves as Chief Research Officer of Vistage. The business advisory and executive coaching organization’s membership includes more than 22,000 business owners and executive leaders. Recently I caught up with him again. And we talked about a phrase that continues to get a lot of attention. That phrase is digital transformation. And it has generated a lot of focus and discussion. But Joe sees digital transition taking place at small businesses instead. Now, digital transition definitely creates a positive impact on business operations. But Joe says it doesn’t come close to the potential impact modern tech can have. It comes down to whether you give it the chance.

Check out the edited transcript of our conversation. Or watch the full interview on video. You’ll find it at the top of this page. Or click on the embedded SoundCloud player below.

Definitions of Digital Transition and Transformation

Digital Transition vs Digital TransformationSmall Business Trends: Tell me what your definition of digital transition is. And your definition of what digital transformation is.

Joe Galvin: This goes back to my time when I was at Gartner. As I was running worldwide sales operations. As we transitioned from a paper-based system into spreadsheets. And to Word documents and basic contact managers. Then we launched a website. And then we deployed one of those first generation client server-based sales force automation applications. We beat our brains out trying to adapt this technology to how we worked in paper. And the concept is that what we have experienced as a community is a digital transition. I mean, we’ve transitioned to paper. 1980s, paper-based human analog processes and workflows. And we force-fit those into technologies like Excel, like databases. Like CRM, like ERP. And tried to bend those technologies to how we worked as humans.

Changing the Way Your Business Works

Digital transformation is to change how you work. To let the technology dictate to you what are the best practices. What are the optimal workflows. Based on what technology can do? So, especially as a small business, to go through the trial and error of figuring out what works best is a long and painful process, versus embracing the technologies which are built around workflows that have been designed based upon our vendors working with hundreds and thousands of customers to optimize what’s the best workflow for a marketing automation, for CRM, for ERP, for human capital management? And adapting our workflows and our processes to let the technology drive what we do versus trying to bend and adapt and customize it and waste money, time, and effort to get the technology to work the way we worked in 1980.

Becoming More Efficient with Technology

Small Business Trends: I’m going to just say what I see out there, and I’m going to focus it on the SMB level. When it comes to all this talk about digital transformation, about 90% of it is more digital transition like you’re talking about. Folks who are looking to technology to help them be more efficient with the things that they already know that they have to do, versus this new technology and allowing the new technology to do what it does, which is go beyond just transitioning to actually transforming and creating business models and more innovative thought and design opportunities.

Joe Galvin: Exactly. It’s so hard to develop best practices, and especially in small businesses, your workflows are dominantly built around the people that work for you. So, if you’ve got 20 employees and you lose employee number five, your workflow breaks down because it was based upon what Steve or Becky could do, right? Then you hire someone new and eventually you refarkle it, versus we’ve got a workflow that’s been pioneered, it’s been stress-tested, and been proven to work based on this technology that we bought. Why don’t we take what these people have done, leverage their best practice, and let’s focus on our customers, let’s focus on our operations, let’s focus on growing our business, not trying to be process experts.

Looking at the New Digital Natives

Small Business Trends: It seems like these newer companies, these digital native kind of companies, they already have that transformational thought process in mind. How difficult do you think it is for more meat and potatoes, Main Street small businesses that have been around for a while, to actually think in transformation versus transition terms?

Joe Galvin: You know, Brent, it’s really hard for somebody who’s been running a business for 25 years and this is how they’ve done it and this is how their father did it, to completely reinvent themselves. Often what we see is a generational change, so the grandson steps up, or an outside leader comes in, and forces that change. Because we work the way we work, and the business is good, and the business is fine, but you and I both know the rate of change is only accelerating.

AI and Machine Learning will Transform Everything

The capabilities of what AI and machine learning are going to bring, let alone how 5G is going to transform everything, it’s only going to happen quicker, faster. And if you’re not on the edge, you’re just taking up space, and it’s the fast path to obsolescence. It’s also a way to gain a competitive advantage, excuse me, if you can process and execute more efficiently, more accurately, more productively, and leverage what this data can tell you, now you can focus on your customers. Now you can focus on your products, you can focus on your markets.

Most importantly, you can focus on your people, because the talent crunch is so extreme in small and mid-sized business today that you just can’t spend the time, I don’t believe, trying to do things the way you have done them when the world is just accelerating so quickly.

When Will More Mature Businesses Make the Move?

Small Business Trends: The impetus for these more mature business folks that have been around for a while … What’s going to make them make that move, that move to transformation versus transition? Is it losing customers, or is it not being able to bring in the kind of talent they need to help drive the business forward?

Joe Galvin: I think they’re going to feel two things: the slow deceleration of their growth, and the disintermediation of a competitor. So, excuse me, sorry. What we see is it’s hard to make the decision to go in and choose a new technology, right? It’s harder still to go through the integration of that application into your infrastructure and the other systems you may or may not have. But the real challenge these leaders face is the behavioral change management that’s required to get people to change how they work.

Bring in New Technologies to Improve Engagement

I was talking with one of our members a couple weeks ago, and they’ve gone through this transformation and brought in a variety of new technologies trying to revamp how they engage and connect with customers, how they manage workflow. And this guy had to fire two 20-year employees because they just couldn’t change, couldn’t or wouldn’t. I don’t know what the right answer is there, but we’re in this world of change.

Ignoring technology and failing to leverage it is a fast track to obsolescence. You can kind of have that circle of decay, and slowly try to hold the spiral or you can step up and make the change. But it’s truly a leadership challenge. We know the technologies work, because we see too many people taking advantage of some of the great stuff done by the vendors that you and I both know. It’s the leaders who can step up and embrace that change and drive that behavioral change that allow their companies a step forward. That’s where transformation happens.

Why Digital Transition Won’t Get You There

Transition, that’s the shortcut easy way out of saying, “Why, yes, we bought new systems. Yes, we invest in technology.” But all you’re doing is just you’re asking a horse to go faster, as opposed to investing in a car, right?

There’s a great photo. It was in some report where they showed a New York City street in 1901, and there was one car, and then they showed it in 1918, and there was one horse. That’s how quick that transformation happened, right? So, Henry Ford, if he asked his customer what they wanted, it would have been, “A faster horse.” It’s not a faster horse, you need a new means of transportation driven by this thing called internal combustion engine.

So How Do You Truly Transform Your Business?

Small Business Trends: As long as it comes in black. I think that’s the way he put it… CRM is one of those areas that companies seem to be investing in. But are companies looking at CRM as just another tool of transition when they don’t understand how a package like CRM can help transform the way that they engage customers and keep customers around longer?

Joe Galvin: Well, I think, and this is a point you and I made before, or that you made before, is that they look at it as a way that we can do what we do a little faster, a little bit easier, a little bit quicker. Or realize that, okay, so this can make us go from one mile an hour to five miles an hour, not recognizing that if they fully embrace what this technology has built into it, and how it revolutionizes how you connect with customers, how you share data, how you collaborate, how you leverage data and engage with customers, to engage with prospects, it’s like our cell phones, right? We use about 5% of what our cell phones can do, as opposed to exploring all the apps and all the capabilities.

Be Careful to Avoid Taking the Easy Way Out

I think it’s the easy way out. It also gives leaders the excuse to say, “Well, yeah, we invested in CRM,” as opposed to recognizing the power of what technology can do. We asked, again, we asked our community, this was in December, “Which business applications will you be investing in?” Not hardware, not people, not infrastructure, but, “What biz apps are you going to invest in?” And 45%, the leading choice was CRM, followed by accounting, followed by collaboration, HCM, ERP kind of stuff, independent upon the vertical, it’s different.

But overall, 78% of our members were planning to invest in business applications in 2019. So, if people are spending money, they’re reaching for the wallet. And as hard as that is to sign that big check, the work’s just started.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Getting Started with True Transformation

Joe Galvin: The work’s just started, because it is a people challenge. It’s getting those people that have maybe worked in, are happy in spreadsheets, or happy using a basic contact manager, to now embrace the full power that’s built into the best practices that our vendors create for our users.

Small Business Trends: So, are these folks who are going through transitions instead of transformation, are they happy about what they’re getting from the lens of transition, or are they thinking they’re going to get transformation, and they’re only focused on transition, and they become maybe frustrated?

Joe Galvin: Well, I think that they are happy because they are seeing that productivity uplift. Remember when you went from writing letters to email, when you went from having manual ledgers to spreadsheets? It’s like once you kind of got the hang of it, once you learn the first 20%, you’re like, “Wow, this is great.” Then somebody shows you a Pivot Table, and you’re like, “Oh, my goodness. You just broke my brain,” right?

Failing to Reach Your Business’s Full Potential

So, they see that uplift and they feel good about it, but because they don’t intellectualize and internalize the full potential, nor do they necessarily have the courage to reach for that, I think they’re missing out on it. And again, the comparison is those that do really see an advantage.

So, a story, an innovation story of one of our members was in the countertop business, right? Custom countertops, right? You redid the kitchen in the last, what, five, six years, right? You want those new countertops and you want the … Well, there was not an online app for this, because nobody thought you could buy custom countertops online. So, this guy went out and he created an online app where you can design and develop your own countertops. His business exploded.

Start Now to Get the First Mover Advantage

Now everybody’s copying him, of course. But he had that first-to-market mover advantage. And you would think that, again, because you and I are in technology a fair amount, “Well, why didn’t that happen before?” But that’s an example of true transformation. How can I innovate to create a new capability to access new markets? So now I’m not just selling to people within 50 miles of my showroom, I’m selling to people across the country, around the world, because I can take in their orders. We can bend and shape, configure and ship. It totally broke … It blew this guy’s business up. That’s an example of someone who saw an opportunity and skipped transition and went straight to transformation.

Because you could’ve taken that application and talked to someone on the phone and do it yourself, versus put it out there in an eCommerce play, and let people go to it. We feature that story in our upcoming innovation report. I’ll send that to you when we’re done here.

Transition Offers Short-term Happiness

Small Business Trends: Absolutely. Cool. So, folks who are focused on transition, maybe they’re happy with transition, is that a short-term happiness, or is this something that gets them on the path to thinking about transformation, once that initial transition takes place?

Joe Galvin: You know, Brent, I like to say that they think that this is step one of two, but we both know that phase two rarely happens in a project. It’s so hard to get phase one up and running. It always costs more. It always takes longer, requires more pain. You use more human political capital to get it done, and then you get it up, and you’re kind of running again, and you’re feeling better about it, and you just don’t have the courage to go forward, as opposed to taking that leapfrog and saying, “We’re going to go all in.”

Adopting Technology Should NOT be Done Halfway

If you’re going to spend the money, then spend the money. Then go for it. Again, I believe with some of the emerging technologies coming, we’re starting to see it. It’s just a fragment right now, but AI is starting to raise its head in a lot of places, in small and mid-sized businesses.

I mentioned earlier, 5G’s going to change everything, right? It’s going to turn … You have zero latency. We’re already seeing some of the manufacturing people think about how that’s going to impact their ability to manage the throughput in their machines. Again, things are only going to accelerate, so the degree to which you struggle to keep up, you’ll never catch up and then you’re just in that death spiral.

Digital Transformation Offers New Opportunities

Small Business Trends: Is that the sales pitch, the up-sell to folks who are saying, “We need transition. We need to transition.” Do you upsell those folks to transformation by the scare tactics of, “If you don’t do it now, you’re going to miss out,” or do you present a picture of opportunity? Which one do you think works best?

Joe Galvin: Well, you know, it depends on who you’re talking to, because for some people, they want to see the opportunity. You talk about, “This is how you’ll achieve your goals. You’ll get a market advantage. You’ll be perceived as a leader,” versus, “If you don’t do it, you’re going to lose customers. You’re going to lose market share. You’re going to lose value.”

You Must Decide What’s Right for Your Business

Only you can decide, Brent. Only you can decide what’s right for your business. You’re a big boy. You’re running a business. You make that decision, but let me show you examples of people who have embraced this and what it’s led to them. It takes courage. It takes real courage. Again, choosing a vendor, that’s hard. Writing the check, that’s a little bit harder, right? You want to make it work?

Small Business Trends: That’s hard.

Joe Galvin: Well, now, put on your big boy pants and big girl pants, because that’s the challenge. And if you can break through, the opportunities for growth, and more importantly, I think, the ability to set your business up for the future is critical.

What Are You Doing to Prepare Your Business for Change?

I was just at one of our events in Houston and I sat in on our manufacturing breakout. They were talking about, in this session, talking about, “What are you doing to prepare your business for the changes you see coming?” And universally, the answer was, “Technology.” Whether it was a manufacturing ERP kind of thing, a CRM customer kind of thing, even the human resources thing, this is all stuff that people have to get focused on.

This article, "Joe Galvin of Vistage: SMBs Satisfied with Digital Transition Miss Out on Potential Big Payoff from Digital Transformation" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Joe Galvin of Vistage: SMBs Satisfied with Digital Transition Miss Out on Potential Big Payoff from Digital Transformation

Last year I caught up with my buddy Joe Galvin. Galvin serves as Chief Research Officer of Vistage. The business advisory and executive coaching organization’s membership includes more than 22,000 business owners and executive leaders. Recently I caught up with him again. And we talked about a phrase that continues to get a lot of attention. That phrase is digital transformation. And it has generated a lot of focus and discussion. But Joe sees digital transition taking place at small businesses instead. Now, digital transition definitely creates a positive impact on business operations. But Joe says it doesn’t come close to the potential impact modern tech can have. It comes down to whether you give it the chance.

Check out the edited transcript of our conversation. Or watch the full interview on video. You’ll find it at the top of this page. Or click on the embedded SoundCloud player below.

Definitions of Digital Transition and Transformation

Digital Transition vs Digital TransformationSmall Business Trends: Tell me what your definition of digital transition is. And your definition of what digital transformation is.

Joe Galvin: This goes back to my time when I was at Gartner. As I was running worldwide sales operations. As we transitioned from a paper-based system into spreadsheets. And to Word documents and basic contact managers. Then we launched a website. And then we deployed one of those first generation client server-based sales force automation applications. We beat our brains out trying to adapt this technology to how we worked in paper. And the concept is that what we have experienced as a community is a digital transition. I mean, we’ve transitioned to paper. 1980s, paper-based human analog processes and workflows. And we force-fit those into technologies like Excel, like databases. Like CRM, like ERP. And tried to bend those technologies to how we worked as humans.

Changing the Way Your Business Works

Digital transformation is to change how you work. To let the technology dictate to you what are the best practices. What are the optimal workflows. Based on what technology can do? So, especially as a small business, to go through the trial and error of figuring out what works best is a long and painful process, versus embracing the technologies which are built around workflows that have been designed based upon our vendors working with hundreds and thousands of customers to optimize what’s the best workflow for a marketing automation, for CRM, for ERP, for human capital management? And adapting our workflows and our processes to let the technology drive what we do versus trying to bend and adapt and customize it and waste money, time, and effort to get the technology to work the way we worked in 1980.

Becoming More Efficient with Technology

Small Business Trends: I’m going to just say what I see out there, and I’m going to focus it on the SMB level. When it comes to all this talk about digital transformation, about 90% of it is more digital transition like you’re talking about. Folks who are looking to technology to help them be more efficient with the things that they already know that they have to do, versus this new technology and allowing the new technology to do what it does, which is go beyond just transitioning to actually transforming and creating business models and more innovative thought and design opportunities.

Joe Galvin: Exactly. It’s so hard to develop best practices, and especially in small businesses, your workflows are dominantly built around the people that work for you. So, if you’ve got 20 employees and you lose employee number five, your workflow breaks down because it was based upon what Steve or Becky could do, right? Then you hire someone new and eventually you refarkle it, versus we’ve got a workflow that’s been pioneered, it’s been stress-tested, and been proven to work based on this technology that we bought. Why don’t we take what these people have done, leverage their best practice, and let’s focus on our customers, let’s focus on our operations, let’s focus on growing our business, not trying to be process experts.

Looking at the New Digital Natives

Small Business Trends: It seems like these newer companies, these digital native kind of companies, they already have that transformational thought process in mind. How difficult do you think it is for more meat and potatoes, Main Street small businesses that have been around for a while, to actually think in transformation versus transition terms?

Joe Galvin: You know, Brent, it’s really hard for somebody who’s been running a business for 25 years and this is how they’ve done it and this is how their father did it, to completely reinvent themselves. Often what we see is a generational change, so the grandson steps up, or an outside leader comes in, and forces that change. Because we work the way we work, and the business is good, and the business is fine, but you and I both know the rate of change is only accelerating.

AI and Machine Learning will Transform Everything

The capabilities of what AI and machine learning are going to bring, let alone how 5G is going to transform everything, it’s only going to happen quicker, faster. And if you’re not on the edge, you’re just taking up space, and it’s the fast path to obsolescence. It’s also a way to gain a competitive advantage, excuse me, if you can process and execute more efficiently, more accurately, more productively, and leverage what this data can tell you, now you can focus on your customers. Now you can focus on your products, you can focus on your markets.

Most importantly, you can focus on your people, because the talent crunch is so extreme in small and mid-sized business today that you just can’t spend the time, I don’t believe, trying to do things the way you have done them when the world is just accelerating so quickly.

When Will More Mature Businesses Make the Move?

Small Business Trends: The impetus for these more mature business folks that have been around for a while … What’s going to make them make that move, that move to transformation versus transition? Is it losing customers, or is it not being able to bring in the kind of talent they need to help drive the business forward?

Joe Galvin: I think they’re going to feel two things: the slow deceleration of their growth, and the disintermediation of a competitor. So, excuse me, sorry. What we see is it’s hard to make the decision to go in and choose a new technology, right? It’s harder still to go through the integration of that application into your infrastructure and the other systems you may or may not have. But the real challenge these leaders face is the behavioral change management that’s required to get people to change how they work.

Bring in New Technologies to Improve Engagement

I was talking with one of our members a couple weeks ago, and they’ve gone through this transformation and brought in a variety of new technologies trying to revamp how they engage and connect with customers, how they manage workflow. And this guy had to fire two 20-year employees because they just couldn’t change, couldn’t or wouldn’t. I don’t know what the right answer is there, but we’re in this world of change.

Ignoring technology and failing to leverage it is a fast track to obsolescence. You can kind of have that circle of decay, and slowly try to hold the spiral or you can step up and make the change. But it’s truly a leadership challenge. We know the technologies work, because we see too many people taking advantage of some of the great stuff done by the vendors that you and I both know. It’s the leaders who can step up and embrace that change and drive that behavioral change that allow their companies a step forward. That’s where transformation happens.

Why Digital Transition Won’t Get You There

Transition, that’s the shortcut easy way out of saying, “Why, yes, we bought new systems. Yes, we invest in technology.” But all you’re doing is just you’re asking a horse to go faster, as opposed to investing in a car, right?

There’s a great photo. It was in some report where they showed a New York City street in 1901, and there was one car, and then they showed it in 1918, and there was one horse. That’s how quick that transformation happened, right? So, Henry Ford, if he asked his customer what they wanted, it would have been, “A faster horse.” It’s not a faster horse, you need a new means of transportation driven by this thing called internal combustion engine.

So How Do You Truly Transform Your Business?

Small Business Trends: As long as it comes in black. I think that’s the way he put it… CRM is one of those areas that companies seem to be investing in. But are companies looking at CRM as just another tool of transition when they don’t understand how a package like CRM can help transform the way that they engage customers and keep customers around longer?

Joe Galvin: Well, I think, and this is a point you and I made before, or that you made before, is that they look at it as a way that we can do what we do a little faster, a little bit easier, a little bit quicker. Or realize that, okay, so this can make us go from one mile an hour to five miles an hour, not recognizing that if they fully embrace what this technology has built into it, and how it revolutionizes how you connect with customers, how you share data, how you collaborate, how you leverage data and engage with customers, to engage with prospects, it’s like our cell phones, right? We use about 5% of what our cell phones can do, as opposed to exploring all the apps and all the capabilities.

Be Careful to Avoid Taking the Easy Way Out

I think it’s the easy way out. It also gives leaders the excuse to say, “Well, yeah, we invested in CRM,” as opposed to recognizing the power of what technology can do. We asked, again, we asked our community, this was in December, “Which business applications will you be investing in?” Not hardware, not people, not infrastructure, but, “What biz apps are you going to invest in?” And 45%, the leading choice was CRM, followed by accounting, followed by collaboration, HCM, ERP kind of stuff, independent upon the vertical, it’s different.

But overall, 78% of our members were planning to invest in business applications in 2019. So, if people are spending money, they’re reaching for the wallet. And as hard as that is to sign that big check, the work’s just started.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Getting Started with True Transformation

Joe Galvin: The work’s just started, because it is a people challenge. It’s getting those people that have maybe worked in, are happy in spreadsheets, or happy using a basic contact manager, to now embrace the full power that’s built into the best practices that our vendors create for our users.

Small Business Trends: So, are these folks who are going through transitions instead of transformation, are they happy about what they’re getting from the lens of transition, or are they thinking they’re going to get transformation, and they’re only focused on transition, and they become maybe frustrated?

Joe Galvin: Well, I think that they are happy because they are seeing that productivity uplift. Remember when you went from writing letters to email, when you went from having manual ledgers to spreadsheets? It’s like once you kind of got the hang of it, once you learn the first 20%, you’re like, “Wow, this is great.” Then somebody shows you a Pivot Table, and you’re like, “Oh, my goodness. You just broke my brain,” right?

Failing to Reach Your Business’s Full Potential

So, they see that uplift and they feel good about it, but because they don’t intellectualize and internalize the full potential, nor do they necessarily have the courage to reach for that, I think they’re missing out on it. And again, the comparison is those that do really see an advantage.

So, a story, an innovation story of one of our members was in the countertop business, right? Custom countertops, right? You redid the kitchen in the last, what, five, six years, right? You want those new countertops and you want the … Well, there was not an online app for this, because nobody thought you could buy custom countertops online. So, this guy went out and he created an online app where you can design and develop your own countertops. His business exploded.

Start Now to Get the First Mover Advantage

Now everybody’s copying him, of course. But he had that first-to-market mover advantage. And you would think that, again, because you and I are in technology a fair amount, “Well, why didn’t that happen before?” But that’s an example of true transformation. How can I innovate to create a new capability to access new markets? So now I’m not just selling to people within 50 miles of my showroom, I’m selling to people across the country, around the world, because I can take in their orders. We can bend and shape, configure and ship. It totally broke … It blew this guy’s business up. That’s an example of someone who saw an opportunity and skipped transition and went straight to transformation.

Because you could’ve taken that application and talked to someone on the phone and do it yourself, versus put it out there in an eCommerce play, and let people go to it. We feature that story in our upcoming innovation report. I’ll send that to you when we’re done here.

Transition Offers Short-term Happiness

Small Business Trends: Absolutely. Cool. So, folks who are focused on transition, maybe they’re happy with transition, is that a short-term happiness, or is this something that gets them on the path to thinking about transformation, once that initial transition takes place?

Joe Galvin: You know, Brent, I like to say that they think that this is step one of two, but we both know that phase two rarely happens in a project. It’s so hard to get phase one up and running. It always costs more. It always takes longer, requires more pain. You use more human political capital to get it done, and then you get it up, and you’re kind of running again, and you’re feeling better about it, and you just don’t have the courage to go forward, as opposed to taking that leapfrog and saying, “We’re going to go all in.”

Adopting Technology Should NOT be Done Halfway

If you’re going to spend the money, then spend the money. Then go for it. Again, I believe with some of the emerging technologies coming, we’re starting to see it. It’s just a fragment right now, but AI is starting to raise its head in a lot of places, in small and mid-sized businesses.

I mentioned earlier, 5G’s going to change everything, right? It’s going to turn … You have zero latency. We’re already seeing some of the manufacturing people think about how that’s going to impact their ability to manage the throughput in their machines. Again, things are only going to accelerate, so the degree to which you struggle to keep up, you’ll never catch up and then you’re just in that death spiral.

Digital Transformation Offers New Opportunities

Small Business Trends: Is that the sales pitch, the up-sell to folks who are saying, “We need transition. We need to transition.” Do you upsell those folks to transformation by the scare tactics of, “If you don’t do it now, you’re going to miss out,” or do you present a picture of opportunity? Which one do you think works best?

Joe Galvin: Well, you know, it depends on who you’re talking to, because for some people, they want to see the opportunity. You talk about, “This is how you’ll achieve your goals. You’ll get a market advantage. You’ll be perceived as a leader,” versus, “If you don’t do it, you’re going to lose customers. You’re going to lose market share. You’re going to lose value.”

You Must Decide What’s Right for Your Business

Only you can decide, Brent. Only you can decide what’s right for your business. You’re a big boy. You’re running a business. You make that decision, but let me show you examples of people who have embraced this and what it’s led to them. It takes courage. It takes real courage. Again, choosing a vendor, that’s hard. Writing the check, that’s a little bit harder, right? You want to make it work?

Small Business Trends: That’s hard.

Joe Galvin: Well, now, put on your big boy pants and big girl pants, because that’s the challenge. And if you can break through, the opportunities for growth, and more importantly, I think, the ability to set your business up for the future is critical.

What Are You Doing to Prepare Your Business for Change?

I was just at one of our events in Houston and I sat in on our manufacturing breakout. They were talking about, in this session, talking about, “What are you doing to prepare your business for the changes you see coming?” And universally, the answer was, “Technology.” Whether it was a manufacturing ERP kind of thing, a CRM customer kind of thing, even the human resources thing, this is all stuff that people have to get focused on.

This article, "Joe Galvin of Vistage: SMBs Satisfied with Digital Transition Miss Out on Potential Big Payoff from Digital Transformation" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Not Much Trouble Adjusting to Success

This article, "Not Much Trouble Adjusting to Success" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Not Much Trouble Adjusting to Success

This article, "Not Much Trouble Adjusting to Success" was first published on Small Business Trends



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The 4 Best Content Management Software Tools in 2019

These days, websites are so much more than words and pictures on a page -- while design and content are still important, it's becoming increasingly critical to put thought into the platform your site is built on, as well.

Oftentimes, we let our developers make this choice for us. And, while it's true that they need to have input, marketers should have a seat at the table, as well.

After all, if development resources because a bottleneck to website content changes, that can prevent speed and agility in your marketing campaigns.

Your developers and engineers want a certain set of criteria -- including control, security, access to underlying code, and customizability, all of which are important. Marketers, on the other hand, need easy access to make quick updates, the ability to integrate the software with other tools, and access to support.

Without a good integration between your content management software and your other systems, something as simple as trying to successfully send a follow-up email after a form submission can turn into a massive time suck.

Ultimately, the content management software that a website lives on can greatly affect a marketer's ability to succeed.

Here, we're going to explore the characteristics you need for any content management software tool, as well as our four favorite options for marketers.

Characteristics of the Best Content Management Software Tools

Here are some of the features marketers should feel good about in a content management software tool.

1. A powerful, flexible editor.

As marketers, we need to be able to do things like quickly produce a landing page for a Facebook campaign, make simple layout changes to a page (like adding a column, or testimonials module), and easily edit content on existing pages (like changing some of the text of your homepage to promote your upcoming annual conference).

A powerful WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") editor is critical, so if you can, make sure you're comfortable with making changes within the content management software tool.

2. The ability to test.

It's important you're able to understand what's working, so you can do more of the good stuff. You need to be able to easily run tests on outcomes for different headlines, layouts, and more. It's especially critical when doing something like a paid campaign, where maximizing results is tied directly to spend.

3. The opportunity for increased collaboration.

Chances are, you have a team of people working on one website.

You may have a developer who works on complex design pieces and integrations, a marketer who runs the day-to-day and manages campaigns, and content creators who write blog posts.

The ability to collaborate within the content management software tool and set permissions makes life a lot easier -- and ensures issues don't arise, like your social manager accidentally overwriting the developers' code.

4. Accessibility to support.

Oftentimes, your developer can fill this need -- but that can get expensive if you're paying by the hour. It's maybe not mission critical, but it sure is nice to have a support team you can call for help when you really need it, especially when it's halting your ability to launch a campaign.

5. Ability to integrate with the rest of your tools.

Last, but probably most importantly, you need your content management software to offer the ability to integrate with the rest of your tech stack. Generally, the best choices here are going to be open platforms or all-in-one solutions.

Ideally, it should at least have the ability to integrate forms with a mailing tool (for lead/ mailing list collection), as well as your CRM or some kind of database so you can personalize content. Additionally, you'll want to integrate with your CRM so you can customize pages, and add pages quickly and easily.

Now that we've explored five critical components of any content management software tool, let's explore our four favorites.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot is way more than just a content management software tool, since it lives on top of your CRM.

HubSpot's content management software tool has nice features like A/B testing, but it's particularly powerful when it comes to features like personalized content and smart content. If you're using HubSpot's marketing platform, it also works seamlessly with forms, your email list, and database management.

For instance, let's say you want a list of everyone in your database who visited your pricing page in the last 30 days. With HubSpot's content management software and CRM, this is incredibly easy to do.

It scores well on the design side, too -- like any content management software tool, it offers predesigned templates, a developer platform, and a network of partners certified on the content management software.

There are also some great out-of-the-box features designed to help with content creation -- like the ability to natively host video and add forms and calls-to-action in the video using the native editor, along with video analytics and a YouTube analytics integration.

Some of the features marketers will love on a platform level are the ability to partition content so it's easier for teams to work together. Additionally, you can publish content behind passwords and easily personalize content. Best of all, there's high-quality security and hosting, which takes the worry out of the technical side. And, of course, you get top-notch analytics since everything is working together.

2. Squarespace

Squarespace offers beautiful out-of-the-box designs with tons of customization options. You can download any theme and change colors, fonts, and other design elements with ease. It seems to be geared more towards the end user than the developer, so most edits are made in a WYSIWYG design editor.

Behind the scenes, they boast high-quality, secure hosting -- something that isn't always top of mind when selecting a content management software tool, but probably should be. It also allows for unlimited bandwidth and storage, which isn't always the case if you're buying hosting on its own.

It's also nice to have a support team, and Squarespace has a team that answers support tickets, so you're not totally on your own or stuck calling a developer for every single question. Additionally, they offer incredibly useful help documentation.

Squarespace offers tons of modules and integrations, although you might want to check their built-in integrations to make sure the rest of your tech stack will play well with Squarespace.

Image Source

3. Wix

Wix features tons of templates and has a free plan that gives you unlimited pages. If you need to get an online presence up and running right away, it's a great choice.

They also have paid plans that give you some additional features, including increased storage, the ability to add forms, a calendar, and access to VIP Support.

It's important to note, Wix is a bit tougher to customize -- they don't give access to CSS, although they do say you can "take full control of your website's functionality with JavaScript and Wix Code API's."

Additionally, it can be challenging to insert third-party code (like tracking code), so eventually, as your business grows, you or your developer may want something with a bit more customization capability.

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4. WordPress

And finally, last but certainly not least, we come to WordPress. WordPress is everywhere -- it's a popular platform and has a large eco-system of developers, designers, and plenty of others who are familiar with it.

The content management software tool itself is free, although you'll need to pay for hosting and probably a template at the very least, and more likely a developer or designer to help you get it up and running.

Your ease-of-use here will likely depend on how it's set up and which theme you use -- some have simple WYSIWYG editors, while others are more complex. This is a decision you'll definitely want to chat through with your developer, since once it's built, there isn't much you can change.

It's also incredibly customizable. There are a ton of plugins and add-ons you can use to help with anything from SEO, speed, automatic image resizing, and more.

WordPress doesn't offer support, but you can mitigate this problem if you have a good developer and a good host. There's also a massive network of web professionals that you can hire.

On the hosting side, I'd recommend a hosting platform that specializes in WordPress, like WP Engine, as I've found that their support teams are well-versed in WordPress -- which means they can help with questions and offer additional resources. Using a popular theme with plenty of existing help documentation, or even a support team, can also make a huge difference.

It's important to note, the openness of the platform results in a vulnerability to hacking (this is another reason to get a good host). Be aware that addressing security should be part of the initial plan and not come as an afterthought to design, since security breaches are hard to fix and require technical expertise.

While these are four popular choices for marketers, there are many more out there. The options are endless for content management software tools. Ultimately, it's critical you consider your workflow, your team, and the workflows you have in place to help you make the best decision.



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