Archive for April 24, 2014

Think Again. Your Home based business does need insurance

Home insurance

Engaging with people. Adding customers. Keeping them happy.

Running a home business can be fun but also stressful – especially since a home based business is often a one man show.

Balancing the needs of your family and the demands of your business while creating a separate space and a strict routine for your business can be a challenge. But the greatest challenge comes when your business starts growing. While you are struggling to bring your first client onboard, you may not feel like you’ve really started a fully fledged business. But once you start getting customers, you know you’ve arrived!!!

A home based business owner is responsible for handling all of his business responsibilities – sales, marketing, customer service and also BUSINESS INSURANCE.

Business insurance is important for success

Like any other business owner you will have a tough time deciding on various business aspects – defining your business goals, strategies, budget, and ways to provide excellent customer service – after all customers are the most important part of your business.

There are a few things that are not directly related to the success or failure of your business yet are just as important. Business insurance is one of them.

Why does my home-based business need insurance?

You must be thinking “my business is home based. Do I really need insurance?” The answer is “Yes, you do.” Why? Here are some reasons:

Saves you from unexpected expenses:  Suppose you have ordered a new printer for your business. The printer delivery guy comes to your door with the printer but it suddenly slips and he hurts himself. What will you do? There may not be coverage under your homeowner’s policy. Business insurance can help you in a situation like this.

Your homeowner’s policy might not be enough: You may think that your home based business will be covered under your homeowner’s insurance. But that might not be in the case. In fact, your homeowner’s policy may specifically exclude most business activities.

If there’s a fire at your home and it consumes your office equipment, it is possible that none of the office losses would be covered. Your insurer could even invalidate your homeowner’s policy for using your home for running a business.

Treat your home business like the real business it is: You are the owner of your home-based business. Be a smart business person and buy insurance for your business.

Which business insurance is right for me?

One of the reasons business owners do not opt for insurance is to avoid confusion. They are not sure which business insurance is right for them. Here’s a guide to help you get your home based business insured:

Add on to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy

The easiest and least expensive home-based business insurance policy is an add-on to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. The cost of such a policy is typically minimal – around $100 a year – but it can provide up to $2,500 of additional coverage, says Loretta Worters, VP of the Insurance Information Institute in New York City.

This type of plan is perfect for a one-person business without many valuables. For example, a tax consultant who works at home calculating his customers’ taxes and delivers returns via email. But it might not be enough to help the injured Printer delivery guy.

In -home business policy

An in-home policy is perfect for more serious home based business owners. It covers a wider spectrum of contingencies including loss of important papers or theft of funds. Rates of this insurance plan are typically between $250 and $500 and can provide coverage of $10,000.

This plan is for more serious business owners and it covers business equipment and liabilities, like the injury of the Printer guy.

Business owner’s policy

If you are looking for a policy that has coverage of over $10,000, then you may want to look into a business owner’s policy. These policies are typically meant for brick-and-mortar companies. This type of plan covers loss or damage of business equipment, loss of important records, professional liability cases, business interruption in case of power outrages or a natural disaster.

These plans might not protect you if you are driving your personal vehicle for business purposes, however.

As your business grows, you might need other policies like life insurance, worker’s compensation, business-vehicle insurance and others. But for most home based business, a business owner’s policy can provide more than a basic safety net.

The bottom line is that you should speak to your insurance agent to determine what your business needs are and make sure you are covered for those unexpected events. He is the best person to guide you for all your business insurance needs.

Does business insurance make you a smarter business owner? Tell us on Facebook and @Twitter.

 

Why do Small Businesses need the Click-to-Call feature on their Websites?

click-to-call

Phone calls are still considered the most important method of contacting a business or a person. With mobile search getting more and more popular, it’s no surprise that customers want to have the ability to call businesses directly from their website. In a recent Google survey of 3,000 mobile searchers, about 70% of consumers said a click-to-call feature is important for making a purchase.

Why customers prefer to call

There are many reasons why people prefer to call rather than using a website or other means. Ipsos (on behalf of Google) surveyed   3,000 people across various market sectors including retail, banking and finance, travel and hospitality, restaurant, local services, technology and automotive. It was found that 52% of buyers and 61% of ready to buy customers confirm they would like to call a business before making a purchase. Why calling is so important:

First, it’s the fastest and easiest way of getting an answer.

Second, people like to talk to a real person.

Third, the website cannot provide an answer to every customer’s question. Visitors often need more information than a website can provide.

Adding the click-to- call button

You might think a call button on a business website is something reserved for large companies. But actually it’s not! iTeleCenter helps even start-ups and mid-sized companies leverage this feature for their business.

By using the click-to-call feature you can prompt your web visitors to call your phone number directly from the website. It is a snippet of HTML code that businesses can embed in any web page. You can use this code in your website, online ads, email signatures or in any online document.

The significance of this feature is paramount among mobile searchers. The behavior of mobile searchers is quite different from PC-based web searchers. Mobile searchers are usually serious buyers – unlike web searching, people do not search via mobile simply for fun.

When they choose a product to buy, they often wish to speak with a real person before making the purchase. A click-to-call button on a website not only saves time but also makes a business look more professional because it knows how to serve its customers.

iTeleCenter’s click-to-call feature can add tremendous value especially for start-ups that are looking for ways to attract customers’ attention. According to Piranha Marketing Inc, it’s “…like an easy button for your business phone solutions.”

The click-to-call feature gives businesses the opportunity to speak to their customers right from their website, answer their queries and point out important features of their products/services. You can sign up now to enjoy a free trial for 14 days.

 

Add this feature to your website and tell us on Facebook and @Twitter how it changes your business.

How Small Businesses can Use Facebook

blog

Small business owners cannot afford to miss out on using Facebook. It is the biggest social networking site with over a billion active users. Nearly all consumers use Facebook to search for local businesses and Facebook is also rolling out features to help small business owners connect with their potential customers.  Mari Smith, one of the top 10 “social power influencers” according to Forbes, recommends a simple three pronged approach once you have uploaded an image and a cover photo for your Facebook page. This approach comprises content, engagement and conversions. In this post, we will primarily concentrate on Facebook content strategy.

Sharing content

No doubt, content is the most important part of your Facebook marketing.  Sit with your team and decide what you want to post on Facebook to keep your customers and visitors engaged. Before you start your Facebook marketing, you must have a solid content strategy in place. An ideal strategy should be a combination of original content and curated content. Curated content, according to Mari Smith is Other People’s Content or OPC.

Fortunately, there are several terrific tools available today that can provide you high quality relevant content. Tools like ContentGems, AllTop and Trapit can help in your search for the right content. It is also advisable to use content of several formats including blog posts, images, articles, short videos, infographics and also podcasts.

Your Facebook posts must be varied, informative and, at times, even controversial. Short video tutorials, eye-catching images or polls can also be used to engage your visitors on Facebook. In other words, you must not leave any stone unturned to delight your customers and engage with them.

Ways to promote content and get leads

Make sure to share at least one piece of great content every day. Try to engage with your community via your Facebook page and beyond. One of the simplest ways to stay focussed on your goal is to use the Interest Lists. Many users are not aware of this awesome Facebook feature. You can create your own Interest Lists combining business pages and personal profiles. Lists can be both private and public.

Another important aspect of your Facebook content strategy is Facebook ads. While deciding on the content strategy, you should allocate a budget for Facebook ads right away. Even a nominal budget of $10 per day can make a difference and intensify the reach of your daily posts. Moreover, there’s no point pushing out content to a wider audience without monetizable goals for that content. For example, your content must include special offers, events, quiz, contests, giveaways or an invitation to buy your product/service.

What strategy do you follow to market content on Facebook? Tell us on Facebook and @Twitter.

5 Tips for a Killer Small Business Blog

Blogging can be really productive for your small business, only if you know how to use this tool. The content of a good blog must be relevant to engage, attract and convert its readers to your online sales efforts. So, how can a company make its blog effective and increase its readership?

Know Your Audience and Then Target Them

You cannot write for everybody. Seth Godin in his book “All Marketers Are Liars” tells about the need to write for the audience. When you write think about specific people; think about your targeted audience. What size is their company, how old is their business, what stage of business development are they in and what might be their possible challenges. Although you can take occasional liberty to write about general topics, your primary focus should be to write about your business readers that are within this bandwidth.

Stories Have More Appeal

Everyone – not only children – likes to hear stories. No matter what you want to communicate – whether it is exciting or typical boring business news – tell stories to your readers. Use metaphors and analogies to decorate your story and make it sound more interesting. But that does not mean you should leave out facts and statistics. You must include them in your story and there must be logic behind it.

Try to be a Real Person

A blog is not a lecture. It’s a snapshot of your perspective on a particular topic. You can take the help of examples and stories to communicate your perspective. A blog must also reflect the personality of the blogger. Readers can find a blog very informative but they do not connect to information, they connect to the author. Treat your blog as an extension of your business personality. It is a kind of a monologue, expressing your business opinion.

High Quality Content

The blogging space is highly competitive. It is important to make the content of your blog relevant, high quality and of course sharable. Provide some real good information to your readers that they will not find elsewhere. There are some people who write cat blogs. You know what I mean – these people only write about themselves and their cats. But a business blog is quite different. You are writing a business blog to generate business and so it must talk about your customers, their possible challenges and information that they might find useful.

Optimize and Socialize

And finally, make your blog friendly to search engines and social networking platforms. Blogs that are easy to find and are shared on social platforms are a credible source of information. Do not stuff your blog with keywords and do not neglect them either. Search has incredible power for new readers because it gives them information at the time they need it. Socialize your blog. Do not think high quality content is automatically sharable.

 

Do you find this information helpful? Tell us on Facebook and @ twitter.