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article imageOp-Ed: Resources for the small business owner — Stay on top of trends

By Daniel Taibleson     Nov 15, 2013 in Business
If your business plan goes something like “Sell stuff, make money,” you’re going to need some other tools in your small business toolbox.
Most small business starter programs and classes help take care of the legal mumbo-jumbo like classifications and permitting, but what they don’t necessarily teach you is what to do next (other than “go forth and try not to crash and burn”). Luckily, there’s a bounty of useful information right at your fingertips. For those who are ready to start taking advantage of today’s trends, here are some recommended resources:
Social Networking
A Facebook and Twitter presence is required, and chances are good you already have these accounts set up. But where the audiences are today, and where you should be, is on Pinterest and Instagram. If your product or service isn’t entirely visual, find a way to make it so, and drive people to your site. Encourage customers to take photos at your location or with your logo and upload it. Past customers and future customers will be glad to see you on these networks or else wonder why you’re not there.
Mobile
Matt Baglia, a columnist with Social Media Today, says it simply: "If you don’t think you need mobile, you’re nuts." Mobile users today aren't just playing Angry Birds on their phones—they're using them to learn where to go and what to do. Smart businesses make sure their sites work well when viewed by many mobile devices. If you’re a retailer, consider mobile coupons, so customers don’t have to clip bits of paper.
The Cloud
Whether it’s Dropbox, which lets you move big files easily and share them with others, or Evernote, which lets you store and combine text and audio notes, you’ll can save time, space, ink and money on hard copies—and, your info is easy to retrieve.
Reputation Management
Do you know what's being said about your business online? If you plug your business' name into Google, what comes up? Your online reputation is critical to your success, and negative search results can destroy your livelihood. Look into retaining the services of a reputation management company to control what the Web is saying about you and your business.
American Express Open Forum
You can get advice from a number of sources, but this program from American Express helps you easily connect with experts in many different industries, and they’re all interested in helping you and others succeed. This easy-to-navigate mobile site also includes access to relevant articles, videos, discussion areas and more. You can even return the favor and share your expertise with others. While at the forum, learn about American Express card services for businesses, including its useful cash-back rewards programs.
Business News
The business world is always in motion. Some try to closely follow a particular stock, product or commodity, but monitoring this minute by minute is exhausting. Instead, find ways to get the latest headlines or occasionally check on that certain industries. Business Insider came up with nine useful mobile apps for business news, including the Associated Press, BBC News and Prismatic, which sort available stories based on your interests.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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