What Pages Should Your Small Business Website Have?

As fewer people use yellow pages the need for a small business website grows. Brick and mortar businesses are finding that website helps their business grow. If you want to keep up with your competition, a website is a great asset. To make an effective website that tells your visitors about your business your website needs certain pages and information.

What information should your home page have?

Your home page is the first page on your small business website that your visitors see. This page should have information about your business. On your home page, you should explain what you do, why you are the company to use and when you do business. If you do business in several cities you will want to include which cities you service.

Where should your small business address be?

If people need to come to your business, then you need to have the complete physical address on every page of your website. Some service businesses involve you going to your clients, in this case you only need your address on your home page and a contact page. No matter what your business is, you need your small business name, your phone number with area code and your email address.

What about a “Contact” page?

Your small business website needs a way for visitors to contact you, which is why you will also need a contact page. On it your visitors will need your physical address and mailing address if different. Visitors need your phone number and email address as well. On your contact page you can have a contact form that visitors can fill out to send you a message.

Do your visitors know what you do?

You need a page that explains in more detail what you do. This can be a “Product” page, “Service” or “Project” page. Explain to your visitors what service you provide or what products you sell. If you can add a price list. If you provide a service that has a finished project, like landscaping, home repairs, or pool installation, add some pictures of the end results.

What is your small business?

This is called an “About” page. On this page you will want to tell your visitors more about your business than you did on your home page. You can tell your business history. Explain why your visitors should use your small business instead of the competition. Your visitors will want to know how long you have been at this, what makes your business special and what you offer.

Should your site have more pages?

The pages mentioned here are basic pages you need. As the business owner you probably know your small business is different than others, so your small business website will have individual needs. You can make pages based on your business needs. Perhaps your business needs a services page and a product page. But you can help your business grow by getting a website as more and more people search online for local business.

Is your business ready for a new online look? Need branding?

Your business deserves the designs of a branded and secure online presence.

We use several techniques to help your business. Website design or redesign build to further your brand. Social media designed to brand and build your business, conversations that grow your presence.

Small Business Benefits of Collection Debt Help

Many small businesses today are faced with uncomfortable, time consuming debt collection activities. Although many people will hire a staff of debt collectors, small or medium sized, that does not carry nearly as much weight as does collection debt help from an attorney. Getting this kind of help from an attorney might normally cost a lot of money, but it can be extremely affordable, depending on how you approach it. Many people will hire attorneys or a legal service to get the job done more effectively. People do respond much more quickly to the letter of an attorney than they do a pesky telephone call from the typical bill collector.

Hiring small business collection services is easy to do and you will find that it also includes a lot for the money you do pay for the collection debt help services. One option that many small businesses use is to buy legal services in a package deal. This gives the small business owner access to a plethora of legal help. This often also includes a lot of legal assistance with contract review, legal consultation, correspondence, and reduced contingency fees. Having small business consulting also available can save business owners a lot of headaches and hassle in the future when things start to grow. Having a regular attorney who is familiar with the small business owners’ business makes this work even better as the business grows and changes.

Another reason having legal help for any small business is so great is that although small businesses might need collection debts help, this is a great way to be prepared in the event of some sort of a dispute, requiring an attorney. This provides incredible amounts of protection from lawsuits which sometimes are brought on by both clients and employees involving fraudulent claims that can be resolved quickly when legal services with a good amount of experience are already hired and ready to go.

Using a qualified attorney to do business when it comes to collection debt help is not only convenient and easy, but it is also a very smart choice for a business owner to make. It is always much faster to get a response out of those who owe when an attorney has signed the letter indicating some form of legal threat as opposed to those who threaten through the collection agency to attach something to their credit. The people who are not paying their bills are the ones who already have bad credit, more than likely. These ideas for small business should help those looking for collections answers find ways to deal with these business problems.

Debra Lindsey Fortner is a professional legal expert, and has owned small businesses since 1999, providing training and consulting services to prestigious Fortune 500 law firms and legal corporate departments all over the United States and Mexico City. Ms. Fortner knows and has experienced challenges in owning and operating more than one small business and the importance of having a legal team and business consultants accessible for your business at all times to provide legal advice and business growth strategies. She loves to coach others and continues to be very resourceful in providing small businesses and home based business owners with leadership guidance in structuring and positioning their businesses

Small Business Challenge

All Small Business experience challenges. Some of the more common challenges are: Strategies to attract more Customers. How do you increase your prices without losing customers? How do you attract more customers for FREE? How do you increase the visitors to your website by 50-150%? How do you avoid the most costly Small Business Mistakes and how to give your Small Business an instant Profits boost?

There are a range of articles, e-books, videos and discussion groups that add value to small businesses. Most often small businesses do not have the time, resources and capacity to search the web to see what is available and more importantly how they may drive traffic to their websites and increase the value and services they are able to give to customers.

The smaller the business the more invaluable the internet to increase marketing to many and varied customers. A good website that states what it is, describes its: products, standards, states the customers it wants to serve, ability promote company record and reputation and knowledge of what it is selling is a basic starting point.

There are opportunities available to small businesses to facilitate business owners to explore their ideas, make decisions and take action. Small business owners need time to think and foster a culture where talent of staff can be unblocked and flourish.

A business may have a niche market but is there a market in the niche? E-books are available packed with abundant ideas to support small businesses, particularly where the business does not have sufficient capacity and capability to discuss ideas and bring those ideas to marketable concepts.

Small businesses need to constantly identify trends in the market place and observe where and how those trends are shifting. Markets are always changing and with those changes come new questions and problems. Businesses need to look ahead and be in a position to leverage the change to create opportunities.

Where are the gaps created by changing needs?

Are there any gaps where some customer needs are not being met? Can the business solve the problem in a different way that would appeal to customers whose needs are not being met? How might the business use the global internet to market its solutions and products? Are there partnership approaches to identifying and filling the gaps?

Questions to support businesses to identify the need in each gap:

What are the specific business and customer needs that aren’t being served?

Why aren’t they being served? Are products and services part of a larger sub niche that can be marketed successfully?

Analysing the strengths and weaknesses of business competitors:

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the business competitors? What are they offering that the business is not offering? Can the business fill what they are not offering and make a profit doing so? Is there scope to team with competitors to turn them into supportive business partners, make profit and create win-win solutions?

Is the business selling what is selling in the Market?

A basic business foundation is to identify what is already selling within one or more niches in demand and offer a better product. When a business offers a solution for a niche that is looking for one, the business makes money. If the business offers a solution to a demanding niche it makes even more money.

Three Critical Human Resource Challenges For Small Business

I believe that the three most critical challenges facing today’s small business owners in the management of their human resources fall within the following three categories:

(1) Attracting and retaining qualified staff;

(2) Moving from a craft or a promotional organization to an administrative organization; and

(3) Addressing the special needs of a diverse workforce.

The justification for these three categories follows:

Attracting and Retaining Qualified Staff

There are at least six significant factors that increase the complexity of this challenge.

First, a number of communities are experiencing a limited number of available local applicants.

Second, there is frequently a lack of accessibility due to limited or non-existent transportation options. For example, a number of years ago, a company in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin could not find enough interested and available local residents. The obvious answer was to recruit in the closest larger city, which was Madison, Wisconsin. However, the lack of a bus route between Madison and Sun Prairie- particularly around the third shift- mooted out this possibility at that time.

Third, small businesses are often limited in terms of the wage and benefit packages they can offer, particularly as they compete with larger businesses.

Fourth, small businesses often lack advancement possibilities for existing staff. Either there are no growth opportunities, or the existing staff lacks the necessary technical expertise or administrative experience to fill the positions when they become available.

Fifth, the transient nature of applicants with limited qualifications may make it difficult to retain them.

Sixth, it may be hard for a small business to create a sufficiently healthy motivational climate to retain employees. Long hours, frequent crises resulting from inexperience and the necessity to respond quickly to unanticipated customer needs, the insecurity of work and payroll, the frequent need for evening and/ or weekend hours, the lack of growth opportunities, the limited benefits, the lack of opportunity and/or funding for training, and inexperienced supervisors and management, may all contribute to staff burnout or turnover.

Moving from a Craft or a Promotional Organization to an Administrative Organization

There are four integrally related factors that make this movement difficult.

First, the staff who were initially attracted by the craft or promotional nature of the organization may become very uncomfortable when the business moves into an administrative mode.

Many small businesses falter as they grow, prosper, and add on additional staff. As more people are added and supervisory levels are needed, they begin to lose the family feeling associated with a craft organization, with immediate access and continual contact between staff and owners. Staff may also miss the intimacy and informality of the craft organization and become disenchanted with the “big business” more formal culture of an administrative organization, with written policies and procedures.

Then there are staff who hire on because of the excitement of the entrepreneurial venture, challenged by meeting crises and moving quickly to take advantage of critical windows of opportunity that occur so frequently in a promotional organization. They may become bored by the standardization and slower pace required by an administrative organization. Their gradual isolation from the charismatic owner who first perked their interest and commitment may also disenchant them.

Second, the business owners may lack the knowledge, skill, or experience in supervision. In all organizations, even a craft organization, there is a need to supervise and manage staff. Many entrepreneurs have not worked in other businesses, so they have no model to draw from in terms of what is or is not appropriate. Other entrepreneurs hire family or friends and then have a great difficulty issuing orders or handling performance issues.

Third, many small businesses, regardless of where they are in the organizational cycle (craft, promotional, or administrative) lack sufficient personnel management policies and procedures which might help them supervise in some consistent fashion. Clearly, it is easier to address performance issues if there are written performance standards or operational guidelines.

Fourth, as organizations move into an administrative mode, they face an increasing need to comply with specific governmental regulations. There is an additional complexity involved in payroll and tax reporting, and rewriting position descriptions, recruitment and hiring policies and procedures to comply with ADA, etc.

Addressing the Special Needs of a Diverse Workforce

Due to labor market shortages, additional governmental regulation, and the increasing diversity of the population, many small businesses will have to hire individuals that they may not have considered in the past, and then train and incorporate them into their workforce. There will be an increasing number of non-traditional hires, second career, older workers, part time workers, and workers who mirror the complexion of the community that the business serves.

Businesses will have to adjust to the different needs of this workforce. This may include: initiating flexible scheduling; providing training in technical or computer skills; addressing literacy issues; complying with immigration requirements and special permits; making special accommodations for general accessibility and specific employees’ physical impairments; providing health care, on-site daycare, and other benefit packages; getting involved in school to work programs, apprenticeship and mentoring programs; creating liaisons with different community organizations for recruitment purposes; and finding solutions to transportation and accessibility issues.

They may also need to institute cross cultural training, establish policies and procedures to handle harassment issues, and simply become more sensitized to the different communication, trust, motivation, and management needs and practices of various cultures.

There are many other challenges that small businesses face in terms of quality improvement, customer service, technological advancements, financing, etc.

Health care alone warrants its own category. However, based upon my years of training and consulting in the small business community throughout Wisconsin, I believe that these three categories summarize the largest and most significant issues facing small businesses today in the area of human resource management.

Deborah Spring Laurel has been a trainer and a consultant in the areas of workplace learning and performance improvement for over thirty years. She has twenty years of experience as the President of Laurel and Associates, Ltd,, an international human resource development training and consulting firm that specializes in enhancing interpersonal dynamics within organizations. She has designed and delivered hundreds of different skill-building participant-based and accelerated learning workshops on various topics, all of which have been tailored to meet her clients’ needs.

Deborah taught management and supervisory topics for the Executive Management Institute and the Small Business Development Center in the School of Business at the University of Wisconsin- Madison for over thirty years. From 1998-2002, she consulted with the JJ Strossmeyer University in Osijek, Croatia to design the first Eastern European participant-based Masters Degree program in Entrepreneurship.

Beware of Hidden Costs in Your Small Business

Obvious costs are usually planned for. However, hidden costs will drain your money and time without your knowledge. These costs in fact are not hidden, but get overlooked when you factor in the major expenses. If you are aware of the hidden costs, you can avoid unpleasant surprises. Besides, small business costs can be reduced to a certain extent by managing the hidden costs.

In the excitement to get the business started, many small business owners forget about the business licenses. Business licenses and permits are required to start and run a business. You have to register your company name as well. If you want to register a brand name or trademark, things get more complicated.

Licensing requirements for a small business vary according to the type of business and its location. Although minimal, costs of getting business licenses are mostly overlooked. However, ignoring the required business license and permits will cost you more in future.

Another hidden cost in a small business is taxes. While great care is taken to pay regular income tax, other applicable taxes such as self-employment tax, payroll tax, and FICA tax that includes Social Security and Medicare taxes, are often ignored. Again, these will later come up as unexpected costs and attract penalty as well.

When you raise a loan for your small business, you may not notice the hidden costs that come along with the loan. You may be so engrossed in getting the money that you won’t realize how much you are spending to get that money. If you take a closer look, you may even find the loan quite expensive. Processing fees, documentation fees, third-party fees, government fees, and other similar expenses, fall into the category of hidden fees. However, these will be clearly stated in the contract. Read the contract carefully and clarify any clause that you do not understand. Fees directly charged by the lender are often negotiable. Additionally, you should be aware of the other costs, such as pre-payment penalties and refinancing charges. Small business costs can shoot up significantly just because of these hidden charges in a bank loan.

Insurance is another component that increases small business costs. However, insurance will prevent you from shelling out cash from your pocket in case of an unfortunate event. It is mandatory to purchase business property insurance, liability insurance, and unemployment insurance. It is advisable to buy a health insurance package for your employees.

A small business owner faces a lot of difficulties in dealing with banks, licensing authorities, and other organizations that fall in this category. Ignorance can be costly in these cases. This makes the services of a legal professional essential. This is another factor that needs to be considered as hidden cost in your business.

When you consider costs, many a time, a small business owner will not consider the cost of time spend on various activities. Spending more time on any activity increases the costs associated with it, though not tangible. Moreover, you need to consider the time you spend away from the family when you try hard to grow your business, which also has a cost attached to it.

As a small business owner, it is important to be aware of these hidden costs in your business. Apart from including these costs to your estimated capital requirements, you can also try to price your products or services after factoring in these costs.