Types of Expenses That Should Be Cut To Optimize Profits That Managers Should Know

Profit optimization is always a problem that needs to be solved throughout the business process. Simply put, optimizing profit means increasing the balance between cash inflows and expenses.

Keeping a healthy cash flow is crucial for SMEs and startups to face arising market challenges. To successfully optimize profits and increase revenue, the managers need to pay close attention to existing costs to determine the most appropriate direction.

Are all business expenses necessary to maintain? 

Business expenses are divided into two categories:

  • Fixed costs are fees that are not affected by any business life cycle effects and
  • Variable costs are fees that increase or decrease depending on a specific time.

In particular, fixed costs are more difficult to cut because they are closely linked with business activities such as rent, tax, insurance, loan interest, etc.

The costs will be divided into management costs and production costs for raw materials, factories, and many more for manufacturing businesses.

It seems that all fees are essential for the business to operate. However, with the current volatile economic situation, managers need to be very alert to manage these costs well.

So, what costs can be cut to maximize profits?

Excess production or service costs

A company with many non-key products can easily cause a surplus of raw materials. Although this does not significantly affect the cash flow, if we can reduce what is not needed, the business will save a considerable amount of money, and consequently, the profit is also optimized.

Another situation is the output is much higher than the sales. This leads to the waste of materials, occupying warehouses, and even reducing the quality of products when they are in stock for too long.

Ineffective PR campaigns

PR campaigns help businesses promote sales revenue but are not always the best tactic.

For small and medium-sized businesses and startups, focusing on PR activities can increase brand awareness on the market, but a wise CEO will always know when to “burn money” and when to preserve capital.

Promoting PR activities without a specific strategy will lead to business exhaustion. Before reaping the results, the money is already burned.

Expenses for unnecessary personnel

For small and medium enterprises, the more streamlined the operating process, the more advantageous it is. Under economic volatilities, having a lean procedure will help businesses adapt more quickly and efficiently, minimizing financial waste on unnecessary “gears.”

For example, the division of separate departments helps employees work best at their own duties, but it also makes the operating process cumbersome.

Therefore, at the early stage of starting a company, there should be measures to optimize each personnel position to save costs and avoid wasting resources.

Depreciation costs of excessive promotions

Promotions and discounts are effective programs to boost sales at particular times, but many companies abuse them as an indispensable sales tool.

If the market value of the service is $500, but the actual revenue that can be received is only $250, this is also considered a large depreciation charge.

Managers need to consider drawing up more innovative sales strategies to maximize revenue without spending too much on promotions to optimize profits.

Time cost

This fee cannot be measured directly in money but will negatively impact the long-term operation. If the business activities fall into a state of “pending,” it proves that a waste of time is taking place.

The excess “pending state” will slow the company’s business progress. Therefore, managers should consider a plan to help companies optimize working time to increase efficiency and productivity, and eventually, the profits will be more optimized!

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Jenfi Insights – Manage All Business Expenses With Just A Few Minutes

Jenfi Insights is a tool to help you optimize advertising costs on digital platforms and provides a detailed guide to help you expand your business effectively.

Make sure you always get the best return when running online ads with recommendations just for you. Sign up to use the Insights feature to use every penny properly!

How To Write An Impressive Case Study

Case studies are comprised of the real-life stories of a business’ challenge, accompanied by the details and hard data of how they were able to overcome it and triumph in the end. Just like many marketing tactics, case studies are one of those materials that benefit from having a narrative woven through it to keep readers engaged and inspired to interact with your brand.

In essence, its purpose is to tell the story of how a client and supporting merchant or service provider were able to work together to solve the client’s issue.

After reading your case study, potential customers should be able to envision themselves in the shoes of their peers and be compelled to establish a partnership with your business. Here’s how to accomplish exactly that.

Obtain an authentic client testimonial

It can be tempting to try your hand at crafting your own testimonial and draft a case study from that, but the truth is contrived testimonials are often so blatantly obvious that clients can spot them from miles away.

“Something gets lost when you try to write your own testimonial. It’s nearly impossible to re-create the individualistic, unique tone of voice that each of your clients or customers has,” says Jon Simpson of Forbes.

The best thing you can do is utilize direct quotes from your client and entwine them in with the expository of your case study. It’ll really help the flow of your format, and keep readers both entertained and trusting of your transparency.

Have a versatile angle that appeals to all prospects

They say being niche is the best way to appeal to the masses, and this certainly rings true when it comes to your case study. A good tip to keep in mind is to find a compelling, but broad angle to base your case study on.

For example, if you can find a particular client who has come across a seemingly uncommon roadblock, and your company was able to help them solve it, that could be a great way to demonstrate your business’ ability to creatively and critically resolve client dilemmas. Just be certain that the unusual obstacle in question appeals to all prospective clients in your target market.

Include concrete data and statistics to support your methodology

Engaging storytelling is great, but when it comes to selling yourself to potential clientele, cold hard data is going to be your wingman. Anything you can include that directly illustrates where the problem began, and where it was resolved, will help round out your case study.

Now, your company may not be about statistics, but as long as you can provide substantial evidence to support your claims you should be good to go. But remember, try not to overload your audience with extensive, boring data. Succinctness is key, and the more relevant they are the less you need to focus on explaining yourself. Let the numbers speak for themselves!

Write in a “Challenges” and “Solutions” section

Now, this may seem redundant considering all the ways you’ve probably outlined this information in the case study already, but think of this as a basic bulleted list where you can break down what the challenges were for this particular client, followed by a brief section about what you did to help them out.

Consider it a simple recap of what you discussed where you can drive the rest of your case study home to get readers to sign up.

Incorporate some captivating visuals

Intricately written text is the lifeblood of any good case study, but with our modern visually-driven world, decorating your case study with stunning, high-resolution imagery is the icing on top of the marketing cake.

This is a wonderful opportunity to not only paint a picture of your problem-solving expertise, but also to integrate your unique branding and really solidify the image you wish to put out into the market.

Get a free estimate for funds to grow your business.

Be the supporting character in your client’s hero story

Iris Leung of Piktochart mentions that, “63% of marketers have said that they’ve been able to generate leads using case studies. And as today’s consumer typically reads up to 10 user product reviews before considering to make a purchase, it’s clear the impact that case studies will have on conversion rates.”

This means that mastering case studies is a great way to supplement your marketing strategy for casting the widest lead-generating net. And of course, we all need a little support when it comes to implementing effective marketing strategies and Jenfi is here to help.

If you’d like to learn about how you can obtain the funding to grow your business and make your marketing dreams come true, visit Jenfi today to see if you qualify for up to $200k in funding for your marketing expenses!

How To Obtain A Small Business Loan Through PayPal

PayPal allows you to have a smooth transaction process by letting you hook up your bank account directly to your PayPal and be an asset for most bank needs, local or international. It continues to innovate with valuable features for effortless business management.

You may be currently be using PayPal for many of your business transactions, but did you know you can also get a small business loan just for having an active business account as well?

 

How is a PayPal loan different from traditional bank loans?

PayPal loans and PayPal Working Capital have an ample range of $5,000 to $500,000 and have an easy application process compared to most traditional bank loans.

With bank loans, extensive documentation, including financial statements or legal documents, is typically necessary before you even get the process started. It can also take days or even weeks between submitting an application and receiving a notice of a reward.

PayPal, however, can take as little as 5 minutes to see if you’re eligible for the appropriate funding necessary for your business. Repayment works by deducting a 5% minimum percentage of each sale, paired with a fixed fee you’re made aware of before accepting the loan. This can be pretty comforting relative to how traditional loans work, as interest can be periodic and fluctuate more than once.

Other attractive benefits of PayPal loans are the lack of a credit check and additional application, annual, early, repayment, and late fees that can rack up your balance with a bank.

Am I eligible?

PayPal Working Capital eligibility requirements are pretty straightforward. Your must-haves are as follows:

  • Have a PayPal Business or Premier account for a minimum of 90 days
  • Have a proven track record of processing at least $20,000 in annual sales through your Premier account, or $15,000 in annual sales through your Business account
  • If you already have a PayPal loan, you must repay any remaining balance from the previous loan.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that PayPal does have a list of non-eligible industries for funding. You may not qualify for a loan if you are an attorney, a school, a civic organization, an independent artist, or a financial services provider, among others.

Check out the list here to see if you make the cut.

How do I apply?

Some basic information is required when it comes time to apply for your PayPal Working Capital loan. Depending on your business, you may need to provide contact information and birth dates, and social security numbers for your business owners and management. However, rest assured PayPal will not utilize this information for a credit check.

1. Once you have gathered this information, you have two options for filling out their simple eligibility questionnaire to determine if your business is currently in good standing.

You can:

Fill it out yourself online — it only takes 5 to 10 minutes.

Or, if you’re a tad anxious about errors, you can speak with a Business Funding Expert on the phone that will guide you through the process step by step.

2. Next, PayPal will ask you for a number based on what you need where you can specify your preferred amount, in addition to the duration of the loan

3. Once approved, you will sign an electronic contract with instructions on setting up weekly payments directly from your account.

4. When that’s all squared away, Paypal will deposit your loan into your PayPal Business account, at which point you have the option to either withdraw it and deposit it into your bank account or let it stay in your PayPal account instead.

Get a free estimate for funds to grow your business.

Are there any downsides?

As with any loan program, PayPal loans have their downsides as well. We talked about how having a PayPal Business or Premier account is an essential requirement of the loan and that not all industries are eligible, but there’s one other con.

Notably, it’s imperative to keep in mind that consistency in payments is crucial for maintaining good standing with your loan. Falling behind with your payments can cause PayPal to place specific limits on your account, which can no doubt be detrimental to the operations of your business.

Of course, if you feel confident with the steadiness of your revenue flow, then this may be no sweat!

Supplemental Loans

Loans can help many facets of managing a small business, but they don’t always cover every single part. Every business is undoubtedly unique, but overwhelming marketing expenses can be a constant for business owners across the board.

That’s where Jenfi comes in! Like PayPal, Jenfi also offers a simple and fully online application process to see if you’re eligible for marketing and inventory funding for your company. Jenfi loans are excellent supplemental loans that have your back regarding anything related to marketing your business for optimal growth.

Apply today, and discover all the ways Jenfi can help you expand your reach!

Skyrocket Sales by Optimizing Your Facebook Target Audience

Facebook ads are an impressively cost-effective tool when you realize just how many people you can potentially reach with your advertisements. An estimated 14.5 billion people log onto Facebook a day. 

The complex part of reaching such a broad audience is being able to classify users according to characteristics specific to your ideal customers. This, of course, begins with having a clear profile of who you think will be shopping for your product or service. 

Luckily, Facebook arms you with thousands of parameters to accurately distinguish each of your target audiences for laser-focused advertising. 

Types of Target Audiences

Facebook has a few significant categories of target audiences that each has their benefits depending on the kind of ad campaign you’re looking to launch. 

Here’s how you can get the most ROI from your budget by optimizing the hyper-precise features of Facebook Ads. 

Saved Audiences

A saved audience can also be called a core audience, and it’s comprised of targeted settings that you plan on using regularly. Essentially the group of characteristics that are at the common ground of your typical customer base.

When building your core audience, you can choose from a range of features such as demographics (age, location, gender, and language), interests (activities, hobbies), as well as behavior patterns (shopping habits, traveling, etc.)

It’s an excellent way for businesses who are still exploring their ideal target audience to collect data for future ads that includes insights into the current state of their market.

Lookalike Audiences

Once you know what your core audience looks like, a pivotal next step is to create a lookalike audience. Essentially, Facebook reduces the need to play the guessing game by utilizing its robust algorithm to find quite literally a lookalike audience that has relevant parameters to your existing core audience. 

How To Optimize Them 

Lookalike audiences are suitable for when you feel you’ve already exhausted your other options or if you want to create similar target audiences within different segments your past campaigns have excelled in. Meaning, if you happened to have a successful ad campaign run among people in their 20s, you can use lookalike ads to segment the audience further and find additional users ready to jump on the bandwagon. 

Choose whether you want to optimize your reach to a specific or broad audience, and Facebook will find you the top 1% of similar users in your target country, or the top 10% of that same pool of users, respectively. 

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences can be one of the trickier types of targeted audiences to navigate. It allows you to utilize behavioral data to target users who have had previous exposure and interaction with your brand by uploading your separate customer lists that include Facebook ID, email address, or phone number to reach specific accounts.

You can also pair it with Facebook tracking pixels, which you can use to track behavioral data directly from your website, such as sign-ups or items added to the cart, to benefit a future campaign. Upload your separate customer lists that include Facebook ID, email address, or phone number to reach specific accounts.

And of course, you can also include users who have interacted with your brand on the Facebook site itself, such as other ads you’ve run in the past or if they visited your Instagram account. 

How To Optimize Them

Custom audiences are a valuable tool to those companies that want to retarget previous customers to remind them of your products or service, if, for instance, it’s been a while since they’ve visited your site. Purchase additional behavior subcategories specific to your niche, or dive deep into Life Event Targeting to reach users who would benefit from your product or service during a significant time in their lives. 

Get a free estimate for funds to grow your business.

Layered Targeting

Layered audiences are the ultimate and maybe most complicated facet of Facebook targeted ads. Layered targeting involves taking existing audiences and layering them with each other to create an ultra-specific group of users to advertise to. 

How To Optimize Them

The benefit of this is clear. The more you zero in, the more you can demonstrate that you’re able to tackle the specific needs of your customers with your product or service. For instance, if you sell dog food, surely you’d want to target individuals who just got a new dog, but you’d also like to advertise to existing dog owners who are in the market for a new dog food brand. You can then continue to get more specific with parameters such as dog breed, household type, etc. 

Facebook ads can be a refreshing way to approach pay-per-click advertising. It utilizes a completely customizable outreach system that lets you choose an audience that will be eager to buy from you as soon as your ad appears on their screens. If you’d like to know more about how you can receive the funding you need to employ Facebook ads as part of your marketing strategy, visit us at Jenfi and apply now to see if you qualify in as little as 24 hours!

Start Your E-Commerce Business In Singapore The Right Way

I think many people can agree that Singapore embodies the phrase “small but mighty,” and when it comes to e-commerce, there is no exception. Singapore boasts a young, tech-savvy population and some of the fastest internet in the world, being almost three times the speed of the global average, according to JP Morgan.

This powerful combination bodes well for the future of e-commerce in Singapore and Southeast Asia. With the Singaporean government making efforts to make shopping online a more effortless endeavor by providing 24/7 access to public parcel lockers, there’s no doubt e-commerce will continue to dominate for years to come.

Clearly, the time is now to dive into this rapidly growing market, so stick around to find out how you can open an e-commerce business of your own.

Perform Market Research in Your Niche

If you have a product idea in mind already, that’s great! If you’re still trying to figure out how you can break into e-commerce with a fresh product and moderate competition, doing a little research into your preferred niche will likely give you the confidence you need to launch a profitable online store.

The best way to do this is to start with knowing your niche inside and out. X-cart suggests you scrutinize groups of forums in your niche to get your information straight from the horse’s mouth, your potential future customers.

You can also look at trending products on popular shipping platforms such as Amazon or opt for third-party product research tools to get the metrics on trending products in your market.

Choose Your Business Model

Once you feel comfortable in your niche, you have to begin defining who your ideal customers are. A significant part of this is simply choosing one of the many options for conducting sales in use today.

Business to Business, or B2B

This refers to a company that sells to other companies, such as wholesalers to retailers.

Consumer to Consumer, or C2C

With this model, consumers might re-sell products they’ve purchased from other retailers they’ve never used, previously used, or even modified.

Business to Consumer, or B2C

One of the more widely used business models in e-commerce, B2C companies sell their products or services directly to their customers without any 3rd party involvement.

Consumer to Business, or C2B

This model has gained significant popularity in recent years with the rise of influencer marketing, which involves internet personalities selling advertising space to companies.

Get a free estimate for funds to grow your business.

Find the E-commerce Platform That Suits You Best

E-commerce platforms are arguably the most straightforward way of setting up your online store, and Singapore is home to some of the leading websites dominating e-commerce today. Platforms are attractive mainly in part due to their convenient integrated customer retention features.

Qoo10

  • Free to register your store
  • Live chat feature for customers to communicate directly with sellers
  • Sales Manager feature tracks all orders, product listings, and shipping

Lazada

  • High user traffic in Southeast Asia
  • In-house shipping assistance with any of their warehouses in Hong Kong, China, or Singapore
  • Comprehensive courses on effective marketing with Lazada Academy

Shopify

  • Mobile-ready
  • Fully customizable store-front
  • Powerful SEO features to get your store noticed

Carousell

  • Can sell used items
  • Cash-on-delivery payment option
  • Two-way reviews and rating system

Develop Your Reliable Marketing Plan

Now that you’ve set up shop, you have to think about how you’re going to get the word out that you’re open for business.

There is an array of options for driving traffic to your store that converts into sales, and choosing the right ones depends on your brand voice and your sales goals. These can include pay-per-click ads, social media, or sponsored content.

But the very first step, according to internet marketing expert Darren DeMatas on ecommerceCEO, is to create an email list through the use of an opt-in freebie on your website. He says, “Running a giveaway is my go-to marketing tactic to get traffic and subscribers quickly.

4 Powerful Email Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is an incredibly compelling digital marketing strategy that involves sending emails to your prospective or existing customers to gain a steady flow of new acquisitions or solidify relationships you already have. 

It’s an excellent way to boost sales and remains one of the best ways to nurture leads and customer loyalty. 

What are the benefits?

Email marketing for small and big businesses alike comes with many benefits that may turn you toward incorporating it into your strategy if you haven’t already. 

Firstly, email marketing is decidedly cost-effective, providing up to $40 on ROI for every $1 spent. And according to Smart Insights, that’s over two times more than other marketing channels making it the top choice for customer outreach. 

Emails provide consistent engagement with your customers, reaching them at their inbox; one of the virtual locations your loyal fans may be frequenting the most daily. It’s also an excellent way to collect important demographic and behavioral data for further personalization in your email outreach, product recommendations, and user experience updates to your websites and social media channels. 

Overall, email marketing strategies allow you to grow your brand by making you identifiable and giving you an edge over your competitors. 

4 Email marketing strategies

1. Segment your market

Not all audiences are the same, and it’s crucial to observe your customer base as multiple segments within the same pool instead of just one unified group. Now, you don’t have to narrow things down to the basics such as age, education level, or genders though they can certainly help. 

Maria Mora, vice president of creative and content strategy at Big Sea says, “Break lists up depending on where your contacts are in the buyer’s journey, and segment based on what you know about them.” This makes it exponentially easier to deliver and track metrics on targeted trigger emails. 

Here’s a handy list for your reference:

  • Purchase history (frequency of making purchases, product preferences, purchases made during sales)
  • Demographics (age, gender, location)
  • Email engagement (click vs. no click open)

2. Decide on what kind of email you’re going to send

Just as your customers aren’t all the same, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to emails either. There’s a wide variety of options for email marketing, and knowing what they are and how they function is integral to designing your perfect email campaign. 

  • Newsletters: Contain a report of recent news or activity within your business and is a popular way to keep your customers in the loop
  • Promotional: Are composed of special discounts or exclusive offers meant to persuade purchases
  • Seasonal: Seasonal emails are great for providing updates for sales or other news coinciding with upcoming holidays or seasons
  • Transactional: Focus solely on providing information concerning a transaction that occurred on your site but can be a great branding tool
  • Loyalty: Remind customers of their rewards, or notify them of VIP discounts to thank them for sticking around 
  • Drip: Automated emails sent after a specific action, whether its a cart reminder, an email confirmation, or a product suggestion email

3. Personalize as much as possible

A well-personalized email can mean the difference between a customer opening an email versus instantly sending it to their trash bin. Based on whatever data you collected from your market segmentation, the more personal you make your emails, the more likely customers are to open and engage with them.

“One thing we saw an instant bump in open rates from was when we put the email coming from the owner’s name instead of the company name,” said Jeff Moriarty of marketing and web development at Moriarty’s Gem Art. 

And if you can manage to tack on your recipients’ names to each email, then you’re pretty much winning the game. You can do this automatically with the use of CRM software, which you can easily fund with us at Jenfi along with other necessary marketing expenses to guarantee long-term business growthVisit us today to see if you qualify!

Get a free estimate for funds to grow your business.

4. Track Your Metrics

Now that you’ve gone through the trouble of doing market research and segmentation, as well as email writing and designing, you can start track to track your results as soon as you hit send. 

This is the only way you can rule out what works and what doesn’t, so you can further streamline your marketing strategies and save time the next time you send out a campaign. 

Take note of: 

  • Email opening rates
  • Unsubscribes
  • Links they clicked on

Now that you know what every successful marketing campaign entails pair these email marketing strategies with any future email campaigns you put out to watch your sales soar in 2021 and beyond. 

5 Customer Retention Strategies For Start-Up Growth

There’s a specific excitement felt by businesses seasoned or new when it comes to the acquisition of new customers. Oftentimes this “new customer smell” is so  alluring that business owners forget that not only is it cheaper on average to market to a loyal customer, it also results in greater ROI with Bellycard’s customer loyalty survey reporting, “almost 30% of SMBs estimated that 71-90% of their customers visited more than once last year.”

With the rising costs of marketing for acquisition, start-up business owners should begin prioritizing the following fail-safe customer retention strategies to secure customer loyalty — the real key to business growth in 2021 and beyond.

Customer Loyalty Programs

One of the most tried and true ways of achieving customer retention is through the use of customer loyalty programs. Having a loyalty program honors your customers that have stuck around by providing special discounts, exclusive offers, or even gifts.

Loyalty programs are a form of positive reinforcement that rewards your customers the more they shop from or engage with your brand. They’re also a small reminder that you care enough about them that you’d like to repay them for their continued support.

Referrals or “Evangelism”

If you’re looking for a clever way to get your loyal customers involved in the marketing process, referral programs are an excellent way to knock out your two customer retention and new customer acquisition birds with one stone.

The strategy involves offering an incentive for both your customer and the friend they invite to shop from you, typically with an exclusive discount. Take the MeUndies model, for example. An increasingly popular underwear brand, much of its growth has relied on its referral program offering returning customers $20 off their next purchase, and 20% for their friend.

Customer Feedback Loop

According to SuperOffice, there seems to be a gap between the 80% of companies who believe they’re delivering exceptional customer service as opposed to the 8% of customers who would agree.

An important behind-the-scenes tactic for improving customer retention rates is to actively listen to your customer feedback. Surveys are the most concrete way of opening this line of communication with your pool of customers. With surveys, you can obtain a wealth of information including data on customer behavior, or get transparent suggestions as to what shoppers are seeking in their customer experience.

Pair this with targeted emails reassuring your customers that you’re taking their constructive criticism to heart. This will help you build a solid foundation of trust.

Get a free estimate for funds to grow your business.

Keep it Convenient

It’s a no-brainer to mention that keeping your customer experience as convenient as possible will keep customer loyalty at a high. This plays into obtaining that sacred data from your feedback loop.

If you can streamline your checkout processes to make the final purchase as smooth as possible, customers are going to keep coming back if only for the simplicity of the transaction. Yes, it matters that much! Many companies have turned to the mobile sphere for this, offering easy checkout right in the palm of their hands.

As counter-intuitive as it may seem, finding a way for your customers to get in and out in a flash is the way to go.

Outreach Personalization

A symptom of the email marketing craze is that customers tend to see business emails as spam as opposed to anything that offers value. However, personalizing those outreaches offers an opportunity to insert audience-appropriate personality, as well as content that coincides with their preferences and purchase history.

Econsultancy research data points to an overall higher impact ROI with these specially personalized emails, as a matter of fact.

Emails aren’t the only way to achieve this though, another effective method of personalized outreach can mean communicating with your customer base on social media channels they frequent.

Loyal customers are a sure-fire way to experience growth within your business, and keep the cash flowing so your business can stay afloat without worry. These customer retention strategies are just another fancy way of saying that you need to build trust and relationships with your customer base to truly be successful. After all, a rockstar is nothing without his fans, and that analogy rings true for businesses everywhere.

If you want to get an edge on the most state-of-the-art CRM software, or additional customer loyalty marketing strategies to make customer retention your top priority starting now, visit us over at Jenfi to see if you qualify for the funding you need!

Half of Small Businesses Struggle With Financing

It is getting harder and harder these days to obtain adequate capital as a small business owner. Only half of SMEs were even eligible for financing last year.

In most cases, the lack of cash flow and low annual sales volume lead to automatic disqualification for the small business loan applicant.

If your business generates less than $300,000 in revenue and you have less than a $100,000 cash balance, you may need to seek alternative financing options as your likelihood of obtaining business credit is low.

Get a free estimate for funds to grow your business.

Click here for the original story from the Singapore Business Review.

Is the Google Small Business Tool Worth Using?

Google has launched Google for Small Business with the goal of enabling small business owners to leverage more digital tools to grow their business. Apparently over half of small business owners are unaware that these tools even exist.

The website prompts you to fill out basic information about your business, such as your company name and website, and ask you questions about your goals: growing your online presence, getting more customers, among others.

After submitting the responses, you get a personalised step-by-step plan. For example, Google may encourage you to use Adwords to boost your presence and start a YouTube video channel to attract an organic audience. You also get tips on how to improve your search results.

Useful or not? Your mileage may vary depending on how familiar you are already with Google’s suite of products. Although it’s Google centric, it’s a great place to start for newcomers and you may end up learning something new. It’s encouraging to see Google continuing to invest in initiatives for small businesses.

Get started today.

3 Ways to Advertise Without Spending Any Money

Marketing is the lifeblood for growth for many small businesses. Yet, many owners throw everything at the wall – flyers, social media, commercials – often overspending by a significant margin without the commensurate return on marketing.

The key is finding the right channels that can deliver consistent and positive return on investment (eg. the amount you amount you generate for every dollar of marketing you spend).

But what about advertising your business for free? Getting additional customers without any incremental cost will actually make your overall business more cost effective as your blended marketing cost comes down. And lowering the overall cost of your marketing will allow you to do even more.

Here are some ways to market your business without breaking the bank:

1. Publicity

This is often associated with expensive PR campaigns to generate attention. But did you know you can actually generate free publicity with the right media outlets?

Publications such as The Straits Times are constantly sourcing relevant topics and content for their readers. The best way to get some initial exposure is to follow the writers that cover your industry and to reach out to them when you have something interesting to share.

Try sponsoring a content for your existing customers enticing them to fill out a customer survey, one that you think will provide insightful feedback. You can share the results with your favorite media outlets. Publications love these kind of surveys and will help you share it with their readers in a meaningful way.

2. Community service

People love businesses that are active participants in the community and have a genuine interest in making a positive impact on those around them. Word of mouth comes naturally to organisations that are actively involved.

Why not get involved today with something you are personally passionate about? There’s a wide range of volunteering opportunities available in Singapore. Consider a team event with your staff to do some volunteering together. This is a great opportunity for them to get together and share a common mission in helping the community.

Depending on your budget, you can also consider donating a portion of your sales to a charitable organisation.

3. Guest speaking

This is one of the most underlooked opportunities to advertise your business. Events organisers are constantly on the lookout for interesting people from diverse backgrounds to feature as their guest speaker.

Look for events that have attendees from your target audience. Participating regularly will allow you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and provide additional social validation of your business. In fact, what often happens is once you become a guest speaker, you often get more invitations from other event organisers as they know you are willing to participate.

You are now ready to start looking for opportunities to generate free exposure for your business. As a small business owner, you carry the vision of your brand with you. Stay passionate and make sure you go the extra mile when engaging with those who want to learn more about your brand at these venues. You never know, they may become your best advocates tomorrow.