Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Web Hosting, Networking and Growing -- What a July!

In the month of July, the blog focused significantly on resources, tips and tricks for new businesses. As we wrap up the month -- partly in denial, it can’t possibly be August next week -- we’re taking a look back at the topics we covered.

Preparing your Small Business for Growth
Last week, we shared four tips for staying grounded while your business takes-off. Growth is a positive piece of your business’s puzzle and in order to convert it into success, you have to be ready.

Understanding Affordable Web Hosting
Christian Habermann joined us as a Guest Blogger in mid-July to offer guidance for finding affordable web hosting. He discussed factors to consider during a web host search while keeping in mind your business’s needs.

Timeless Success for Small Business
Mid-month we spoke with an owner whose BBB Accredited -- family owned and operated -- business is celebrating their 200th anniversary in 2015. Michael Monahan feels that customers should be top-of-mind at all times and credits their long-time success to caring for their community. Congrats again to Monahan & Co. on your longstanding success!

Master Time Management and Give your Business a Boost
Guest blogger, Adam Koncius of Koncius Digital Marketing brought us suggestions for the business owner doing juggling acts to establish and sustain their business. Adam pointed to time management as the key to streamlining tasks both big and small.

Networking for your New Business
Adam also kicked-off July for the blog with his guest post about the importance of building a strong network. He addressed educating people about your business to create opportunity for securing clientele as well as staying in the forefront of the marketplace.

Is your business less than 1-year old? Join a community of trustworthy businesses and build a positive reputation while you grow your enterprise as a member of the New Business Sponsor Program. Is your business more established? Get Accredited with BBB as part of your formula for success.

For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Preparing your Small Business for Growth

Your business is busy trying to deliver a solution while standing out in a crowded marketplace and keeping up with developments in your industry -- it can be exhausting. Things like your brand can sometimes get lost in the happy-to-have but crazy commotion that is growth. 

Here are a few tips for staying on track while your business is making moves: 

Set distinct goals. To improve and maintain traction in the marketplace you must set goals. An easy starting point: write down your business objective and then break down how this objective will be met. Make your business goals clear and definitive and most importantly, relevant. Establish who is responsible for meeting each aspect of the objective as well as a timeline, so that everyone is held accountable as your business evolves. As time and circumstances allow, employ analytical tools to evaluate what’s working and what needs tweaking. 


Understand your market. In order for a business to grow, doing your due diligence with market research is a must. It helps you understand your industry, competition and target customers. To start, conduct an internet search using trustworthy and credible sources. For more tailored results, connect with your customers through surveys, q&a's and focus groups. Once you have a stronger understanding of the customers who make up your demographic, reach out to them regularly via a blog or email newsletter. Interact with them on social media and most importantly, listen. Encourage your customers to give you feedback and embrace it as a way to celebrate and/or improve your business endeavors. 

Be the brand. Ensure your employees are educated -- and receive continued education -- on the business’s key points and purpose. You and your team are the best branding tools imaginable. Take advantage of this and empower your colleagues to bring the brand to life. They can communicate about your brand confidently and accurately while your business evolves. Developing an elevator pitch is a great way to give an employee a springboard for how they present themselves and represent your business in the community. 

Anticipate change. Change will happen. Be thoughtful of your core principles while you do your best to roll with the punches. You’ve made an investment and it’s important not to allow it to be lost in a changing marketplace. Staying true to your point of view will allow you to further strengthen relationships with your existing community while at the same time earning the trust of prospective clients. 

Are you a rising new business less than a year old? Apply to become a New Business Sponsor. The program will arm you with the tools you need to keep up with your business’s growth. Is your business more established? Get Accredited with BBB as part of your formula for success.

For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Understanding Affordable Web Hosting for your Business

Making a decision regarding the right web host is important for your business. There are various factors you need to keep in mind when selecting a host and one of them is cost. It is possible to access affordable hosting while still enjoying quality services along with the features that suit your business's needs. Hosting forms the basis of your website and you should be able to comfortably afford it. 

Worthwhile Investment Good hosting is a worthwhile investment that does not have to cost you a fortune. During the process of creating your website, hosting should be included in your budget. Hosting companies that provide low cost services are ideal for business owners who want to save money without compromising on the type of features that are available.   

Cost is always essential when selecting a hosting plan for your business site. Find a hosting plan that
will meet your needs and be affordable enough for you to utilize the resources that you possess. Every business owner, especially if you are starting out, wants to be able to use an affordable provider. The provider should not only be affordable, but reliable as well. Along with helping you save money, the hosting company should be able to provide you with the support you need. Getting value for money involves finding the best and most reasonably priced provider who can help you develop a well performing website. 

Different Affordable Features When choosing web hosting, it is important to carry out comparisons regarding different features that are offered along with the costs involved. The provider needs to be able to offer you the features you need at a cost that fits within your budget. Determine how much you are willing to spend on web hosting and identify a provider that offers reasonable prices. It is essential for you to be aware of how much you are expected to pay in order for you to allocate the funds. A well priced hosting package will enable you to develop a suitable website for your business without straining your resources.   

Competitive Pricing The competitive nature of the industry has led to a continuous reduction in prices to give clients more options to choose from. You can easily find a hosting provider that will be able to provide you with more features at a lower cost. Carefully consider the features you need to run your site. The growth of your business is highly dependent on your online presence. Your web host is required to give you the space you need online with adequate space and bandwidth. There should always be room for growth because as your business develops, you will require more space. High speed connections are one of the most appealing factors because they influence how fast your website will take to load. Hosting provides affordable security for your website and this is facilitated by secure servers. Security makes it possible to safely and easily transfer data. An affordable hosting company will prioritize cost efficiency and reliability. You will be given the services you need at a price you can afford. 

For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Become an Accredited Business and get information and services to give you the confidence that can help keep your business safe and secure. 



Christian Habermann
Written by Christian Habermann of BBB Accredited Business, Auctus Marketing

Christian Habermann is the founder of Auctus Marketing and is a leader and innovator in the online marketing world. He is very involved in the local start up scene in Boston, MA. He co-founded ConsumerUnited.com, now Goji.com, which is one of the fastest growing online insurance companies and has made the Inc. 500 List the past 3 years.  He loves to help companies of all sizes, from start ups to Fortune 500s, embrace the online marketing world to grow their business. He is the author of "SEO for 2014” and holds and MBA in marketing from Vanderbilt.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Timeless Success for Small Business

BBB Accredited Business, Monahan & Co., is celebrating their 200th year of business. Six generations ago -- in 1815 -- Jeremiah Monahan (the great-great-great grandfather of current owner, Michael Monahan) left Dublin, Ireland, secured 21 diamonds and began his business. Monahan & Co. is America's oldest family-owned and operated jewelry store.





We spoke with Michael Monahan about the business's 200th anniversary, lessons from their lengthy presence in the marketplace and what has contributed to Monahan & Co.'s sustainability.


You are celebrating 200 years in business this year - congratulations! What have you found is the key to making your business such a long standing success?

Thank you! We're very proud and excited. What has made us such a long standing success is understanding this is a full time job. You have to like people and you have to like sales.

Monahan & Co. is family run and has roots in Dublin -- tell us a little bit about the origin of the business. And there’s a story involving the Claddagh ring?


Jeremiah Monahan came over from Dublin and started Monahan Jewelers. For the first 150 years the business was located in Worcester, Ma. 50 years ago the business relocated to our current location, Harwichport, MA. The Claddagh ring has a 500-year history in Ireland. Jeremiah brought his own unique design to the states when he started Monahan Jewelers 200 years ago. The ring represents friendship, loyalty and love. 

What are some of the challenges with being a small business -- and how have you overcome them to be a mainstay in the community? 

There are tremendous odds against us with the internet now, but people want homegrown stores. We have remained a mainstay through enthusiasm and by giving back to our community.

How many employees do you have today? 

Just two. Neal Waters, our President and myself. I have been with the business since I was 7, so I've been here 68 years.

What is a favorite moment as a business owner? What part of the job do you enjoy the most? What do you find most difficult? 


My favorite time as a business owner would have to be celebrating 200 years. It's been a long time coming and it's exciting to have achieved this long standing success as a small family-owned business.

The internet has probably caused the most difficulty for us. Not because it affected sales but because people will use sites like Amazon to order jewelry and when they find it is defective they bring it to us to fix. We never try to fix a piece that hasn't come from our store and this can leave customers upset, but we always tell them it's better to return and make a purchase at an actual Jeweler.

How long have you been an Accredited Business with BBB?

I decided to apply for Accreditation in 1979.

Why did you make the original decision to become Accredited? 

I wanted to be Accredited because Better Business Bureau reassures customers that they are choosing a trustworthy business. BBB is very important.

Why have you remained an Accredited Business? What benefits do you appreciate/like the most about being Accredited? 

Again, Better Business Bureau reassures customers about the business they are selecting. We have worked very hard to maintain an A+ rating by taking care of our customers. We want people who are not familiar with our business to be reassured that they can trust us.

Other businesses envy a business with 200 years in service and a loyal following. Do you have advice for businesses who might be starting out? 


Your main goal should always be to please customers to encourage loyalty. I also recommend everyone join BBB. It is very important to let customers know you have a good business.



The clock outside the Monahan & Co. storefront was a gift from the business to the town of Harwichport. The gesture is meant to inspire design and development in their community. Monahan's philanthropic efforts set a great example for other small businesses applying for Accreditation.


Monahan & Co. has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to their community, customers and the standards that BBB expects as best practices. Learn more about becoming Accredited and part of a community of trustworthy businesses.

For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Master Time Management and Give Your Business a Boost

As a small business owner, you probably feel as if there are not enough hours in the day. Everything falls on you to get things done, so you often end up working nights, weekends and holidays.  One of the most important things you can master when running a new business is time management. If you have control over how you spend your time, you will feel more organized and efficient and ultimately be more successful.
Here are a few ways to accomplish this:
Set Priorities – At the beginning of each day, identify one or two tasks you absolutely need to complete by days end. Finish these before you start on anything else. You’ll also need to account for unplanned distractions such as phone calls, staff interruptions, etc. Planning ahead will keep you on task and you will feel like you have accomplished something each day.
Stay Organized – Keep track of your meetings on a calendar and if you have a staff, use a joint calendar so everyone knows when colleagues will be out of the office and the details of their meetings.  Also make sure to set aside time each week to catch up on paperwork and menial tasks that can pile up quickly when left undone.  Are you a smartphone user? Earlier this year, Business News Daily suggested several free apps to help you streamline your strategies. If you keep up with the smaller jobs on a daily or weekly basis, it will save you a ton of time in the long run.  
Delegate – You might be able to do it all but when you delegate, it takes a lot of pressure off you and frees up your time to tackle the larger ventures of your business.  Delegating is often one of the most difficult things for new business owners but if you find hardworking people you trust, it becomes easier.
Take Care of Yourself – This might not seem business related but when you are run down and stressed, your work suffers.  Give yourself a chance to recharge once in a while and you will return refreshed and more focused. This is more easily accomplished once you begin incorporating the lessons listed above.

Are you a rising new business less than a year old? Apply to become a New Business Sponsor.  The program will arm you with the tools you need to stay one step ahead. Is your business more established? Get Accredited with BBB as part of your formula for success.


For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.



Written by: Adam Koncius, Koncius Digital Marketing

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How A Website Can Benefit Your Small Business

It is not uncommon for small business owners to resist developing an online presence for their business. The prospect of creating and maintaining a website can seem like a hassle to owners who juggle many different responsibilities. However, in today's world having a website is vital to business growth and customer relationships. 

Your business's website does not need to be elaborate or complicated. Start with a couple of pages that describe your business - the services and/or product you offer - and your contact and location details. Purchasing a domain to host your website should only cost a few dollars annually and provides a permanent space on the web for clients and future clients to learn more about your business.


Benefits of building a website for your small business:


  1. It acts as a sales tool. Your website is a place for consumers to learn more about your product and/or service. This online platform will allow you to share trusted information about your business and create compelling calls-to-action which can incentivize consumers to make a purchase. It can even serve as an online marketplace for customers to buy your product or service and expand existing sales opportunities.
  2. Your business's visibility increases. With the growing popularity of online directories, more and more consumers are doing their research online before making a purchase. If your web presence is non-existent, there is less chance your business will appear in search results. With an online footprint, you strengthen your reach and become more discoverable to potential customers when they conduct searches.  
  3. You enhance credibility. Because consumers are deliberately decision-making online, having a website enables you to share carefully curated information about your business. You are in control of the message the consumer receives and in turn, they can trust that the data they find is legitimate.
  4. It means you can capitalize on less expensive and free forms of advertising. Printed media, TV, and radio can be pricey. Your website will be a relatively minimal investment and provide any information you want to share with clients and prospective clients.


To learn more about how to create a website for your business, see our tips here.  


For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

4th of July: What's Happening in Your Town


It's one of the most anticipated holidays on the calendar -- one that for many signifies the official start of Summer -- the 4th of July! 

Check out the festivities taking place in and around your community over the weekend.



4th of July Events
Much of New England will continue to celebrate all month long

Our Marketing and Communications team curated a patriotic playlistJust press play for your soundtrack! 



Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

-- Amy, Cate, Jaime, Lisa, Paula, Rachel, Steph and Taylor