All posts by SUASB

Sam Lewis is a small business manager and consultant specializing in small to mid-sized businesses.

Converting Word to PDF : Tips to Preserve Hyperlinks

If you’re having a problem preserving hyperlinks when you convert a Microsoft Word document to PDF, these tips might help you resolve the issue.

Turning your Microsoft Word document into a PDF is ideal for portability — a PDF is easy to email and open on just about any computer. But sometimes when you convert Word to PDF format you lose the hyperlinks that you’ve created in your original document. So instead of a clickable link you’ll get static text. This is a problem if you’re trying to convert an eBook that contains links for publishing.

While there’s no guarantee that every single document you convert will preserve links when converted to PDF, there are a few precautions you can take to assure that you preserve these clickable hyperlinks after performing a conversion:

1. Check your hyperlink settings in Microsoft Word to assure that you’ve typed out the entire URL including the “http://” at the beginning. If you type a partial URL, that could cause problems during the conversion depending on the PDF conversion software you’re using. Select the text then right-click it and select “Hyperlink…” to view your hyperlink settings.

2. Type out the full URL address for the hyperlink as a way to assure that you preserve the links when you convert to PDF. For instance, instead of creating a link to a word or phrase like “dog beds,” type out the entire link like “http://www.dogbeds.com” in your original document.

3. Try opening the document you want to convert directly in Adobe Acrobat (the original PDF converter program) if you’re having problems with hyperlink conversion. Adobe’s built-in PDFMaker function is specifically designed to facilitate conversion of embedded elements, like hyperlinks. Adobe Acrobat offers a free trial for new users.



4. Use the “Convert to Adobe PDF” tool (comes with Acrobat) within Microsoft Word as another option to convert links. Avoid using the Adobe PDF Printer tool in the Print Dialog box, as that might not preserve hyperlinks.

5. Examine the preferences or options in your PDF software of choice before you perform a conversion of a Word document. Depending on the PDF conversion program, you may have to specifically select an option to include or convert hyperlinks in order to get them to show up in your PDF document. So check your preferences thoroughly before converting if you want to preserve hyperlinks you set in your original Word document.

 





Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

The Ladder to Success: Why Most People Don’t Reach the Top

Napoleon Hill said, “The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.”

This certainly is true, but why is it true? Let’s use Mr. Hill’s metaphor of the “ladder to success” to dissect the various occurrences that prevent a lot of people from reaching the top.

  1. Ladder of SuccessLooked Down (Fear)

So you’re making your way up that ladder. You’re getting higher and higher, closer and closer. Then for some reason, you look down. Fear grips you and takes you back into your old reality. “What am I doing up here? This is dangerous / risky. What if I’m doing the wrong thing?” Then you slowly make your way back down to where it’s “safe.”

Fear of success is real — it holds a lot of people back from starting their own small businesses and pursuing other endeavors in life. Someone who is fearful of success doesn’t want to leave her comfort zone.

  1. Someone Yelled Up from the Ground (the Peanut Gallery)

We have all come in contact with one or more people who have tried to hold us back from progress in one way or another. They insult, discourage or distract us from completing our journey.

There’s that guy who always wants you to come out and drink, smoke and party (then you don’t want to do anything else). He’s down at the bottom of the ladder holding a cold one up to you. “Come on down buddy, relax, have a drink with me.”

That relative who keeps telling you that your “silly dreams” are useless and you should be doing something else. “What are you doing up there on that ladder? You could be over here digging a ditch instead. What’s wrong with you, you know you’re meant to stay here with both feet firmly on the ground!”

Then there’s that vindictive “friend” or family member who insults you and tries to pretend it’s just innocent fun. “You look so stupid up there on that ladder (laughs). And by the way, everyone can see up your dress!”

If you spend your life listening to the “peanut gallery” you will find it more and more difficult to ascend your own personal ladder of success.

  1. There’s a Snag along the Way

Another reason why some people don’t make it to the top of the ladder of success is that they catch a snag along the way. Something grabs hold of their pants on the ladder and they just stop cold in their tracks. They jerk and jerk their leg to get free and keep climbing, getting more and more frustrated with each tug.

It might be that the one idea you were counting on didn’t turn out the way you hoped or the bank said “no” to your small business loan. Maybe the product prototype you developed isn’t functioning properly.

A snag is merely a setback but unfortunately a lot of people take it as an indication that they’re not meant to go forward at all. So you sullenly descend the ladder and go back to “business as usual.” But what you don’t realize at the time is that all you really have to do is sit down on the ladder for a moment, take a rest, think things over, un-snag your pants and then get back to climbing with a better plan in mind.

  1. There’s an “Emergency” Down There

Another reason why someone might turn around and get off the ladder to success is when she learns that there’s an “emergency” going on back down on the ground that requires her to put the climb on hold.

What people often find is that the “emergency” didn’t really require their immediate attention, and now they have to start all over. Some people get stuck here, tired and weary from having to constantly put out fires, and give up on the climb altogether.

  1. They Miss an Opportunity

While you’re climbing, slowly and steadily, you might find that someone who’s up higher reaches down to offer you a hand. Maybe it’s unsolicited advice, a small loan, a partnership proposition or some other form of assistance. Some people let their egos get in the way of progress and refuse to accept the help they desperately need as they climb the ladder. “I can do it all by myself!”

It’s important to remember that no one reaches the top all by themselves — they need other people, whether it’s support from a customer or an investor.

  1. Not Satisfied With the Speed of Progress

Ladders to SuccessSome people stop climbing the ladder of success because they aren’t happy with how fast things are progressing. They feel that they should be farther along, higher up — that they’re peddling on a stationary bike and going nowhere. But the truth is that some people find success rather quickly while it takes others more time to see the fruit of their efforts. Slow and steady often wins the race.

  1. Too Occupied with What Others on the Ladder Are Doing

Too often we are distracted by the progress of others who are trying to achieve success when trying to achieve our own goals. Either we’re enviously watching what the guy is doing a few rungs up on the ladder or spending too much time looking down at others who aren’t as high as we are to feed the ego. This distraction and lack of focus causes us to stumble and fall down a few rungs or off the ladder completely.

Focus on your own climb.

  1. The Ladder’s a Bit Rickety…

Another possibility is that the ladder you’re climbing is a bit unstable. Maybe it’s breaking, damaged or cracking. If it were to fall apart you would go down with it and become discouraged by this major time-wasting setback.

If you notice that the ladder’s rickety, that might be an indication that you’re just on the wrong one. Maybe there’s a better, more stable ladder out there that you can be climbing to find success.

  1. They Never Start Climbing in the First Place

A lot of people don’t make it to the top of that ladder of success because they never start climbing in the first place. They don’t ever even try. This is due to that other type of fear: the fear of failure.

People who never try are usually thinking “I could never climb that ladder because _____”… just fill in the blank (money, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not skilled enough).

Can You Relate to Any of These?

If you’ve tried to ascend the ladder of success in the past but never quite got there, which of these reasons do you think most accurately describes why?

Regardless of the reason, what’s most important is to know that all is not lost — that ladder to success is still there, and no matter what anyone says you can start again anytime you want. Take some time to reflect on these points before you restart your climb so that you can maintain your resoluteness and keep going uninterrupted this time.

 

Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, marketing consultant and social media manager.

Starting up a small business, even if it’s just on the side, is no longer an option — it’s a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Your Small Business Website: Planning Tips

The purpose of a small business website is to increase sales, leads and exposure to your brand. It’s also a way to inform prospective buyers and clients about your products and services so that they can make an educated buying decision. But your website has to be planned and executed correctly in order to be effective. Here are some tips for planning and developing your website.

Picking the Right Domain Name

The first detail to consider when you’re planning to create a small business website is the domain name you will choose. This is not a small matter — this is the name that people will come to recognize you by over time. Here are a few tips for picking the right domain name:

  • Use your company name for the domain name (i.e. HomeDepot.com or Forbes.com) if this website will be used mainly to establish and build your brand.
  • Use a name that describes what you do (FlowersandVeggies.com) if your main goal is to increase web traffic from search engines.
  • Do keyword research to find out what your target audience is searching for online when they want what you sell, then try to incorporate that word or phrase into your domain name.
  • Keep your domain name as short and catchy as possible so that it’s easy to remember.
  • Use simple, everyday terms in your domain name; words that an 8th grader would understand.
  • Stick with a dot com or dot net domain name whenever possible (maybe dot biz); most people trust clicking to a “com” or “net” address over the others.

Will Your Website Be Information-Rich or Action-Oriented?

Some business websites are designed to educate the consumer and provide extensive guidance or advice on a subject while others are meant to inspire quick action (a sale or a sign up). Decide which method best fits what you’re trying to sell because it will have an effect on how you build the site (the approach to designing and planning your site is also called “website architecture”).

Choosing a Design Platform

Once you know the general style and focus for your website, the next step is to decide which tool or program you will use to create it. Here are a few of the most popular methods:

–          HTML text editor. This is the most basic yet time-consuming way to create a website. You would use Notepad or a similar text editor program to manually type in HTML, PHP, JavaScript and other code to develop the website. Heavy website coding skills and knowledge are needed.

–          Web-based multiple page website builder. A number of online website building services give you web-based tools that you can use from your browser to put a multiple page site together using drag and drop features.

–          Web-based one-page website builder. This is a fairly new way to create a small business website. It is a web-based tool that also has “drag and drop” and “type and save” functionality, but it creates a dynamic and responsive one-pager site. All this means is that the entire website, including specific sections, is on one scrollable page that’s mobile-friendly. This is best for a modern, action-oriented website.

–         Standalone Software. There are standalone web design software programs that you can use to build a basic multi-page or mobile-friendly website. You should be at least moderately familiar with HTML and web design.

–          WordPress.org (or WordPress.com). If you’re planning to create an information-rich small business website with plenty of content (namely blog posts) posted over time, a WordPress site may be your best bet. It allows you to set up your site design using a free or paid WordPress template, then post blog updates whenever you want. You can also add new pages to your site that have the same design with just a few clicks. With WordPress.org you host the files on your own server (maintaining total control; flexibility) and with WordPress.com they are hosted by WordPress (limited control and options).

If you are not familiar with how to use these tools to create a website and would rather focus your time on other matters, hire someone who does. A designer will also be able to provide more guidance on what tool is best for creating your small business website.

Your Content Plan

Once your small business website is up and running you will quickly realize that you need content — a whole lot of it — on a regular basis. The more high quality, search engine optimized content you post to your website (namely the blog), the higher its chance of being picked up by search engines. One statistic shows that companies who blog get 55% more web traffic. So if there’s an investment you definitely want to make in your website, it should be in writing content yourself or buying content from skilled writers.

Planning your small business website will take some time, but that’s okay — it’s best to take your time to ensure that it’s right. Once your site is finally up and running you can focus your attention on other details, like how to funnel more traffic to your site using social media, ads and promotions.

 

Louise Gaillard is a professional writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Small Business Communication Tip: Use Positive, Affirming Phrasing

One of the most valuable lessons that I learned from being in a sorority in college was to always talk in positives. We were taught creative ways to avoid saying the word “no.”

Years later I learned about NLP (neuro linguistic programming) which also teaches people to speak in the affirmative instead of the negative at all times.

So say a customer or client asks you if you offer a certain service — instead of saying “no we don’t do that” you’d say “we offer an even better option to meet your needs.”

It’s actually kind of fun — it’s like a brain tease to figure out creative ways to avoid saying the word “no” or “not.”

And it’s good for business.

Customers Don’t Like Being Told “No”
The psychology of this is that people are more open and receptive to your messages when you speak to them using affirmative language. People don’t really like being told “no.” Do you?

Customers also respond better when a business offers them alternative solutions instead of just saying “no.” They feel respected as if you are trying to work with them.

When you use negative language with your colleagues and employees, you may find that you have trouble getting what you do want from them. For instance, telling someone “don’t be late” puts “lateness” instead of “being on time” in their mind, and they unconsciously do things that still make them show up late.

Real Life Examples
Here are a few more examples of ways that you can change your language when communicating with business clients, customers, employees, colleagues and suppliers:

Instead of telling your employees “don’t mess up the reports” you would tell them “please take special care to ensure accurate reports.”

Instead of “no refunds” you might say “we’d be happy to offer an exchange, store credit or upgrade.”

Instead of “there’s nothing more I can do” you might say “I have made every effort to satisfy your request.”

Instead of saying “no we aren’t open on Sundays” you would say “We’re conveniently open from Monday through Saturday, 9am to 7pm.”

Instead of telling a supplier “No, I can’t accept that discount” say “I would like to negotiate a better discount arrangement that is beneficial for both of us. What can we do here?”

You get the idea. Examine your last 10 emails and letters to see how you might be using negative language when communicating with others. In your small business communications, make every effort to modify that language in the future so that it expresses affirmative, positive feedback and viable solutions.

Louise Gaillard is a professional writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

3 Tips to Win As a Real Estate Investor

Going into the real estate business as an investor definitely is no piece of cake—it takes an immense amount of patience and hard work to find success. You need three important skills to win as a real estate investor: a business plan, a bold attitude, and a reliable source of information that the general public doesn’t know about happenings in the real estate market.

Wooden house
© Josefuente | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Business Plan

Before you make any move that requires a financial investment or contractual commitment on your part, draw up a business plan that outlines all of your intentions. Start with your goals—what do you wish to accomplish in the next three to five years? How do you plan to achieve those goals? What kind of budget do you have and how do you plan to raise the needed funds to buy properties? Get it all down on paper before you start making decisions and signing agreements.

A Bold Attitude

When working as a real estate investor, you are going to have to deal with a number of different parties including contractors, agents and potential renters or buyers. You definitely can’t be afraid to boldly request what you need and want from them if you are to do business.

If you plan to pursue a career in real estate investing, you can’t be a person who is afraid to say “no” or who cares too much about what people will think of you if you challenge them. What matters first and foremost is that you get things accomplished in the most economical and efficient manner possible so that it’s consistent with your business plan. Contractors and carpenters will try to put you on the backburner and charge you for unexpected extras. Agents will try to convince you to agree to terms that may not vibe with your business plan. Potential renters will try to get away with not paying you rent if you let them. Be bold and set your foot down early on to let these different parties know that you mean business. When you find service providers who are reliable and efficient, value them and treat them right.

Inside Information

Many people jump into real estate investing without doing any research. Before you buy your first property, pick up a library of books on the subject. This will teach you what other first-timers have learned so that you can avoid making the same mistakes that they did. Next, invest in journals and subscriptions that will update you on what’s going on in the real estate market in your area before the average man on the street. For instance, you should know in advance if a new major business is planning to build in an area that might attract higher rents or home values in the future.

Also, find a mentor if you can (you might be able to find one using the SBA’s database). Find someone who has experience in real estate investing so that he can provide you with insight into the business. However, be sure that you pick a mentor that is respectable and has good character.

If you want to win as a real estate investor, you have to be willing to invest time and planning as well as money into your venture. Stay positive and on top of new developments in the real estate market if you want to find success buying and selling or renting properties.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Picking a Keyword for Your Small Business Press Release

You want to write a small biz press release that gets the right attention from media sources, journalists and bloggers. Here are a few tips.

Though many internet marketers have discovered that using press releases strictly for SEO (search engine optimization) linking purposes is not as effective as in the past, it is still valuable to write them when announcing important new business developments and offerings. One of the most important decisions to make when writing and submitting a small business press release is to choose the keyword phrase that would best attract the right attention to your story. Here’s a few tips for how to pick the right keywords for your small biz press release.

What Is Your Goal?

Decide what you want to achieve by writing this press release. For example, let’s say that its purpose is to announce the opening of a new online store that sells bird cages. Your main goal here is to attract editors at bird magazines, the pets and animals sections of popular news websites, shops and bloggers who write about pet birds. Now create a list of the types of things these people might type into a search engine when looking for stories. For instance, new bird cages, designer bird cages, bird cage technology, etc.

Google Keyword Tool

Pull up the Google Keyword Planner tool (available to Google AdWords subscribers) or a similar tool that will help you select keywords that will apply to your small business press release. What would people who are interested in your business search for online? In the earlier example obviously a keyword phrase containing the words “bird cages” is a wise starting point. Start with that and the keyword tool will provide you with more suggestions.

The keyword tool suggests a number of similar or more specific search phrases that you can use, such as “wooden decorative bird cages” or “Feng Shui bird cages.” Choose keywords that have low to medium competition and a solid number of monthly visits (at minimum of 1,000 per month). You may have much more success being found using keywords that don’t have too much competition with moderate monthly traffic over those with a lot of competition and a very high number of monthly hits.

Inserting Your Keyword Phrases

Choose your main keyword phrase to use in your press release and mention it three times in a 350-400 word piece – once at in the headline, once in the beginning paragraph, once in the middle and once at the end. Don’t overdo it, because that could turn off some search engines — they might look at it as keyword stuffing. If you’re going to provide a link to a page on your website, only use one (maybe two) that fit naturally within the context of your story so that readers can seek more information about the topic.

If you take the time to write it correctly, a small business press release can be a very valuable tool for your company. In addition to grabbing the interest of potential media contacts and announcing your plans to the world, it could also improve the visibility of your company website.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Small Business Tip: Invest in Good Web Content for Your Site ASAP

Making an investment in good web content is a key to long-term business success when marketing your company’s products and services online.

I have been writing professionally for well over 10 years now. When I first started out, I worked for a variety of clients who paid me for the full rights to each article that I wrote.

When I think back on the many hundreds (possible thousands) of high quality articles and blog posts that I wrote for these clients over the years, I have to wonder how much money these articles and posts have made them by now. Probably a fortune compared to what I was paid for full rights.

A Hypothetical Example
It’s probably impossible to come up with an accurate figure for the ROI on a good piece of content because there are so many different variables, so I’ll just theorize with a hypothetical example.

Say you sell a useful gadget on your website that costs $40.

You hire someone to write a quality blog post or article to post on your website that is related to your business, industry or product. This evergreen (relevant indefinitely) content that you post is compelling enough to draw a 2 percent conversion rate from your traffic (I think that’s modest).

Here is a conservative, hypothetical model of the traffic that the article draws over the next 5 years:

1st year: 5 clicks per week in first 6 months it’s published; 15 clicks per week in the second 6 months = 390 clicks per year

2nd year: 25 clicks per week = 1300 per year

3rd year: 35 clicks per week = 1820 per year

4th year: 45 clicks per week = 2340 per year

5th year: 50 clicks per week = 2600 per year

Total traffic from this one piece of content over 5 years = 8,450

So with a conversion rate of 2% that one article sold 16 gadgets for a total of $640.

Say you paid $100 to a content writer for full rights to produce that custom blog post (500-1000 words). The return on investment (ROI) is

(Return – Investment)/Investment

640-100/100 = 5.4 or 540%

This is a conservative estimate of how the content would perform, but clearly this would be a smart investment for your business. Not to mention the sales continue indefinitely into the future.

In Conclusion
So when you’re managing a small business website, whether it’s to sell a product or service, you have to look at each initial expenditure as a long term investment. An investment in quality content is one of the best decisions you’ll look back on 3, 5 or 10 years into the future.

 

Louise Gaillard is a writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Make Cool Interactive One-Page Websites with this Free Website Builder

My review of Strikingly – a web-based Website Builder that produces attractive one-pager sites for businesses, projects and personal branding.

Let’s face it, the usefulness of developing a full scale website with countless navigation options is pretty much over — at least for small to mid-sized businesses. Most people visit a website, look at one or a few pages/blog posts, and then move onto other things. This is especially true for social media users.

Website visitors just don’t have the time to luxuriously browse every site they encounter.

So what if you offered them a one-page site that was fully equipped with everything they need to know in a quick and attractive responsive format?

That’s basically what Strikingly offers. It’s an online website building software that allows you to create modern-looking one-page websites using easy clickable tools — you don’t need any coding skills. You can pretty much see what they offer by visiting the Strikingly home page and scroll down.

My Experience

I tried out the software for myself because it looked like something that would work for a few of my offerings, including my Kindle books and content writing services.

These were the benefits / results that I found after using this software:

  • Strikingly gets you started right away. Literally in seconds you’re designing. There are no delays or requests for a credit card, etc.
  • There aren’t too many choices for templates, which is actually a good thing. There are studies about how the more choices someone has, the less likely they are to make a good choice. One of the templates they provide will likely work for your specific purpose (business/project, personal or portfolio).
  • The software provides tracking details for the previous 24 hours or 7 days. Longer analytic reports are available to pro users.
  • The final result after using the web builder is a very attractive, responsive site that inspires quick ACTION. This is the site where people will go when they’re ready to make a purchase. The entire finished site that you create is basically a very nice looking squeeze / sales page.
  • The mobile version of the site also looks great (automatic) and is easy to navigate. It funnels the visitor quickly to the “buy now” link.
  • The publishing process is nice and quick, just how I like it. It took me about 2 hours to edit and publish.

I have created and managed many websites over the years, and though I love doing it, it can take days to get it just right. So 2 hours (which includes the time I spent creating a custom header) is pretty great. I decided to feature one of my books on Twitter advice and tips on my first Strikingly site. Here is what the finished product looks like:

home
The “Home” Section
The "Info" Section
The “Info” Section
The "Benefits/Features" Section
The “Benefits/Features” Section
The "Buy Now" Section
The “Buy Now” Section
contactme
The “Contact” Section

 

These are all elements of the same “page.” Looks pretty nice, huh? I’ve already been getting some traffic to it after tweeting it to my followers and will probably be tweaking it some more, possibly adding a different background. Everything is pretty much already set up, including the contact box at the end — I just had to add my email address to receive messages from customers.

Here are some other notable features of this website building software:

  1. Social media “share” links are automatically provided.
  2. It offers simple publishing tools (simple enough for a beginner).
  3. Custom settings can be made for the title, descriptions, header and footer.
  4. It offers options to adjust the style (fonts and colors) to fit your branding.
  5. Upgrading to a pro plan provides even more options (like adding a custom domain or buying a domain, adding more sections and adding custom codes).
  6. Strikingly has a “Discover” page where people can go to browse all of the current sites using this software — another way to draw new traffic to your site.
  7. SEO-optimized design.

So Who Would Love This Software?
Here is a short list of the people who I think would love  and benefit from the Strikingly one-page website builder:

  • A seller who has a clearly defined product that can be purchased online/shipped. If you sell one or two products, you’ll like this software. It allows you to feature the product front and center and then provide more information about it.
  • Someone selling a package or basket of products related to a specific theme. A lot of retailers are finding success combining existing products into convenient packages for sale, like Valentine’s Day packages, haircare products or “new pet kits.”
  • A professional who offers a set of services that can be packaged neatly. Writers, consultants, graphic designers and other service providers can use it to set up a portfolio and list their offerings in an attractive format.
  • A local business that wants to attract new business online. Advanced mobile options are available to pro plan users like calling, texting and getting directions to an address.
  • Folks who don’t have the time or know-how to create an attractive responsive website. It’s just a matter of clicking, typing and uploading images.
  • Entrepreneurs who know the art of the “squeeze” page. Sales writers will have an easy time setting one of these pages up for quick sales.
  • Businesses that want to collect email addresses from social media users. Most social media marketers understand that your best shot at turning a Twitter user into a customer is to get their email address. You can create a compelling argument for why they should do that in an easy to follow format using your Strikingly one-pager.
  • A marketer who writes sales pages and needs a better looking way to present them. A lot of online marketers swear by long-form sales pages, but they aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing sites. Strikingly allows you to set up a sales page that’s more interactive, attractive and easy to navigate.
  • Story telling. Some businesses need to tell a story in order to sell their product or service effectively. These one-page Strikingly sites provide a simple platform to do just that — section by section you can tell your story then give them a “buy now” link at the end.
  • Someone promoting a crowd funding effort or social cause. The one-page style of a Strikingly site makes it a perfect place to talk about your fundraising project or to promote a charitable cause.
  • A job seeker. The site offers a resume builder (integrated with your LinkedIn profile) so that you can create an interactive resume to distribute to prospective hiring companies.

The paid plans are pretty affordable, ranging from $12-$20 per month (less if you purchase a yearly plan instead of monthly). You can try out an upgraded plan for 14 days before paying to see how it works.

A Simple Solution

If I could use one descriptive word for Strikingly, I would say “simplicity.” As someone who has managed many different websites and keeps a fairly busy schedule, anything that makes my life easier and simpler while giving me nice results is a winner. I’m thinking about using these Strikingly sites to set up a new business.

Bookmark this post — I may do an SEO update in the future.

 

About the Author:
Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.


Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Time to Get Up Off of the “Nail” You’re On

Les Brown tells this story about a dog who’s lying on a porch next to his owner groaning in pain. Day after day he groans.

The guy finally decides to ask the owner of the dog why he’s groaning in pain. The owner says “oh, he’s just lying on a nail.”

The guy looks at the owner curiously and asks the obvious question, “why doesn’t he get up off of the nail then??”

The owner sheepishly responds, “I don’t know, I guess because it’s not hurting enough yet to inspire him to get up.”

So how does this story relate to starting up a small business?

Are You Laying on a Nail?
The dog laying on the nail is the average guy who is miserable working at a job he hates. It’s the mom who loves her children but hates where her own life is headed. It’s the college grad who is sitting at home, unemployed with loads of debt, in his parents’ basement stressing over whether to file for bankruptcy.

They’re hurting, but not enough yet to get up off the “nail” and do something about it.

Getting Up Off of the Nail
I have been on that nail before — laying there in pain feeling like there was no point in even trying to get up. Thinking “what’s the point?”

But what I’ve found is that the longer you sit on it, the worse it gets. The wound festers and becomes infected until it ultimately leads to your demise emotionally, mentally or even physically.

You have to find the strength in YOURSELF to get up off of that nail. Talk to your inner self (some people call it God or your intuition) and come up with a plan of action.

In many cases, that plan involves taking control of your life and starting your own business. Even if you keep your job, that’s fine. If you decide to become a WAHM (work at home mom), yes your schedule will become even more crazy but more fulfilling at the same time. If you have to file for bankruptcy, just start planning for the next steps — it’s not forever and a cash only lifestyle is possible. Just add something new to the mix and try something different. It’s okay to slowly move in a new direction.

You may be surprised at how quickly that wound starts to heal up.

 

About the Author:

Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, marketing consultant and the author of  Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.

The Real Barriers to Starting a Successful Small Business

I’ve lost count of the number of people I know or have met who have a major talent that they could “bottle up and sell.” 90 percent of the time they are also very unhappy in their current jobs.

Business Woman
© Dnadigital | Dreamstime Stock Photos

“Why not start your own side or small business?” I ask.

Here are the most common answers I receive:

– I don’t have the money to invest
– My job takes up too much of my time / too tired
– I don’t know how or where to start

But I have a theory.

The real reasons behind why most people don’t start up a small business are:

– lack of motivation
– lack of inspiration
– lack of knowledge (self-education)

Somewhere along the way you got the idea that the only way you could ever make money is to work for another person. Maybe it was your family pushing you toward a particular “way” of living life. Maybe it was college indoctrination where you and your peers are taught to compete for the best jobs. Maybe it’s just a limiting belief that you have about your skills, talents and ability to make or manage money.

But the truth is that anyone can start a successful small business — even if it’s just something you do on the side for the time being. It’s about offering value to the world — when you do that consistently and reliably they give you value in return.

Here’s what you really need to get started:
– the Knowledge/Know-how (self-educating yourself on the type of business you’d like to run, marketing, communication, how to use technology like social media to your advantage)

Inspiration (the idea, the innovation, the thing that gives you butterflies when you think about it)

Motivation (a push in the right direction)

K.I.M. for short. Keep it moving.

So this start up a small business website is mainly targeted at resolving those three barriers to starting a successful small business.

You have the basic steps outlined, conveniently to the left (see that nice little menu over there?) — that list alone can help you start forming your business plan. But you also need help with motivation, inspiration and self-education to start your own successful small business.

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About the Author:

Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, marketing consultant and author writing about small business, marketing and social media success.