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Small Business: 5 Ways to Grow Your Brand in 2017

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By    |   Sunday, 05 Feb 2017 01:21 PM

Savvy small-business owners realize that stagnation will eventually result in certain doom, while sure-fire ways to nourish your brand are few and far between.

Forbes recently highlighted five ways to help your business flourish:

Sharpen Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Skills

"With roughly 644 million active websites on the net, it is becoming very challenging to be discovered online," Forbes explained. "SEO involves a series of rules and protocols that helps bring your business out of the background and into the virtual highway. When someone is searching the web after a hailstorm for “Cleveland roofing service,” you want your business to be one of the first pages on Google. If you rank high enough organically, that's free advertising," Forbes said. Forbes said if you can't afford to hire someone, there are many books on improving your SEO skills, and ironically, many websites as well.

Understand Lean Operations

"A key element to running a business is organization and prioritization. Do not allow your business organization to disintegrate into an array of convoluted finger-pointing when it comes to operations. More importantly, what activities give you 80% of the value for 20% of the time?" Forbes explains. "Those are the things you need to optimize and mistake-proof."

Focus On Free Cash Flow

A small business needs to define their free cash flow, Forbes explains. "Businesses typically calculate free cash flow based on what is left over after all necessary financing expenditures are paid and non-cash items are adjusted on the net income. When a small business owner starts to think about business decisions from a free cash flow vantage point, new opportunities and perspectives are gained," Forbes explains. "More specifically, growth opportunities become more apparent."

Customer Care: Priority No. 1

"Small businesses can interact with customers at a much more personal level. Small businesses are local and can customize their services to their specific population.Although this might seem like common sense for most business interactions, many companies get customer fatigue and complacency," Forbes explained. "Culture and focus on individual customer interactions is something that many small businesses take for granted and fail to realize the long-term importance."

Invest Retained Earnings Intelligently

"Too often business owners think they need to reinvest retained earnings into the organic business. In many cases this is the right decision, but in some instances they aren't doing the hard math," Forbes explained. "In fact, many business owners that have had successful companies in the first 10 years take the retained earnings and invest in another operational business. The failure comes when the overconfidence from the first success overshadows the realism in the second venture. New ventures that have low odds of success and huge upfront costs could mean the death of both businesses. Instead of taking low-probability choices with huge sums of money, a better choice might be to invest in non-operational assets (either private or public)."

Meanwhile, small U.S. firms borrowed slightly more in December than in the prior month, but more were repaying existing loans late, suggesting that default rates may rise this year.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index rose to 129.7 in December from a downwardly revised 129.1 in November. Measured from a year earlier, when the index registered 135.6, it was the sixth decline in seven months. Movements in the index typically correspond with movements in gross domestic product growth a quarter or two ahead, Reuters reported.

"It's an improved mood, but the questions are still out there on the policies and how they are going to play out," said Bill Phelan, PayNet's chief executive and founder, referring to policies under U.S. President Donald Trump, who was elected in November.

(Newsmax wires services contributed to this report).

© 2017 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

 
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Savvy small-business owners realize that stagnation will eventually result in certain doom, while sure-fire ways to nourish your brand are few and far between.
small, business, ways, grow
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2017-21-05
Sunday, 05 Feb 2017 01:21 PM
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