How and Why To Get BBB Accreditation

How and Why To Get BBB Accreditation

Deciding whether to get BBB accredited is an easy choice for some small business owners but others have questions. Is it worth the fee? What value does it really bring?

As you will see, getting accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a number of strategic advantages. Among other things, it adds credibility to your brand. It builds trust with the public. It also helps your business attract new customers.

You have probably seen the familiar blue and white BBB logo or seal. Businesses display this seal for one reason: the public tends to place trust in a BBB accredited business. The seal is one way that consumers sort out credible, responsible businesses from irresponsible scams and fly-by-night outfits. However, businesses must earn the right to display the BBB seal, and that comes only after going through the accreditation process.

In this article we explain how accreditation works, the value it brings, and how to get BBB accreditation.

What Does the Better Business Bureau Do?

The BBB does many things, but one important role is to serve as a central information point between businesses and the public. Founded in 1912, the Bureau says its vision is for “an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other.”

The BBB is structured as a parent organization called the International Association of Better Business Bureaus. Underneath it are about 100 separately-incorporated local organizations in the US, Canada and Mexico. Its non-profit arm is the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust which promotes ethical business standards. Among other activities:

  • The BBB maintains a directory of over 5 million business profiles where consumers can research a business.
  • Consumers can file complaints, and the BBB gives companies a way to respond. The BBB offers mediation and arbitration to help resolve disputes.
  • Consumers who verify their identity can leave reviews about vendors on the BBB website.
  • The Better Business Bureau rates businesses from A+ to F, based on a 17-point scale.
  • The BBB provides a designation called “accreditation” for select companies.

What Does BBB Accreditation Mean?

BBB business accreditation means your company has met the BBB’s requirements and specifically been granted accreditation status. This involves completing an application form, supplying the required information, undergoing a check on your business, and meeting the BBB’s standards. Accredited businesses must also pay a fee and renew annually.

After that, a BBB accredited business gets special marketing privileges and other advantages.

Why Get BBB Accreditation?

Accredited BBB businesses get several benefits, including:

Consumer Trust. Businesses get the right to associate their brand with the BBB brand, which is synonymous with trust. For example, accredited businesses can display the “BBB accredited business” logo on their front door, website and other places. Consumers look for this Seal.

Competitive Advantage. Accreditation is exclusive and differentiates your business from competitors. Around 400,000 businesses are accredited, according to the BBB website. When you consider that this number is less than 3% of all companies, it is easy to see how those that get accreditation stand out from peers.

Reputation Management. Accredited businesses get extra points toward their BBB rating. Ratings are separate from accreditation. But when a business puts itself through the accreditation process, the BBB is able to assess trustworthiness directly and may award a higher score.

Online Visibility. Your business gets its accreditation status noted in the BBB directory. A business can claim its online profile and add images, videos and other information. You may even get leads sent to your company.

Education and Information. The BBB offers webinars, newsletters and resources to help you run your business.

How to Get BBB Accredited

Getting accredited is not hard for a reputable company, but you must apply. There are five steps for how to get BBB accreditation:

1. Check Your Eligibility

The first step is to make sure your business is eligible. You have to have been in business at least 6 months. Among other requirements, you must have:

  • All licenses and bonding required for your industry.
  • No government ethics violations.
  • Compliance with all governmental and contractual obligations.
  • A privacy policy on your website and secure technology if you sell online.

2. Apply

There are two ways to apply for accreditation. You can go to this page to the start the process.

Another way to apply is to contact your local BBB office directly. As a small business owner, your dealings will be with your local BBB office anyway. Go to and search the BBB organizations in the US, Canada and Mexico to find the correct chapter for your area. Then call, email or use the application form on the local chapter website.

3. Provide Information

Along with your application, provide the information requested. It’s not a lot of information, but it’s important to be accurate about your business name, address, number of employees, and other details.

4. Undergo a Business Review

The BBB chapter will conduct a public records check and review other sources of information to determine the trustworthiness of your business. The BBB may want to meet with you in person or conduct a telephone interview.

Your application has to be reviewed by the local BBB board of directors and that could take several weeks. Board members are people from the business community who only meet periodically. Count on the process taking at least 3 weeks.

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5. Pay the Fee Upon Approval

If your application is approved, you must agree to the BBB’s terms. You must pay the fee (also called Accreditation Dues). Remember, when you pay the fee you are not paying for a rating. You are paying for the BBB’s overhead expenses to process applications and maintain operations in the Better Business Bureau organizations. (As an entrepreneur, you know that nothing operates for free. The BBB’s staff and building rent must get paid, etc.)

Once your application is approved, you will receive a thick welcome packet in the mail. The packet includes a Membership Certificate, marketing materials and other information. You also receive an email with login details for your online profile.

How Much Is the BBB Accreditation Fee?

For most small businesses, the accreditation fee will be in the hundreds of dollars. However, the fees depend on two factors: (1) your number of employees, and (2) your local BBB office’s fee schedule.

Each local BBB office has its own fee schedule, and most seem to fall within a 10% range of other chapters. A few local chapters put their fees online. For instance, the St. Louis office publishes the following fees:

Number of Employees Accreditation Annual Fees
1 – 3 $510
4 – 7 $585
8 – 10 $660
11 – 49 $850
50 – 99 $1035
100 – 200 $1225

Check with your local chapter for the actual fees you would be charged. Payment plans are available to let you spread out the cost monthly or quarterly.

The same fee is charged annually for renewal. BBB fees are a business expense that qualifies as a small business tax deduction.

Little known fact: some local business bureaus occasionally offer discounts. For example, at the time of this writing, the South East Florida BBB is offering a limited-time discount along with 90 days of free online advertising.

What Types of Businesses is BBB Accreditation Best For?

Any business that has dealings with the public is a good candidate.

Organizations of any size are eligible. Small businesses tend to predominate. However, you also see local branches of large companies, such as bank branches.

Businesses can be in any industry. The only limitations are industries that (1) are illegal such as online casinos, or (2) the BBB specifically has designated as inherently problematic, such as payday lenders.

According to the West Florida BBB, the top inquiries from the public are about roofing contractors, A/C contractors, insurance companies, home builders, used car dealers, general contractors, plumbers, pool companies and collection agencies. This list will vary regionally, but it gives an idea of the types of businesses where BBB accreditation matters to consumers. Such businesses may especially benefit from accreditation.

Can Online Businesses Get BBB Accredited?

Yes. Online businesses can apply for and obtain accreditation. You might wonder why bother, but actually the reason is simple. Online trust is more important than ever. The BBB quotes a study by Nielsen that found six out of 10 consumers use the BBB before buying online.

How Do I Find Out if a Business is BBB Accredited?

There are two ways. First, look for a dynamic BBB Accredited Business Seal on the company’s website. The dynamic Seal is an interactive software version of the BBB logo enabling consumers to check out a business in a click.

Second, you can also go to the website, and search for the business. The business profile will say whether the business has accreditation. If you can’t find the business, check to make sure you spelled the name right. If there’s no profile there is no accreditation.

Why is a Business Not BBB Accredited?

There could be a number of reasons a business does not have accreditation — and those reasons are not necessarily negative:

  • The business simply may have decided not to apply or chosen not to renew.
  • The company may have relocated and temporarily has no accreditation. That was our case here at Small Business Trends Media after we relocated the business to another state.
  • A business may not be accredited due to being in an industry the BBB considers a scam or problematic.
  • Accreditation also can be revoked. MyPillow famously had its status revoked and its rating downgraded, in part due to violations of the BBB’s advertising code.

What Are the BBB Standards of Trust?

The Bureau monitors accredited entities for ongoing adherence to eight principles called the standards of marketplace trust: build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive, guard privacy and embody integrity.

And these standards just happen to be good principles to run your business by.

Should I Get My Business Accredited?

You might wonder: is the Better Business Bureau worth it? The BBB is not without controversy. Over a decade ago I wrote about it, and was surprised by the response. Also, a few years back CNN wrote a series of negative articles, after which the organization said it made changes.

Yet, accreditation has value and I recommend it, especially for local small businesses that serve consumers. I have no financial interest in whether you get accreditation — or not. But here’s why it is important: a large proportion of the public places trust in the BBB. If potential customers think BBB accreditation has value, then it is worthwhile. Because in the end, the customer is what matters.

Information sources:

Image: Small Business Trends

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10 Tips for Building Long-Lasting Small Business Success

10 Tips for Building Long-Lasting Small Business Success

Most entrepreneurs want to build businesses that stand the test of time. But so many are too busy with the immediate needs of their operations that they don’t have time to build sustainable practices for the future. Luckily, members of the online small business community have helpful tips and insights that can help more businesses actually last.

Become the Only Business That Matters

If you want your business to stick around for the long haul, you need to solve an essential problem for your customers. If you want to really matter to your target customers, read this Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch for insights.

Follow Cybersecurity Hygiene Best Practices

If your business experiences a cyber attack, it can really harm your business’s ability to continue its operations. If you want to survive for a long period of time, it’s best to avoid these issues, which requires cybersecurity hygiene best practices. Check out this Biz Epic post by Ivan Widjaya for more information.

Keep People Reading Your Blog Posts

It’s fairly common for business owners to start blogging right away, but then lose interest or motivation through the years. If you want to keep people reading your posts for the long run, read the tips in this Inspire to Thrive post by Lisa Sicard. Then see what members of the BizSugar community are saying about the post here.

Turn Customer Feedback into a Driving Force for Your Product

Your customers are ultimately the most important part of your business. If you’re able to listen to them and act on your feedback, you have a great chance of creating products and solutions that serve them over the long run. This Search Engine Watch post by Maria Kazakova includes tips for making the most of your customer feedback.

Increase Awareness Using Social Media

Your business is far more likely to last if a wide range of consumers know about your offerings. And social media can be a helpful tool in this process. In this Crowdspring post, Katie Lundin discusses how small businesses can increase brand awareness using social media.

Use Marketing Automation Across the Customer Lifecycle

As your small business grows, you may benefit from automating some of your processes. More specifically, this can help you get customers through the lifecycle and complete sales more efficiently. Read this GetResponse post by Dave Chaffey to see more opportunities for this type of growth in your business.

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Improve Your Processes to Keep Customers Happy

If your customers aren’t happy with your business, they’re unlikely to stick around for the long haul. Luckily, keeping customers happy can sometimes be as simple as improving your processes. This Process Street post by Amanda Greenwood includes more information about total quality management for small businesses.

Focus on Your Core Values

Core values are the building blocks of any business. They can help to inform your decisions through the years and keep you on the right track. In this post, Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media reflects on ten years in business and how core values have played a role. BizSugar members also shared insights here.

Build Your Outreach Strategy with These Tools

A quality link building strategy can help small businesses build a sustainable SEO strategy that is effective for a long period of time. The tools included in this Right Mix Marketing post by Lyuthar Jacob may be able to help you create a quality outreach strategy.

Improve Your Marketing with Chatbots

As your business grows, you might notice that certain questions or interactions may be more efficient if you use automation techniques like chatbots. This Social Media Examiner post by Michael Stelzner outlines how you can improve your marketing using this type of technology.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:


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6 Tricks to Get Your Projects Done on Time With a Small Team

6 Tricks to Get Your Projects Done on Time With a Small Team

Any small business leader would admit that maintaining a compact team has its benefits: administration duties are low, agility is high, and team morale is easy to keep track of.

For entrepreneurs with big plans, however, it may seem like your team is too small to execute some of the projects you have in mind. While small teams may not be able to take on every enterprise-level challenge, the right tactics can help your small business take on challenges you might otherwise never have thought possible.

Maximize Your Small Team

Maximizing on your team’s size means accentuating your strengths and giving special care to any potential weaknesses — here’s how you can do that:

1. Have the right tools at your disposal.

No team, no matter the size, is going to be able to do their work properly without the right technology behind them. Platforms like project management software and instant messaging apps are crucial for ensuring the kind of business-wide cohesion that makes it possible for small players to make big moves.

Evaluate what your team needs most right now: for remote offices, it’s going to be tools that promote connectivity, while brick-and-mortar businesses might need scheduling software that improves shift management. The tech you use should conform to the ambitions of your business, not the other way around.

2. Do your research.

Before you even scratch the surface of project development, be sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. In today’s market, it’s not the size of the project that makes an impact: it’s its capacity for disruption. It doesn’t matter how big or small your project is — if there’s not space for it to make an impact on your team or business, it’s not going to be worth it.

Small businesses might not have the ability to do the kind of heavy-duty market research that their competitors do, but getting a sense of how your product will fare once its released is absolutely critical. Before you start development, be sure you know who you’re developing for and how they’ll respond.

3. Plan early.

Thanks to their size, industry titans are often able to simply throw resources at a project until it’s finished — you probably don’t have the same luxury. Small business plans need to be thoroughly developed before any real action is taken: once you start a project, you need to be sure that not a single dollar is being thrown away.

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Planning every aspect of the development process ahead of time can make it easier to stay within tight margins later on. By considering any possible externalities ahead of time, you’re guaranteeing yourself the smoothest possible path to completion.

4. Don’t be afraid to delegate.

One of the biggest pluses of working on a small team is the ability to delegate. At large companies, widespread delegation can make it almost impossible to know who’s working on what and when. Small, tightly knit operations can trade tasks freely without getting lost in the shuffle.

Keep close tabs on what each of your employees has on their plate: workers who are overloading themselves should have some of their responsibilities shifted to someone else. By giving each member of your team just the right amount of work, you’re guaranteeing that everyone’s working at their peak productivity.

5. Focus on the essentials.

For companies of all sizes, it can be tempting to start adding features to your product before you’re even done with its central features. While there’s nothing wrong with having a feature-heavy offering, don’t let it distract from the product’s original purpose.

Perhaps the best way around this is by always developing a minimum viable product first. Once you have the bare essentials of your product figured out, you can start adding the features that fit within your schedule and budget — ensuring that you don’t let your reach extend beyond your grasp.

6. Make your meetings democratic.

No one knows more about your business than you do, but you still may not have a firm grasp on every aspect of it. If you want to know precisely what you should be working on and what you’re capable of as a company, you need to put it to your workers.

Surveying your team before meetings allows you the opportunity to focus on the things that your team is concerned about and address those issues first. By making each of your employees part of the regular conversation, you’ll always have your finger on the pulse of what you should be focusing on next.

It’s a tough market for small businesses, but they’re also more important to the economy than ever. As big businesses work to cover their losses and stay afloat in these difficult times, it’s time for your company to step in and start tackling the big projects you’ve always hoped to.

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10 Tips for Learning Lessons and Evolving Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

10 Tips for Learning Lessons and Evolving Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

Running a business requires being open to new concepts and ideas. Whether it’s a new product or a new marketing strategy, entrepreneurs must always be prepared to learn and grow through the years. Here’s some tips and ideas from members of the online small business community to help you adapt and learn about new concepts that might help your small business marketing today.

Learn the Four P’s of Marketing

Before you can get really specific with your marketing strategy, you need to cover the basics. Simple tricks to help you remember the important things can be beneficial in this area. Neil Patel shares one in this blog post.

Differentiate Your Brand with Text Message Marketing

While tons of brands are focusing on social media and search marketing, fewer offer text messages to communicate with their customers. So educating yourself in this area may help you set your small business apart. Greg Sterling elaborates in this Search Engine Land post.

Focus on Social Media Engagement

A lot of brands create social media marketing campaigns that involve sharing messages with customers. But engagement may be more important than marketing, as Muhammad Shoaib argues in this Pixel Productions post. You can also see commentary from the BizSugar community here.

Implement Branded Hashtag Campaigns on TikTok

TikTok is still a fairly new social media platform. But it’s already making a major impact for a lot of brands. If you’re still learning how to make the most of this tool for your marketing, you may be interested to learn about the company’s case study on branded hashtag campaigns. Get the facts in this Social Media Today post by Andrew Hutchinson.

Re-Balance Your Advertising Strategy

Through the years, marketing and advertising trends come and go. And some brands tend to get hung up on specific ideas and concepts. But 2020 is changing things for a lot of companies. So it may be time to adjust your way of thinking when it comes to advertising. This Target Marketing post by Chao Liao has more.

Adapt Your Marketing to a New Normal

Businesses and customers have been undeniably impacted by COVID-19. So your marketing plan should probably change as well. In this CorpNet post, Nellie Akalp offers tips for adjusting your messaging to help customers feel comfortable and confident doing business with you.

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Get the Facts About Franchise Profits

If you’re thinking about starting a franchise business, you probably want your operations to be profitable as quickly as possible. Everything from your marketing to your location costs money, so there are a lot of things to consider when making this calculation. Joel Libava of The Franchise King discusses further here.

Learn About Google’s New Ranking Factors

Since search engines can make such a big impact on your marketing strategy, it’s essential to keep up with Google’s ranking factors. This SMA Marketing post by Ryan Shelley includes a guide to the latest update. And BizSugar members shared their thoughts on the post here.

Look at the Impact of Technology on Your Business

Technology is constantly evolving and changing the way small businesses operate. So it’s important to be intentional about the tech you use and how it can impact your marketing and overall success. In this Small Biz Daily post, Smith Johnes outlines some of the most impactful ways that technology has changed business operations.

Improve Online Sales with Great Images

The visuals you include with your content and website can make a major impact on the customer experience. This part of your marketing plan may be overlooked, so it’s important to learn what makes a powerful image and how to integrate them into your small business content and website. Learn more in this Biz Penguin post by Ivan Widjaya.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:


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3 Things for SMB Startup Leaders to Consider When Pitching VCs in 2020

3 Things for SMB Startup Leaders to Consider When Pitching VCs in 2020

Securing funding to expand your startup or other venture-funded small business is always a grueling experience, but COVID-19 has piled on the challenge.

The global economy has taken a steep dive, with plummeting sales and soaring unemployment causing stock markets around the world to shrink at a rate unseen since the 1929 depression. The situation is creating extremely unfavorable conditions for all upstart small businesses.

Unsurprisingly, investors are curbing their generosity towards new startups and SMBs, and the confusing buoyancy of the stock market in recent weeks hasn’t greatly reassured investors. The funding landscape has altered rapidly, and great company leaders need to know how to respond to the changed conditions.

The New VC Landscape in 2020

2020 opened to great hopes for business owners. It followed two years of increasing amounts of VC investment, partly thanks to the entrance of new funds. Q1 2020 saw the highest ever level of investment in US startups, with $34.2 billion invested across 2,298 venture deals and another $23 billion in late-stage deals, and it was paralleled by incredibly strong investment in European companies, to the tune of €8.2 billion.

But the sudden appearance of COVID-19 rocked the boat. In a climate of uncertainty, VCs naturally want to focus on their portfolio companies, with 46% shifting to ensure they have sufficient cash flow to weather the storm, according to a survey published by Slush. Fund managers are more nervous than usual about taking on new investments.

On the other hand, it would be a mistake for upstart SMB leaders to think that the funding market has come to a grinding halt. VCs are still looking for new opportunities, often hoping to pick up promising businesses at a lower valuation than previously. There are still investors willing to take a risk on new upstart small businesses, especially in certain sectors such as healthcare and education. In fact, healthcare businesses are still flourishing, with 12% of VCs saying they shifted to invest in health and wellbeing startups, according to Slush’s data.

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If you take a long-term view of the last ten to 15 years, it’s clear that investors don’t swear off funding during a downturn. Research from Crunchbase reveals a number of companies that completed Series C, Series B, and even seed rounds during the last recession, and went on to stellar exits. Yet scoring that funding requires a change of play for successful founders.

1. Due Diligence is Coming to the Fore

In an atmosphere of great uncertainty, under increased pressure not to make mistakes, and to compensate for drawbacks of remote pitches, which hamper the ability of investors to “read” founders and build trust, VCs are pouring more energy into due diligence.

Business leaders should expect increased scrutiny of their figures, projections, burn rate, cash runway, impact of coronavirus on sales, and future plans. In the words of one VC partner who spoke anonymously with Business Insider, “Each startup’s financial plans will be scrutinized more closely during fundraising. Founders should be prepared to walk VCs through their startup’s burn rate and cash runway, while explaining how the coronavirus pandemic has affected sales.”

It’s a challenge that business founders can prepare to overcome by:

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  • Spending even more time preparing appealing, easy-to-consume documents and reports.
  • Making all their content instantly shareable and accessible for potential investors by placing them in an extra-secure repository, such as a virtual data room.
  • Ensuring that every document is well organized, so that investors can swiftly move through your data without too much effort.

“The current business environment is tough, which serves to underline the importance of having everything in place so you can make bold moves quickly,” writes Markus Mikola, the CEO of ContractZen, a company whose software facilitates corporate governance and secure file sharing. “In these conditions, facing increased competition from globalized markets, the ever-growing speed of business, rising regulations, and the challenge of digitalization, corporate management needs to be ready to react to new opportunities and shifting market forces.”

2. It’s Good to Be a Camel

If the business world used to be all about unicorns, now camels are taking the lead. Unicorns dazzle swiftly, but camels are in it for the long haul. Turning your business into a “camel” company means prioritizing resiliency, commitment, caution, and customer focus above all else. This approach makes you more stable, less dependent on external funding, and more attractive to investors.

Consider that 50% of the investors polled by Slush think it will take 12 months or more for deal volumes to normalize. For startups and other funded small businesses that live on short runways, a year-long delay on securing further funding could be catastrophic, especially given that 41% of startups are now in the “red zone,” with under three months of working capital, according to Startup Genome’s estimates.

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Kareem Aly, principal at Thomvest Ventures cross-stage venture capital fund, advises fellow investors to look for “companies with scrappy teams that can keep their burn rate low while focusing on product and UI/UX,” a clear vote of confidence for camel businesses.

3. Maintain Your Focus on Relationships

Great company leaders focus on relationships in every direction — with customers, employees, and investors — and today that’s more important than ever. Being customer-focused is a key pillar of the “camel” approach. When you can demonstrate that your products are all customer-driven, it increases your ability to demonstrate value to funders.

Remote pitches make it harder for investors to build a relationship with new founders, leading many VCs to prefer to invest in businesses led by familiar names. First-time founders are currently struggling more than repeat founders to raise funds, Slush has found. David Rogier, CEO and co-founder of Masterclass, which successfully raised its Series E round during COVID-19, emphasizes the need for strengthening connections and references to score funding.

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Now is not necessarily the time for company leaders to rush to cut jobs. Your team is your excellence, so ensure you hire and retain the best talent. Definitely institute a hiring freeze to cut costs, and only institute layoffs if you’re truly in danger of running out of runway.

Funding Is Still There for Those Who Know How to Find It

There’s no denying that the outlook for upstart small businesses is concerning. Many VC funds are shrinking their investment activity to focus on portfolio companies, but funds are still there and investors are still active, holding out the potential of securing vital investment as long as founders pay attention to the way the game has changed.

Business owners and leaders who can shift to think like a camel rather than a unicorn, prize their relationships with investors, team, and customers, and place due diligence at the top of their list, are on the road to success.


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10 tips to help small businesses create better customer experiences

10 tips to help small businesses create better customer experiences

Before customers can buy from you, they make their way. The steps they take during this process affect their opinion of your brand and the likelihood of doing business with you again. If you're ready to improve the customer experience and ultimately generate more revenue, read these tips from small business online community members. <! – ->

Focus on customer success with these SaaS tools

By making sure your customers have a successful journey, you can build loyalty and increase profits over time. When you find the right SaaS tools, you get the roadmap for that kind of experience. In this article on Process Street, Angelina Harper outlines what customer success means for companies and which tools can help you do this.

Choose your digital experiences

Sometimes companies create long distances for their customers or customers to actually do business. What if you shortened the trip to make it easier for both sides? Nick Nelson breaks down this idea in an interview with Mark Bornstein in the TopRank Marketing blog.

Get started with these subscription model variations

<! – -> Offering a subscription model to customers can be a convenient way to provide consistent services to customers. However, you have to choose the right variant to address your specific target group. Martin Zwilling goes through some in this startup professionals musings post.

Don't get lost in Google

If you want to get the customer experience off to a good start, employees need to be able to find your business easily. In many cases it starts with Google. Learn the basic SEO tips your company will need to be found in this post by Luke Palder's Maurer Consulting Group. Then go to at BizSugar to see what the members say.

Outsourcing to get back into business

Many companies are currently struggling to get back on track after COVID-19. To serve your customers faster and more efficiently, it may be worth outsourcing some of your operations so that you can focus on the things that matter most. Nellie Akalp works out in this CorpNet article.

Remove Local Search Spam

There are tons of spam lists that can potentially confuse customers and keep them from finding the solutions they need. For local companies, Google offers spam forms with which they can be made aware of these entries and removed. In this Bright Local post, Ben Fisher describes how these forms are used to make life easier for local customers.

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Continue creating content during COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, some companies have ceased their business in whole or in part. However, the creation of content does not have to be one of them. In this article in the Search Engine Journal, Manish Dudharejia explains why it is important for brands to continue creating content. <! – ->

Improve your brand reputation

Your reputation can have a huge impact on your customers' first impressions of your business, which ultimately determines how you think throughout the customer journey. When you're ready to improve your brand reputation, read this Lisa Sicard Inspire to Thrive post for tips. Then see what members of the BizSugar community say about this topic.

Avoid these mistakes in lead generation.

Lead generation is part of the first step in building a customer relationship. If you can't create a positive experience for potential customers, you are unlikely to grow your business. In this post, Gary Shouldis of 3Bug Media discusses common lead generation mistakes that contractors make, and many of the tips apply to other industries.

Increase your confirmation emails

<! – -> The confirmation email is an important but often overlooked part of the customer experience. If your customers stick to this step, read the templates and tips in this GetResponse article by Karolina Kurcwald so you can make the necessary improvements.

To suggest that your favorite small business content be considered for an upcoming community summary, send your news tips to:


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Stories about resilience: Mark Cuban shares advice for small businesses

Stories about resilience: Mark Cuban shares advice for small businesses

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the owner of Dallas Mavericks, the judge at Shark Tank, and the famous investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Cuban was a champion for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), answered questions personally on LinkedIn and Twitter and shared expert tips and even encouraged his network ] Shop small .

During our conversation, Cubans shared stories and actionable insights for small businesses that are building resilience during this time. Below are some answers from his webinar. To hear all of Kuban's advice, read the full interview .

1. How should small business executives lead team members through this confusion?

Mark Cuban: If you lead your team, you should also want to know what they think. Ask them: what is your vision? Where is your head Your team will have to paint the picture for America 2.0 after this (pandemic) is complete. So it's time to think about how it would look for your customers or for your industry.

If we look back after all of this in 10 years, we will found five, 10, 15, 20 or even 30 amazing companies. This idea could sit on the zoom screen of one of your team members – all you have to do is ask.

2. Which sales strategy would you recommend now?

Mark Cuban: Now is the time to combine more than to sell. Every single person in your CRM system or sales platform is scared. Every one of them wants to hear a soothing voice. Call them, email them, or text them, especially if you already have a relationship with them, and ask how they're doing. You don't have to sell to them now and ask when to buy.

Being nice pays off for everyone in the universe. If you are the company that communicated during this time and was nice to the customers, they will get back to you in due course.

3. What inspires you and what should others read for inspiration at this time?

Mark Cuban: Heroes are born during this time. When it comes to reading, I'm more focused on what's next. I think Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a stronger presence in the future, so the book I'm reading is Restarting AI . I also take Coursera courses on AI and take tutorials.

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Regarding inspiration, I find my inspiration by connecting with people and helping wherever I can. When you see someone who is depressed and the mood suddenly rises, it's as inspiring as it gets.

Looking for more detailed advice from Mark Cuban? View full interview .

With Salesforce, you can find more customers, win their business and keep them happy so you can be successful. Find out more about our CRM Solutions for Small Businesses by following us on Twitter LinkedIn and Instagram . Also join the Small Business Strong LinkedIn Group a global network for small businesses to access and connect with resources.

You can find more inspiration about companies and executives in our entire series Leading Through Change .

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D. Williams Consulting supports companies without access to resources

D. Williams Consulting supports companies without access to resources

Many entrepreneurs need support from time to time. But every company may need a unique mix of services. That's why Donna Williams of D.Williams Consulting, LLC offers fully customizable solutions – because she understands the ever-changing needs of small businesses. Read more about her trip and the company she built in this week's Small Business Spotlight. <! – ->

What Business Is Doing

Offers corporate coaching and development services.

In particular, the services include team building, organizational change and development, brand management and strategic planning. It also offers ad hoc services based on the specific needs of each organization.

Business Niche

<! – -> Help for underserved companies.

Williams told Small Business Trends: "D.Williams Consulting, LLC is proud to provide expert advice, planning, etc. to organizations that may not have access to mainstream resources ."

How the business started

After services to others in their congregation.

Williams says: “After writing business plans, resumes, suggestions and working as business development agents for friends, family, colleagues, etc., my accountant encouraged me to start a consulting firm. Originally in Columbia, SC as I.T. Consulting in 2013. In 2019 I was renamed D. Williams, LLC. ”<! – ->

Biggest win

Lecture at a conference after a transfer.

Williams explains: “My client was extremely satisfied with my services and shared my business and services with her business partner. As a result, I was asked to be a keynote speaker for a major conference, the Women’s Empowerment Summit 2019. Not only was I a keynote speaker, I also had an exhibition and sold copies of my book "There's a Jewel in You", Volume 3, and did a book signing. "

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Lesson learned

<! – -> Invest in your company.

Williams says: “One of the challenges I faced in the early years of my business was not to invest. especially time or financial commitment. If I didn't take the time to create a strategic plan, invest resources to build my brand, or generate leads, my business almost slowed down. In 2018, I took a close look at my business and committed to growth, which prompted me to rename in 2019. "

How they would spend an additional $ 100,000

On several initiatives.

Williams explains: “If I had an additional 100,000, I would use 20,000 to start an ongoing mentoring academy for new entrepreneurs that gives them the opportunity to learn pitfalls and successes among other KPIs. I will use 60,000 to invest in my business, from brand advertising to self-development, training to personnel. Finally, I would use 20,000 for our non-profit organization 5013C to develop an internship program for underserved youths who teach and support them as consultants and entrepreneurs. "

Favorite quote

"Because I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:13

Fun Fact

The company also has a philanthropic perspective.

Williams adds: "The philanthropic arm is a 5013C organization S2S Facts, Inc. that focuses on closing gaps through diversity, promoting friendship, empowerment, and engagement for women 10 years and older."

* * * * *

Image: D. Williams Consulting, Donna Williams

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Tips to make the most of the tight budget for your small business

Tips to make the most of the tight budget for your small business

Small businesses don't often have a lot of extra money lying around. If you want to start a new company or market an existing one, you may need to find creative ways to do it on a budget. Find tips from members of the online small business community on how to start and grow a business without spending a lot of money. <! – ->

Try the New Small Business Trends Business Loan Calculator

A small business loan is often required to start a business. You may need it for a company vehicle or new computer, or for building repair or upgrade. But how much credit do you need and how long do you have to pay it off? Small Business Trends has just launched a new Business Loan Calculator to help you find out how much a loan could cost your business over time. This will definitely help you manage your money better when you get into the business.

Improve your company's visibility without breaking the bank

Search engines are particularly important for local businesses that want to be found. But sometimes, promoting your search lists and improving your SEO efforts can seem a little expensive. In this post on search engine monitoring, Toby Nwazor examines how small businesses can maximize SEO without breaking the bank.

Consider a line of credit for small businesses

<! – -> A small business line of credit can help you grow or start a business, even if you don't have access to a ton of your own funds. In this post on the Franchise King blog, Stephen Halasnik addresses the idea of ​​using a small business line of credit for a franchise.

Create organic reach on Facebook

Facebook is an incredibly effective tool for small businesses to reach and communicate with customers. However, it can add up to constantly promoting posts and buying ads. If you want to reach more consumers without paying for advertising, read the tips in this social media exam post by Michael Stelzner.

Find high-paying work from home

If you are looking for a new business or just want to create new sources of income for your business, you may be interested in some of the work from home that is included in this post by Philip Verghese Ariel on You can also see what BizSugar members say about the post.

Get your business going without investors

Sometimes starting a business without investors can give you more freedom to run and grow your business in your own way. If you want to enjoy this kind of freedom without financial problems, read this Startup Professionals Musings article by Martin Zwilling.

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Learn more about granting PPP loans

The PPP loan program has eased the burden on small businesses, and now options are available to help even more. If you have used this program to fund during this time, this acuity contribution by Matthew May provides the forgiveness details you need to know. <! – ->

Get inspired to earn more thanks to these podcast episodes.

The resources that surround yourself in running a business can inspire you to achieve your goals. If you're looking for new podcast episodes to listen to, Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging shares reviews in this post. You can also see comments from the BizSugar community here .

Help your small business survive a recession

In the current economic situation, many small businesses are concerned about their finances. However, you don't necessarily have to spend a ton to make some sensible changes that will prepare your company for a recession. Katie Lundin examines some strategies in this crowdspring post.

Earn revenue quickly with customer incentives

<! – -> If you're ready to start selling to your small business right away, you may need to incentivize customer activities. In this post by the SMB CEO, Ivan Widjaya explains some ways to incentivize potential buyers so they can increase sales immediately.

To suggest that your favorite small business content be considered for an upcoming community summary, send your news tips to:


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Barry Moltz interviews Alexandra Clark from the mediation clinic %% sep %%%% Site-Name %%

Barry Moltz interviews Alexandra Clark from the mediation clinic %% sep %%%% Site-Name %%

It is difficult to quarantine inside, but doing it with other people makes it really difficult. Too often we shy away from negative conflicts that only make problems grow. What negotiation strategies can you use to reach an agreement that meets your needs and also help employers and customers? <! – ->

This week's Small Business Radio Show Alexandra Carter, director of the mediation clinic at Columbia Law School and author of "Ask for More: Ten Questions to Negotiate Everything", discusses how you can negotiate With your quarantine partners. It also shows how you can use the same strategies in your small business.

Alexandra Carter, interview with the mediation clinic

Alex first emphasizes that you have to choose the best time to negotiate. She suggests that we're all under a lot of stress, so 9:00 in the morning, when a zoom call starts while your kids are online, may not be the ideal time. Alternatively, Alex says he should choose a quieter place where you can lead with questions rather than arguments.

<! – -> Before you negotiate, Alex believes that you need to ask yourself what you need first. See what you want to achieve or what problems you want to solve. She calls this the "mirror section" of the negotiation process.

Next, Alex wants people to remember that negotiations are not about "having the answer or controlling the conversation, but asking questions to get better results!" She says the first question that needs to be asked in any business or personal scenario is "tell me what you need" and not "why do you need it?" Alex calls this the "window section" of the negotiation, where you get as much information as possible about other people's motivations. When you ask what they need, they usually respond and ask you the same question.

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Alex reminds us that leading questions "takes the heat down" at every negotiation. The next question is: "What are your ideas for the next step?"

Emotions are crucial for negotiations. Alex believes that anger usually hides fear and guilt; During the pandemic, people feel both because they are in a state of loss. It is crucial that both sides propose solutions that show them what they can achieve through an agreement.

Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show. <! – ->


Image: Alexandra Carter

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