The Importance of Local Business Directories

The importance of local business directories for every size of business is very keenly known by experienced search engines. Local search is the use of modified INTERNET SEARCH ENGINES that acquires the people to submit searches against an arranged database of such lists. Typical local search include not only information about “what” the visitor is … Continue reading “The Importance of Local Business Directories”

The importance of local business directories for every size of business is very keenly known by experienced search engines. Local search is the use of modified INTERNET SEARCH ENGINES that acquires the people to submit searches against an arranged database of such lists. Typical local search include not only information about “what” the visitor is searching for but also “where” the information lies.

The main motive for such search engines is to increase their targeted audience and the direct audience so that they can be known worldwide. The top search engines rank a website on their link popularity following inbound links and called back links.

If we open up the pages of history than the three options available at that time were,

Yellow pages

The yellow pages were the main source of showing your small business, they were known as the builder and destroyer of a business. To be honest, advertising is difficult and expensive. People go through these pages even today and this is the main reason of the rating being high every year.

General business/regional directories

These are basically who intend support for their work.

Specific industry directories

There was this membership for listings and every owner had to earn the membership.

Today, when we stand in the 21st century, we see that all of these three directories can be easily found on the internet. Business directories can have a fee, can be costless with some link of another or can be totally costless without any instructions and security gates. Now some of the links are not important still a fee is to pay to open them up, they are not important because the same links can be found, even better without any security gates.

Local business directory can be easily found by type in the details of the city you live in and the name of the directory you own and then put up the link in the pages that come up first on the list, this can be done with Google and Bing too.

A website URL should be submitted in a manual way. Other sites offer to submit as per links as you give them and they can be in hundreds, thousands, millions or trillions, they will do what they have to do and what is there work. They typically use a process which is automatically used by everyone and is used and known by everyone, which may lead the website towards being black listed. Some of the tips which can save us from that

Complete website.
No porn/adult links.
Language should be English.

Local business listings appear after a few days of the submission. It takes a lot of time and why it will not, manual information demands a lot of time to give away our information further. It is to be remembered the more lists you provide, the more you are seen on the net which attracts a lot of targeted audience towards your work

Recession Business Finance Tactics

During tough economic times, finance is a huge challenge for business owners. In the “Going Forward” section of the January ’09 Entrepreneur Magazine, Mark Hendricks quotes some sobering statistics which frames up the extent of the recession we are experiencing:

— During the Second Quarter of ’08, 65% of bank senior loan officers stated they recently tightened lending standards for small businesses.

— In August ’08, 49% of business owners reported cutting back and by October that number grew to 69%.

— Sales Growth for businesses in all sectors fell from an 8% average increase over the last five years to 6% for the year ending October ’08.

Our best advice to meet the challenges is have a well developed and implemented Business Plan and Financial Strategy which proves your Cash Flow Model and determines which financial sources and structures fit that Model. With your Funding Business Plan, Loan Package and Investment Overview in hand, here are some real world funding options and strategies to consider when Lenders’ purse strings become increasingly hard to access:

1. Networking: Increasing your Networking activities through morning executive breakfast events, trade associations, Chamber of Commerce events and Rotary/ Kiwanis/ Lions Groups can be a great way to find suitable, local, private money. Local investors are much more approachable in hard times as they have a connection and understanding to the area and your track record. Other business owners in these groups, associations and events can be extremely helpful in finding suitable private money.

2. Supplier / Trade Finance: According to Rosalind Resuick, CEO of Axxess Business Consulting, no outside party has a bigger interest in your company’s success than your trade partners and suppliers. Having your supplier as an Equity Partner can be very advantageous when you are having difficulty making payments or want to quickly develop a new market. The participating Equity Stake is assigned to your past trends, present and future orders. Start-up Consultant, Joe Fulvio, suggests your Business Plan “show not only a direct return on investment, but also the value of future business to be gained”. By making your supplier a partner in your business, the supplier is better suited to understand your Finance needs

3. Lease Finance: When times are tough and your cash is tightening, Leasing can be the answer. Small deposit, lower payments and flexibility are often associated with Lease verses Buy Terms. At the end of the lease, you can easily upgrade equipment and roll into the Lease Payments so your out of pocket costs are much smaller than a typical finance loan.

4. Community Bank Loans: Amy Loera, owner of Tio’s Mexican restaurant chain, was denied at nine different banks, for a loan to open a new restaurant, although she ran a very successful business. These Lenders cited the Nation-wide downturn of restaurant sales due to the current recession as the chief reason for the loan declination. There is no doubt a year ago, these banks would have lent to her. Instead of throwing in the towel, Ms. Loera turned to a local, community lender, Arrowhead Credit Union, and she was approved for a $643,000 loan. What was the difference? The Credit Union was based in her business region, and she could make a strong case for the health of her restaurant chain.

Reasons Ms. Loera cited for her success in obtaining her expansion loan:

1. Low overhead costs

2. Reasonable Prices

3. Family-Style restaurants picking up the slack from people by the Fancier establishments in the area.

4. Smaller, localized lenders are typically in better shape during an Economic Downturn

5. Community Banks are more cognizant of the local economy’s health and vitality

6. Larger / Regional / National Banks are more reliant on Credit Scores and cookie cutter Applications. Local Banks rely more on a Business Plan.

7. Niche Market: Suburban market that likes an affordable meal at the end of a busy day

8. Historical Financials showing track record

9. Debt-free

10. 12 month Realistic Projection for the new restaurant

11. Comprehensive Business Plan; every detail about the business

12. Received approval from the Credit Union due to:

a. Experience

b. Existing locations cash flowing well

c. Affordable meals in a recessionary environment

d. Detailed, well-thought-out Business Plan

The Inside Story: What the Local Bank Looks for:

1. Not Credit Score Driven

2. Look behind the scenes of the business

3. Cash Flow is Key: An important indicator of the ability to pay off the loan.

4. Believable, forward-looking Cash Flow Projections for the new business. Realistic Financial Statements.

5. Provide Best & Worst Case Scenarios on your Financial Projections

6. Small, Community Banks assess a business loan on a case by case basis. This is a huge advantage over Regional Bank Loan decision making, especially, in an economic down-turn.

7. In recessionary times, certain industries will be hit harder than others, like Construction Companies or Auto Dealerships; therefore, it is very important to have a well developed Business Plan and a forward looking Strategic Plan that includes a well researched 12-18 month industry outlook, based upon a believable Marketing Plan.

8. Small Bankers can see successful pocket areas in a struggling local economy. These pocket areas often have a Strong Niche Marketing Offering

9. Financial problems are best disclosed to the bank early on so a mutual solution can be implemented

10. Small Banks do loan to Companies showing past financial “hiccups” if they can show they were proactive and overcame the issue

In my next article, I will review what businesses do well in a recession and provide more recession business tactics so you can succeed, despite this lousy economy.

The Importance of Local Business Directory Listings

Experienced search engine optimization (SEO) experts know the importance of local business directory listings for small and medium-sized business that have a regional focus.

Listing your business will often bring increased targeted traffic to your website and help in the overall search engine ranking of your site. The top search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing often rank a website on link popularity (inbound links, called backlinks), along with other factors.

Types Of Directories Available

Twenty years ago business owners had only a few choices for listing their business in directories. Three options previously available included:

o Yellow Books
o General Business/Regional Directories
o Specific Industry Directories

The first option, the yellow pages, was major source of advertising for most small businesses. You had to have a business phone line to advertise. Since the internet took over, the yellow pages has been providing diminishing returns for most business owners. The advertising is expensive, fewer people search the yellow pages, and the advertising rates go up every year.

The second option, general business or regional directories, such as D&B, Hoovers, or the local Chamber of Commerce provided valuable services for individuals seeking new suppliers.

The third option, specific industry directories, was often published through an industry association. You had to qualify for membership to be listed.

Today, all three types of directories are now available on the web. In fact a Google search for “local business directory” returns over 181,000,000 results. Even an exact match (in quotation marks) delivers an astounding 12,700,000 listings. Talk about information overload!

Local business directories may charge a fee, be free with a reciprocal link, or totally free without restrictions. Directories that charge a fee cost anywhere from $4.95 to $299 a year. The vast majority of paid listings are not worth paying for, because it’s easy to get free links without restrictions.

One way to identify local business directories is to type in “directory” and “your city”, and submit links to those directories that come up on the first three or four pages of the search engine. Do this with all three big search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Submission Guidelines

The best way to submit your website URL is manually. There are many services that offer to submit your website to thousands of directories for only $19. They’re typically using an automated process that may lead to your website being blacklisted or de-indexed from the search engines.

Here are some tips:
o Your website should be complete, not currently under construction.
o There should be no broken links, or links or adult or porn sites.
o Your website content should be in English.

Your local business listing should appear a few weeks after your submission. Some free directories take up to six months to list your site, because they’re manually reviewed by a live person.

Yes, it’s time-consuming to manually submit your information to the directories. Consider paying a teenager to do it for you. But remember, the more listings you get, the more you’ll be found on the web.

Business Guide

This paper presents a practical approach to starting and building a good business with tested and approved information.

This guide reviews the following;
Planning a business
Business Capital
Business Information
Internationalizing a Business

Business Planning is an essential and integral part of a good business. The life of any good business depends on its plan. To plan a good business, its very essential to know the more about the following factors which affects any given good business;
a. The Business Capital
b. Manpower (labor)
c. Machine (Technology)
d. Market
e. The Business Method of Operation.

Money is needed to run a successful business. This money can be generated from the following sources;
1. Your account, Family and Friends
2. Loans from Bank
3. Market Advantage
4. Business Partnership

You have become so conversant with points 1 and 2 but the points 3 and 4 are practical procedures I want to introduce to you.
Market Advantage:
To generate business capital from an existing market, you must possess the ability to find and analyse good market information and also you must be able to secure a good market connection.
This market information will give you a good business information as regards the need by a client for a supply of goods and or services which by your connection you are able to supply by linking the fellow to the source or standing as a business agent to do this job. This method deals with business mediation just as a consultant and hence earning yourself a business capital from this business deal.

Business Partnership;
This method of business capital generation has gained much fame in the African world where there is market but a great lack of goods and services exists due to poor manufacturing culture and lack of technology. So many Business giants and gurus in Africa started this way. This method of business capital generation involves a negotiation with a manufacturing company or a service producer in a developed world so as to represent them in your local business region as a distributor or a business outlet. If this business negotiation is successful, a contract is signed and this business is now empowered by the manufacturer hence creating a business link which generates satisfaction on the side of both parties. This method can yield a very big sales company on your local market and usually develops into a great business.
This usually works for those who have mastered their local market systems and forces.

I can suggest also the following ways as good business capital generation channels.

Network Marketing;
The 21st century market has given birth to a powerful business capital generation system called Network marketing. There exists a Multi- line Network marketing and also a Binary Network Market system.
It has been tested and certified that the Binary system of network marketing is better and generates more business capital lot faster than the multi- line.
I can also suggests some tested organisations who operate this binary system; an example is a USA based company called the freedom Rocks. (www(dot)freedomrocks(dot)com/urchgeneforex; www(dot)freedomrocks(dot)com; you can visit the first blog to register).

The Forex Trading Market;
Forex trading is a good business capital generation method. It is a high risk business but with more than average returns and benefits.
Freedom Rocks USA has an automated software for trading the forex market and hence will help you build and generate a good business capital. (contact: urchgene(at)yahoo(dot)com for more information).

Business information is the blood that runs through the system of any good business. This business information must be powered by market research. The cycle and trend of a business gives a good supply of information needed to run that business. The existence of a good technology also facilitates the generation of a good business information.
Business information which is synonymous with market research should include;
a. The needs of that local business environment which must be satisfied by either goods, technology or services.
b. The price system of the local market.
c. Business competition and products substitute information.
d. Desired market products or services information.
e. Market location.
You may get an expert market researcher to do this for you or you have to bend down in your area and conduct some meaningful business research so as to get a good business information.

Review the partnership session I earlier discussed in this paper for information on internationalizing a business.
You should try to gain access into the least developed and the developing world top further expand your business. You can do this by taking a trip outside your country or trying to monitor people form this region that come always to your country on business trips.
This will help you minimize competition and also put you on the track to being a multinational giant.
You may not be aware of how great your business can grow until you have tried this.
There is great demand of technology services in the African Business world and you may not be aware that this demand is hardly met because there are no technology giants to meet them.
Take a trip today especially in the African business world and you will find it rewarding.

Building your business can be great simple and this manual will aid you achieve this especially if you are planning to own an international business.

Internet Marketing Strategies for Local Business

Now more then ever profitable opportunities exist to promote your local business on the Internet. Through search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, email marketing and local listings, you can connect with a willing audience. Your customers are turning to the Internet to find local products and services. If your competitors have an online presence and you don’t, guess who gets to take home the prize

Below are several crucial techniques for promoting your business regionally:
Listings in local search engines and directories

Pay Per Click advertising in Google and Yahoo

Email marketing

Search engine optimization

Local Listings

Even if you do not have a web site you can still promote your local business online. For example, you can list you business and contact information with the local search engines of Yahoo and Google. It takes an hour at the most to get a free listing on the two most popular search engines. Your listing will include an interactive map that can direct customers right to your front door.

Another important resource that accepts free listings is Verizon’s, as does the local version of AOL.

And don’t overlook regional and industry specific directories. Many accept free listings, or charge a nominal fee. Once again, for most a web site is not a prerequisite.

Pay Per Click Advertising

If you do have a web site, than you need to promote your local business through Pay Per Click on both Google and Yahoo. With Pay Per Advertising you bid on keyword terms that your potential customers would use in a search. An example is “Tacoma Wedding Photographer.” The cost per click depends on how competitive the term is. You only pay if a prospect clicks on your text ad and goes to your site. This is referred to as performance advertising, where you only pay if the ad performs.

The appeal of PPC is you can get it going within an hour. You set the budget, you determine what keywords are relevant, and you determine your price per click. You can also turn it on or off in an instance. The general consensus is that PPC generates a higher return on your investment over traditional offline advertising.

Search Engine Optimization – Free Traffic

For those that like a challenge there is search engine optimization. SEO is the ability to optimize your web site for high search ranking. If you can optimize your site properly, you can benefit from an endless stream of free, targeted search engine traffic. It takes time and effort, but the results can take your business to a whole new level.

If you are selling nationally SEO can be cutthroat. For a local business it can be relatively easy to rank for terms that relate to your business and location. (ex. Richmond Wedding Photographer)

Local Email Marketing

Another tremendous marketing tool is email. For virtually nothing you can communicate with both prospects and your existing customers. Email is an excellent method to convert prospects to customers. It can also significantly increase the lifetime value of your existing customers by simply alerting them to upcoming sales and promotions.

Knowing the power of email communication, I find it hard to believe how few use it to promote their local business. Now listen up, start collecting your customer’s email addresses today. I can guarantee they will respond favorably to joining your list. We all like to be informed on bargains and special offers.

The future of your local business will depend on the Internet. It is estimated 25% of searches online are local in nature. The Internet is the perfect resource for finding local products and services, which is why your customers are searching online. Now is the time to get your business positioned to reap the rewards.