Are You Using Answers to Generate Sales?

Ever heard of Yahoo Answers? LinkedIn? How about Quora?

These are all online communities where people go to ask questions and find answers about anything under the sun. These forums are also an excellent place to generate new business.

How?

Simply join the conversation! Answering questions in an open forum is a great way to: build credibility, demonstrate expertise, and discover potential customers. Because these boards “never” disappear, they rank highly in search engines when people asking the same questions or use similar keywords. Whether you sell a service or a product, chances are someone is out there asking a question that you have the answer to.

To begin:

1) Start Googling for any of the keywords that your website already uses – just add “How” and turn the phrase into a question.

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Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Business Plan

businessplanThe internet is the land of opportunity, where anyone can make a quick buck, right?

That’s what we like to think. But time after time people jump online and create a business website without really figuring out how the business is supposed to make money. That is why no matter what your idea, you need a business plan.

A business plan sets you up for success – it makes it much easier to reach your goal of being profitable because you know how you’re going to get there.

To break it down a bit further, here’s what else you get from creating a business plan:

1. Check the viability of your idea
Sometimes ideas sound great in your head, but when you put them down on paper, you start to find holes. Do you have a market? Will you be able to make enough profit? The list goes on. A business plan will help you identify flaws BEFORE you sink your time and money into an idea that might not fly.

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Weekly Small Business Roundup

In this week’s Small Business Roundup, you’ll find helpful tips on topics from online marketing, to budgeting, to a peek inside one of Google’s most powerful free tools.

Wondering how to get your company’s name out there without spending a fortune? Check out Ronika Khanna’s 24 Cost Effective Ways to Promote Your Small Business.

One of the toughest parts of any business is budgeting. If you’re not tracking every dollar how can you maximize profits? Scott Allen of the American Express Open Forum explores 5 Budgeting Ideas for Every Small Business Owner.

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Are You Ready to Start Your Own Business?

startThe life of an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart – but for every risk, there is an opportunity for huge gain. The thrill of success is made even better by knowing that it’s YOUR dream being realized. What could be better than being your own boss, running your own small business?

Keep in mind that before you jump in with both feet, it’s important to make sure you can swim. Being prepared and going in with the right attitude and information sets you up for success.

Two years ago, Alexa von Tobel launched LearnVest.com, a website dedicated helping and teaching women to manage their finances. In a recent blog post, Alexa outlines her top tips for starting your own company – and she’s got some great points.

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Supporting Social Innovation & Finance – Ashoka International

ashoka-tour-al-dean-celiaWhat is a social entrepreneur?

According to Wikipedia: a social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change.

That’s definitely something we believe in at CityMax.com. So when we heard that Ashoka International, the world’s largest global association of leading social entrepreneurs, was coming to Vancouver to hold a Social Finance and Innovation Tour, we jumped at the chance to participate. We invited some of North America’s top movers and shakers in social innovation to hold their first day of workshops at our office!

ashoka-tour-lunch

Speakers came from exciting organizations such as:

PLAN Institute – using social innovation and social enterprise to mobilize the creativity of individuals with disabilities and their families and to scale up solutions to poverty and social isolation.

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Are You Eavesdropping on the Right Conversations?

eavesdroppingWhether you like it or not, people are talking about you. As a business, you are constantly interacting with people that will have something to say about their experience with you – positive or negative.

The beauty about this day and age is that you can listen in on those conversations. By paying attention to what people are saying, you can:

  • mitigate potentially damaging critiques
  • contribute to conversations and demonstrate that you care about customer experiences
  • identify and address problems within your business/customer experience
  • build a more loyal following

So how exactly do you listen in? Well, in all honesty, it depends on how involved you want to get. Below you’ll find a few different levels of involvement:

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The Best Free Tools for Building an Amazing Website

Who doesn’t love free stuff?

When you’re a bootstrapping entrepreneur, FREE is sometimes is your only option. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality though! (Hootsuite anyone?)

Here are five free tools we use quite often on our own sites:

Referrals are a huge chunk of any business’ revenue. Make it easy for visitors to share your website on Facebook, Twitter, and the rest with an AddThis button.

When it comes to tracking, what do heavy hitters like the American Cancer Society, Discount Tire, Yelp, Huffington Post, and RE/MAX Global Real Estate have in common? They all use Google Analytics to track their online campaigns. How can you maximize sales if you don’t know where and who they come from?

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The Monday Five: Quick Hits for Your Small Business

Happy New Year! We’re back in the office and hitting the pavement running. Are you?

Whether you’ve already set out your business goals for 2011 or are still refining them, if you’re like us you might be spending this week thinking about the big picture. Here’s some food for thought as you plan your year:

5 Easy Strategies from Carrie Thru for an incredible 2011. Easy yes, but effective and often overlooked!

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