Expand Your Small Business Reach with Group Discount Sites

grouponDo you wake up every morning and check your inbox to see what the latest online deals are? If so, you’re like me – and I’m starting to think I have a problem.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, then you haven’t yet been exposed to the wonder of the Group Discount Site, such as Groupon, TeamBuy, and LivingSocial just to name a few.

These websites work by offering a city-specific, limited-time deal (typically one a day) which must be purchased by a minimum number of people to make it happen. The deals are delivered by email each day and usually offer more than 50% off a product or service, so they almost always sell enough to push the deal through.

What does this mean for your small business? To put it bluntly – a HUGE influx of customers.

Consider this – your business offer gets delivered directly to the inboxes of thousands of people who are looking for great deals. Not only that, but these deal sites encourage their subscribers to refer their friends and reward them for referrals that purchase deals. You get to capitalize on the social nature of the site to expand your reach even further.

The diversity of the types of businesses using this type of promotion is impressive. Through these sites, I’ve bought everything from diving lessons, to house cleaning, to wine making to dining out.

Bottom line – if you’re looking to grab new customers, a group discount site might be a great option for you. Just make sure that you decide how much business you can handle and set a limit on the number of deals you’ll put up for grabs. Some of these businesses are now backed up for months!

Have you promoted your business on a group discount site? Or, have you signed up for one? What kind of deals appeal to you?

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Success

2009-12-31-new-yearspic2009 is wrapping up, and what better occasion to take a fresh look at your online business! As we march into the New Year, it’s time to figure out what is and isn’t working. Here are five tips that should help you create a more profitable 2010:

1. Focus on Customer Service
No matter how fantastic your product, it’s not what your customer will be talking about if your service stinks. By building a great relationship with your customers, you keep them happy, loyal, and talking about you with their friends. Evaluate all of your points of contact, from emails, phone messages, web contact, and even how you interact face to face – then make sure you’re going above and beyond.

2. Ask Clients for Referrals
Now that you’ll be offering top notch customer service, encourage your customers to tell their friends about you. People are much more likely to trust a company recommended by friends and it’s as simple as adding a line to your email signature (ie. Happy with our products? Recommend us to a friend!).

Tip: With your CityMax.com small business website, you can add a “Recommend Website” page, which allows your visitors to send an email recommendation to their friends.

3. Learn to Delegate
Have too much on your plate? As a small business owner, it can be hard to let others do work for you, but learning to share your workload will help you accomplish a lot more. Consider what you do in a week and identify the things that don’t NEED to be done by you, then pass them on to others. If you don’t have staff, you may want to try outsourcing some of that extra work. For example, if you need content written for your website, consider using a service like Textbroker.

4. Ditch Broken Systems
Sometimes in business we set up processes that end up not being so successful… yet we keep on using them for years. Now is the time to make a move. Is your sales method not effective for closing deals? Is one of your products just not selling no matter what you do? Is your software constantly crashing? Out with the old and in with the new. Find something that works better – you’ll end up saving a lot of time and frustration.

5. Set Realistic Goals
If you’re not already setting goals, now is a great time to start. By setting goals, you not only have something to strive for, but you also have something to celebrate once it is accomplished. Make sure that any goal you set is realistic or you may end up just frustrating yourself.

These five resolutions should make a positive impact on your business, but don’t forget to take care of yourself! Work-life balance is just as important to your business’ health, so as a bonus resolution, make sure to also set personal time as a priority.