10 Signs Your Business Needs An SEO Expert

Here are 10 Signs Your Business Needs An SEO Expert and it’s time to invest.

Why I’m Saying “No” More Than Ever Before in 2017

I’ve come to a resolution for 2017: I’m going to be saying “no” to more than I ever have before in the coming year.

How to Map Your Customer’s Journey

In order to deliver a powerful brand experience, you need to understand each step of your customer’s journey. Here’s what you need to know in order map your customer’s journey.

Online Event DIGIMARCON Puts Digital Marketing at the Forefront

If you want your business to get more attention in 2017, you need to use digital marketing.

And if you want to learn more about using digital marketing to benefit your business, you can do just that at the DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference. The online event takes place in November and offers a number of different tips and methods for helping attendees enhance their digital marketing efforts.

But that’s just one of the upcoming business events that can help you learn more about marketing and other essential aspects of running a small business. You can read more about DIGIMARCON WORLD and other exciting business conferences and events in the Featured Events section. And then check out even more upcoming business events in the list below.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

SYMPOSIA Conference for Women EntrepreneursSYMPOSIA Conference for Women Entrepreneurs
January 27, 2017, San Francisco, Calif.

Skyrocket your business with two days of inspiration and lessons learned from 7 powerful women entrepreneurs who have found the courage to follow their dreams and build 7+ figure businesses with perseverance, determination and grit! #symposia2017

SCORE’s 2017 American Small Business Championship (ASBC)
February 13, 2017, Online

SCORE is looking for the best small businesses in America. SCORE and Sam’s Club celebrate these businesses through the American Small Business Championship and the SCORE Awards. Share your unique story to win $25,000 or other amazing prizes. Entering is easy. Answer the question, “What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?” through a video of 30-60 seconds, or with a photo and written response of 1,500 characters or less.

LeadsCon Las Vegas 2017LeadsCon Las Vegas 2017
March 20, 2017, Las Vegas, Nev.

If finding, nurturing and converting quality leads are essential to your business’s growth and success, then LeadsCon is perfect for you. 5000+ people rely each year on LeadsCon (Las Vegas & New York) for unparalleled insights and access to marketing leaders. The opportunities to do business at LeadsCon Las Vegas are going to be greater than ever before – so don’t miss out on the connections and knowledge that will give you an advantage on the competition. Secure your spot at the premier gathering of performance marketers and lead gen professionals from around the world.

EntreLeadership 1-DayEntreLeadership 1-Day
April 11, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Grow yourself, your team & your profits! At EntreLeadership 1-Day, you will learn the six essentials of business: leadership, people, money, time, team, and higher calling. Dave Ramsey will be joined by business experts Chris Hogan & Christy Wright.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ10 ($10 off)

TECHSPO Toronto 2017TECHSPO Toronto 2017
May 18, 2017, Toronto, Ontario

TECHSPO Toronto 2017 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. TECHSPO Toronto brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Toronto 2017 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will be joining.

Secret KnockSecret Knock
May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Secret Knock is going to be the single greatest event for the top entrepreneurs and action-takers in the world to connect, share ideas, and help take each other to the next level. Each of the attendees have believed in themselves enough to get to where they are, and they are not stopping now. Secure your application for one of the few spots left at the Secret Knock.

Sales World 2017Sales World 2017
November 08, 2017, Online

Sales World 2017 takes place November 8th to 9th, 2017, Online; Live and On Demand. It is the largest Sales Industry Event in the World and will be attended by over 10,000 Sales Professionals. It’s the one sales event you can’t afford to miss!

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 – Digital Marketing Conference
November 14, 2017, Online

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference takes place November 14th to 16th, 2017. Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools.

More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.


This article, “Online Event DIGIMARCON Puts Digital Marketing at the Forefront” was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Tips for Maintaining Customer Relationships Online

To grow a successful business, you need to be able to market to customers online and then communicate with them effectively. There are plenty of methods you can use to improve your online customer relationships. Here are some top tips from members of our small business community.

Keep These CRM Influencers on Your Radar

If you want to improve your relationships with customers, then you need to have the best information at your disposal. That means you can benefit from following the CRM influencers listed in this Salesflare post. Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell is honored to be included.

Use Social Media Emoji to Humanize Your Business

When attempting to really connect with customers online, it helps if you can humanize your business. And using emoji on social media can help, as this post by Aleh Barysevich at the Social Media Examiner explains. You can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.

Get These Marketing Tools for Local Business Owners

Marketing a local business can require a unique set of skills different from those needed to market  other kinds of businesses. But there are plenty of tools out there to help you market your local business to the right customers. In this Mobile Marketing Helper blog post, Kevin Cortez shares some essential tools for local marketers.

Go Online to Benefit Your Brick and Mortar Business

Even if you have a store or business that only sells to customers in person, you can still benefit from getting online. You can find some potential benefits for brick and mortar businesses going online in this Revel post by Caitlin Stanley.

Learn About the Cost of Google AdWords

Google AdWords can be a really helpful tool for businesses looking to expand their online reach. But you need to learn about the pricing structure if you’re going to take advantage of it. Gary Shouldis of 3Bug Media discusses more here. And BizSugar members chime in with their own thoughts too.

Amp Up Your SMB’s Performance and Productivity

If you want to connect with more customers, increase sales or otherwise improve the chances of your small business succeeding, you need to find ways to improve your business’s performance and productivity. Itai Elizur details some tips for doing just that in this post on Smallbiztechnology.com.

Build Links Without Creating Content

Content marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses. But it’s not the only way to increase your reach online. This Marketing Land post by Andrew Dennis explains how you can build links without creating your own content.

Define and Create Your Brand Voice

You need to have a consistent brand voice in order to effectively communicate with your customers over time. And you can define and create the right voice for your brand using the tips in this post by Jomer Gregorio on the CJG Digital Marketing blog. You can also see input on the post from the BizSugar community here.

Take These Steps for SEO Strategy Success

To get your business found online, you need an SEO strategy. But some business owners might not know where to start when creating that strategy. For five steps to a successful SEO strategy, check out this Search Engine Journal post by Sergey Grybniak.

Grow a Site to 10,000+ Visitors a Month

If you want to reach more customers for your small business, you need to get them to your site first. In this post from Basic Blog Tips, Anil Agarwal details how you can quickly grow your site in terms of visitors each month.

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: sbtips@gmail.com.

Online Customer photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Tips for Maintaining Customer Relationships Online” was first published on Small Business Trends

50 Small Businesses to Start in Your Backyard

50 Backyard Business Ideas

For entrepreneurs who want to start a business close to home and maybe spend some time outside too, a backyard business might be the right choice for you. It might sound like a strange concept, but there are actually plenty of businesses that you could potentially run right from your very own yard.

Of course, you’ll want to check your state and local zoning ordinances to make sure it’s allowed in your area. But if owning a small business sounds like something that would interest you, here are 50 backyard business ideas for you to consider.

Backyard Business Ideas


50 Backyard Business Ideas - Gardener

There are a variety of different plants you can grow in your yard to sell to local consumers. Or you could even offer your services to other homeowners and spend time working in their yards as well.

Backyard Nursery

Or you could start a nursery business where you grow potted plants and sell them in a nursery environment.


You could also specialize more in flower products and start a florist business in your backyard.

Herb Grower

Or you could grow herbs in your yard and then harvest and package them for sale who want fresh herbs for their food.

Vegetable Farmer

If you have a little bit more room to work with, you could also grow and harvest vegetables for sale in your yard.

Seed Sales

For those who want to offer smaller products and help other growers start their own gardens, you could harvest seeds and package them for sale.


50 Backyard Business Ideas - Canner

There are also plenty of different food items that you can grow and then preserve and can to sell to buyers who want some longer-lasting products.

Farmer’s Market Vendor

No matter what kind of food or other products you grow, you can work to collect and prepare those items in your yard and then set up a booth at your local farmer’s market to sell them.

Firewood Sales

You might also find that you have a fair amount of trees or sources of wood in your yard. If that’s the case, you can potentially parcel out that wood and sell sections of it to local consumers to use as firewood.

Compost Sales

If you don’t mind getting a little messy, you could also collect waste and other materials to make your own compost and then sell it to local farmers or gardeners.

Fertilizer Sales

Likewise, you could make and sell more specialized fertilizer products for homeowners in your area.

Landscape Designer

Your backyard might also provide you with some inspiration that you can use to work with other clients as a landscape designer.

Party Rentals

50 Backyard Business Ideas - Party Rentals

If you want to work with clients in your area to provide rental items like tables, chairs and electronics for parties, you could use your backyard, garage or shed as a storage facility for those items.

Small Poultry Farm

If you’re looking to work with animals, you could potentially start your own small poultry farm and have it fit into your backyard.

Rabbit Rearing

Rabbits also don’t take up too much room. So you could start your own rabbit rearing business in your yard.

Fish Farmer

If you have waterfront land or room enough for some large tanks, you could get into the aquaculture game and start your own fish farm.

Shrimp Farmer

You could also opt to raise shrimp instead using many of the same methods and equipment as fish farmers.

Snail Farmer

Snail farming is another farming business opportunity that doesn’t take a lot of room.


Or you could start your own bee colony to raise bees for honey production or other purposes.

Goat Rentals

If you want to rent out your animals, you could raise goats on your property and then lend them to local property owners for lawn mowing purposes.

Fiber Spinning

If you have sheep, alpacas or similar animals, you could sheer them and spin fiber out of wool or other materials.

Dog Trainer

You might also want to start a business where you work with other people’s pets as a dog trainer.

Laundry Service

You could also start your own laundry service where you wash, dry, iron and provide other services.

Candle Maker

If you want to create your own handmade products, candles are something you can easily make in your yard.

Soap Maker

You could also gather all the necessary supplies to make your own soap and package it right in your backyard.

Christmas Tree Farm

If you have a fair amount of space to work with, you could plant some evergreen trees and start your own Christmas tree farm.

Petting Farm

Or you could raise animals on your land and invite people to visit with them in exchange for a small fee.

Corn Maze

You could also set up corn fields and then create mazes that people can pay to visit.

Hay Rides

If you have a tractor or similar vehicle, you could also offer hay rides to visitors on your property.

U-Pick Service

For those who grow items like apples on your property, you can start your own U-Pick service where people can pick their own items off trees or other plants and then pay you for them.

Car Detailing

If you want to work on vehicles, you could start your own car detailing business and have people bring their cars to your yard so you can clean and detail them.

Electronic Repairs

You could also start your own electronic repairs business where people can bring their computers, smartphones and other tech devices to your yard for service.


For those who want to pursue a creative business opportunity, you can take photos outside and even set up a photo studio and editing station in your yard.


Likewise, you can shoot videos for clients or various other purposes right in your yard.

T-Shirt Printer

Screenprinting is another creative activity you can do in your backyard. You can set up a screenprinting space to make a variety of items including t-shirts, tote bags and more.

Web Designer

You could also set up a small office space in your yard to work on a sort of virtual business. For example, you might set up a space where you can design websites for clients.

Graphic Designer

Or you could start a business as a graphic designer and use your yard space to inspire your designs.


Bloggers can also potentially work from anywhere – including your backyard.

Ebook Author

You could also commit to writing your own e-books and publishing them online from your backyard office.

How-to Classes

If you have a skill or hobby you could teach to others in your backyard, you can set up a business offering how-to classes.


Or you could work with students in a more one-on-one setting as a backyard tutor.

Online Course Creator

You could also create your own courses that you can set up in your office and sell online.

Yoga Instructor

Yoga is a fun activity that you can potentially practice outdoors. You can even offer your own yoga classes to students in your yard space.

Personal Trainer

Or you could work with individual clients who want to improve their fitness habits as a personal trainer.

Massage Therapist

If you want to create an outdoor oasis for massage clients, you could also start your own backyard massage therapy business.

Airbnb Rentals

For those who have backyard getaways like treehouses or garage apartments, you could even start your own business by renting out those spaces on home rental sites like Airbnb.


If you’re a skilled woodworker, you could also start your own carpentry business and work on projects from your backyard.

Furniture Upcycler

Or you could purchase antique or secondhand furniture and then use new materials to update and sell those pieces.

Etsy Shop Owner

There are plenty of other potential craft items you could make right in your backyard and sell on sites like Etsy.

Recycling Service

You could also start a recycling service where you pick up items from homes or businesses and then sort those items for proper recycling in your yard.

Gardener Photo via Shutterstock

Canning Photo via Shutterstock

Party Rental Photo via Shutterstock

Backyard Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “50 Small Businesses to Start in Your Backyard” was first published on Small Business Trends

The Relationship Engine Helps Keep Humans in the Business Equation

The Relationship Engine Helps Keep Humans in the Business EquationRelationships are so central to business that we take them for granted. We create our organizational charts, enshrine our customer service policies in manuals, and post inspirational teamwork posters in our workplaces. Are we really getting it though? The Relationship Engine: Connecting with the People Who Power Your Business helps leaders understand the impact of not taking the “human” part of the business equation into account. It offers a new model for those leaders who are ready to proactively improve their relationship “superpowers” so they can improve every aspect of their business.

What is The Relationship Engine About?

The Relationship Engine provides one simple example to show the discrepancy between customer service and customer-focused service. That example is calling customer support for your cable or computer. The author describes a scenario in which customers is  seeking support has to enter information using an automated system and then verify that same information again. He then has to get on the floor to look in a hard-to-reach place for small numbers on the modem that was given to him by the very same company that he called in the first place.

Do you see the problem here? All of this effort is placed on the “transaction” part of customer service, not the human part of customer service.

The Relationship Engine points the blame at the way we treat human relationships in the workplace. In short, we take them for granted. We either believe that being a “people person” is a fixed trait employees either have or they don’t or that a simple customer service manual will do the trick. Because of this, we fail to develop our skills at relating to other human beings. This a dangerous cycle to be a part of especially for business leaders who literally set the tone for relationships at work in both deed and action.

Fixing this lack of real knowledge about how to deal with other human beings in the workplace requires embodying the principles in the book. The Relationship Engine uses a 5-sided model to help leaders improve the workplace culture. The author then spends the rest of the book exploring the implications of these principles on your business. Even though the principles aren’t revolutionary, they offer the potential for a powerful new way to work. That principle begins when the entire business, starting with the leaders, understands the potential revolutionary concept of focusing on relationships and not just the transaction.

Author Ed Wallace is a consultant, speaker, and President of the Relational Capital Group with expertise in utilizing human-powered relationships in the workplace.

What Was Best About The Relationship Engine?

The Relationship Engine introduces the concept of relational agility, a concept that combines relationship building with the business need for agile leadership. In books on innovation, relationship skills are often given superficial lip service. This book argues that the internal and external relationships of a business affect the whole process of innovation. To put it more simply, innovation doesn’t happen unless the right relationships are in place. That is a radically new perspective that puts “soft skills” on a higher footing than they have ever been before in the conversation about how a business should innovate.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

One area that could receive a little more attention in The Relationship Engine is the environment surrounding a leader. A leader could put all of the principles of the book into practice but the effect could be stifled in a work environment that doesn’t want to change. More information about how leaders can work with colleagues, subordinates and superiors to implement the book’s principles on a large scale might be helpful.

Why Read The Relationship Engine?

For those leaders who want to improve their relational skills, The Relationship Engine provides an innovative and proactive form of leadership capable of dealing with the volatile business world of the future. The book’s principles provide a framework or perspective that can be used to assess and improve leadership with more precision. Instead of assuming that your leaders are good at relationships, this book helps you assess how good they are and where they need to improve so they can contribute to growing the organization in the future.

This article, “The Relationship Engine Helps Keep Humans in the Business Equation” was first published on Small Business Trends