Choosing the best state to start a business is an important detail in your overall business plan and can be challenging. When it comes to launching a small business, “Location, location, location” is part of the formula for success. If you’re wondering if a specific location would give your startup an extra advantage over the competition, you should check out WalletHub’s latest report on 2018’s Best & Worst States to Start a Business.
With a bad location ranked as one of the top reasons for business failure, choosing where to launch your business can be almost as important as choosing what business to start. In this post, we’ll look at the top states for startups based on WalletHub’s survey, and share expert insights on what to look for in an ideal location.
Best and Worst States for StartupsIn this study, WalletHub compared all 50 states across 25 key indicators of startup success to determine the best environments to launch and grow a small business. The three key dimensions were 1) business environment, 2) access to resources and 3) business costs. Then each dimension was evaluated using 25 relevant metrics, including the average growth in the number of small businesses, the average first-year survival rate, ease of access to resources for businesses, the area’s cost of living, corporate taxes and other factors.
Based on overall rank, the top 10 states to start a small business are:
7. North Dakota
Top states for highest average growth:
1. North Dakota
Top states for accessible financing:
1. North Dakota
4. South Dakota
Top states for low labor costs:
3. West Virginia
Top states for the highest availability of human capital:
2. West Virginia
3. New Mexico
Ready to Launch? Here’s What to Consider. While studies like this one from WalletHub can give you a head start on identifying potential locations for your business, you should also do your own research before making a decision. Look into the business incentives available in a state, the state’s small business regulations, and your industry’s presence in a state before you pack up and move.
What should you consider when deciding whether to move to a different state to start your business? Both federal and state policies and regulations regarding small businesses make a difference. “Wealth and business opportunities are less anchored to geography than they have ever been,” says Peter Lorenzi, professor of management at the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland, one of the business experts that WalletHub consulted for the survey.
Looking at the type of entrepreneurial education a state or city’s schools and colleges offer can be one way to assess a location. When K-12 schools and colleges are involved in promoting entrepreneurship, it provides opportunities for your business to tap into the expertise of the school’s faculty, students and alumni, mentorship programs and more.
When it comes to tax incentives, the research is not conclusive, according to Drew Hession-Kunz, Finance Faculty at Carroll School of Management at Boston College. “We all respond to incentives,” he says, noting that states like Illinois, Connecticut, Iowa and New Jersey that have raised taxes on individuals or businesses “are seeing significant out-migration.” However, Hession-Kunz believes that overall, “tax breaks and incentives generally appear to come out poorly for the state and the taxpayers.” Instead of looking for state tax incentives, he suggests businesses will do better to look for a state that is well-run and fiscally responsible in the long term.
“Tax savings and incentives are only a part of the decision-making process,” agrees Al Danto, lecturer at Rice University. Although he notes that “capital is the lifeblood and fuel of a growing business,” companies should also consider the availability of an adequate workforce, transportation and other factors when making a location decision.
If you’re surprised by a few of the top states ranked, you shouldn’t be. “The usual hubs are expensive to hire and grow in, and so people are looking elsewhere to put limited and expensive capital to work,” explains Hession-Kunz. He notes the spread of startup culture, the affordability of technology, and the availability of venture capital in locations outside Silicon Valley have made it possible for startups to succeed in more places.
Uncle Sam’s Influence
How do national measures impact the ideal business location? WalletHub’s panel of experts disagreed as to how the economic policies of the current administration, including tax reform legislation, will promote new-business development.
On the plus side, Danto believes the administration’s economic policy strategy has been targeted to get more capital in the hands of entrepreneurs and businesses, and encourage them to spend it. “When the corporate tax rate was cut from 35 percent to 21 percent, it in effect gave businesses a 14 percent increase in cash flow in one fell swoop,” he says.
However, Paul A. Pavlou, Ph.D., believes most of the tax cuts primarily help large corporations rather than startups or small businesses. “Lower taxes is not a primary consideration for startups that are generally not profitable [enough] for a few years to pay taxes,” explains Pavlou, who is senior associate dean, Milton F. Stauffer Professor, Co-Director, Data Science Institute, at Fox School of Business, Temple University.
Pavlou also noted that the attempt to ease regulations will be more help to established corporations than to startups. “The policy to make it difficult for foreign labor, particularly in high-tech [industries], to work in the United States, could make it difficult for startups to recruit talent,” he explained, “particularly given the tight labor market in the technology sector.”
Craig Saper, former Bearman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, believes the policies of the current administration benefit established businesses more than new ones “that depend on research, innovation, and an educated population.” Instead of looking for tax breaks, he contends, startup business owners should look for locations that have solid infrastructure, walkable cities, strong educational institutions, and public-private partnerships to help drive innovation. “That’s where young workers especially want to be located,” he notes.
Make the Right Choice Choosing the best state to start a business requires assessing a variety of factors. Develop a list of your “must haves” and “nice-to-haves” so you can create your own ranking of locations. Read other surveys, use social media to talk to business owners and contact places like the local chamber of commerce, economic development agency, Small Business Development Center or SCORE office in the areas you’re considering. And of course, listen to your gut. By taking these steps, you’re sure to make the right choice for your new business.
Written by Rieva Lesonsky – CEO growbiz media – Choosing the Best State For Startup
Justifying the Cost
Simply put, a premium domain can greatly impact whether or not your startup or product succeeds or fails. Once you’ve determined that a premium domain has value to your company, you still have to contend with the purchase price. How can you justify paying $10,000, $100,000 or more for a domain?
Let’s consider a $10,000 domain name that you want to buy for a new product launch. That figure might seem crazy. However, ask yourself how the cost compares to your other expenses for the product: your marketing budget, product development costs, etc. It might be that $10,000 might be small compared to other costs. If getting the right domain name contributes to the product’s success, it’s a small price to pay.
Also consider that the $5,000 cost is a one-time expense. If you think you’ll use a domain with all benefits at that cost for ten years, your annual cost is really only about $500.
Here is a brief rundown on some benefits of a premium domain name:
INSTANT TRUST AND AUTHORITY
Premium domain also give customers a sense of trust and authority. Users will, for instance, have more trust in doing business with www.CuteCars.com or CarSales.net versus www.Find-Cars-Online.us. This gained trust is mostly due to the fact that today’s online shoppers generally understand domains like CuteCars.com are rare and expensive; fly by night operations are not run on such an expensive property. This trust and authority directly influence users purchase decisions leading to a higher conversion rate. Best of all trust flows into other marketing aspects like email and display as the domain is at the base of those efforts.
PERSONAL AND/OR BUSINESS BRANDING
Branding is very important in the online world, so you’re missing a trick by not having your very own domain. If you’re a business, you absolutely need to have a branded website because this is the main way that people can find you and understand your business online. It doesn’t matter if you only sell one product or offer one service, you can let people know what you’re about on a simple one-page website. We guarantee your customer base will grow as a result. Owning a premium domain can help you make a statement.
DIRECT TRAFFIC AND SEO BENEFITS
Single, two-word and rich domain names are easy to type and hence receive more type-in traffic. Depending on the name and its vertical, certain premium domains carry large volumes of direct type-in traffic. The result is an instant flow of high quality traffic; in fact direct type-in traffic usually carries extremely high conversion rates. Premium domain names can effect search engine rankings as well Great domains provide a sense of trust and authoritativeness with webmasters which helps with outreach and link placement. You are less likely to spend on PPC because organic search rankings are greater for premium domain names.
Having a premium domain can help you with a number of things including credibility. It is common for consumers to favor industry leaders over small independent shops, this means that standing out from the crowd online isn’t always easy. Owning a premium domain can help you stand our from your competitors.
Having a premium domain tells your customers that your business is large, well-established and here to stay. Plus it shows you have thought about your business and what you want from it. For example fastcars.com looks far more credible than yourfastcarsolutions.com
MARKETING BENEFITS/ VIRALBILITY
Memorable names enhance word of mouth (viral) referrals that your business generates, and these are one of the most valuable lead sources. Direct referrals typically carry one of the highest conversion rates among traffic types. For example you may say ‘I got this movie on ‘GreatMovies’ because GreatMovies is a well-established easy to remember domain. Whereas if you bought it from moviesandgamesforyou.com then you’d be less likely to quickly tell someone. Also, when your employees give their email address out over the phone, they’ll be able to do it without spelling out the email address because it’s memorable. That’s a big time saver and will avoid confusion in the long run.
Buying premium domain names are very similar to investing in property – its value increases over time, especially as each year more and more websites are created. Just as you would consider factors like location and future potential when buying a house, investing in a good premium domain names has its benefits. The premium domain name becomes the foundation of any successful brand. Beach-front real estate that adds long-term equity. Assets which were bought and registered by insightful, forward thinking entrepreneurs are now being sold for huge figures.
We couldn’t come up with a complete list of previous premium domain sales especially for most recent years but I believe what we have here will give you an idea what premium domain names sold for across the years. This list will be updated from time to time when we have more to add.
LasVegas.com - $90,000,000 (2005)
CarInsurance.com - $49,700,000 (2010)
Insurance.com - $35,600,000 (2010)
VacationRentals.com - $35,000,000 (2007)
PrivateJet.com - $30,180,000 (2012)
Internet.com - $18 million (2009)
360.com - $17 million (2015)
Insure.com - $16 million (2009)
Bankaholic.com - $15 million (2008)
Hotels.com - $11,000,000 (2001)
CardRatings.com - $10,200,000 (2008)
RealEstate.com - $8,250,000
Israel.com - $5,880,000
Slots.com - $5,500,000 (2010)
Toys.com - $5,100,000 (2009)
AsSeenOnTV.com - $5,100,000 (2000)
Property.com & Properties.com - $5,000,000
SEO.com - $5,000,000 (2007)
Korea.com - $5,000,000 (2004)
YellowPages.com - $5,000,000
Pooxi.com - $5,000,000 (2012)
Medicare.com - $4,800,000 (2014)
iCloud.com - $4,500,000 (2011)
GiftCard.com - $4,000,000 (2012)
Altavista.com - $3,300,000 (1998)
Software.com - $3,200,000 (2005)
Vodka.com - $3,000,000 (2006)
Shopping.de - $2,858,945 (2008)
CreditCards.com - $2,750,000 (2004)
Tom.com - $2,500,000 (1999)
Gambling.com - $2,500,000
Investing.com - $2,450,000 (2012)
Youxi.com - $2,430,000 (2014)
114.com - $2,100,000
Makeup.com - $2,000,000
Telephone.com - $2,000,000 (2000)
Seniors.com - $1,800,000 (2007)
Express.com - $1,800,000 (2000)
inn.im - $1,800,000
Fly.com - $1,760,000 (2009)
Dating.com - $1,750,000 (2010)
DataRecovery.com - $1,659,000 (2008)
Branson.com - $1,600,000 (2006)
Tandberg.com - $1,500,000 (2007)
Russia.com - $1,500,000 (2009)
Cameras.com - $1,500,000 (2006)
MarketingToday.com - $1,500,000 (2005)
Power.com - $1,261,000 (2014)
Jade.com - $1,250,000 (7/2016)
Vista.com - $1,250,000 (2007)
Feedback.com - $1,230,000 (2003)
Find.com - $1,200,000 (2004)
Scores.com - $1,180,000
Kredit.de - $1,169,000 (2008)
Flying.com - $1,100,000 (2010)
Mercury.com - $1,100,000 (2000)
Motorcycle.se - $1,100,000
Bingo.com - $1,100,000 (1999)
Zip.com - $1,058,830 (2010)
Cruise.co.uk - $1,100,000 (2008)
Wallstreet.com - $1,030,000 (2005)
Webcam.com - $1,020,000 (2009)
588.com - $1,000,000 (2015)
BTC.com - $1,000,000 (2014)
Poker.org - $1,000,000 (2010)
DomainName.com - $1,000,000 (2011)
DuDu.com - $1,000,000
PersonalLoans.com - $1,000,000 (2012)
eFlowers.com - $1,000,000 (2003)
Box.com - $1,000,000 (2011)
Beauty.cc - $1,000,000 (1999)
Topix.com - $1,000,000 (2007)
Websites.com - $975,000 (2005)
Bills.com - $964,500
Poker.de - $957,937 (2007)
Investment.com - $900,000 (2007)
Silver.com - $875,000 (2013)
Credit.fr - $851,875 (2010)
SkiResorts.com - $850,000 (2008)
ForSaleByOwner.com - $835,000 (2000)
Drugs.com - $830,000 (1999)
399.com - $821,818 (2016)
Kiwi.com - $800,000 (03/2016)
345.com - $800,000 (2015)
Beauty.com - $800,000 (2000)
Singapore.com - $800,000 (2003)
1stBandWidth.com - $800,000 (2000)
iReport.com - $750,000 (2008)
Rate.com - $725,000 (06/2016)
Aktien.de - $725,000 (2011)
MathGames.com - $725,000 (2013)
NAV.no - $717,000 (2006)
Refinance.com - $706,000 (2005)
RunningShoes.com - $700,000 (2011)
Melbourne.com - $700,000 (2007)
Taxes.com - $700,000 (2000)
Teamwork.com - $675,000 (2014)
Furniture.co.uk - $650,000 (8/2016)
Casino.de - $625,000 (2008)
Biz.com - $625,000 (2000)
Music.mobi - $616,000 (2007)
Jobs.ca - $600.000 (2008)
Exterminator.com - $600,000 (2009)
Christian.com - $600,000 (2009)
Saturn.pl - $600,000 (2012)
ReverseMortgages.com - $600,000 (2013)
Annuity.com - $600,000 (2005)
Golf.tv - $600,000 (2003)
Job.at - $590,949 (2007)
Affiliate.com - $579,000 (2008)
HomeOwnerInsurance.com - $570,000 (2010)
Cardiology.com - $550,000
Macau.com - $600,000 (2006)
AntiSpyware.com - $550,000 (2006)
SheMale.com - $520,000 (2007)
Jerusalem.com - $510,000 (2010)
Laon.com - $500,249 (2007)
Refi.com - $500.000 (03/17)
DataCenter.com - $500,000 (2014)
Military.com - $500,000 (1999)
Rebate.com - $500,000 (2007)
Rebates.com - $500,000 (2007)
ShoppingMall.com - $500,000 (2000)
Challenge.com - $500,000 (2012)
Finances.com - $500,000
Invention.com - $500,000 (2007)
Jackpot.com - $500,000 (2012)
Housing.com - $500,000
GamesForGirls.com - $500,000 (2011)
Bike.com - $500,000 (2006)
Blue.com - $500,000 (2006)
Puzzle.com - $500,000 (2011)
WebHosting.co.uk - $500,000
TheMortgage.com - $500,000 (2000)
Brand.com - $500,000
Mobile.net - $500,000 (2014)
FinancialAid.com - $480,000
Villas.com - $477,630 (2008)
Chat.de - $470,000 (2003)
Blackjack.com - $460,000 (2003)
Meet.me - $450,000
Rio.com - $450,000
Jobs.ca - $450,000
Templates.com - $450,000 (2006)
SportingGoods.com - $450,000
BoardGames.com - $450,000
AutoInsurance.org - $440,000
AreaRugs.com - $405,000
Games.mobi - $401,500 (2007)
Hipoteca.com - $400,000 (2003)
Resumes.com - $400,000 (2009)
Poker.ca - $400,000 (2010)
Systematic.com - $400,000 (2008)
MyBlog.com - $400,000
CarSales.com - $400,000
Forums.com - $399,990 (2009)
Contests.com - $380,000
Body.com - $380,000
DomainRegistration.com - $376,480 (2008)
Rangers.com - $375,000 (2015)
Symphony.com - $375.000 (2014)
*****BBC.com - $375,000 (1999)
Booker.com - $375.000
Cowboys.com - $370,000
LongIsland.com - $370,000 (2010)
Lowfare.com - $365,000 (2008)
PartySupplies.com - $360,000 (2010)
Banners.com - $360,000 (2008)
WirelessPhone.com - $355,000 (2006)
DataCenter.com - $352,000 (2011)
HomeCare.com - $350,000 (2015)
CookingGames.com - $350,000 (2010)
GiftBasket.com - $350,000 (2012)
FunGames.com - $350,000 (2006)
Rugby.com - $350,000 (2004)
Inspection.com - $335,000 (02/2018)
ScreenSavers.com - $335,000 (2010)
Hotels.eu - $329,509 (2006)
Zero.com - $329,420 (2010)
RVrental.com - $325,000 (2008)
Supplies.com - $323,530
Accommodation.com - $286,000 (2014)
Cupidon.com - $285,250 (2011)
ShoppingCart.com - $285,000 (2005)
Floor.com - $275,000 (2009)
Kredit.com - $270,600 (2010)
Celebs.com - $270,000 (2010)
TV.se - $266,000 (2015)
Spel.se - $266,000 (2009)
Table.com - $260,000 (2007)
TripleCreditReport.com - $260,000 (2008)
Seks.nl - $258,000 (2008)
Disco.com - $255,000 (2010)
Tees.com - $252,500 (2007)
Moms.com - $252,000 (2013)
BabyGames.com - $250,000 (9/2016)
Clash.com - $250,000 (3/2016)
Werk.com - $250,000 (2015)
Connaught.com - $250,000 (2015)
StockPhoto.com - $250,000 (2013)
MusicVideos.com - $250,000 (2010)
Malta.com - $250,000 (2010)
eGifts.com - $250,000 (2003)
Software.co.uk - $249,000 (2009)
Mobile.co.uk - $247,921 (2003)
Wan.cn - $247,830 (2014)
ErectileDysfunction.com - $241,000 (2015)
Lawn.com - $240,000 (3/2016)
Outlets.de - $239,257 (2003)
Yearbook.com - $237,500 (2007)
Imoveis.com.br - $231,500 (2010)
Sofas.com - $231,500 (2010)
Wicker.com - $230,000 (2010)
Hospitality.com - $230,000 (2003)
DiamondRings.com - $228,420 (2009)
FlashGames.com - $226,950 (2006)
Sideline.com - $225,000 (7/2016)
8181.com - $225,000 (2015)
Driven.com - $225,000 (2011)
Editor.com - $225,000 (2009)
InsuranceRates.com - $225,000 (2008)
Mikihouse.com - $224,224 (4/2016)
Apuestas.com - $221,000 (2013)
Lottery.net - $220,000 (2010)
LoanCalculator.com - $215,000 (2010)
Televisions.com - $215,000 (2007)
CrosswordPuzzles.com - $210,000 (2007)
FreeQuotes.com - $210,000 (2009)
Tower.com - $208,000 (2003)
Slots.ca - $206,906 (2010)
SatellitePhone.com - $201,600 (2006)
CarGames.com - $200,000 (11/2016)
Recovery.Net - $200,000 (1/2016)
Republic.com - $200,000 (2011)
If you own a business, one way or another expect online reviews for your business. We all work hard to deliver good business and please our customers. What’s unfortunate is that no matter how well you handle your business, some of those reviews are going to be negative.
If you don’t know how to respond or react, things can get ugly in a hurry. If you’re not sure how to handle online negative online reviews, the following tips should help.
1. Determine If a Response Is Required
When you see a negative online review, your first impulse is to let the world know why the reviewer is wrong. But that’s not always the best idea. Responding in the heat of the moment can often lead to bigger headaches down the line. Instead, take a moment to breathe and think it over. Does your critic have a legitimate complaint, or are they just another online bully?
If the client’s concerns are genuine, by all means, respond. Take responsibility for your part in the problem, offer a sincere apology and try to start the healing process. By correcting the situation, you not only earn the respect of the reviewer, but you also show future prospects, who will read the review later, that you care about your customers.
Try to make the save if possible, but always use your best judgment. Sometimes it’s better to take these conversations offline. The last thing you want to do is get into a virtual shouting match with an online bully. Rest assured; most consumers can tell the difference between a legitimate reviewer and an online bully trolling for attention. Let that not bother you much.
2. Do Your Research
Depending on your business and the amount of information provided by the reviewer, you may be able to research the exact transaction before responding. If possible, search your records and speak with your colleagues about what occurred before crafting a response to the online review. This will allow you to address specifics, and make informed decisions.
3. Decide How to Respond
You really have two options — respond directly to the review online, or try to take a more personal offline approach. Both options have their pros and cons.
Public responses put your customer service skills on display. The idea here isn’t to win an argument but, rather, to rectify a bad situation, change the reviewer’s perception and further build your online reputation. Of course, if you’re dealing with an online bully, a public response can further aggravate the situation, prompting more ranting and raving
Private responses (via direct message on the review site, email or phone call) don’t get the attention of public responses, but they’re more personal and give you a chance to connect with the customer in a way public responses don’t.
4. Respond As Soon As Possible
Be thoughtful and do your research, but remember: Negative online reviews should be handled quickly. Whether you’re dealing with an online bully or just a disappointed customer who has let his anger get the best of him, you don’t want to leave them as that can aggravate things. It’s best to confront the issue early, otherwise the ranting and raving may continue or even go viral, which can wreak havoc on your reputation online.
5. Follow up
Make sure to follow up after the fact to ensure the customer is happy with the resolution of their issue. Don’t forget to ask them to update their review to reflect the new status of the situation. That way, future readers will see that the issue was taken care of and the customer is now satisfied. They will remember a positive ‘shopping’ experience instead of the negative one.
6. Learn From The Negative Reviews
Is there anything you can learn about your products or service from the negative feedback? Stop bad business reviews at the source by addressing any core issues. This could be as simple as refining the content on your product pages or as drastic as discontinuing a product.
So negative reviews are not that bad that’s not saying they are good either. Agreed, they can be ugly and damaging. But if handled correctly they can help your business. Now you have the tools.
As we all know, establishing a solid brand identity is vitally important. It’s a key ingredient in building trust, making consumers feel comfortable, and creating long-term brand advocates. We know that the logo an integral part of a brand. The color scheme that a company chooses for its logo is forever entwined with its brand identity. According to research, “Color increases brand recognition by about 80 percent. So I think it’s fair to say that color scheme is pretty important. Brand color has a correlation with brand value. If you were to go and mess with the colors of an existing brand, it would completely change how that brand is perceived.
Website color scheme
Just like it’s crucial to choose the right color for your brand logo, it’s equally as crucial to choose the right color scheme for your website.
You don’t want to pick your color scheme at random or base it on “whatever looks cool” to you. “People make a subconscious judgment about an environment or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. Between 62 and 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone.” If you choose the right color scheme you’ve already won half of the battle.
Here we go with tips on how to pick the perfect website color scheme based on research and experience.
1. Learn how color affects emotion
The first thing is to familiarize yourself with how color affect people on emotional level. Note that the impact of color can vary depending on geographical location. For instance, a color that appeals to American shoppers may not necessarily appeal to Indian shoppers.
I also came across the Color Emotion Guide that explains the emotions we associate with colors and provides some examples of brands that use each color. I suggest spending time to think about the psychological implications of the various colors.
2. Consider your overall demographic
Now I’d like you to think about your target demographic. Who is it you’re trying to reach and sell to? What types of emotions are you trying to arouse? These are extremely important questions to ask yourself.
I recommend checking out this information from Fast Company that explains the emotions and psychology behind common colors. Consider the personality and emotions of your target audience. Then choose the best color to serve as the primary color for your website color scheme. For example, if you’re an organic food company, your best bet would probably be green because it’s associated with nature and health.
3. Consider gender
Although this won’t apply to everyone, some companies mostly cater to a specific gender. If you’re one of these companies, you’ll want to know what are men’s and women’s favorite and least favorite colors.
Research from Joe Hallock’s Color Assignments found that on average each gender has definite color preferences. I’m sure that will help you make good decisions.
4. Consider age group
Here’s something to think about that may not be obvious — age group. Did you also know that a person’s color preferences can change with age? According to research from Joe Hallock, it’s true.
If a certain age group dominates your demographic, then this too will be a factor to consider. Many businesses make when choosing a color scheme by basing it on their personal preferences rather than psychology. If your favorite color is blue, it’s very tempting to make blue your primary color.
But if you’re a cosmetics company targeting a female demographic, this would be a mistake, and you would usually be better off going with purple or pink.
5. Decide on how many colors to use
So at this point, you should have a primary color in mind. Now it’s time to figure out how many colors you want to use in total. While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for this, I would like to point out something that’s called the 60-30-10 rule.
This rule is used to come up with a color scheme in areas like interior design and fashion and involves dividing three colors into percentages to create a “perfect harmony.”
Here’s how it all breaks down.
· 60 percent of a dominant color
· 30 percent of a secondary color
· 10 percent of an accent color
This means that the primary color will account for roughly 60 percent of the space on your website, the secondary color will account for 30 percent and the accent color will account for 10 percent.
Now I’m not saying that you have to go with three colors, but it’s a good number to shoot for. Using any more than four colors can make things complicated and downright ugly.
6. Consider your competition
You can also learn a lot from competitors in your industry. I recommend checking out at least three websites of direct competitors and looking for overarching patterns in their color scheme. This should give you a sense of what types of tones they’re using.
From there you have one of two choices.
1. Create a similar color scheme that fits the conventional mold
2. Go the opposite direction in order to differentiate yourself from the pack
I’m personally a proponent of the second choice if you’re looking to establish a distinctive brand.
7. Compare a few different color schemes
Here’s the thing. You don’t need to commit to the first color scheme you come up with. In fact, that can be very limiting.What I suggest is coming up with three or four different color schemes and compare each one side-by-side. Have your colleagues or business partners do the same to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. Then narrow it down until you find the color scheme that fits your brand the most.
Color is really important when it comes to websites and brands. It’s worth investing some time doing it.
While we are out there looking for new customers it’s a good idea to retain the existing ones. Research has shown that these set of customers account for about thirty percent of a company’s total revenue. You can see how much customer retention can impact a business. The following tips will help you retain and maintain your existing customers especially the profitable ones.
1. Pay attention and follow up
The most obvious way to ensure customer retention is to prevent a customer from leaving.
And if you pay attention, you can always see the signals of your customers impending departure. All you have to do is to identify the key variables such as purchase patterns, product usage and service calls – Capture the signals and then put specific actions in place to stop your customers before they leave.
Let’s say you want to know how many of your old customers have not purchased anything in the last 6 months, which might be a sign of them considering your service or even bringing their money to your competitors.
First, create a list of all of your old customers, and then create a list of all sales made within the last six months or one year depending on which will work better for you. You can use a CRM software for this. By combining both of these lists, you end up with a list of old customers who haven’t purchased from you in more than half a year.
You can now follow up with these customers and find out the reasons why they were not purchasing and take steps to prevent them leaving your business.
2. Create high points in the customer experience
A few unique, low-cost initiatives can go a long way to delighting your customers and building loyalty. Think of the last time you received a welcome surprise, it is probably easier to recall than its unwelcome counterpart. Find milestones in the customer relationship and find ways to reward customers that they won’t expect. For example, imagine a customer orders their third shirt. Days later, they receive a tie of that match with a note thanking them for their business. These type of unexpected gestures of appreciation could go a long way to improve customer experience and offsetting the cost of the item many times over.
3. Target customers with special offers and time-limited promotions
The more you know about your customers, the more you can tailor your approach to each individual.
CRM software lets you view a customer’s purchase history so that you can determine what kind of offer will be most appealing to each individual and increase relevancy, which will keep your brand on your customers’ minds.
Let’s say you want to follow-up on the customers who showed their interest in your product, but haven’t bought anything from you. Identify ways to convert their interest into an actual purchase by offering them special discounts or some additional value to your product.
Top brands often present banners highlighting a time-limited promotion — visitors must complete the purchase within a preset amount of time, determined by the audience segment they belong to. In addition, you can automatically add the promotional gift card to the visitor’s cart and highlight the promotion during the checkout process.
4. Be transparent and honest with your customers
As a business, don’t hold anything back from our clients and work hard to establish a relationship built on transparency. Work out your customers’ accounts so they’re always able to look into the work being done and will always own the data. Find it important to have healthy, unambiguous conversations about ideas and strategies brought to the table. For most brands this translates to being open and upfront about everything from payment and return policies to any causes you support through your sales. In return your customers will appreciate you willing to do more business with you.
5. Reward your most profitable customers
Information gathered in CRM software can reveal which of your accounts are responsible for the most revenue. This information lets you budget your time accordingly and allocate resources where they will have the most return.
Let’s say you have a number of incentives to give away, so you would like to reward your most profitable customers to further increase their loyalty. Identifying these accounts can also help you develop strategies for cross-selling.
First, create a list of your most profitable customers. Again, a CRM software can help you here. Now, you can start to follow up and let them know about the rewards and incentives in order to make them feel special, so they continue being as valuable.
6. Scheduling time with your customers
The scheduling features in CRM software allow you to schedule follow-up calls or emails for you or let you assign follow-ups to your team. By doing this, it will help you to keep track of your appointments, and complete any future tasks exactly when you need to perform them.Since you are already reminded of the schedules, you will readily make efforts to keep them. Let’s say you have a list of customers that you promise to catch up with and update them with required information. You check your schedule and you see that you won’t be able to keep your promises to the customer on time. You can always assign some of your colleagues to follow-up on these customers and generate follow-ups to appear in their diaries.
7. Manage Expectations
Align expectations with your customers regularly. Keep in mind that they only know what you tell them. Over-promising and under-delivering is an easy way to lose credibility. Improving customer trust goes a long way towards getting customers to love your brand — so keep everything from product descriptions to promotional offers as accurate as possible. It’s even better to deliver beyond their expectation. This usually results in more loyalty.
We are all customers and love it when we are being chased by brands. The average human mind is wired to return favors done to them. That’s what we get with customer loyalty. These “little things” might just be what will keep you a while longer in business.
Registering a trademark for a business name can help protect your brand. State trademark registration is simple, relatively inexpensive, and offers some protection within your state. Federal trademark registration is more complex and costly, but it helps you protect and enforce your trademark nationwide, and provides numerous other benefits including the ability to use the ® symbol and protect your mark in federal court.
What Are Trademarks?
Trademarks consist of designs, symbols, words or phrases that identify the source of products or services and distinguish them from competitors’ offerings. Business names, logos, and product labels can all be protected by trademark law.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to register your trademark to obtain trademark protection. Simply using your trademark in commerce provides common law protections. But a common law trademark may only protect you in your immediate locality. State trademark registration can help protect your business name throughout your state. Federal trademark registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) protects your trademark nationwide, and along with a host of additional protections, allows you to register your trademark in other countries and sue for trademark infringement in federal court.
Registering a Business Name in Your State
If you have formed a limited liability company, corporation or other formal business entity, you have already registered your business name in your state. Forming a business entity places other people on notice that you are using your business name, and no other business entity can be formed in your state using the same name. Business entity formation fees vary from state to state, but should be under $200.
In some states, you can register your name statewide by filing a form and paying a fee that typically ranges from $50–$150. Other states don’t have statewide registration of trade names, and you must register the name with your city or county. Fees can vary.
Trademark a Business Name with the USPTO
Trademarking a name by applying for a trademark registration with the USPTO involves filing an application that identifies the trademark and the class of goods or services that you’re using it for.
You can submit a trademark registration application online, using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or through an online service. The USPTO also accepts paper applications but strongly prefers electronic applications. Trademark fees for electronic applications are currently $225–$400 per class of goods or services, depending on the type of application you file. The trademark cost for registering with a paper application is currently $600 per class of goods or services.
If you use your trade mark in connection with more than one class of goods and services—such as both shoes and computers—you must pay the filing fee for each class of goods and services. The fee is not returned to you if your trademark registration application is ultimately denied.
If you choose to hire a lawyer to conduct a trademark search or help you with the trademark registration process, you will also incur legal fees. Many lawyers charge by the hour, with rates typically ranging from about $125 to a few hundred dollars. Some lawyers will handle trademark registrations for a flat fee.
Every 10 years, you must file an application to renew your trademark registration. The USPTO’s fees for trademark registration renewals are approximately $300 for an electronic application and about $400 for a paper application.
Trademarking a business name can offer valuable protection. You may be able to obtain state trademark registration for $100–$200. Federal trademark registration extends your protection nationwide and offers other important advantages, but it typically costs more: $275–$375 for each class of goods and services that you want to protect.