Social Networking media has become a life altering phenomenon in a very short period of time. While it may have its fair share of negative uses, it provides a great marketing and communication platform for business owners. It is very important if you are planning to have an online business or creating an online presence for your existing business.

Small business can specifically benefit from this largely because it is a free source. If you are an entrepreneur, you should be interested in knowing how to make a Twitter for a business. Setting up a Twitter account for business is a relatively easy process when it comes to social media usage for business.

You can use Twitter to promote your business and engage in open communication with your customers, talking about new offerings and getting feedback for improvement. Let us take a look on how you can set up Twitter business account within a few minutes:

Setting up a Basic Account

  • Visit and fill out the essential information required on the homepage. This will include your full name, e-mail address and password. If you are creating a business account strictly, enter the proper business name that you intend to use instead of your full name.
  • Verify your account through a mail sent to your e-mail address. If you don’t verify, features will not be available to you and the account may be blocked after a specific time period.
  • After your account is created, Twitter will present you with options of following topics pertaining to your interests. Follow topics related to your industry. Next you can select people you want to follow. Again, select people who may be related to your industry or seem interested in your industry.
  • You can also import, invite or find your contacts from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and LinkedIn on Twitter.
  • Now you will be redirected to your homepage, where you will be able to view the tweets of those you are following and can make your own tweets.

Updating Your Profile

  • Now you will need to update your profile, providing vital information about your business. You can do that by clicking on the drop-down option in the top right corner of the screen, right next to your username. Select the “Settings” options and then select “Profile” tab.
  • Now upload a logo of your company and provide a URL of your company’s website. You can also provide a location for your business.
  • Provide a little information about what your business is, how it can benefit customers and how it is different from competitors. When you have done that, save the information.

Customizing Your Homepage

You can change the background of your Twitter homepage according to your business profile. Click on the “Design” tab and select a background theme available or upload your own background image.

Arrange Email Alerts

You can receive mails from Twitter on your registered e-mail address. You can select the events for which you want mail alerts and activate the service.

What to Share?

Now that your account is created, you can start communicating. However, it is important that you decide to provide your followers with information they find useful. Your posts depend primarily on the type of account you want to maintain.

If you want to set up Twitter for business strictly, your tweet should be related to your professional updates. You can also decide to maintain a business/personal hybrid account, integrating both your professional and personal happenings and sharing them on the account.

The things you decide to share should either be informative or entertaining and people should find it interesting.  You may also post relevant articles and links. You should also keep your followers informed about any promotional activity related to your business, but be careful not to repeat the same message more than once.

Twitter is not the only site where your presence is required. You can use different networking sites to your advantage. A number of different software are available that can help you in managing your social media marketing activities.


Social networking sites can prove to be a major promotional tool for small businesses since they are inexpensive and manageable. Setting up Twitter for business is an easy process. Once you know how to set up a Twitter business account, you can communicate and get people to follow your latest promotional activities, show interest in your business and receive prompt and accurate feedback from them.

Google was once only a simple search engine – now it is much more!. When it became the biggest phenomenon of this time, providing you with information about anything on your fingertips, it also became a brand offering a number of other services making life more convenient than ever before for everyone. So, if you know how to use Google Calendar for business management, it is going to make things easier for you and save your valuable time.

One of the major issues for small businesses is the technological advantage large organizations have over them due to availability of funds. Technology is essential, but it is not always affordable for small businesses. This can be a major weakness in your business operations. Many companies are coming up with economical methods of making technology available for small business owners.

If you are a small business owner, Google Apps are what you need to cut back your costs of technology. Google is offering seven basic applications for business owners that are easy to use but powerful. These include Google Docs, Google Alerts, Google Readers, Google Groups, Google Voice, Google Analytics and Google Calendar for business use.

Google Calendar – How it can Help You

Google Calendar is a powerful time-management tool that helps you keep your schedule in control during busy business life. It also enables the business owners to track employee appointments and sharing appointments with staff when needed. If you have a Google account through Gmail, it offers you Google business calendar free.

It provides you with a number of advantages that can help you in organizing your business in a better way and increase your productivity by simple means. Here is a list why Google Calendar is essential for you if you are looking for increased productivity:


The major purpose of this application is to organize your schedule to better suit you. You or your employees can insert their appointments, make notes about them and set a suitable location. This can be helpful to track employee activity. Since the calendar can be shared, it also helps in scheduling meetings and conferences at a suitable time for all employees.


Another advantage of Google Calendar is that you can create a number of different calendars for different purposes and color-code them accordingly. You can share these calendars according to your suitability with people you want to; your family, friends, colleagues or everyone.


Google Calendar is compatible with mostly all other major calendars such as MS Outlook or mobile calendar applications. As long as you have an internet connection on your device, Google Calendar is accessible from any available platform. This is important for employees who travel frequently and also enables them to access their calendar after office hours.

Appointments and Website Calendar

Appointments can also be made conveniently. By using Google Calendar office hours can be arranged that suits both the employee and the client. Sharing the calendar with client can simplify making an appointment without a number of unnecessary calls and save time remarkably.

Google Calendar can also be shared on websites online, which helps you in sharing and scheduling any upcoming public events with your clients and handling payment reminders.


Google Calendar has the option to notify you prior to any upcoming events. You can receive notifications through texts, emails and pop-ups at a pre-decided time before any appointment, so even if you forget to check your calendar, you will not miss any important appointment.

Keyboard Navigations

Google Calendar can be navigated through a keyboard using a number of shortcut keys. You can select the day view, week view, month view, customized view or agenda view by using the d w, m, x and a keys respectively. Similarly, other shortcut keys are available to make the calendar as efficient as possible.

The calendar also offers the option for setting a series of repeat events for a specific or infinite time period to appear automatically. And the best part is that the application is completely free so you don’t need to worry about the cost at all.


Google Calendar is a very feasible option for small business and individuals to organize their daily activities, which is imperative. By using Google Calendar small business can save and manage their time efficiently.

It helps everyone associated with an organization stay on the same page and coordinate with each other. It also provides flexibility of arranging work hours and communicating any changes in schedule effectively to the concerned people in no time at all.

All in all, you can use Google Calendar for business purposes and keep your costs in check.

A Quick Response Code or QR code is a two-dimensional barcode which consists of alphanumeric data. Compared to a standard UPC barcode, a QR code has a large storage capacity and is relatively easy to read. A QR code can be linked to website URLs, phone numbers or vCards providing consumers with extra information relevant to your product. But enough with the techie mumbo-jumbo – how do I get a QR code for MY business? Read on.

For small business owners who cannot afford to spend a huge sum on marketing, QR code marketing can be beneficial. If business owners can provide customers an easy way to gain access to all the “extra” information related to a product or service, customers are happier and printing expenses are saved.

With the use of smartphones becoming widespread, QR code are more valuable – since most phones have some sort of QR scanner app. Consumers can access information about your products and your services whenever they view your QR code.

Obtaining a QR Code

Getting a QR code is a very easy process with relatively low cost. QR codes for small business offer a significant return-on-investment. Here is what you need to do to get a QR code:

  • Where is this taking me? – The foremost thing to consider is the end result of your QR code usage. You should first decide what information your consumer will access once they scan your code. Don’t link the barcodes to your website homepage only; select the most relevant page to be linked.
  • QR Code Generator – Next, you will need to find a QR code generator. There are a number of QR code generators in the market, often providing free basic services for QR code creation and some charged premium services for customer tracking. Select a code generator that offers customization options and can create a code unique to your business. Some of the best free QR code generators include, QR Stuff, Kaywa and Microsoft Tag.
  • Designing Differently – Your QR code can also incorporate your company logo or some other design in it. Design your code to make it distinctive and recognizable for your consumers. You can also create a color QR code rather than the standard black and white.
  • Check Your Code – Before you make your QR code public, you should test it. Your QR code should be “readable” through a few different readers. Google Goggles and QR Code Reader can be used to test your code. You should also check where the code is linked and ask a group of people if the information linked is effective and relevant.
  • Keep Tracking – Like any other marketing activity, the performance of your QR code needs to be tracked properly. You should analyze how many times and at which location your code is scanned and how many times those scan leads to responses from consumers. If you find a lack of response, just like any other marketing adjustment, you may need to revise your QR code.

How QR Codes Work

In standard advertising, your consumers are provided with company URL printed somewhere. They need to type the URL in a browser to reach your website. Most of the time, consumers are likely to forget the correct URL even if they are willing to seek information. QR codes point the mobile phone of your consumers right to their needed information, without having them remember or mistype URLs.

QR codes can lead consumers to your company website, your social media marketing pages, your contact information, videos of your business or your location map. It can also lead consumers to “Like” your Facebook page or follow your company on Twitter. If you link the code to an event, it can be automatically saved on the customer’s calendar.

New promotional information or dynamic information can be shared easily without having to spend on a lot of printing material. You can have your QR code to lead to different links according to consumers’ location or timing. For example, a restaurant can use QR codes to display different menus at different time of the day.

Where to Place Your QR Codes

You can have your QR code on your business card, your company brochures and your product packaging – these are the standard spots. Apart from that, you can be creative with your QR code. You can print them on your storefront, on stickers, T-shirts or any other promotional material you give out to your consumers.

If you are running a promotion, link your code to its details or to download free coupons. You can also print your QR code in newspaper and magazine ads. You should also make sure that the destination web pages are supported by smartphone apps.


QR code marketing is an exceptionally useful and essential tool for small business marketing in today’s smartphone-enabled world. It is easy to use, very low cost and can have a wide reach. It can give small businesses the same marketing reach as a large business, saving a lot of marketing expenditures.

A Google Places listing is almost a necessity for small local businesses. It is an easy way to enhance your revenues while making the minimum amount of investment – because getting your business registered on Google Places is absolutely FREE. You must be thinking “How do I get my business on Google Places”? This article will provide the few simple steps required to register on Google Places.

For those wondering why Google Places is important, here a powerful stat: approximately 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online.

When consumers search for a local business on Google, it provides consumer with a list of businesses registered with Google Places and all the details regarding the business provided by business owners. Google also allows reviews about the businesses to appear in the search providing an advantage to both the consumers and the businesses.

Having a Google Places account can enhance the online presence of your business greatly. Whether your business has a physical outlet or you are running an online business, you can target your audience by specifying your area of operations. Following are a few steps which will guide you how to get your business on Google Places:

Making Your Business Appear

You can sign up for Google Places in a short time, probably a few minutes. It’s a simple and hassle-free process with some very profound results. Here is a step-by-step process through which you can get on Google Places:

  1. First, you will need a Google account. Even if you have a personal Google account, it is advisable to create a separate business account with your business name.
  2. After you have an account, you can sign up for Google Places by visiting and clicking on the “Get Started” tab.
  3. Sign in with your Google account. You will be required to enter your country name and phone number of your business line. Google will check for any already existing listing of your business.
  4. Once it is confirmed that your business is not already listed on Google Places, you can proceed to add information. Your basic information will include company name, e-mail address, website (optional), business address, phone number, zip code, a brief description of your business and your business category. Your business category plays the role of search keywords. You can add more than one category however, more than two category keywords seem inappropriate.
  5. You will further need to provide your operating timings, your available payment options and your delivery procedure.
  6. You can add relevant photos and videos of your business or products. Adding photos and videos can improve your rank during search results.
  7. You can also add additional information about your business. The more information you make available, the more higher ranking your business is likely to get. When you have added all the essential information, you can click the “Submit” button.
  8. Google will now ask you to validate your business. In a week or two, you will receive a pin code at your business address. Once you get it, you will be required to log in to your Google Places account and enter the pin. Google Places adds new business to its page only after the pin is entered.
  9. Your business is now listed on Google Places. Anyone searching for your business category in your local area will be able to view your business details.

Google Places – Ideal for Small Businesses

Google Places can be an ideal place for small business owners to market their business for free and get a large number of relevant customer responses easily. Google Places also allows you to add information about seasonal promotions you might be offering or other information at different times.  Your business can largely benefit from a Google Place listing. However, maintaining the Google Places account is just like any other aspect of your marketing efforts, and needs to regularly maintained to ensure the listing’s accuracy.


Now that you know how to get a Google Place page, you can get started and get your business listed on the most widely used search engine on Earth. You can add a local business and make it appear for all your right audience, wherever you want in the world, with no costs involved. For small businesses with low budget, this is surely an easy win!.

If you have an online business website and keep receiving continuous mails from your audience that you find hard to tackle, you now have the option of setting up an e-mail autoresponder. Autoresponders can also prove to be helpful if you are planning to take a vacation and you may be unable to access your e-mail account for a few days. Learning how to setup an autoresponder is convenient and saves time and effort on your part by sending an automated email response to your customers.

An e-mail autoresponder is a configuration that can be used to send back an automatic mail reply to a received e-mail that contains particular keywords in its subject line or are addressed to a particular user. Autoresponders are generally used to send specific information about certain products or answer similar queries that website owners receive regularly and can prove to be a very strong marketing tool for websites.

If you are a website owner, most web hosting control panels enable you to set up an automatic responder to your mailbox in a simple way. Let us take a look on how it can be done:

Setting up an Autoresponder

For example, if you hold an account with NTC, all you have to do is follow a three-step process and you will have your automated reply ready for use:

  • Control Panel Login – First you need to log in to the NTC control panel. You can do so by clicking the control panel tab on the upper-right corner of the NTC page. You will be required to enter your personal hosting account details. Once you have done that, you will be logged into the control panel.
  • E-mail Manager – Once you can view the control panel, go to the e-mail options section and click on the E-Mail Manager icon.
  • Activate Responder – Now select the mailbox for which you want to activate the responder and click on the “set autoresponder” tab. Then type in your customized message that you wish to send and save the message. Your autoresponder will be successfully activated.

If you wish to make any changes in your responder settings, you can do so by selecting the mailbox for which you need to make the changes and go to the “action” tab and make the changes. These steps would be very similar for most web hosting services.

Autoresponder for Personal Accounts

Moreover, personal webmail services like Gmail and Yahoo! and social networking sites like Twitter are offering the option of sending an email auto reply. A Yahoo! or Gmail autoresponder is very easy to activate and can be reached through your account settings in the Vacation Responder section. It hardly takes 60 seconds to activate and can be deactivated automatically. However, they should only be used if you are away on vacations and cannot be available.

Social media management is also becoming a key issue for business. Autoresponse to queries made on social sites can be very beneficial for organizations.

An autoresponder for Twitter can be activated by signing up with Twitter DMer autoresponder software. You can select a message format, customize it and activate your autoresponder to send message to your new followers. It can prove to be helpful to reply to your followers and can be a powerful networking tool. Although automated reply may seem annoying to some people, for small business owners looking for a networking solution, they prove to be helpful.

Use the Autoresponder Effectively

While setting up an e-mail auto reply, a number of factors should be taken into account. Nobody likes an automatic reply to their e-mail and it can be frustrating for people. Creating a message that is communicative and effective is important. Here are a few tips to create an effective message:

  • Don’t Tell the Obvious – A very common automated reply seems to be “I have received your message” which seems to be an obvious thing since the sender is getting a response, or “I will reply as soon as possible” which is a very uncertain reply unless provided with a specific timeline. Avoid using such responses since they may annoy your correspondent.
  • Be Concise – Since the message is automated, it is unlikely to generate a lot of interest. The key is to keep the response brief and specific, telling people only what they absolutely need to know.
  • Keep it Light – If the automated message is activated on your personal mailbox, try to keep the message humorous to diffuse the bad mood. Also convey to your correspondent why you needed to activate autoresponder and appeal to their good nature.


Knowing how to setup an autoresponder can help people, specifically those operating online business websites to stay connected to their audience and save a lot of their time and effort. Since it is a prompt way to reply, it can be particularly useful when answering customer queries. However, automated response can only be successful if the message is effective.

Get back to your customer quickly!

Planning well is a huge key to success, whatever you are planning to do. Failing to understand the importance of planning is what leads to failures. The main reasons for start-up failure are improper planning, lack of goals or insufficient research. It is, therefore, essential to understand how to write a small business plan before you get started.

Generally, it is assumed that the only people who need a business plan are those who seek to secure start-up financing. However, this is not true! The only person who don’t need a business plan is the one not planning to start a business at all.

Also, it is not only large scale business ventures that need to be planned out. Even if you are starting a very small business, you need a plan. A business plan outline provides you clear direction in which you plan to lead your business and a path to follow in order to achieve it. Starting a business without a plan is like travelling without any sense of direction and with no clear idea of your destination.

Writing your business plan can be overwhelming initially, particularly if you are making a start-up plan. Planning requires a lot of time, effort and research to be implemented successfully. Following are some guidelines to create a business plan for a small-scale business.

Set up a Vision, Mission and Goals

Setting up a vision, mission and goals is essential in order to determine where your organization will be headed. But more important is to differentiate between them, integrate them and align them in the same direction.

  • A Vision statement defines what the firm ideally wants to be in the long-run, providing a source of direction to the employees.
  • A Mission statement spells out the purpose of an organization, also defining the agreed path and code of conduct the organization plans to follow in order to achieve its ultimate vision.
  • A Goal is a broad, long-term aim that an organization wishes to accomplish over a measureable period of time. A goal should always be aligned in the same direction as the vision of the company, contributing towards its accomplishment.

The right approach to setting business goals is to set up SMART goals – that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. This will help you in making a realistic action plan for future.

Make sure to specify evaluation points in your business plan after certain time intervals. This will help you track your progress in successful implementation of your business strategy plan and will allow you to make timely changes if things seem out of order.

Determine Your Financial Situation

For starting up a business, however big or small, some initial capital is required. There are a number of alternatives you can consider in order to raise initial capital. However, each alternative has its own pros and cons.

Many young entrepreneurs are willing to accept any source of equity to get started, without paying proper heed to repercussions. Be careful of what you are getting yourself into.

  • If you are willing to go into partnership, you should be willing to give up a certain amount of control.
  • A bank loan needs to be assessed in term of its cost that is; the interest you will be paying back.
  • If you seek help from a venture capital investor, you cannot expect a large amount of investment from a single investor.

Both your organizational goals and your financial goals should be formulated considering the potential of the company you are starting. It is essential to determine the value of each business idea through industry analysis before selecting it.

Writing a Business Plan

Next, you need to write your business in a proper, formal manner. When writing a business plan to start a new business, there are a number of essential elements that need to be included in the document. A business plan should be specific and concise, not more than 50 pages. Here is a list of essential elements that make up a business plan:

Executive Summary – An executive summary is a review of your entire business plan including summaries of all other elements included in the plan. It is the most important communication tool when you are looking for financing and needs to be highly effective.

Company Overview – It is an account of an organization’s vitals like its origin, background, objectives, operations and ownership structure.

Products and Services – This section provides a detailed description of your products and services including their feature, lifecycle projections, their competitive advantage and the value they offer to consumers.

Market Analysis – this section outlines details of the industry in which you are operating and provides information about the market conditions and your competitors.

Operations and Management – Here you provide details of your management team, your organizational hierarchy, your human resources plan, your production plan, your business facilities and an overview of day-to-day operations.

Marketing Strategies – This section will highlight your target segment, your unique selling proposition (USP) and your competitive advantage. You also need to formulate a strategy about how you are planning to market your product to consumers.

Financial Projections – You need to provide a three to five year analysis of your financial needs. It includes a projection of your financial statements, your income and expenses reviews, market share analysis and your projected growth rate.

Appendix – It is an optional but advisable section which includes all the evidences required to support any claims you might have made in the plan.

Summary – How to Write a Small Business Plan

Now that you know how to make a small business plan, make a PLAN to START!. To help get started, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a free business plan template online. Once completed, review your plan several times, share it with trusted advisers, making sure you are starting with the right idea. Analyze the changes you think you want to make, carefully identify evaluation points throughout your plan and start looking for the right financing sources. If you plan right and keep checks on your plan, you are right on the path of success!

If you are planning to start your new business on a small scale, you may probably be the only employee in the beginning. At the initial stage of starting a new business, funds are usually limited. You must be facing the question that how to setup a home office effectively.

Setting up a home office initially may be the best option available for you, a convenient and low-cost method. It may sound easy, but working from home requires proper planning and effort. You can start initially by setting up a budget. Here are a few tips for setting up a home office that may prove to be helpful for you:

Choosing Proper Space

One of the major home office setup ideas is to get a proper space that is separate from your living space and provides you privacy. Keep your workplace separate from the place you use for relaxing purposes. Make sure the room you intend to use as your office has sufficient electrical outlets.

If you are using any other part of your house except the office for storage purposes, it will be added to your office space. Measure your home office space and calculate its percentage. This needs to be done for tax deduction purposes.

Select the Furniture

Having appropriate furniture is necessary to create a professional environment.

  • The most important furniture is your desk. Measure your office space and check the desk before you purchase it.
  • Another important piece of furniture is your desk chair. Remember that you have to spend a lot of time sitting on it. It should be comfortable and fully adjustable.
  • An adequate filing cabinet will be enough to complete the best home office setup you will need. It will keep your office organized. The size of the filing cabinet should be in accordance with your office space.

Get the Needed Equipments

Having necessary equipment is very important to work efficiently. The right office tools can also help you to boost your productivity. You should have following essential equipment:

  • A desktop computer or a laptop is the basic need. If you are opting for a laptop, you may also get a mouse and a keyboard to plug in occasionally.
  • A phone set within easy reach.
  • A printer, not an expensive one but a simple inkjet printer would suffice.
  • A fax machine for occasional use.

How to Setup a Home Office Professionally

Home office layouts must be professional. If you find it difficult to start by yourself, you may hire a professional. Your filing cabinet and your equipment should be within reach from your desk. The office should also be in accordance with the type of business you operate.

Get a Separate Phone Line

When setting up a home office, it is advisable to get a separate phone line for your office. It keeps your professional and personal calls separate. You should also get a voicemail or answering machine for your business phone.


Many people start working from home for convenience. When setting up a home office, you may actually end up working more hours.

Try to keep track of time. Pre-decide your office hours and avoid distraction during those work hours. Finish your work at your pre-decided time.

Get Things Organized

Start working on your deductions and get a home business insurance policy. Small business financial software can be used to track your income and expenses and suggest deductions.

Keep a record of all documents. You can also look for an easy-to-use online time tracking and billing software program. You also need to get a home business insurance policy and a good business checking account.

Keep your office clutter free and organized. Remind your family and friends to keep away from your workspace and respect your privacy.

Summing it up

Now that you understand how to set up a home office, you can get started. The task may seem a bit difficult when you start but all you need is a bit of proper planning and determination before you start. If all the work seems overwhelming to you, you may look for professional guidance. All the best for your new venture!

How to Increase ProductivityIf you own a business, then you are well aware of the many areas you need to pay attention to, such as drumming up business, making clients happy, and keeping your staff content, and most importantly… staying productive. And, perhaps it seems as if you are always trying to find out how to increase productivity. That alone can be counter-productive. [Read more…]

How to Share Documents OnlineTimes sure are changing, aren’t they? Working from home used to be a rare occurrence, but now it’s becoming quite normal to have a career where you can at least do part of it from home. Many companies want to join this trend, as it can save some significant cost in overhead. However, you might be unsure of taking that leap, if you don’t know how to share documents online. This is extremely important, especially if your work depends on sharing documents and files. [Read more…]

Outsourcing Work OnlineIf you own a business, then you are well aware of how much it costs to hire an employee, starting with advertising for a job opening. However, there are many ways to save money by working with freelancers, or outsourcing work online, which I will detail in just a minute. [Read more…]