[Another guest post by our great friend Denise McGill ]
By Denise McGill
To say the least, small business owners must be savvy in many areas of business. It often means you are the decision maker, bookkeeper, salesperson, office administrator and marketing manager. However…with having to wear so many hats, how does one person keep up with the latest trends in their industry and stay competitive?
Set aside a little time each day to take advantage of valuable resources available to you. This list provides free or low-cost resources to keep your small business competitive, innovative and fresh.
- Competitor websites – study them. What is their angle, do they have special offers, what is appealing or confusing about the site, what other services might they offer, who are their customers, is their pricing competitive?
- Industry memberships – enroll yourself. Many memberships offer discounts and valuable services filled with tips, success stories, latest industry trends, news, interviews, and workshops.
- Ezine newsletters – free and informative. Most websites offer an online newsletter in exchange for your email address. Filled with marketing tips, online courses, and industry news.
- On-line Forums – informative, interactive networking. With forums, feel free to ask questions or network with members. Simply search the internet for forums matching your industry niche.
- Trade Magazines – essential subscriptions. Trade magazines scour the industry for trends, news, key players, upcoming events, etc.
- Webinars – an instructive seminar accessed from the comfort of your home. If you cannot take time away from your business to attend a seminar, then a webinar is the perfect choice. Simply register online for the webinar, access the class and get the same information actual attendees receive at a fraction of the cost.
- Chamber of Commerce events – attend them to build business relationships and develop partnerships. It is also a great way to network in your community and keep a pulse on key issues.
These free or low-cost resources are available to all small business owners. Stay in touch with industry trends, network with peers and gain indispensable knowledge. Your business is sure to prosper and grow.
Denise McGill is a freelance copywriter specializing in catalog product description, copy makeovers, web content, landing pages, promotional materials, articles and more. Visit her website at http://mcgillcopywriting.com for more information on giving your business the competitive edge.
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Paul Gerst says
Great sources. Google Reader is another must. Blogs can be a great source of info and Google Reader can give you valuable content from Blogs easily.
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Paul. A valuable addition.