Category Archives: Ask SCORE

Three Things You Should Understand Before Hiring a Search Engine Optimization Expert

A website is a critical sales and marketing tool for just about every business. It’s a hub for product information, a conversion point for capturing leads, the holding place for marketing materials and company news, and many times serves as your potential customer’s first impression of your business.

However, before any prospect can interact with your website, they first have to find your website. This discoverability is the culmination of a strong SEO, or search engine optimization, strategy and an SEO expert behind the scenes.

Most business owners are digital marketing novices making it hard to know what you’re really buying when you hire an SEO expert.

If you’re like most business owners, you understand the role of an SEO expert from a high level but aren’t as familiar with the full scope of what’s involved or the time required. This makes it a lot harder to confidently hire the right SEO expert and forces owners to take these professionals at their word. Continue reading

Should I advertise in a down economy?

by Ken Sethney, Volunteer Business Mentor, SCORE Kitsap

A recent article on money.com dealt with a couple of difficult questions: “What Is a recession, and are we in one?” Three experts answered the questions. From a technical perspective we’re not there yet, but we could be very soon. 

OK, fine. I’m not a college professor, a manager of economic research, or an investment strategies advisor, but from my perspective, we’re smack dab in the middle of a recession. The question we all face is what do we do about it?

If you own a business, you want to cut costs, but where? For some companies the decision is easy… the first cut they make is advertising. But you’re not so sure. Continue reading

What Tax Documents Should You Keep?

And which ones should you shred?

If your filing cabinet is bursting at the seams, you’re not alone. As a small business owner, you have a lot of paperwork to keep track of – everything from business licenses, employee records, lunch receipts – the list goes on.

Some of the more challenging records to manage are your business’ tax documents and all of their supporting paperwork. Navigating tax document requirements is complicated and is often unchartered territory for a small business.

As a default, many business owners end up unnecessarily saving every last receipt for years and years. Or, they become overwhelmed and throw away important information. Continue reading

Should I take on a business partner?

Are two heads always better than one?

When it comes to taking on a partner to start or grow a small business, there’s no right or wrong answer. 

Partners can complement each other’s management skills and bring benefits such as special expertise and client relationships. 

As with any relationship, there are trade-offs that must be carefully considered before deciding whether adding a partner is a wise move, and then you have to find the right person for the role.

If it sounds a bit like marriage, you’re not far off. Having the right partner can be a terrific advantage for a business. Making the partnership successful takes as much energy, effort, and positive feelings for one another as it does to make a marriage work.

There are several important things to consider before choosing a partner and entering into a business partnership. Continue reading

How to develop a successful new product.

Developing and launching a new product requires research, resources, and a determination to follow through despite roadblocks and setbacks. If you have a product idea, how can you better ensure your development effort goes smoothly, and the end result is a win for you and your company?

While product development comes with varying levels of complexity that depend on the type of product you plan to create, several key ingredients for success remain universal. Continue reading

Yes, you can manage your time more effectively.

With so many responsibilities as a business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and fall short on what you want to accomplish. If you’re a new business owner who formerly worked for someone else, you may have discovered that managing time has become more challenging. 

That’s natural. After all, you’ve gone from having your work schedule and priorities set for you to needing to prioritize every project and task related to running your business. Time management doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it’s an essential skill that can be developed with some attention and effort.  Continue reading

What resources help women entrepreneurs succeed?

According to the 2017 State Of Women-owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express, women-owned businesses now account for nearly 40 percent of all companies in the United States. With the increase in the number of women-owned firms a whopping 114 percent (compared to the 44 percent increase among all businesses) from 1997 to 2017, it’s evident women entrepreneurs are a powerful force within the U.S. economy.   Continue reading

What is the SCORE Business Learning Center?

The SCORE Business Learning Center (SBLC) provides aspiring and existing small business owners the business strategies and tactics needed to make sound decisions and achieve greater levels of success.

The SBLC supplements the business resources available on score.org. It fills the gap between the high-level content on our website and the personalized expertise obtained from a mentor.

At the end of a course, users will feel they have a better understanding of their chosen topic and the resources available for continuous learning. They will also have a mentor they can work with to apply the learning to their business.

You will find it here… https://www.score.org/biz-learning-center

Ask SCORE: How can I win in the gig economy?

The “gig economy” — the market for individuals providing services or working on projects on a freelance on-demand or short-term contract basis — has been a growing trend. While there are no official gig economy statistics available to measure its prominence, we can make some assumptions about its increasing popularity based on other available data. 

According to information reported by the United States Census Bureau, the number of non-employer businesses, the group of individuals most likely to work on gig basis,  was 24,331,403 in 2015. That’s 10% more than the 22,110,628 non-employer businesses in 2010.

And opportunity abounds for independent professionals who take on gig assignments. Many businesses outsource work to independent contractors and freelancers when their staffs are overwhelmed and to avoid the costs of benefits and ongoing payroll that come with hiring new employees.   Continue reading