HOW SMALL BUSINESSES MANAGE THEIR REPUTATION WHEN EVERYONE’S A CRITIC
Online review sites are reshaping the world of small business. For some business owners, this is a terrifying prospect. A bad review can deter potential consumers from using or frequenting a certain business. Happily, there is an upside for referrals from satisfied clients, which are traditionally the best source of new business, and online forums are a powerful word-of-mouth source.
Managing your online reputation requires monitoring online conversation and engaging with customers and the tech-savvy to promote yourself in the best channels. These skills are becoming essential for mainstream business. Eighty four percent of Americans say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Claiming your listing on local search sites is a great way to reach potential clients, and many of these listing sites are free. The more detailed your profile, the more readily your business will appear in such results.
A small business does not need to respond to every review, especially if the overall consensus is positive. A negative review, however, demands special attention. Some business owners post public responses to apologize and try to win back customers. Some privately message their reviewer. Even hostile critics sometimes are nullified by a polite response from the merchant, and often times go back and edit what they have written. The most important point regarding online reviews is not to argue with your customer. Listen to your customer. Put yourself in the customer’s place.
HOW BUSINESSES CAN CAPITALIZE IN A WEAK COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE MARKET
From 2009 to 2010, the commercial real estate market in the United States seemed bottomless. Whether seeking manufacturing, office or retail space, those looking to lease or buy were in the driver’s seat. Many small businesses have taken advantage of the market to negotiate more favorable lease terms or lower rents or to move to a better space. Some were able to buy a building, which was only a dream in the pre-recession real estate market. Still, putting together a deal requires timing, cash and market savvy. It is recommended that the small business owner be proactive, not reactive, and not wait to start looking for a new place when the current lease is about to expire. Negotiating aggressively is also highly recommended, especially when the small business is a credit-worthy tenant.
NATIONAL GAS DRILLING ESSENTIAL TO NEW YORK’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY
There are very few opportunities available to New York State with the same job-creating potential as exploring and developing the Marcellus Shale Formation, according to a new report released by the Public Policy Institute, Inc. It finds that creating as few as 300 natural gas wells per year in the Marcellus Shale has the potential to generate more than 37,500 jobs annually in New York. Natural gas exploration also provides high-paying jobs. The average wage in oil and gas extraction and support activities for mining is $79,184.00 in New York State, more than double the average private-sector wage in Upstate New York of $39,157.00. The report also explores the potential real property tax benefits of natural gas wells. The Public Policy Institute estimates that one well in Owego, New York, would generate $190,300.00 in combined real property tax revenue for the county, town and school districts. Revenue such as this would offer a tremendous boost to local economies in the southern tier.
PROPERTY TAX CAP IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The passage of the property tax cap is great news for all New Yorkers. It especially sends a signal to business leaders that the State is prepared to control the cost of government and begin to rebuild our private sector economy. It is believed that the property tax cap will contain growth of local government spending and ultimately make New York more affordable for homeowners and businesses.
The property tax cap will halt property tax increases well above the rate of inflation, which has been all too common in the past. The Business Council of New York State pointed out that property owners in New York State paid $48 billion in property taxes in 2010.
Prepared by Katy M. Hedges