What Do Small Business Owners Fear the Most?

Small Business Fears

Wondering what keeps small business owners up at night? Conventional wisdom aside, things like recent government legislation, time management, and Internet marketing are all important concerns, but they’re not giving the majority of small business owners the jitters. The following eight things are the real ghosts and goblins of running a small business. How many can you identify with?

Getting and keeping customers

If few people or businesses come to buy your products or services, you won’t be in business very long. On the other hand, if you are constantly bending over backwards to please the customers you already have in the fear that they’ll defect to another company, you can easily exhaust vital energy and resources, hinder growth, and have little to show for it. Instead, focus on targeting your ideal, best paying customers and on building your brand with quality products and services.

Weak sales

Following on the heels of the point above, a sales slowdown can bring a good business to a screeching halt. Part of what makes poor sales so scary is that it can come from a number of unexpected occurrences, such as an economic downturn, bad weather, a natural disaster, or a sudden shift in consumer trends. The best way to cope with this fear is to have an “emergency” plan in place for dealing for the most likely scenarios. Depending on your business, this could include setting up an emergency fund and having multiple sources of income.

Not having access to credit or capital

Even if you belong to the bootstrapping camp, to sustain healthy business operations and growth, you will likely need access to some kind of outside credit or capital along the way. You don’t want to pass up on an opportunity to buy inventory in bulk at a great discount, or be unable to cover a sudden cash short fall, or put off buying the equipment, hiring the workers, or making the renovations that will increase your sales. While getting access to financing through traditional means, such as via your local bank, is extremely hard for small business owners these days, there are other alternative financing options out there, such as business cash advances, invoice factoring, micro loans, and even peer-to-peer lending. Just make sure you do some research before settling on the product that makes the most sense for your business.

Not being able to pay the bills

Many small business owners are so focused on increasing sales and ultimately their bottom line, that they don’t pay enough attention to their cash flow. This can cause a lot of operational issues, not to mention a huge load of stress and anxiety for the small business owner. The most important thing that small business owners can do is to create and monitor a weekly or monthly cash flow statement. Most accounting programs will do this automatically. Even business owners who are relying on Excel to keep track of transactions, can download a simple cash flow statement template. They are many kinds available online for free.

Loosing key employees

A small business’ employees can often be one of its biggest assets. After all, think about all the time, energy, and money that goes into recruiting, hiring, and training these people, not to mention compensating them for their work. One of the biggest fears that small business owners have is loosing their key employees to their competitors- especially those that have the size and the resources to offer better compensation and more opportunities for education and advancement. While this is certainly a real concern for many small businesses, business owners should focus on the positives that they offer aside from compensation, such as their unique work environment, more intimate setting, and perhaps the ability of employees to have more of an impact on business decision making than they would in a bigger business.

Not keeping up with the competition

Many businesses these days are being overwhelmed by their competition- whether their competitors are big brands that can slash prices and conduct flashy and pervasive marketing campaigns, or they are small, scrappy companies with a knack for drawing market attention. Add to this the reality that the Internet and the technology that supports it all is rapidly evolving, and businesses are having to deal with an increasingly impatient and demanding customer-base. It’s little wonder why many small business owners are in constant fear of loosing their customers to their competitors. The real solution to this starts with properly defining your ideal customer, developing your brand so that it highlights your company’s strengths and your customers’ needs, and then figuring out the most effective places and ways to reach these people. In other words, getting back to the basics of running a successful business.

Not being able to retire

Though many small business owners enjoy what they are doing and aren’t necessarily thinking of retirement, nevertheless, nearly two-thirds of small business owners fear outliving the money they need to retire, according to a poll from the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute. But it’s more than that. Many business owners may not have a clear succession or sales plan for the business when it comes time for them to leave. It’s for this reason that even new small business owners should hash out a strategy for both retirement savings and for passing on the business to others.

The fear of failure

Every single person on the planet has failed at some point or other, yet the fear of failure can be one of the most debilitating sources of anxiety for small business owners. When a business owner hits a road block in the business, the worst thing he or she can do is to spend too much time on what went wrong without spending valuable time analyzing what went right and what was gained from the experience. Small business owners should also make sure they’ve got a strong support group to help them through the down times. Plus, taking care of physical needs such as proper diet, exercise, and sleep, can significantly affect both mood and performance.

So, where do you fit in this list? Are you dealing with other fears not listed here? How are you coping? Let us know in the comments below.

The Franchise Forecast

The franchise forecast for 2013 is ‘partly cloudy’. The US Census Bureau, in its first comprehensive statistical report on franchise businesses, issued in 2010, stated that franchises comprise a very respectable 10.5% of businesses surveyed and were responsible for a disproportionately high figure of close to one sixth of total sales. However, the 2013 franchise growth rate, predicted by IHS Global Insight, is expected to reach 1.4% (lower than 2012’s 1.5%).

If you are considering investment in a franchise, it pays to do your homework. Honest self-assessment, combined with careful study of the current franchise climate, is essential to forecasting your personal success in the marketplace.

Positive Pointers

There are three main factors that point the way to success in franchise investment: affordable rates for small business bank loans, easy availability of commercial space in most areas, aggressive wooing of investors by franchisors, including fee discounting. If the ground is fertile, then it’s time to assess your franchise dreams.

What Works

Look at the 10 most successful American franchise businesses – Hampton Hotels, Subway, Jiffy Lube International Inc., 7-Eleven Inc., Supercuts, Anytime Fitness, Servpro, Denny’s Inc., McDonald’s and Pizza Hut Inc. See how they function, what level of investment they demand and whether joining their team would be a comfortable fit for you.

What’s Strong

Strong franchise industries in 2012 were food, fitness, eldercare and child related services. These are continuing to maintain a strong presence in 2013.

What’s Hot

Providing products and services for mobile computing devices – smartphones, tablets and their ilk – heads the list of cutting edge businesses right now. Franchises that can provide this technology are hot, smoking hot.

Learning technology is also hot. Online tutoring services, which are more cost efficient and flexible than the traditional model, are a new field with potential.

Disaster clean-up, such as water damage restoration services, is big as are mobile trucks for services ranging from car detailing to pet grooming, following the food truck gravy train, show signs of taking off.

What’s Not

There have unfortunately been some spectacular failures in the franchise field lately. The worst performing group in 2012 was Golf Etc., with a failure rate among its franchisees of 71.08%. Ouch! Study the worst performers as well as the best so you will have an idea of what to stay away from.

Know Yourself

Inventory your financial assets. Know exactly how much of an investment is required of you, as well as the expected rate of return. Make sure that your sources of liquid assets are in place. Keep a prudent reserve to live on and cover emergencies for at least six months while you get the business off the ground.


Just as important is taking stock of your character. An excellent prognosticator of successful franchise management is the ability, quite simply, to manage. Unlike many small businesspeople who started their enterprise because they love the field, as a franchisee you do not, “necessarily have to be passionate about what your business does … but you have to be passionate about running a business and following a franchise model,” explains Franchise Business Review in its Spring 2013 issue.

Good Luck

After doing your homework and coming up with accurate and detailed information, you will be in a position to make a clearheaded, honest decision. This will be a major factor in determining your personal franchise forecast.

Why Do People Spend Money? The Good News

Spending money is a complicated subject in the minds of many Americans. Everywhere on the Internet you’ll find articles by wannabe pop psychologists explaining why people spend the way they do and how they could and should spend less … or differently … or something. Guilt, shame and entitlement are the used watchwords. Poppycock. It’s really quite simple. While the majority of consumers do give in to an occasional bout of retail therapy, only about 5% of the population can be labeled compulsive spenders, according to the Journal of Psychiatry.

Most consumer spending is done for very healthy reasons, such as need, want and investment. When customers receive a high level of perceived value for their spending, their relationship with the retailer or service provider will be enhanced.

John Lennon used to sing “All you need is love.” (Of course he had a fortune worth $800 million.) However, the average Joe or Jane can’t live on love alone but needs to spend money for life’s necessities. Food, clothing and shelter are considered basic needs in Western society, although the quality, amount and price tag attached to these items will vary widely depending on the individual doing the purchasing.

In theory Betty Sue may only need one winter coat, but if she lives in a sophisticated urban area and/or works in the fashion or entertainment industry, she may find herself jonesing for another stylish wrap or two. Many purchases, from an upgrade to the latest smartphone to an exotic vacation, are made due to want, and if there are funds in the household budget for such splurges, “Why not?” tends to be the operative phrase governing such decisions.

Investment spending means laying out money now to obtain future value. This is the motivation for a wide variety of purchases (and the psychology behind customer loyalty programs) such as:

  • ordering pizza for supper to save time for an important project
  • putting down a large sum for a fine quality sofa which will have a longer lifetime than a less expensive piece
  • paying for a more efficient HVAC system in order to improve quality of life and save on utility bills
  • buying high ticket items like jewelry or real estate as a means of building up wealth – either to use during retirement or to pass on to one’s heirs eventually.

Perceived Value for Money
Whatever the item or service, financial savvy folks are reluctant to spend in ways they see as wasteful or “not worth it.” They are however, ready and willing to lay out hard-earned cash to receive perceived value, goods or services that deliver a real bang for one’s buck. Even the decision about which beverage to start the morning with is made on the basis of perceived value; a pricy designer coffee may give the caffeine addict more pleasure per dollar than the local diner’s brew. And if the barista gets your cappuccino to you in record time with a pleasant smile, that extra service will make the purchase even more satisfying.


Canny marketers know that the perception of value determines not only which of two items Carl Consumer will buy, but also his attitude and loyalty toward the seller. (See the 2008 study Perceived value, customer attitude and loyalty in retailing” by Ruiz-Molina and Gil-Saura, published in the Journal of Retail and Leisure Property.) A more germane question for small businesspeople might be “Why Do People Spend Money on Particular Items and at Particular Enterprises?” This will encourage raising the perceived value of products and services, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and retention.

When Uncertain, Invest in the Future

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” Martin Luther said it back in the 16th century and it has never been truer than it is in 2013, especially when it comes to small business. CEOs of small enterprises are some of the most hopeful people around, building a business – often from the ground up – on a vision and a confidence in the future.

However the economic events in the US over the past decade have been enough to shake up even the most sanguine of businesspeople. Securities and real estate, formerly considered two of the most reliable investments, suddenly lost their value overnight. Confusion is the key word today: where is the economy going? What’s the best area of your business to invest in?

Small is the New Big

There’s been a sea change in attitudes to technology since the close of the 20th century. Back in the day, big was … well, big, and technology tended to equate big with powerful and efficient. Investing large sums in the latest and greatest computer programs and IT staff was considered essential if not to succeed, at least to give the appearance of success. However, nowadays it’s all about small and convenient, especially when it comes to small businesses that have neither the resources nor the inclination to invest heavily in technology which could already be outdated by the time it is delivered to your door. This attitude is readily apparent when it comes to areas like information technology. Savvy small businesses are moving to SaaS, for example, to avoid investing in the accoutrements of big technology.

Get Healthy

With the implementation of Obamacare looming in 2015, the subject of mandatory health care has been big among business owners across the board. While owners of businesses which employ fewer than 50 full time workers are exempt – at least for the time being – they may find that de facto they will be forced, or at least strongly encouraged, to provide employee health care benefits simply to attract new hires who would otherwise be tempted to accept employment at larger firms that do offer health care. And a business that expands (the hope – that word again! – of most entrepreneurs) will need to provide health care once it exceeds the employee limit. With affordable Small Business Health Options Programs and small business tax credits to help cover health insurance premiums, this might just be a worthwhile area to invest in. And how about purchasing coverage to protect one of your business’s greatest assets – you, the boss – while you’re at it?

Get Smart

Another excellent arena for investment is professional guidance. According to American Banker in May 2013, only 30% of small business owners feel “very confident in their business acumen.” Expert guidance from a management consultant, banker, accountant or other professional can steer a business in the right direction and do more for the bottom line than randomly investing in the physical plant based on guesswork. An optimistic business owner is an asset to his or her enterprise; an optimistic business owner guided by a topnotch financial adviser is a tremendous asset.

Take on Competitors by Claiming Your Niche

Do you know who your direct competition is? If you’re a small business purveyor of artisanal popcorn, you might think your direct competition is other popcorn providers — big or small. You might even consider only those in the same regional area as you as your direct competition. But what about other firms that provide salty snacks and movie fare? Or other local snack sellers? Your direct competition isn’t always obvious, and even when it is, it can be tough to compete. Once you’ve got all of your direct competition down, you can slowly start to create a plan to tackle and outperform your competitors.

Here are a few tips to help make this happen:

  • Provide amazing customer service. If there’s one place where small businesses have the upper hand, it’s the attention they can provide to each and every customer that walks in the door or clicks into your website. Making every customer feel like they’re your first and most important gives you the “personal touch” advantage over bigger companies and is a step in the right direction for repeat business.
  • Take advantage of technology. In today’s market, having a strong web presence is paramount, but it takes more than a website. With social media channels on Facebook and Twitter, you can tackle customer service quickly, giving you an edge against larger retailers that might not have the time and attention for each and every customer. When you do setup your website, provide e-commerce, provide a mobile website and be sure to keep dynamic, fresh content coming so that search engines will keep your website at the top. Also, spend some time figuring out how users are getting to your competitors’ websites to make sure you cover all of your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) bases.
  • Court your current customers. As a small business, you have the ability to pamper your current customers in a way that larger retailers simply don’t. Create rewards programs, special sales for repeat customers and run ambassador programs to use your current customers as brand evangelizers. Whereas large companies tend to see a faceless crowd of consumers, small businesses have the opportunity not only to acknowledge their consumers but to make them feel like royalty.
  • Know your niche and stick to it. Many companies take on more than they can handle after perfecting the art of a simple service or product. Small businesses that stick to what they know, what they’ve perfected, they have a greater chance at keeping their consumers. Everyone goes to Marco’s Taco Cart for lunch because he does tacos well, not because he offers a little bit of every cuisine. When a large retailer takes on every market, it becomes a jack of all trades and a master of none. Be the proud master of your niche, and your customers will take notice.

If you’re confident in your business and focus on personal service, you’ll have no problem taking on your direct competition. Know your niche, dive into the digital market and big retailers will have nothing on your small business!

4 Easy Business Networking Tips That Anyone Can Do

Unless you’re one of those uber confident people who just loves to work the crowd, business networking can be one of the more daunting aspects of running a business. If you are not a natural networker, there are nevertheless several things you can do to make the process more feasible. Finding an effective combination of self-promotion and relationship building may be hard, but can come with a little practice; the same is true of putting aside any fears of rejection.



Even if the thought of networking makes your heart race, here are four easy business networking tips that anyone can do: 

1. Be yourself. The biggest, surprisingly unspoken, rule of networking is to stop trying to network in the first place. Both online and in face-to-face interactions, people will be more receptive to you if you don’t try to be something (or someone) you’re not. Be true to yourself and be genuine in your efforts to connect to others. Every person has his or her strong points and areas of expertise. Find out what they are and put those forward. 

2. Focus on building trust. These days any mention of business networking is often quickly followed by trust. For example, even though many studies point the fact that consumers spend inordinate amounts of time on social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter they aren’t exactly sitting there waiting to be sold to. In fact it’s quite the opposite- many have become jaded at best and down-right irritated at worst at the attempts various companies make to promote their products and services via social media platforms.

If you want to get in on the action, you should first to look for ways to offer assistance, solve a problem, provide other constructive input. Once your intended targets recognize the value of what you have to offer, they will be much more likely to do business with you- whether online or off.

3. Join like-minded groups of people. If you want to be successful at networking then you have to be seen. But, you should specifically seek out groups and meet-ups with people who share your passions, world views, or some other connecting factor. Why is this important? Because it gives you an “in,” some common ground upon which you can go about building future relationships.

4. Be educated about those around you. One of the fundamental truths to being successful in any relationship is that you need to be aware of the other person. What does this person like and dislike? What makes this person happy, sad? Before going into any situation where you expect to network, make it a point to do a little research on the people or organizations you want reach out to or at least express an openness to want to learn about them. Being too self-centered will likely not get you so far in your networking efforts. 

In short, if you want to be a successful business networker then be yourself, be helpful, and be open to appreciating what others have to offer.

Turning to the “Crowd” for Your Freelance Needs? Proceed with Caution!

In previous posts, such as this one, I’ve discussed some of the unique opportunities crowdsourcing offers for small business owners- especially in the areas of business finance and market research. But there is a flip side to these benefits. If you do not exercise your due diligence, at best, you can end up forking over a significant amount of time and money for a product or service you can’t use, at worse you can expose your business to some serious damage.

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What Are the Risks of Crowdsourcing to Small Business Owners?

First, small business owners should keep in mind that there are currently several crowdsourcing models through which freelancers are connected with companies in need of a particular service. Some crowdsourcing websites operate on a bid system. Numerous freelancers bid on set jobs; the company receives these bids and chooses with whom to work based on any combination of factors such as price, reputation, and skill. Other sites, rely on a competition model, whereby freelancers of all experience levels submit the completed the project, and the company chooses which one it likes the best. In this case, only the freelancer that was chosen gets paid, while the others walk away empty-handed. The amount and type of risk will vary from site to site.

So what are some crowdsourcing dangers small business owners should be concerned about? Here’s a rundown along with some tips to help reduce the risk:

  • The contracted freelancer produces no work or the work is inappropriate or unacceptable. Before agreeing to work with a particular freelancer, make sure you look into the person’s level of experience and reputation. Where possible, ask for a sample of previous work. You also need to make sure that you are very clear about the task you want completed. Sometimes freelance projects go awry due to lack of sufficient communication on behalf of the employer. Finally, make sure to keep cultural differences in mind- especially in regards to communication and relationship to time.


  • The project ends up costing more than was budgeted. This can happen if a freelancer charges by the hour and must make repeated revisions on a project based on the business owner’s feedback. It can also happen when no specific due date was agreed upon beforehand. To reduce the risk of the freelance project going over-budget, set an agreed upon price and time from the beginning, and shy away from paying by the hour.


  • The freelancer uses company data and permissions to create havoc. In certain situations, a freelance worker will need to have access to internal company systems and data. Where this is the case, do whatever you can to protect sensitive company-wide data and intangible assets by checking up on a potential freelancer’s background, as mentioned above, by setting access limits, and by issuing temporary passwords. This can help prevent any damage or theft caused by a disgruntled or unscrupulous freelancer.


Bottom line: while crowdsourcing may provide a great opportunity for bootstrapping small business owners looking to save some money, it could come at a high price if business owners don’t watch where they are going.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Small Business

Faced with a lousy job market, many people are trying the entrepreneurial route these days. They start their new ventures which such high hopes and enthusiasm. But little do most of them know, that they probably won’t see their companies operating through 5 years, much less turn a profit. At least, that’s what the Small Business Association (SBA) says. So why are so many new small businesses fading so quickly? Chances are they are falling prey to one or more of the seven deadly sins of business. Do recognize any of these in your own company?

Wrath– Whether it’s a negative comment from a customer, a competitor’s crafty marketing strategy, an employee’s request for some change, or a lender’s rejection for financing, anger has no place in business (that is, if you want to stay in business). Success in business has a lot to do with relationships.  Knowing how to gracefully receive criticism, accept a set back, and recognize another’s strengths without feeling threatened, are all keys to business success.

Greed– You can’t have it all- especially if you’re running a small business in a competitive industry. You have to take the time to define your niche, build a reputation, and cultivate a loyal customer base, and all of this requires you to give of yourself and your business and… to have patience. So many businesses go under because their owners were too caught up in the “quick fix” instead of focusing on a more long-term strategy.

Sloth– If you build it, they won’t necessary come- where “they” is defined as customers, revenues, and potential investors. A successful business, no matter what the structure, the size, or the industry requires work, or it will not be successful. Areas that require special attention and effort include: your marketing research and marketing strategies, financial management, and quality control.

Pride– Know-it-alls don’t usually make good businesspeople. If you want to be successful in business, then don’t shun asking questions from your mentors, peers, and customers. Be open to feedback- even where it includes strong criticism, and learn to embrace your mistakes. The most successful business people out there can typically write a book about all the mistakes they made before they got to where they are.

Lust– Before you jump into bed with the latest and greatest in technology or business partnerships, make sure you do a little research beforehand. You should ask yourself, “will this service, technology, or business relationship truly help my business? Or am I just seeing a lot of smoke and mirrors?”

Envy– Instead of thinking about how much greener the grass is on the other side, you’ll get much further if you take the time to weed out, mow, and water your own lawn. In order words, you can consider where your competitors are excelling, but only to the extent that you use what you see to try to develop relevant strengths within yourself and your own business.

Gluttony– Too much of a good thing will leave you with a stomach ache and an ailing business. Usually, it is not good business practice to focus too much attention on one marketing medium or strategy or to try to draw out more and more business from a small group of customers. Flexibility and and a touch of healthy diversity is often the path to success in business.

Image Credits:
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rachel-amarette/2358900843/
Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/panayotis/2996430347/
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/2207307656/
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sundazed/2906414988/

5 Business Tax Tips to Make Your Tax Filing Easier

If the thought of filing your business taxes makes you head for a bottle of Tums, then take a look at these five business tax tips to simplify the process. Learn how gain more control, take advantage of free or low-cost tax tools, and get educated.

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1. Maintain clear records and know what supporting documents to keep. The first rule of business taxes is making sure that you have an effective and efficient system in place for recording your business’ financial transactions and keeping supporting financial documentation, such as W-2 forms, account statements, sales slips, paid bills, invoices, receipts, deposit slips, and canceled checks. These kinds of documents are important to hold on to because they support the entries in your accounting records and on your tax return. For more detailed information refer to Publication 583: Starting a Business and Keeping Records.

2. Get a good accounting software program. With the cost of commercial accounting software suites, such as QuickBooks Pro, becoming more cost-effective (especially when you factor in the available customer support) and with the emergence of several, quality free open source options, such as NolaPro, GnuCash, and TurboCash, Microsoft Office Accounting Express, you practically have no excuse not to use some kind of accounting software package in your business.

3. File your taxes electronically. If your income was $58,000 or less, you may have the option of filing with the IRS’s Free File system which offers free e-filing and tax preparation via commercial software packages. The service is only available via the IRS website. Even if your income exceeded that amount, e-filing is definitely the way to go. You can either file yourself via the IRS’s e-filing portal, or there are several commercial software programs, such as TurboTax, that can do it for you (in addition to helping you maximize your tax deductions).

4. Hire help, ask questions, do your research. When it comes to taxes, ignorance is not bliss- especially if it leads to an audit. If you are just starting out it may be worthwhile to hire a qualified accountant to make sure that you are filing your taxes properly. If you do not choose this option, then make sure you seek out support and knowledge elsewhere. If your using a commercial software package then take full advantage of the customer support. You can also head over to the IRS Small Business Tax Center, and sift through the countless, informative articles and tools designed to help business owners correctly file their taxes.

5. Know your tax payment options. Business tax filers who are unable to cover the full amount of their tax liabilities should make sure to still complete their tax returns with a partial payment and/or file for an extension by April 15th.

Be aware that the IRS allows for installment payments. Those whose tax liabilities total $25,000 or less can use the Online Payment Agreement (OPA) or download a fill-in Request for Installment Agreement, Form 9465 that can be mailed to the address on the bill. Those who owe more than $25,000 may still qualify for an installment agreement, but a Collection Information Statement, Form 433F (PDF) may also need to be completed.

With installment payments filers can indicate how much they can afford to send the IRS each month and on what day they will want to make these monthly payments. The IRS will generally accept an installment agreement if the amount owed is less than $25,000 and the balance will be paid within five years. For filers who owe less than $10,000 and fulfill other requirements, acceptance is guaranteed.

Tips for Writing a Killer Press Release

One common and free way to generate publicity for your business is to send out a well-written and targeted press release. Small businesses can send newsworthy information to reporters and media people, who then write or report about the business.


How can you ensure that your press release is eye-catching enough for a reporter to open it, read it, and report about it?

1. Do your research. Before sending a press release, invest some time in reviewing various writers’ or producers’ work. Find those who cover topics relevant to your business. That way, you can narrow down your audience to people who are interested in your line of business, thus increasing the likelihood of free P.R.

2. Choose the right style. Your research can also help you choose a writing style. Try to mirror the writer’s typical style of presenting content (e.g., top ten lists, question and answers, or research-oriented). The writer will find your article more pertinent to his/her own work if it feels familiar.

3. Spice up your writing. Use action verbs, particularly in the headline, to attract more attention. The words you use should conjure up images of excitement and motion. Some examples: trigger, navigate, urge. Use your computer’s thesaurus setting to inspire your writing.

4. Find an angle. Think of an interesting way to present your story. Instead of simply stating your business’s focus, highlight something new. Some good examples of newsworthy press release ideas include: a change in products or services offered, a change in location or hours of operation, announcing an event that’s being hosted or sponsored by your business, announcing some other promotional event.

5. Incorporate the five W’s. Be clear about why your business is newsworthy. Answer the five basic questions: who, what, when, where, and why. This will tie in with your angle (see item #4).

6. Include important details. Write the date, and the city in which your business is located. Briefly describe your business, and add in your contact information.

7. Exclude blather. Keep your press release short. Don’t use industry-specific jargon. Use short words and concise sentences. Above all, make it readable.

The media is always looking for new stories. Sending a good release can alert them to your business’s story and give you the exposure you want.