3 Ways to Build Wealth by Pinching Pennies

In order to begin building any type of wealth, business owners need to understand one simple task at which most parents in America are already proficient — how to cut costs. Most households often utilize coupons, cut down on unnecessary expenses and find alternative ways of doing things that are just as effective for half the cost.

It is hard to make any real money if too much time and effort is being thrown into useless or unprofitable products or actions, so it might be time to take note of what some homemakers have known for decades.

1.Find cheaper raw materials or goods that offer the same quality. There may be cheaper alternatives for web hosts or some of the packaging used for certain products. The old adage of “A penny saved is a penny earned” definitely applies here.

2.Streamline the process of producing your final product and delivering it to customers. Henry Ford understood the value of a straightforward manufacturing process and ultimately revolutionized the car manufacturing industry.

3.Spend a little money to make a lot more. Invest in equipment that will last and require little maintenance or down time.

Every last penny counts in the world of online startups, and with time, those pinched pennies can amount to significantly more than most business owners might realize.

Growth Through 3 Steps of Product Development

The initial product or service upon which a business was founded might still be working great, but there probably needs to be critical development of new services or products before a business may actually see any type of productive growth. An initial product or business idea might have been clear, but branching out can be a little more tricky.

While there is nothing wrong with a good ol’ brainstorming session to get the gears turning, going the extra mile can result in a better product.

1.Contact your customers. Where else is there a better trove of information about what customers actually want or need? If the level of response is low, try adding incentives, like a discount for filling out a survey.

2.Is the competition doing something differently? If so, what is working, and what is not? Develop what the competition is failing at and fill that need.

3.Step out of the office. Sure, most founders and CEOs spend the early days of a business with an active hand in almost every position, but, with time and success, it is often necessary to hire employees to handle certain tasks. Try getting back into the field for a day or so to get a real feel for what is needed.

No one wants to watch their business trudge through quarter after quarter of stagnant growth. Developing new quality products and services is one of the best ways to ensure that a business remains relevant in the constantly changing online environment.

Head off Procrastination Before It Strikes

Never underestimate the power of a solid guilt trip. Not the guilt trip that parents have perfected to coax their teenage kids out of their rooms and into spending time together as a family, but a self-inflicted guilt trip — the to-do list.

Excitement and motivation might be easy to come by in the first few weeks of a startup, but action can easily be replaced by procrastination, and business can begin to suffer. Sure, there might be a few tasks that need to be accomplished, but those can be addressed in the future, right? By the time most people remember to take care of those “few tasks,” they can become the proverbial 10-page paper written the night before it is due.

Lists can prevent important tasks from sneaking up, and, yes, that is list with an “s.” Start out by making a short-term list of things that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Organize the desk, reach out to clients who have not been heard from in a while or finally restock the empty pen cup. Depending on the business, short-term could mean one week or one month, and be sure to include the dates for which each task needs to be accomplished.

Long-term goals need a separate list of their own. Things like rebranding a business or enacting a new marketing campaign are not tasks that take place overnight, and they need time and consideration before being implemented. Setting completion dates for these tasks is a good idea here too, but be sure to include some “check-in” dates to make sure everything is still on par for completion.

For those who struggle with procrastination, there may be no greater guilt trip than a to-do list with nothing marked off.

Aside from the tried and true pen and paper method, there are a multitude of apps available to help create and track lists, such as Google Keep. Before the procrastination bug bites, get your pen, keyboard or smartphone out and make sure you write up your battle plan.

The Case for Ignoring Your Email

When was the last time that you looked at your email inbox without cringing? Overflowing inboxes with unread emails in the double digits can induce panic in even the calmest individuals. But, the constant barrage of emails is just a part of life, right?


It can take a bit of work up front, but organizing and streamlining an email inbox can free up a surprising amount of time every day. Let’s start with those handy folders that most email services provide.

Folders: Take some time to review what types of emails you receive, such as business, personal or promotional. Set up the necessary folders and then assign each type of email a label to make sure that they are filtered accordingly.

Make a schedule: Smart phones may have made it easier to check youremail on the go, in line at the coffee shop or on a lunch date with a significant other, but that does not make it the smartest idea. Pick one or two times a day to check emails and keep it at that.

Reply now: You may not always remember to respond back at a later time to an important email. Use time wisely and reply to all necessary emails as soon as possible after reading them.

The Internet has allowed startup businesses to bloom in a way that was once impossible, and it is hard to ignore how technology has crept into almost every aspect of day-to-day life. While new advances help keep small businesses and their owners moving forward, it is just as important to know when it is time to set boundaries.

Networking: A Powerful Marketing Tool

If you are a business owner and not networking, you are neglecting to use one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. Marketing campaigns can involve millions of dollars and take months to complete, but some of the most effective strategies can be as simple and as inexpensive as shaking a hand and engaging someone in conversation. Networking is the act of exchanging information between two parties. In the business world, networking can include attending parties or events, meeting new people and talking about your business at every opportunity. These connections, even if they are made casually over lunch or in line at the grocery store, can be a powerful tool used to leverage new growth and expand your client base. While there is no set of standards or rules entitled “How to Network,” it is beneficial to remember the following when meeting new people:

  • Be genuine
  • Listen more than you speak
  • Be excited about your product
  • Develop a pitch that is less than 10 seconds long
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Speak to people even if they may never benefit your business
  • Use your connections to benefit others
  • Keep your sense of humor
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Keep your business visible by participating in local events
  • Partner with other businesses
  • Be approachable

People are perceptive and can tell, quite easily, when a person is simply after a profit or looking to only benefit themselves. Networking requires speaking with many people, and it is vital to be genuinely interested in the other party. Feigned interest or inattentiveness will be a turn-off and will certainly not benefit your business. Instead, seek out connections with businesses and people who are not directly connected with your warm market. These relationships can lead to referrals–one of the many payoffs of networking. If you have not been networking and do not know where to begin, start small. Stop by a small business luncheon, visit your local chamber of commerce and visit with businesses with which you may be able to partner in the future. Even friends and neighbors can play a role in the success of your business if they are excited about your product and willing to give a word-of-mouth referral. Networking is FREE, so step outside the four walls of your office, shake a few hands and start to build new relationships.

Marketing On A Shoestring Budget

If an expensive and complicated marketing campaign was a requirement for small business success, there would be many entrepreneurs out of work. Many businesses have a small-to-nonexistent budget for advertising and marketing, but the key the lies in leveraging any amount of money in a smart and practical way. Marketing on a shoestring budget, while possible, requires careful planning and smart strategies. Consider the following tips:

  • Work with the right team. Small business owners may believe their budget is too small to designate a portion of it to a marketing team. In actuality, working with an experienced marketing team can help a small business owner maximize the impact of a small budget in ways that he or she never imagined. The key is to work with a team that understands and respects budget restraints.
  • Invest in the community. Small business owners will find significant benefit in wisely investing in their local community. Setting up a booth at a community event, sponsoring a charity run or partnering with other local businesses can be inexpensive ventures that may attract positive attention from local patrons.
  • Be a people person. Business experts of all kinds acknowledge the benefits of networking. Meeting new people and initiating personal conversations can actually be a free marketing tool. For small business owners looking to grow their business and turn a profit, there can be great value in simply talking and connecting with people.
  • Attract attention. People love free stuff and a good bargain, which is why you see throngs of consumers camped outside stores on Thanksgiving night and people lining up for free food when a new restaurant opens. One of the least expensive, yet most impactful, ways to garner attention is to offer an incentive. A coupon, discounts for loyal customers or a free gift with purchase can boost traffic and get potential customers inside a store or visiting a website.

Success in the small business world does not, thankfully, depend on having a huge marketing budget. However, it is important to use money, time and other resources wisely in order to maximize impact and spur new growth. At Virtue Marketing, we can work with any budget and will develop a plan that keeps your business and brand front and center. Our goal is to help you develop new, exciting and inexpensive ways to engage customers.



3 Ways to Shake up Your Business Game

Are your sales steady but stagnant? Sure, having a consistent number of sales to count on is a good thing, but businesses do not begin to amass wealth by ignoring innovation. For those who are ready to do more than just break even at the end of the month, there are several options to kick things up to the next level.

  • Find new avenues for selling your product.
  • Develop new, meaningful products.
  • Review the brand strategy and consider an upgrade.

There is nothing wrong with selling directly to customers through a website, and, indeed, many customers enjoy being able to navigate directly to what they want, but that does not mean that other options are less valid. For instance, consider offering a discount for certain blog readers, making a particular product temporarily available on a high-traffic website or even ask a blogger to review a product for free and then share his or her thoughts with readers.

While considering new ways to sell old products, remember that innovation is a strong force in the world of business. Consumers always seem to be ready for that new, hot product that adds real value to their lives.

During this time of rapid change for product lines, a business can also undergo a significant transformation. Letting a business’s brand lag behind its products can work against it by creating a disconnect between what customers expect and what is actually being delivered.

If a start-up has just been idling comfortably, jump in feet first and shake things up! Building wealth from a business takes time, dedication and the willingness to improve your game whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Business Hacks to Transform Your Day and Your Company

Entrepreneurs and start-up owners are no strangers to utilizing innovative techniques to tackle their business-related duties. However, it can be easier than it may seem to fall into a rut and forget all about the wild spirit of adventure that first sparked the desire to start a business.

So what is a business owner to do? You can hack your way back.

Stop putting off the things you do not want to do.

Everyone has that “thing,” organizing their files, replying to emails or any other mundane task that shows up on a to-do list. Instead of leaving it until last, get it out of the way early on and focus on more exciting tasks for the rest of the day.

Speaking of that to-do list…

Start making one again. With a clearly defined plan for the day, productivity can skyrocket while unnecessary down time can be kept to a minimum.


Make sure that “you” are on that list.

Time is at a premium for most business owners, so make sure there are some non-business related activities penned (not penciled) on your to-do list several days a week. Including time for exercise can prove to be significantly beneficial.


Ignore the phone every once in a while.

If it is your mother calling, consider answering, but otherwise, give that phone a break. Voicemail is an invaluable tool, and, if it is important, the caller will leave a message that you can check at your own leisure. Even business-related chit chat can derail whatever task was at hand before the phone rang.


Get out of the office.

Fresh air (or the espresso-scented air of that good coffee shop a few blocks down) can result in new perspectives on otherwise redundant or troublesome issues. Try temporarily working in a new area.


Ready to improve the pace of your business day? Give these business hacks a try and watch your day transform into a mean, lean, productive machine.