Tag Archive: small_business_expert

Veteran Entrepreneurs Small Business Resources

Veteran Entrepreneurs Small Business Resources.

Veteran Entrepreneurs Small Business Resources.Veteran Entrepreneurs Small Business Resources.

With Veterans Day around the corner, I am reminded of one of the questions I got the most during the past decade writing my USA TODAY column: why aren’t more small business owners hiring veterans?

It was a very legitimate question. The fact is, since 9/11, American veterans have come home to a very icy employment picture. For much of that time, veteran unemployment figures typically were several percentage points higher than the national average. For instance, in 2011, the number of veterans out of work stood at 12.1%. In 2012, it fell to 9.9%, but even that was several points higher than the national average. Happily, veteran unemployment continues to fall. Today it hovers around 7%.

Veteran Entrepreneurs Small Business Resources.

 

So yes, the good news is that employers seem to be warming up to the idea of hiring vets. The only real question is why did it take so long? Veterans generally make very good employees, especially because of their training and background.

 

And, if you think about it, that same training also means that veterans tend to be excellent entrepreneurs and small business owners:

 

  • Veterans understand how to create a plan, implement and execute it
  • Many are trained to be leaders
  • They understand systems
  • Hard work and commitment are in their bonesYet veterans face the same challenges that all small business owners face, as well as some unique to the veteran experience. Like all small businesses, finding the training and assistance needed to succeed can be tough. Beyond that, veteran entrepreneurs who are disabled or have other trauma-related issues have their own, unique set of issues to deal with.

     

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    So for all of the men and women who were brave enough to both serve our country, as well as who want to start a business (or have), here is a list of resources to make your entrepreneurial life easier:

     

Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer

Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer

Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer. One summer, I interned at a law firm in San Francisco. I wanted to impress the partners so that they would offer me a job after I graduated the following year. This was back in the day when law firms really wined-and-dined their potential associates.

 

Man, I loved that summer.

 

The partners took us river rafting, invited us to fancy dinners and drinks at their homes, and yes, they even took us in a hot-air balloon. Oh yeah, we also did a little work too. Needless to say, I really wanted to work at that firm. Well, I got my chance a year later, and let’s just say that the real world was a tad different than my summer of fun. Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.

 

It turns out that many businesses are learning that one of the smartest things they can do, especially at this time of year, is to take advantage of the natural rhythms of the season and give employees their own summer fun. Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.

 

In fact, if you take a close look at the latest edition of the spring 2013 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report (SBOR), it turns out that many employers are taking this idea of creating a strong culture seriously. The Report found that almost nine in 10 small business owners offer some type of benefits to their employees.

If you want to engage your employees this summer, here are a few tips mentioned in the SBOR that will make your employees feel more engaged:

 

1. Offer flexible work hours: Forty-five percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed in the SBOR said that they reward their staff with flexible hours and/or they let them work from home. While this used to be an exotic idea, it is much more commonplace today. Between the cloud, smart phones, apps and laptops, anyone can work anywhere at any time. Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.

 

So let them.

 

Especially during the summer, it makes sense to give employees some flexibility and some time to enjoy the nice weather.  By allowing your employees to get work done at a time more convenient for them, they will reward you with their loyalty and hard work.

 

2. Share amenities like free lunch, massages, etc. When you visit a large, successful Internet company like Google or Facebook, one thing that is very noticeable is the amount of free (or subsidized) food available. No, it’s not cheap, but it is a benefit that keeps people at the office and not taking two-hour lunches.

 

For small businesses, one alternative might be to provide free, healthy snacks like fruit and water, which are affordable and appreciated.

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3. Lead team building events:  According to the SBOR, only about 25 percent of the small business owners surveyed used this tactic, and I think that is a mistake. In the summertime, when everyone is thinking about a lot more than just work, a fun event together away from the office is often just what the doctor ordered. Whether it is going out to dinner, a game, or a concert together, a team-building event is the best way to grow as a team and build a strong culture.

 

4. Allow social media at work: This is a tricky one. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed said they use this tactic to reward employees. However, as we all know, social media can easily gobble up a whole lot more time than one anticipates and potentially decrease productivity in the office. I recommend offering this perk to employees as it is a great way to take a short mental break from work, but certainly speak up if you feel the privilege is being abused.

 

5. Give unexpected freebies: Give employees some free time off. Have a spontaneous contest and give the winner a pair of seats to a game. Buy gift cards from Starbucks and hand them out. Give everyone an unannounced afternoon off.

 

This is the time of year when people like to take advantage of the outdoors. Let them and you and your business will both be rewarded. Ways to Engage Your Employees This Summer.

 

Disaster Recovery: Small Business Owners Be Prepared

Disaster Recovery: Small Business Owners Be Prepared

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which caused billions of dollars of damage in the Northeast, it’s important for small business owners to know where to turn for help. Carol Chastang, a spokeswoman for the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., explains to business writer Susan Caminiti what kinds of insurance coverage businesses should have and where entrepreneurs can turn for help.

 

 

SC: Let’s start with the kind of insurance coverage a small business owner should have. What would you consider essential?

CC: To start with, business owners should have liability insurance for their machinery, equipment, and any other business assets. That’s an essential. Of course, a business owner should have property insurance if they own the property where the business is located.

 

There’s also business interruption insurance, but often times there’s a tendency for business owners to view this as an extra expense that they don’t want to, or have to, incur. But in the long run, business interruption insurance really does pay for itself.

 

 

SC: Why should a small business have this form of insurance and what does it cover?

CC: Let’s just look at what happened on the East coast with Hurricane Sandy. Even if there was no physical damage to many small businesses, there were massive power outages. A power outage is the Achilles’ heel for any small business. You can’t operate and bring in revenue but all your expenses are still there. That’s why we recommend business interruption insurance.

It basically provides money for working capital. The expenses that the business incurs even while it’s shut down—rent, payment on equipment, for example—can be covered with this kind of insurance.

 

 

QAdisaster_PQ.jpgSC: We’ve covered the insurance part. Now what happens if there’s a disaster? What’s the first move to make?

CC: If it’s a presidential declaration of a disaster, we recommend that businesses and homeowners get in touch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They are the first stop in getting into the recovery food chain, so to speak, and will provide information about recovery grants available for businesses in various states. However, as a small business owner you need to keep in mind that FEMA does not offer aid to businesses directly. You can get FEMA aid as a homeowner or renter who suffered damage to your residence, but the FEMA aid is for that, not for your business.

 

 

SC: What help is available for the small business owner?

CC: [Help] comes in the form of a direct low interest loan from the SBA. The insurance companies are dealing with thousands and thousands of claims and we can’t say what the wait time is going to be to have a claim processed. So we recommend that small business owners don’t wait and instead file a disaster recovery assistance application with the SBA as soon as they can. Of course, during this time we encourage businesses to also be working with their insurance companies. But the SBA loan is going to come through faster. Once you settle with the insurance company, you can then use those proceeds to pay off the SBA loan.

 

 

SC: What’s the turnaround time for a small business to get a check from the SBA?

CC: From the time they submit their application it’s roughly 20 days until the business owner gets a check in hand. They file the paperwork through the SBA. We have recovery centers set up in all the states that were declared disaster areas.

 

 

SC: Is the process complicated?

CC: It’s not as complicated as one would think. The application is about three pages, front and back. There are just a few basic numbers the business owner needs. In addition, we have an arrangement with the IRS so that when a business owner is filing a disaster loan application they will submit a form giving us permission to obtain two to three years worth of federal tax returns. With Hurricane Sandy, no one was prepared for the amount of flooding or fires that occurred, and in many cases, important business documents were just gone. The onus of providing those tax returns is not on the business owner, who has just gone through this harrowing experience. If financial papers are lost in a fire or flood, we can still obtain the information and get the loan process underway.

 

 

SC: What kind of loans do you provide and what are the terms?

CC: We have two disaster loan programs for small businesses. The first one is for physical damage to the business. The loan limit is $2 million and we offer up to 30-year terms with a four-percent interest rate. The business owner can use it to repair or replace real estate, equipment, machinery, inventory, and furniture—anything that was damaged or lost. It is used to make the business as it was before the disaster. It’s not to be used to expand the business. The deadline for filing this application is December 31, 2012.

 

The second loan is an economic injury disaster loan. This loan provides working capital for the business that might not have suffered damage but was nonetheless unable to operate due to a power outage, for instance. It covers expenses that continue to accrue during the time the business was shut done or not operational during the disaster. It too carries a four-percent interest rate, the limit is $2 million, and the term is up to 30 years. The deadline for filing this loan application is July 31, 2013. Most of the business disaster loans we make are at the four-percent interest rate. There are some exceptions based on access to credit or additional assets that a business might have.

 

 

SC: Can a small business be approved for both types of loans?

CC: Yes, but the cap is still $2 million overall. So if you’re approved for a $1 million loan for the physical damage, you can only be approved for $1 million for an economic injury disaster loan.

 

 

SC: What other help does the SBA give small businesses on disaster preparedness?

CC: For the past two years we’ve been in partnership with Agility Recovery, a company that provides business continuity solutions for businesses. With them, we do free, live monthly webinars that are hosted by a business continuity expert. They run the second Tuesday of each month. We’ve gotten tremendous positive feedback from business owners on the webinars because we give useful tools they can utilize today and not just when a disaster strikes.

 

The 7 best TED talks for small business owners

The 7 best TED talks for small business owners

by Erin McDermott.

Got time for a bite-size bit of inspiration? Take a look at TED Talks.

What started as a small conference that shared new thinking on technology, education, and design (that’s where the T-E-D comes from) in the 1980s has grown into an Internet juggernaut with videos that together have drawn nearly one billion views. Many cities in the U.S. and elsewhere are hosting smaller versions of the TED Talk franchise and a feature in The New Yorker this summer suggests TED has managed to turn “ideas into an industry.” But there’s also plenty of smart stuff here for small business owners. Many talks feature innovators and entrepreneurs, with savvy ideas about marketing, leadership, and burgeoning industries rife with opportunities. The clips vary in length from less than five minutes to about the average coffee run, and are engaging, fast moving, and very funny at times.

Here’s a look at seven TED Talks that small business owners should make time to watch.

Lisa Harouni: A Primer on 3D Printing (14:05)

Have you been hearing a lot about 3D printing? It very well could be the next revolution in manufacturing: technology that, layer-by-layer, assembles even the most intricate of designs. The idea and the industrial-scale machines have been around for some time, but a new focus on their capabilities—from architecture and construction use to human bones to (seriously!) a whole racecar—has engineers around the world jazzed. Some experts believe these devices could become a household norm in the not-too-distant future. Watch Lisa Harouni, chief executive of London’s pioneering Digital Forming, in November 2011 and be dazzled.

David S. Rose: Pitching to VCs (14:42)

Seeking capital for your growing enterprise? Better get your pitch right before you run the gauntlet of venture-capital panels. David S. Rose, managing partner of Rose Tech Ventures, entrepreneur, and “pitch coach,” has been on both sides of the investors’ table. Here, Rose gives a fast-paced rundown of 10 things you must be able to express in your presentation if you want to win over the angels.

Daniel H. Pink: The Surprising Science of Motivation (18:36)

If you’re running your business based on traditional thinking about carrots and sticks when it comes to incentives for your employees, you might be wasting your time and money on outdated assumptions. Daniel H. Pink, the bestselling author of Drive, Free Agent Nation, and the forthcoming To Sell Is Human, has been changing perceptions about the 21st-century American workplace for more than a decade. Here, in this video, with nearly four million views, Pink talks about what science now knows and what some businesses are still doing—to their detriment.

Richard St. John: Success Is a Continuous Journey (3:57)

Need a pep talk? In less than four minutes, writer and entrepreneur Richard St. John recounts his own rise to the top—and his downfall after succumbing to the perks of success. (One tip: That sports car isn’t a solution to depression.) He outlines how he lost it and lessons for everyone on the importance of keeping your eye on the ball. (And here’s another good one from St. John at TED.)

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree (12:56)

Arguing with your partner may be a very good thing for your business. Why? Conflict can lead to progress, while colleagues who serve as an echo chamber are unlikely to help you break new ground. That’s the gist of former CEO Margaret Heffernan’s June 2012 talk. The question is: Who has the patience and wherewithal to find, listen to, and push forward with those who challenge them most?

For more info, http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/community/running-your-business/generalbusiness/blog/2012/09/27/listen-up-the-7-best-ted-talks-for-small-business-owners

From Owner to CEO: How to grow as a leader along with your company

From Owner to CEO: How to grow as a leader along with your company

by Susan Caminiti.

Most entrepreneurs start out with a great idea, intense passion, and a willingness to work seemingly 24/7 to make their start-up a success. But what happens when the company begins to grow and expand? Are the skills that define a successful small business owner the same ones needed to run a bigger, more complex enterprise?

In most cases, experts say, the answer is no. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be learned. “In the same way that a company grows, the entrepreneur has to grow and evolve, too,” says Ed Hess, author of Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses. As a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Hess has studied entrepreneurs and the various ways they approach and manage change. His conclusion: As a company grows, its owner has to transition from one stage to the next, beginning with doer, moving on to manager and leader, and then finally, coach or mentor.

 

Learn to evolve

While the metamorphosis sounds straightforward, it often proves to be the most complicated aspect of running a company, says Hess. That’s because the transformation from owner to leader taps into primal issues of trust, confidence, and even identity—issues not typically top of mind as most entrepreneurs go about running their companies. “Figuring out the processes of a business is not nearly as hard as figuring out the people part,” he notes. Hess recalls that one small business owner, whom he interviewed for his book, said he felt “more like a psychologist than a business person,” when trying to manage his employees.

 

Evolving from a person who controls every aspect of a company into one that allows others to get things done takes time. “Leadership isn’t just a skill you pick up one day, it’s a journey,” says Suzanne Bates, founder and CEO of Bates Communications, an executive coaching and leadership development firm, and author of Discover Your CEO Brand. “The most challenging inflection points for entrepreneurs are when they realize they have to let go of some of the things that they used to do, and when they have to hire people who are better at certain things than they are. That’s a real turning point.”

 

Find complementary skills

For Michael Uytengsu, founder and CEO of Somersault Snack Co., that moment came sooner rather than later. When he was still getting the business off the ground in 2009, Uytengsu hired an executive who had worked at his family’s snack food business—National Pretzel Co.—to be his president. That decision, says Uytengsu, was made so that he could concentrate on securing financing for the Sausalito, California-based company (he worked for Salomon Brothers in the 1990s) and expanding its distribution,while his president managed day-to-day operations. “I don’t have the patience for the everyday issues and I knew that from the beginning,” he says.

 

Uytengsu is quick to add that although the decision to bring in other senior people to help him run the company was made early on, it was still a challenge for him. “I’m opinionated, but I wanted someone who had skills that would complement mine, and who still reported to me,” he explains. “It’s a difficult balancing act as an entrepreneur, but it’s the only way we could grow the business,” he says, noting that Somersault Snacks are now sold in 5,000 locations, including major retail chains like Whole Foods, Wegmans, and Caribou Coffee. Says Uytengsu: “There are some business owners who feel that they’re in the best position to make every decision about their company and they fail to share financial or strategy issues with their staff. The danger with that sort of approach is that it slows everything down. If I was the one who had to make every decision, that would create a huge stumbling block for getting things done.”

For more info, http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/community/running-your-business/generalbusiness/blog/2012/09/26/from-owner-to-ceo-how-to-grow-as-a-leader-along-with-your-company

 

How to Turn Resolutions into a Vision for Your Business

How to Turn Resolutions into a Vision for Your Business.What is it that separates the good small business from the great small business? Many things come into play:

Innovation: Better businesses tend to be more willing to innovate and try new things.
The team: When VCs invest in a startup, one of the most critical things they look at is the quality of the management team. Good ideas with a great team have a greater likelihood of getting funding than a great idea with a good team.

But probably the most important thing when it comes to going from good to great, or small to big, is this: Vision. The best businesses, big and small alike actually, are businesses that have a “Big Vision”.

In the video below, I sat down with some great small business owners who had some very specific ideas of what they wanted their business to accomplish this year. While I spoke with them around the first of the year and so their plans necessarily took the form of a New Year’s resolution, what was equally clear is that they had ongoing resolutions for their business. Their vision necessitated it. And the same should be true for you. Consider this: When he died, Joe Wilson, founder of Xerox (a company that was started with two people), was found with a small blue index card that he apparently had kept in his wallet. It said, in part, “To attain serenity through the leadership of a business which brings happiness to its workers, serves its customers and brings prosperity to its owners.”

That is one impressive corporate vision.

Or this: In 1945, Masaru Ibuka started a new company with $1,600 in the bombed-out basement of a department store in Tokyo – as bad a place and time to start a business as possible. Yet Ibuka quickly created a vision for his nascent company. Sony would be a place:

“Where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation.”
That would “pursue dynamic activities . . . for the reconstruction of Japan.”
That would “welcome technical difficulties.”

So having a vision about what you want your business to be is a necessary first step in creating the sort of business you really want. That said, and as we all know, business success takes a lot more than just having a grand vision.

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss.

The real key is that you need to have specific, realistic goals and steps to carry out that vision. After all, waxing rhapsodic about your dreams and grand plans is all well and good, but if that doesn’t relate to the actual day-to-day, nitty-gritty of running your business, then it really is all for naught.

And to do that, you need to make some real-world resolutions. Resolutions are the compass that guide your business towards your vision.

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If you are looking to create an exceptional business – one that makes a good profit and makes a big difference (however defined), then you need to have your own vision, and resolutions will allow you to head in the direction of that vision.

The good news is that it is never too late to come up with your own resolutions. Take a look at the video and see what sorts of goals these small business owners have for their business. Hopefully it will give you some ideas and prompt you to make your resolutions for your business.

Do that, and you are well on your way to having the business you long envisioned.

About Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss is one of the world’s leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. Steve is also the author of the Small Business Bible and his latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. A popular media guest, Steve is a regular contributor to ABC News Now and frequently appears on television and radio. His business, The Strauss Group, creates unique, actionable, entertaining, and informative multi-media small business content.

Five Secrets to Making Great Sales Presentations

Small business and sales go hand in hand. Indeed, it is impossible to be a small business owner without learning a thing or two about sales in the process. But that said, it doesn’t always follow that making sales comes easy, because for some people it most certainly does not.

The good news is that sales is one of those things that, even if it doesn’t come naturally, can be learned with a bit of effort. This is especially true for those all-important presentations. Small business folks make sales presentations all of the time, whether it is a pitch to a prospective client, a sales call, a speech, or a PowerPoint and/or Prezi presentation with all the bells and whistles, all of which begs the question:

Are there secrets to giving a great sales presentation?

You bet. This is something I study a lot – not only is giving speeches one of my own profit centers but in my line of work I am fortunate enough to get to meet and interview some of the top speakers and presenters out there.

Here are some top tips from the pros:

Peter Handal is the president, CEO and chairman of Dale Carnegie Training. You probably have heard the name Dale Carnegie from the bestselling book How to Win Friends and Influence People (over five million copies sold!). Carnegie was one of the best public speakers ever and today the company that carries his name trains millions of people across the globe. According to Handal, there are several things that go into making a great presentation:

Get to the Point: “Right from the start, state your main points in a direct way in order to best express your message.”
Be Confident: “Whether presenting a proposal or speech, by simply being confident in your convictions you can ensure to make a positive impact on your audience,” he told me. (And I will add, if you lack confidence, fake it till you make it).
Listen: “In order to become a great public speaker, one half of the battle is talking while the other half is being a good listener.”
Know Your Audience: “When giving a speech, I always wander around the audience before a talk, or do research on them before I present, so that I know who they are and what they’re interested in.”
Be Overly Prepared: “By doing your research and knowing the audience’s expectations, you will always be prepared to answer any questions they may have.”

And finally, here is a Carnegie tip that is worth its weight in gold: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”One of the best presenters I have ever met is super nice guy Tony Little. If you have ever been surfing TV at night and come across a pony-tailed, highly-enthusiastic man selling exercise equipment, that is Tony Little. How good is he? Little’s infomercials and stints on HSN have generated over $3 billion in sales (yes, that’s with a B.) So when he speaks about how to make a good presentation, we should listen.

Here is what he says: “Enthusiasm sells!” By watching Little on TV, you know he lives by this advice. He’s highly enthusiastic, and while that is of course a big part of his personality, Little says it is also a big part of his success. He suggests that being highly enthusiastic is infectious and that it infuses people with the confidence to buy from you.

Another one of the top presenters of our time was the late, great Steve Jobs. Jobs did all sorts of things well, and one of those was making presentations. In fact, one of the best books you can pick up on this subject is The

Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. It is chock-full of all sorts of good ideas, but two in particular warrant your attention right now:

Don’t stuff your deck with words: A Jobs keynote was conspicuous by the lack of words and bullet points in his PowerPoint presentations. What you saw instead where pictures, and even then, just a few. This forced people to pay attention to what he said and not be reading the slide.
Keep them in suspense: Jobs would always tease the audience and then say, “just one more thing” and then make the big pitch. Remember, a great presentation, like a great story, has a beginning, middle and end.

Which brings me to,

Tony Robbins. Somehow, some way, I ended up at a Tony Robbins event in the mid-80’s. At that event, he made me believe that I could walk on hot coals. And I did. To this day, I still don’t know how that happened.

But what I do know is that Robbins is a gifted presenter and salesman. Robbins says that a key ingredient to any great sales pitch is the story. “People love to hear stories,” he says, and if the story has a point relevant to the point you are trying to make, they will hang on your every word to hear the outcome.

And after that, they will end up buying from you (or maybe walking on 20 feet of burning embers) but either way, you will have made a great impression.

6 Reasons You Should Consider WordPress for Your Website or Blog

About four years ago, needing to redo my own website, I put out an RFP and received proposals from a lot of designers. I eventually settled upon the one guy whom I liked best and he recommended that we build the site using an underlying architecture, the Content Management System (CMS), with something called Drupal.

I learned at that point that there are no shortages of CMS systems available, all of which are designed to, essentially, allow you to easily update your website. For reasons too complicated to get into here, it turns out I hired the wrong guy, wasted a lot of money and time, and had to start over from scratch.

At that point, my assistant and content manager extraordinaire, Vivian, kept telling me that the obvious answer was to use something called WordPress. At the time, WordPress was gaining a reputation as an easy and powerful blogging platform which was, increasingly, being used to build websites too.

Long story short – we built it with WordPress and I couldn’t be happier. It was indeed simple and inexpensive

It’s no wonder then that WordPress has become a very popular choice for websites large and small. I knew that WordPress had reached the tipping point when not one, but two, of the major sites I write for (national and well-known sites and brands), redid their sites with WordPress.

So if you need to redo your site or, shame on you, create a site, then let me suggest that you follow the lead of the big boys (and small boys too) and consider using WordPress. Here are six reasons why:

1. Themes: Creating a website with WordPress is surprisingly easy. There are literally hundreds of themes to choose from and most are free. These themes can be used as is, or they can be customized. You can see some of the best themes here.

2. Web 2.0 Out of the Box: Far too many small business websites are boring cookie-cutter sites that look like they were built circa 2002 or so. In fact, many were. But, we are now living in the Web 2.0 era where people expect to see not only cool designs, but some site interactivity.

That is what you will get with a good WordPress theme: It will look and feel very current with slideshows, flash movies, blogs, video, comment options, advertising spots – the whole shebang.

You no longer need to be stuck with a drab site.

3. Great CMS: As indicated, CMS is the Content Management System. This is the backend tool that allows you to easily, in real time, add an article, blog, or video to your site without having to know code or hire a webmaster. Its WYSIWYG tool (pronounced ‘wissywig’ for What You See Is What You Get) is very reminiscent of any document creation software, like Microsoft Word. As such, the WordPress CMS is simple and intuitive and designed to make adding or changing content to a site a breeze.

4. Cost: Most WordPress themes are free, and those that are not cost less than $100, generally. Customizing your theme, if desired, is relatively easy.

5. Support: WordPress is open source software, meaning there is an army of developers who write code and improve it. As such, getting help is easy because so many people work with and know the program.

6. SEO: Maybe the best part of WordPress (although they are all best parts really) is that it makes Search Engine Optimization a snap. Built into the WordPress dashboard are SEO tools you can use to make sure your site shows up in your target audience’s search results. Your pages will be indexed correctly, your content will be chock-full of keywords and your site will be friendly to search engine spiders. How effortless is that?