How Small Business Can Use The Cloud To Avoid Liability Problems

You may have started your small business to enjoy the freedom to work and earn money in a way that suits your time restrictions and talents. However, as much as you probably enjoy owning and running your own company, you may also appreciate the liability issues you could potentially face as an entrepreneur.

Rather than risk your livelihood and your small business, you might want to consider ways that you can store your company’s information and protect yourself legally. When you use a data cloud, you could perhaps avoid these common liability challenges that come with owning and operating your own enterprise.

Inventory Losses

With most of your money tied up in your company’s products, it is vital that you keep an accurate record of your inventory. If you rely on old methods of record keeping, such as writing down product counts on paper or relying on outdated computer software to keep track of your sales and ordering, you could end up with inventory that is unaccounted for and money that is lost forever.

Rather than suffer such a financial loss to your business, you can keep better track of your products by storing your ordering and sales information in a data cloud. You can refer to this data file each time you need to refill your store or consider whether or not you can afford to purchase new items to sell.

Missing Tax Documents

You could go all year long never giving much thought to the documents you will need to file your annual taxes. However, when tax time arrives, you may scramble to gather all of this information if you kept these records stored in file cabinets or on outdated computers. When you want to have this vital information at your disposal immediately, you can have that satisfaction when you keep these records online. This information will be kept all year long and escape the risk of being compromised or lost.

Identity Theft and Data Breaches

Business owners who refuse to embrace new technology often put their customers’ sensitive information at risk. As hackers and identity thieves figure out how to compromise some commonly used forms of computer record storage, you can outsmart these felons by keeping your customers’ data stored safely in an online system.

Data cloud storage remains one of the most effective and indeed most secure ways to keep sensitive details safe from such risks. If you want to avoid having to deal with a significant data breach, you could do so by taking advantage of this form of virtual storage and even using it as a backup for other records that you may keep on hand for your company’s use.

Lawsuits and Allegations of Misconduct

While you may go out of your way to please your customers, you could at some point face allegations of fraud or misconduct. Rather than risk your company’s reputation and your own good name, you can defend yourself against such charges by keeping proof of all of your company’s transactions stored online. Along with sales, refunds, exchanges, orders, and other transactions, you may also be able to upload security footage from your business’s security cameras, as well as other surveillance that could be vital to protecting your reputation as a small business owner.

Small business owners like you may face liability issues that must be addressed thoroughly and competently. You can safeguard your enterprise and remain profitable by using a cloud to store your company’s information and data.


Small Business Marketing Tools to Get You Free Publicity

As far as small business marketing goes, free publicity is gold. It’s not just that you’re getting your company name to the public without having to pay for it; it’s that the news publicity – whether it’s in a magazine, newspaper, or online, weighs more heavily in your prospective customers minds. Even as skepticism reigns, people see information printed by news-type sources (whether in print or online) as being more truthful, more objective, than information that’s paid for by the company (advertising).

But simply sending out a press kit to your local news media won’t guarantee you that free publicity. The cardinal rule you have to follow is that your information must be newsworthy. One of the ways that news media keep their reputation as objective sources of information is that they are – they’re not going to print a thinly-veiled ad for your product or service as a news piece. But if you write a release that accomplishes both goals – offering the news media an interesting, informational story and letting potential customers get to know your product or service – that’s where free publicity really pays off.

To start, you need to develop a press kit as a standard component of your small business marketing materials. Your press kit should include:

Small business marketing press kit component 1: A letter to the editor of the newspaper (or magazine, or internet site) pitching your press release as a story idea. Many components of your press kit can be recycled, but the letter to the editor should change every time to send out a new press release.

Small business marketing press kit component 2: The press release. Your press release is where the journalist will look to find most of the information for her story. In the release, you should describe the news item (the launch of a new product that will revolutionize consumer’s lives, for example). Feel free to quote yourself and others in the press release expounding on the issue (that way the journalist won’t have to contact you or others for quotes when she’s writing the story).

Small business marketing press kit component 3: Your business card. Make it easy for the journalist to contact you.

Small business marketing press kit component 4: Your corporate bio. Journalists often like to add background information into their stories; make it easy by including a corporate bio that offers the important information about your business, including who founded it and when, location, and other interesting tidbits.

Small business marketing press kit component 5: Relevant photos. The keyword here is relevant: include photos of the topic your press release is about. If it’s a new product, offer some interesting photos. If it’s a new day care service, offer some pictures of the employees with the kids. Use photos that will make your story more compelling.

Small business marketing press kit component 6: Testimonials. It can be a great strategy to build quotations from current and past customers right into your press release. But even when you do that, don’t be shy about adding more.

Small business marketing press kit component 7: A data sheet for the relevant product or service. A data sheet with give the details about your product or service (that’s being covered in the press release). Relevant details include pricing, components, materials, size, weight, and part number – if applicable.

You should put all seven small business marketing components of your press kit into a folder – ideally one with your logo on the front to finish off the presentation.

Once you’ve created an appropriate small business marketing press kit, you can think about the kind of media outlets that you want to target. That small business marketing decision should be based on where your customers are – are they online, reading the local daily, or a national newsmagazine? Free publicity won’t mean much if it’s not picked up by your target audience – your prospective customers.

Once you’ve decided the media outlet that you want to target, find out who the managing editor is and send a personalized press kit to her. Or, if the publication is very large, send a personalized press kit to the journalist in charge of your area (for example, the Food journalist if your product is gourmet brownies or the Technology journalist if your product is computer software). You can also send out a press release for mass distribution using one of many online press release wires.


Free Small Business Marketing Ideas – Are Any Worthwhile?

Free small business marketing ideas: Sounds great, but like almost everything else, does “free” mean worthless?

I am asked this question often. People have a small enterprise of some sort and are afraid of its stagnating, of staying where they are. As a matter of fact, with the world economy in tatters like it is right now, can it get worse and thus make their revenues even smaller?

Yes, things can get worse, much worse, but that is not in the scope of this article. You have a product or service that you are selling and you want to sell more of it.

If you sell something that you manufacture: Here are some things for you to consider before examining any free small business marketing ideas:


  • Can you handle a large increase in orders?
  • Do you require a great deal of lead time to train new employees if your online ideas skyrocket and you need to hire?
  • I am sure you would want to keep increased sales in your pocket, not the pockets of employees, so, is there any product or service that would add value to what you are doing right now and that which would not require hiring?

The best small business ideas to increase any business involve affiliate marketing. Basically, you become a sales agent for someone else. If you sell bulldozers, you might become an affiliate for a company selling bulldozer garages or bulldozer trailers. If you own a corner convenience store, you might want to add a particular item to your inventory and go with Google Local Searches (it’s free and very effective). This also applies if you are a trades person or professional like a plumber, a nurse or a lawyer.

If you are selling something that someone else manufactures and you grow because of your hard work and cleverness, consider these possible problems as you build your free small business marketing ideas portfolio:


  • Do you have room and money to handle the extra inventory?
  • The subject of hiring creeps up again.
  • Can you handle the extra customer care issues like complaints and returns?
  • What if your supplier shuts down on you? Do you have a back-up plan?
  • And so forth. I’m sure you can think of many other possible problems.

Again, the affiliate business model is the best for you and I urge you to get more information on it. It is the wave of the future, risk is zero and the sky is the limit. Do some research on it and blend the concept into your small business ideas.

Here are some free small business marketing ideas to get you started:


  1. Register with Google Local Searches. (Free, easy to use and highly effective)
  2. Start a small news letter or online magazine (called an ezine) to give out handy tips on whatever kind of business you are in. They are easy to set up if you offer a free incentive for people to sign up for it and put out a free issue once a week, a month or whatever. A lawyer could give his readers information on the latest laws relating to his specialty like estate planning. A bulldozer dealer could give tips on the latest lubricants, environmental and labor laws for your area. People love these and you cannot believe the trust factor that the regular contact builds in your subscribers.
  3. Buy a video camera (a cheap one will do fine) and make your own informative videos on anything pertaining to your product or business. Offer them free on the internet or sell them. The choice is yours. A plumber might offer simple tips on how to repair a leak. If the reader can’t do it, you just picked up a service call. A bakery could offer free recipes or cooking classes. Why not charge for the video cooking classes? People love quality instruction in the comfort of their own homes. Be funny, don’t worry about mistakes and have fun.
  4. Go through your list of previous buyers and ask yourself this question: “If people who bought (whatever you are selling), what else might they be interested in?” If someone bought a used couch from your used furniture store, they might like to buy a book or eBook on furniture recovering or a catalogue of fabrics that you can be an affiliate for. Give people that “aha!” feeling and you will win their business for life.

An excellent example of what I am talking about is a lady I know who lives in a small town. She had a small business in her home where she sold health foods and vitamins. She built up a list of free small business marketing ideas, thought about what was her best marketing bet and set forth into the world with an open mind.

She found a manufacturer of quality equipment for older people that improves the quality of their lives. They also manufacture and sell high quality prostheses. She struck a deal with them, learned how to build a simple web site and learned the ways of the web. Now, she is earning in the low six figures. People come to her site, see what they want and order directly from the manufacturer. They ship, collect the money and handle all customer issues. It’s all on autopilot. This is affiliate marketing. Want free small business marketing ideas? There is an excellent example of the small business ideas you are looking for explained in two paragraphs.

Do the research.

In conclusion, there are many viable free small business marketing ideas. Marketing is important, but so are all the other things mentioned above like cost of inventory and so forth. If you are just starting, consider the above as you build your list of small business ideas.