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    • By Alex
      Interesting article on Search Engine Journal about the importance of business reviews. Your business listing is prompted up with more positive reviews which is especially important for local area search.
      Google Local Search Study: Businesses on First Page Have an Avg. 4.4 Star Rating

      Businesses ranking on the first page of Google local search results have an average review rating of 4.42 stars.
      This information was revealed in a recent study from BrightLocal which examines Google reviews and how they relate to local rankings.
      A high star rating was found to strongly correlate with better rankings in Google search.
      Businesses ranking in the top 3 positions are more likely to have an average star rating of 4-5 stars (64% of businesses have 4-5 stars).
      Out of those ranking in positions 7-10 59% of were found to have a 4-5 star rating.
      Only 20% of businesses in positions 1-3 were found to have no Google reviews, compared to 26% of businesses in positions 7-10.
      Those numbers stress the importance of having a favorable star rating when it comes to ranking well in Google local search.
      Positive reviews send signals to Google that the business is trustworthy and provides a good experience for customers.
      Therefore, Google will be more likely to direct people toward those businesses when searching for what they offer.
       
      Other Key Findings from the Study
      Only 5% of businesses have an average star rating below 3 stars
      Photographers, alternative therapy businesses, and marketing services have the highest average star ratings
      Senior living services, car dealerships, and hotels have the lowest average star ratings
      Bars, restaurants, and hotels are the industries that are most likely to have Google Reviews
      Accountants are the least likely industry to have reviews on Google
      Results from this study are based on the analysis of 93,000 businesses’ Google reviews in 26 industries.
      Another recent study from Moz further illustrates the growing importance of Google My Business signals in local search results.
       
      Article: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-local-search-study-businesses-on-first-page-have-an-avg-4-4-star-rating/279895/
    • By mspecperformance
      I absolutely can't stand that company. They are the leader in the market (auto repair shop management software) and arguably the biggest company however move at a snail's pace when it comes to making any sort of productivity or efficiency changes. They know they have a lock on their subscribers so they are just milking the cows for all they are worth. Even through that annoyance the most annoying thing is their billing department. I have heard horror stories from others but from my experience they are absolutely garbage. I had a QB integrator on the account that I had tried to cancel multiple times. I kept on getting billed for it even though it showed in their records that I had cancelled months prior. 
      I can't wait to move on from these turds.
       
      /end rant
    • By mspecperformance
      Channeling some more knowledge from the gurus, wanted your take on this guys.
       
      Last year we moved to our new location which is about a mile or so from our old location in the neighborhood over. I am located in New York City so being one neighborhood away is almost like being another town over for those who don't live in a big metro area. Anyway I have not really done a great job in making our presence known in the area. Even at my old shop we didn't proactively go out and meet other local businesses and introduce ourselves.
       
      I've recently ramped up our "brand recognition" efforts by getting shirts and polos printed up with our logo embroidered. I know probably baby steps for you most of you guys but its little thing we are catching up on now! I've also recently hired a new tech whom is short on common sense but is a wiz at being a theory mechanic and is really a step ahead on the customer service/manners department. Hes from the south so his manners are a breath of fresh air and I have gotten more comments about how much they like my new guy in 2 months than my guys who have been with me for 5+ years!
       
      I am basically thinking about taking my new tech on a mini campaign to hand out cards and introduce ourselves with the local business (restaurants, bakeries, cleaners, deli, nail salons, etc). I was also thinking of introducing ourselves with some of the shops in the area. We are German car specialists with a full service shop with tire and alignment capabilities. A lot of shops could potentially be great sources of referrals or farmed out business as a lot of shops don't have alignment machines and the ability to really work on BMW/Mercedes/Audi etc.
       
      My question to you folks is what do you think is best way to approach these businesses? Should I send a specific message to them? Do I do more than just give them a few cards? Do I pitch an incentive program?
       
      What has worked for you guys?
    • By AutoShopOwner
      Most business owners subscribe to the thought that you "must spend money to make money". This can be true, but you also must know exactly where that money is going and the results it brings. A small business owner never has any money to waste.
       
       
      Some ways that your business might waste money includes the following:
       
       
       
       
       
      1. Manage your credit cards - If you have several cards, develop a computer program that will show you the exact balances, due dates, and the interest rate you are paying. Always be aware of other solicitations that save you money and possibly change your balances over to a new company. If you have any employee cards, see if you can set a limit on them. If not with the credit card company, make sure that the employees know their limits. Manage your credit cards wisely and never, ever miss a due date.
       
       
      2. Develop an annual plan so you know where you will spend money. This helps you in several ways. The business person will be aware of what portion of the profits are going to advertising, towards incentives, towards accounting and other internal expenses, etc.
       
       
      3. Do not over-purchase any products or services for a business. If you buy in bulk, the money is tied up and a place must be provided to keep the extras. That might be an unnecessary expense.
       
       
      4. Developing an advertising budget and knowing just what resources to use is key to keeping money under control in a small business. You must advertise, but you also must get value for your money or you will soon be out of business. Keep a record of how much is spent, can you get payment terms, when is the most efficient time to advertise your particular product or service to get the most value for the dollar. Every dollar must be accounted for in advertising because the lifeline of your business depends on new and paying customers. Advertising is the way to get the word out to the community or the Internet.
       
       
      5. A small business owner will sometimes be under self-induced stress to manage all aspects of the business. Sometimes, leaving the control and decisions to others that are qualified is the best way to manage the business. Releasing control may be hard to do sometimes, but in a lot of businesses, money can be wasted because the owner cannot possibly be as efficient as the person who has studied or is knowledgeable about a particular field. For instance, if a business owner does not know accounting, many mistakes in reporting income and taxes can be made. A qualified accountant can possibly save more than the cost of their services in reduced taxes.
       
       
      Take a hard look around your business and do not let anything be set in stone if saving money is the goal. Challenge everything that will cost money and see what can be done to change the situation. Any money that is saved is money that can be put back into the business either in profits or in growth.
       
       
      A business owner wants their business to be successful and will work hard to sustain growth. A business owner wants a way to continue making and growing money from a product or service that is interesting to them. After growing a business and being smart with cash flow, many business owners will sell their businesses only to start another business.
       
       
      The reason is that business owners are independent types and challenges are rewarding when met and faced. Saving money through every day operations will help the business owner to meet their financial and emotional goals.
       
       
       
       
      View the full article
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