How To Market Your Small Business Locally

Unless you are specifically choosing to market to a huge audience right from the start, when you run a small business, it’s often better to start with your local community, even if you’re only selling online and don’t have a physical store in the area. If you do have a store, it’s even more important to use your local area in your marketing practices; now more than ever in the last few decades, local business is something that more people want to support, so it’s a good idea to use what you have and create a marketing campaign around it.

Marketing locally doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself and your business. It simply means that you have a sure footing to launch a wider campaign from, and by establishing yourself as the leader in your sector and being part of your local community, you can more easily fend off competition. Read on to find out how to market your small business locally and make the most of your hometown.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | How To Market Your Small Business Locally

Use Local SEO

SEO is crucial for any business, and getting it right is one of the most important elements of any marketing campaign. This is why it can often be a good idea to go to a white label agency for advice and to outsource your SEO entirely. No matter who creates your SEO and the strategy behind it, however, making sure that local interest is piqued is going to have to be a part of it.

When writing your blog posts, social media posts, and other content, use your local area. Talk about why you love it, what it has to offer, how much your business could improve the lives of those who live there, and more. SEO revolves around keywords, and although they must be relevant to what you’re selling, and to the phrases that people will search for, try to incorporate your town within them.

Use It In Your Brand

When you want to attract customers from your local area, you can use that area in your branding (although be careful of copyright and make sure you are completely in line with all laws and regulations when you do so). The name of the town in your brand name can work well, announcing that you are local and proud of it. Or you might take one element that the town is famous for (a particular tree, a historical figure, a view, and so on) and include this in your branding.

Although this is a great idea to gain more local interest, it should be used with caution – if you want to expand your business at a later date, anything that is too specific might work against you, putting people off the idea of working with you or buying from you because they don’t realize you can help them. Assuming you want to grow your business in other areas, try to be subtle when using your local town in your branding.

Be Part Of The Community

It won’t help your business if you play on the fact that you are local but you are never seen in the community, and you are never a part of what is happening. The more you can be part of the community itself, the more your business will be remembered, and the more likely it is that people will want to buy from you.

One way to do this is to organize local events. Although this will cost you money, it will give you a good standing in the community and it will set you apart from your competition. Events could include a local fair, a fun day, or perhaps a workshop wherein you show your skills and have community members try their hand at whatever it is you do too. Not only is this fun, but it will show them that you have the talent to help them.

If you run a business that has no tangible product, then sponsoring an event is a good idea too. You can also sponsor a local sports team, and your name will be seen every week when they play or practice as it will be on their uniforms and even around the field they’re playing on. Think about the things that happen in your community; how can your business be part of that?

Comment On Social Media

Social media is a huge force when it comes to advertising, but users are becoming savvier, and they don’t necessarily like to see adverts taking up their feeds. Because of this, businesses need to think differently, and one way to advertise your business without actually creating adverts is to comment on other people’s posts.

Facebook offers the perfect platform for this. You can create a business page and then, commenting as that page, you can write thoughtful, helpful, or interesting comments on other local businesses’ pages, or join in with discussions that relate to local events. Just make sure you are always polite and think before you post because one wrong post on social media can be a disaster.

Florida criminal record check: Decoding the Legal Rights!

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article |Criminal Record Check|Florida criminal record check: Decoding the Legal Rights!‘You lose nothing in proving your innocence. However, you may lose trust and confidence by not!’

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), in 2018, there were more than 80,000 violent crimes and approximately 485,000 property crime cases in the state. With such a high crime rate, it is not surprising that various people, especially employers, are demanding a criminal record check.

However, not many people are aware that they can quickly get access to the information of any person from the FDLE. All you have to do is request the information you need from the Division of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) and pay the required fees. [ Section 943.053, F.S. ]

Needless to say, it is a commendable service provided by the FDLE to the public seeking crucial information.

But, we can’t ignore that laws can get complicated, particularly those related to crime. Generally, numerous questions surround the rules, and it is not easy to get the answer to each one of those questions. You require plenty of time and dedication to learn everything efficiently, which you might not have.

That’s why we have gathered some essential questions and provided their answers in simplified language. Are you ready to learn? Let’s get started!

Criminal record check and a background check: Are They Similar?

Let us begin with the basics. Do you think criminal record investigation and background checks are the same thing? If yes, then we would like to correct you. Both of these terms are different. However, just like you, several other people also use these terms interchangeably.

Confusing? Wait, let us clear your cloud of confusion!

To check someone’s background (which generally a company does before recruiting any person) means checking their credit history, driver record, or asking their previous employer and neighbor about them. In simple terms, collecting general information.

Perhaps, let’s talk about the criminal record check. It means investigating if the person has committed a crime, whether or not he/she has ever been arrested or if they have been involved in fraudulent activity of any kind. Basically, investigating every police record.

Also, keep in mind that it is a part of the background check and not the background check itself.

What does it include?

As per the Florida laws, there are two levels of investigation:

Level 1: It includes state records, i.e., local criminal history. It is based on the offender’s name and may also have a national sex offender registry or employment history.

Level 2: It includes the national records, i.e., based on the fingerprint and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Moreover, according to section 435.04 F.S., it is mandatory to perform a fingerprint background check on the employees for every company.

Requirements for state history record check and national history record check
Now that you know about availing information from FDLE let us brief you about the requirements.

For state check: To get the information, you need to submit the person’s name request and fingerprint card. Bear in mind that you need to add a return address, the name of the person you want to get information about, age, race, sex, and social security number (if possible). You can submit the request using online mode and by paying the fees.

For national check: As per the law:

  • Only a government organization can get the receipt of history.
  • You need to sign the user agreement (meaning you comply with the FBI’s said terms and conditions).
  • Need to process the fingerprints from the state repository before requesting national records.
  • Need to submit specific documents and licenses as requested.

Who is allowed to request a criminal history check?

No other entity except the government can request for national history record investigation. On the other hand, for state history records, companies (both public and private) and citizens have the right to request information. To be specific, it includes:

  • Convenience store/ grocery store
  • Employees
  • Taxi drivers
  • Any organization employing a person for the care of children, elders, or disabled (as per the provision of the National Child Protection Act).

Why does the employer ask for a background check?

For every business owner, it is crucial that every person working for him/her feel protected. But how will you ensure the protection of your employees? One of the ways is by getting a background check. It will ensure that there are no threats in the organization due to any person.

Besides, the state laws also make it mandatory for every organization to get a background check before hiring any new person.

How can you seal and expunge your criminal record?

But, what if you had a criminal record in the past? Even if it were a false accusation, it would be in your record for the rest of your life. That’s why the experts at recommend sealing and expunging your record when you can. However, first, you have to make sure that you qualify for the sealing.

If you qualify, you need to provide the court’s certificate of eligibility while applying for the petition. You can get the certificate from the FDLE, and it will be valid for one year only. Once the judge approves your petition, your record will be sealed or expunged.

What charges cannot be sealed or expunged?

That’s right! Not every offense can be sealed or expunged. You must be wondering what these offenses are? Well, these are as follows:

  • Child abuse
  • Manslaughter (homicide)
  • Robbery/ Home invasion
  • Domestic violence
  • Arson (setting the property on fire)

These are punishable offenses, and it is crucial for any person with such allegations to stay far away from their loved ones.

What is the difference between a sealed record and an expunged record?

Generally, both of these terms are used to imply the deletion of the records. However, there is a significant difference between the two. To expunge a record means criminal charges are entirely deleted, both legally and physically. On the other side, to seal a record means that it will exist in the legal document and is accessible to the court.


Laws are complicated and need a lot of time. That’s why many people avoid getting into the details. But how can one forget that law is for our protection, and it is vital to understand them? Hence, to help you get familiar with Florida criminal law, we answer the most significant questions. So that you know what to do if you ever face any situation related to violating the laws.

How To Secure Business Financing After Declaring Bankruptcy

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Business Financing|How To Secure Business Financing After Declaring BankruptcyPitching to banks and investors to get funding for a new business is always daunting, but it’s particularly scary if you’ve already had a failed business and declared bankruptcy in the past. You can be sure that investors will do their homework and they’ll know all about it, so there’s no point trying to hide it. A lot of people assume that having a failed business in the past means that nobody will touch you but that isn’t the case. In fact, a lot of the most successful business people in the world have had failed business and declared bankruptcy before they landed on an idea that took off. Investors understand this and they are willing to take a chance on people, even if things haven’t worked out in the past. However, it is more difficult to convince them that their money is in good hands.

There are a number of concerns that investors may have and you need to address them. Firstly, they will worry about why the first business failed and whether it was down to poor management. Secondly, they will want to know about outstanding debts. If your new business is very similar to the old one, creditors may be entitled to collect debts from it, which is a big problem for investors. If your new business looks quite similar to the old one, you also need to help them understand how things will be different this time and how you will avoid another failure. Addressing all of these issues can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Here’s how to secure investment for a new business after declaring bankruptcy.

Focus On Your Business Plan

Your business plan is more important than ever if you have already had failed business ventures in the past. Any lenders will want to know exactly how you plan to spend the money that they give you and what specific steps you will take to grow the business and return their investment to them. Banks will want a clear plan for exactly how you are going to repay any loans that they give you, so it’s vital that you can prove you have thought about every tiny detail of your new business. You can find some great templates for business plans online, which will help make sure you haven’t missed out anything important and keep everything well organized. When writing your business plan, you must be specific about the numbers because this is what lenders will be really interested in, considering your previous business failures. Although you are pitching the product, it’s vital that you demonstrate a clear understanding of the finances if you want to inspire confidence in investors.

Approach Private Investors First

Although some banks will still lend to you, private investors are more likely to take a chance on your new business, so you should focus on them first. They have more control over their money than a loan approval officer has over the bank’s money, so they can make that judgment call and decide to back your business even if it doesn’t seem like a good idea on paper. You will also find that if you can secure partial investment from a private party, this drastically increases your chances of being approved for a bank loan because you are not asking for as much.

Search For A Business Partner

Having a failed business and declaring bankruptcy in the past presents two major problems; the first is that you have a terrible credit rating, which means that banks and private investors are naturally cautious about lending to you and many people will reject you immediately when they run a credit check on you. The second problem is that people will assume that you lack business skills. You tried to start a business on your own and ended up bankrupt, so the evidence would suggest that you are not capable. There are, of course, other factors involved and you should explain these to potential investors, but it’s still likely that they will have concerns about your skills as a business person.

You can address both of these issues if you search for a business partner. If you are able to find a partner with good credit, you improve your situation immediately and with them listed as co-owner of the business, your chances of getting a loan shoot up. If your business partner has a good track record and a lot of experience, that works in your favor too. The investors are a lot more confident because it’s not just you that’s running the business, you have an experienced, successful partner to help you manage the workload, meaning you’re more likely to make it work.

However, you should be very careful when choosing a business partner to work with. Find somebody that is equally as passionate about the product but, most importantly, somebody that is on the same page in terms of the future direction of the business. When you start having fundamental disagreements about where your business is headed, you’re in big trouble. You need to think about what your relative strengths and weaknesses are too so you can choose a partner that compliments your skill set. If you’re a marketing whiz but you struggle to get to grips with the accounts, there’s no sense partnering with somebody that has spent their entire career working in marketing. Instead, you need a partner that knows the financial side of business inside out.

Put More Of Your Own Money In

This one might be tricky if you are already in a tough financial position but it really helps if you can invest more of your own money. If you are willing to back the business yourself, it shows that you are confident about it and that plays well with investors. If you’re not willing to risk that much of your own money, why should they risk theirs?

If you are struggling to raise any of your own money to put in, you should consider holding off for a while. It’s not a good idea to start a business when you are in a precarious financial position because, if it doesn’t work out, you’re in serious trouble. It might be best to spend a few years restoring your credit rating and building a healthy savings account. This will reduce the risk on your part and make it easier to secure financing.

Look For Alternative Financing Options

Banks and private investors are the most common ways to finance your business, but there are alternatives you should consider if you are struggling.

Crowdfunding, for example, is a very popular way of funding a new company these days and many successful businesses have started out this way. If you didn’t already know, crowdfunding works by asking lots of people to put a small amount into a business idea, usually with the promise of a finished product or access to exclusive content once the business is up and running. This allows you to pitch your business without any financial risk and people are more likely to back you because you’re only asking for a small amount. However, crowdfunding sites have become very popular and they’re incredibly competitive. If you stand any chance of getting the required amount, you must invest time and money in creating a high quality pitch with video demonstrations of your products. If you are going to try crowdfunding, manage your expectations and remember that your product could get lost amongst the thousands of others on crowdfunding sites.

Peer to peer lending is another alternative funding source that you might want to consider. These platforms connect investors with people that are in need of loans, and many of those investors are more willing to overlook poor credit ratings. Again, you are not guaranteed to get a loan this way but many struggling business owners find that it is a good place to find potential investors.

Depending on where you live, you might also be entitled to a small business grant or loan through a scheme of some kind. These grants are created by local authorities to encourage new businesses to open in the area. If you can get a grant, you won’t need to pay it back, which is a huge bonus for a new business that doesn’t have much money. Even if you do have to pay your loan back, the interest rate will be very reasonable and some may not charge any interest at all.

A lot of people give up after their business venture fails and they are forced to declare bankruptcy. They assume that nobody will ever finance them again and it’s too much of a risk to open a new business. But if you have a great business idea, you should take a chance on it because there are still ways to secure financing. As long as you learn from the mistakes that you made the first time around, you stand a good chance of making your new business work. Just follow these tips and you can get the financing you need.

Helpful Tips To Make Shipping Orders From Your at-Home Business Easier

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |At-Home Business|Helpful Tips To Make Shipping Orders From Your at-Home Business EasierRunning a home business is challenging enough as it is, but when you have to ship physical products around the world from your own home, it can further complicate things and create a surprising number of problems. So to give you a hand, we’ve put together some helpful tips that will assist you in shipping orders from your at-home business.

Stock up on wholesale mailing and packaging goods

First, make sure you stock up on different mailing and packaging goods at home. The last thing you want to do is buy single boxes or small quantities of packaging materials. It’s expensive and you’ll save a lot of money buying bulk bubble mailers and other mailing goods. This is a great way to cut costs, but it also means you’re less likely to run out at an inopportune time.

But try out different varieties before you buy in bulk

There are also lots of different mailing goods available, such as different kinds of boxes and packaging materials. If you want to protect the stuff you’re sending, make sure you try different kinds of packaging goods first before you commit to a bulk purchase.

Use the smallest packaging possible to save on costs

A little tip to help you save on packaging costs is to get the smallest boxes possible that can contain your items yet also offer enough protection to ensure they don’t get damaged in transit. The goal here is to go for a size that is small enough so that you don’t pay extra shipping costs on a large box. This can be difficult if you send a variety of products, so it’s not a tip that every business can use.

Ensure your items are packed safely with plenty of protection

We’ve briefly mentioned protective materials already but we believe that it deserves a more detailed description. Packaging materials come in many different shapes, sizes and materials. The key here is to ensure that it’s economical, not troublesome for the buyer (such as loose foam or packaging that makes a mess), and can potentially be reused if the buyer was to send their own items in the future.

Find the cheapest and most reliable postage services

A great way to trim shipping costs is to look for cheap and reliable postage services. Yes, they do exist, and it’s important that you get a quote from a variety of different shipping companies to see who you can work with. This isn’t an easy or short process, but the idea is to find a reliable shipping company that you can create a working relationship with so you can start doing bulk deliveries which cut down the cost of shipping.

Decide what extras you’re going to include

Lastly, decide beforehand what kind of extras you’ll include with each order. Just sending your customer’s items is fine, but adding a flyer, business card, or even little goodies such as stickers can be a great personalized addition that sets you apart from the competition.

The Ultimate Guide to Upgrading Office Space on a Budget

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Office Space|The Ultimate Guide to Upgrading Office Space on a BudgetWhile there are several appealing benefits of upgrading your business’s office space, you may be dreading the high costs of renovating and investing in new office equipment. However, even though you will need to spend on certain items, there are effective ways to upgrade your office without spending a small fortune in the process. Therefore, before you start replacing printers and moving furniture around, here’s how you can upgrade your office space on a restricting budget.

Focus on Functionality

When it comes to evaluating your current office equipment condition, you should consider functionality and quality as primary factors. Instead of opting for the most affordable printer, scanner, copier, or any other essentials, you should evaluate printing solutions that offer multifunctional devices. You can find duplex scanners and multifunctional printers at that will streamline processes and help you save substantially in the long run. Quality is a factor that will ensure you don’t have to spend extra on replacing devices regularly over time. Upgrading the equipment in your office will be the main cost when improving your office space.

Decor Details That Enhance the Atmosphere

Professionals won’t be as productive and happy if they work within a space that feels cold, concrete, and suffocating. Therefore, upgrading your office space can be done by making small changes to the decor details. Adding a few vibrant plants, painting offices, and putting up a few canvas prints can truly transform any space. You don’t have to spend a fortune either, as decorating on a budget is a widespread practice.

Adjust the Spatial Arrangement

The spatial arrangement of equipment and furniture will have a massive impact on your office’s overall appeal and productivity. Therefore, merely adjusting your office layout is a method of upgrading that won’t cost you anything other than effort. When changing your office space’s spatial arrangement, it is best to draft a layout design on paper, which will enable you to give each employee adequate space and privacy while also determining each item’s best place to enhance productivity and overall functionality.

Promote Modern Workplace Culture

Modern workplace culture focuses on ensuring employee needs are met. As a result, ideal work culture can improve productivity and motivation by enhancing employee positivity. To achieve a modern workplace culture, you should focus on improving employee engagement and ensuring your team is comfortable enough to move around the office freely. Fostering collaboration and communication are also crucial components in creating a modern work culture. This office space upgrade also won’t cost you anything as you will be making changes that improve the atmosphere within your business. Empowering employees is another way to achieve a modern workplace culture that boosts productivity to fuel business growth and success. Because your employees are at the core of business functions, caring for their needs and enhancing the environment to create an ideal working space should be a priority for all businesses.