Thanks to the internet, consumer behavior has dramatically shifted over the past decade - especially when it comes to searching for local businesses.
According to a recent survey by BrightLocal, 97 percent of consumers searched online for a local business in 2017, with 54 percent searching at least once per month, and 12 percent searching daily for local services, shops, and suppliers.
A key aspect of this growth in online searches for local businesses is the widespread ownership of 'smart' mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that allow users to connect to the internet anywhere, at any time. The Pew Research Center reports that 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone, up from 35 percent in 2011.
Location-Based Search Results Drive Local Traffic
Because smart mobile devices have built-in GPS trackers, Google and other search engines have adapted their algorithms to ensure that consumers who search for a business on their phone or tablet are automatically directed to verified companies that are located nearby.
If you've ever used the 'near me' feature on Google's search engine or Google Maps, you've already discovered how an online search can help drive traffic towards local businesses, and chances are good you actually visited one of the businesses you searched for - and made a purchase. According to Google, "76 percent of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day, and 29 percent of those searches result in a purchase."
The Most Searched-For Local Businesses on Google
Consumers tend to turn to localized searches when they need a product or service right away - categories like restaurants, coffee shops, and bars rank among the top local searches, while real estate agents, contractors, and gyms are also popular.
Other businesses that benefit from local search traffic include farms, dog walkers, and food trucks, as well as daycare services, clothing retailers, lawyers, dentists, and doctors. Simply put, the same kinds of businesses that used to see significant traffic from ads in the Yellow Pages and local newspapers 25 years ago are now benefiting from location-based internet searches.
If your business caters to consumers and clients in your neighborhood, focusing your marketing efforts on local online search could provide a great return-on-investment for your company.
When an employee does a good job, it's only natural that you want to show your appreciation. But it's important to be careful about how you express yourself. You can't go up to an employee and say something like, "Oh wow! You did such a great job on this project. I love you so much!" and give him or her a hug. You need to tone it down — a lot. Avoid a potentially awkward situation by using one of our suggestions to let your employees know how much you appreciate them.
Take Your Employees to Lunch
Everyone loves food. So why not take your employees to lunch as a sign of appreciation? If an employee does a good job on a special project, reward him or her with lunch — just make sure you listen more than you talk so he or she can tell you really care.
Do you have a team that's been exceeded expectations lately? Take them out to lunch. It's a great way to get out of the office and bond with other team members in a more casual atmosphere.
Celebrate Small Accomplishments
If you only celebrate the big accomplishments, your employees might not realize just how much the job they do matters. Consider sending monthly recap emails that feature all of the good things that happened within your company the previous month — make sure to do a shout out to anyone who has done an above-average job. If you have the time, consider having a small celebration for employees. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant. You could simply have a small lunch buffet on-site or have a sundae bar after normal lunch hours — you provide the ice cream and toppings and your employees can decide what type of sundae they want.
Start an Employee of the Month Program
Implement an Employee of the Month program that rewards exceptional work. Let your employees nominate each other for the award. Then, make an announcement at the beginning of the month telling everyone who gets the honor of being Employee of the Month. Be sure to include a reward with your announcement. A gift card or small plaque would work well.
Remember, you don't have to have some elaborate celebration to show your employees how much you care. If done consistently, little signs of appreciation go a long way.
If you're like many professionals, you spend a significant portion of your day sitting at a desk. According to research, that's a problem.
In fact, multiple studies have linked a sedentary lifestyle with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Not surprisingly, sitting all day is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity.
Fortunately, even if you have a desk job, you may not be desk-bound. Standing desks are becoming an increasingly popular choice among office workers, offering a host of benefits.
Reduces Lower Back Pain
Sitting for hours puts a lot of stress on the body. If you suffer from back and leg pain, then you've likely noticed that the longer you sit, the more uncomfortable you feel. According to a study conducted by the CDC in 2011, standing can reduce back pain by 54 percent. Standing also promotes better circulation, helping to prevent leg pain.
Prevents Neck Strain and Decreases Headaches
If you're sitting in front of a computer monitor all day, then you probably find yourself straining your neck towards your monitor. This causes your spine to curve into a "C" shape, which has both short-term and long-term problems like disc damage, shoulder pain, pain in your neck, and headaches. When you stand, you restore a healthy "S" shape to your spine, reducing pain through your back, neck, and head.
Standing burns more calories and requires that the body put forth more energy, but that doesn't mean that your energy levels will take a hit. In fact, because standing promotes better circulation and allows your body to take in more oxygen, you feel better for longer. Simply standing while you work can give you the energy boost equal to a cup of coffee, without the crash that comes later.
Unsurprisingly, that energy boost leads to greater productivity. A study conducted by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health showed that just by standing rather than sitting, office workers can improve their productivity by as much as 46 percent.
It's Part of a Robust Wellness Program
Many employers have recognized that implementing a wellness program that support workers' physical and mental health not only creates a better work environment, but it can help reduce out-of-control healthcare costs, employee absenteeism, and diminished productivity. Transitioning to standing desks can drastically cut down on the number of hours that employees spend sitting, helping to prevent serious health problems.
These are just a few of the many benefits that standing desks provide for office workers. While there are special considerations that need to be made (for example, hours of standing in place can result in foot and joint problems) making this transition and reducing the number of hours that you or your employees spend sitting is a simple way to boost morale and promote a healthy lifestyle.
If you're company has staff meetings, you know all too well how quickly these regular meetings can become boring, unproductive, and a real drag on employee morale. The good news is that with a little creativity, you can transform your typical meetings into original, exciting events that deliver real results for your business.
Here's some tips you can use to make your next meeting more productive and original:
Try Standing Up
With the growing awareness about the health hazards of sitting for long periods, more and more companies are looking for ways to get their employees out of their chairs while on the job - that's why standing meetings are quickly becoming the norm at a number of companies.
According to Neal Taparia, Co-CEO of Image Easy Solutions, making the switch to standing meetings not only gave their employees a health boost, but it also cuts the amount of time spent in meetings by 25 percent. Taparia observed that standing during meetings helped to eliminate typical distractions, such as the temptation to use a handheld electronic device, which in turn made the meetings more productive.
Change The Venue
Another way to make your next meeting more original is to get outside of the boardroom and head to another venue, whether that's a different office, coffee shop, or local park. Switching up the routine by meeting somewhere that's out of the norm is a great way to re-set your staff team and give everyone a much-needed change in their daily work lives.
If your company budget allows, consider holding a meeting at a local restaurant - many have private rooms that can be blocked off for events. Another option is to blend your meeting with a team-building event like a game of mini-putt, bowling, or other fun activity.
Bring In A Guest
Guest speakers can add a fresh perspective, transforming your typical meeting into an event. Look for guests who your team might not normally have the chance to meet in person, such as a supplier who you only speak with on the phone, or a customer who uses your products or services on a regular basis.
The Durango Chamber of Commerce
The Durango Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that promotes and supports the local business community through communication, advocacy, education, leadership and financial viability.