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30 Do’s And 20 Don’ts In Starting A Small Business

Small scale businesses are easier to set up compared to the middle or large scale businesses that require more time, feasibility reports, ad...

Monday, July 15, 2019

Women Entrepreneurs - 5 Fatal Errors To Avoid When Starting A Business

It never ceases to amaze business owners how some seemingly simple decisions, made during the early years of their business startup, can become fatal errors down the road. After meeting with many business owners across a broad spectrum of industries it's common to find them enduring the consequences of the same, or similar, errors over and over again. In most cases these early errors become very costly. In some cases they are fatal. Below are the 5 most common errors to avoid when starting a business.

1. The most common error to avoid is not doing the math.

While successful business owners need not have a PhD in Mathematics, they do need to know how to use the basic functions of a calculator. Every fourth grade student has learned the basic math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It's surprising to see how infrequently they are applied. Not doing the math can be the root cause of long term financial difficulties for business owners. Here are a few of the many ways:

* Offering an employee a salary without considering all of the associated costs of employment. Such costs include employer federal, state and local taxes, unemployment taxes, worker's compensation insurance, healthcare and other insurance premiums, retirement and incentive compensation, vacation and other forms of paid leave and benefits.

* Signing a lease for retail or office space without considering all of the associated costs of the lease and/or understanding what the relative market price per square foot is in the community. It is somewhat difficult to compare commercial rental space unless you break it down to the cost per square foot "fully loaded." This analysis requires addition, multiplication and division. However, it's important to understand that it is necessary to add up all of the costs associated with the rental space on a monthly basis (not just monthly rent), multiplying that figure by twelve and then dividing it by the number of square feet to obtain the "fully loaded cost per square foot." Armed with this information, the entrepreneur is able to compare apples-to-apples.

* Ignoring the total costs required to deliver the product or services offered by the business. If all the costs are not considered, the likelihood of a business being able to set the price for its product or services at a level that permits the business to earn a profit is a gamble at best. Pencil, paper, and the addition function on the calculator are what the entrepreneur needs to avoid this fatal error. It's really simple. Just do the math!

2. The second fatal error is offering equity without risk to friends and family members in an effort to entice them to become the business owner's partner.

While many friends and family may have proven to be loyal and responsible people, not all of them prove to be great entrepreneurs. And most of them make lousy partners. Not really nice to say, but true in most cases, nonetheless.

When starting out, many entrepreneurs find the journey frightening and feel that they "need" a partner to pull it off. In some cases, this is true. They recognize their own talents but understand they need the skills and talents of others to succeed in the long term. Where the business owner runs into trouble is when they find it comforting to search for that complementary talent among their lifelong friends, college roommates, or sister or brother-in-law.

And it creates an even more complicated situation when a business owner offers their friends and family the promise of equity without requiring them to assume risk. Risk comes in many forms. Risk may include cash to start and/or sustain the business, bank or lease personal guarantees, cash for payroll, working more than the typical 40 hours, and in some cases contributing sweat equity without compensation in any amount whatsoever until the company makes a profit.

If one partner is assuming such risks and other "partners" are not willing to do the same, then the unwilling partners are not partners at all. By offering them rights to company ownership, you are giving them equity without risk. If such an arrangement does not bother the entrepreneur initially, it will some day in the future. When it does, the feelings of frustration, disappointment, anger and betrayal will become a problem. It is better not to form partner relationships with others unwilling to share your risk.

3. The third fatal error is ignoring the Exit.

Most entrepreneurs learn and understand that when they start a business, it is in their best interest to protect their non-business assets such as their home, other real estate, and investments from potential creditors of their business. In the early days of forming a new business, it is typical for the business owner to meet with their attorney and form some type of entity to shelter this risk.

It is an exciting time for the entrepreneur. The days go by quickly as many hours are devoted mentally to the development of the business plan, name, logo, new relationships, etc. Much like the honeymoon for many newlyweds, the entrepreneur doesn't see how the exit should be carefully planned now. Not later.

If a "partner" has been brought into the business in the form of a shareholder in the case of a corporation, a partner in the case of a limited or general partnership, or a member in the case of a Limited Liability Company (LLC), now is the time to plan for the departure of the "partner." If the plan is to wait to negotiate the terms of departure until the time when it is needed, the experience will prove to be difficult, stressful, very expensive, and in some cases impossible to accomplish.

It is not unusual to find businesses operating with partners who have not spoken to one another for several decades. Often, the reason is rooted in the fact that they skipped the exit planning process when they formed the company. No thoughts were given to the possibility that one or more of the partners may not want to continue in the role as an owner or may become ill or incapacitated. Over time, life circumstances change for each individual partner and the perspective of each partner may shift. Partners who were in agreement in the beginning do not always see eye-to-eye over time. This is where trouble begins and is often very difficult to resolve.

4. The fourth fatal error is not practicing your ABC's.

Once again, applying what was learned in elementary school proves to be helpful when starting a business. The ABC acronym is useful to entrepreneurs whether they are seasoned veterans or in the start-up stages of their business.

A-B-C means: Always Be Counseled. When you are considering a legal agreement, written or oral, find competent legal and financial help. Don't skip this important step and wing it. If you take shortcuts, you will likely find yourself spending more time, money, and precious resources down the road to resolve problems. What initially may appear to be a simple contract may have serious, complicated consequences that the unsuspecting entrepreneur does not understand and/or anticipate. If you do not have an Attorney and CPA, ask other successful entrepreneurs to make a recommendation. Such professionals should be familiar and experienced in working with businesses like yours. Ask about the typical client for whom they work and be certain that the professional fits with who you are and what your business does.

A-B-C also means: Always have an A, B, and C plan. The sooner an entrepreneur begins to think in terms of planning in multiple scenarios, the better. But, before the business owner goes through the trouble of planning for the best outcome (the A plan), a good outcome (the B plan), and a workable outcome (the C plan), they should start at Disaster (the D plan). One may wonder, "why don't we call it the ABCD plan?" That is because, no one likes to think or talk about the "Disaster." The truth is, successful entrepreneurs think in those terms. Because if they do think about the absolutely worse-case scenario in the beginning (of a business venture or any other business challenge), then the rest is simple. A-B-and C just falls into place. If an entrepreneur is going to make it successfully to the end of the lifecycle in their business venture, they will face many obstacles. Obstacles become a way of life. The skills an entrepreneur needs to overcome the obstacles are borne from practicing the A-B-C plan. But remember, start at plan D.

5. The fifth fatal error is making promises you can't keep.

Most people do not know that a verbal promise is a valid contract. It's true and it can get the enthusiastic entrepreneur, particularly during the start-up stage in their business, into big trouble.
Most typically, business owners find themselves stepping on this landmine when they deal with employees. Promises made during the recruitment and/or employment term are carved in stone in the mind of that recruit or employee. Somehow, they never forget what was said to them. They may embellish it a bit, too. If stock or other form of ownership is mentioned to a recruit or an employee, and the business owner does not deliver on the promise, the likelihood of litigation increases dramatically. It won't happen immediately. Instead, it happens either when the employee hits bottom or when the entrepreneur succeeds.

There is an expression familiar to business owners who have dealt with the employee promises. And it goes, "what you have given, you can never take away." If the business owner does, they are the goat. Typical employee benefits offered to employees in addition to their salary are often invisible to the employees until they are taken away. Benefits such as health, disability and life insurance coverage, automobile access, vacation and/or paid time off, continuing education, and child care are very costly to the business owner. In some cases, the business owner adds employee benefits as the company stabilizes and begins to make a profit. These additions to an employee's compensation package may not have been initially included in the employee's Employment Agreement. It is the addition of the benefits that becomes one of those employee promises. As a business owner starts to hire employees and add benefits to their compensation packages, they should be very mindful of both the written and verbal promises made to avoid a fatal ending.

Many entrepreneurs enthusiastically share their business ideas with others before they officially form their entity and begin doing business. This can be a dangerous time if they discuss potential partnership opportunities with individuals and/or entities or share specific plans that would be considered intellectual property with others. During this time, the discussions may include the possibility of some form of shared ownership of the entity or concept. And ideas from both parties may be openly explored.

It is human nature that when a person hears about a great idea, their minds wonder off and recall how they thought of a similar strategy or opportunity. So, in a strange way, the idea "becomes" their own. The trouble starts when that idea comes to fruition by the entrepreneur and the person or entity-not involved in the project-believes it belongs to them. Just as in the case of the disgruntled or former employee or when the entrepreneur reaches a visible level of success, the conversations or discussions with those outside of the business become a promise that the entrepreneur never intended to make or intended to keep. It is imperative that any such discussion, during the pre-startup stage (and after the business commences for that matter) be protected with the appropriate confidentiality agreements to avoid a potential fatal error.

Whether you are just beginning to think about entrepreneurship or have your start-up underway, it is not too late to make the calculator your best friend and do the math, to chose carefully and structure your partner relationships, to plan for your exit from the entity and separation from any partners, to make a habit of practicing the ABC's of good counsel and contingency planning. And last, but certainly not least, make only those promises that can be kept.


New website Exitpromise.com has just joined the women entrepreneur network. This newly launched website promises to be ad-free, and provide insightful, original content to help all women business owners succeed. Join other successful women entrepreneurs to Build and Sell a Top-Dollar Woman Enterprise! At Exitpromise.com, you will find all the resources you need to share, learn, and grow your woman-owned business. Join today at http://exitpromise.com/

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

3 Keys To Being A Successful, Bodacious Woman In Business

Ah, how exciting it is to start your own business and be free of the corporate life! Many women--to the tune of 10.6 million according to the Center for Women's Business Research--have cut the strings to an employer's schedule and agenda to set their own direction. By starting their own business they are their own boss and proud of it! You may know a woman who owns her own business or you may be one yourself. One in eleven adult women is an entrepreneur!

Every woman who follows her inner voice and takes the plunge of starting a business is bodacious. Bodacious means to be bold, outstanding, and gutsy. From my ten years rising through the ranks at AOL forging my corporate career and now five years as an entrepreneur, I've come up with my own definition of bodacious: The courage to be in charge of your life.

It takes courage to start your own business and it takes courage to keep at it to make it successful. Here are three keys I've determined to being a successful, Bodacious Woman in business.

1. Figuring out what you need to know.

No one starts a business having all the knowledge they need to make their business successful. For example, if you were an accountant at an accounting firm, you'll know how to set up the bookkeeping system for your new tax business, but you probably won't know much about marketing your services or finding prospective clients. It's critical that you seek out the knowledge you don't have, and quickly. Fortunately, there are many ways to learn including books, seminars, Internet, and networking groups. A great way to get started is to simply asking questions. Bodacious Women know the answer is out there.

2. Strive for sanity!

Starting and growing your business can also feel chaotic. You not only have the roles of CEO, service provider, marketer, saleswoman, customer service representative, and administrative assistant, to name a few, you also have personal life roles such as wife, partner, mother, daughter, sister, neighbor, friend, and more. It's no wonder women feel stressed! In my own business and life I don't aim for balance. Instead, my goal is sanity - feeling satisfied at the end of each day, believing that I spent my time and energy on the people and activities most important to me. To do this, you have to know what you want...from everyday business decisions to major choices.

3. Feed the motivation meter.

In addition to gaining knowledge and striving for sanity, successful Bodacious Women in business need one more thing.. One of the biggest killers of motivation is isolation. Since many women in business are "soloprenuers," it's mega-important that you create relationships with other entrepreneurs and reach out often. A great way to do this is to be part of a "mastermind" group. My mastermind group consists of four other women. Every two weeks we gather on the phone for the sole purpose of sharing our mini victories and asking for ideas to overcome our latest challenges. Just knowing these women are cheering me on motivates me to stay positive and energized.

Deciding to start your own business can be exciting and empowering. It's bodacious! To keep that lovin' feeling and make your business successful, keep these three keys in mind: knowledge, sanity, and motivation. Here's to your bodacious success!

Copyright 2006 Mary Foley

During a successful, demanding, rising-through-the-ranks ten-year career with America Online, Mary learned that the only way to thrive in today�s world is to be bold, positive, and courageous�bodacious! Today, as the founder of the Bodacious Women�s Club, Mary inspires women entrepreneurs to use their natural abilities to build their businesses, reduce stress, and feel fulfilled. You can be inspired, too! Get a free copy of Mary�s popular e-book 5 Empowering Words for Women at http://www.bodaciouswomensclub.com.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Top 10 Small Business Advertising Ideas Part 2

Here's part 2 of the quick list of the top ten small business advertising ideas -- for winning customers and building your business. These are the most important tools you'll need for building your customer base and generating the income you want. 

From this list of the best small business advertising ideas, not every one will be right for you. But it's still worthwhile to understand how they all fit together. 

The list includes: 

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #1: Directories
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #2: Newspapers
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #3: Magazines
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #4: Direct Marketing
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #5: Business Cards
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #6: Networking and Partnering
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #7: Vehicle Advertising
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #8: Cable TV
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #9: Internet
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #10: Trade Shows 

In the previous video I went over the first five. In this part of the best small business advertising ideas I'll explain the last five tools for getting customers to buy your product or service. 

And if you try your hand at Facebook and other social media marketing, make sure you are converting those fans to actual buyers. Too many marketers spend a fortune in time and money getting loads of fans, but have no actual customers to show for it. 

So those are the top ten small business advertising ideas for growing your business. Although you probably won't use all these ideas, buried in this list are several tools that will help you turn your growing business into a real success. 

If you found this tip helpful, subscribe to my free newsletter and awesome eBooks with just about every marketing tool you'll need to get customers and create a quick-start marketing plan, using the link below. http://GreatMar.com

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Top 10 Small Business Advertising Ideas Part 1

Here's a quick list of the top ten small business advertising ideas -- for winning customers and building your business. These techniques will help you breathe easier by helping you uncover the primary tools for building your customer base and generating the income you want.
If you're looking for the best small business advertising ideas for getting customers, this top ten list may be very helpful. 

It includes: 

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #1: Directories
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #2: Newspapers
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #3: Magazines
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #4: Direct Marketing
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #5: Business Cards
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #6: Networking and Partnering
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #7: Vehicle Advertising
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #8: Cable TV
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #9: Internet
Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #10: Trade Shows 

Of this list of the best small business advertising ideas, not every one of these will be right for you. But it's still worthwhile to understand how they all fit together. 

This video goes through the first five of the top ten small business advertising ideas to help you boost the results of you small business. 

In the next video is part 2 where I'll go over numbers 6 to 10 of the top ten small business marketing ideas for growing your business. 

If you found this tip helpful, subscribe to my free newsletter and awesome eBooks with just about every marketing tool you'll need to get customers and create a quick-start marketing plan, using the link below. http://GreatMar.com 

I've also got some amazing videos coming up, including a technique you can use to funnel loads of customers from other businesses to yours. Once you subscribe, you'll have access to the growing collection of videos, demo files, templates, and cheat sheets which are available to all free subscribers. 

Check it out now by using the shortcut, http://GreatMar.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG0rthfJV2U

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Best Marketing Strategy Ever {VIDEO}

Brokop.com has made subtitles for this 1997 speach of Steve Jobs, because it has such bad sound quality and that is a pity because it is the best marketing speech in the world.

Friday, June 14, 2019

What Is Branding? {VIDEO}

Branding is all about perception. It is about creating, managing and building a desirable perception within the marketplace. The more people who perceive you or your company in a particular way, the more powerful and valuable your brand. Coca-Cola is a prime example. Say the name and virtually anyone in the world will respond with the same adjectives, the same emotions. The Beatles (as a band and as individuals), Heinz Ketchup, Apple, Bob Dylan, Paris...regardless of whether people 'buy in' to any of these, their perceptions of each will likely be similar. And this is crucial to fundamental brand realization. 

Despite all the information available, it's still common to see large and small companies missing the mark on branding. The companies that miss the concept of "branding" are usually the ones that are not really focused on growing. The concept of brand is everything for a success business.

Monday, June 10, 2019

4 Principles Of Marketing Strategy By Brian Tracy {VIDEO}

A short video clip from Brian Tracy's Total Business Mastery seminar about the 4 Principles of Marketing Strategy. This video will answer your questions about your marketing mix including: How do I get customers? How do i determine my target markets? Whats my competitive advantage?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

10 Essential Time Management Tips For Small Businesses

When you're a small business owner, there isn't a minute to spare! You no doubt have a long list of things to do and not enough time to do them all. You have to decide how many employees to hire (and then manage these employees), market your business, and a million other little details. This is why it is so important to make the most of the time you have, by managing your time efficiently.

You've no doubt read article after article full of time management tips in an attempt to get a handle on that to-do list and to make the most of your day so you can make your business a success! Not every tip is suited for every business owner; some tips might work for you but not for someone else. With some trial and error you can find tips that will work for you.

Here are 10 essential time management tips for small businesses. Pick a few and try them out!

1. Tracking your time is the first step toward time management. Doing this allows you to optimize the time utilized for each task and avoid the incredible time wasters that you face each day.

To do this, you don't need fancy software or the latest smartphone. Simply carry a notebook around and write down all of your activities that occupy your time every day.

Try this for about a week. Jot down what you do and how long it takes you to do it. Are you spending half an hour making small talk with a supplier? Is your office so unorganized that it takes you half an hour to find that file that you just had? This time can really add up, and before you know it the day is over. Writing down how you spend your time helps you to see where your time goes and what changes you need to make to manage your time better.

2. Before doing anything, first thing in the morning, take the time to plan your day out. Assign a time period for everything - one hour for returning phone calls, 30 minutes to check email, etc. But don't pack your schedule too tightly, because that's just asking for failure. Make sure to plan your day with extra time assigned to each task (say, adding 10 minutes to each task to allow for interruptions).

3. Don't be afraid to put up a "do not disturb" sign on your door for some time each day. "Do not disturb" also applies to your phone and email - turn both off to ensure that you can work without interruption. And, it applies to perusing the Internet and social media and other distractions - make sure that Facebook is off during the business day!

4. Along those lines, don't feel like you have to return phone calls and answer emails right away. Include time in your daily schedule for these tasks.

5. Multi-tasking might sound like a great time management technique, but some studies show that people who multi-task actually get less done than people who focus on one task at a time. You may feel like you're getting a lot done only to find, at the end of the day, that your to-do list is still full of items that still haven't been crossed off. Trying to multi-task may, in the end, also cause you to feel more stressed out!

6. Celebrate those things that you have gotten done ("resolved" issues). After all, knocking things off your to-do list is a success! This also encourages you to move on and work on "unresolved issues," by focusing your energy and managing your time.

7. Know when you can delegate tasks. This can be easier said than done if you are a Type A control freak. A good rule to follow is that if your staff can do something at least 80% as well as you could, then you know you can delegate a task with confidence.

8. Know when to say "no" and how to prioritize. Both of these things get easier with practice!

9. Get out of the perfectionist habit. Getting everything "perfect" is impossible, and trying to do so is frustrating and ultimately wastes time.

10. When you were at school concerned about grades or working for a company with a boss looking over your shoulder, did you easily managing your time? It may be that having someone holding you accountable is just what you need. Find an "accountability buddy" to encourage you to meet your deadlines and your goals.

Besides these 10 essential time management tips for small businesses, there are hundreds more out there. Don't give up until you find a time management technique that works for you! In the end it is worth the effort.

Time management is of the essence in running a successful credit repair business. The right credit repair business training can take your business to the top. The Credit Repair summit is an excellent training event that discloses surefire tips right from roping in customers to briefing you on the laws and compliance regulations to closing more clients.