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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...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Creative Financing Options For Small Business

Think "finance needed"... think "bank loan." It's a pretty traditional model that probably far too many of us were brought up with but in these far from traditional times, the options are vast... aren't they?

Today's success stories so often seem to be born of genuine creative genius, particularly with outstanding marketing, innovative product lines, and irresistible customer services packages - surely financing solutions can be equally creative?

Getting outside (i.e. somebody else's) money to finance a business can be done in only two ways...

(1) borrow it or
(2) sell something (like shares).

Then depending on a number of variables, whether you are selling debt or equity, you may need to consider technical obligations created by state and federal securities laws (because you are selling an investment in your business). There are already an extremely broad array of techniques and methods by which both debt and equity financing is structured. You should speak with a transactional (corporate) securities lawyer in your jurisdiction to get an idea of the universe of financing options.

For business loans that range between $25-$100k that are unsecured you can go to Professional Funding.com and they'll put together credit card lines of finance. It costs $500 to apply (you get it back if they can't do it) plus around 8% of the amount you're borrowing. Its unusual but it works. Be aware that you have to have a credit score of 700+ for this to work.

There are lots of creative alternatives to traditional financing (debt and angel/VC equity) such as:

- Get customers to pay sooner, including sometimes 1 year in advance, rather than just in arrears

- Locate a business partner who finds your product/service strategic, and get their money (either in equity or revenue)

- Bootstrap

- spend little money

- Grants

- Donations (see kickstarter.com)

- Revenue

- Find creative ways to quickly generate revenue to cut your cash burn rate, even if the revenue isn't in your core business

Also consider strategic relationships with mutually beneficial businesses that will consider injecting capital into the business in return for equity or profit share.

Alternative financing is creative and "no" it is not just factoring, purchase order, or equipment leasing.

Asset based lenders can create a line of credit against assets. For example, a company has inventory, AR, machinery or equipment, these can be used as collateral for a line of credit. Also, for real estate there are products such as hard money loans or bridge loans.

Other types of financing are investors, angels, venture capitalists, and crowd funding or if you have securities, stock, life insurance or bonds, these can also be used for collateral for a loan.

If you have a banker, ask them if they have a reliable person that works in the alternative financing arena. There are options outside of banking, you just have to make sure that you are working with someone reliable.

There are options for every need you might have. All lenders want to get repaid - just like you want to get paid in your business. Thus, they look to some type of cash event for repayment. For standard business loans, they look to ongoing cash flow. For other types of financing they can look to financial assets like accounts receivables, credit card receipts, or purchase orders - all things that create future cash event to repay the loan or advance. There are also others that do bank statement loans or micro payment business loans.

There are specific loans for specific needs and general loans for general needs. Its not about getting creative in creating loans - the real challenge comes from being creative enough to take those funds and earn a solid return (more than they cost) from them.

Lastly, just like everything in business - you have to due your diligence or you will get ripped off. But, a little homework and you can find the money your small business needs - just know that you will not get something for nothing.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Low Cost Marketing Ideas To Increase Sales In Your Small Business

The biggest complaint small business owners tell us is that they need more sales. Revenue is down and sales need to be increases. When we review their marketing results, it turns out that they really need more contacts to convert to sales.

 So to help you get some ideas on how to get more contacts that you can convert into sales, here are three low cost ways to get more leads.

Marketing idea 1: Make lists. With the internet and over 6 billion people on the planet, there are many ways to generate low cost lists. Here are some obvious (and not so obvious) places to look:

    Prospects. People you have talked to that have not purchased yet. If you do not a follow up system - make a list of people that need to be contacted.
   Newspapers. Use your local newspaper to identify new clients and contacts. Choose one newspaper and read it regularly to identify potential clients, business partners, strategic alliances. Consider people that are profiled for successes, and even advertisements of other companies.
  Phone Books.  Start by browsing the phone for companies and people who work at different companies for inspiration. Write down names as they come to you. Start anywhere and keep going until you have at least 100 names.
  Business Cards.  Review any business cards you have collected and have not contacted.

Marketing idea 2:  Referrals....Many say, "I ask for referrals, but they never give them to me." This likely means the way you are asking is not effective. This is a very common complaint about referrals. Often the way the request is presented affects the number of referrals that are given. Using [http://www.mypromozilla.com] marketing best practices to ask for referrals can drastically increase your number of leads.

The best people to ask for referrals from are your satisfied clients. They have already had a positive experience with you and know what to expect. Start with them. Then consider asking prospects, they might not have purchased from you, but might be very willing to refer business to you to see how you handle others first.

Marketing idea 3:  Network - everywhere. Consider both online and offline areas. Many times when we say network, we think about attending chamber of commerce events. But networking is more than attending events. Consider, when you are at the grocery, you can talk to the person in front of, behind or even in the vegetable isle. You never know where you next big client or customer will come from. The key to networking is talking to people.

Here are some more places where you can network.

Online.... Consider Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. By focusing on getting to know people and building your network (not selling) you will create connections. Take time to learn about each person. Online networking is like off line networking, get to know people one at a time. This will create opportunities for you to learn about their pain and how you can help them solve their pain.

Create a dinner club.... Invite 2-4 friends over for dinner and ask them to each bring 2-4 people with them. You will have 4-16 people at your event and many of them you will not know. Having a dinner club event each month for a year and your contact base will increase exponentially.

Join networking group.... Consider joining your local chamber of commerce or BNI chapter. These are great places to meet other business minded people. Attend a few events first and see if they are a good fit for you and your business. Many communities will have networking groups like Tips or Biznet. Attend a few chamber events and ask about other networking events - you might be surprised how many there are in your community.
  Remember, to get the most from networking, look to give to your new contact not take. In other words, look for ways you can help them and not just ways you can sell your services.

The biggest complaint small business owners tell us is that they need more sales. Revenue is down and sales need to be increases. When we review their marketing results, it turns out that they really need more contacts to convert to sales.

By Kimberly Deas

Get tons of small business marketing ideas with complete instructions on how to implement for about $1/ day.

Kimberly Deas is a Marketing Consultant that offers customized marketing strategies, virtual marketing assistants and easy to use small business marketing tool [http://www.MyPromozilla.com] that guides business owners through marketing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Opportunity Knocked On A Different Door

You have a business in a specific field but while you are out there marketing and networking, there is an opportunity to meet a vast amount of people from different walks with various experiences/backgrounds. If you are using different forms of social media to market the business you can never tell who might see and take an interest. The public may even take an interest because they can see something in you that screams potential, feel you can offer something beneficial or have been given a recommendation and have chosen to look into what you do further. When you are approached about an area/subject that you have never explored, considered, work in or have experience what do you do...

Firstly never say NO!

Obtain more information in regards to what is being asked and what is expected of you. Clarify the timescale and see if you can buy some time to think it over by agreeing to make contact once you've mulled it over and agree when this contact will be made and how. Weigh up your capabilities and how it can work using your skills - remembering to be realistic (you cannot agree to safely fly a plane with no lessons or a licence). Most importantly think about why that individual, working partner or business has chosen to approach you...

You and or your business have obviously displayed great values, a 'can do' nature, strengths, skills and or qualities which appeals.

You have earned yourself credibility by what you display or the messages you have conveyed to the public.

A definitive no should only come once you have reviewed the requirements and explored every avenue to enable you to rise to the challenge. If you cannot accept think about your contacts, provide a referral or links to assist. Always seize the opportunity to make an impression with an input in whichever way you can. Your willingness to help will show how responsive you are in that you have taken careful consideration in regards to others business needs

Opportunities come in different shapes and forms to be embraced. Each opportunity provides a chance for growth, learning and or new experiences.

Projects outside of your business scope can lead to further new opportunities, build on reputation and can provide ideas for development.

An open but realistic mind in business ensures more channels are available for continual and increasing income streams.

Never limit your skills or capabilities - someone out there is watching.

By Amariah Stewart

Professional services and a willingness to work with others n their projects and vision for business. http://www.sparkleukrelocations.co.uk/relocations/business-research-services/

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Networking 101...How To Be The Most Memorable Person In A Room

There's always that one person at a party, networking event, or social function that hits it off with everyone and makes a stellar first impression. It's the same person that you talk about on the way home ("Did you meet Derek? What a cool guy.") and, often times, the person you remember weeks later. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to become that person; with only a few easy tips and tricks, you too can start becoming the most memorable person in a room.

Tip #1: Memorable doesn't mean being in the limelight

Introverts breathe a sigh of relief. Being a 'success' at a social event doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be the center of attention. In fact, some of the most memorable people (in a good way) are far from being in the limelight. You'll see why this is, in the following tips.

Tip #2: Have a clear idea about how you want to be perceived and what you want from the event

If twenty people all leave a networking session and say something about you to someone who wasn't at the party, what would you want them to say? "She was so kind", "She was really passionate", "She is very dedicated to her work"... Decide how you want to be perceived BEFOREHAND, and then make sure your actions and speech follow up your brand. You also need to set goals for what you want out of each event. I know it sounds stupid, but trust me, it works. Maybe it's a social party with friends and your goal is to have a good time and make new friends. Maybe it's a business networking event and your goal is to target three potential customers for your business. Whatever it is, making goals will ensure that your night isn't a total waste of time (because when you make a goal, you often follow through to achieve it!)

Tip #3: Focus on others

It sounds counter-intuitive, but spending more time focusing on the other people at the event will make you more memorable. Check out the following tricks to make sure you are focusing your time and energy on others:

Trick #1: Have a loose knowledge of a wide breadth of subjects. This will allow you to talk to almost anyone about their favorite subjects (PS. You don't have to be know-it-all about every topic. You just need to know enough to hold a conversation and make them feel like they are interesting and intelligent.)

Trick #2: Be a people connector. Standing in the corner talking to one person the whole night might make you memorable to that one person, but not to everyone else. Think of any networking or social event as a game of memory. Instead of flipping over cards to reveal matches, you want to identify people that have similar interests. This accomplishes two things: 1) it allows you to work the room without getting stuck with just one person all night, and 2) it makes you seem more caring when you seem to know small details about someone that others might have forgotten. (example: when you introduce Sally to Steve because they both have a weird love of Jenga.)

Trick #3: Remember names. It's not always easy, but it works. Remember people's names and use them as often as possible without sounding weird.

Tip #4: Master the follow-up

It doesn't matter if you're networking at a business event or working the room at a party, follow-up is key. I personally love sending a handwritten letter to the host thanking them for a wonderful time. An email, text message, or LinkedIn invite are also good ways to connect after the event. A successful follow-up (once again) focuses on the other person and makes them feel special. It also may include an ask. Here's a great example of a brief, but effective follow-up:

Hi Sam, I really enjoyed meeting you last night at the xyz networking event. It was so fascinating to hear about your experience in business and how you started ABC consulting company. If you don't mind, I'd love to get together for coffee sometime and hear more about the marketing strategies you've used when getting ABC off the ground. Best Regards, Taylor

The key is to sound interested, without sounding like a total suck up. If you've done your job well, then they will have enjoyed their time with you during the event and will gladly make room in their schedule for you in the future.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Everyone is selling something, especially at a networking event. Successful salespeople know to make relationships first, and then offer their product. The networking event and even some follow-up events (like the coffee mentioned above) should be primarily for relationship building and not for selling. Selling your product will come naturally when the other person trusts you enough to tell you their personal or their business problems (which you would provide a solution for). PS. Generally (though not always) the bigger the price tag of the item you're selling, the more time and energy you will need to put into the relationship.

Networking events, mixers, and parties all take up your precious time, so you might as well get something out of it! Making yourself memorable is not only easy (bonus: it gets easier the more you do it), but it makes your goals more achievable in the long run. When you're memorable, people will start reaching out to you, rather than you spending tons of time and energy reaching out to them. Now, get out there and start standing out!

By Leslie Friedman

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Why Networking Is A Must For Small Business Owners

When starting off in your small business it's easy to get caught up in all the different activities that you are suppose to be doing and lose sight of the big picture. The picture of getting others to know what your business is all about. Without prospects, there are no sales, without sales there is no business, however you don't have to rely solely on yourself to get prospects.

Being a great networker is a key element to having a successful business and getting your message out to the wider community. You can only know so many people in your circle of influence, so imagine if you could get into other peoples circle of influence to generate even more leads. Well that is what networking does.

I believe that every small business owner should attend at least 1 networking event per week. This gives them an opportunity to meet upwards of another 10 - 50 people in business and discuss opportunities that might benefit their business down the track.

Networking whether it be online or offline is all about making contacts and forming partnerships. Business owners that are open to such opportunities will always prosper. All businesses are linked in some way. A graphic designer needs assistance from web developers and vice versa, they both have the same sort of cliental so therefore it becomes an easy referral to give. There are these relationships all over the place.

Imagine if you had another 15+ people who you met at networking events on your team passing business to you. What would that do for your business?

There is an art to networking and it starts with the mindset of 'giving'. Most small business owners when networking are worried about what's in it for them. They charge around the room trying to meet everyone and making sure that everyone has their business card. We see it all the time. My question is, just because someone has your business card does that mean they'll do business with you? Simple answer 'NO'

People only do business with others that they know and trust. When you go to networking events concentrate on building 3 or 4 great relationships that you can follow up with and form a partnership with in the future. This sort of networking will provide far greater results long term than trying to see everyone.

Try different types of networking events rather than always the same sort, you get different crowds at different events. There are structured events like BNI or Chamber lunches plus there are many informal and fun events like speed networking nights. The key is to experience as many as possible to see where the right crowd is for your type of business.

Social media provides an easy avenue to network online. Being able to build relationships, offer help and build trust can know be done through a click of the mouse. However the same principles apply through this type of networking as in face to face opportunities, you must have the mindset of giving to attract people to you.

Expo's and conferences are again another great place to meet people with similar interest to network with and are often worth attending just for that very reason.

No matter what sort of networking you do, it's important that you are attending and spreading the word about yourself and your product and service.

By Michael Griffiths

Michael Griffiths is the small business marketing guru, providing lead generation and marketing strategies for small business owners. Get your free marketing resources when you visit [http://www.mysmallbusinessmarketingguru.com.au]

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tips For Small Business Networking Events

As a small business owner attending networking events should be part of your normal routine. Developing relationships with other business people can lead to partnering, mentoring, clients, and friendships. All of which can benefit your business as well as you personally.

Keep these simple tips in mind when you participate in a networking event...

Do not talk about only yourself
Do not push your services or products
Make sure to practice your elevator pitch
Be polite
Smile
Be professionally dressed

My biggest pet peeve is that so many people don't understand that networking is not selling!

Networking is about meeting people, exploring possibilities, perhaps getting to know people and their needs better. Yet so many are there only to sell, sell, sell. They could care less who you are or what your needs/interests are. They just want to push their products/services at you.

So some more tips are... be friendly & welcoming, ask more questions, talk about the other person more than yourself, if a sales pitch starts up, excuse yourself politely and move on.

Another pet peeve isn't necessarily what happens at networking events, but rather an outgrowth of it.

I usually end up with a fair amount of business cards, but despite my efforts to connect with these people after the event... many are non-responsive. I am left wondering why people went to an event if they had no intention of trying to establish new relationships.

It may be that some people are really only interested in what they can sell you or what you can do for THEM. So if they determine you aren't useful, they don't bother trying to get to know you.

Me, I enjoy meeting people. If I'm able to help them then I'm happy to do it; but I expect them to be engaged at the least. I go to networking events to network... not to have my time wasted by people who don't really care.

Modern networking is a marathon, not a sprint. It is about creating and building relationships with the people you meet.

I believe there isn't anything that can replace the benefits of in-person networking, and that is saying a lot because I am introverted and would rather stay behind my computer!

Where you network is as important as how you network; BNI is a more structured and results-oriented networking group... whereas Chambers of Commerce are informal and more about what your business brings to the community (money, jobs).

Whatever you do RELAX and be yourself. Don't fake it. Meet a new friend and grow an old friend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What Is Digital Marketing And Why It Matters

Every customer journey is unique. And every touch point is an opportunity to nurture customer relationships and deepen customer intimacy. Digital marketing and analytics makes this happen.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

10 Social Media Growth Hacks In 5 Minutes

Here are some Growth Hacking Secrets for Social Media delivered to you in under 5 minutes. These tools will help you with managing your social media in Twitter, Facebook, Instragram, YouTube and LinkedIn if you decide to use them effectively. Social Media is an important part of your marketing effort and something you and your brand need to take seriously. Social Media is about being social, but you also need to think about your communication and make it smart, precise and human. These Social Media Growth Hacking tips will help you get there.



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Growth Hacking Strategies For a Brick And Mortar Business

After a successful career as a engineer of product development, Simon Bai left his day job and ventured into a totally new career as a restaurateur. His first restaurant was quick to capitalize on the frozen yogurt fad and soon after that, Simon launched a wine bar and a fusion Asian cuisine restaurant, all in the South Florida area. With most restaurants expected to fail within their first year of business...Simon Bai has perhaps found the recipe for opening a successful restaurant with three under his belt.

Watch this video and learn a few offline growth hacking strategies for local businesses.



Saturday, August 19, 2017

The 7 Habits Of Young Entrepreneurs

Inspired by Steven Covey, The 7 Habits Of Young Entrepreneurs shares how successful young entrepreneurs need to ingrain some crucial habits into their routine to be successful.