Featured Post

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...

Friday, November 16, 2018

Running A Business Is Like Playing Tetris

Have you ever played Tetris? It's that game from the 1980s that requires you to strategically rotate, move, and drop geometric shapes that fall into a game board. These shapes build up on the board, and the only way to clear them out is by making horizontal rows of blocks without empty space.

It can be a pretty difficult game! In fact, the more you play, the more difficult the game becomes. The shapes drop faster and faster, and the possibilities of making lines disappear becomes nearly impossible. You may place a shape in the wrong place and- bam! Your game board is a mess. You're in a situation that seems hopeless.

Employers can find themselves with that same hopeless feeling when dealing with business paperwork that keeps piling up. The complications of having employees means keeping up with dozens of state and federal employment regulations and precise payroll management - just to name a few.

If you're not on top of these back office tasks, you 'll quickly find yourself overwhelmed. And unlike Tetris when the burden of the building blocks allow you to hit the restart button- there's no mercy given for late tax payments, inaccurate reporting - or a poor hiring decision.

When you own a company that specializes in a trade- painting, drywall, trucking, or anything else- you are prepared for the possible issues that come up with that trade. You can probably find a way to fix your machines, arrange schedules, or even clean up a job site if you have to. But you're probably completely unprepared for the requirements of tax filings and other issues that come with running your business. Things like new hire reporting, overtime, wage garnishments, and child support.

And once you get behind or make a mistake, those issues- just like the Tetris blocks- just keep dropping. Pretty soon, you're paying hefty penalties to the IRS and probably losing some sleep.
How would you like those blocks to stop dropping so you can focus on running your business?

Thankfully, a solution for employers comes in the form of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), also known as an Employee Leasing Company.

These providers allow you to outsource payroll administration, access great employee benefits and big discounts on workers' compensation insurance. When these HR tasks are on someone else's shoulders,you gain the freedom to work on sales, service and growth for your business. Productivity across all operations seems to soar.

Other benefits Employee Leasing Services provide:


  •  Workers' Compensation Claims Administration



  •  Family and Medical Leave Act Administration



  •  Risk Management



  •  Direct Deposit/ Check Printing



  •  Complete HR Administration, including safety and regulatory compliance



  •  401(k) Savings Plans



  •  Drug Testing


  • When you're ready to find out how HR outsourcing services can benefit your business, consider using a PEO broker to find your best solution. PEOs are all different, and offer a variety of benefits and services. Their pricing can differ dramatically. A broker will work with you to understand your company's specific needs, to access the perfect fit for you business.

    By Mike Burgelin

    Monday, November 12, 2018

    Top 3 Reasons Small Businesses Fail At Marketing

    I often speak to groups of small business owners and I keep hearing the same comment over and over again with many of them saying that marketers don't matter or marketing doesn't matter anymore.

    There are many reasons I've heard as to why marketing doesn't matter: "all my business comes by referral," "I never spent money on marketing and my business grew," "marketing is a waste of money," "I see no value in marketing," "marketing is all luck so why spend money on it," and so on.

    Oh, how they are so very wrong! Below are the top 3 reasons why:

    1. Their definition of marketing is wrong

    When business owners tell me that marketing doesn't matter, they usually have a totally different understanding of what marketing is than those who recognise how marketing contributes to business goals where it enables you to charge the most money you can for your services and products.

    Marketing is first about spending time building a solid foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting sales. Until the business finds a way to change the context of how their ideal customer views what they do, and then becomes become the obvious choice provider, they'll find that their marketing efforts never seem to build momentum or gain any return on investment.

    You must be able to enter the conversation taking place in the head of your customers. Or, to look at it in a different way, to be able to address the number one question on your customer's mind at exactly the right time.

    So, how do you do this? The conversation that is taking place in every prospective customer's mind revolves around two major points. There is a problem they have, and that they don't want... and there is a result that they want, and they don't have.

    Those who often misunderstand marketing believe that it is only about advertising campaigns, brochures, flyers, website, email marketing, SEO, tradeshows, social media, copy, etc. These are the tactics - the way you implement your marketing. I'd argue that marketing is essentially the core of business strategy because it is about understanding the current customer, tapping into their fears, their goals and their aspirations and then creating products and services that the ideal customer is willing to buy from a brand they now they know, like and trust.

    2. They believe either they or their co-worker can do it

    Sometimes in the "do it all yourself" world of small business (or even big business when it comes to it), it's difficult to identify the areas that require outside help. A business may be able to set up their newsletter, add plugins to WordPress, write a Facebook or LinkedIn post, and clumsily create header graphics, but you need somebody who is trained, practiced, and skilled at looking strategically and holistically at the marketplace, understanding the customer, and then creating unique opportunities based on this understanding.

    Just think about it for a minute; just because you have a calculator and excel does that mean you are an accountant? If you have a ruler, pencil and have watched some episodes of Grand Designs - does that make you an architect? If you post regularly to your friends on Facebook and Instagram - does that mean you are a social media expert?

    So why do small businesses believe that by buying a Mac and some software they will become a designer, marketer and communications expert?

    It needs to be led by a strategic marketer who can then develop an integrated marketing approach. Can you or your co-worker do this? In some cases, you can. But those who can are most likely to either come from marketing or consulting backgrounds where they have transferable skills and experience defining AND delivering against a growth strategy.

    If you are a small business, you need somebody who will have a very solid, process, streamlined, consistent, repeatable approach. First, they will research and learn about your company in great depth, the dynamics of the marketplace and identify shifts, trends, and changes. From there, the strategic marketer will be able to present the different elements of your marketing plan in logical order of how you should construct them, update them, or revise them; and identify the key areas you should be focusing on - be it generating leads, converting leads, increasing transactions right down to changing prices.

    3. They hire the wrong marketing help

    There is a huge misunderstanding around marketing strategy, marketing tactics, and marketing execution.

    There is a difference between being strategically capable, creatively capable and executionally capable.

    Small business owners don't hire a strategic marketing coach/firm to develop creative graphics and headers; nor should you hire an advertising/graphic design agency to handle marketing strategy. A small business doesn't need to hire a consultant or a firm who is a strong marketing executor when their biggest need is a strategy for sustainable growth. You may get more attention, but not the best results.

    I hope this has helped you, but if you need some help to get effective marketing into your business, you can schedule a FREE marketing strategy meeting with me to ramp up your results and start attracting all the clients and customers you want in 2018 or take a look at my website http://www.vervebusinessacademy.com

    By Rachel Foord

    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    6 Simple Rules To Getting The Competitive Spirit On The Right Track

    Being a formidable player in the corporate world is no easy task. You have to be ready to tackle competition all the time. Here are six simple rules to beat them at their own game.

     *  Market research comes in handy to get to know what people want; it also helps to understand what people expect from the competition. Understanding this in totality helps down the line as you build a brand from the get. 

    *  Up the ante in the value stakes of the product or service that is on offer. This is bound to reap huge rewards for an upcoming and even an established brand. The target and client base will notice these tweaks and be appreciative as you laugh your way to the bank. You also gain an edge over the competition.

    *  Establish a rapport with the customer base and keep in touch with them throughout the journey. The idea here is not to spam them with constant drivel, but to keep them abreast of new developments, discounts, and encourage them to opt for early bird offers. It helps a great deal as you beat them through simple marketing methods.

    *  An exciting promo never lost out in the campaign stakes. Use the online medium to generate hype as you build up a tempo with everyone interested in knowing what is trending and doing the rounds. Keep on with the momentum and once this gets to be a talking point, launch the product/service. The idea is to formulate the right time and then go for the kill, so to speak. 

    *  Quality is another most intelligent way to get ahead in the game. Testing the service or product needs to be the foremost objective before the launch. It establishes a credible angle and does not allow competition to sneak in with maneuvers and gain because of losing focus.

    *  Never give up or give into negative chatter is one of the best pointers of all time. Most of us fight shy of getting ahead in the game primarily because of robust players in the market. However, that does not mean that you cannot do your bit and edge ahead in the game of competitive business sport.

    Simply Put....

    Being competitive is an exhausting experience but something that is expected to be a part of the business world. To get ahead in the game of barter entails that you are ten steps ahead of the competition so that profits are on the charts, not losses.

    Sometimes you just have to give it your all or give up entirely when you want to make a pitch. Competition can get tricky, but that does not mean that it is the end of the road. Keeping on at it, will win you brownie points down the line.

    By Yasmin Andrea Imam

    Thursday, November 1, 2018

    Make Up Your Own Rules In Biz

    There are many tried and true strategies and systems out there for growing a wildly successful business. However, use them only as guidelines, and make up your own rules to the business game.

    Here are the top 4 reasons why you've got to ditch your preconceived notions of how to attract loads of clients and do it YOUR way.

    1.  You know what's best for you, not somebody else.

    When you're calm and tuned in to your heart, you're definitely your own best authority. Now, if you're emotionally sideways or in the thick of a heavy issue, don't make any earth-shattering decisions. When you come back to a neutral place, you'll see more clearly and take actions that will serve you. You may listen to all the outside advice you'd like, but in the end, you have to make the choice that feels best to you.
    1. Things go quicker, easier, and cost less.
    When you look at the standard process for creating something in your business, you may accept it for the way it is. But what's possible when you create a new standard? If Eva Gregory and I had listened to Chicken Soup for the Soul's process for book publishing, we would've taken forever to write our book for them.

    They said it would take about 1.5 years. We said we knew it could take less. When we finally got the green light, the process took less than a year. The actual writing took three months. Easier than I'd ever imagined!

    Another example is the purchase of my first house. I had no realtor and neither did the seller, who was out of communication in rehab. I had no prior experience in real estate. I took the sale on as a learning seminar.

    When I finally went in to sign the escrow papers, they couldn't believe how I'd completed the process by myself. (I found myself some loopholes.) Lots of people helped me, but my newbie spirit looked at everything as possible rather than as an obstacle.
    1. Be a pioneer! If your mind can think it, you can create it.
    If people settled for what was in front of them, nothing new would ever be created or invented. Sure, other people might tell you that you're nuts when you think outside of their box. So what! They'll try to convince you that your idea or way of thinking is impossible or illogical. If you have the vision, I promise it's a worthy cause to pursue.

    Do you see something that can be improved upon in the world? Take action! Sure, the big dogs might already have a team working on it. But as history will show, newbies can and do prevail. Google took on Yahoo and MSN with some pretty sweet results.
    1. Current rules and choices may not fit you. Create a new choice for yourself.
    When options a, b, and c don't feel good, you've got to create choice d and maybe an e, f, and g. The best perspectives happen when you start looking for new combinations of the available elements.

    Let's say you want to take some friends out for a special dinner. The two restaurants you had in mind are both booked solid for that evening. Don't settle for something less.

    If you knew you were going to get the ideal food, service, and atmosphere at those two restaurants, how would you handle this situation? You might get an idea to call back the restaurants with some wild pitch for them to let you in. If you were grounded, you possibly might get a yes. You also might talk to some friends to get new ideas. But you definitely wouldn't let this minor setback throw you off.

    The rules in the U.S. used to make it difficult to travel in Cuba. (Maybe they still do!) Do people find ways of doing it? Yes! And many of them are legal! You can always find a choice that meets all of your criteria. Stay in possibility and you will find your perfect solution.
    When you're truly following your heart, you'll always make decisions that are in your highest good, as well as the good of others.

    By Jeanna Gabellini

    Jeanna Gabellini is a Master Business Coach who assists high achieving entrepreneurs, corporate leaders & their teams to leverage fun, systems and intentionality for high-octane results. An entrepreneur for 25 years she has a treasure trove of kick-butt tools to give you peace & profits. Get your complimentary audio "Transforming from Chaotic Entrepreneur to Conscious Leader" here: https://masterpeacecoaching.com/resources/free-cd2

    Tuesday, October 30, 2018

    Business Sale To A Competitor - Why They Always Pay Less

    The unfortunate truth... A competitor never pays more for your business.

    Although there are legitimate reasons for a competitor to have significant interest in your business and recognize inherent value, history has taught us that competitor acquisitions of small businesses yield the lowest transaction value based upon price, structure and terms.

    While you have built a turn key business that has considerable value, a competitor has most of these organizational/operational elements in place and will view the overall value differently.

    Many competitors approach these acquisitions as the purchase of a customer list, picking up a few good employees, add an asset or two, and maybe establish a key relationship or territory with a vendor. Some are simply looking to eliminate a competitor. The bottom line is that they do not need everything you are selling like someone new to the industry. The worth of this turn key operation is not valued the same from a competitor versus an outsider.

    Does a competitor need, want, or place significant value on the following assets?

    Tangible:

    • Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E)
    • Vehicles
    • Inventory
    • Real Estate

    Intangible:

    • Customer lists
    • Client Contracts
    • Systems, processes, and intellectual property
    • Brand name, website domain, phone numbers
    • Reputation
    • Online Reviews
    • Vendor supply agreements, licensing agreements, exclusive territories
    • Proprietary computer software
    • Trained and in-place work force
    • Goodwill

    Outside buyers will require all of these assets to continue business operations and take the company to the next level. Competitors will not need all of these assets and those assets they require are valued lower, especially the intangible assets.

    Therefore, the recommendation to a business owner who is considering a sale and might be entertaining a discussion with a competitor, is to develop a list of their objectives and goals when selling the business. Even at the most basic level "I want to sell my business for the highest price".

    Does this mean the highest price with 100% seller financing/earnout or is the goal to receive the lion's share of proceeds at closing? The goals and objectives can vary considerably amongst business owners pursuing a business sale. Experienced M&A Advisors and Business Brokers are adept at qualifying a buyer who is most aligned with these goals and the assets being sold.

    Several examples of goals/objectives include:

    • Obtain the highest price with a portion of seller financing contingent payments
    • Obtain the highest price with a portion of contingent payments
    • Maximize cash at closing
    • Seek an exit with no continued involvement with the business
    • Remain with the business in some capacity with less responsibility and time commitment

    Find buyer who:

    • Has adequate funds to close
    • Has industry or related experience
    • Is local or willing to relocate to be local to the business
    • Acquires or leases the real estate as part of the business sale
    • Does not cherry pick inventory, vehicles, or FF&E
    • Has necessary business licenses or requires only minimal training and transition assistance
    • Expects to retain the current roster of employees

    Once the toothpaste is out of the tube...

    Competitors and complementary industry businesses know one another. They see each other at conferences, industry association meetings, and vendor reward trips. It is not unusual for overtures to be made about acquiring a competitor's business. Most often, these discussions start out innocently; a desire to purchase is made with numbers floated that sound great to the prospective seller and an NDA is signed. Discussions are held, and business financials are provided to the competitor. A subsequent meeting is scheduled, and a non-binding Letter of Intent is received. Further due diligence is pursued, significant confidential information is provided and an offer, far different from the one originally discussed, is made. The deal falls apart. The result is no deal and unfortunately, a competitor now has highly sensitive information on your business. This is the worst situation possible and happens far too often.

    Selling larger businesses to a competitor is not that unusual and the focus of this article is not to say that these sales should never be done; but merely to highlight the value differences that should be expected and the risks involved in divulging sensitive company information when engaging a competitor.

    If it is appropriate for a business to be sold to a competitor, having a professional intermediary is critical. Following an established process, providing information in stages, protecting sensitive information, qualifying sincere interests or ferreting out a fishing expedition are some of the key benefits that an intermediary provides.

    Additionally, it is the intermediary's ability to discreetly market the business to many prospective buyers versus negotiating with only one candidate that enables the transaction value to be maximized. Each confidential marketing program is customized per engagement but ultimately these programs are focused on creating multiple offers whereby the best price, terms, and conditions can be achieved for the seller.


    Michael Fekkes has over a decade of experience in small business sales and acquisitions. Michael is a Mergers & Acquisitions Master Intermediary (M&AMI), Certified Business Intermediary (CBI), Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA), Fellow of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), Chairman of the IBBA and M&A Source Communication Committee, as well as a prior business owner. He can be reached at 910.691.2202 or mfekkes@enlign.com. All conversations are strictly confidential.

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    Small Business Owners....The Building Blocks To Increase Profits

    The foundational building blocks of every business are Processes (procedures/policy), People (employees), Customers and Resources (ideas/capital). Leaders, who strengthen and understand each of these blocks, build their business. Those who weaken or neglect these building blocks, find themselves with declines in both their top and bottom lines.

    Believe it or not, organizations can sometimes forget that creating and delivering top quality products and providing excellent services is their main objective. Organizations keep ineffective processes in effect because it is comfortable, safe and familiar. Leaders must regularly set aside time to define and redefine their processes, track defects and poor service, and make improvements to solidify these (5) major building blocks.

    Owner Mindset

    You've got to make the mental shift from running your businesses as a self-employed job/good employee to building a business you can one day sell, scale or own passively to fund your retirement.
    This means consistently reminding yourself that you are just a temporary producer, and that your business must eventually replace you from its day to day operations.

    Be Clear in Your Mission

    There's a reason you started a business and left your job (or didn't try to find a new one). Why are you doing this? Keep in mind that your personal mission and your company's mission can be different, as long as they're aligned and can co-exist. You did the mission statement in the business plan and it's on the bookshelf collecting dust.

    Network and Get a Mentor

    Get a business advisor or coach. It doesn't have to be someone professional, just someone who can share experiences to bounce ideas off of and tell you when you are losing teams, money and the mindset.

    Get your Business off the Road to Nowhere

    When the money gets tight and the momentum fades, you are left with day to day work of the business, this is when you learn how to make your business run. It can become grinding because sales are slow and you are learning how the business actually operates, to acquire customers, market products, understand how changing processes and products affect your financials, and every idea you have does not automatically work as you envision it to increase profits.

    At some point while running a business, your likely to experience that burned out or uninspired feeling. Work-life balance is important; there is a truth, in working hard and playing hard to unwind. Reading a daily devotion and taking a daily 30 minute walk can assist in relaxing the mind, etc.

    Customer

    Customer acquisition is expensive in order to acquire new customers, companies must effectively target, market to and convince customers to try their product or service.

    Many business owners do not take time to figure out who is their target customer. What are their target customers' likes, dislikes, needs and wants? Which types of media do they consume? What is the cheapest way to reach them? How much is the target customer willing to pay for their products or services? Where and how should we sell our products?

    Remember, it is cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire new ones.

    Master the Art of Engagement

    Being engaging is important in every part of your business, whether its communicating through email marketing, social media, blogs, videos and other commercial formats

    Grab social Media Attention

    Social media marketing plan should include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the company website to communicate with your customer. Use the same theme, pictures (banner pages) and similar products.

    Understand importance of Business Logos

    It is the first thing potential customers will notice about your brand, make sure it is presentable, professional and polished. Make sure the Logo connects with your customer needs and wants.

    Create an experience for your Brand

    Create fun and informative environment to solve your customer problems

    The Right Clients are more Important than the Most clients

    Most business strategy is get the cash in the door by any means necessary to get most clients in the door. Problem is you achieve all of this at the expense of quality, profit and sanity. The right clients will allow your company to do better work, build a better reputation, generate more profits and retain better employees.

    Focus on Your Goal, Objectives, Theme but most of all Profitability

    Don't try to be all things to all customers. Specialize in solving your 'target audience' problems and have fun doing it. Even the largest companies do their best when they focus on keeping the 'main thing the main thing'.

    Operations

    Processes

    Are the actions and applications that executives and teams put in place to achieve desired results.
    Leaders need to take a step back to review their processes-individually or in a cross-functional groupings--- to eliminate inefficiencies and optimize performance, annually or as the market changes.

    Systems

    Systems are the reliable processes and procedures that empower your business to consistently produce an excellent result for your client and profitability for you.

    Documenting automated processes can increase your company's efficiency and reduce costly mistakes; the checklists your employees follow to ensure that all orders are shipped correctly; the orientation process for all new clients when you begin working together; and the standardized contracts you use with all your new hires and vendors.

    Controls/Standards

    Controls are the processes, procedures and safeguards that protect your company form uninformed or inappropriate decisions or actions by any team member. They also are your business's way of making sure that key work is getting done on time and the right way.

    There are (4) main types of business controls:


  •  Checklists/Visual Business Process Controls


  •  Scorecards/ Business Performance Measurements Metrics by Function (KPI)


  •  Embedded Internal Quality Controls--- product/process quality checks


  •  Policy and Procedures--- written/measured


  • Scalable SolutionsSystems(using excel and quickbooks), Processes and Procedures that worked for a $1million dollar a year business, are not sufficient for $10 million dollar business or a $25 million dollar business.

    Scaling your business requires building it in such a way that your business model and systems can be rolled out and replicated on a much bigger playing field, based on increased product ordered/processed sales volume.

    Example, choosing a database solution or a 3rd party fulfillment should be based on actual growth rates, not potential or forecasted projected sales.

    Financials

    Cash flow and Financial Statements are your 'life line'.
    • Learn how you are making and losing money. Understand profit and loss statements and what processes and procedures link to improving the 'profits' of your business.
    Resources

    The company's financial wherewithal additionally, the measurement tools necessary to manage and track finances and assets. Do you have the knowledge, competencies and skills necessary to use those tools to increase your profits?

    Small and mid-size businesses must master the ability to manage their working capital and cash flow. Every company has access to profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements. Management is either using accounting software or someone is preparing the reports for management.

    How well does senior management understand the company's financials and it correlation to their strategy? Do these managers understand which parts of the company need investment, where cuts can be made on why?

    Managers must take the time to learn the relationships and interdependencies between their tools and the reports they use to maximize their resources.

    Teamwork makes DreamWorks

    You can't do it by yourself. It is critical to ensure that your business doesn't rely on the presence of any one individual.

    Even Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, needed a great team to help them execute, deliver and do everything behind the scenes to deliver their vision to customers.

    Surround yourself with the best people you can find. Hire people who are smarter than you, then step back and let them do their jobs. Remember championships are won by teams, not athletes. Employees are hired either to increase revenue or to decrease expenses in order to improve profits, no other reason.

    People

    People are not your greatest asset; the right people are. The wrong people are your greatest catastrophe. Mediocre people are your greatest drain on resources.

    Leaders must strive to create learning organizations where the organization is always pushing to improve. A organization where employees feel valued and are contributing according to their abilities.

    Effective management will create an organization where personal growth is expected and rewarded and employees are both challenged and satisfied.

    Employees who are motivated by the company's vision and mission will produce profitability, but frustrated employees will lead to losses.

    By Vinson Primas

    Vinson Primas is a certified business and life coach. He writes small business blogs to help owners make money. http://www.nomopofolks.com/small-business.html

    Monday, October 22, 2018

    5 Skills To Take You From Technician To Entrepreneur

    Many small business owners are very good at what they do - from HVAC and automotive repairs to graphic design, IT or accounting services. They honed these skills while working for others - and at some point decided "I can do this on my own, make more money and have more time".And yes, they can. But it takes more than technical know-how to build and sustain a successful business.
    As a business owner, you need to wear a lot of hats. If you truly want to build a better business - one that works for you, here are some skills you need to develop.

    Time Mastery

    It's no surprise that the biggest complaint of business owners is a lack of time. While organizing can certainly help, the best way to get back time comes from improvements in planning.

    Planning and goal setting helps you prioritize and stay on track - a key to time management. Without it, everything looks important and little gets accomplished. Planning starts with a clear vision for your business. Next, incorporate your goals - what do you want to accomplish? Then, identify what you need to do to reach those goals. Whether you call them strategies, tactics or tasks, these are the actions you must take to accomplish your goals. Finally, schedule time to work on the tasks you identified.

    Remember, planning is a cycle and ongoing process. Monitor your results and make adjustments as needed. Make planning and goal-setting a priority. Be the visionary and strategist your company needs.

    People Mastery

    You can't do it all yourself. Whether you hire employees, sub-contract work or outsource projects and routine tasks, your small business needs others to grow and prosper. Most owners recognize the importance of getting quality people to support them and their business. But too often, they ignore the need to develop and manage them - especially when outsourcing or subcontracting work. Clear expectations, shared goals, ongoing feedback and open communication lead to high-performance teams - and a willingness to delegate to others! Be the manager and leader your company needs.

    Financial Mastery

    You don't need to be a numbers guru to be successful. Whether you love them or hate them, the numbers are your friend - and a great tool for making sound business decisions and prioritizing where you put your resources. While your accountant and bookkeeper can help with planning and day-to-do record keeping, YOU own your financial performance.

    Take the time the learn and understand the key financial drivers that impact profitability, cash flow, and your personal income. While key drivers may vary by business, some common ones include sales, margins, profit, accounts receivables/payables, labor, inventory management and operating efficiency.

    Look at your financial reports monthly. Don't be afraid to ask questions. A good accountant will gladly explain -- it's how we learn. If something doesn't look or feel right, it probably isn't. Don't ignore the red flags. Ask questions or ask for help. Work with your accountant and be the chief financial officer your company needs.

    Revenue Mastery

    When you worked for someone else, keeping sales flowing was often someone else's job. But as the owner, getting customers and repeat business is now up to you. Regardless of whether you do it yourself or get others to do it for you, generating sales is the lifeblood of your business. Have methods in place to consistently generate new sales (not just leads) and get current customers to spend more and purchase again and again. There are a lot of ways to grow and sustain revenue. You don't need hundreds, but you do need three things:

    First, a few proven methods to generate new leads. Second, a reliable sales system to convert those leads to paying customers. Finally, a dependable method to stay connected with current customers to generate repeat business. The key to success in marketing and sales is consistency. Avoid the stopping and starting or when time allows approach.Be the chief marketing and sales officer your company needs.

    Systems Mastery 

    A business is a combination of people and systems that evolve over time as the business grows. When you are doing all the work, the quality and service are probably to your standards - even if they are inefficient. But as you bring in others to save time and money, those same standards may decline - unless you have written systems and procedures in place to guide them.

    Systems aren't complicated, but they are the key to efficiency, effectiveness, and repeatability in all areas of your business. They make hiring, training, and outsourcing easier. They make your business more efficient which translates into more profit. And most of all, they ensure you consistently deliver what you promise to customers, employees, suppliers, and others who depend on YOU.

    Owning your own business can be rewarding. With a commitment to learning and developing new skills, your business can provide you with the income, lifestyle, and freedom you want. As Ben Franklin said, "An investment in learning pays the best dividends".

    By Joan Nowak

    As a business improvement expert, business coach and consultant, Joan Nowak has been helping small business owners turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. Her whole business approach drives improvements in key areas: revenue, operational performance, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability. Her practical, innovative methods empower clients to create a business that works for them - one that delivers the income and lifestyle they want. To learn more or schedule a complimentary session, visit http://HybridBizAdvisors.com

    Wednesday, October 17, 2018

    Social Media For Small Businesses

    Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Businesses of all size and shapes have started making the most of available mediums. Today we will try to anatomize tips on social media for small businesses. There are a plethora of small businesses eyeing social medium to promote their business/services. However, majorly these small businesses are failing or not being able to make optimum use of social media for their business growth. There are many theories and strategies on how to effectively use social media for established brands, but the topic social media for small businesses is seldom addressed. According to Digital state of eMarketing India 2017 Octane Research:

    60% small businesses promote their business on social media. 50% focus on SEO and 35% use multichannel marketing funnel.

    70% small businesses consider content strategy as their primary marketing activity.

    52% business owners are using social media as to efficiently address customer engagement.

    More than 20% of business owners said that they are making 50% plus profit using social media.
    The primary reasons for the low turnout are uncertainty on an application of social media, calculating return on investment and persuade employees/stakeholders to clinch social media. Hence it is important to address the elephant in the room and analyze how beneficial is Social media for small businesses.

    Social media for small businesses is a great way for emerging businesses to generate lead and build a reputation. If regularly updated, social media can deliver more results as compared to traditional mediums. Social media for small businesses gives brands an edge of control over the content that they want to post. Also, since social media is a two-way dialogue process, it helps businesses to instantly identify what is benefitting them. Social media for small businesses also helps generate Word of Mouth, which is one of the best tools for emerging businesses.

    Social Media for small businesses | 10 Tips to effectively use Social Media

    Define your Target Audience

    The first and foremost important part that small businesses should focus on is to define their target audience. This helps small businesses to device their social media strategy accordingly. The target audience should be defined basis age group, sex, location, users' online behaviors, their likes, interests, and preferences. For niche products, business owners can even target users based on their birthdays, anniversaries and important milestone. Audience targeting plays a very crucial role in the outcome of the results. For e.g.: a local shop selling footwear should not target users with interest in entertainment. The shop definitely won't get the desired results.

    Set achievable goals

    Overnight success is a myth. Small businesses must understand this basic fact. Generally, when a new business starts selling on social media, there is palpable excitement is achieving more than set targeted sales. Businesses need to set goals which are upwards and forward. To achieve enormous goals, small businesses start updating social feed with multiple updates in shorter duration. This leads to user's disinterest in the product/service. The set goals should be in sync with brand's core capabilities and expertise. For e.g.: if a business is into selling shoes, they shouldn't set a goal to repair maximum shoes in their area.

    Choose the right medium

    By now everyone knows, social media is for free. Even paid campaigns can be conducted at a relatively low cost as compared to traditional mediums. It is in this scenario, that we often see small businesses jumping the bandwagon and creating profiles on all the available platforms. Creating social profile doesn't hamper brand image, but aggressively promoting a brand on wrong platforms can lead to brand losing its potential customers. Hence it is advisable for SME's to first identify the right platform through which they can maximize their business. For e.g.: If a shoe selling brand tries to aggressively sell on LinkedIn, they won't get a plausible response as compared to promotions on Facebook/Instagram.

    Promote your core product/services

    Since each and every business is riding in the social media wave, it is important for a them to promote their core product/services. Nowadays, we see a lot of businesses promoting their services as well as promoting peripheral products/services, which revolves around their core product/services. Majority of the times, this SME's doesn't have capabilities to fulfill a requirement, which can lead to a bad word of mouth for their business on social media platforms. Let us go back to our example; if a shoe seller is trying to aggressively promote socks instead of shoes, it is not going to benefit the business in the long run.

    Create quality content

    Now that we have covered the topics of identifying the target audience, setting achievable goals, choosing the right medium and promoting the right product/services let us now take a look at the type of content a business should promote on their social pages. A business should always focus on creating good quality content rather than not-good quantity content. Even if the business updates their page once in a day as long as it is relevant to their business, advocates about its core products send across a clear message it is considered as a good quality content. Antagonistically, if a business posts multiple updates which aren't even relevant to the business's products and services leads to users considering the business as fake/spam. Also, new businesses should try and refrain from promoting other businesses on their social platforms initially.

    Create a content calendar

    Making a small business successful on social platforms is no small task. It takes a lot of efforts for the businesses to keep up their conversion ratio. One such effort is to create a content calendar. Small businesses must anticipate important events and create a content calendar accordingly. Ideally, a content calendar must be planned a month in advance but an even weekly content calendar is highly recommended. This helps businesses to avoid any last minute hassles, strategize much more effectively and it also helps in creating curiosity amongst its loyal fans/customers.

    Test and re-test

    Social media is highly unpredictable. The content a business posts today, might not work for tomorrow. Hence, small businesses must always test their content before publishing it on their pages. Testing content also applies to the platform a small business chooses to promote. Small business owners must always don the consumer's hat before posting about any product feature, updates, schemes or offers. A consumer's perspective is the key when testing the content that has to be uploaded.

    Look for inspiration

    Small businesses must always look for inspiration from a competitor who is successful in the same category. Copy pasting competitors idea or content is not the answer. Small businesses must look for the kind of content its competitors are putting up and derive their own strategies subsequently. Inspiring content/stories always make a business to strive to create their own content that is appreciated by one and all. It helps in increasing brand consideration, brand visibility thereby increasing conversions for the business.

    Calculate ROI

    Even a small promotional budget is not justifiable if there is no mechanism to calculate its return on investment. It is more important in case of small businesses. It is very important for a small business to keep a tab on the budgets allocated to any promotions and the subsequent ROI related to it. If a certain promotion is not doing well or the business is not getting desired results, the brand custodian can always look for other platforms to generate quality conversions.

    Analyze and Re-strategize

    There can be umpteen instances where a particular campaign/promotion might not work for a business. That doesn't mean that the promotion is wrong or the product/service is not good. Doing an analysis of the campaign is as important as setting the objective. This helps the business to formulate their upcoming strategies in more effective ways. At the end of every campaign, brands must note down the learning's from that campaign and identify if the content/idea was appreciated by their fans or not. This helps businesses to skip the non-performing updates from future communications.

    Final Thoughts

    Social media for small businesses is definitely beneficial and fruitful. If followed correctly, small businesses can benefit tremendously from the power of social media promotions.
    For More details you can visit: http://www.infunotion.com/blog

    By Shashank Dhadiwal


    Thursday, October 11, 2018

    Payroll Services Ease The Process Of Small Businesses

    Small, emerging businesses are too busy developing core strategies and managing workflow and client relations that they often make a hash of many important aspects which demand their attention. One such aspect is payroll.

    Payroll is one of the fundamental parts of an organization. A number of small businesses that are in their infancy overlook the significance of setting up a proper payroll department, proclaiming that their clients are more important for them. This approach often causes delays in salary distribution.
    Because of that, most of their reliable resources step back. Now the question that arises here is, would you be able to meet your clients' needs if your dependable people leave you? What would be you response to your client whose project is halted in the middle of nowhere?

    Not even large organizations want to lose their hardworking people. A small business cannot really afford this loss. To keep your best employees with you, you need to ensure that their salaries are distributed on time.

    Key Responsibilities of Payroll Department


  •  Timekeeping


  •  Recordkeeping


  •  Processing paychecks on time


  •  Accounting


  •  Work with HR Department hand in hand


  • Handling all these responsibilities, your payroll department or partner makes an effort to build and maintain a positive image of your newly-established business in the market.Not every small business has funds required for instituting an in-house payroll department. If you are an emergent enterprise and this seems like your case, maybe you can hire a small business payroll service. These service providers can expertly handle your organization's accounting, financial affairs, employee management, and salary distribution.

    Outsourcing payroll processing for small businesses is in their interest. Here's how:-

    Convenience: The load of attendance, timekeeping, preparing checks, and transferring salary into your employees' bank account is on your payroll partner.

    Rightfulness: Accuracy in salary calculation and during transactions affects when you take charge of salary distribution by yourself while performing other core activities for your business. A professional payroll partner can alleviate the chances of all such blunders and blemishes.

    Compliance: It is pretty common for an entrepreneur like you to be unaware of payroll- and salary-related compliances mandated by the state and federal governments. If your service provider is the best small business payroll company in your area, then you can be sure that your business adheres to the rules and regulations.

    To sum up, some of the other advantages that you get with a dependable payroll service provider are: tax expertise, accountability, and financial auditing for your business.

    By Shailendra Verma

    Tuesday, October 9, 2018

    Why Commercial General Liability Insurance Has Been So Popular Till Now

    Why Commercial General Liability Insurance Has Been So Popular Till Now

    What is Commercial General Liability Insurance?

    The General Liability Insurance protects businesses and their owners from "general" claims which involve bodily damages, property damages, and lawsuits relating to both of these. It's the first policy usually purchased by small business owners because it's often needed when signing client's contracts and commercial leases. The General Insurance covers all expenses related to clients and customer's injuries which happens within the vicinity of your property, damages you caused to the properties of others, and other advertising mistakes. It simply covers all the most common lawsuits which arise from daily business activities such as interacting with customers, renting of property, and relating with clients.

    What does General Liability Insurance cover?

    This form of Business Insurance takes care of third-party lawsuits. This refers to the lawsuits which are brought by non-employees such as clients, landlords, vendors, customers, and so on. Generally, it covers third-party lawsuits which are triggered by any of the following:

    • Damages to property: It covers all damages to someone else property which was caused by your activities or that of your employees while working for you. This includes a lawsuit filed by your landlord due to a fire outbreak at your office which destroyed all or part of his building.

    • Bodily Injuries: It covers all kind of lawsuits arising from bodily injuries sustained by a customer or client while at your premises. This includes a lawsuit filed by a client who slipped and broke a leg at your office.

    • Damage of Reputation: It covers lawsuits arising from defamation. This includes a lawsuit filed by a competitor because of a defamatory comment posted by you or your employees on social media platforms.

    • Infringement of Copyright: It covers lawsuits arising from using someone else idea without seeking his permission. This includes a lawsuit filed by a competitor because of the similarities in your marketing and advertising materials and theirs.

    How can I save money on General Liability Insurance?

    Depending to a large extent on the type of business, General Insurance can be pretty pricey. There are a couple of ways through which you can save money on your General Liability Insurance.

    • Avoid Overestimation: When estimating the gross receipts and payrolls for the upcoming year, many business owners overestimate owing to their high hopes and expectation from their businesses. These figures tend to increase the premium they pay because most policies" premiums are calculated based on the figures of the gross receipts and payrolls.

    • Ensure That You Are Properly Covered: Some business owners sacrifice their proper coverage for lower premiums. They end up having major claims which the little money saved from lower premiums cannot cover.

    • Package Your Policies Properly: When you package your General Liability Insurance with some other policies such as your Business Personal property, you get to enjoy a multi-policy discount.

    If you need any information about Commercial General Liability Insurance or you wish to save some money on your General Liability Insurance, you can contact an Insurance Company and get a quote today.

    IDA serves all the needs of Independent Route Delivery Drivers. We offer up to 30% savings on Commercial Auto and General Liability Insurance. We offer fast & accurate Business Formation services for route delivery drivers who work with the bread and snack industry in USA. for more information Visit: https://www.nationalida.com/

    By Rick Coomer