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

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Five Wise Tips to Get Cash For Your Small Business (Without A Bank)

Five Wise Tips to Get Cash For Your Small Business (Without A Bank)
By N. S. Jenks

Rhetoric about the importance of small business to the U.S. economy abounds. Yet our politicians continue to create policies and programs that make life difficult for those who run, or are trying to start, such a venture. Raising capital and maintaining profitability rank among their most frustrating - and debilitating - challenges.

Help is out there! It just takes some creative thinking and willingness to look beyond traditional methods of financing. Following are 5 Wise Tips to stimulate your thinking and produce lucrative leads:

  1. Use the SBA to best advantage (which isn't cash): No - the SBA is not going to give you a loan. And it does not award government business grants to entrepreneurs. It does provide valuable information, assistance and direction -- often at the local level. Learn more about their site and their services to use your time well.

  2. Take advantage of free services for small business owners: To be competitive as a small business you must have a website. It doesn't have to be fancy but it does need to exist. Lots of organizations, including major companies like Google, are offering free resources to small business to accomplish that goal. You don't have to be technical -- just take the time to see what's out there and get online!

  3. Enter Local Competitions: All over the country there are examples of local corporations and other organizations like libraries that are offering serious cash awards to entrepreneurs. Do regular internet searches for such opportunities, watch for small business competitions in your area, and visit websites that offer current information about these opportunities. Even more importantly, keep an open mind about new ways to raise money

  4. Consider Crowd-funding: Why not turn to the public to help fund your good idea? Recent legislation has added to the awareness and availability of this type of funding. If you have a good story to tell you can raise considerable amounts of money on crowd-funding sites. There are a variety of sites to choose from depending on what sort of business or project you are promoting.

  5. Hire Wisely: Taking on employees is a great thing to do but it can also be a financial and paperwork burden. By hiring qualified veterans you can take advantage of recently extended programs providing tax incentives to employers who hire veterans. And President Obama's goal in the 2014 budget is to make these tax credits permanent so you may be able to budget with a higher degree of certainty about the future.

Get more Wise Tips on new ways to start and maintain your small business. Included are strategies for funding a start-up, small business financing opportunities, news about microfinancing and news regarding crowdfunding. Find tips for entrepreneurs of all types as well as specific resources for minority business owners and veterans.

Discover more now at http://www.gofreegovernmentmoney.com/ N. S. Jenks, Partner.

We provide fast, free, clear and factual information about public and private grants, scholarships, and alternative funding sources.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=N._S._Jenks

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How to Create a Customer Experience That Drives Referrals and Repeat Business

How to Create a Customer Experience That Drives Referrals and Repeat Business
By Joan Nowak

Most businesses focus resources on the stuff that gets the phone to ring or produces traffic to their location or website - building awareness and leads. But what happens next can be the difference between a one-time sale or a lifetime customer. It's all about the total customer experience.

The term 'customer experience' is the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company over the duration of their relationship. In other words it covers all the steps or building blocks on the loyalty ladder: awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy.

You have a lot of chances to create a customer experience that gets people talking - good or bad - about your company. Do it right, you get more repeat business and referrals. Mess it up, you get none. Sales and profit suffer, along with your reputation. Don't leave it to chance.

Why It's Important?

Most of us recognize that customer loyalty drives referrals and repeat business, so this alone is a good reason to focus on improving the customer experience. But here's another reason worth considering. With products and services becoming commoditized and price differentiation not sustainable, delivering a superior customer experience really does provide a competitive advantage - because others can't quickly replicate what you are doing.

3 Steps to Superior Customer Experience

First, map out what you want the total customer experience to look like - from start to finish. Here's a few things to consider:

  • How knowledgeable are your people as it relates to your company's core values, products and services AND your customers needs and expectations? Interactions with potential customers is not limited to your marketing and sales staff. Your entire team encounters opportunities inside and outside the business. Make everyone a customer advocate and give them the knowledge to pull it off.
  • What should your sales process look like from initial contact to ultimate sale? What are the touch points along the way? Building relationships takes time - and often more than one contact.
  • How should your product or service delivery work to insure quality and efficiency? Is the handoff from sales seamless to the customer or do they feel abandoned after they purchase or sign a contract?
  • What about billing? Is it convenient, timely and accurate? Are you taking advantage of technology to customize methods based on customer preferences?
  • What are you doing after the sale to continue to build the relationship? Phone follow-up calls and surveys are a great way to say thanks, get feedback and ask for referrals. Do you have a system to insure after sales activities get done consistently?

You probably already have an idea of how you would like the customer experience to work. So decide what you want, document it and implement consistently.

Next, build in a few measures to track and share. What you select may vary based on your type of business and objectives. You don't need a lot of measures, but you do need a few that have an impact on customer retention, satisfaction and loyalty. Here's a few examples: overall customer satisfaction based on phone survey, quality % (done right the first time), renewal %, service level % (on time delivery), A/R past due %, referral business %, etc.

Finally, look for ways to make it even better. Get your team, customers and even vendors involved. Here's two questions to consider:

  • What can we do to make it easier for prospects and customers to do business with us?
  • What can we do to wow or inspire them, to make them smile or surprise them?

Make your total customer experience a real asset for your business. You'll be rewarded with raving fans who buy again and gladly tells others - while your competitor's try to play catch-up.

Joan Nowak is a results-oriented business coach, consultant, trainer and creator of the Hybrid Business Coaching System. Working with small business owners and professionals, she helps them create the changes needed in business to achieve the income and lifestyle they want. For additional resources, business tools and ideas to grow revenue, increase profit and get back control, visit http://HybridBizAdvisors.com. While you are there, subscribe to her monthly eNewsletter for new articles, tools and special offers -- plus a free copy of her eBook, Mastering the 7 Elements of Business Success.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joan_Nowak

Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Integrity Assessment - Would Your Business Pass?

An Integrity Assessment - Would Your Business Pass?
By Sandra Martini

At first glance, it seems as if it'd be tough to provide an assessment on one's integrity. After all, how do we measure it?

Thinking back to my days of internal auditing with the Federal Government, I was looking for the measurement.

Then an email arrived from someone indicating that she owed us an apology as she hasn't written her newsletter or provided informative content in quite a while, but it's okay because she's been behind-the-scenes revamping her business and would now like us to invest in her new programs.

And that's when I realized that we can measure integrity -- both our own and others -- by asking and answering the simple question "Did I/they do what I/they said I/they would?"

That's the measurement. It is that simple. Not a number, but proof that we did what we said we'd do and when we didn't do it (as will happen for any number of reasons), we own up to it. We mess up, we're human. That's okay as long as we acknowledge it and do our best to fix it our customers and clients will continue to trust and have confidence in us.

Here are some recent instances where I've seen proof of a lack of integrity and no attempt to either own up or fix:

• Affiliate payments -- this one is rampant in the online-focused world. Biz owners who ask for help in sharing/promoting something and when the affiliate payments are due to go out either don't pay, push payments out a ridiculous amount of time or tell you they've "spent it" meanwhile showcasing their latest vacation on social media.
• Consistency -- simply not doing what they committed to as in the example of the business owner above. Had she sent out a simple email stating that she was taking a brief sabbatical and would be back soon, all would be well.
• Client Service -- this one really gets me. Biz owners who work hard to get new clients and then lost them because they don't take care of them/don't deliver on their commitment to provide "X". I want to yell, "Seriously?!?!", after all, they're hurting their reputation, credibility, etc.
• The Half-Assed Attempt -- sadly, I'm seeing this one more and more and while it could definitely be combined with "Client Service" above, I feel the need to break it out. Rather than doing a good job, doing the least amount possible to "get by". This comes from either not asking clarifying questions, making assumptions or plain doing a "just barely satisfactory" job of something (think a "C-/D" in grade) so one can move on to the next thing. Augh!

My recommendation:

• Check and see where your business may be out of integrity with your standards and values. Many times this is happening and we're totally unaware of it. An example in my business was when I discovered that a nurturing sequence wasn't tied to a product so here I am thinking the clients are receiving this great "add-on" info to what they invested in and they were receiving nothing. I only learned after asking a client how they were liking the info.
• Ask your clients how you're doing. Keep this anonymous to ensure you receive totally honest info that you need to hear -- not always what you may want to hear. It's more important that your business, not your ego, benefit from the responses.
• For those who you're doing business with and you feel they're out of integrity, address it. Take the approach that they're not aware of it and ask/let them know nicely. As the saying goes, you'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar and they may truly not realize what's happening/not happening. Make your decision about future interactions based on their response.

We're not perfect, likely never will be and that's totally okay. We're not "out of integrity" because something was missed or a mistake was made -- it's when we fail to address it that the issues arise.

As an inspiring and in-demand mentor, trainer and speaker, Sandy has helped hundreds of small business owners across the globe create sustainable businesses which make a positive impact. Sandy is also the founder of Escalator Marketing™, creating client engagement and raving fans by design. Sandy's Done 4 You services, programs, products and presentations on Escalator Marketing™ and creating lifetime clients through Extreme Client Care™ have made her an in-demand and innovative expert. Meet her at http://www.sandramartini.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sandra_Martini

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mission Statements Are Out, Passion Statements Are In

Mission Statements Are Out, Passion Statements Are In
By Nikki Corbett

Bye-bye mission statement.

It's time to get personal: what's your passion statement?

Physical location + word of mouth + mission statement = business success. Right?

But the modern business era has brought us the internet, phone apps, and social media. People are connected in so many different ways that distance is no longer a hurdle. Without even speaking to our friends, we can stay on top of what is going on in their lives. Staying in touch keeps us in the know, and the more we know, the more we want to know more.

Following suit, many business transactions now take place online-without ever meeting face to face. Businesses have since found themselves facing the conundrum of how to make the connection (i.e., close the deal) without a handshake and a smile.

The solution is simple. Now, more than ever before, customers want to know much more about who they're dealing with. Customers want to know what makes you motivated, what makes you tick, and when it comes right down to it... what your passion is. Maybe that's getting a little personal, but that's just what social media has accomplished-blurring the lines between business and personal.

And if you're doing something you love, why not shout it from the rooftop?

Truth: Mission statements have suddenly gone the way of Jennifer Aniston hairdos, non-LED Christmas lights, and oh... the rotary phone. A stalwart ingredient of yesterday's business recipe, mission statements now carry all the weight of dry, boring, and impersonal. And in a world of keyboards, wires, and downloads, who wants more impersonal?

So, now onto YOU. Let's get personal.

How to Craft Your Passion Statement

Ask yourself the following five questions:

1. What makes you get up and go to work each morning?
2. What, in life or work, do you find exciting?
3. What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your work life?
4. What motivates you?
5. What do you really want to do, and why do you really want to do it?

OK, I fudged and combined two questions, but the last two go hand in hand.

Record your answers to these questions and lock away that internal editor. Put every thought on paper-just get it down. Then put it away for a day. Add some more thoughts tomorrow, then really start playing with the words. Put it away again for a day or even a week. Then come back with a fresh mind, and you'll certainly hone in on your own passion statement.

Nikki Corbett is a U.S.-based copywriter, proofreader, and copy editor, and is the owner of Precise Proofing. Precise Proofing offers a range of B2B and B2C services reaching small businesses, nonprofits, students, and writers. Services include copy writing, press releases, blog editing, marketing copy, manuscript critiques, thesis paper editing/proofreading, article writing, and more. For more great articles, visit http://www.PreciseProofing.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nikki_Corbett

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Cost of Getting Your Advertising and Marketing Wrong

The Cost of Getting Your Advertising and Marketing Wrong
By Nikki Corbett

The cost of getting it right vs. getting it wrong.

Here's why we'll always need editing and proofreading.

Imagine-paying for printing, mailing, etc. only to discover that a single misplaced punctuation mark completely changed the intent of your message! Or an embarrassing spelling error wasn't caught and makes it to your entire client list! Or your ad reads, "5% off" instead of 50%! A proofreader could have saved you. But more importantly...

Will your clients be hesitant to trust you with their work, time, money-their business-in the future? Will you make enough profit from this campaign to cover the next?

Take the following scenario:

Say you've invested $2,500 on your first large-scale marketing campaign. It's a big risk, but the investment is worth it. You project sales of $6000 or more. Your ad has been written, designed, and printer ready. You click the send button to your printer, who forwards you a final proof and direct mails your postcard, brochure, or other mailing to your entire client base. (To be fair, the printer's staff performed a quick review and ran spell-check.) It's time to sit back in your chair and wait for the phone calls to start rolling in.

To your dismay, the first day only nets a few phone calls, but no sales-the same on the second and third days. The trend continues for several days; you do close a few sales, though not as much as you had anticipated. Out of frustration, you grab a postcard and start reading.

You find an embarrassing typo within the ad, plus an incorrect digit in the area code.

How could this happen? You trusted two office staff members to proofread the campaign material in addition to yourself. How did three sets of eyes miss both of these glaring errors?

The sad truth is, it happens all the time. We are all too close to our own work, our own business, our own industry to proofread or edit what we create and send on to our clients, staff, or investors. In fact, even proofreaders need proofreaders-it's true.

In the end, our company president spends $2500 and earns $2250 in business, resulting in a $250 financial loss. But remember the sales projections? In addition to the $250 loss in funding, tack on $3750 in lost sales revenues for a total loss of a whopping $4000!

What would it have cost to have an outside source review the campaign material? Less than $250? Surely, a worthwhile investment.

Remember, once it's in print you can't edit those mistakes-they're permanent.

Nikki Corbett is a U.S.-based copywriter, proofreader, and copy editor, and is the owner of Precise Proofing. Precise Proofing offers a range of B2B and B2C services reaching small businesses, nonprofits, students, and writers. Services include copy writing, press releases, blog editing, marketing copy, manuscript critiques, thesis paper editing/proofreading, article writing, and more. For more great articles, visit http://www.PreciseProofing.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nikki_Corbett

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Small Business Marketing and Advertising In the 21st Century

Small Business Marketing and Advertising In the 21st Century
By P T Laury

As a small business owner, keeping up with the competition can be extremely challenging. The race to get the next dollar from your customer base sometimes requires squeezing your prices so low that the margins are barely keeping your doors open. If you have found yourself in this dilemma don't despair. There is hope.

While looking at your business sales results have you noticed that sales are stagnating or decreasing? Are you beating your head against the wall considering your available options to increase the traffic coming into your business thereby increasing your sales? If all of the solutions that you are coming up with are 20th century solutions, you are actually losing the battle of business survival.

Media like television, radio and print are costly and slow in growing a business in the "right now" 21st century.

Everyone knows that television is great in establishing name recognition when advertising is repetitive enough to become accepted in the minds of its' viewers. The problem with television is that it is extremely expensive to create, produce and put on the air.

Radio on the other hand is less expensive than television but again too expensive for most small businesses to maintain over an extended period of time. Additionally, radio is not nearly as effective in building name recognition because consumers are not listening to radio as much in the 21st century.

Finally there is the great-grandfather of all advertising media, print. Print media has been around since businesses began advertising their wares and services. Print media, i.e., coupons, news print, post cards etc., are practically ineffective today. Consumers are bombarded with every form of print media advertising available. As such, most print media advertising die a quick death in the trash receptacles of consumers.

So there you have it. Expensive television advertising, less expensive and less effective radio advertising and finally print media where your hard earned dollars rush to the consumers trash receptacle. What is a business owner to do to keep the numbers up in their business?

There are the mediums of email marketing and text message marketing. Email marketing has become the assumed medium to reach consumers. Email marketing is inexpensive and when done according to the CAN-SPAM laws email marketing can be reasonably effective. The real downside to email marketing is that even when consumers opt-in they generally don't check their email when received thus the risk of your marketing piece going stale resulting in minimal positive responses.

Finally to get immediate measurable results with full control over your marketing and advertising campaigns there is the 21st century new media, "text message marketing." Text message marketing puts your advertisement in the hands of your target market within seconds of sending it. The message is delivered to the smartphones of your opt-in customer base. Text message marketing is extremely affordable, measurable and flexible. If you have a campaign to increase traffic, you can do it within minutes with text message marketing. Statistics show that on average text messages are read within 4 minutes of being received. Another great benefit of text message marketing is that you can choose to do it yourself or have a text message marketing company handle the marketing campaigns for you. You simply submit your campaign to the text message marketing company and they handle the setup and transmission of your campaign based upon your directions, even to the minute of transmission.

So if you want immediate measurable results for your marketing and advertising campaigns, text message marketing is the 21st century solution.

The author has over 30 years experience as an owner of multiple businesses. Having purchased thousands of dollars in advertising over the years with varying degrees of success, text message marketing has proven to be the most effective media. To have your text message marketing campaigns handled by yourself or a company visit Affordable Phone Apps also known as MY $49.95 AD AGENCY.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=P_T_Laury

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Why Small Businesses Give Up On Social Media

Why Small Businesses Give Up On Social Media
By John Debar

I am learning that many small business owners have the wrong idea about social media. Some have bought into the "promised land" idea--expecting that they would have access to millions of people once they published their Facebook page. Others view social media marketing as a circulation or direct marketing advertisement; hence, after they establish themselves on the top two or three platforms they wait for results without any further effort.

One problem is that we are fed bogus ideas, snake oil apps, clever short-copy, and misguided blogs everyday -- or at least when we surf the net for a digital media miracle. Perhaps that is why I witness many business owners wasting time on counterproductive efforts -- later giving up on their digital front altogether.

Another problem is that small business owners are sold on 'strategy' by 'experts' who are merely trying to snatch-a-buck for setting up social media accounts. Some of these so-called experts paint a boisterous picture of an unending stream of revenue flowing through a business' front doors. Their selling point might be based on the connection that your business will be part of a network that has 500 million+ members -- hinting that you can grab your share. The truth is... it is not that simple.

Don't turn back now! Social media works! It just doesn't work in the ways previously mentioned.

Posting things to your Facebook page every morning over coffee or posting a special deal every now and then is a very small part of the game; so small, that this alone will never yield large enough results. The idea behind social media is to create a community, get involved, and stay in touch.

In traditional methods of doing business, relationships and perceptions of a company is the key to success. It's no different in the digital world except that the digital world has made it easier for companies to maintain relationships and perceptions about their brand. Concisely, social networks are not a traditional means of advertising where you carefully place an advertisement in a targeted circulation and hope for success. It's more than that -- it's an ongoing, interactive, relationship based method of acquiring business.

The ROI for social media efforts can be huge if managed right. For starters, once you have a foundation of fans or followers, much of your advertising communication efforts are free of charge. Furthermore, promotions can extend beyond your fan base if your product and communications are worth sharing. Another reason why social media is worth the trouble is that your target market is in one location-waiting for your input.

Imagine 'X number' of people who "liked" your page, because they like your brand... waiting for you to communicate with them.

... just say'n.

If people like you, they will give you a chance. If they get to know you, they will become customers. If they trust you, they will become loyal. If they become loyal, they will bring you more business.

Managing your business' digital front requires patience. The idea is to build relationships, loyalty, trust, and community! These things take time. The best part about it is that using social networks as a marketing tool is virtually free if you have the time to manage activities yourself.

If you, as a small business owner, made changes in your priorities, adopt a long-term view with social media, and use social media for more than a coupon scheme or self-promoting megaphone then you might discover a new window for success. Don't take my word for it! "Google" it! There are many companies embracing social media and succeeding. Read about what they do, how they do it, and repeat the process.

Thanks for reading!

~ John Debar

Learn more about social media marketing here.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Debar

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Social Media for Small Business - Is It Too Much?

Social Media for Small Business - Is It Too Much?
By John Debar

While preparing to write this article, concerning whether or not a company needs to participate in every social media site available, I received an update about an emerging social website. After spending five minutes evaluating the site, I found myself in a trance as I contemplated the reality of our digital age and social media.

Is it too much? Even with a fabulous social management tool such as Hootsuite, small business owners might find themselves overwhelmed. The ambitious PR person in me says that you should participate and listen to every social network -- if you are a large conglomerate or you can afford a social management team. The small business owner in me says that you should focus only on the most popular and relevant social sites.

There are many decisions to be made for a small business's social media front. When choosing your online channels it is best to start with the 'no-brainers', such as Facebook and Twitter then work your way down the Top 10 list -- that is, if you want to go beyond Facebook and Twitter.

There are things to consider such as your investment of time, equipment, and software. YouTube is a great example. YouTube goes head to head with Facebook on traffic. It seems as though every company should have a YouTube account, but producing original and engaging content on YouTube takes an investment of time, equipment, and software.

YouTube is more of a frustration for me than anything else. It is loaded with low quality videos that have terrible sound, strange electrical feedback, and poor narration -- all of which have to do with time, equipment, and software. What kind of image do you think your company will project if you produce subpar 'how to' videos?

Then there is the social media overload factor. Have you ever visited a company website that displays their social media links... all 10 of them? There is nothing more amusing to me than following those links to find that the only platforms the company is engaged in are the top two or three. It's great that a company offers many channels by which a visitor can stay in touch, but if the company is not communicating on those social media channels, it becomes a useless icon on their website. This, in turn, might send your followers the wrong impression about your company.

My advice to all small business owners is to choose Facebook and Twitter, then ask the following questions concerning other channels:

- Is your target audience using that channel?

- Is the social media site relevant to your business' industry?

- Does the social media channel match your company's image?

- Can your business effectively engage an audience with that channel?

- Do you have the resources and skills to create quality content?

- Can you devote time to all the channels you choose?

Once you have chosen the most valuable and relevant channels, stay current and engage your audience regularly. There are many tools and services that can help your business manage its online communications. To do it yourself, you might want to consider Hootsuite and Tweet Deck. If you are too busy to wear the social media hat then you might want to consider hiring someone to do that for you.

Social media is worth the effort and it will provide a return on your investment! Just choose wisely and stick to it.

Thanks for reading!

~ John Debar

Learn more about social media for small business here.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Debar

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Common Pitfalls to Be Avoided In Small Business Budgeting

Common Pitfalls to Be Avoided In Small Business Budgeting
By John Karthikeyan

For some business owners, budgeting might seem like an overly hectic task. But when the priorities are clearly established and realistic estimate of the whole business is made, there will not be any hidden demons in the whole budgeting process.

Below listed are some of the common pitfalls that are to be avoided in the process:

Under Estimation of Costs:

Any type of businesses has a set of ancillary or supplementary costs that usually do not make it up to the budget and most often go unnoticed. For instance, when software equipment is purchased, we often take into account only the cost of the equipment and tend to avoid the other associated costs like maintenance, installation and training costs. This in turn will lead to under estimation of the cost.

No budgeting:

The major mistake of all budgeting process is going on with the business with no idea of profitability. Checks go out and bills come in. It would become a monotonous process.

Business with no objective:

A concrete business plan is very important before the company incorporation. If there is no proper planning, then the business is more likely to go waste. So goals have to be set with utmost care.

Making the best choice of all expenses:

For a small business, there will be many expenses. One needs to scrutinize all the expenses accordingly and compare the estimates to actual-pay outs. For example, if you have decided to set up a website for your business and the website maintenance costs around $1000 a year. If the similar service is offered by another service provider at $500, time should be taken to scrutinize both individually and decide on the right one that suits the budget.

Cash Flow Monitoring:

For a small business to be successful, the inflow and outflow of the cash has to be monitored. Ignoring the revenues and emphasizing only on the expenses will yield very bad results. In order to avoid to the major disasters, a periodic check on revenue and expenses have to be made and should be recorded.

Focus on most important item:

During budgeting in a small business, equal amount should not be spent on all the items. Instead money should be spent on the profit driving item.

Flexible Approach:

A good business is the one that is more flexible. Sometimes the small business will not yield the expected revenue. During that times the business should be flexible so as to trim down the expenses and bring the budget under control.

Budget: Limiting exercise not limit:

It is well and good to stick to the budget. But it should not be seen as a hindrance to spending. For example, an unplanned trip to a trade conference can be seen as a big expense in budget. But through the trip if you can get precious contacts by which you can expand your business it should rather be seen as a valuable investment than just spending money.

For nearly 10 years, G.K. Management Services assisted entrepreneurs within service and contracting small businesses to increase their return on investment by advice on business incorporation and on budgeting. Visit http://www.gkmtax.com to contact them or learn more about their services

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Karthikeyan

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When Business Owners And Entrepreneurs Face That Fine Line

When Business Owners And Entrepreneurs Face That Fine Line
By Cindy Hartman

There is a very fine line between success and failure. Many entrepreneurs and business owners have walked this line many times. It is evident when you see two people start a similar business at about the same time. A few years later, one is building the company of his or her dreams while the other has not. What makes one person successful, and the other not able to achieve the same desired result?

Often success is as close as just doing something one more time instead of stopping. Giving it one more shot before closing the doors for good might be that extra special push that is all you needed. If you're facing some struggles, not quite achieving the success you are working towards, how long do you keep going? Or, possibly a better question, how soon is too soon to stop the pursuit? Often the difference between success and failure can appear to be a massive brick wall. However, in most situations, it's really just a fine line.

Before choosing to let your dreams stay dreams rather than becoming reality, ask yourself one question.

Instead of settling for something less because it might be the easier road to travel, ask yourself one question.

Rather than giving up and walking away from all that you've created so far, ask yourself one question.

If you're ready to give up, consider asking yourself, "What if I just give it...

... one more sales call?"

... one more phone call?"

... one more offer?"

... one more letter?"

... one more step?"

... one more email?"

... one more introduction?"

... one more minute of my time?"

Being persistent can make a world of difference, as demonstrated in this statement that is credited to Calvin Coolidge, "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

If it's in your heart for success, don't wonder what might have been. There is always "one more" in you when success is in your heart. Give it that one more before the end of the day. Then, tomorrow, give it that one more again. Let persistence be your guide so you don't live the rest of your life wondering what would have happened if you just gave it one more!

Cindy Hartman is President of Hartman Inventory, a company that helps business owners and homeowners protect their assets. She is also owner of Nationwide Inventory Professionals, an inventory business package and licensing agreement. Start and grow your business with their professional assistance. Details at http://www.NationwideInventoryProfessionals.com.

Always giving just "one more," Hartman is also the owner of National Inventory Certification Association, the certifying entity for the asset inventory industry. http://www.NationalInventoryCertificationAssociation.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cindy_Hartman

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How to Get More Customers - Budget Marketing Idea

How to Get More Customers - Budget Marketing Idea
By Melody Campbell

There is a part of the human brain called the Reticular Activating System, also known as the RAS, designed to do half of your marketing job for you. Yeah that's right. This fabulous brain feature has the job of filtering all in coming stimuli and making the decision as to whether we pay attention to or ignore something.

So how does the RAS do half your marketing job for you? Your customer's RAS is focused on their needs, wants and desires. Your customer's RAS filters out and ignores everything else. Your customer's brain is seeking a solution like a heat seeking missile targeting their desires with pin point accuracy. Whenever there is a solution in the sphere of awareness held by your customer the RAS zeros the customer's attention to the satisfaction of their desires making the solution impossible to miss.

If your product or service is the solution to your customer's problem - the object of their need, want, or desire - your customer's RAS will draw them right to you. Bingo! Half the job of marketing!

The question is, how do you show up on your customer's RAS radar so you are not ignored and filtered out? That's the purpose of target marketing. Let me turn that phrase "upside down" in your thinking. Most gurus will tell you to find YOUR target market - YOUR ideal customer. I say to you - become your customer's target.

How to become your customers' target

  1. Conduct a needs analysis of the people you serve or want to serve
  2. Design your product and/or service to be the target for those needs discovered
  3. Design your marketing material as a target that your prospects RAS will easily identify as the solution.

So in simple terms - using an example we've all heard before - focus on presenting the �" hole, not the drill bit - the sizzle, not the steak.

Emotions vs. Logic

Sales psychology describes a phenomenon in which buyers make buying decisions based on emotion and supports those emotional decisions with logic: therefore your marketing must use emotion to sell what people want, not what you think they "need" or want them to need.

The function and focus of the RAS is increased when inspired by strong emotions. When you are able to inspire a strong emotional state of mind to propose the logical benefits of your product or service you make it nearly impossible for your prospect to deny him or herself the object of their desire.

This is a subtle change of perspective but If you will think in terms of being the target that your customers' RAS is focused on finding, instead of targeting your customers, you will be working with your customers' brain and have half your marketing job done for you!

See if you qualify for a $5000 educational grant for select small business owners Apply for Grant

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Melody_Campbell

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bootstrapping Your Small Business's Working Capital Needs For Free

Bootstrapping Your Small Business's Working Capital Needs For Free
By Joseph Lizio

Can you image a way to finance your small business's working capital needs - like purchasing inventory, supplies, materials, labor etc - and not having to pay a dime to do it?

Well, not only can it be done but you might have the ability to do it right now.

Working Capital

Let's start by looking at working capital. Working capital is essentially money that a business uses to manage its operating cycle. A retail business needs inventory to sell. It purchases that inventory up front - then works on selling those products over the coming days, weeks, months, etc. But, the business cannot pay for that inventory until it sells those items. Thus, in the mean time, it has to expend some working capital to purchase those products until it can sell them and recoup its money.

The same with service businesses. They need materials, supplies and even labor to get a job done for a customer. But, the business does not get paid until that job is done. However, it still has to cover those materials and wages in the mean time. It does so with its working capital - paying up front and getting reimbursed when the job is done.

Lastly, working capital for a manufacturing business is its life blood. The business receives an order and has to purchase needed materials to complete that order for the customer. Plus, the business has to pay for utilities, supplies and labor to convert those materials into a finished product and it has to do all of this before it gets paid. Thus, it has to have working capital on hand or it has to refuse to take that new order.

Now, most small businesses, instead of using their own money, like to apply for bank lines of credit to cover their working capital or operating capital needs.

The reason is that they offer a great benefit like the ability to draw on, use and then pay that line back throughout the year - as it earns revenue from its operations.

However, bank lines of credit - especially unsecured one - are very hard to get these days. Banks and many other small business lenders either no longer provide lines of credit or make them too hard to qualify for. Plus, if you can get one, they charge high interest from the moment you draw the line as well as huge fees just to have the line available.

And, if you can't get a bank line of credit, what do you do then?

Well, you bootstrap of course and if you do it right - you can get all those same benefits without any of the cost.

Bootstrapping Working Capital

Bootstrapping is about using personal resources to start, grow and manage your small business. It comes to businesses that have no other options - meaning that they can't get business loans. So, they turn to personal resources - like savings, home equity or personal credit cards. And, it is the latter that will provide the greatest benefit for working capital.

Credit cards - personal credit cards - are used by nearly 65% of all small businesses (not just new businesses but all small businesses).

The reason is that these cards provide:

  1. The same ability (benefit) as bank lines of credit - meaning that you can draw on the credit card line, pay it back and draw again.
  2. They are so much easier to get then business loans.
  3. They are unsecured - so no collateral is required. And,
  4. They can be used in your business to cover your operating capital needs.

Most personal credit cards do not have annual fees or any fees for that matter. They do not have to be zeroed out each year (meaning that you don't have to pay them off and replay every 12 months). And, many provide cash back or other rewards - all things that you cannot or will not get with a traditional line of credit. But, their greatest benefit is that they provide billing cycles and grace periods before interest is charged.

Most credit cards have a 30 day billing cycle. That means that if you make a purchase today, you will not get charged any interest until after the billing cycle is completed. Thus, let's say that your billing cycle ends on the 15th of each month. Now, if you make a purchase on the 16th of the month, you will not be charged interest on that purchase for at least another 30 days (until the 15th of the next month). And, if you pay that balance in full before the 15th of the next month - you will not be charged any interest at all.

Additional, many credit cards also offer a 25 day grace period to pay after the billing cycle ends - increasing the time until you get charged interest or have to make payments.

This means that you can make purchases on your card and, not only do you not have to pay for those charges for nearly 55 days (almost two months), but you can use that time to run through your operating cycles, get paid from your customers and pay off those purchases - before you get charged any interest at all - and as long as you pay that card off in full, it will cost you nothing.

Credit Cards For Cash Flow

Let's look at some examples:

A retail business needs to buy $5,000 in inventory and plans to sell those products over the next 30 days. But, it does not have the cash on hand. So, it puts those purchases on a credit card, sells the inventory over the next month. Collects payments from customers - say $15,000 as their mark up is 200%. Then before the card payment is due, take $5,000 from those sales and pays off the balance. In this case, they covered their working capital needs and did not pay a dime in interest or fees for it.

A service business has a new customer that will pay $20,000 to get a job done. To do this, the business will have to purchase $10,000 in supplies and added labor to complete the job. The company does not have that cash on hand and puts those charges on a credit card - completes the job in the next two weeks and collects payment from its customer. It then, before the end of the credit card's billing cycle, pays the balance off with part of its customer's payment and ends up paying nothing in interest or fees.

Lastly, a manufacturer needs $7,500 in raw materials to create $30,000 in finished product that it has customers lining up for. But, it does not have the $7,500 on hand and uses it credit card to pay its suppliers. Then, when the production run is done and the business gets paid - it promptly pays off the card's balance and pays no interest, financing charges or fees.

And, there are as many examples as there are small businesses needing operating capital to grow their companies.

Keys To Success

There are two key factors here:

  1. You have to be able to complete your business cycle within that 30 day billing period. If it takes you more time then that to get paid by your customers - then you will start to accrue interest. However, paying interest for a month or two may not be that bad given that if you did not come up with the working capital in the first place, you would not be able to get the inventory or materials needed and would have to turn away those customers. (Just as long as you can earn more from the job or sale - then the product and any financing would cost).
  2. Be able and willing to pay those charges off in full each month - when paid by customers.

Conclusion

There are times that banks and traditional business financing is not the best option for growing small businesses - especially if those banks and financing companies keep denying loan requests.

So, business owners have to find ways to bootstrap. However, bootstrapping does not have to be either hard or expensive. And, like the examples shown, if managed properly, some of the alternative financing options that many small business owners try to avoid (like using personal credit) can turn out to be an inexpensive blessing in disguised.

Joseph Lizio holds a MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship and is the founder of Business Money Today - a website designed to help entrepreneurs find the unsecured business loans and small business working capital they need today.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joseph_Lizio

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Power of the Mind and Small Business Ideas

The Power of the Mind and Small Business Ideas
By Rhett Kniep

It is common to think of a lightbulb when thinking about "ideas." It is so common it is almost cliche. You know, the lit bulb in a picture showing someone thinking or coming up with a solution or discovering something.

There are likely many reasons for it, but I would assume much of it comes from the father of inventors, known to us as the great Thomas Edison. Edison was a prolific inventor, and has a intriguing story. The truth is, Edison did not invent the first electric bulb, but he did develop a systematic way of producing an incandescent bulb that was commercially practical. In 1879, he patented a carbon filament method of producing light. The bulb lasted a mere 13 and 1/2 hours. But it was on a fishing trip to Wyoming where Edison came up with the idea of a carbonized bamboo filament. He was relaxing on the shore of a fishing lake and examining threads of his bamboo fishing pole when it hit him, and back at his lab he applied the bamboo filament idea and was able to achieve 1200 hours of light. This idea of Edison became the first major breakthrough for his development of commercially feasible electric lighting.

Now consider the situation. Edison was on a trip, a vacation. He was there to relax, fish, and see a solar eclipse. But there was one other thing that he was doing; a very important thing... HE WAS THINKING. He was thinking because that is what Edison did, and he understood the power of the mind. One of the greatest human inventions of all time resulted from a man relaxing and looking closely at his fishing pole... and thinking.

The world is a better place for Edison having lived because he knew how to think, and act on his thinking. Edison acted on his "business idea" and put it into motion by developing systems to produce his ideas. During that time he had started Edison Electric Light Company with the assistance of JP Morgan and Vanderbilt as financiers. No doubt the development of an idea, the pitching of the idea, and the forming of a company based on a novel concept took a lot of work. Those things always do. But it had to start somewhere, and that somewhere was the mind of Thomas Edison.

Money, position, resources, intelligence, talent... you name it... they are all necessary at some point in the process to develop an idea. But they are not necessary at the inception of the idea. There is only one thing necessary to get the idea, and that is IMAGINATION.

Albert Einstein said "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination."

He was right. The inventions of the world that have blessed and bettered the lives of untold millions did not come from merely knowing things, but from thinking things. Thinking is the Power of the Mind, and it has utterly limitless potential to solve problems and create solutions.

So why don't more people actually think? I mean if thinking really is the solution, why aren't there more solutions?

Edison had a placard in his lab (where he did all his developing of his "thinking") which said it best. It was Sir Joshua Reynolds ' famous quotation: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking."

The real problem people face is not the inability to think, it's the lack of desire to think. Television, Internet, cell phones, I-pads, video games, and every other device designed to entertain and wow us throughout the day are waging war on our minds. They demand that we not think, but that we zone into whatever unreal territories they lead us. There is no original, creative thought when reacting to the flickering lights of a multimedia gizmo. (And what sad irony there is in that) But there can be and is creative imagination when we set out to foster our own minds.

We foster our minds when we focus with our minds. Instead of letting things happen to us, reacting to stimuli, we must aggressively and purposely pursue ideas. Ideas are generated by other ideas, which are generated by other ideas, and so on and on. It is a progressive process which ultimately leads to great ideas, and great solutions.

Reading, writing, building, calculating... these are activities which foster creativity. Whether they are entertaining or not is unimportant. The real question is: do these activities engage my mind toward creating a solution to a problem?

If you want to develop a successful small business, you must foster small business ideas. You find small business ideas by studying, engaging, interacting, and working in any area of interest. That area of interest is virtually limitless. It can be making home-baked goods to sell at your neighborhood street corner. It can be setting up a lab to design and manufacture mechanical devices. It can be anything you can imagine. But know this: all great businesses begin by a creative person engaging his or her mind to solve an existing problem through the means of their imagination.

This is the genesis of small business ideas and the genesis of small business success.

Think, design, plan, sketch, organize, coordinate, and create. And who knows, a light bulb may turn on. :-)

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rhett_Kniep

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Characteristics of a Good Small Business Website

Characteristics of a Good Small Business Website
By Cliff M Curtis

Having a website has become very essential to every business today because of the growing popularity of the Web technologies. Under these circumstances to survive competition, a small business should have a good website. A good website is one that helps you realize the object of doing business without compromising on quality and standards. A good website helps your small business attract the targeted traffic, and ultimately helps you grow in business.

Following are some of the major things to be taken care of while creating a website for your small business.

• Structure of a website

Structure of the website needs to be well organized and designed. A website with good structure increases the usability of the website to the users.

Pleasant theme, good colors and relevant images must be used and should be appealing to the users.

All the content must be placed according to the categories and name them with short and apt names.

Internal linking must be easy and sequence of hierarchy must be followed in placing the content of the webpages.

• Content of a website

Content in the website is the king. In other words, content is more important than any other aspect while considering usability of the site. It shouldn't be too short or too big and should convey useful information to the user.

Content posted on the website should be informative and free from errors. The content should convey all the useful information about products, services, the company and the brand.

Content should be fresh (updated regularly) with genuine and relevant information.

In short, content of an ideal website needs to be informative, authoritative and persuasive.

• Relevant images

Images of the products or any relevant images will help the visitor understand the product well, that gives the customer a visual knowledge of the products/services.

In situations, where a visitor doesn't want to spend much time reading the description of the products, images are helpful.

Posting irrelevant images for attracting the visitors is a bad idea. Visitors come to your website to find useful information on the products/services, the company, etc. Visitors' attention gets distracted by irrelevant images.

• Easy navigation

Easy navigation would make browsing easy to the users of any category.

Navigating your website should be simple and easy to execute for your audiences.

Navigation should be clear and it should guide the visitor through the internal webpages properly to access the information that he/she is willing to browse.

• Theme of a website

Theme of a website must be simple yet, attractive.

Theme of a website should be pleasant, clear and should not be so bright to obstruct user reading.

Theme should be consistent throughout the internal webpages.

A good website should enable the small business owner to promote the business online effectively, to reach the target audience and convert them into loyal customers. From users' perspective, it should enhance user experience and thus should keep them engaged.

SMB Corner started to share insightful and honest opinions, tips and issues on various topics related to small businesses. We create and publish various small business tips, small business news after rigorously analyzing the information for the usability of our visitors and SMB owners.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cliff_M_Curtis

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How To Get Started With Designing Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

How To Get Started With Designing Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
By A. MacDougall

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, your marketing strategy is extremely important in that it drives the sales that keep the lifeblood of your business flowing - cash. Therefore, although it might be something that seems quite boring initially, it is very important to invest some time and creativity in developing your go-to-market plan.

Just like every other entrepreneur and startup, it's crucial that you have a great marketing strategy in place to ensure your business success. However, this is often easier said than done. Firstly, no-one really likes putting plans together to begin with, and then when you do get down to it, there are so many options and possibilities that it's starts to get very confusing, very quickly.

With that in mind, I thought I'd write an article with a few pointers to help you get started. Here goes.

1) Before You Do Anything, Make Sure You Identify Your Target Market

Although this may sound beyond obvious, you'd be surprised at how many people don't think about this. If you don't think about this early on - or not at all even - then you'll soon be wasting precious time, effort and budget. It really is worth figuring out who your target market is so you can target them with razor sharp and relevant marketing.

Here a few pointers to help with this:

  • It is best to be excellent at designing great marketing campaigns designed perfectly for a smaller audience than it is to poorly target a wider audience
  • Don't try and be all things to all markets - know who your target market is, what they want and put all of your attention in that direction
  • It often pays to look at what other businesses in your sector are up to and who they are marketing toward. You might also be able to learn a few things by joining their online communities and email/lead nurturing lists

2) Then, Make Sure You Know How To Reach Your Target Market

After you have squared away the point above and you know who your target market is, you should now spend a bit of time figuring out the best way of reaching and delivering your message to them. Although it seems like we should all be active on every new social network or platform that comes our way, this really isn't the case. All that matters is that you find out where your intended audience is and that you meet them there.

For example, if your business is B2C focused and you only sell to individuals/consumers, you may well find out that social media networks are the perfect place for you to connect with your market. Or, it might be that your research says that operating a stand at a local market is the best way for you if you are a local small business. On the other hand, if you are in the business-to-business (B2C) markets and you supply clients across the country, you might decide that a telemarketing campaign or a presence at an industry trade show is the way to go.

In reality, you will most likely need mix of marketing channels to reach your audience - just remember the crucial thing here is not to chase every shiny new social network or marketing strategy that comes your way, but to make sure that you judge everything properly and only invest in activities that fit your goals and industry

3) Finally, Make Sure That You Keep Your Marketing Strategy 'Agile'

The last tip here is to say that in this day and age, it's really important that you adopt an Agile marketing approach to your overall strategy. Basically, the concept with this is that modern, digital marketplaces change incredibly quickly and we therefore have to be in a position where we can quickly adapt our marketing strategies to keep up. Remember the point above about not chasing every shiny new network or strategy that comes your way? Well that's only really half of the story. The other side is that you also have to be in a position to accept that things often change and that your strategy will probably have to adapt from time to time too. An Agile marketing strategy allows you to achieve this by encouraging you to analyse and measure your strategy on a regular basis, rather than every 6 or 12 months as would be the case with a more traditional, rigid plan.

So, the important thing is to have a degree of flexibility in your plan so that you can effectively adapt to shifting markets and customer requirements. That way, your business will continue to be able to find leads and bring on board new customers, even during difficult and unpredictable times.

For more information on designing your small business marketing strategy, please take a look at: my blog - thanks for reading!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=A._MacDougall

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Learn From My Experience - First Year Tips For Small Business Entrepreneurs

Learn From My Experience - First Year Tips For Small Business Entrepreneurs
By Keith M

The Number One first year tip - it's ALL about finding customers and keeping them happy

Whether you are at the feasibility, seed, or launch stage, you need customers!

If someone is showing interest but is not asking about prices, then you may have a new hobby, which is nice, but not a business.

Why? Ideas and plans are a dime a dozen. Cashflow is King. A potential customer is proof positive you may have found a genuine demand or gap in the market - but only when they start talking price.

A vision means squat without a plan for customers.

"A customer base equals capital"

Attracting investors will be much easier if they can see you are already generating a cashflow.

Also customers will attract people interested in working with you - and eventually you will need a team to go anywhere significant.

A customer means you are not dreaming!

Don't wait for qualifications

You could be forgiven for thinking that in the 2010's you need a string of qualifications and / or an MBA before making a move. It's not the case. Examples abound and if necessary you can hire to cover the gaps. Rather, try to emphasise product, ideas and team.

Which book learning are we skipping over here? What are some of the nice to have's you might defer?

In the initial stages of a business there are marketing skills - be content with seeing the original gap and creating a product to fit. Then finance skills - skip high finance and stick to the basic organisation of personal and business finance to cover risks, and finally time management skills where the essentials can be mastered quickly.

Later in the development phase we have operations - leadership, management, IT, property, culture/psychology, teamwork, loyalty, communications and regulations - the list goes on.

While it may seem heresy to some, the fact is there are many successes in business who started young with no management training.

Beware Franchising

Starting out under the protection of a franchise is a seductive option. Beware! While it may be a way to start-up with less risk, pay particular attention to:

� The franchise sale

Franchise operators are very good marketers - of their franchises. Be wary that you are not sucked in too much by the promises and pictures. Seriously, it's their job to sell you, just make sure they have a viable plan and you can sell their product.

� Your independence

The bottom line is that you have decided to become an entrepreneur, for reasons which quite likely include working for yourself, and by signing up with a franchise you have immediately given that independence away.

Will you be happy working for a head office? How much input to the business do you really have? Have you just bought yourself a job?

Take a real close look at your marketing plan

How are you going to find and reach customers? Your first job is to run like mad just to find them:

First, are you in an active sector and do you have a ready path to market? Where are you sourcing your leads - today?

Watch out for your own psychology. When starting out you may want to just go with the first half decent opportunity you come across. Relax; try to look at things objectively.

Beware of the "1% of the market is huge" syndrome. Yours may be a billion dollar market, but how do you get any of it? What do you think the competition is doing right now?

Any idea of the cost of acquisition of a new customer? Will your model develop repeat customers? If not you will be forever selling, and this is not a good place to be.

Most forms of marketing except word of mouth are very expensive. When starting out there is no doubt the best marketing model is word of mouth.

Branding. Despite the hype it's nothing new. Don't even think about mega-brand style exposure. A start-up is about a reputation, person to person sales and keeping a handful of customers happy.

What is the shelf life of your idea? How are you going to protect it in the internet age?

How smart is the business model?

A business model is the way we do things - how we find and reach customers, differentiate the business from the pack, price, sell and deliver our product.

But there is more. Other desirables include a residual structure, one that compounds growth, and which is leveraged either in time (employees) or money (loans).

Is it going to be a dynamic business or a job?

Realistically - are your finances strong enough for the first year or two?

Being an entrepreneur is a gamble and you must be prepared for the worst if it happens. How do you view losing money? Perhaps try investing on small bets in the stock market and see how it feels before investing in your own ideas.

Don't get into debt you cannot handle. We should be bold but not take risks. Avoid betting your lifestyle, limit the investment to what you can "afford to lose", then do everything to make sure that does not happen.

Entrepreneurs should always have backup plans. Not everything will work by any stretch of imagination.

How many hours are you working?

Have you really planned your diary? How will you fit everything in? Not all of us can survive on 4 hours sleep per night.

Remember the working rule - hard and smart.

And if you do work all hours, what is your effective hourly rate? Planning any time off?

Do you have a good business partner?

If you aspire to anything other than a micro business, you will have to think "team". The synergy gained outweighs potential downsides. While a committee of one gets things done, eventually you need others in your corner.

Are you ahead of trends?

No business can ignore trends. Try to have an eye on the picture three to five years ahead.

As a qualified accountant with a strong interest in new ventures Keith is well placed to advise on building for future growth.
He's an expert in Excel and financial modelling. Find out more at http://www.teamasiaconsulting.com or http://www.introofferteamasia.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Keith_M

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Small Business Failures...6 Pitfalls to Avoid

Small Business Failures: 6 Pitfalls to Avoid
By Tiffaney M Graham

Everyone wants to share the upside of small business and entrepreneurship. It's easy to find helpful hints and inspiring success stories, but what about the dark side - the real insight into entrepreneurship, the mistakes! Small business failures occur every day - actually about 50% of them fail.

1) Venturing Out Alone

So often I find that business owners want to start and remain as a one-man show. Some entrepreneurs trust only themselves, a partner, or a spouse when facing key decisions. However, it is vital to avoid small business failures to have a team supporting you. They should include, an attorney, a CPA and a financial advisor/banker. This team of advisors should be dedicated to helping you succeed and communicating with each other to accomplish this goal.

2) Wearing All the Hats

"A jack of all trades, is seldom the master of one." One sure way to quickly hit the "small business failures list" try to do EVERYTHING yourself. Cash-strapped startups often begin this way because it is well it, cheaper. However, as your business grows, it's essential to get help. Responsibilities such as bookkeeping, taxes and payroll take up time you could spend serving your customers. Even more importantly, getting them wrong can be dangerous. Hiring a professional not only helps prevent errors, but shifts much of the risk to someone else.

3) Keeping Your Head Down

Business owners also need to make time to seek wisdom in the wider world. For example, some business owners may not be aware that there's a fairly simple way to get their website ranked higher on Internet searches.

If you are seeking wisdom every day this is the kind of useful information you will find. Research and planning for the future can't seem like secondary concerns, especially when you're not sure where to go for information.

Numerous small business failures occur because business owners aren't willing to take advice. Whether your quest for knowledge includes online research, trade shows, Chamber meetings, or networking with peers, it's out on ways to improve your business, such as funding opportunities for small businesses or educational resources to help you tackle tomorrow's challenges.

4) Running Lean on Cash

Keep at least three months of cash flow on reserve to be ready for season fluctuations of the inevitable dry spell. It is often difficult to do so, especially if you developed frugal habits when you just were getting started. Use automatic drafts to ensure your commitment to saving monthly. Think of it as a sort of insurance policy.

5) Avoiding Credit Applications

This small business failures tip is closely related to Step #4. Minimizing your debt mat be a good goal for your personal life, but most businesses will require some level of borrowing capacity at some point. You have a fresh credit profile with your business, use it! In many cases, if you wait until you actually need credit it can be harder to get.

6) Combining Accounts

Not separating business and personal accounts may be one of the most common small business failures of all. Like any other situation, when it comes to banking, keep your business & personal life SEPARATE! If you are mixing funds, it is hard to keep track of your business cash flow. Building a credit history in the business' name, which can make it easier to secure financing.

Do any of these sound familiar? To avoid small business failures take a long look at the way you work and follow practices that will keep you moving forward.

Remember, You Can Avoid Small Business Failures

I'm headed for the top, I know you're coming with me!

If you have other concerns about small business failures, especially in terms of marketing your small business, then connect with me at http://www.earnwithtiffaney.com or tiffaneygraham@mega-women.com.

Please share this article with your circle!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tiffaney_M_Graham

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

5 Tips for Creating Winning Small Business Videos

Video content is in – it has been proven that websites yield better responses when a video is featured. It’s no surprise; the average Web surfer has a short attention span, and prefers a shiny moving picture to wading through pages of text.

Videos grab attention, engage viewers and, if executed properly, can succinctly communicate your entire value proposition in as little as two minutes.

The power of video continues to impress me. Some of the author's company’s videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times, and he can tell from their website’s analytics that customers who view our videos are more likely to buy from them.

Here are five tips that they learned about creating winning videos. These tips will not only tempt viewers to hit the play button, but keep them watching the whole way through.

Read the rest of the article here....

Small Business Videos

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

4 Inspiring Small Business Video Successes

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

When a large brand like Pepsi or Old Spice decides to use video, there are a lot of factors they have to consider: What message is their video expressing? How will it affect their customers? When should they release it for maximum impact?

Small businesses have to contend with all those same issues, but with smaller staffs and less money. Despite the challenges, there is value in video for small businesses, even if you're a video greenhorn. We found four businesses that have had real world success thanks to video.

These are just some examples of what to do, and even what to avoid if you're looking to add video to your small business's promotional mix. What advice can you offer? Has video been a hit for you? Let us know about your successes or lessons in the comments below.

Read the rest of the article and watch the videos from 4 successful small businesses here.... Small Business Video

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Reagan Warned Us About Obama .

How Reagan summed up Obama in the first 5 minutes of a speech over 40 years ago.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Undercover Boss...Very Small Business Edition

In this ground-breaking film, Sonic Promos President, Seth Weiner, goes deep undercover to see what really happens inside the shocking world of promotional marketing. Please join us as we uncover what exactly makes Sonic Promos one of the most dynamic marketing firms in the industry

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Obama DESTROYED Our Family Business (SHOCKING PROOF)

Check out this story from a regular American that USED to be a successful business owner. And SEE the way Obama's policies have crippled their business, and MANY more throughout the USA. In fact, this is soon to be a very common story, unfortunately.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Little Girls Need Money Too

Bad Economies give small business owners a fighting chance. A little girl in an unlikely industry.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Undercover Boss...Very Small Business Edition

In this ground-breaking film, Sonic Promos President, Seth Weiner, goes deep undercover to see what really happens inside the shocking world of promotional marketing. Please join us as we uncover what exactly makes Sonic Promos one of the most dynamic marketing firms in the industry.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

How To Make Money With An E-course

E-courses are great for you and the people who want to learn from you.

Have a blog but no product to sell? Sell an e-course that teaches people something related to your niche.

The best part is, you can earn a passive income for a long time after setting up your e-course just once.

If you’ve never run an e-course before, here’s some reasons why you might want to, plus some ideas to get you started.

Read The Rest Of The Article Here...

How To Make Money With An E-course

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Identifying Your Target Audience

Trying to grow your email list? Then it makes sense you’ll be happy when new people subscribe to your list. But here’s a tale from Corrina Gordon-Barnes of You Inspire Me of why you should also be happy when people unsubscribe…

Read the rest of the article here...

Identifying Your Target Audience

Saturday, September 14, 2013

One Thing Marketers Aren't Doing (That You Need To!)

So you use one of the many available apps, maybe Etsy, maybe PayPal to add people to your mailing list. (If you don’t, this is actually still a relevant idea; it’s just extremely important with apps involved.)

There’s one vital step in this process that a lot of marketers miss... sending an app-specific confirmation email that invites customers to join your list.

Why is an extremely customized confirmation message so important? Let me tell you a story.

Read the rest of the article here....

One Thing Marketers Aren't Doing

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Irritating Marketing Trends - Do They Actually Work?

What’s the most irritating marketing trend you know?

I noticed a growing trend of businesses using Unicode characters in subject lines – snowmen at Christmas, hearts for Valentine’s Day, suns for summer sales.

And to me? It looks like something my 13-year-old cousin would post on Facebook. But trusted retailers must be seeing success with these symbols, because they continue to use them.

That got me thinking about other trends and practices out there that seem really annoying but actually produce great results – whether it’s open rates, click throughs or new email sign ups.

Read the rest of the article here...

Irritating Marketing Trends

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Split Testing Tips For Small Business

It ain’t easy being a growing business who wants to split (A/B) test.

It’s so important to do – it’s how you find out what offers and approaches your audience responds to.

But there’s so little time to learn how. So we tried to answer all the basic questions right here so you can get your answers all at once.

Read the entire article here....

Split Testing Tips For Small Business

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Strategies for a small business online presence, part 1

Takeaway.... No matter how small the business, an online presence is a must. Here are some strategies that can be implemented on limited budgets and using minimal resources.

How many times have you searched for a small business or organization and found that they do not have a website? Or if they do have an online presence, it exists in very limited form, with little information about them or what they provide. Finding simple information such as hours of operation for a brick-and-mortar shop, location information, or even a phone number can be like pulling teeth. But, it doesn’t have to be that way, right?

Small businesses arrive in as many shapes, sizes, flavors, and purposes as their title, and while their main objective is to provide a product or service, their approaches to an online presence are probably as varied as their business names and individual objectives. So how does one develop a strategy for an online presence for new and existing small businesses?

A one-size-fits-all approach is not likely to succeed; there will always be a certain strategy that works well for some but not for others. Strategies can be tailored to fit a business to business (B2B) approach, a single or small restaurant chain, or a mom-and-pop retail store. Other differentiators will be founded on legal status, company size, location, and whether the business exists as a physical storefront or only online.

This two part piece will distill several strategies that might be considered for these three types of small businesses:

•B2B
•Local restaurant
•Small retailer

Each type can have overlapping strategies, and some will include specific strategies suited to their type of business. The second part wraps up with a list of resources for further study on the subjects of small business online strategies.

You can read the rest of the article here....

Strategies For An Online Presence

Saturday, August 31, 2013

10 Ways To Finance And Start A Small Business

One of the key questions that first-time business owners ask is how to finance a business. Watch this video to learn the 10 best and most common ways to help finance your business, whether it is for a small business or a big company.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

10 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Before Lunch

It’s easy to find tips on how to improve your marketing, but it’s not as easy to find tips that you can easily apply today. Of course you want to do whatever it takes to see better results with your email marketing campaign, but you only have so many hours to work on it.

Today, we’re guiding you through 10 ways you can improve your marketing results NOW. In fact, most of you will be able to have this done by lunch.

Read more on how to improve YOUR email marketing here ....

10 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing

Saturday, August 24, 2013

25 Off The Wall Ways To Get Customers

This is from a presentation given to a group of HVAC and Plumbing contractors by Matt Michel, CEO of Service Roundtable, Inc. In the presentation he shares 173 different ways to get and keep customers in a 45 minute time period. In this segment Matt shows you 25 off-the-wall ways to get customers.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Email & Social Media Marketing....The Powerful Pair

It’s no secret that email doesn’t enjoy the sizzle of social media coverage these days.

Hunter Boyle's first foray into email was producing newsletters for The Industry Standard back in ’99 — the year after AWeber launched. And when you’ve been around that long (email, not him), there just aren’t a whole lot of newsy, flashy angles.

But you know what’s more important than splashy headlines? Bottom lines.

Read more about how to marry social media and email marketing here....

Email & Social Media Marketing

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Guerrilla Marketing Ideas For Any Small Business

Uncover these 7 simple guerrilla marketing ideas you can leverage in your business.

Use any one of these and begin boosting your bottom line profits. It doesn't take rocket science to geometrically increase your revenue and profits it only takes action.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Encouraging Repeat Business....3 Ways To Build A Tribe Around Your Brand

Email marketing and social media together are powerful tools for building a following for your business. But how can they help you as a local small business owner?

Welcome to the tribe mentality. Your tribe is a fiercely loyal following of customers who are excited about your business.

Using the connecting power of social media and the communication power of email, you can effectively build your following where it matters most – right in your own community.

Read more about how here ....

Encouraging Repeat Business

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Small Business Marketing Strategies And Small Business Marketing Tips

Small business marketing Strategies can be inexpensive and incredibly effective if you start with Google Places. If you looking for small business marketing tips then you'll want to know that Google is focused on giving small local business a big advantage when customers are looking for local products and services.

This video gives small business marketing tips so that you can see how Google has created over 50 million websites that are SEO optimized, personalized, and already getting traffic. You can get one of these website for FREE.

To learn more about small business marketing strategies with Google, get more marketing tips, and find out how your local marketing strategy is working visit LocalRankingReport.com

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mobile Marketing And Email....4 Ways To Use Them Together

We’ve compared SMS text messaging and email marketing before, with advice on the best situations to use each.

But mobile marketing involves more than just SMS. Thanks to smartphones, your mobile marketing can have a wider reach in a number of mobile channels across apps, location-based services, email, mobile search and more.

Let’s take a look at other ways you can market your business mobile-ly.

Read the rest here...

Mobile Marketing & Email

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Small Business Video Marketing....Easy YouTube Video Marketing for Beginners

Are you a small business owner who wants an easy and effective way to market? A powerful marketing method that is absolutely FREE?

Awesome!

Because that is what you get in this training.

In this video you'll get the basics of video marketing and how it can take your business and sales to the next level.

Items covered include....

- Video marketing facts and why if it's not on your radar it SHOULD be.

- Why video marketing is so POWERFUL and why it makes people buy.

- How to succeed with video marketing even if you're shy and have ZERO technical ability.

- How to rank videos with ease...CRUSHING your competition.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Best Of Dr. Ben Carson ... Telling Obama The Truth He Doesn't Want America To Know

Dr. Ben Carson said what many of us think about Obamacare and our economy....and really want to say directly to Obama himself. We need more real patriots like Dr. Carson.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Examples and Best Practices of Business Plan Writing

Writing a business plan can be challenging.

In this episode of StartmeUp Videos, Dr. Steven Gedeon talks about the challenges of writing a business plan as well as the best practices for writing different sections of the business plan, how should you write the financial section, executive summery, how to create a marketing plan etc

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Obama Health Reform Hurting Small Business

The monstrosity called the Affordable Care Act....otherwise known as Obamacare....will spell the end for 1,000s of U.S. small businesses. This short video puts it all in perspective....with logic and honesty.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Defunding Obama Care Will Allow Small Business The Ability To Hire

Much appreciation to Speaker Boehner for putting a stop to individual and business mandate so now business owners and employees will be treated fairly. The larger question that still is going through every unemployed person’s mind is where are the jobs? There still are many unemployed, under employed or working part time so even though this mandate matter has been put to rest for the time being ... it does not put to rest the ObamaCare threat. Many small business owners still feel threatened they will be paying over $5,000 per person for a fine should they have go over 50 full time workers.

This raises another question, when will Congress come together to entirely kibosh this useless AHA ruling so small business owners no longer feel caught up into something that will not allow them to perform. Small business owners have put everything into their business from finances to hard work when will Congress and Senate put a stop on this trillion dollar waste of a health care bill that will only add more spending to a defunct and overworked budget that must be eliminated. Speaker Boehner has been doing his job to remove the ObamaCare threat. It is now time for the Executive branch to do their part on the matter and defund ObamaCare the rest of the way so small business owners can begin the hiring of full time workers once again.

Read the rest of the article here....

Defunding Obama Care will allow small business the ability to hire