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Supporting Veteran Owned Small Businesses

This video shares examples of a few veteran owned small businesses. Feel free to comment and share your own examples with website link belo...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

How To Start A Small Business

How do you start a small business? I firmly believe there are still many opportunities to make millions selling “picks and shovels” in whatever gold rush is happening today. Here are some ways to find your idea.

Improving an existing product or service is the surest and quickest way to success. Brand-new products or services are usually very risky.

Don’t look for get rich quick schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look at the long-term perspective.

Decide to be excellent at whatever you do. This provides more leverage than any other factor.

Go to trade shows. If you’re looking for an idea, just start looking at what is being done in that area.

Check products being sold in foreign countries. Even in our global economy, it’s estimated that 80 percent of products are never sold outside the country where they’re produced. Years ago a gentleman saw a wheelbarrow advertised in a magazine. It was fiberglass and plastic, superior to what was then available in the United States. He asked to be the U.S. distributor. He took one sample wheelbarrow to a home and garden show and received over fifty thousand orders. He did not invent it, did not patent it, he simply asked to be a distributor for an existing product. With only a $5 profit margin, that’s $250,000 profit!

Pay attention to passing fads and trendy ideas. People have made fortunes with the Pet Rock, hula hoop, politically related T-shirts and bumper stickers, sports theme items, and other fads that present a short window of opportunity.

As you travel... look, listen, and learn. Orange Julius started on the West Coast. The guy who recognized this creamy orange drink as a growing phenomenon brought it back to the Midwest and made millions.

Make sure you find something you believe in, something you would buy yourself and use yourself, and would sell to your best friend.

Share your ideas. Don’t be secretive. Get input from everyone you know. Ideas are a dime a dozen. But the person who puts a plan of action together is the only one who will benefit.

Eighty-five percent of what you need to know about running a successful business you can learn from running a successful mail-order or eBay business. You can experiment with nearly all the necessary components of a traditional business and adjust your work model as you learn.

That said here's some more practical tips ...

1. Stick with what you know. If you see a business opportunity for installing solar cells on homes, and you don't know the first thing about installing solar cells on people's homes, it's not a business opportunity for you. Learning a new occupation "on the job" while self-employed is a recipe for disaster.

2. Do your homework. Clearly establish the level of demand for your proposed products &/or services. Identify your competition and determine what point(s) of competitive (dis)advantage you have vs. each of them individually. Can you carve out and hang onto your share of the market?

3. Crunch the numbers. What will it cost to launch your business? How will you obtain those funds? What will your revenue and expenses look like for the first 1-2 years of operation? Will it be sufficiently profitable to be sustainable? Can you handle costs or losses if it doesn't launch as quickly as you anticipate? What's your exit strategy at 3-6-9-12 months?

4. Do the marketing. Based on all of the above, how will you package and price your goods and services? Where's the best geographic location to establish your business? How will you promote your business?

5. Using all of the above, put together a comprehensive, clear, business plan, then plan your work and work your plan.

The next step? Jump in and do it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Definition Of A Small Business

What is the SBA's definition of a small business concern?

SBA defines a small business concern as one that is independently owned and operated, is organized for profit, and is not dominant in its field. Depending on the industry, size standard eligibility is based on the average number of employees for the preceding twelve months or on sales volume averaged over a three-year period. Examples of SBA general size standards include the following:

Manufacturing: Maximum number of employees may range from 500 to 1500, depending on the type of product manufactured;

Wholesaling: Maximum number of employees may range from 100 to 500 depending on the particular product being provided;

Services: Annual receipts may not exceed $2.5 to $21.5 million, depending on the particular service being provided;

Retailing: Annual receipts may not exceed $5.0 to $21.0 million, depending on the particular product being provided;

General and Heavy Construction: General construction annual receipts may not exceed $13.5 to $17 million, depending on the type of construction;

Special Trade Construction: Annual receipts may not exceed $7 million; and

Agriculture: Annual receipts may not exceed $0.5 to $9.0 million, depending on the agricultural product.

To be a little more real world try these on for size ....

1. Any business that's not "too big to fail.", meaning that it lacks the resources to lobby congress to change any laws it finds disadvantageous, regardless of their social merit.

2. Any business where the CEO still has to vacuum his or her own office.

3. Any business that is willing and able to shut down all global operations completely so that it's entire staff can peel off and see a big blockbuster movie the day it opens.

4. Any business where every employee knows the names of every other employee's spouse, kids and pets.

5. Any business that is small, nimble and lean enough that it can exploit niche markets where its larger competitors cannot profitably chase it.

However you want to define it ... are you a small business?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How A Small Business Goes From Good To Great

I don't think that there can be just one thing that makes the move from good to great.

But one of the most important things is to understand people, and to have empathy. A lot of great organizations deliver to their customers, and take time to have them in the front of the thought process.

As Henry Ford said - the business does not pay your wages, your customers do.

So as a business or a leader understanding your customers or team is one of the most important things to have. This is the building block that allows you to deliver to meet their unmet needs - and hopefully excede expectations.

Simply going from serving yourself to serving others makes you GREAT!. In sales, if you are serving your customers needs instead of trying to make the sale, you are GREAT.

In management, if you are serving your employees and working towards their success, instead of serving yourself, You are Great!

In top management, if you are serving your Company and your Employees instead of "Climbing the Ladder". You are Great!

Greatness is a set of values, moral, talent and purpose that add value to lives of others.

For me, the most important thing is "passion for purpose", you can call it "heart" or "soul". In other words, if you passionately follow a value adding (to others first and then for you) purpose you will achieve great things.

Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Upsell .... Without Your Customers Even Realizing It!

I tried a new restaurant a few weeks ago. When the waiter stopped by my table, I ordered a hard cider to go with my meal. The next time he checked in on me, he struck up a conversation about the cider I was drinking and mentioned a beer they had on tap that night with similar qualities to the cider I’d been drinking.

“It’s a wheat beer mixed with apples,” he told me, and it was one of their featured beers of the month. “Let me bring you a sample of it.”

I eagerly agreed to his gentle suggestion. And as soon as he walked away, I realized what had just happened. The waiter tried to upsell me. And I didn’t mind a bit. In fact, I even gave him a bigger tip for it at the end of the night. Why? It’s all in the nature of the interaction. Let me break it down for you, because there’s plenty to learn from this waiter’s performance.

Read more about it here ....

How To Upsell

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Custom Email Templates....Save It Once, Use It Everywhere

Earlier this year AWeber announced a new message editor that’s available in all accounts. They’ve been continuing to work on it to make it better and better based on customer feedback.

The new editor has been great for their core customers: small business owners who don’t necessarily have the HTML skills they need to create the messages they envision. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to add images, buttons, text blocks and more. What’s more, you can play with different themes even after you started adding your own content.

So maybe you drag-and-drop items in and make your perfect template. What happens when you want to use that template again? Or what if you made a broadcast message and want to use the same template for a follow up message? Or for a different list?

Read more at .... Solutions To Your Problems

Monday, January 14, 2013

The (Real) 7 Deadly Sins of Email Marketing

We can all agree that deadly sins are bad: lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, anger, pride and envy. No one likes them. But what’s more important is that each of them can translate into something you might be doing in your email marketing. Which means people might not like you.

We’ll look at how each of these sins applies to email marketing and provide instructions for finding your way back on the right path.

Read more at .... 7 Deadly Sins

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Does A Professionally Designed Website Cost?

When looking for a professionally designed website .... beware.

It's not unusual to pay a Webmaster $7,500 or more for a basic Website that just sits there. Of course, you only learn that the site won't get much traffic after your site goes up. Most sites only get traffic from people who already know you (or from expensive, heavy advertising)...

•customers who know where the site is,

•business cards, stationery, etc., and...

•offline promotions.

If you're like many people, one of the following applies to you and the Web...

•You don't have the time to learn how to build a Website.

•You don't know how to set up the best Website for your needs.

•You have a Website, but it's embarrassing and set up in the wrong way.

•You have a sharp-looking Website, but no traffic.

Wouldn't you prefer a Website that looks good but, more importantly, actually works?

Any web designer can build a nice looking site... that's the easy part!

But you want a site that...

•Delivers free targeted traffic from the search engines to increase your profits without the high cost and effort of traditional marketing means.

•Provides you with an additional consistent stream of leads and sales.

•Serves as a buffer against economic downturns, recessions, and low business cycles.

•Establishes your brand and builds your business for you.

•Frees up your time to allow you to do what you do best.

You can get all of that and more....for a lot less than you think.

Learn how here .....

Small Business Website That Works

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Biggest Lie In Email Marketing (Why Most Email Is Junk Mail)

Email is the third rail of online marketing.

Sure, Twitter, Facebook and RSS can be nice, but there’s just no comparing them to the raw power that comes with invited access to your prospect’s inbox.

Of course, with power comes risk, and the same is true with email marketing; do it wrong, and you’re toast – the moment you’re seen as junk mail, your open rates will plummet and your spam complaints will soar, your deliverability will drop and your account may even be suspended.

In other words, your emails won’t get through, and when they do, nobody will listen or care.

So how can you make sure that doesn’t happen to you? Probably not the way you think…

Read the rest of the article here....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How To Market Like Google

Google is a content marketing expert.

I can hear you saying, “Huh? But they’re a search engine!” But stick with me. Ever heard of Google Doodles? They’re fun changes that Google makes to its logo in honor of holidays and other notable events. They’re also an example of content marketing at its best. And you can do it, too, on your own blog, on your own web site, with your own email marketing campaign.

The great thing about Google Doodles is that they’re entertaining, interactive, and highly shareable. They’re also effective – web site’s related to the day’s doodle topic have seen significant spikes in traffic thanks to Google’s fun marketing practices.

Here are four ways to take the core spirit of Google Doodles and apply it to your own content marketing plan.

Google Doodles Are…