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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WMD's - Weapons of Mass Distractions

Hey there entrepreneur! Did you just open up your doors? Are you a newbie to the online world? Or are you a new veteran that has been beat up and abused by the industry? It doesn't matter what stage you are in your business. You are still vulnerable to Weapons of Mass Distractions (WMD's).

What are Weapons of Mass Distractions? They could be anything that take you away from achieving business success. The main culprits are your family, friends, shiny objects, not having a goal, failure to have a business plan, lack of capital, excuses, fear of competition, and the path of least resistance. They can destroy your business and having you applying for a greeter at Walmart.

Let's identify 9.5 WMD's and develop a prevention plan. Be prepared when these weapons show up.

1. Lack of a Plan: Sadly most people don't have a plan. No business plan, no financial plan, and no marketing plan. They just sign up because someone said they can make money. Poor planning equals horrible execution. Worst yet these people don't have a specific money goal. Making some money is not a goal. Be clear and specific on your income goals. Set yearly goals ad then figure out how much per month and per day you need to make to hit that goal.

Why do people fail at making a plan? Because it takes work. It takes time. Some people fear that they chose the wrong business so they put blinders on. People do not like to admit that they made a bad choice. So they just muddle along until they quit.

You need a plan. A written plan reveals if you are in the right business. A written plan helps map out the monthly expenses, marketing budget, the people, and systems use. A clear written plan determines your "Why" and is a clear path to your goals. Your plan is a deterrent to WMD's.

2. Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS): A written plan will save you from this distraction. This is one of the most deadliest. S.O.S. promises you a path of least resistance, instant riches, and minimum work involve. Push button success. This will leave you broke and frustrated. This WMD comes from all directions. Your mentor, affiliates, Guru's, and marketing. The entry level into your mind seems endless.

The deterrent here is F.O.C.U.S. Follow One Course Until Successful. This is where the newbie can get trapped. Every product launch seems promising. But perusing these false hopes leads them further away from their goal. Veterans get caught too because they are tired of not making money.

Vaccinate yourself now from S.O.S. You will not reach your goals chasing every new thing. You can't finish if you keep starting over. Look at every successful entrepreneur. They master one niche and then expand. Lebron James mastered basketball first. Now he racks in millions from endorsements because he mastered one thing.

3. Daily Method of Operation: In your business plan you should write down a schedule. WMD's love to attack a business with no set hours. You will get distracted by your friends, family, tv, and that UPS guy.

Having a fulltime job is not an excuse. You became an entrepreneur so act like one. Set a schedule! Look at every business around you. The have business hours. Stores open and close. Run your home business the same way. Make a Daily Method of Operation now.

4. Income Producing Activities: What are IPA's? Income producing activates are the things that produce income. Cleaning your desk is not an income producing activity. Filing papers is not an income producing activity. Generating sales should consume most of your time. Marketing, generating leads, producing content, are IPA's. Spend 70% of your time doing this. Distractions will have you work all day without making sales.

5. Family and Friends: This is the most difficult. Especially if you work from home. Your family and friends don't think you have a "JOB" because you are always at home. Funny thing is if you have a job they will never bother you.

You will get calls to pick stuff up. Someone needs to vent. Why? Well they are "really" working and you are just hanging out. The lack of respect is appalling. People will repeatedly interrupt you. They think you have all this free time. This is where you set some ground rules. This starts with your plan, setting business hours, and telling people to stop bothering you while you build your empire.

6. Your Spouse and Partner: The is the emotional WMD. Your significant other needs to be enrolled into your dream. This is difficult if you have a history of quitting. Partners are fine until the bills aren't paid, food is low, and the debt is piling up.

Again back to the written plan. If they can feel, touch, and read your dream they are more likely to go along with it. Do they know where you want to go? Do they know your income goals? How long is the sacrifice? Do they have a part to play in the business? If they can read it they can believe it.

7. Lack of Funds: This WMD makes you procrastinate. Money is tight and you have to make that next auto-ship payment, affiliate fee, or invest in marketing. Being broke is a distraction. Lack of funds leads people to stop taking action. You need action to make sales.

Create a business budget. There are plenty of books that can teach you cash flow management. Begin with a 90-day budget. It shocks me when newbies are surprised that it cost money to run a business. No business in the world is free.

8. Competition: Don't worry about the competition. Compete with yourself. Unlike sports in the world of business you can succeed without being #1. Avis had a whole marketing campaign about being #2. They still make millions of dollars.

9. No marketing plan: Distractions from the WMD comes from all off the different marketing strategies you can carry out. Marketing is the life-blood of your business and you need to master a skill. Pick 1-3 marketing techniques that fit your strengths and talents.

9.5 You: Hey get out your own way. Implement all of these deterrents and prevent WMD's from entering your business. You are the only person that can propel you forward. But it's You who can also sabotage your business.

I wrote this article to help You help You avoid Weapons of Mass Distractions.

Charles Fitzgerald Butler, is an entrepreneur and expert in internet marketing. Charles has a passion for helping people start and run successful home businesses. You can partner with Charles and start building multiply income streams from your home. Charles' goal is to help all who partner with him achieve cash flow and profits from their business.

Marketing, leadership, and a business blueprint are essential in your success. Get Your Business Success System Here: Join Now

Helping Families Create Wealth Through Real Estate and Entrepreneurship. Watch the Video for Here: Marketing Systems

By Charles Fitzgerald Butler

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Working Moms And Mom Entrepreneur Business Tips

Today's technology makes it easy for mothers all over the globe. No matter what your skills or interests, you can be guaranteed to find a work at home opportunity that will meet your own personal needs. However, this does not guarantee easy money. Mothers that choose to work at home will find ample opportunities, but it will take a lot of dedication and stubbornness to make it work for them. The following are some tips for moms working from home online:

Treat Your Work at Home Like a Real Job
The most common reason for failure in work from home opportunities is it is often not treated like a real job. An outside job requires you to work certain hours and actually work for the full shift. Temptations and distractions can easily get out of hand when working at home. You must treat your opportunity like a real job or you will end up on the list of failed entrepreneurs. This may mean enlisting the help of a nanny or working only when the children have gone to bed.

Understand You Can't Do It All
Many work from home mothers dream of doing it all. Spending time with family in a perfectly kept home and bringing in a sizable income at the same time. You must let go of the idea that this is going to happen for you. If you are serious about making money online, you must realize that something is going to have to give. The dishes may not get done, but as long as the children are happy and your work is done, you should be satisfied.

Invest in Tools to Increase Your Income
You must also be willing to invest your time and money into tools that will actually help you increase your income. Technological advances make it possible for you to automatically email leads collected from your website. There is software available that make tracking your finances quickly and efficiently. You can even purchase software that will help you to create your own apps. The key is to know which ones will help you grow your business.

Take Advantage of Social Sites
Social sites, like Facebook, are filled with other moms, just like you, who want to work and stay at home with their children. Making connections with them can give you a chance to bounce ideas on what works and doesn't work. It can also give you the chance to share your own opportunity to with others who want the same things that you do.

Moms working from home online are not a rare occurrence. Millions of mothers are searching every day for a work at home opportunity that is going to allow them the privilege of staying at home with their children while still bringing in an income. If you are one of these moms, you must take your search seriously. It could just be the best change you ever make and may let you lead the lifestyle you have always dreamed about.

Russell Armstrong is an Internet Marketing Coach, Social Media Marketer, and Affiliate Marketing Specialist. CEO and Founder of Armstrong Enterprises International, Inc.. An Internet Based Company on the premise of helping people change their lives. https://www.facebook.com/RussellDArmstrong http://mylifechanger.net/

By Russell D Armstrong

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Where To Find Small Business Grants For Your Start-Up

Grants are given every year for a variety of reasons, from small business start-ups, continuing education, preserving historic monuments, to art. Business grants are usually given to applicants that have a solid business plan, and the more detailed the reports are, the better chance of getting the grant.

When starting up your own small business, the first priority would be to find start-up capital. The best capital to get is the small business grants such as free grants that you never have to pay back, or other types of grants that are more like loans and require repayment with interest.

New business owners and existing business owners are eligible to apply for business grants. There is a wide array of Federal business grants available such as Free Government Money for Minorities, Free Government Money for Women, and Obtain Free Government Money for equipment, rent, offices, expenses and overhead

There are numerous sources to find the best business grants:

* The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is a major provider of business grant money.

* The Federal Register is another good source to help you keep current with the continually changing federal grants offered.

* FedBizOpps is another great resource, as all federal agencies must use FedBizOpps to notify the public about contract opportunities worth over $25,000.

* The U.S. Government's Grants has its own website where you can find, obtain information and apply for many of the grants that are available.

* Government's Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a listing of Government grants and other types of assistance that you can receive.

Federal law mandates that government agencies and private foundations give away over 1 trillion dollars to individuals and businesses. Foundations are required by law to distribute 5 percent of their market value assets or interest income annually, whichever of these amounts is greater, or risk losing their tax-exempt status.

The incentive for giving away grants is great. First, elected officials seeking reelection give away billions in government cash so that people vote for them; second, big corporations save a lot of money in taxes by giving money to foundations.

Another option when starting your business would be to apply for private grants from foundations and corporations. Foundations award grants to businesses that are able to help the foundation reach its long-term goals. In the United States there are more than 65,000 private grant foundations which award more than $20 billion to applicants. Two good resources for private grants are the Foundation Center and the Council on Foundations.

For more on Business Grants [http://www.small-business-grants-resource.info/sitemap.htm] visit Small Business Grants [http://www.small-business-grants-resource.info]. Susan also enjoys writing at Health and Fitness [http://www.health-and-fitness-hub.info].

By Susan Jan

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Government Contracting Success - Top 5 Tips

Ask anyone who has worked government contracts in the past and most contractors will agree that it takes time and effort to land your first contract. This can be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of small businesses who need to start making money now. While there is no magic bullet to guarantee success at government contracting, there are a few things small business owners can do to increase their odds.

Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin

One major mistakes business owners make when trying to court the government is making themselves out to be a jack of all trades, thinking that the more goods and services they can offer, the more likely they are to find a contract to work. Unfortunately, this can actually DECREASE your chances at winning a contract. The government generally has very specific needs and is more likely to seek out companies that focus on the specific line of work they're looking for. So if you're an experienced electrician, you do yourself a disservice thinking you'll get more work if you also push your limited experience in plumbing, landscaping and painting. Focus on your primary skill sets or products instead of trying to be a one-stop shop.

Are you Certified for Set-Asides?

Don't overlook any set-asides your business may qualify for. It pays to educate yourself about the various certifications and programs you can take part in to make your business more favorable to government buyers. Is your business minority or women owned? What about veteran owned? Do you qualify for the 8(a) or HUBZone program? In some cases, qualifying for these set aside statuses can mean little or even no competition for certain government contracts. To find out what the specific requirements are for each program and what is needed to certify for each, check out the SBA's Small Business Certifications & Audiences page.

Check Subcontracting Opportunities

If you are having trouble securing a prime contract, why not check out subcontracting opportunities for your business? Especially for companies that are new to government contracting, this can be a great way to get your feet wet, gain some experience and build relationships with both government agencies and other businesses. Prime contractors who have contracts exceeding $500,000 (or $1,000,000 for construction of a public facility) are required by law to offer subcontracting opportunities to small businesses. To find such subcontracting opportunities check out the GSA's Subcontracting Directory and the SBA's SUB-Net page.

Use your Resources

There are many resources available to vendors to help them secure government contracts. Small business owners would be wise to get in touch with their local SBA office to take advantage of their many counseling, training and educational services. Another great resource is your local PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Centers) office. They offer a wealth of information and services to businesses interested in contracting with the government, most free of charge. These include helping you determine if you qualify for set-asides, networking and matchmaking events, notification of bid opportunities and proposal preparation assistance. Business owners would also be wise to prepare a listing on the SBA's DSBS (Dynamic Small Business Search) and check out past contracts awarded through the FPDS (Federal Procurement Data System). For those interested in $25,000+ contracts, don't forget to register on FedBizOpps.com to view and bid on these contracts.

Marketing, marketing, marketing...

Securing a government contract takes a lot of work, and a good portion of that may include marketing your business to procurement officers. This is an often neglected step, overlooked by business owners who think once they've registered in CCR and ORCA the contract offers will just come rolling in on their own. Few things in business work this way. It is very important that you build relationships with the government agencies in your region and even with other businesses. Attend networking and matchmaking seminars, small business and government workshops, and reach out one-on-one to procurement officers in your area. It will take some time, research and work, but the results will be well worth it.

Of course, don't overlook the basic requirements to work government contracts, such as properly completing CCR and ORCA registration. Ultimately, being successful in government contracting comes down to being patient and persistent. Few businesses are overnight successes and many report that it took anywhere from 12-18 months before they secured their first contract. However, by following these suggestions and taking a proactive approach you can increase your chances of success.

Celeste Osborne
http://governmentcontractingtips.com/
https://uscontractorregistration.com/

By Celeste Osborne

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Small Business Marketing To The Federal Government

Once my company was finally on the GSA MOBIS Schedule, the next step was marketing.

First, we needed a mailing list. The marketing company I hired gave me a list of 100's of government contracts to sift through to identify: (1) the contracts relevant to my services, (2) the government agencies that purchased those services; and (3) the names and phone numbers of the purchasing agents for those agencies.

My next task was to create a marketing letter that introduced my company. The first paragraph described my company and explained thatwe were interested in doing business with the agency.

It briefly described our services in general terms and then requested the recipient to please add our business name to their agency's mailing list to receive bid and non-bid opportunities under Federal Supply Categories. These were listed by schedule and sin number in MOBIS as well as by NAICS codes.

It went on to say:"We are registered with CCR/ORCA/SAM/ and Pro-Net. We are interested in both small and large purchase opportunities. Please send your agency's Fiscal Year 2014 forecast or Long Range Acquisition Plan. We understand that this information may be viewed online; however, we would prefer to keep a hard copy for our reference.

In addition, please send any hard copy publications you may have about doing business with your agency. Also, please forward the telephone number, address and email address for any buyers or contracting officials who may have the need for our services."

The letter concluded with the statement that I would follow up with the recipient within two weeks, provided contact information if there were any questions, and thanked the recipient for "your time and assistance in this matter."

Anyone who opened the letter and did not respond by asking to be removed from the mailing list was considered fair game. There were 90 in that list, and not one of them replied with any of the information I had requested.

I was tasked with calling each of them. Which I did. Yes, the person who had shied away from even doing warm calling for the past twenty-five years actually made all of these cold calls. Most people were very gracious. Each one explained that the best way to get work with their agency was to watch federal postings and respond to the Requests for Proposals.

So that is what I have done. I have spent hours responding to requests for proposals with absolutely no success. This has included estimating total travel costs without knowing when the training would occur and how that would affect transportation and lodging.

I have had absolutely no success. Why? The answer is very simple. I'll tell you in my article: A GSA Schedule Cautionary Tale.

Deborah Spring Laurel is the President of Laurel and Associates, Ltd., a certified woman-owned small business that builds and strengthens managerial, employee development and technical skills through the design and delivery of participatory classroom training on a national and international basis. If you would like your participants to leave training with practical skills that they can use immediately, or you would like your trainers to facilitate quality programs that effectively achieve their learning goals, contact Deborah at http://www.laurelandassociates.com or contact Deborah directly at (608) 255-2010 or dlaurel@laurelandassociates.com. To see over 540 training tips, go to her blog at http://laurelandassociates.blogspot.com.

By Deborah Laurel

Saturday, December 13, 2014

3 Things To Look For In An IT Support Service

A successful organization depends on Information Technology (IT) at every phase of its operation, from basic bookkeeping to customer relations. Whether you are running a small business, a large corporation, or something in between, the quality of your IT support is critical to your performance. It is important to make the right decision when choosing an IT support service.

Here are three things to look for in an IT support service:

Competence

The number one criterion for deciding upon which company to enlist to help with your technology is competence. How good is the technical team in diagnosing problems as they arise? Does the service work proactively to foresee and prevent IT problems before they arise? What is their track record in assisting small to medium size businesses in keeping their computers, networks, and other critical technology running smoothly?

The best way to assess the competence of an IT support company is through the appraisals of their clients. Positive feedback from current and previous clients is good sign they are filling technical support needs of those organizations. A competent IT support service will be able to supply client testimonials in person or on their website.

Diligence

Here are some of the services a diligent IT support service will offer:

  • Quick response times - When your technology is in need of repair, long delays can cripple your business. The best IT support service companies will respond immediately to your critical IT needs.
  • 24/7 network security monitoring - Hackers and other intruders don't operate only during business hour. Good network security is a round-the-clock necessity.
  • Asset and inventory tracking - There are so many facets to keep track of in a business that efficient digital management is a requirement for any organization.
  • Network performance reports - The continuing assessment of your network performance can only be gauged with accurate reports.

Flexibility

Every organization is unique, bringing with it its own problems, challenges, and needs, and an IT support service needs to be flexible in the way it serves each business. Pricing should be tailored based upon your particular business type, the size of your business, the nature of your hardware and software, and your budget. A flexible IT support service will offer a variety of support options, including straight hourly service, prepaid, discounted blocks of service hours, and different levels of monthly service packages. Support methods need to be flexible, also. Phone, remote, and on-site support should be available as needed. Finding an IT support service that is competent, diligent, and flexible can make the difference for a business, keeping it running smoothly and serving its customers efficiently.

If you are the owner or manager of a small to medium size business, finding the right IT support company is a smart business strategy. For those looking for IT support, InHouse Techies offers several customizable levels of support, depending on the needs of your business.

Brian Kaminsky
President, InHouse Techies Inc.
www.InHouseTechies.com

By Brian Kaminsky

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What First Impression Does Your Business Give?

If you run a small business what is the first impression that you create for your customers? What is their initial experience of your business, how professional do you appear? A first impression may not even include any personal interaction with you.

For example, what is your out-of-hours customer experience like? Potential customers may not know your opening hours, may call in person or on your landline and expect to find details of your website, your mobile phone number, be able to leave a voice mail. Is the first impression your business gives positive and professional or does it turn people away?

Practice being your own customer, put the boot on the other foot and check out your own first impression of your business. What first impression does your business give?

I work from home, see my clients there and regularly stop outside upon my return home to double-check how the front of my house looks, the first impression I get as I pull up outside. I want to reaffirm that it's still okay to invite customers there, that the neighbourhood is smart, tidy and looks acceptable to the type of customers I want to attract. Does the garden look tidy and welcoming, are the windows clean; all important, subtle things that clients will pick up on, often without realising.

When I walk through the front door I'll usually pause to take in the first impression the room presents, how it looks, smells, feels. These things are all important, especially to a first time customer or client. Do clients or their companions have somewhere to sit and wait if necessary and is that place comfortable?

I recently called at the advertised shop premises of a driveway laying business. I was considering spending quite a lot of money on a new driveway and wanted to see examples of their work, the different options available for colours and styles, but every time I called their shop was closed. I tried at different times, all within the usual office hours. Daytime, Saturday afternoon; the business was styled as a shop but had no receptionist or staff present and no information explaining why. It was an exasperating experience which conveyed a rather indifferent attitude towards potential new business.

They could argue that they're saving on overheads, are able to offer a more economical service as a consequence but when a new customer is trying to make contact it's important that they're able to do so. Why have a shop in the middle of a row of shops if it's unmanned? What first impression does that create?

Competition is fierce in the world of business and as a small business or sole trader it's important to offer that special something extra to customers and clients. Yes, pricing is always going to be an important consideration but it's by no means the only one.

Quality customer service, professionalism and reliability are often almost more important than the price and can certainly put you ahead of the competition. Creating a good first impression helps you to get your foot through the door and reinforces potential customers belief in your ability to deliver well on your promises.

A good first impression helps you to look professional, conveys the message that you take a pride in your work and in your reputation and that your business is important to you.

Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.

For more articles, information or to make contact please visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net

By Susan Leigh

Saturday, December 6, 2014

How Does Technology Support Small Businesses?

Technology is changing rapidly, and small businesses are enjoying access to better software at more affordable prices. Below are just a few of the many ways that today's technology is supporting small businesses.

Software as a Service

Remember when it used to cost thousands of dollars for business software plus expensive licenses for each user? New software investments also often meant investing in new hardware capable of supporting that software. None of this came cheap, making it hard for business owner to keep up with larger ones with deeper pockets. Today, powerful software is readily available in the cloud "as a service." Rather than paying huge amounts up front, Software as a Service costs are typically spread out and billed on a much lower per month basis.

What types of software can you get as a service? Here are a few popular types of SaaS offerings:

. Small business accounting software
. Customer relationship management software
. Content management software
. Asset management software
. Office suites (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.)
. Email marketing software
. Project management software
. Human resources software
. Team collaboration software

Cloud-based software is accessible via a Web browser, making investments in hardware virtually unheard of. Cloud service providers take care of all maintenance and upgrades, freeing small business owners from having to figure this out on their own or hire an IT tech to do it for them.

"As a service" solutions also grow with your small business. You can start out with just a few licenses and then add more (or remove) users as your needs change.

Data Archiving

It's not just software that now resides in the cloud. Document storage has also moved to the "as a service" model. For example, you're likely familiar with Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive. A recent innovation in this space has to do with data retention and archiving.

According to Dolphin, SAP Cloud Computing Solutions such as Content Archive Service for Cloud allows small business users to archive data and documents in the cloud for transparent "anytime, anywhere" access (Source: Dolphin, Cloud Storage for SAP Archived Data and Documents). Dolphin's Content Archive Service for Cloud is a Storage as a Service solution that connects to major public cloud providers like Google Cloud and Amazon S3. Cloud storage allows for cost alignments between SAP storage and the value of your data. For example, data you frequently use can be placed on high performance storage devices whereas data you need to archive but not necessarily access regularly can be placed in a lower-cost cloud storage service -- at significant savings.

Merchant Services

Cloud-based credit card processing solutions allow small business users to ditch the traditional credit card processing terminal and process transactions online -- or even on a smartphone with a small card reader attachment. Not only that, many cloud-based merchant services can be integrated directly within other applications such as billing software or an e-commerce store (Source: Accounting Today, Understanding How Technology Supports Small Business Success).

Small businesses now have access to the same enterprise-level applications their larger counterparts use, but without the need for huge upfront expenses. From Software as a Service to data archiving, merchant services, and beyond, cloud-based technologies are changing how businesses operate.

Works Cited:

Accounting Today, "Understanding How Technology Supports Small Business Success," - http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/payroll/understanding-how-technology-supports-small-business-success-72015-1.html

The author of this article has been an IT consultant for a number of years. Resources for this article can be found at http://www.dolphin-corp.com/information-lifecycle-management/sap-cloud-computing/.

By James J Hadley

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Small Businesses Need A Start

As we appear to be living in a period of uncertainty with regards to the economy, employment and European community membership etc., the emphasis is on businesses to generate jobs, wealth and prosperity which is fine although I fail to see how new business ventures are supposed to get started.

We need people to start businesses otherwise there are no employment prospects for tomorrow - we can't just rely on the enterprises existing today. The problem is that if somebody wants to start up and as in most cases has limited funds to pour into their ventures where do they start?

The first thing most will need is a business home - somewhere to trade from and this is where the first obstacle becomes evident. If you're living in rented accommodation more often than not you aren't allowed to use the address for business purposes - this is the case for private landlords as well as council properties - so you need to get business premises which often means a lease or at least longer term commitment. Without a business track record that won't be easy, you'll also need to pay in many instances money 'up front' as a token of goodwill.

Banks despite their advertising campaigns are not very enthusiastic when it comes to new businesses, so money is tight - if possible at all. This leaves our potential job creators of tomorrow with very few options - we're not exactly encouraging them are we? If we're going to encourage people to start businesses, which appears to be inevitable, then it's got to be made easier. I'm not suggesting for a second that running a business is easy, but does the journey have to be quite so obstacle ridden?

With the failings of many 'big businesses' and with public sector jobs being discarded the only option for many will be to run their own enterprise, perhaps not out of choice, but need. Self employment in all its forms can be very rewarding financially and satisfying - although rarely 'plain sailing' - there is much to learn and in the majority of cases a new mind-set to be adopted.

Having been self-employed for 20 years I do understand the pitfalls, and that leads me to the conclusion we're just not helping tomorrow's creators today. This is a massive shame and very short sighted; people who have a 20/30/40 year working life in front of them need a 'leg up' now to start creating the prosperity and opportunities for tomorrow - after all us 40 plus folk will be reliant on the next generation soon, let's make sure they've got a chance.

James Kent,

Flexy office offers a business home, telephone answering, web site construction & full staff team, in fact a complete office infrastructure housed in London's Canary Wharf.

For businesses wishing to get started from as little as �10 per week, no long term commitment or onerous hoops to jump through, starting your own enterprise just got easier, contact us to learn more.

We're supporting tomorrows successes today, after all, our future is in their hands.

http://www.flexyoffice.com

By James H Kent

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Business Tip .... Organize And Increase Efficiency

Really, who wants to do business with a person who is not sharp and on top of their game, no one right? So why should it be any different when people do business with you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Small BusinessTip .... What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School

Just because a person doesn't have a certain background or a college education mean they will not be successful at business. Many of the wealthiest business men and women of the world are not college educated and manage to overcome the stigma. So as long as a person has the drive and willingness to learn there shouldn't be any deterrents on why one can start and run a business.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Small Business Tip .... Prepare A Profit And Loss Statement

A Profit and Loss Statement shows you whether your business has made or lost money during a given period being reported either on monthly, quarterly or annually basis. A Profit and Loss Statement is used to record and track revenues and expenses in order to determine the operating performance of your business. It can also be used to determine income tax liability.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Small Business Tip .... Simplify Your Day-To-Day Bookkeeping

For startups and other businesses with basic accounting needs and using a personal computer, then you should be using accounting software to make your life easier. With an accounting software, you can handle arduous bookkeeping tasks that you might otherwise outsource. This can save you a lot of time as well as money.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Small Business Tip .... A Smile Goes A Long Way

Business is about interaction with you and others. It's those details, the little touches, that create what your business is all about, that create the 'wow' moments people will talk about, and a smile will do just that!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Small Business Tip .... Lend Customers Your Ears

Customers are a big part of the business landscape, and we can't pick and choose who are customers are. So be sure to pay attention to the individual and treat them like a human being and not like an android.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Small Business Tip .... Solve The Problem

The customer may not always be right, but they are never wrong. The tricky thing with customers is that there comes a time where you have to decide if you want the future business of the customer or not.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Small Business Tip .... The Little Things Do Matter.

Business etiquette will help you survive and thrive in today's competitive business world.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Small Business Tip .... Go The Extra Mile .

It's important to make more of an effort than what is expected of you, because it's the word 'Extra' that makes the difference between an ordinary business or an extraordinary one! Visit my blog, in order to increase your business acumen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Conference Call Goes Out of Control

Losing control of your meetings? Unproductive conference calls can waste a significant amount of time getting everyone's attention and making sure they're all on the same page.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Funny Business Meeting - 300 Movie

A fun example of how adding subtitles to a popular movie can liven up any business meeting or training event.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

How To Raise Capital....The #1 Skill Of An Entrepreneur (By Robert Kiyosaki)

Money capital is the lifeblood of every single investment. Without capital, there is no product, no sales, no property, no cash flow. Check out Roberts video about his experiences raising capital for his first entrepreneurial venture.

During this one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-repeated 3-day event with Robert Kiyosaki and his advisers you will learn: * Robert's experiences raising capital * Why raising capital is the number 1 skill of an entrepreneur * How you can develop this skill to help your business and real estate investing.

Whether your current or future investments involve real estate or business, raising capital is very important to keeping your investments alive and producing cash flow. Robert and his advisors are experts in this important skill who practice what they preach and will share with you their knowledge gleaned from years of real-life entrepreneurship and investment experience.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Best Small Business Ideas To Start In A Bad Economy - 4 Top Choices In Demand

Best Small Business Ideas to Start in a Bad Economy addresses the problem faced by business owners during a recession. To learn more on what is the best business to start during bad times, click on the link EMakeMoneyNews.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Top 10 Small Business Advertising Ideas Part 2

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

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

The list includes:

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #1: Directories

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #2: Newspapers

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #3: Magazines

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #4: Direct Marketing

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #5: Business Cards

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #6: Networking and Partnering

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #7: Vehicle Advertising

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #8: Cable TV

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #9: Internet

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #10: Trade Shows

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Top 10 Small Business Advertising Ideas Part 1

Here's a quick list of the top ten small business advertising ideas -- for winning customers and building your business. These techniques will help you breathe easier by helping you uncover the primary tools for building your customer base and generating the income you want.

If you're looking for the best small business advertising ideas for getting customers, this top ten list may be very helpful.

It includes:

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #1: Directories

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #2: Newspapers

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #3: Magazines

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #4: Direct Marketing

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #5: Business Cards

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #6: Networking and Partnering

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #7: Vehicle Advertising

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #8: Cable TV

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #9: Internet

Top Ten Small Business Advertising Ideas #10: Trade Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Internet-Based Tools For Business Success

Internet-Based Tools for Business Success
By Herman A Skew

You're probably one of those enthusiastic entrepreneurs whose up to start a new business. That's actually very commendable as many large corporations started as small business franchises once upon a time; however, there may be unforeseeable roadblocks that may rise ahead as your business develops. To avoid turning small mishaps into a monstrous problems you'll need to do something called "lateral warfare. This is a military term/strategy that is employed when you're facing an overwhelming number of enemy forces. A lateral warfare in corporate terms means that you have the essential tools for business success readily available at your disposal.

Since you have limited time, manpower, and budgets, you'll need to spend your money on cost effective tools. Having a solid team and the right tools will ensure that you'll be able to do more with what little you have and it's called efficiency. You may want to try these 8 useful tools for business success if you're a small business owner.

Internal Chat Systems

It takes about 11 seconds - 1 minute and 12 seconds for an employee to get up from his desk, go to another desk and discuss something important with his/her boss or co-worker. Imagine if 50 employees does this on a daily basis. You would lose 1 precious hour each day which was supposed to be used for office productivity. You will essentially eliminate that problem with an internal chat system in your company.

Document Storage Systems

Since the computer was invented and marketed for public use, the one most important uses of computers was its ability to store large files in hard drives the size of a salad plate. Document storage systems has proven over decades to be one of the most essential tools for business success.

Time Tracking Solutions

Time is the number 1 enemy of any business franchise whether small businesses or large companies. Sometimes you'll get frustrated over a project that takes forever to complete and this is bad, because it will greatly affect your ROI (return-on-investment). Fortunately we now have excellent time tracking software! They'll help you accomplish tasks and big projects with customizable time management system, so you can gain huge grosses on your fiscal income.

Billing and Invoicing Software

The pile of invoice receipts and bills can be such a pain in the neck when the time comes to pay them off or call the customers for a paycheck. You will find that a billing and invoicing software will like cut all the time it needs to do all this, and that it is one of the important tools for business success.

Enterprise Q&A Programs

Employees are at the forefront of your business and they would know best how to improve it (although collectively of course and not as individuals). This is why it might be good to encourage a Q&A program for the improvement of your business from their perspective. Think of all the money you'll save instead of hiring a think tank.

Website Traffic & Rankings Software

Let's not forget that virtually every business franchise now needs an internet portal. If you want to track your website's progress and prominence on the web, then the best tools for business success would include web traffic and ranking software. Google Analytics and Alexa are good examples of this.

Social Media Management Tool

It is a fact that you can get customers from social networking sites besides those that walk in in your business establishment's front door. Well there are only 40+ social sites on the web and more are popping up each year. In order to counter the management fiasco you're going to have to use Hoot-suite or Social Flow. These and many other social media managing tools allow you to post and update your social media portals from a centralized platform.

Third Party Sites where you can Outsource Small Jobs

Due to the state of the economy these days it is more beneficial to have an employee do 3 or more different tasks for their fixed salary, than to hire more people to fill in the needed job positions. But that's only possible if your business is in China or somewhere in Asia, it's not usually the case here in America. I'll have you know that there are literally hundreds of thousands of qualified freelancers online who can do those small jobs for you at half the cost. Some of the best tools for business success are those that you least expected.

One Cloud Security is a Cloud-based endpoint protection platform designed specifically to monitor and scan desktop or laptop computers for potential threats. It analyzes the client's computer from a remote location and takes care of the threats before they can cause serious problems. That explanation is in an understatement, because it gets a bit more complicated when we get to the detailed parts of how One Cloud Security works. In the beginning One Cloud Security was just a small company in New York that offers IT support, virus and malware removal as well as computer repair and maintenance services. However, their clients kept encountering software problems that made them dependent upon the know-how of the technicians. So the need for a permanent IT support arose and thus One Cloud Security came into being and is now getting ready to offer its services across the United States and soon the world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

4 Business Strategies To Market Your Start-Up Business

4 Business Strategies to Market Your Start-Up Business
By Brigette C Madison

A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs start small for a variety of reasons - lack of enough capital, constant worry about the possible success of the business, marketability of the products and services, and so on. Even if you're s start-up small business owner or a large company manager, though, you'll always have to think of your marketing strategies to promote your business to the right people. Here are a few tips you can try:

Go online

Even if you own a brick and mortar store, promoting your business should not be confined there. Social media nowadays isn't anything new. People also gather to talk about business and various events online, and it's up to you how you can utilize the web to target specific audiences. Whether you have a physical store or an online shop, establishing your presence on the web is highly recommended. Invest in your own site or blog (which you should update regularly) or start by building interactive pages in social networking sites like Twitter.

Build your network

Always be in the lookout for ways and opportunities to build your network. These can be business contacts, existing customers and potential clients, suppliers, as well as industry professionals. However, networking just for the sake of networking will be useless in the end. Make it a point to get to know your contacts professionally so you can share your business ideas and maybe get professional advice in the process. Networking can provide you a variety of opportunities not only to market your business and expand your start up, but also innovative ideas to be successful in the industry.

Maintain relationship with customers

Doing business with a client does not end in providing excellent products or services. If you want to build a solid database of customers, make sure you maintain contact with your clients. After all, businesses shouldn't only be about building relationships; sustaining these client and prospect relationships is also essential to business success. Extend business relationships through various platforms (whether online or offline) and continue to be visible so your customers will remember your business.

Connect with prospects and existing clients

Future sales do not only depend on new people you meet or do business with; you can also benefit a lot from your existing and prospect clients. Look for ways to connect with customers regularly so you can continue doing business with them. It can involve offering promos or free product samplings, calling or emailing them for monthly updates and newsletters - basically anything that can help you ensure their continued patronage. Aside from continued support, connecting with your existing customer database can also be a great way to bring in more clients through word-of-mouth.

Aside from time and effort, promoting a business also requires money. But since you're starting small, be sure to look for various marketing opportunities that are free, or at the very least, something you can afford. Look for options you can try and don't hesitate to do some trial and error to better market your products and services to your target audience.

In need of catering supplies for your food business? Invest in quality products you can rent or buy: browse for available catering equipment online only at premierrentals.com.au.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

7 Tips for Plugging the Profit Leaks in Your Small Business

7 Tips for Plugging the Profit Leaks in Your Small Business
By Joan Nowak

Quick Books provides small business owners with the data you and your accountant need for tax purposes. This is a necessary part of business ownership. But do you also use the information to help you make better business decisions, uncover opportunities and plug the profit leaks that cost money each year? You should.

7 Tips to Get More From Quick Books

  1. Stay Up-To-Date. Keeping records current does not require posting transactions daily. For many small businesses, weekly or semi-monthly is fine! Whether you do it yourself or delegate (outsource) it to others, keep your records up-to-date. Timely record keeping is often more accurate - and leads to better decisions, fewer customer complaints, faster payments, better inventory management and happy vendors who will go the extra mile!
  2. Reconcile bank accounts. In managing cash flow, some owners rely on their online bank statements or balances. This can be problematic because it doesn't include pending payments. But even with technology today, errors can still occur. You can uncover problems quickly with a monthly reconciliation.
  3. Manage credit cards and LOC's. Because it's easy to download credit card transactions right into Quick Books, some use this method. If you do, make sure transactions are properly posted (to expenses or customer jobs) and amounts are accurate when doing your monthly reconciliation. Don't assume.
  4. Invoice customers quickly. Why wait a week or more to bill a customer? With online invoicing and smart phone credit card capabilities, you can bill from anywhere. The sooner you bill, the sooner you get paid!
  5. Use time tracking. While we associate time tracking with companies that bill by the hour, any service business can use this tool to help evaluate labor costs associated with customer jobs. From lawn care and cleaning services to plumbers and HVAC services, knowing this information can be helpful when setting prices. More important, it can help you improve efficiency that impacts profit.
  6. Measure job or customer profitability. Stop wondering if you made money on a project or customer. Quick Books allows you to capture both income and related expenses, including labor and materials, at the project or customer level. Would knowing this information help you price more effectively or focus on certain projects or customers? The answer for most business owners is yes!
  7. Use Reminders. You can 'memorize' transactions and set low-stock inventory levels to trigger reminders. This is helpful for bills that occur periodically, tax payments, important or rarely used materials that have long delivery lead times, and future invoices for recurring customers or payment plans. It saves time and money!

In addition, Quick Books has a lot of different reports to help you analyze the data, manage your business and find the hidden opportunities for improvement. Many reports include a prior period or year comparison that is helpful for looking at trends! The P&L or Income Statement is used by most owners. But what about the Balance Sheet? It provides a snapshot (balances) of your assets and liabilities, including bank accounts, credit cards, LOC, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll liabilities, inventory and more.

Depending on your business or what you uncover on your P&L and Balance Sheet, you may want to dig deeper - and Quick Books makes that easy too. Some of my business clients find these helpful: A/R or aging reports, sales summaries by customer or representative, inventory report and job / customer profitability reports.

Joan Nowak is a results-oriented business coach, consultant and speaker who helps small business owners bridge the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it! For additional information, visit http://www.hybridbizadvisors.com/about-us/. While you are there, subscribe to her monthly eNewsletter for new profit-building articles and exclusive business tools and offers,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

10 Cool Tips On Starting A Small Business On Your Own

10 Cool Tips on Starting a Small Business on Your Own
By Alfred Clark

There are few more challenging, exciting or potentially rewarding endeavors in life than starting your own business. Setting out on your own can feel everything from unnatural to downright foolhardy, but if you're among the select few that manage to get it right just be set for life.

Sadly, there's no blueprint for getting it right in every single business area across the board, but at the same time there are plenty of tips and tricks guaranteed to set you in good stead.

Here's a quick look at 10 of the coolest tips you'll come across for starting out a successful business of your own:

1 - Expect a Rocky Transition

If you expect to go through the process without a single doubt or moment of confusion, you're barking up the wrong tree. When starting out alone, you'll question your sanity, wonder if your goal makes sense and probably panic a little. This is natural, so don't be afraid of a little inner turbulence in the early days.

2 - Fake It Until You Make It

So you're not a high-flying business leader yet - that doesn't mean you can't pretend you're one. Even if you're not making a penny yet, dress as if you were running an important business, schedule your working days and stick to your itineraries like glue - all positive habits you can't form soon enough.

3 - Minimize Risks

Savvy advice in all areas of the business world, but as you're on your own you really can't risk big losses and setbacks. So while it might mean keeping your targets and ambitions low for a while, keep risks to absolute minimums.

4 - Remember Downtime

And while you're burning the candle at both ends, don't forget that without measured and structured time off, you'll never be at your best when it matters most.

5 - Don't Fear

You won't be confident until you know what you're doing is right and this will take some time. So in the meantime, accept that you'll run into a few confidence issues and don't be afraid to be afraid.

6 - Seek Inspiration

Think of who it is that inspires you most and what it is about them that gets you fired up. From business leaders to political icons and really anyone else you admire, take a leaf from the book of your idol and be inspired.

7 - Recognize Procrastination

When you're building a business all alone, you and only you can draw the line between time wasted and time well-spent. Don't let procrastination ruin your chances.

8 - Accept Failure

Not of the business, but rather of your ideas. If something clearly doesn't work, don't flog the hell out of it just to save face - walk away and learn from your mistake.

9 - Ask for Help

If you're wholly intent on going it alone from start to finish, there's no harm in using your family and social circles for a little fresh input from time to time. Asking for help doesn't constitute failure - struggling alone and eventually going bust however does!

10 - Network

And finally, sure you're in it alone, but that doesn't mean you can't connect with millions of other professionals out there with a ton of helpful advice to offer. Use all available web resources to tap into advice and build your business network.

Tap into some of the greatest tips, tricks and business secrets of experienced and successful professionals at Business Ideas Lab. From helpful articles on business development to essential guides for newcomers, head over to http://businessideaslab.com/ for a world of invaluable information.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

3 Questions I Wish I’d Asked Before Starting My Business

Anyone who has ever started a business knows that sometimes your enthusiasm outpaces your experience and planning. A few years ago, I started a soap & scrubs Etsy shop. When I started it, all I knew was that oatmeal, honey and goat milk were as good in the shower as they were for breakfast, and […]

Read the rest of the article here....

Starting A Business

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Mobile Marketing Strategy Is Right For You? Use This to Find Out [Infographic]

It’s no secret that mobile usage has skyrocketed in the past year or two. More people are using their mobile devices more often, to do more things than ever before: Litmus reports that more than half of people read email on a mobile device. Shop.org reports that among U.S. smartphone users, approximately half have consulted […]

Mobile Marketing Strategy

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What 3 Mobile Marketing Experts Say About Growing Your Business

We recently discussed mobile marketing with three awesome mobile marketing pros: Tim Hayden, Kim Dushinski and Chris Brisson. They shared their advice on the most important mobile marketing strategies and what companies should work on for the future. For highlights of their wisdom, plus a little rap song parody, keep reading. How Do You Define […]

Read more here....

Mobile Marketing Tips

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

You’re Doing It Wrong...4 Tips For Better Social Media Engagement

Did you know only 1 out of 5 customer inquiries on Twitter and Facebook receives a response from a brand or business? Even when they are answered, the average response time is a dreadful 11 hours. What a shame. So many missing major opportunities – for new business, to save business, and to learn what […]

Read more here...

Better Social Media Engagement

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A 5-Point Inspection On Email Deliverability

Deliverability is the name of the game when it comes to email marketing. It’s the first step to a successful email campaign. Without it, your emails are like a red hot Ferrari without the engine. Most email marketing providers offer some great features, like mobile responsive email templates, customizable signup forms and autoresponders, which are […]

Read more here....

Email Deliverability

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How To Use Email Newsletters To Market Your Small Business

An oft ignored simple method to market your small business is using email newsletters. It's not near as complicated as many seem to believe. In fact...it's really simple and can actually be set up to pretty much run itself. Automation is key...and will save you tons of time and effort.

To learn about email templates, automatic blog updates, image hosting, Twitter and Facebook integration, and much much more...simply click here:

Email Newsletter Marketing

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How To Send Unlimited Autoresponder Messages About Your Small Business

You have a newsletter or email contact list process for your small business. New subscribers require special attention. They're eager to hear from you, but they don't know your company as well as established subscribers do. Build profitable relationships with them using a sequence of automatically delivered follow up emails.

* Welcome new subscribers, then drive them back to your website with sequential autoresponders

* Answer questions, deliver downloads and provide product information

* Build subscriber trust and confidence

* No manual sending needed - our unlimited autoresponder software delivers your emails automatically

* Personalize emails with subscribers' names and other information

To learn a lot more...and get started yourself...simply click here: Autoresponder Marketing

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Email Marketing Guides

You’re exactly the right person to market your business.

You’ve got the passion. You know your brand inside out. And you’ve got a few ideas for emails you want to send.

But if you’re new to marketing with email, you probably need a bit of expert advice.

So here it is. On this page you’ll find guides for different industries as well as instructions for some advanced processes that’ll really fine-tune your campaign.

Best of all, they’re free. Take them, use them and tell people how you’re getting such amazing results!

To find out more simply click here...

Email Marketing Guides

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Free, Live Email Marketing Webinars

Whether you’re a customer or someone looking to see what AWeber is all about, their live webinars are packed with useful content to help you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.

What If I Can’t Attend?

If you want to attend, but don’t think you can make it, that’s okay!

Sign up anyway – if they record the webinar, they’ll send you a link to the recording.

You can find out more here:

Free, Live Email Marketing Webinars

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Small Business Marketing Tip... How To Become An Expert Or Guru [Warning: Really Funny!]

In this short video tip you will discover how to become an expert or guru in your business.

Big WARNING: This must be the funniest video tip I've ever watched! Laughing guaranteed!

Discover the steps to become a guru including...
- The power of knowledge
- Do the doing
- Wisdom generosity
- Get others to talk about you
- Become famous

The funniest part is at minute 5.22! Enjoy this video...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7 Tips for Plugging the Profit Leaks in Your Small Business

Quick Books provides small business owners with the data you and your accountant need for tax purposes. This is a necessary part of business ownership. But do you also use the information to help you make better business decisions, uncover opportunities and plug the profit leaks that cost money each year? You should.

7 Tips to Get More From Quick Books

  1. Stay Up-To-Date. Keeping records current does not require posting transactions daily. For many small businesses, weekly or semi-monthly is fine! Whether you do it yourself or delegate (outsource) it to others, keep your records up-to-date. Timely record keeping is often more accurate - and leads to better decisions, fewer customer complaints, faster payments, better inventory management and happy vendors who will go the extra mile!
  2. Reconcile bank accounts. In managing cash flow, some owners rely on their online bank statements or balances. This can be problematic because it doesn't include pending payments. But even with technology today, errors can still occur. You can uncover problems quickly with a monthly reconciliation.
  3. Manage credit cards and LOC's. Because it's easy to download credit card transactions right into Quick Books, some use this method. If you do, make sure transactions are properly posted (to expenses or customer jobs) and amounts are accurate when doing your monthly reconciliation. Don't assume.
  4. Invoice customers quickly. Why wait a week or more to bill a customer? With online invoicing and smart phone credit card capabilities, you can bill from anywhere. The sooner you bill, the sooner you get paid!
  5. Use time tracking. While we associate time tracking with companies that bill by the hour, any service business can use this tool to help evaluate labor costs associated with customer jobs. From lawn care and cleaning services to plumbers and HVAC services, knowing this information can be helpful when setting prices. More important, it can help you improve efficiency that impacts profit.
  6. Measure job or customer profitability. Stop wondering if you made money on a project or customer. Quick Books allows you to capture both income and related expenses, including labor and materials, at the project or customer level. Would knowing this information help you price more effectively or focus on certain projects or customers? The answer for most business owners is yes!
  7. Use Reminders. You can 'memorize' transactions and set low-stock inventory levels to trigger reminders. This is helpful for bills that occur periodically, tax payments, important or rarely used materials that have long delivery lead times, and future invoices for recurring customers or payment plans. It saves time and money!

In addition, Quick Books has a lot of different reports to help you analyze the data, manage your business and find the hidden opportunities for improvement. Many reports include a prior period or year comparison that is helpful for looking at trends! The P&L or Income Statement is used by most owners. But what about the Balance Sheet? It provides a snapshot (balances) of your assets and liabilities, including bank accounts, credit cards, LOC, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll liabilities, inventory and more.

Depending on your business or what you uncover on your P&L and Balance Sheet, you may want to dig deeper - and Quick Books makes that easy too. Some of my business clients find these helpful: A/R or aging reports, sales summaries by customer or representative, inventory report and job / customer profitability reports.

By Joan Nowak

Joan Nowak is a results-oriented business coach, consultant and speaker who helps small business owners bridge the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it! For additional information, visit http://www.hybridbizadvisors.com/about-us/. While you are there, subscribe to her monthly eNewsletter for new profit-building articles and exclusive business tools and offers,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

7 Low Cost Ways to Promote Your Business

There are numerous ways in which to promote your business and today my challenge was to see how many I could come up with that were either zero or low cost. After a brief brainstorming session, I was surprised to see how many I'd managed to come up with and they are probably just the tip of the iceberg. They are all tried and tested methods, all of which can work though the results may also depend on the business you are in. Here are my top 7:

1. Networking in person - while this list is not in any particular order, I do believe that this is the number 1 low cost way to promote yourself and your business.

2. Talk about your Unique Selling Point (USP) - Look at what the competition has to offer by buying some of their products or services and then find a way to do it differently. Once you know what your USP is, make sure to make your customers aware of it.

3. Always over deliver - by treating customers better than you expect to be treated and by over delivering on their expectations, your customers will do your selling for you by talking positively about your great product or service.

4. Give something away - everyone likes to get something for nothing! This can be anything from an information product to a sample of one of your best products, to pens or gift vouchers.

5. Following on from above, when not link up with another business whose products/services compliment your own and get them to give away your freebies as a gift to their clients while you do the same for them in return.

6. Say thank you - when a customer compliments you on what you do or tell you why they keep buying from you, make sure to thank them and what better way to do it than to give them a freebie or a gift voucher to give to a friend so that they can have the opportunity of sharing their buying experience.

7. Blogging and social media - not just to directly promote what you do but also to showcase your expertise as well as your human side! By sharing some of your stories with people, both positive and negative experiences, you can soon have a loyal following of supporters who can relate to you and get the feeling that they know you - and it has been proven that people prefer to buy from someone they know.

Try them to see which ones can work for you and your business.

"Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement". ~Samuel Johnson

By Anne Galloway

And now I would like to invite you to sign up to receive your free copies of my Inspirational Toolkit delivered direct to your inbox when you visit, http://www.power-to-change.eu - just click on the subscribe button. Here you will find even more free advice and tips to help you put the fun and passion back into your working week.

From Anne Galloway, Careers Consultant at power-to-change, your path to career success!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

3 Keys to Being a Successful, Bodacious Woman in Business

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

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

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

1. Figuring out what you need to know.

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

2. Strive for sanity!

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

3. Feed the motivation meter.

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

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

By Mary Foley

Copyright 2006 Mary Foley

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

Saturday, July 12, 2014

10 Places To Find Ideal Clients

"Where do I find people to invite into free sessions?"

This was one of the questions from a client this week and it reminded me that it's such a common question and so I have answered it in this article for you.

So I am imagining that you want to fill your private programme right now and one of the simplest strategies I know and teach is to invite your ideal clients into free sessions, or what others may call, enrollment conversations.

Common sense says that the more people you speak to, the more likely you are to end up with paying clients. Then the question comes up for so many people, where do I find people to invite into free sessions?

So here are 10 places to get you inspired:

1. Present Clients - you may have clients who are in a group programme or even a private programme that would benefit from the programme you are offering. Never make assumptions that they are done. I have done that too many times and not only lost out on a client, but also let them down by not inviting them in.

2. Past Clients - again you may think they are done, but there is always more to learn or to discover. Again don't make assumptions. Ask them if they fancy a free session and see what happens.

3. Networking Groups - it is more important who we know than what we know. Networking groups are not only prime places to connect and get known for what we do and bring in new clients, but also fabulous for meeting potential joint venture partners.

4. Social Groups - it might be a yoga class, sewing class, meditation group, knitting class, hiking group, mother and toddler group, book club, etc.

5. Workshops/Seminars/Free talks - be sure to set a clear intention before the event that you want to speak to ideal clients. Make an invitation during the talk or at the end for people to sign up for a free session.

6. Your Email List - make a genuine invitation for your community to come in and have a free session with you. Remember it's where you are coming from that counts - people feel that, so if you are not coming from a place of service and just from "I want clients", you are unlikely to get a response from those you would love to work with.

7. Social Media - you have lots of friends and contacts on social media - reach out to them and invite them into a conversation. If you don't feel you know them well enough yet, then that's the perfect signal for you to start nurturing relationships.

8. Online Discussion Groups and Forums - Find out where your ideal clients hang out online. Do not go in with the intent to get clients. Go in with the intent to genuinely be helpful. Ask questions and answer questions and when and if the time feels right, invite them to pick up your free gift and/or for a free session.

9. Your Peers - If you ignore this one, you are missing out on LOTS of ideal clients. Think about it, you need help from time to time, or even ongoing help in certain areas of your life, so don't you think your peers do too? Listen deeply to their concerns/problems/dreams and come up with a solution and make an offer for a free session. It may lead to them being a referral partner or partner, but you won't know unless you ask.

10. Teleseminars - Give your ideal clients a solution to a nagging problem and show your expertise, then invite them into a free session. Win-win-win!

Whatever you choose to do, please remember to be of service because that is what is client attractive. If you come from a place of genuinely wanting to serve and be of help to the person in front of you, that's what they will remember you for and serve you too. As I always say, look for the win-win-win, and this strategy is certainly that!

By Sheela Masand

Sheela Masand was a co-founder and working partner of a multi million Euro business for over 12 years. Having worked through the struggle of how to find clients and make money in her own business, she now specializes in helping other heart-centred service professionals to do just that, all in a very authentic, non sales-y way.

Sheela can help you to attract more clients and make more money in a fun and authentic way. Visit http://www.sheelamasand.com to pick up a special free gift "Top 3 Secrets to Attracting Clients without Spending a Cent".

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Women Entrepreneurs - 5 Fatal Errors to Avoid When Starting a Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The third fatal error is ignoring the Exit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most people do not know that a verbal promise is a valid contract. It's true and it can get the enthusiastic entrepreneur, particularly during the start-up stage in their business, into big trouble.

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

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

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

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

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

By Holly Magister

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