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

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

21 Top Marketing Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

The analogy between marketing and a business is similar to the relationship of body and food. Marketing is the heart of the business. Every business is different so each business has to offer marketing and development, which fits each unique business's need. There are many ways of developing and marketing for any business, but first let's find the true concept and definition of marketing.

Marketing definition:

"Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large".

1- Thinking advertising is marketing:

The biggest mistake most of the business owners make is to think advertising and spending money is the only marketing way exist. This group only focuses on advertising, which when the desire result is not achieved at the end of the month, they complain of how much money they wasted away. Advertisement is merely one of many ways of marketing.

2- You don't enjoy what you do:

As stated above Marketing has many ways and approaches. The main marketing for your business is to love what you do. Nothing is better than your "Love what you do" attitude since it brings out your creativity, shows your talent and tells everyone how devoted you are to your business. Your daily positive attitude defines the successful future of your business. The love of your business construe in your daily interaction with new clients, employee's moral and making important and effective marketing decisions. To be a good marketer for your business, first rule is your love for what you do.

3- Don't have a good business plan:

What is business plan?

"A written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement".

Having a business plan is like having a map. Many businesses start their business ignoring this very effective tool and get lost in the middle of the road. Every business plan states the exact details of the business's concept and outlines clearly the marketing strategies, profit and loss, demographic, place of business, finances and targeted niche market. In order to make a solid business plan:

A) Know your business inside and out

Knowledge of your business is important to know the answer to all the categories of business plan. If you do not know the concept of your product or service, business plan and the pillar of your business does not exist.

B) Study, analyze and scrutinize

When you know the back and forth of every detail in your business, you can access all the required information needed to project your business in a business plan. In order to access all this information you need to study, analyze and scrutinize every file and information in libraries, city records and valid informative site on the Internet.

C) Print it and have it accessible

When you put all the info together and created your fully detailed business plan, print a copy and keep a file handy and accessible.

Your projected analysis for the business works as a map to your success. Don't drive to an unknown destination, not having a map on hand.

4- Don't have any plans:

Marketing and developing its strategy is vital for every business. Marketing works as fertilizer to boost the lawn of your business. Even more importantly, marketing acts like sun to shed light and direction to your business for finding leads for the potential clients. Marketing is like having your open sign on in the dark street. I think I emphasized enough and you understood how important marketing is for any business, small or large.

5- Not analyzing the market for correct pricing.

Every business offers products or services. Then producing and providing the products and services involves certain cost and fees. Setting the price according to the market is very important and cause for a major failure for small businesses if done without market awareness. The root and source to find a perfect price is your business plan. It is necessary for every small business owner to investigate:

A) The demographic income of the targeted niche and audience:

The business plan states the average income of the targeted audience and the niche market. Set prices based on the factual statistic and spending ability of potential clients.

B) Market needs and economy balance:

An involved business owner is always aware of the market needs and the economy balance. Based on your niche market, be on top of the factors of change in economy that can impact your client's ability to spend. If you deal with bankers and investors, keep up with stock market news and its daily changes and adjust your prices regularly.

C) Competitive market prices:

A business person is always on a lookout for its competitors and is aware of their side of story. It is necessary to know your competitors and adjust your prices based on their offering and similar services.

D) Demand of the product or service:

Investigate the demand before putting the price tag on your product and service. You can find this information through the data in your business plan. Balance your prices based on the market demands;

  • If you projecting a good volume of sale, price it lower than competitors.
  • If the demand is lower and the project of volume is slow, price higher to accommodate the distance between each sale.

E) Uniqueness of the product or service:

A unique product and service in the market attracts more attention. Price it higher than other regular products.

F) Acceptable profit margin range in the area:

Profit margin's acceptability is always decided based on the market and economy as well as the market demand for the product.

  • Consider a big city. If you have a product or service that is unique, but projecting a high volume of demand, based on the economy and your targeted niche, the profit margin should set higher than normal.
  • In a small community, If you are investing on a product with limited demand, go conservative on your profit margin.

6- Not having any budget

Many small business owners make a big mistake and do not place any budget for daily, monthly or yearly marketing plans. Whatever the profit and loss data projects on your business, it must include certain amount of budget for marketing plans that are realistic and traceable. Unfortunately small business owners mostly have no budget and deduct the cost of marketing plans from their profit data. This particular budget assignment is very effective in the future of business growth. Increase the marketing budget with business slowly reaching the peak of demands for your product and services.

7- Spending money on non-traceable ads

As the market changes, so as the marketing plan, pricing and target audience. Invest and assign marketing plans that are traceable. Traceable marketing means follow-up charts to analyze data.

The worst mistake of marketing is to spend money on a plan that cannot be traced and measured. This marketing mistake is wasting money or in other terms is shooting in the dark.

8- Do not trace the result

Many businesses have assigned a budget for the traceable marketing plan but sadly do not follow-up on the result and do not trace it. This is just the same as spending wasteful money on non-traceable.

9- Think in a closed box:

Each business is unique. Even if the business offers a same product as other business few streets down the road, the two are still unique and different in many ways. The biggest mistake small business owners make is to follow other businesses' footsteps. Marketing and its strategies should not have any limitation. Think of marketing out side of the box and do not limit the marketing strategies to a clich� approach others do. Be creative and design a plan unique and suitable for the very business.

10- Don't know what plans to set:

Everyone is familiar with the word marketing. The first conversation when opening a new enterprise is "Lets do marketing!" But do we all really realize the core meaning of it?

I compare marketing strategies and its unique approach to our fingerprints, which is distinctive. Many understand the word marketing but are not familiar with how to set the strategy and the game planning related to the business.

It is a big mistake not knowing how to set the strategies while being fully aware of marketing important role in the business. Since setting the marketing plan requires research, analysis and knowledge of he market, hire a professional researcher and marketer to create the necessary game plan.

11- Assuming the product or service will sell itself:

One of the biggest marketing mistakes is to assume your product or service is going to sell itself. This assumption is misleadingly translating marketing into advertisement. I have met many small business owners who declared that quote-to-quote "I don't spend money on the marketing, to me I only rely on word of mouth".

Word Of Mouth is the strongest way of marketing. So what this small business owner was under impression that he does not do any marketing because he thought marketing was spending money on advertisement. So he was counting on the most effective marketing, the word of mouth. Word of mouth consists of two factors:

A) Product or service:

People have to like the product or service to continue talk about it and refer their friends.

B) Customer service

Another major difference between businesses is the level of customer service. I didn't say the level of good or bad. What I mean is each business owner or employee that has been fully trained to look after a client as a customer service has his or her own charm. This specific charisma and character make the business unique to others and is a major influence for word of mouth.

Let me give you an example of how powerful the word of mouth and spreading the word is to any business. While ago, I worked as a junior manager in an up-scale restaurant. The general manager identified his target niche as young professionals in downtown area. So he hand-picked few employees in the same age range as the targeted niche to use public transportation and talk about the restaurant among each other. His decision, although was not directly traceable, but yet had an amazing effect. How did I analyse the result and witness the proof?

The restaurant offered comment cards, asking "How you hear about us?" and many without any surprise responded via word of mouth in public transportation.

Even if the business owner is avoiding any advertisement cost, they still rely on spread of word about their service and product via the community and the word of mouth marketing.

12- Don't know the target audience:

To plan and set a marketing strategy, any small business has to have a direct target niche as an audience. Analyze everything about the niche audience. The list certainly is not limited to the audience's income, age, interest ratio to the product, sex, education, commitment ratio and their loyalty.

13- Don't know the competition:

The best way to analyze the market is to get familiar with the competition and rivals. It might sound clich� but as the Godfather movie suggested, "Keep you enemy close". Or if I may rephrase " Keep your competition close and be aware of their moves".

This is especially important for small business owners in small community to have a good relationship with other competition. To share my experience in the same restaurant I used to manage, the general manager always encouraged me to go to other local restaurants and dine. He even offered to pay the bill. All I had to do was to analyze everything from the greeting, staff knowledge, manager's presence, client's relation and the overall quality. My report helped him to understand his competition strengths and weaknesses.

14- Hiring wrong person to do marketing:

Many small business owners out of desperation and lack of networking, hire wrong people to do their marketing. As we said earlier, every business has unique offering and services so must focus on unique planning for its marketing strategies.

It is the small business owner's responsibility to hire a professional firm who can relate to the business's need and offerings.

A good reputable marketing firm whose focus is to promote books and authors in not a good fit for a small local bistro.

15- Underestimate the value of existing clients:

A good businessperson always knows the value of the existing clients;

The best way of follow-up with the existing clients is to create informative data about them. Many small business owners lack this very important source of information. To avoid this mistake, keep a record of every client's information. If the information requires certain personal data, keep it in a safe and secure place.

A client whom already has experienced your product and service knows about the quality of it. Always do follow-up calls and do not be afraid to ask how they liked the product or service. Even if the client responses back with dissatisfaction is a perfect opportunity for the business owner to fix the problem.

Gain a new customer is costly. I am gong to explain this by an example:

"Nancy enters Joe's caf� because of a coupon she found in a local magazine offering 10% discount. She solely relies on a menu attraction, prices, quality of the food and customer service. Joe the owner spent lots of money and time for marketing after analyzing the community needs, price affordability and the targeted niche market.

Joe has three ways to collect emails or phone calls for follow back:

A) placing a note pad in front of the cashier's desk asking new clients to write email or contact info for special promos.

B) Placing a glass bowl by the cashier's desk offering the weekly draw of free lunch from dropped business cards.

C) Offering comment cards and asking for contact info.

Joe has three ways to accumulate client's information and follow-up with them. So everyday he goes through all the information and creates a secure data.

Nancy finds the place charming and the food great but not a good customer service. It is Joe's responsibility to follow-up and gain back Nancy's business once again to avoid spending all the money and time all over to attract another new client."

Existing clients are the perfect way to promote every business. Send special offering, communicate with them and even ask them to share your business with their friends. Respect the boundary between proper communication and spamming.

16- Not offering giveaways and novelty items:

One of the most effective ways to attract clients is to giveaway your product or service for free.

A) Test run: Offer a monthly test run of your product and service and giveaway a free sampler. People love to get samplers. It gives them information about your business and its quality.

B) Propose monthly contest: Proffer a monthly contest and giveaway prizes based on participating in your business. People love contest and it excites them to know they can win something. If it didn't work, Lottery and Casinos didn't exist.

C) Give out novelties like mugs, pen, key chain, notepad, calculator, shirts and hats with the business information printed on it.

17-Wrong niche:

As a business owner recognizing correct niche market target is necessary for further marketing planning and budget assignment.

To explain this better lets picture a shoe store that carries high-end fashion shoes for women. The first thing that comes into the mind, high-end fashion niche is only younger generation and teenagers. A good business owner will explore the possibilities to analyze further more into the data from business plan to understand the local community needs.

If selling high-end, then its higher quality and higher prices. A teenager on a student living budget cannot be a direct and only target niche. So the correct niche is a professional and higher income spender who is more interested in quality without considering the price tag.

This example clears how a business owner distinguishes the certain target audience by analyzing the local market data from business plan. With enough knowledge in market research, the business owner avoids wasting the marketing budget on a wrong niche.

18-Not participating in community:

"Every big things has small beginning"

Regardless of the geographical target of any business, whether global or corner store in a small village, it all begins with local community.

Who are the first people you would share news with in your everyday life? Family and friends are the strongest link to marketing and spreading the word. It starts from friends and family and spreads to their friends and family and before you know it, is a snowball effect and cumulative.

The local community is the test run before spending a time and money on a dead-end marketing plan.

19- Do not own an informative and representative website:

Internet plays a great deal of connection in people's life everyday. Many customers use the Internet to search and review local businesses. No matter what kind of business, it requires an informative and user-friendly website. A good business website is a gateway that welcomes customers to enter and experience the business offering.

Many small business owners making mistake and assume their line of business does not need a website. With daily development of technology, people get more connected via Internet and do their shopping online. Search engines get stronger everyday by developing codes and programs to bring up the exact and precise inquiry.

20- Do not appreciate the value of the Internet:

With a vastly growing competition on the Internet and the increase in demand for business development, simply having a website that offer information is not enough. Popular search engines are only producing websites in their search result, which have better ranking. Many small business owners simply making a big mistake by avoiding the presence on the Internet and ignore the growing highway to success. Every business must have an informative website and optimizes the business on search engines, social media and popular relevant forums. This subject of Internet marketing and its highly effective marketing plans is a lot of subject to cover in this article.

21- Expecting too much in short time:

Do not expect too much in a short time. There is always cause and effect but it requires proper time period to produce best effect. A seed needs time to open the surface and grow to a strong tree. But it requires water and good fertilization. Marketing is the water and fertilization to the business. It takes time for a good marketing plan to spread the roots and make a strong holding ground.

"Rome was not built in a day"

It took generations and much hard work of skilled engineers, planning and proper budgeting to build the mega city of Rome.

Can you hold a roof without building the pillars and the walls?

Marketing is the pillar of the business. Without marketing and planning, business lacks a foundation.

Many business owners place the marketing and development in their last page when the business opens its door to the public. Marketing starts when the business idea takes shape. It begins before the business is even called a business. Avoid making marketing mistake and start your marketing with knowledge and strategy.

Marketing is the heart of every business and keeps the health of the company in balance. But treat the heart right. Eating healthy, exercise and lack of stress are keeping the heart healthy to beat the life into our body. Practicing and implementing the right marketing strategies keep the business in shape. Don't make mistake if you had a good run. Many small business owners get too excited for this temporary beat of recognition and look at it as everlasting. To keep a good balance in business, marketing and planning should match the flow of the business. Increase your strategies as your business grows and increases.

Marketing is the pillar of every business and is the only foundation to go further, faster. Imagine a boat with no engine crossing the Atlantic. The marketing to a business resembles the engine to a boat. The planning and strategy of the marketing to the business is the safety gear of the boat that keeps it balance and not to tip over.

To hire a professional to help with marketing strategies, business plans and target niche market, post your project in http://www.bidsbypros.com and connect with local pros. Bids By Pros is a free social community to post your needs and get connected with professionals.

By Don Zilleri

Saturday, September 26, 2015

How To Make A Budget For Your Small Business

The budget of your small business is one of the most potential planning tools you have, as long as you use it well. Apart from your business plan, the financial blueprint developed by you with your business budgeting software will help you take crucial decisions and guide you in staying on course throughout the year.

What does Small Business Budget means?

A small business budget indicates the estimation of both your revenue and expenses for a specific period of time. It defines how you are planning to utilize your resources in the future. You can generate revenue from sales, accounts receivable, interests and other sources. On the other hand, expenses include the money that you spend on material, rent, payroll, marketing and other fixed and variable costs.

Importance of Creating a Budget

Making a budget helps business owners learn the usage of revenue to achieve their business goals. It also helps you get an insight on probable expenses that your business will most probably face for the years to come.

Here are some reasons regarding the significance of creating a small business budget.

Cash Flow Management:

With budgeting, you can monitor the input and output of your total revenue. It will enable you to assess cash flow.

Obtaining Financing:

Banks and other lenders are going to inspect your budget before they agree to give you a loan.

How to Calculate Your Small Business Budget?

Many companies develop their budgets for a single fiscal year. You can make use of the business budgeting software to develop a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual budget which will help you get a more clear picture of your entity's finances. Many experts suggest that a monthly budget is most effective to have a track of your finances.

How to Create Your Budget?
You can take expense inputs and estimate your income from your business budgeting software.

Go Through Your Previous Budgets

If you have the experience of developing a budget earlier, you can use it as a model and adjust the numbers as required.

Research

If you are about to start your business and do not have idea about business budgeting, you need to do research on typical costs and sales trends of firms that are working in the same sector. It will help you come up with forecaster averages.

Make it Simple

You do not have to list all the expenses in detail. If you want,you can categorize your budget in terms of sales, profit, accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Maintain Flexibility

The main motive of a budget is to keep you disciplined in terms of monetary aspects. You should not be too rigid with your budget. Be flexible enough to make changes when and wherever required. A rigid approach can prevent your business from growing further.

Initially, you may face difficulty in planning a small business budget. However, with the passage of time, you will start finding it as a simple planning tool that helps you run your business in a streamlined manner.

Clark Robin is an experienced writer in the field of business and finance. His writings provide insight into restaurant business loans that restaurateurs require for starting and running their food businesses. Capitalizing on his academic knowledge and corporate experience, he covers innumerable issues related to SBA restaurant loans. For more information visit here - http://www.headwayfinance.com/

By Clark Robin

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

20% More Profit In 60 Days

Time marches on, and we are well into the new year.

Where do you think you will be by the end of December?

This message is short but important.

Welcome. My name is Peter. I am a fellow small business owner with 34 years experience in delivering solutions that help clients grow and make their business more successful.

Along the way I have picked up a number of successful steps fellow business owners can implement to create "20% more profit in the next 60 days" and following are a few initial steps that should interest you.

Was 2014 everything you hoped it would be? Be honest, do you really feel we have left the GFC behind?

Enough! There are bills to be paid, so let's look forward and not waste time thinking about what could have been.

If you came into this year with more debt than last year, you must get some breathing space and free up capital. Following are three good steps to start with:

Step 1: Take the knife to Pet-Projects:

Fact: Every additional dollar from sales only generates an average of $0.17 to $0.23 to the bottom line. Whereas, every expense dollar saved is a dollar going straight to the bottom line.

The best place to start cutting so-called fixed expenses is to look at 'Pet-Projects'. Pet projects are activities and processes that are in place because somebody - with the best intentions, at a time long forgotten - put them in place, and they are now part of 'the way we do things'.

- This operation is painful and it is recommended an external party who can identify and make decisions to cut without any personal baggage do it.

Step 2: Run your business as if you are about to go bankrupt - because if you don't, you soon will be.

From psychology, we know that the most stressful situation to be in is 'not knowing'. You must have systems that can tell you exactly where your business is in terms liquidity. This means you need to have, and review, up to date worst-case-sales-forecast-scenario, detailed expense commitments as well as an aged debtors summary - on a daily basis!

Further, make sure not a cent is being spent without your knowledge. No verbal updates, you must physically sign-off every expense, and you must understand why you are paying each expense.

Step 3: Enforce the 80:20 rule

Again and again the 80:20 rule has been proven: 20% of your current clients represent 80% of your income. Further, that the remaining 80% usually also includes the majority of your complaining, time-consuming and bad paying clients.

Maybe it is time to fire some clients?

Do you know who, and how?

Start by implementing a 'Life-time-value-equation' for each of your clients. Make sure you know who, and how, to look after, and what clients to you should tell: "Sorry, but we can no longer afford to have you as a client - unless something changes'.

Imagine your life, and business, if you spent more time with more of your Top 20% clients?

What is your alternative? Unless You change, nothing else will change.

I hope you will have tremendous payback by implementing these first action steps.

To the best of your success, Peter

If we can help please visit http://www.dominateselling.com.au for more resources.
Email: peter@dominateselling.com.au
Twitter: @pgjersoe

By Peter Gjersoe

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Selling The Invisible...4 Keys To Selling Services

Selling a product you can see, touch, smell, or hear is hard enough in itself. Selling something "invisible" like a service is even much more difficult....or can be. Listen as Christine Clifford tells you how to get past the level of difficulty (real or perceived) and make the sale anyway. You'll hear more than a few ideas to improve your persuasion techniques to overcome any objections from prospects.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

5 Easy Cold Calling Sales Techniques

Does the thought of cold calling leave you quaking in your boots? Have you always wanted to have a super polished sales technique, but didn't know where to start? In this video Kim Constable of the WAHM Network shares five amazingly simple steps that you can take to make cold calling easy, and hone a polished sales technique. Never be afraid of cold calling again!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Actual Live Sales Call Sales Training...With Grant Cardone

Sales training expert Grant Cardone demonstrates how to handle ACTUAL Live Sales Calls and videos it for you to learn from. Watch this video and make notes of the exact techniques used to handle price objections, justify the price and close and then lock the deal down.

If you're not first, you're last.

Raw footage of sales expert grant cardone making sales calls.

In this video Grant Cardone does a special walk through the sales office - on the fly he shows by example how to close actual live sales calls - Sales managers video tips for managing sales room and taking charge to close actual sales opportunities.

Learn from the business expert as he handles some clients that are deciding on whether they should pull the trigger on buy a product. Learn sales training from the master as he literally walks you through the process and taking charge of a client and closing a sale.

In this video Grant Cardone handles two different sales calls from clients that were reluctant to close a sale and he works his sales magic by breaking down the facts and making the clients understand the massive value that his products offer.

Take charge of your own sales training and learn what you need to do in order to close sales by visiting http://GrantCardone.com and subscribe to the sales training series that is available at either http://CardoneOnDemand.com or http://CardoneUniversity.com

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Zig Ziglar - Secrets For Closing The Sale - "The Shame Close"

Here's some timeless sales training from the legend Zig Ziglar focused on closing the sale. You're bound to learn something so take notes...then go do it.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pursuit Of Happyness - Cold Calling

This scene from the movie "Pursuit Of Happyness" is classic. See if you can learn anything from Will Smith that will improve YOUR style and approach to cold calling. Feel free to leave your oiwn tips, stories, and insights as a comment below.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Funny Small Business Commercial

Go ahead and laugh...it's OK if you do. :)

A commercial doesn't have to be serious to be effective. Don't be afraid to be creative with yours.