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

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

How to Make Your Small Business Look Big

Don't let the title "Small Business" inhabit your ability to showcase how big your business can be. Small Businesses are often overlooked for certain reasons but the main reason is that the word small business comes across as a startup business. Think about it! Every business is a startup so why exclude a business as a major producer for consumers?

To name a few facts small businesses have provided 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 70's. Did you know that there are 28 million small businesses in the United States? Lastly 70% of small business are owned and operated by a single person.

Well those sure are big facts. The goal of this post is to provide you with some quick tips on how to make your small business bigger. These tips may not work for every aspect but we are confident in saying that the tips can be applied universally. So let's begin!

Tip 1: Build social presence- The more information you share the more credible your company will appear. People love relevant content which will lead to people believing in you. Believers are most likely to refer your business or use you knowledge for their business. Be greater than a big fish in a small pond!

Tip 2: Website Makeover- If your website needs a makeover see what new technology tools or trends you can incorporate to make your website stand out. Change is good and beneficial so wow your prospective clients and your current clients with a makeover. No change is too big or small.

Tip 3: Get your name out there- Want to be heard as a small business well spread the word and do some networking. Use social media to its fullest potential because it is free. Free Advertisements saves your company money. How else will you get recognition if you don't make your company visible?

Tip 4: Do you homework- Running a business is like attending school you have to do your homework to see results. Just because you own a business doesn't mean education needs to come to a halt. As a rule of thumb you should always know your competition (do your homework) and know what your competitor stands for. In addition, see what a competitor offers that is different from your business and find an innovative way to supersede their offerings.

Tip 5: The Buddy System- Link up with an industry related company and see what connects you can share or simply host an event together. This will make you look resourceful and bigger.

Have questions? Let's talk solutions info@matrixdigitalmarketing.com

By Cheyenne Williams

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Playing The Business Growth Game

Growing a business takes a lot of hard work. As much as we all would love to have an idea, put it out into the world and poof we're a success, it just doesn't work that way. Success doesn't come over night, despite how easy other business owners make it look.

The main thing you need to realize is that growth comes with change. You must be open to change and willing to go through some sort of transformation to get your business to where you would like it to be on the other side. You have to be open to changing some policies, procedures and systems, or changing your ideal target customers and even changing people. If you want to win at this business growth game, you gotta play to win.

Changing Policies, Procedures and Systems

A successful business operates via systems. These systems are created out of the policies and procedures that are in place and the need for efficiency in your business. No matter how good of a process or system you have, in order to grow bigger there will come a time where you will have to change that system. That system will only take you so far. The change may be small and minor tweaks or it could be a massive overhaul. Either way it's inevitable. In order to determine if you are at the stage in your business where you need to re-assess some of your policies and procedures, think about these things:

  1. Is what I have been doing all along still working?
  2. Do I constantly have to adjust my current process every time I provide a service or sell a product?
  3. Do I still feel like I am spiraling out of control, no matter what I do to make the current process work?

Changing Ideal Target Customers

As your business grows, you will get better and better at what you do. Your skills will sharpen and you will become more knowledgeable. Sometime this will require a change in who you serve. Starting out you are inclined to help those in need of our services at a certain point in their life, career or business. But as you grow this ideal customer could change. This changes comes about with your increase knowledge as you become more in tune and aware of where you would like your business to go and who you can help along the way. Your current customers may not play in that space. And that is OK. Changing your target customer does not mean you no longer care about the customers you currently serve. It simply means you have grown to be able to support customers at a new level.

Changing People

Changing people is one of the hardest things to change. Simply because people don't like change. We want things to stay the same. But that can't be. Not only do you have to embrace change but you also need to have staff who want to grow too. This is why it's important to bring people on board who compliment you and whose strengths are your weaknesses. Make sure they know up front what you are trying to do and where you want your business to go. And make sure they are on board for the ride. When the time comes to make a shift, you all have to be willing to shift too. Those are not willing make need to get off the ride at your current stop.

What changes have you had to make in your business in the name of growth?

Does your business have what it takes to thrive? Find out how financially healthy your business is at http://www.nitramfinancial.com

By Sherrell T. Martin

Saturday, November 21, 2015

When It Comes To Getting A New Client, When Is Enough, Enough?

Sometimes it seems relatively easy to get a new client in business. You meet, you chat, terms are agreed and away you go. Often, though, it's less straight-forward than that and there's an awful lot of wrangling goes on before everything's signed on the dotted line. It all takes a bit longer, but in a relatively short space of time you're actually getting rewarded for your efforts.

However, there's always the really, REALLY, tricky ones, the clients who seem to come and go via meetings and proposals and phones calls; the clients who never actually seem to become clients. You know the ones - you meet them, they say they're really interested and you invest a whole load of time trying to get the ideal package together. Then there's more meetings and more discussions and even more delays and then, suddenly, you realise it's three months later and you're still no nearer to signing them up.

I'm always in such a quandary with these. What to do for the best? Continue to invest time and effort which you're well-aware might never actually turn into any financial reward? Continue to take valuable time out of your day to yet again meet and discuss the same old proposal? Or do you admit defeat and walk away, with part of you relieved to not have to waste any more time going nowhere, but deep down always wondering whether you should have given it one last try?

I suppose the question I'm asking is when is enough, enough?

The clients who take the most effort to engage are usually the ones you regret taking on six weeks later when they're making increasingly unnecessary demands and generally making your life miserable. But, on the flip side, they're often the most lucrative. So just how much time should you invest trying to win them over?
In the four years I've been running Athena, I've still not managed to work it out. There's a voice inside me that tells me to walk away and admit defeat, but I hate giving up. And then there's another voice that's telling me that this could be the next big thing and think of the difference it could make to not only your bank balance but your business as a whole so why not give it just another week...

That's where I am now with a "client" who's been promising me work since October last year. Part of me realises that I'm probably chasing rainbows on this one and I really ought to realise that it's never going to happen. But then that little voice in my head just won't let me give up.

So next time they call to arrange a meeting, I really should tell them I'm not interested. I should, shouldn't I? But will I? Probably not!

I'll tell myself I'll DEFINITELY get them on board this time...

Although you never want to give up on securing a new client, sometimes you have to recognise that the amount of effort it takes is too high for the likely reward. Invest your time wisely in clients who will appreciate your commitment.

By Lisa Chilvers

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why Building a Business Feels Like Pushing a Boulder Uphill

Building your business is like pushing a boulder up hill. You start off at the bottom with bags of energy and the vision of reaching the lofty heights. Yes, you acknowledge it's going to take time and effort, but you're up for the challenge and raring to go.

With all that energy, it's usually quite easy at the start, plus the foothills are never that challenging, just a bit of a gentle rise to get you started. It's only when you're a couple of hours in that you start to feel the pinch. The slope's getting steeper, the temperature's rising and you're starting to feel tired.

Half way up is usually the place you stop to rest and what do you do? You look up at the path ahead and wince at the challenge still to come. It's steeper and rockier than before and the summit still seems a very long way off. It's often tempting to give in at this stage, particularly if the path you were following suddenly seems to end and you have to look for an alternative route to the top.

This is the time to look in the other direction. Instead of looking at how far you're still got to go, turn around. Take a look at how far you've come. Look at the distance you've already travelled and how distant the bottom of the hill seems. Basically, take a moment to admire the view. Have a drink, a bite to eat. Take a breather and congratulate yourself for how far you've already come and, thus refreshed, continue with the task of getting that boulder to the top.

The last few feet are always the hardest; that very last push to get to the summit. You're all hot and bothered, you're tired, hungry and thirsty and most of you are probably muttering obscenities under your breath along the lines of "whose stupid idea was it to start this whole charade anyway?"

This is when most people give up. They just don't have the strength of mind or body to give it that one last push. They forget all the time and effort they've invested to get this far and just say "Oh sod it" and give up.

This is when you have to draw on all your strength to put your back behind the boulder when you don't really feel like you've got anything left to give and make that one last giant effort. It's the ideal time to involve the efforts of others, to ask them to just give you a little helping hand to cover the last bit, to finally reach your goal and get where you want to be. And suddenly your there, at the top of the hill and trust me, the view is tremendous! It really does look like you've got the whole world at your feet and there's no other feeling like it. You suddenly remember why you started the whole journey in the first place and usually realise that the view is far better than you ever could have imagined.

So, what do you do now? Well, after the rise and the summit comes the plateau and, although pushing that boulder is easier than it was, it's still not a walk in the park and, as the view doesn't change very much, you start to lose heart again. The plateau is always tough - all that pushing and not really going anywhere. But it's important not to give up.

After the plateau comes the return and that's by far the best bit. Because after all that pushing and heaving, it only takes the tiniest of nudges to send that boulder over the edge. And boy, does it go, rolling faster and faster and gathering its own momentum and all you have to do is watch it whizz off into the distance.

Now, if you don't want the boulder to wipe out everything in its path, it's always a good idea to run after it, try to keep up and, if you can, keep it on track, because when it finally comes to rest, you need to be right there with it. And the journey is complete... Or so you'd think! But what else is there to do with the boulder but push it all the way up the hill again?

OK, so at this point in time, it's not top of your list, but after a bit of rest and reflection you feel up to the task. You've done it before, after all, and now you know that there's an easier path than the one you took before - you saw it on the first way up, but couldn't get to it. This time you can start from a different place and try that other path. It might not work, but who knows, it might be the best thing you ever did.

You know the lie of the land, you know where it gets tough, you know where you're going to have to ask for help, you know roughly where the boulder will land when it gets back to the bottom. So what's to stop you giving it another go, just for the hell of it? Why? Because you can!

And, after you've climbed this hill a dozen times, learnt the best way to the top and found it's not challenging enough anymore, go off and find a mountain and start all over again.

Before you know it you'll be on top of the world. And the view? It'll be awesome!

Keep pushing those boulders.

Building a new business, or growing an existing one can be tough. It often feels like a constant uphill struggle. But if you keep pushing, you'll get to the top and you'll be so very glad you put in all that hard work at the beginning

By Lisa Chilvers

Saturday, November 14, 2015

7 Step Revenue Planning and How to Ensure Profitability

A few years ago I was at a closed door meeting of business owners. We had gotten together to share information and work on our businesses.

One of the members had just crossed the $500,000 mark in her business. She was understandably psyched and we were for her.

Later, after dinner, we were talking and I asked her what her profit was (cheeky I know).

Her net was under $50,000. On $500,000 in revenue. And she paid herself a salary of $60,000 so it wasn't that she moved $300,000 to her personal savings.

Thinking back on it, my mouth must have dropped. I hope it didn't, but don't see how it didn't.

She then asked my net and her mouth did drop. While hers was under 10% of revenue, mine was closer to 35%.

We talked late into the night about revenue, expenses, profit, taxes, retention and much more.

The next day she hired me. Flash forward 12 months and her revenue was a little under $550,000 and her profit was just over 20%.

When it comes to small businesses, "profit" often seems to be "that thing we never speak about", a secret to remain hidden, often shamefully, brought out from under the bed only during tax season.

What if your profit was public?

Would you be proud? Embarrassed?

What if you were to plan for your profit first?

Years ago I gave away a revenue planning template. One where you actually plan what your profit is rather than "just let it happen". (Hint: It almost never "just happens".)

7 Step Revenue Planning

The planning template was simple and all about reverse engineering your revenue:

1. List all your known expenses, including your salary
2. Add in your desired profit
3. Total them
4. Multiply the total by 10-15% for unknown expenses
5. Add Numbers 3 and 4 together
6. Multiply the new total (#5) by 30% or your tax percentage if known
7. Add Numbers 5 and 6 together. This is your revenue goal

The above works for planning, but what about day-to-day reality?

Day-to-day is simple although it requires a little more discipline to continuously follow the process - that said, if you do, you'll be thrilled with the results.

Ready?

For every dollar of revenue that comes in, give it a home.

1. X% to your Profit
2. Y% to your "Salary"
3. Z% to your Taxes

The remainder is what's left for your expenses.

Depending on your preferences (and whether or not you can keep your fingers out of the other pots), you may wish to set up separate accounts to "house" these sums or simply move it within your bookkeeping file.

Personally I keep separate accounts (out of sight, out of mind).

Following this process:

• ensures that your business is profitable,
• ensures that you get paid,
• ensures that your taxes are paid and
• ensures that you don't spend more than your business makes.

Don't worry about what's happened in the past. Choose today to move forward. The above will help you do that even if you start small and increase over time as you reduce your expenses and, if necessary, pay down debt.

Questions? Hit reply and let me know, I'm happy to answer them.

And, if you're ready to work together on your business, you'll love our "Keep It Simple" Non-program Program designed for the business owner who is looking for a trusted partner to run things by, brainstorm with, get advice when things come up and yet doesn't necessarily need a set schedule of calls.

* Note that, on a personal level, I used to pay for pet insurance each month. Then I applied this same concept and created a savings account just for that - now the funds come out automatically each month and are available when I need them without the feeling of "throwing money away" when the insurance company would deny claims.

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

By Sandra Martini

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Does Your Business Have Gaps or Weak Spots?

Picture this; Molly is a vibrant business coach who has enjoyed a reign of success in her coaching business for many years. She could do her job on auto-pilot, and most days, that's exactly what she does. She enjoys the income and freedom her professional success allows, and happily spends her days "doing what she's always done."

Eventually, however, she starts to notice a big drop in both clients and sales. While she is stumped about the reason for the sudden drop, she does nothing to correct the problem and opts for a non-proactive "let's just wait and see" attitude. It doesn't take long before Molly's once successful coaching business is in dire straits.

It's natural for our businesses and our client's businesses to morph and change over time; so when we are busy "doing what we've always been doing," we often miss the boat and fail to see opportunities and trends that will help our businesses continue to grow in a positive manner rather than getting stuck, stale and off track. Business professionals who are in a position of complacency tend to take the biggest hit when changes in life or economy occur. All entrepreneurs and business owners need to continually adapt, evolve, and re-evaluate. Roll with the punches, so to speak. They need to adjust, regroup and grow... or get left in the dust.

It's natural for businesses to morph and change over time. They need to adjust, regroup and grow, or get left in the dust.

Molly's main issue was that she started taking her once loyal client base for granted and ignored the need for change in her professional life and business. After years of coaching one-on-one from behind a computer screen, and never really making the effort to network or become visible in the social media world, or support her business by attending offline events relevant to her target market or industry, she found herself becoming invisible; lost in the noise and hustle of coaches who offer similar services. The difference was that her competitors were the ones willing to be seen and heard online, as well as hustle and engage face-to-face with potential new clients. Molly had become as elusive as Bigfoot. Her clients knew she was "out there somewhere," but the sightings were few and far between. Soon her clients succumbed to the lure of something bigger and better... elsewhere.

Does Your Coaching Business Have Gaps?

Not unlike Molly's, most businesses have "gaps." Gaps are the areas or weak spots in your overall business plan for success that have been overlooked or neglected. Maybe your "gap" is a lack of social media presence and powerful relationships with your clients, or like in Molly's case, both social media and the opportunity to actually be seen and physically accessible not only to potential new clients, but to her existing ones. The lesson to be learned here is; when you have gaps of any kind in your business, you are opening a door and making it easy for the competition to slide right on in.

So, what are the gaps, or loopholes, in your brand or business? Is there room for improvement? Are there things you could be doing to excite your clients and solidify relationships? Now is the time to identify your gaps and what you need to do to change with the times. If your "gaps" are areas caused by limited time and knowledge to effectively maintain and grow your business, take the necessary steps to get the help you need to close up those loopholes ASAP.

There are times when we all have to take a step back and take stock of what we are doing and where our businesses are going (or not going). Sometimes life events force us to change quickly, while some changes are more gradual. Some changes are good, some are bad. But in the long run, change should always challenge us and make us take a closer look at our businesses in a new light.

Where are the "gaps" in your business; and what can you do to close them?

Terry L. Green, President of BizEase Support Solutions, and her team of qualified online support specialists, provide seamless online marketing implementation, technology and administrative support solutions to speakers and business coaches worldwide. Visit http://www.bizeasesupport.com to find out how partnering with BizEase can help you grow your business, have more time, and make more money.

By Terry Green

Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Five Rules In Beating The Odds For Success In Business

Robert Burns said it eloquently "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry". Business is more than just being smart but lucky as well. However skills and planning can definitely help in making the odds more in your favor. The most important part is that it takes money to make money. Unless you're independently wealthy, then start-up and working capital is a must. If you begin a business venture with not enough capital taking a shot you're doomed from the start.

Where ever you do receive capital from most times they need to be paid back. Generally that payment is incorporated into your operating costs, which uses revenues and percentages to show profit. Make sure your estimated monthly sales are as accurate as possible, and I would suggest reducing them by ten to twenty percent. This way you'll know in slower times that at least the fixed expenses will be covered. Here's a hypothetical example, you open a restaurant in a great location, and two weeks later the city starts doing road work making the street none accessible for like a month or two. Very little business comes in but you're on the hook for expenses regardless. If you don't in advance ensure enough working capital, and overestimate sales then you be out of business in a heartbeat. Rule number one in beating the odds, be aware of your business financials!

I've honestly met the worst business people in the world, unorganized, not focused, lazy, terrible with numbers, and extremely successful, how does that happen? Most know inside they're not the sharpest pencils in the box, so they counter that with hiring exceptional people to make them look good. As a result through the staff's hard work in spite of the owner's defiance's the business grows. Rule number two in beating the odds, hire those who might be more skilled than you in certain areas, and most important let them fly!

Make sure the product or service is competitive within your market place. In today's world with the economy so poor more people are purchasing on price than quality. It is vital that you study your demographic, the competitions pricing prior to making a business investment. Rule number three in beating the odds, the money is made in the buying not the selling!

Set a budget for marketing and advertising building a loyal customer base, and make a plan of action that will entice people to check-out your products or services. In developing a brand one must figure-out what will make them stick-out with customers feeling they need to be there. Rule number four in beating the odds, set a better mouse trap!

My final one is never put yourself in personal financial jeopardy when going into business. Make sure to incorporate your business so you're not personally liable if things should go south. Going bankrupt with an incorporation allows you to walk away not in a moral way, but a business one on clear and free. If you sign personally have no choice but to go bankrupt they'll take everything cars, house, any personal asset of value. Rule number five in beating the odds, always cover your butt!

Is using the five rules above going to guarantee your success definitely not! There are too many variables in a business situation, but having a calculated risk will help you make the odds more in your favor. Just keep in mind business is 50% skill and 50% luck, are you willing to play those odds?

By Arnold Nadler

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Starting a Business - How to Get to the Business Plan and Why?

OK, it's time to start your own business - way to go! It's a big decision working for someone else who takes care of everything; accounting, payroll, taxes, inventory, and most likely, a huge bunch of other departments and responsibilities necessary to control their own company. But, running your own business has its benefits, as well.

Now, I must mention, please keep in mind, one can be fully fulfilled and inspired while having the job of their dreams also. It all comes down to attitude and personal motivation. If you are working in a field that you are fully inspired by, congrats and be sure to appreciate it as going your own way also has its risks. But, having said that:

The main train of thought is you are your own boss, work the hours you choose and which days to work, and, unfortunately or fortunately, you are purely responsible for the entire success. It's a wonderful way to release yourself from the rat race of 9-5, if you choose, as well as being involved in doing what you love, what you might have a passion for, but you have to begin by asking just a few things:

1. Do you love what you are doing or is it something you are good at? A dream of escaping the normal way the world works can be very inspiring to work for yourself, but you must be motivated to work every morning to do what you have chosen to do for a living.

2. What is it that you believe you would like to do? What interests, area or industry is it going to be? Do you believe there is a market for what you can provide? Have you thought whether the area can handle another entry?

3. Do you have the talent or technical skills required? Just because you feel you are able to do a skill that you consider special, it could possibly not be a strong item to convince customers or investors that it is a valuable purchase or a strong financial investment.

4. What, where and who are the competitors in this area and what separates you from the rest? Why should investors or potential prospect customers choose you? What differentiates you from what everyone else does?

OK, When you're finally satisfied that your answers to these questions are solid, it's decision time, of what business structure works best for you. Is it a sole proprietor, responsible for every area and the entire authority to run the business? Will you have a partner, share the cost, workload and responsibility but also the ideas, profits and every business decision from the get go? Or maybe your decision is to incorporate, including all the financial safety's and securities but way more involved, complex and a costly structure?

This is when you must seek legal advice! Seriously, it is strongly recommended, mainly because it is for you to completely understand all the advantages, disadvantages and to be sue the setup is proper and that you are fully aware of your chosen structuring plan. Most attorneys will offer a complimentary or a discounted-rate initial consultation. Once the decision and plan is decided, a formal name for your new company should be chosen. Make sure it is easy to remember - be sure to not use initials or single letters (A & B & C Limited could be challenging to remember for clients or associates). Also, make it say something about what the business does or what it offers ("Joe's Shoe Specialists" is much easier to spell and remember).

Now comes the real sweat equity work, a business plan. This is the real beginning of your baby, it is the most important part in creating all these topics and proposals in a modernized and easy to follow format; fancy designs do not help your future baby succeed. A strong business plan acts as a formal statement for the financing needs and plans, goals, overall structure and all the initial legal considerations. Think of this as a corporate "resume" to potential lenders or investors and is the main documentation that will be used to calculate if your business could be a worthwhile investment. It also offers the proprietor(s) a opportunity to evaluate and see the operational details of your new company on paper.

A basic business plan should contain a balance sheet, income statement (also known as a Profit & Loss) and a statement of cash flow. Adding in a proposed financial budget for the first year, or as long a period as necessary if a year is impractical is a highly recommended course of action also. There are many formats and structures for business plans and many templates are available online or through formal providers who can assist or guide you along the way.

If you follow these quick tips, and the outcome looks promising you might be able to plan for success. Just remember, as much as this dance of being your own boss and owning your own company sounds exciting and positive, always remember, it will take work and dedication. Not only will you need a strong commitment but it will also serve you well to have a support community around you. Your family and friends can be a huge part of your success. So be sure to evaluate who you have around you and how to involve them and motivate them to join your team and become cheerleaders.

Also, as mentioned earlier, be sure to not discount employment for a solid company that offers future potential and is in the area or industry that fulfills you and connects with your beliefs and passion.

Satisfaction starts with an attitude and a responsibility of commitment to being your best you can be, what ever situation you find yourself in.

I want to wish you good luck in your potential and new professional endeavour, for yourself or as a new redefined employee!

Thanks for reading my article. I am committed to creating a motivated and dynamic life for young and old. I hope this has added value and I ask you to please checkout my website at http://www.GrantOkane.com. I love inspiring people and look forward to speaking with you in the future and hearing about your successes.

By Grant OKane