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

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

4 Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail To Grow

Running a small business requires superior problem- solving and an ability to look at the bigger picture. Aside from ensuring that your business turns a profit on a regular basis, you also need to be concerned with your own financial health over the long-term. That includes having a strategy in place for building wealth, so you can enjoy a comfortable retirement once the time comes to hand over the reins of your business to someone else. As an entrepreneur, there are certain hurdles you should be prepared for that can hinder your ability to create wealth. (For a detailed rundown, see? Investigator's tutorial Starting a Small Business.) Here are four important challenges small business owners face.

1. Too Much Business Debt

Getting a small business off the ground typically requires a certain amount of cash. Taking out a term loan from a bank or a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan may be the answer, if you don't have sizable savings you can tap into. With a 7 SBA loan, for example, it's possible to borrow up to $5 million to establish a new business.

Even if you don't need a loan to get started, that doesn't mean your business will - or should remain debt-free. For instance, you may decide to open a business credit card to earn rewards on day-to-day expenses or take a merchant cash advance to help cover your cash flow during slower periods. Or you may want to borrow to expand, especially if the business is doing well. While credit cards, advances and loans can be invaluable to keeping the business running, their convenience comes at a cost.

If a substantial part of your business' revenue is going toward repaying its debts, that leaves less income to devote to growth. It also leaves you, as the business owner, less money to funnel into a solo 401(k), SEP IRA or similar qualified retirement plan to ensure your own future. While the interest on a small business loan, the payments themselves are not. Paying down your business debts allows you to redirect funds toward your retirement or a taxable brokerage account instead.

2. An Inefficient Tax Strategy

As a small business owner, filing and paying taxes may be one of the most unpleasant tasks on your to-do list, but it's a necessity. If you're not taking advantage of every available tax break, your wealth without even realizing it. There are a number of tax credits deductions that you can claim on your business or personal tax return? An expense must be deemed both ordinary and necessary. This means the expense must be something that's commonly associated with the type of business you own and directly connected to its operation.

When you don't take the time to maximize every possible tax advantage, the result is an overly large tax payment. Hiring an accountant to manage your filing may increase your business expenses slightly, but it can also help to minimize your tax liability. In terms of building wealth, the long-term benefit can easily outweigh the cost.

3. Lack of Diversification

Being a business owner requires a certain amount of juggling, and you simply may not have time to pay as much attention to your investments as you'd like. The size of your assets affects your overall financial standing, including how banks see you, especially if you're a sole proprietor. Investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, eliminates the hassle of trying to put together a well-rounded portfolio, but it can be problematic if the funds you're purchasing hold the same underlying securities.

Business owners can also run into issues if they're not rebalancing periodically. This is vital to ensure that you're maintaining the right asset allocation, based on your investment goals and risk tolerance. If you don't rebalance regularly, you could end up with a portfolio that's either too aggressive or too conservative. At one end of the scale, you run the risk of losing money by gambling too heavily on stocks. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you risk limiting your earnings potential if you're playing it safe with an abundance of bonds. Either way you're putting your future returns in jeopardy by not paying attention to the level of diversification in your portfolio.

4. External Risks

Aside from managing market risk, you also need to be cautious about insulating yourself and your business from threats that may arise in other areas. For instance, what would happen to the business if you were to become ill and could no longer oversee its operation? How would your business and personal assets be protected if your business became the target of a lawsuit? What would you do if your business was damaged by a hurricane or other natural disaster?

These are the kinds of questions small business owners must consider, because although such scenarios may seem unlikely, they can have a substantial impact on how you grow wealth. Choosing the appropriate business structure is an important step in minimizing liability, but you should also be proactive in reviewing your business and personal insurance coverage to ensure that you're protected against every possibility.

Want to know the four reasons why small business fails to grow? Visit: http://www.selfhelp.info

By Joseph Obaigbavbiere

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Small Business: It's All About Relationships

As the world of business becomes more complex, a small-business owner can no longer be an expert in all of the specialized disciplines a small business needs. Despite the fact that small-business owners must necessarily focus on producing and managing enough cash flow and on getting customers in the door, it is also critically important for them to cultivate and nurture relationships with a support team. This group includes:

Employees

A banker

An accountant/tax specialist

A lawyer

An insurance broker

A sales and marketing professional

Employees

Although thinking in terms of a "relationship" with employees might seem a little odd for a business owner, that relationship could be the most important of all of the relationships for the owner to cultivate. Because good employees represent a major resource in a small business, the time and effort the owner invests in nurturing that relationship has a huge return on investment. Employees who feel seen, respected and appreciated almost always produce more than anticipated.

Employees represent - in fact they are - the company to the customers. The business relationship with customers largely depends upon their experience and interaction with the employees. Happy employees tend to want to satisfy the customers, want to do a good job and want to stay in the job. This is important to the continuity of high-quality customer service and avoids the significant expense of employee turnover, employee retraining and the expensive but inevitable "rookie mistakes" of new, inexperienced employees. In addition, having trusted, long-term employees can free up the owner to handle off-site duties as needed. Establishing a retirement plan can benefit you and your employees.

A Banker

A banking relationship is an obvious need, not only for routine business banking, but particularly when capital is needed to grow, increase inventory, buy a building, bridge a short-term gap between payable and receivables or to address the seasonality of the cash flow in the business. The banker that an owner goes to for a loan should know the business owner, understand the history of the business and have an understanding of the owner's judgment and credibility regarding the use and payback prospects for a loan. If the long-term relationship is there, or it is at least in the process of being built, the loan request has a much better chance of being approved. If the business has borrowed and repaid loans in the past, the established track record and relationship greatly enhance the approval prospects. (Loan protection insurance can help in the event of financial difficulty.)

Accountant or Tax Specialist

A relationship with an accountant is equally important if the business owner is to be confident in the quality, clarity, timeliness and understanding of the financial reporting provided. A relationship with an accountant can also enhance the business's credibility with a banker when the business is seeking additional capital.

Many small businesses combine the accountant and tax-specialist functions in one outside entity for convenience, time-saving and cost reasons. This is fine if the accountant has the requisite tax experience for the industry and the tax expertise for the specific business it serves.

Lawyer

Every business owner should have a relationship with a business lawyer, liability attorney or legal firm. When an owner invests money and effort in building a business, it must be safeguarded from loss as a result of a lawsuit.

Insurance Broker

As part of business risk management, the business also should have a relationship with and the trusted advice of an insurance broker who will provide the optimal coverage in the relevant areas within the constraints of the business budget.

Marketing Professional

Depending on the owner's sales and marketing expertise, a relationship with a marketing professional is highly advised. Most small businesses start with an entrepreneur who has a specific technical skill, a trade certification or has built up a following of customers for good work done.

Small Business: It's All About Relationships

  Visit: http://www.selfhelp.info

By Joseph Obaigbavbiere

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Leverage: 4 Ways To Get More With Less Effort

In simple terms, leverage means using resources to maximum advantage. In business, these resources include your time, effort, money, knowledge and people. With leverage, you increase your ability to do more with less - building profit along the way.

You work smarter, not harder. You get more sales at lower costs. And increase profit through efficiency. Your people work together and enjoy the relationships that come from teamwork. You deliver what you promise so customers keep coming back.

It's a win-win for you, your people and your customers. Here are 4 ways to leverage your business.

Time | Focus on What Matters

How much time do you spend on activities that create value? By value, I mean tasks that directly produce sales, grow profit, improve service and delivery or help others do these things.

Take some time to analyze how you spend your time. Then focus on the critical tasks while eliminating, delegating or outsourcing others.

Here are a few things that will help you do this:


  • * Have goals and an action plan. Without goals, everything seems important.


  • * Tap into technology. Your calendar and to-do list are as close as your phone.


  • * Schedule time beyond meetings. Important tasks should be scheduled too.


  • * Turn off distractions. Your phone, email and people. Interruptions are time killers.

  • Sales | More Customers With Less Effort

    When it comes to maximizing revenue, your marketing and sales channels can go a long way toward improving this area.

    Good marketing with clear messages and targets can help you attract quality prospects. Why chase after the wrong people and waste a lot of time trying to convert them? Combine this with a great sales management system - and you get more customers with a lot less effort.

    Next, think about sales channels. You can personally sell to individual prospects in a traditional one-to-one manner. You can grow exponentially faster by selling online, but this model doesn't work for all businesses. So why not build a network of people who sell to the same people you do. Then let them do the work and pay them a fee for the sales they generate. You both win. Again, you get a lot more sales with a lot less effort.

    People | Help Them Be the Best They Can Be

    Your people may be your most valuable asset, but only if you leverage their skills and capabilities.

    It starts when you hire and bring them on board. Invest the time to find the right people to join your company - even when you feel rushed to get someone in there. But even the most skilled individuals need time to learn and understand YOUR business. Orientation and training are critical to getting them off the ground running and contributing. Especially today, new hires want to feel that they are making a difference or they won't stick around.

    If you have low employee turnover and long-tenured team members, hiring may not be a priority. But you should still look for ways to leverage your people. Are you maximizing their skills and providing new challenges and opportunities?

    As your business grows and technology changes, job responsibilities will also change. When was the last time you looked at your organization structure, positions, and job descriptions? Are they still relevant? Do your people have the skills and knowledge to take on additional or different work? This is an area often overlooked. But it can improve workflow processes and keep your team engaged and challenged.

    Effort | It's All About Systems

    Regardless of industry, every business has key processes to develop products and services, build demand, satisfy demand and manage the business. These include common functions such as marketing, sales, customer service, manufacturing, shipping, service delivery, technology, human resources, finance and strategic planning.

    A lot of tasks! But the more efficiently you operate, the more profitable you become. You can leverage all areas of the business when you ask the right questions, focus on continuous improvement and take advantage of technology and people. You can take it a step further when you look for others/partners to help you grow without doing the work!

    When you master the leverage game, you get more of what you want with a lot less effort. Pick one of the areas above to focus on and get started.

    Leverage Your Business With Systems

    If you are serious about creating leverage with systems, visit my website and check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.

    By Joan Nowak

    Joan Nowak is a business coach, consultant, and trainer. With an emphasis on results, she helps small/medium size businesses build profit through leverage - marketing, sales, operations, systems and people. To learn more or schedule a complimentary consultation, visit my website https://HybridBizAdvisors.com

    Friday, November 16, 2018

    Running A Business Is Like Playing Tetris

    Have you ever played Tetris? It's that game from the 1980s that requires you to strategically rotate, move, and drop geometric shapes that fall into a game board. These shapes build up on the board, and the only way to clear them out is by making horizontal rows of blocks without empty space.

    It can be a pretty difficult game! In fact, the more you play, the more difficult the game becomes. The shapes drop faster and faster, and the possibilities of making lines disappear becomes nearly impossible. You may place a shape in the wrong place and- bam! Your game board is a mess. You're in a situation that seems hopeless.

    Employers can find themselves with that same hopeless feeling when dealing with business paperwork that keeps piling up. The complications of having employees means keeping up with dozens of state and federal employment regulations and precise payroll management - just to name a few.

    If you're not on top of these back office tasks, you 'll quickly find yourself overwhelmed. And unlike Tetris when the burden of the building blocks allow you to hit the restart button- there's no mercy given for late tax payments, inaccurate reporting - or a poor hiring decision.

    When you own a company that specializes in a trade- painting, drywall, trucking, or anything else- you are prepared for the possible issues that come up with that trade. You can probably find a way to fix your machines, arrange schedules, or even clean up a job site if you have to. But you're probably completely unprepared for the requirements of tax filings and other issues that come with running your business. Things like new hire reporting, overtime, wage garnishments, and child support.

    And once you get behind or make a mistake, those issues- just like the Tetris blocks- just keep dropping. Pretty soon, you're paying hefty penalties to the IRS and probably losing some sleep.
    How would you like those blocks to stop dropping so you can focus on running your business?

    Thankfully, a solution for employers comes in the form of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), also known as an Employee Leasing Company.

    These providers allow you to outsource payroll administration, access great employee benefits and big discounts on workers' compensation insurance. When these HR tasks are on someone else's shoulders,you gain the freedom to work on sales, service and growth for your business. Productivity across all operations seems to soar.

    Other benefits Employee Leasing Services provide:


  •  Workers' Compensation Claims Administration



  •  Family and Medical Leave Act Administration



  •  Risk Management



  •  Direct Deposit/ Check Printing



  •  Complete HR Administration, including safety and regulatory compliance



  •  401(k) Savings Plans



  •  Drug Testing


  • When you're ready to find out how HR outsourcing services can benefit your business, consider using a PEO broker to find your best solution. PEOs are all different, and offer a variety of benefits and services. Their pricing can differ dramatically. A broker will work with you to understand your company's specific needs, to access the perfect fit for you business.

    By Mike Burgelin

    Monday, November 12, 2018

    Top 3 Reasons Small Businesses Fail At Marketing

    I often speak to groups of small business owners and I keep hearing the same comment over and over again with many of them saying that marketers don't matter or marketing doesn't matter anymore.

    There are many reasons I've heard as to why marketing doesn't matter: "all my business comes by referral," "I never spent money on marketing and my business grew," "marketing is a waste of money," "I see no value in marketing," "marketing is all luck so why spend money on it," and so on.

    Oh, how they are so very wrong! Below are the top 3 reasons why:

    1. Their definition of marketing is wrong

    When business owners tell me that marketing doesn't matter, they usually have a totally different understanding of what marketing is than those who recognise how marketing contributes to business goals where it enables you to charge the most money you can for your services and products.

    Marketing is first about spending time building a solid foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting sales. Until the business finds a way to change the context of how their ideal customer views what they do, and then becomes become the obvious choice provider, they'll find that their marketing efforts never seem to build momentum or gain any return on investment.

    You must be able to enter the conversation taking place in the head of your customers. Or, to look at it in a different way, to be able to address the number one question on your customer's mind at exactly the right time.

    So, how do you do this? The conversation that is taking place in every prospective customer's mind revolves around two major points. There is a problem they have, and that they don't want... and there is a result that they want, and they don't have.

    Those who often misunderstand marketing believe that it is only about advertising campaigns, brochures, flyers, website, email marketing, SEO, tradeshows, social media, copy, etc. These are the tactics - the way you implement your marketing. I'd argue that marketing is essentially the core of business strategy because it is about understanding the current customer, tapping into their fears, their goals and their aspirations and then creating products and services that the ideal customer is willing to buy from a brand they now they know, like and trust.

    2. They believe either they or their co-worker can do it

    Sometimes in the "do it all yourself" world of small business (or even big business when it comes to it), it's difficult to identify the areas that require outside help. A business may be able to set up their newsletter, add plugins to WordPress, write a Facebook or LinkedIn post, and clumsily create header graphics, but you need somebody who is trained, practiced, and skilled at looking strategically and holistically at the marketplace, understanding the customer, and then creating unique opportunities based on this understanding.

    Just think about it for a minute; just because you have a calculator and excel does that mean you are an accountant? If you have a ruler, pencil and have watched some episodes of Grand Designs - does that make you an architect? If you post regularly to your friends on Facebook and Instagram - does that mean you are a social media expert?

    So why do small businesses believe that by buying a Mac and some software they will become a designer, marketer and communications expert?

    It needs to be led by a strategic marketer who can then develop an integrated marketing approach. Can you or your co-worker do this? In some cases, you can. But those who can are most likely to either come from marketing or consulting backgrounds where they have transferable skills and experience defining AND delivering against a growth strategy.

    If you are a small business, you need somebody who will have a very solid, process, streamlined, consistent, repeatable approach. First, they will research and learn about your company in great depth, the dynamics of the marketplace and identify shifts, trends, and changes. From there, the strategic marketer will be able to present the different elements of your marketing plan in logical order of how you should construct them, update them, or revise them; and identify the key areas you should be focusing on - be it generating leads, converting leads, increasing transactions right down to changing prices.

    3. They hire the wrong marketing help

    There is a huge misunderstanding around marketing strategy, marketing tactics, and marketing execution.

    There is a difference between being strategically capable, creatively capable and executionally capable.

    Small business owners don't hire a strategic marketing coach/firm to develop creative graphics and headers; nor should you hire an advertising/graphic design agency to handle marketing strategy. A small business doesn't need to hire a consultant or a firm who is a strong marketing executor when their biggest need is a strategy for sustainable growth. You may get more attention, but not the best results.

    I hope this has helped you, but if you need some help to get effective marketing into your business, you can schedule a FREE marketing strategy meeting with me to ramp up your results and start attracting all the clients and customers you want in 2018 or take a look at my website http://www.vervebusinessacademy.com

    By Rachel Foord

    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    6 Simple Rules To Getting The Competitive Spirit On The Right Track

    Being a formidable player in the corporate world is no easy task. You have to be ready to tackle competition all the time. Here are six simple rules to beat them at their own game.

     *  Market research comes in handy to get to know what people want; it also helps to understand what people expect from the competition. Understanding this in totality helps down the line as you build a brand from the get. 

    *  Up the ante in the value stakes of the product or service that is on offer. This is bound to reap huge rewards for an upcoming and even an established brand. The target and client base will notice these tweaks and be appreciative as you laugh your way to the bank. You also gain an edge over the competition.

    *  Establish a rapport with the customer base and keep in touch with them throughout the journey. The idea here is not to spam them with constant drivel, but to keep them abreast of new developments, discounts, and encourage them to opt for early bird offers. It helps a great deal as you beat them through simple marketing methods.

    *  An exciting promo never lost out in the campaign stakes. Use the online medium to generate hype as you build up a tempo with everyone interested in knowing what is trending and doing the rounds. Keep on with the momentum and once this gets to be a talking point, launch the product/service. The idea is to formulate the right time and then go for the kill, so to speak. 

    *  Quality is another most intelligent way to get ahead in the game. Testing the service or product needs to be the foremost objective before the launch. It establishes a credible angle and does not allow competition to sneak in with maneuvers and gain because of losing focus.

    *  Never give up or give into negative chatter is one of the best pointers of all time. Most of us fight shy of getting ahead in the game primarily because of robust players in the market. However, that does not mean that you cannot do your bit and edge ahead in the game of competitive business sport.

    Simply Put....

    Being competitive is an exhausting experience but something that is expected to be a part of the business world. To get ahead in the game of barter entails that you are ten steps ahead of the competition so that profits are on the charts, not losses.

    Sometimes you just have to give it your all or give up entirely when you want to make a pitch. Competition can get tricky, but that does not mean that it is the end of the road. Keeping on at it, will win you brownie points down the line.

    By Yasmin Andrea Imam

    Thursday, November 1, 2018

    Make Up Your Own Rules In Biz

    There are many tried and true strategies and systems out there for growing a wildly successful business. However, use them only as guidelines, and make up your own rules to the business game.

    Here are the top 4 reasons why you've got to ditch your preconceived notions of how to attract loads of clients and do it YOUR way.

    1.  You know what's best for you, not somebody else.

    When you're calm and tuned in to your heart, you're definitely your own best authority. Now, if you're emotionally sideways or in the thick of a heavy issue, don't make any earth-shattering decisions. When you come back to a neutral place, you'll see more clearly and take actions that will serve you. You may listen to all the outside advice you'd like, but in the end, you have to make the choice that feels best to you.
    1. Things go quicker, easier, and cost less.
    When you look at the standard process for creating something in your business, you may accept it for the way it is. But what's possible when you create a new standard? If Eva Gregory and I had listened to Chicken Soup for the Soul's process for book publishing, we would've taken forever to write our book for them.

    They said it would take about 1.5 years. We said we knew it could take less. When we finally got the green light, the process took less than a year. The actual writing took three months. Easier than I'd ever imagined!

    Another example is the purchase of my first house. I had no realtor and neither did the seller, who was out of communication in rehab. I had no prior experience in real estate. I took the sale on as a learning seminar.

    When I finally went in to sign the escrow papers, they couldn't believe how I'd completed the process by myself. (I found myself some loopholes.) Lots of people helped me, but my newbie spirit looked at everything as possible rather than as an obstacle.
    1. Be a pioneer! If your mind can think it, you can create it.
    If people settled for what was in front of them, nothing new would ever be created or invented. Sure, other people might tell you that you're nuts when you think outside of their box. So what! They'll try to convince you that your idea or way of thinking is impossible or illogical. If you have the vision, I promise it's a worthy cause to pursue.

    Do you see something that can be improved upon in the world? Take action! Sure, the big dogs might already have a team working on it. But as history will show, newbies can and do prevail. Google took on Yahoo and MSN with some pretty sweet results.
    1. Current rules and choices may not fit you. Create a new choice for yourself.
    When options a, b, and c don't feel good, you've got to create choice d and maybe an e, f, and g. The best perspectives happen when you start looking for new combinations of the available elements.

    Let's say you want to take some friends out for a special dinner. The two restaurants you had in mind are both booked solid for that evening. Don't settle for something less.

    If you knew you were going to get the ideal food, service, and atmosphere at those two restaurants, how would you handle this situation? You might get an idea to call back the restaurants with some wild pitch for them to let you in. If you were grounded, you possibly might get a yes. You also might talk to some friends to get new ideas. But you definitely wouldn't let this minor setback throw you off.

    The rules in the U.S. used to make it difficult to travel in Cuba. (Maybe they still do!) Do people find ways of doing it? Yes! And many of them are legal! You can always find a choice that meets all of your criteria. Stay in possibility and you will find your perfect solution.
    When you're truly following your heart, you'll always make decisions that are in your highest good, as well as the good of others.

    By Jeanna Gabellini

    Jeanna Gabellini is a Master Business Coach who assists high achieving entrepreneurs, corporate leaders & their teams to leverage fun, systems and intentionality for high-octane results. An entrepreneur for 25 years she has a treasure trove of kick-butt tools to give you peace & profits. Get your complimentary audio "Transforming from Chaotic Entrepreneur to Conscious Leader" here: https://masterpeacecoaching.com/resources/free-cd2