Super Seventies RockSite's Infobank - 'just the facts, ma'am'    Share this site - Email/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest


OnlineDegree.Degree - Scholarships And Student Grants Finder

Small Business

videos bullet icon  Small Business Videos

How To Get About Starting A Small Business

People toy with the idea of starting a small business at various stages of
their lifes. Some think of starting a small business after their educational
career is over. Some think of starting a small business because of unpleasant
or unhappy situations they have encountered in their work places. There are
also others who think of starting a small business, because that is the only
way they will be able to work again following a break from work for reasons
such as health or redundancy.

Toying with the idea is one thing, but if you are taking positive steps to get
started, then certain myths associated with starting and running a small
business should be dispelled from your mind.

1. Starting a small business might appear to be an easy option to many who are
desperate to get out of a situation but running a business is not as easy as it
appears to be.

2. The general impression created in the minds of many people is that you can
make a lot of money by running a small business. A few people do make a lot of
money by running a small business. On the other hand there are many people who
loose a lot of money unfortunately due to lack of proper research and planning.

3. Another myth is that you are the Boss, so you can work when you want, relax
when you want and go on holidays when you want. You are the Boss that is all to
it. The rest simply does not happen because of other factors that come into play
which will need your presence and attention most of the time.

One major blunder made by many small business entrepreneurs is that they never
made any self assessment before starting. It is absolutely important that you
do a self assessment to find out whether you possess the following qualities
and capabilities that are necessary to operate a successful small business.

1. You must be of sound health.

2. You should be able to work on your own most of the time.

3. You should be self motivated and dedicated.

4. You should possess an outgoing personality and have the ability to get along
   with other people.

5. You should have the ability to work under pressure.

6. You should preferably have some knowledge about your business.

7. Failure is no option to you.

In addition to the above the following factors have a very important and
significant impact in the success of your small business.

A good support system such as your spouse or members of your family.

Contacts in the business world who could help you with advice and help you
promote your small business.

Good financial assets to help you start and develop your small business and
sustain you during the early months.

Conclusion:

Since they are popularly known as small businesses, many would be entrepreneurs
are under the impression that it could be run in a slip shod manner. Most of the
inputs necessary to operate a large business successfuly are also necessary in
the small business venture too.

Success does not come overnight. There could be disappointments and failures
during the early months.Those who cannot withstand these pressures should not
contemplate starting a small business.The ability to withstand all these
pressures and remain motivated is absolutely necessary to succeed.

Tips on Starting A Small Business

Small businesses have many challenges to stay afloat. Many budding
entrepreneurs think that all they need is an idea or product, a name for their
small business, and a bit of work and the product will sell itself and money
will come rolling in. If you have ever run a small business -- even a home
based business -- you will know there's much more to it than that!

The first thing you, as a potential small business owner must always do, is
research your market. Then research your competition, then the available supply
for your product or service, and find your unique selling position. This alone
can take weeks often months.

Once you are satisfied that there is a market for your product or service then
you need to sort out your business plan and cash flow projections.

Small businesses may appear low cost but many suck up substantial capital
before they turn a profit so now, unless you are very fortunate, you must sort
out how to finance your small business. Do you remortgage your house? look for
investment partners? borrow from friends or family? or approach the bank?
Whichever you choose you need to convince others that your small business will
be profitable and they will get a return on their money.

Once finances are in place the hard work starts. You may have premises to
arrange, suppliers to sort out, staff to recruit and mangage, accounts to keep,
products to design or source, lawyers to consult, accountants to hire and we
must not forget in all of this market and get the all important customers to
look at and purchase your products.

To do that you have to advertise your small business, but where and at what
cost? Don't forget you have to provide customer support and accept returns.
Then there's waste disposal ... and on and on.

Who's paying for all of this -- in simple terms you, and your friends,
investors and/or your bank are paying, until you are selling sufficient product
or service to cover the costs -- usually many months or even years away.

New small businesses rarely return a profit in the first year and frequently
not for two or three years. Make sure you can finance it properly.Is it worth
doing it? That's your decision but every year tens of thousands of people do
start their own business and many are succesful and reap the rewards of all
that hard work. But many also fail, and all too often it's due to lack of
preparation

If you're about to set off on your new business venture prepare well and Good
Luck. With good planning, persistence and a lot of hard work you too can build
a profitable small business.

15 Easy Steps to Starting Your Small Business

Yeah, sure it's easy, and of course, that title is a little tongue in cheek. It
takes a lot of hard work to get a business off the ground. But, it's worth every
hour I've spent getting to where I am now.

When I decided to start my communication and image consulting business, I tried
hard to find a good startup guide. I couldn't find any that had all the steps.
So, I decided to write one. So far, it's mostly just the bare-bones outline
(which is long enough as it is) you see in this article. I'll be adding to it
every week or two, and writing more detailed articles on all the steps, so try
to stop by and check it out from time to time. Let me know how I'm doing. Shoot
off an email to me if I've forgotten something or you have questions.

Before you spend so much as a dollar, talk to a few experts. Go to the library
or get on the internet and research, research, research. Take a little time to
make sure entrepreneurship is right for you.

Make a pro and con list of business ownership, and evaluate yourself honestly.
How many characteristics do you have in common with successful entrepreneurs?
Is your financial position strong enough? Do you have the necessary technical
and management skills?

You're not going to be the perfect entrepreneur. Nobody is. But in order to
make yourself the best entrepreneur you can be, consider ways to compensate for
any weaknesses you might have.

I'm from Canada, so the government agencies I've mentioned in this guide are
Canadian, but really, it can be used by anyone. All you have to do, if you're
from somewhere other than Canada, is find out where you need to find some of
the things I'll talk about. Some of the steps might be slightly different, and
you may not have to worry about things like GST for example, but I'm sure
you'll find this discussion helpful all the same.

These steps to starting a business are in reasonably good order, but you might
find yourself varying from it under your particular circumstances. That really
isn't a big deal, as long as you get most of it done. There are some steps
you'll be able to skip as well, but please don't skip any of the "big ones",
which I'm sure you'll pretty much figure out from taking a look at the list.

So, assuming you've done your evaluation and you still want to start a
business, take a deep breath, and let's get started.

1. Conduct a feasibility study of your business. Describe your typical
customer, your product and your competitors. Who will your suppliers be? What
will you charge for your product? How will you market your product? These are
just a few of the questions you need to answer.

2. Write a complete business plan for your company, using the information you
gathered from your feasibility study. This vitally important, often overlooked
step needs to include a description of your company, its goals, competitors,
market, financial information, and of course, how you intend to meet your goals.

3. Get your financing in place. There are many ways to finance your business,
from your own savings to personal credit cards to bank loans. If you need
credit, know your business plan from front to back and maybe even sideways.

4. Decide what kind of structure your company will have. From a legal
standpoint, there are three basic choices, sole proprietorship, partnership and
incorporation, each with advantages and disadvantages.

5. Choose a name for your company and check on name availability. Naming your
company is highly individual, but it's the first thing associated with your
business, so choose your name carefully. You'll need to do a NUANS (Newly
Upgraded Automated Name Search) report, which checks your name choices for
uniqueness against a database of other business names. A reserved name is valid
for 90 days.

6. Decide whether you want to register federally or provincially and register
your company. If you register federally, you'll also have to register
provincially, which almost doubles the cost. You don't have to have a lawyer
process them for you, but it might be a good idea to at least consult with one.
You can get the forms from your local government office, have them faxed to you
or download them. You can fax or email printed copies, or complete the forms
online

7. Contact Canada Revenue Agency Business Window for your business number, and
to register for GST/HST, payroll, corporate income tax and import/export (if
applicable). You can also contact the CRA if you need general information about
business expenses. Chances are you'll have to collect GST, but you may want to
register for a GST number even if you don't have to collect it because of input
tax credits.

8. Decide whether you need to collect PST. If you do, you need to submit
"Registration as a Vendor" documents with your province.

9. Determine whether there are special permits or licenses in your municipality. 
It's highly unlikely that your municipality does not have special permits or 
licenses.

10. Develop the marketing materials you decided on in your business plan. They
should include at least a company identity package, press kit and website. Your
identity package is your logo, business card and letterhead. A press kit can
include letters of introduction, biography sheets, press releases, articles and
a brochure. In today's electronic age, printed materials aren't enough. You need
a website that looks professional, matches your printed material and has great
copy. You'll also want to make sure it's optimized for search engines.

11. Set up your business bank account and record-keeping system. Your banker
will need to see your incorporation documents, and you should probably set up
more than one account so you can keep track of your finances better.
Record-keeping is required, and can be done manually or with a computer program.

12. Purchase insurance. There are many different types of insurance, but most
probably your company will need at least one. For example, if you're going to
have employees, you need to contact the Worker's Compensation Board. Depending
on your type of business, you might want to contact them even if you don't have
employees to insure yourself.

13. Contact potential creditors and set up credit terms. You should have
researched suppliers when you were doing your feasibility study. Now is the
time to contact them.

14. Decide where your business will be located. Lease your business' space.
Alternatively, you could choose to start your business from home if it's
feasible. There are advantages and disadvantages to starting your business from
home. You have tax write-offs for example, but sometimes your image suffers.

15. Purchase supplies and office equipment. You'll need too many things to
list here, and of course, each business has different needs. You might need a
fax machine and printer. You'll probably need a computer. You'll definitely
need paper, pens, pencils and a calculator.

Congratulations! Go out, buy yourself a bottle of champagne and celebrate.
You're about to embark on a most exciting journey. And may I be the first to
wish you good luck and prosperous times in your business venture.

As promised, here's my email address so you can ask questions, make comments or
add steps to my list. Or, if you want, you could just drop me a line to let me
know how your small business is doing. I'd really like to know.

How to Finance Your Small Business Start Up

It all starts with a great idea, an idea that has probably been in your mind
for a long time. You have the product sorted out, how you are going to deliver
your service, where you are going to set up your office and how you are going
to market your new business. But the stumbling block always seems to be the
finance to get you going.

Finding the finance to get a small business off the ground is a major issue for
any potential small business. Some new businesses lend themselves to very little
start up capital because the main selling point is the owner's skills and
knowledge, for example consultants, web designers, PR specialists. Businesses
which require stock holding, plant and equipment and other investment, face the
real challenge of getting their start up finance together.

So what sources can you tap into to ensure your business gets off to a solid
start?

Your Savings

The first port of call! If you have been in employment for some time then
before going it alone you should hopefully have some spare cash behind you.
Whether this be in the form of cash in a savings account or shares and unit
trusts, this is a good start to your fund raising exercise.

You can be more focused in saving cash if you have had the goal of setting up
your own business for awhile. Knowing you need to save to get your business off
the ground will make sure you don't spend your future nest egg on unnecessary
items. Whilst a new Plasma TV or the latest DVD Recorder may seem to be an
essential purchase, knowing that you have a business to set up in the future
will be sufficient a deterrent to keep the cheque book firmly locked away

Keep Your Job

Some business owners are lucky enough that during the early days of the
business they can keep the day job while working on the business during the
evenings and weekends. This has two benefits. Firstly, they are still earning
thereby allowing more time to build up a cash reserve. Secondly, it's an
opportunity to test out the business to make sure there is a market.

Make sure that you can realistically keep both balls in the air at the same
time otherwise you will end up doing justice to neither your job or your new
business. The support of your family is also essential if you are to follow
this strategy. They have to accept that what used to be 'family time' may have
to take a back seat until you decide to concentrate on the business full time.

Family and Friends

These can be a useful source of finance for any start up. If you have harboured
ambitions to run your business for some time, then many of your family and
friends are already likely to know about your idea. You should therefore have
an indication who is for it and who is against it.

If you haven't shared your secret desire then it's time to be slightly devious!
If you are in the early planning stages start drip feeding your ideas to key
people whom you think are likely to support you. Tell them your ideas, share
your ambitions and goals and on a regular basis update them with your progress.
The plan is to get them sold on you and your future business at an early stage.

Once you get to the point where you are ready to start asking for contributions
hold an Investor Evening. Prepare a presentation outlining your plans, the
business, the market etc. Show the potential investors what their return will
be in recognition for supporting you.

Invite as many people as you can and promise an interesting and fun evening, Be
bold at the very start; tell them exactly why they are there, so there are no
misunderstandings. After you have done your presentation gather all the names
of the people who may want more information or even a one-to-one with you.

Whilst this group are people who know you and so are more likely to trust you,
don't forget that you are developing a very different relationship which can
quickly turn sour. Be prepared for rocky times!

Bank Line of Credit or Loan

Now you're getting into the serious stuff! Getting support from a Bank for a
new business is tough, as many entrepreneurs will testify. One sneaky way is to
apply for an unsecured loan while you are still in employment. If you have
planned things right you will know when you are starting up, so a few months
before you pack your job in, apply for a loan based on your salary. However,
make sure that you can comfortably meet the repayments. There is no grace
period; you will be expected to pay back immediately, so your business will
have to start earning very quickly.

The alternative is a business line of credit facility. There is no fixed
repayment date, although they will be for periods from 6 to 12 months, and all
you have to do is ensure that you keep within the overdraft limit. You will
have to write a business plan to present to the Bank which outlines your idea
and the business.

Mortgage or Equity Release

With the way house prices have been increasing over the last few years, the
vast majority of people now have substantial equity in their homes. The cheaper
alternative to a Bank overdraft or loan is a mortgage. The interest rate is
lower and, as the repayments are spread over a longer period, the monthly
repayment is less (although you will end up paying more interest in the long
run).

The disadvantage of raising cash this way is that your home is potentially at
risk. If meeting the monthly repayments is dependent on what the business can
generate then a slow start could cause cash problems. So be very sure you can
meet the repayments even during a lean period.

Credit Cards

If you haven't got any savings, can't get support from family or friends, or a
Bank loan or mortgage, then there are your credit cards! However, whilst it's
easy to draw down on your card, be wary! Credit cards are the most expensive
form of debt.

They are ideal because all you may have to do is pay the minimum amount but
card debt, as most people have found out, can be a long term burden. But, if
you need a cash lump sum to kick start the business and you know you can pay it
off within a few months, then it's an alternative source of finance worth
considering, if somewhat unorthodox!

Business Grants

Business grants are available for specific industries, sectors and reasons.
Grant providers will usually only give a portion of your requirement, so they
cannot be used to totally finance a start up. However, they can be useful in
filling a funding gap.

Business Angels

A popular way to fund a business are Business Angels. These are people, usually
retired or successful business people in their own right, who are looking for
opportunities to invest in new businesses.

In exchange for an investment they will typically look for a shareholding in
the business and some hands-on involvement. They will have a vast business
experience and so are useful people to have on board. However, you will have to
accept an element of loss of control but that needs to be balanced against your
desire for funding.

Getting finance for your new business can be a challenge but there are a number
of avenues to explore and so with dedication and focus you could soon be on your
way to launching your own small business.

How To Finance Your Small Business

If you have a great business idea or plan, or you would like to expand your
existing business, don't let a lack of funds stop you in your tracks. There is
a wide variety of financing available for small businesses. Let's take a look
at the financing opportunities that small business entrepreneurs can take
advantage of.

While the financing sources comprise diverse institutions, such as banks,
government sources, venture capitalist and "angel" investors, it is useful to
look at what all lenders, regardless of category, want when they loan money or
invest in a business enterprise.

When you seek money for an already existing business, lenders will be
interested to know about the history of your business; whether it has a track
record of good management and good performance. Lenders will be keen to know
whether you have the ability to repay a loan and will look at your present
cash-flow to see whether it is sufficient to enable you to meet your current
obligations as well as to take on extra debt.

Your credit history will also be under scrutiny. A good credit history will
help you to get a loan. If you have had problems in the past, it is best to
bring these to the attention of the lender yourself and explain how you have
turned the situation around.

You can also bolster your chances of getting a loan by putting up collateral.
This reduces the risk for the bank in case you default. And finally, if you can
show that your own personal money is invested in your enterprise then lenders
will have more confidence in the proposition.

Many small business loans are turned down due to poorly presented proposals,
inadequate collateral, insufficient cash flow and a lack of management
experience.

These are the general points that lenders and investors are interested in, now
let's look at the main sources for small business financing.

1. Traditional Lenders: Banks, credit unions, and finance companies are the
main source of loans to small businesses. Many of these institutions have a
small-business department and are experienced in handling small-business loans.
The most logical place to start is with the institution which handles your
business and personal banking. You should do your best to get to know the
manager and personnel at the bank. So don't try to save time at the ATM! Being
friendly with the bank staff will not guarantee you a loan but it will make it
easier for you to make your loan presentation.

2. Government Sources, the Small Business Administration (SBA): The programs of
the SBA work in conjunction with the traditional lenders, as they are mostly
loan guarantee programs that reduce the risk to lenders in case of default.
Some of the popular SBA programs are as follows

a. The 7(a) loan guarantee program: This program helps businesses which lack
sufficient collateral, by providing repayment guarantees ranging from 75-85%
depending on the size of the loan.

b. The SBA LowDoc loan program: There is only one form to fill out for these
loans and approval time is rapid (within 36 hours from when the SBA receives
the applications. These loans are only for amounts up to $15,000 but they can
be used for start-up businesses.

c. The SBAExpress loan program: This is another quick-procedure loan guarantee
program, but it covers loans up to $250,000. The SBA guarantees 50% of these
loans, and interest rates in this program may be higher than in the other SBA
programs

d. Microloans: These are loans for amounts up to $35,000 which are made by
non-profit community based organizations.

3. Venture Capitalists: These are typically firms that are seeking investment
opportunities in companies with a high profit potential. Usually when you take
money from a Venture Capitalist firm it means that you have to give up some
ownership and control to the investors. If you are thinking of going in this
direction, then it is imperative to investigate the VC firm, and make sure that
it has good references.

4. Angel Investors: These are individual investors who are looking for good
opportunities in a wide variety of businesses. You don't have to be a high-tech
company to attract these funds. Angels have smaller sums to invest than venture
capitalists, and their investments range from $100,000 to $1 Million. There are
a good number of angel investors in the U.S. and Canada, with at least 170
investment groups or angel networks spread around both countries. You can find
the angels by making a search on the Internet, looking for angel associations
in your particular area of business. You can also inquire with your local small
business librarian, the chamber of commerce, your local SCORE office and with
other non-competitive businesses.As you can see from this brief survey, the
money for small businesses is out there. Prepare your proposal carefully, and
approach the institutions or individuals that best match your needs and
capacity.

Title: How NOT to be a Small Business Failure Statistic

There were about 146,000 business startups a year, and an average of 12,000
business bankruptcies per year from 1994 to 2004 in Canada. A 2004 Statistics
Canada study on small business failure rates "Key Small Business Statistics --
January 2005: How Long Do Small Businesses Survive?" found that the first few
years were critical. While almost three quarters of small business startups
survive the first year, less than one third of micro companies (less than five
employees) were in business after five years.

These statistics by themselves may be of little value to you directly. We know
how many small businesses survive and for how long, but it's far more important
to know why some survive and others do not. There are a lot of studies on small
business failure. Searching "reasons for small business failure" with
quotations on Google will give you almost 700 results (about 38 million
without!). "Why small businesses fail" will give you almost a thousand.

The 1997 study by Statistics Canada "Failing Concerns: Business Bankruptcies in
Canada found major internal factors of small business failure was management
deficiency, financial management problems and poor marketing.

The Small Business Administration study "Financial Difficulties of Small
Businesses and Reasons for Their Failure" in 1998 found several causes of small
business bankruptcy: outside business conditions (38.5%), financing (28%),
inside business conditions (27.1%), taxes (20%), disputes (18.8%), personal
calamities and other (32.9%).

There is a wealth of information on this subject, but what are the common
factors? There are four basic areas:

External factors

External factors include new competition, your major client moving out of town,
poor weather if you're a seasonal business, or economic downturns. They're often
largely out of our control, and may be unique to your particular company, but
there are often ways to mitigate them. For example, if you have a seasonal
business, such as a landscaping company (at least up here in the cold north
it's seasonal) you could buy a bobcat to provide income during your off-season
with snow removal. The bottom line is, have a contingency plan for external
factors that could have a negative impact on your small business success.

Lack of management

Big companies have the luxury of being able to hire several people to get all
the jobs done that need to be done, but chances are you're going to have to do
it all yourself, at least for awhile. That means you're not only going to have
to develop your product or service, you're also going to have to make
financial, accounting, legal, marketing, human resources, and purchasing
decisions.

You may do some of these tasks very well, but it's unlikely that you do all
these tasks well, and even if you do, you might want to contact a lawyer and an
accountant at the very least. And, research, research, and research some more,
and when you're done researching, find an expert or two bounce ideas off and
give you solid advice.

Lack of planning

Small businesses often fail because of lack of planning. Let me make a bold
statement: the single-most vital part of your business success is your business
plan. Why? Simply put, your business plan specifically and concretely lists your
goals for the next few years. It spells out, step by step, how you're going to
meet those goals, and gives you something to measure your performance against
at the end of your business year. Finally, a complete business plan helps you
get financing and includes a marketing plan.

I have one more thing to say about business plans. It does very little good to
write a business plan, put it in a drawer and never look at it again. That same
1997 Statistics Canada study we talked about earlier found that successful small
business owners refer to and revise their business plans often.

Lack of marketing

Most small businesses seem to think it takes a lot of money to market their
product or service effectively. That's simply not true. There are many ways to
market inexpensively. You could use direct mail marketing which is as cheap as
a stamp, or email marketing, which costs nothing. The point is, you need to get
your product or service "out there" somehow. You may have the best product or
service out there, something completely unique from anything else, but what
good does that do if nobody knows about it?

So there you have it -- my thoughts on the main reasons why small businesses
fail, and how you can avoid becoming a small business failure statistic by
developing a contingency plan, consulting with experts, and developing and
using a business and marketing plan.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, trust me, I'm not trying to
discourage you. I sincerely believe being in business for yourself may possibly
be the most rewarding career there is, but a little knowledge can go a long way
towards arming you against small business failure.

Guidelines for Online Small Business Owners.

You are contemplating setting up a small online business you should realise it
is simply to down to a numbers game.

The difference between businesses that succeeded and ones that do not is down
to their conversion ratios, meaning the ratio of visitors who actually become
paying customers.

If one in 50 of your visitors become a paying customer, then you will have a
conversion ration of 2%. All businesses should aim to increase this ratio,
simple things like using enticing tactics such as a sale can help.

The trouble is nowadays people seem desperate for visitors, they panic and pay
for batches of visitors. Unfortunately these systems rarely increase your
conversation ratio at all; in fact all they do is give you a false perception
of your business.

A lot of online small business owners make 3 mistakes:

1. They put Google Adsense/affiliates everywhere, in my opinion these are good
   systems but they do detract from your core business.

2. They make their websites too complicated, when marketing to a worldwide
   audience; keep your website simple and easy to follow.

3. They get greedy, their prices are too high.

These points may seem obvious but it is often the most obvious things that
people miss.

Here are some general guidelines for small business owners:

1. Spend time researching your website development.

2. Have an understanding of 'Keywords' and how they benefit your site.

3. List with the main search engines and directories.

4. Have patience, especially in the first year.

5. Be imaginative

6. Don't be greedy, don't scare potential customers away.

Remember do not get carried away by the amount of visitors to your site, simply
work on improving your conversation ratio, by doing this year on year you will
be well on your way to running a successful business.

You May Have A Successful Small Business Idea

You surely know that a small idea can lead to a great business success. The
first movement is to think of an idea that would be suitable for the business
market. After coming up with the idea, the next step is to put that idea into
action. Of course, this is a very difficult step and having the idea is only
the start of the journey. After that you will have to face many obstacles
before being able to carry on with your business project. This is just the
beginning of this process and there is a lot of questions you will have to
answer before even start.

Some of the main aspects you have to concentrate on when you have business
ideas are the abilities and gifts you can pour into the business. It is very
important for you to be identified with your business project. Those ideas
should be based on activities and actions you take pleasure in doing. For
example, if we suppose that you dislike working in the open, landscaping
business would not suit you. On the other hand, if you like working with
children, setting up baby-sitting or tutoring business would be an excellent
idea. In this case, without any doubt you business will be more successful
because you will have put your mind, effort and also your heart on it.

Another vital step is to analyze the needs of a specific product or service in
your region before setting up your business. Do people of your area need your
product? Are there other business like the one you are planning to start? You
should ask yourself whether or not you are the only one offering that service
or product. If you are not, you will have to analyze the competence you will
have to face. You have to think whether the service you are offering is one
that customer would repeat, or if it is a one-time specialized service.
Obviously, the former are more likely to succeed than the latter.

There are other aspects you have to take into account. These aspects are
described below:

- One of them is that if the idea is unique, you will reign the market. But if
there is much competition, it will be difficult to enter into the market.

- A second point would be if you can offer quality from the very beginning,
otherwise, you won't succeed.

- Finally, you have to think about your capital to start your own business.
There are many business ideas that require little investment and bring great
profit. Some demand research, such as daycare service, and others need a large
amount of money to begin the business. So take this recommendation into account
before investing all your money in a small business idea.

You Can Have A Successful Small Business

Owning and maintaining a very successful small business can have its challenges
but if you know what you are doing, everything can really work out great for
you. There are many helpful tips that you should learn, if you are the owner of
a small business and then by learning about these tips you should have the
ability to have a very secure and profitable future. Knowing how to operate a
small business properly will give you and your employees much relief in knowing
that their positions are stable and secured. Your employees will be much
happier, as will you, if you do all of the right things and play your cards
right. In this article I am hoping to teach you a little bit more about
managing a small business so that you will be a success. Having a small
business definitely has its own advantages and some of those will be included
throughout this article.

It is very important for you to learn more about what it takes to run a small
business successfully so that if you or someone you know becomes interested in
opening your own small business, you will be much more knowledgeable about all
aspects of it. Another great thing about owning your own small business is that
usually this means you will for sure have many more awesome customers that will
tell others about it and continue coming back themselves. You will have a
reputation for owning and managing a very reputable, friendly and affordable,
yet small business. A small business would typically go over very well because
there will be enough customers to continue keeping you with plenty of customers
and when people are on vacation in your area, they too have probably already
heard about your small business and many of them will choose to come into your
small business and will be quite pleased by the friendly employees and the
great prices. Check out the other small businesses in your area to see what it
is they are doing to draw in more new customers, do not copy them but
definitely kind of take a few little suggestions and ideas from watching others
with more experience.

Advertising is something that most businesses do, which you as a small business
owner will as well at some point in time, however, even without the professional
advertising, your small business will still be successful due to all of your
loyal customers that absolutely adore coming into your wonderful store. All it
takes to have a very successful small business is friendliness, determination,
customers that count on you and a good knowledge about business management will
always make for a better chance at success. A small business could typically go
over very successfully, as long as you first do some homework over managing
your own business, as well as talking with other small business owners because
the more experienced people could really provide you with a great deal of
helpful information and some tips that can almost guarantee your small
businesses success and longevity.

Small Home-Based Businesses -- Five Simple Steps to Success

Did you know that, in Australia, 60% of small businesses fail in the first
twelve months? For those of us who would like to start a small business --
maybe even work from home -- that's a very discouraging statistic.

Does that mean that your business idea is doomed to failure? Far from it! There
are steps you can take that greatly increase your chances of success. With a
little time and some serious research you can hit the ground running. Let's
start from the beginning...

The bright idea

First, of course, you need to come up with an idea. Typically, business
opportunities can be divided into four groups:

1. Offering an existing product/service in an existing market.2. Introducing an
existing product/service to a new market.

3. Offering a new product/service in an existing market

4. Introducing a new product/service to a new market.

At this stage of the game the only limit is your imagination. Inspiration can
come from anywhere -- maybe you have a hobby that you'd like to turn into a
full-time job; you may be on the receiving end of bad service one day and
decide to try doing it better yourself; or you may have a talent that you'd
like to capitalise on.Once you've come across something that you'd like to do,
it's time to take a look at the market and see what's on offer.

Passing the test

So you've had a great idea and you're keen to roll with it; now it's time to
put it through its paces. For the purpose of the exercise, let's say that you
have a passion for healthy living, and that you want to distribute a range of
lifestyle accessories that promote healthy living with a do-it-yourself
approach.

Ask around: Is there a market for products that promote healthy living? What
sorts of products are available? Who would you be competing with and what do
your competitors offer? Do you have the necessary skills to run such a business
and -- more to the point -- what would those skills be? Where would your
business be located?

Once you've answered those questions you should have a fairly clear picture of
what your business will look like.

You source some products and decide to do some further research into the range
of lifestyle products offered by a company called Vitality 4 Life. Your own
life experience plus some work you've done as a dietician has given you the
necessary skill sets, and you think that you'll be able to work from home,
giving you more time for family. There is an existing market, but there's room
for expansion. Now it's time to take a closer look.

To be or not to be?

It's time to get down to the nuts and bolts. You don't want to jump into
something feet first and find out the hard way that the budget just doesn't
work.

To get started, sit down and work out if you need to hire staff, which means
paying wages.

If you lease a premises you'll need to be able to pay the rent, and your
location will have to be suitable for your business and target market (which
also means that you'll have to think carefully about just what that target
market is). You'll also need to work out the likely demand for your
product/service.

Ok -- you've worked out that there is enough demand for good quality juicers,
sprouters, water filters and other high end accessories to take a shot at a
distributorship as a home-based business opportunity. Now you need to make some
marketing decisions.

Look at me! Look at me!

Advertising can be costly so you'll want to be sure that your advertising
budget is spent wisely. That means more market research, this time one-on-one.
Profile your customer groups so you can aim your marketing at the right groups
of people.

Draw up a questionnaire (a short questionnaire -- people run out patience if
you ramble for too long) and hang around outside a few of the local gyms (for
our particular example). Come up with a mixture of open questions (What do you
think of?) and closed questions (Do you have a gym membership? Yes/No.);
sliding scales can be useful too.

For our health accessories business, a good question might be 'How did you hear
about this gym? Radio, tv, newspaper, word of mouth etc: ' Such a question would
then give you an indication of the types of media that your target group
responds best to.Choose a business name, print up some business cards, buy some
stock and get ready to trade!

Measure it, manage it!

A teacher of mine made the point that, in business, if you can't measure it you
can't manage it. You need to be able to plan ahead, and to do that you need to
know -- or to be able to accurately predict -- your total sales. The equation
is simple: number of customers x average sale x frequency of visits per
customer per year = total sales. Remember it, revise it often, measure your
business and you'll be able to manage it!

Keep an eye on your bottom line and, most importantly, always be aware of your
cash flow -- the cold, hard cash that you have in the bank. Allow for invoice
periods (14 days, 30 days etc) when you're planning your budget.

The market place has a life of its own, and no one can prepare for every
contingency. Put some thought into your idea; make sure that there's a market
for what you're offering; research, research, research; promote your business
effectively; always know what's going on in your bank account and don't forget
about cash flow!

It's not perfect but, if you follow these few simple steps, you'll be miles
ahead of many new small business ventures. If you've heard of a great
home-based business opportunity, or have a product or service of your own to
market, you're off to a great start!

Starting A Small Business In Less Than 24 Hours

In today's high tech world, it no longer has to take extensive amounts of time
to start a small business. Many of the business startup steps can be handled
quickly via the Internet, including the ability to incorporate online, apply
for a tax ID number, and apply for a small business loan.

Incorporation

To begin with, it is beneficial to incorporate your small business for many
reasons. The main advantage is the protection of personal assets that is
offered. Under this setup, business owners property cannot be a target of
lawsuits or creditors. Also, corporations are taxed at a lower rate and credit
ratings are established for the corporation, not based on the individuals
rating.

There are websites that offer secure application forms for incorporating your
business in as little as 10 minutes. The information you will typically need in
order to complete the form are the state you are incorporating in and what type
of corporation you will be establishing (e.g. Basic Corporation, S-corp, or
LLC).

Tax ID Number

Next it is necessary for new business owners to apply for a Tax ID number, also
known as EIN (employer identification number). This is the nine digit number
that is assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to any type of business
entity (corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, etc.). The Tax ID number
is used for tax filing, business, and banking purposes, as well as for the
identification of your business by various federal agencies. Again, this is a
quick process online -- it can be done in about 5 minutes.

Small Business Loan

If you need funding for your small business, you will want to consider applying
for a small business loan online. The process is simple and quick. For this type
of loan, there is not usually extensive documentation required and reputable
firms do not charge application fees. Also, you can typically find out if you
qualify for an unsecured loan (no collateral) or a line of credit usually
within a day or two. If you do not want to risk your personal assets and are in
the market for a funding between $10,000 and $100,000, this is the avenue to
take. It is however important that you have a good credit history and also be
sure to apply with a trustworthy company.

Conclusion

All in all not only are these processes simple and quick, but they greatly
reduce since margin of error since you are filling out your applications
directly online.

Starting a Business -- What is a Business Plan?

So you've decided to start your own business -- congratulations! It's a huge
leap from letting someone else take care of taxes, accounting, payroll,
inventory, and/or a myriad of other activities necessary to run a business.
However, running your own business has its advantages, too. You get to be your
own boss, set your own hours and days to work, and are responsible for your own
success. It can be a great way to free yourself from the tedium of 9-5 and work
at doing what you love, but you have to begin by asking a few questions:

1. Are you doing what you love, or just doing something you're good at? A
desire to get away from the regular working world can be a good motivation to
work for yourself, but you have to be excited to get up in the morning to do
what it is you have chosen to do for a living.

2. What is it you are planning to do? What niche is it going to fill? Is there
a need for what you can provide? Will the market bear another entry?

3. What technical skills or talents do you have? Just being able to do
something may not be marketable enough to convince customers or financiers that
you are a good financial investment.4. Who are your competitors in your chosen
profession and how are you going to do it better? Why should customers come to
you? What do you have to offer that no one else does?

Once you are satisfied with the answers to these questions, it is time for the
decision of what kind of business structure you will use. Will you be a sole
proprietor, responsible for every facet and the penultimate authority as to how
to run the business? Will you enter in with a partner, the better to share the
cost and workload, but also the profits and the business decisions? Perhaps the
decision will be made to incorporate, with its financial safeguards but more
complex and costly structure? At this stage, legal advice is recommended, if
only so that you fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of your
chosen structuring plan. Many lawyers will provide a free or reduced-rate
primary consultation, though often not more than an hour. When the structure is
finalized, a name for the business should be decided upon, if not already having
been done so in advance. It should be easy to remember, avoid initials and
single letters (B & L & R, Inc. will be difficult to remember for customers)
and try to say something about the business (Bob's House of Hobbies is easier
to remember and spell).

Next, a business plan is a vital step in laying out all these topics and
proposals in a standardized format. A good business plan serves as a formal
statement of the new company's goals, financing, structure and legal
considerations. It acts as a "resume" to prospective investors and is the
primary documentation they will use to evaluate whether or not your business
will be worth investing into. It also provides the proprietor(s) with a chance
to see the workings of the new business in black and white. A basic business
plan should at the least contain a balance sheet, income statement and
statement of cash flow, as well as a proposed financial budget for the first
year, or as long a period as necessary if a year is impractical.

So with these quick tips, plan for success, and good luck in your chosen
endeavor! 2006, Wholesale Pages UK. All rights reserved.

Small Business Advice, Get Online!

The best advice for small business owners today is to establish an online
presence. It doesn't matter if your company consists of fifty people or just
two, having a website is valuable to companies of all sizes. As ecommerce
becomes a more important part of company sales, businesses that do not have a
website will be losing out on both customers and revenue. Fortunately it is not
too difficult to design a company website for your products and services. Unlike
in the past, today there are many valuable web builder tools that allow users of
all skill levels to design their own site. Many companies offering these
products will often let customers test drive their web builder tools before
actually committing to a purchase. This gives you the chance to become
comfortable with the tools and see how they can help you in designing your
site. You then have the option of signing up for a paid subscription of your
choice.

A website is a good idea even for companies that are doing well without the
help of online sales. In today's highly technical world, companies that do not
have a website may be viewed as outdated or unprofessional. This is especially
true when you consider the age group of your potential customers. Younger
adults who have grown up using computers are much more likely to order from a
company that offers their products online. There aren't too many companies
today that would tell you they couldn't benefit from additional sales. Web
builder tools allow small business owners the opportunity to make their company
products available to customers of all ages across the globe.

If your business frequently deals with customers from other countries, you know
what a hassle it can be making contact because of the different time zones. A
website allows you to make sales from anywhere in the world 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. Even while you are not at work, your business can be earning 
sales via your website. Once your business develops an online presence, you may 
find the majority of sales are made online. Using web builder tools to design 
your site just makes good sense. It's both fast and efficient and can increase 
your sales earnings in just a short time.

Web builder tools not only save you time and money designing your site but can
also save time and effort when dealing with customers. Think about all the
calls you or your employees answer regarding products, services, or payment
plans accepted. With a website, you can offer all of this information to
customers at the ease of their fingertips. There's no need for them to contact
you when all of the information is provided online. This not only is convenient
for both you and the customer but it also increases your chances of making a
sale. Many times customers may not want to bother emailing or phoning for more
information. If they cannot find what they are looking for, they may go else
where to another company that offers the product or service they are looking
for. Web builder tools allow you to effectively design a site that contains
information about all of your products, company background, and payment methods
accepted. This can be a valuable resource in gaining additional customers.

Even if your company sells a variety of different products, there are web
builder packages available to meet your needs. You can choose from a variety of
different products and package sizes, many of which include web hosting, domain
name, blog design tools, photo image editing tools, shopping carts, email
accounts, and various design templates. Options can also be upgraded or added
when needed. With all of the flexibility offered, web builder tools can benefit
all types of businesses in designing their website.

Skills Required To Run A Small Business

Would you like to run your own small business? Have you an idea for a small
business but do not think that you could make it work? Are you bored of being
an employee and yearn to become your own boss? Have you the required skills to
run a small business? In this article I look at the type of skills that people
need to possess to be able to successfully run a small business.My name is
Stephen Hill and I have been running my own business for around nine years now.
Previously I had been employed by a major insurance company and even though I
progressed well during my time there, I always wanted to run my own business,
to choose my own hours of work and basically have no one to answer to etc.

I am now a speech coach helping people who stammer/stutter to achieve fluency
and I also help people to promote their websites as a form of web marketer or
web promoter.

I love what I do as it allows me to to take my children to school as well as to
pick them up from school. I am able to watch their football and netball matches
and attend their school plays and other functions. I am not bound by what hours
I work, for example nine to five. I sometimes work late at night when I do the
web promotion work but have the day free to relax. This is not to say that I do
not work hard, because I think that I do work very hard.

Self belief is an important skill required to be your own boss. If you have an
inner belief and self confidence that you will make the business succeed, then
you will have a great chance to make it work. There will be times when during a
month you only earn a small amount of money but in other months you should earn
quite a lot. Some people prefer to know exactly what their income will be each
month and these people may struggle to be their own boss.

Discipline is another requirement if you are to be a success at running your
own small business. It is very easy to become lazy and to watch too much
television or to have an extra couple of hours in bed in the morning. Even
though you may have nobody to answer to, you have to be of the character to
ensure you put in the required amount of hours and work.

I also think it is important to have a positive attitude. There will be periods
when business is slow, this is where you may start to think in a negative way.
This can lead people into becoming very stressed and even depressed. By
thinking in a positive way and by working even harder to attract more work is
the only way to react in this situation. This of course is not that easy to do
but in my opinion there is not enough time in the day to get depressed.

Lastly is the ability to always try and improve your own self and to learn from
any mistakes you make. We all make mistakes which is fine and natural. There is
again not enough time to beat ourselves up over these errors, all we need to do
is to learn from them and to then move on. We should always be looking at ways
of improving the business as well as our own knowledge. Standing still and
treading water is no way to continue.




Six "Must Haves" for Buying a Franchise

We all know that buying a franchise is a great way to start a new business. Yes
it's true that the initial cost of a franchise is generally more than any
non-franchised new business. It makes sense that a franchisor would need to be
rewarded, both initially and on an ongoing basis, for their training,
assistance, consultation, and guidance. And, remember, the franchisor is
allowing you to use their proven business model for your own personal gain.

But generally, in the long run a franchise can be much less costly to start and
grow than a non-franchised business due to operating efficiencies, defined
processes, and the advertising clout that the franchise name carries.
Furthermore, many studies have shown that the success rate of a new franchise
five years down the road will far exceed that of any new non-franchised
business.

So even though franchises are a great way to start a new business, there is
still that level of uncertainty that hovers over any new business venture. Is
it really worth taking the risk?

Yes -- if you have the following six characteristics:

1) Time. If you thought you were working a lot of hours at your regular 40 hour
per week job, be prepared to commit a tremendous amount of time to your new
venture. You may have to miss little Joey's soccer games.

2) Energy. Not only will you have to commit the time necessary, your energy
level will need to be at peak level all day. You will be busy. And you will
need to set an example for others. Can you do it?

3) Resources. You will need to surround yourself with good quality people.
Management, staff, accountants, attorneys, vendors, suppliers, human resources,
etc. Systems and procedures will need to be established. And you will likely
need a premium location for your business.

4) Skills. Do you really know what you are doing? Is your new franchise
relative to your prior work experience? Do you know the industry inside and
out? You should.

5) Capital. Everything: I repeat: everything costs more money than you expect.
Do you have the necessary capital to get the company off the ground? Do you
have the necessary working capital? Do you have the resources to raise
additional capital when needed down the road (note that I said "when", not
"if"). As a rule of thumb, try to predict all of the capital that you will
need. Then, when you are done, double it. And do not rely entirely on the
franchisor to tell you how much capital will be needed.

6) Desire. The most important characteristic of all. Is this really what you
want to do? This is a financial but more importantly a life changing decision.
It is not a decision where you can easily change your mind once you get
started. Most likely it is a decision that will affect your life 10, 15, or 20
years down the road. Talk to others around you; your spouse, your kids, your
friends. Make sure everyone is on board. Do you have the passion?

So if you want to buy a franchise, then welcome my friend. I hope you will find
the perfect match. And, if you can pass the test above, then you will likely
succeed. Good luck!

7 Tips to Starting a Successful Small Business

Getting a small business off the ground is challenging to say
the least. Here are some tips which will prepare the ground for running a
successful small business.

Have Goals

This is where it all starts -- the foundation for success. Know exactly where
you are heading. What will the business 'look' like in the future? How will you
know when your business is a success? When you wake up in the morning, do you
know what actions you have to take to get you on the road to success?

Take Action

The difference between success and failure is down to the actions you take. The
failures in life are the people who know what they have to do but never do it.
The successful small business owners are people who take action on their ideas,
ones who never say, "I wish I had done."

Seek Feedback

There is a saying that feedback is the breakfast of champions. During the early
days of your business you must continually seek feedback about all aspects of
your business. What works? What doesn't work? What needs changing slightly?
Speak to customers, suppliers, your bank manager, your accountant -- anyone who
can provide you with a fresh perspective.

Find Out What Do You Don't Know

You can't expect to know everything about running a business. Undertake your
own skills analysis and find out your areas for development. Once you know your
knowledge gaps seek out courses, books and advice, which will get you on track.

Be Focused

Let no one distract you from achievement of your goals. At the start of every
day get yourself into the frame of mind that you will only do tasks which will
get you closer to your goal -- nothing else matters.

Take Risks!

You will never achieve anything if you're not prepared to jump off the cliff a
few times! We're not talking about risks which will put the business in
jeopardy; just risks which are planned and thought out, yet at the same time
test the edge!

Think Positive

Yes, the oldest cliche in the book, but totally true. See the positive in
everything. If something has not gone right train yourself to ask, "What good
has come out of this?" Understand that in every problem there is potential for
good.

Small Business Grant Tips

If you are looking to open a business of your very own, you are not alone.
Every year more and more people make the decision to stop working to make other
people rich and to start their own businesses. For most of them, having the
start-up capital that is needed is harder than one might think.

Small business grants are often a hot topic with new business people with a
small amount of money and little access to other capital. We have all seen the
many media claims about "Free Government Grant for Small Business." It seems
all too easy to get these days.

Of course, if it were really that easy, all you would have to do is find a
government small business grant to apply for, apply and before you knew it you
would have the money to grow your business.

Most U.S. government departments, like the Department of Commerce, do not
provide any grants for help in starting a small business. Grant programs are
available through state programs and other groups as well. The grant programs
are often awarded to people in fields such as medicine or education, and they
all have specific eligibility criteria.

The process of finding a small business grant program to apply for and
reviewing the requirements to getting is very time consuming. After conducting
a two-week search for a medical publisher, I found the requirements to be very
specific and difficult to meet.

Eligibility can be based on your location, and your business' sales revenue to
the application date, years in business, sex, race, and even for the purpose of
funding. If your business sets out on a small business grant seeking mission
there are some questions that you will have to answer which are:

1. Do you have the time and the resources available so that you can search for
a small business grant program and apply for it?

2. Can you afford to hire a consultant if you are unsure of how to do it, or
can you learn the grant application process by yourself? 3. Does your business
need the money right now for expansion or can you wait up to a year?

4. If you do decide to ask for a grant, will it hurt your business because it
will be taking away time from selling and marketing?

If you want to take a look at the small business grants available, the best
place to start is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). The CFDA
lists thousands of grants from all government agencies for free. Many business
grants will be geared towards minority business development or rural business
opportunity grants. Do not overlook the other assistance programs available
such as equipment and training.

If you do find a small business grant program that is available for your
business, you will need to be ready to go through a lengthy, approval process.
With today's funding cutbacks and the high amount of competition you will want
to be prepared for it by following these quick tips:

Small Business Grant Tips

- Provide the grant company with all of your complete and accurate information
in the application. An incomplete application will likely not make the review
process or it can add delay your grant form getting approved. - Get to know
your grant officer and their constraints, budget and concerns with approving
your grant.

- Stand out among the crowd with a well-prepared business plan if required. You
will have to demonstrate your understanding of the business. Show how the money
will bring the benefit the government agency wants.

- Bring in outside experts or consultants to help you if you need it. An
accountant or consultant can add credibility to your application process.

- Keep in touch with the company offering the grant. Make regular contact with
the grant office in a professional, but non-intrusive manner.

- The task of locating and applying for a small business grant is not for the
people who are not willing to go through hell. Take an honest look at
alternative sources first, such as loans, personal credit lines, friends and
family.

7 Key Tactics For The Small Business Owner

For most folks, owning your own business is a dream come true. The freedom of
being your own boss and succeeding to the best of your ability are facts of
life for the small business owner. Sure, there's more stress than what you
probably imagined when you were creating your grand plans, but with a little
strategy and planning you can overcome any tough spot you get in. There are 7
tactics developed by successful marketers that are sure to make your business
as successful as theirs.

1. Create A One of a Kind Selling Point

If you want to stand out from the crowd, create a unique selling proposition
that stresses the benefits the customers will receive from doing business with
you. Will they get faster service? Go ahead and dramatize it, but keep the
customer at the focus..."Get free overnight delivery!" Hey, it tells the
customer...you get quick service and a discount on shipping. Two definite
benefits in one statement.

Why should someone buy from you and not your competitor? I hate to deal a blow
to your ego, but it really has nothing to do with you , your product, or your
service. Yeah, its a little self-centered, but customers are attracted by
offers that point out the things that benefit THEM.

Don't go out on a limb to create new products and services to get attention.
Just, add a special benefit to the ones you already have... maybe it's quicker
service. The most effective things to emphasize are benefits that your
competition cannot or is not willing to give.

2. Use TestimonialsHey, we all know that business owners think their product or
services are the best thing going, but it's what the current customers think
about it that really matters to your prospective customers. They're the ones
who see things from their point of view... what they have to say about the
business has an impact.

Testimonials play an important part in advertising -- especially for small
businesses. Yeah, big businesses with well-known names don't have to worry
about it, but small companies can use testimonials as marketing tools to build
credibility.

Think about it...how else can we gain credibility than by creating a group of
satisfied customers and shouting what they have to say? Let's look at some ways
we can make testimonials an effective part of our marketing campaigns.3. Upsell

Upselling is one of the most successful marketing trends today. Everywhere you
go, someone is trying to get you to buy more. From McDonalds with its supersize
options to clothing stores that try to sell you shoes to match your outfit,
everyone's jumping on the band wagon. Why? It works!

Your customers already know that you have great products and provide
satisfactory service. They trust you to come through for them. Think about
it... it's much easier to make sales to someone you already have a relationship
with.

Use every opportunity to increase your sales volume within the customer
audience you already have. Do you have a product that goes with the one they
are purchasing? Offer it to them at the register. It's a proven and effective
method for increasing sales. You may be shocked at the additional sales you can
generate from those who are already buying from you.

4. Make Your Price Seem SmallerDivide and conquer... The old war tactic works
in marketing too! When the price seems too steep, break it down into "buyable"
size bites. An $120 item is only 12 low monthly payments of $10. A $365
purchase would only cost $1 per day. Now that sounds affordable!

5. Paint The Benefits PrettyCustomers buy because they want to enjoy the
benefits of the purchase. A lady might buy a dress because she wants to feel
sexy, or a man will buy a book because he finds pleasure in reading. Emotions
are the key element that drives purchases.

Use word pictures to stir up the emotions that will instigate the sale. Let
them "feel" the benefits, and they'll be more apt to head for the cash
register. Put them where you want them.

6. Create Attention Getting HeadlinesAre you ready to capture your reader's
attention with great copy? The headline is the place to start. How often do you
scan the newspaper's headlines before you decide whether or not to read the
article?

Yeah, that's where we lose or gain the reader's interest, so it's a pretty
important part of the advertisement.

A good headline should telegraph its message in twelve words or less. Double
check those headlines. Do they make a promise of a positive benefit, or ask a
provocative question? Don't settle for less than attention grabbing statements.

7. Provide An Offer They Can't ResistIs your deal too good to pass up? If not,
you need to improve it. Hey, I'm not talking about cutting prices even
more... you've still got to make a profit. You can make the deal sweeter just by
increasing the readers knowledge of the value of the product, or adding bonuses
that are perceived as valuable, but cost you little.

Motivate buyers with expirations. Yeah, an open ended offer encourages
procrastination... which leads ...yep, nowhere. When the customer knows he has
until Saturday to purchase an item he'll pay more for on Sunday, he'll make it
a priority to head for your shop.

Small Business Networking

Small business networking is absolutely critical to your business success. As a
computer consultant you are in the professional services business. This industry
is all about relationships and relationships are built through networking.

You will need to make small business networking your priority for the first few
months of operations. This is a process that can't be rushed. You're not going
to go to your first network event and get six clients who all need network
upgrades next week. But if you do participate in a small business networking
event there's a good chance that you will come away five or six quality
contacts.

Networking For Contacts

Aside from the potential client contacts you make, the beauty of small business
networking is that the accountant you struck up a conversation with just happens
to have a neighbor who's brother is looking to network his company's regional
office. Or the dentist you were talking to has a similar business philosophy
and would probably be a great client to do business with. These contacts are
priceless

Once you make the contact you then have to spend time following up with
meetings, proposals and sales calls. But this time is much better spent than
chasing down one-shot clients. Though small business networking you make
in-roads with people who are, or who can put you in touch with, the steady
clients that will support your business long-term.Don't expect to walk out of
every event with a handful of paying clients. Do expect, however, to generate a
bunch of quality leads and referral sources. These referrals and leads are the
crux of small business networking.

You need to have a bunch of different leads in your funnel and a lot of
different contacts in your funnel at any given time. Some of these will be
hotter at different stages and will be ready to move into paying client status
at different stages and different dates. Small business networking keeps you in
contact with these people throughout their buying phases.

The Bottom Line on Small Business Networking

Client contact and client referrals are what will lead you to long-term, steady
clients -- The kind of clients that will make your business a success. Getting
out and attending small business networking events may appear to be
unproductive socializing but the contacts you make will generate an enormous
return on your invested time. Start your small business network today -- you
never know where it will take you.

Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consulting 101 Blog. All Worldwide Rights
Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required
for copyright compliance}

A small Small Business summary

Small business is a term that is used day-to-day. That is because in the past
decade the rise of small business has been larger than in any other decade
prior. This is largely due to the increasing number of services that are
available to small business owners, to enable them to keep their business
running.

There really isn't any guidelines for when the term small business is used,
however it is simply defined as a business which has a small number of
employees. How few employees is debatable, and the definition of when a
business changes from a small business to a larger corporation varies both by
country and industry. This number is generally less then 100 employees.

As mentioned before small businesses due to their nature, are in most times
sole proprietorships, partnerships, or privately owned. Common in may
countries, small businesses, are most oftenly related to: accountants,
restaurants, guest houses, photographers, small shops, hairdressers, tradesmen,
solicitors, lawyers, small-scale manufacturing etc.

Small businesses in often cases are located in private homes, for two main
reasons. The first is because it is economical and in most cases convenient.
The second reason is that there are several benifits with tax,etc for having
your business in your home.

Running a small business is an exciting venture, and a great way to introduce
yourself into the business world, and to gain business sense. If you are
interested in starting your own small business, I would recommend having a talk
with a local lawyer or accountant, who will be able to answer questions that are
specific to your local area. Good luck with your new venture!

Small Business Owners -- Listen Up

Have you ever considered why SPAM has caused such a public backlash compared to
the deafening silence from its unsolicited paper cousins of direct and junk
mail? People seem to care a lot more about what enters their Inbox than their
letterbox. And for the word "care" think about logical substitutes of "notice",
"read" and "respond".

All this translates into campaign results that can surpass other forms of
direct communication making it an ideal cost effective option for any small
business owner.

And what's more I believe that as a small business owner the odds are stacked
in their favour to become budding email marketing superstars.

Let me explain why.

Firstly, it's about personality. E-mail messages written in a personal style
seem to work the best. Writing this way doesn't seem to faze most small
business owners. Usually their business shows more of their personality when
dealing with customers than larger competitors so writing this way seems to be
a natural option.

Secondly, a small business owner can understand what content that has a good
chance of being read. With them working closely with customers they tend to
understand what their customers want to know about and can easily translate
this into articles and reports that will be read.

Thirdly, the time and cost efficient nature of email marketing ideally suits
the busy small business owner. It can take the same amount of effort to create
an email newsletter for 500 subscribers as it does 50,000. Plus the costs of an
email production are a fraction of the alternative paper option.

For a small business owner a regular e-mail message can have as much
personality and content to end up being the next best thing as a phone call
from themselves, just more efficient and at a lot less costly to produce.

So there you have it, three reasons why small business owners can make it big
in the Inbox. Have fun harnessing this great tool for your company.

Thinking About Starting a Small Business?

There are lots of people out there thinking about starting a small business,
and tons of great ideas, but few people actually go out and do it. So many
people think and think about it until all of a sudden they're fifty-something,
still with that great idea, but no business.

There's no doubt it takes a special type of person to be an entrepreneur. It's
definitely not for the faint of heart. It takes desire to succeed, courage,
perseverance and a great deal of will power to continue to work at it in the
face of the setbacks you'll inevitably have to deal with. But what else does it
take to be a successful small business owner?

Of course, it takes technical skills. That goes without saying. And, you can't
just be good at what you do. You need to be very good at it before you even
think about starting your small business. So, assuming you have those technical
skills, what else do successful entrepreneurs have in common?

I would think being decisive, self-disciplined and a self-starter have to be a
couple of the top traits. If you want to own a business so you can stay in bed
in the morning or you think you might not have to work forty hours a week, you
might want to stick with your 9 to 5 job. The truth is, you'll be working far
more than forty hours a week for quite awhile, and most often with very little
money to show for it.

There won't be anyone telling you what to do, how to do it and when it needs to
be done (except for your clients of course, and it seems to me they often want
things done now!). So, you'll need to be able to make decisions, and be
disciplined enough to work at it every day, no matter how discouraged you might
be.

And, the fact that you're your own boss means you should be self-directing too.
It also means you should be able to prioritize and plan well, meet deadlines and
be able to work until the job is done, whether that takes fifteen minutes or
eighteen hours a day.

How well do you deal with stress? How do you deal with uncertainty? Successful
entrepreneurs need to deal with both well. Running a business is stressful at
the best of times, and can be extremely stressful when things aren't going
well. And things are rarely certain. That big client you have that you think is
so loyal could simply decide to go elsewhere for no reason that's apparent to
you.

Are you able to make short term sacrifice for long term gain? It might be
really tempting, for example to take the first thousand dollars your companies
earns and spend it on clothes or on your house or your car, but is that
necessarily the best thing for your small business? Or should you be leaving
the money in the company and using it to build your business?

Along with those technical skills we talked about earlier, most entrepreneurs
have to be a jack of all trades, at least from the beginning. Let's say you
build the best darn widget in the country. Assuming you already leased space
and have all your tools, the first thing you might want to do is find suppliers
for the parts you'll need to put it together. Then you'll have to negotiate
terms with them, so now you're a purchasing agent as well as a manufacturer.

Customers aren't going to come and find you, so you have to figure out ways to
let people know who you are, where you are and what you can do for them. That
means you also need to know something about marketing. You're required to keep
proper records, so you're a bookkeeper too. And you're responsible for all your
small business' financial decisions, so you're going to have to know something
about finance. You'll probably have to answer the phones and make appointments,
which means you're also a secretary.

Since you probably won't possess all those skills and you probably can't afford
to hire someone to do most of those jobs, you're going to have to be willing to
learn new things and be able to pick them up quickly. You won't see any direct
money for these jobs either. Are you willing to put in the hours it takes to
learn these skills and perform them without seeing immediate results?

Finally, procrastination and owning a business don't seem to go well together.
If you're the type of person who tends to put off until tomorrow what can be
done today, you might not be suited to owning your own business.

Nobody is going to be the perfect entrepreneur. I doubt there's anyone who has
all the personality traits we've talked about. But, you should be willing to
take an honest look at yourself. You should have some of the traits I've
mentioned and you need to know how to compensate for areas where you're weak,
but that's a subject for another day.

Robert Browning said "The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and
doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there
are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week.
But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer."

I think he's probably right, so what are you waiting for? The first step is
making the decision. Stop just thinking about it and just do it. Don't wait for
tomorrow or next week or next year. Do it today.

The Worst Small Business Financing Strategy Ever?

Depending on whose stats you pay attention to, approximately 80% of small
businesses fail within their first 5 years of operation.

In many cases, its not that a particular business could not succeed; there just
wasn't sufficient time to figure out how to succeed.

Which brings us to the worst small business financing strategy ever.

Here's how it work.

The would be entrepreneur develops what they believe to be a sure fire business
plan that can't fail.

Unable to locate any form of start up capital, they start their business with
credit cards as the only source of financing, and an expectation of sustainable
business results within 3 to 6 months.

If everything goes well, the debt will be retired within a year and funds will
start building in the bank account.

Sounds Good, right?

I mean the thinking lines up perfectly with all the get rich quick business
opportunities that exist on and off the internet today where some of them even
try to convince you to use your credit cards because the opportunity is
soooooooo good and can't miss.

The problem is that every business can miss.

Every single one. And the vast majority do fail.

Have you ever spoken to someone who runs a successful small business -- perhaps
one that's been around for 10 to 20 years?

If you take the time to ask one of these entrepreneurs about their start up
period, what you learn may shock you.Even some of the most successful small and
medium sized businesses out there today had some hairy moments making a go of it
in the early years.

And some times the difficult early years lasted for several years.

The point here is simply this.

The process of getting a business operating and successful can take many
unexpected twists and turns, no matter how diligent you are in creating a
thorough business plan and business financing strategy.

Therefore, to increase your probability for success you need to allow for the
unknown, the unplanned, and the unfair.

A business financing strategy that cannot accommodate unforeseen events is not
much of a strategy.

A business financing strategy that is based on high interest credit cards that
can destroy both your cash flow and your personal credit is also not much of a
strategy.

To improve your odds of small business success, here are some tips for
developing a solid business financing strategy.

Invest Your Own Cash

If you have some of your own cash penciled into your business financing
strategy, it will immediately increase your likelihood of getting some sort of
start up loan.

The more "skin" you have in the game, the more interested a lender will be in
approving your loan request.

There is also something to be said about the psychological incentive of losing
your own money and the motivation it creates for you to work harder to keep it.

Create Contingencies in Your Cash Flow

Whatever you estimate your working capital requirement to be, double it. At
least increase it by a factor larger than 1. Things can and will go wrong, so
give yourself a fighting chance and develop a business financing strategy that
allows for less than perfect results.

Use Credit Cards Wisely

Used properly, credit cards can be the cheapest form of working capital that
you have at your disposal. Some business credit cards provide 40 days of
interest free financing. If you pay off the entire balance every month, you
have an extremely low cost of working capital financing.

But if you start carrying large balances without paying them down monthly, you
will go from the cheapest source of working capital to one of the most
expensive, and you will likely also destroy your credit rating in the process.

Make Timely Government Remittances

Small businesses are by default tax collectors. And the taxes collected can
sometimes wind up funding the business for longer periods of time than they
were ever intended.

Using government remittances as a business financing strategy is basically a
bad idea.

Government agencies that are assigned to collect from you have large budgets
and enough broad sweeping authority to create plenty of grief for you if you
are too slow in paying. If you apply for a business loan while you have an
overdue balance with a government tax agency, your loan request will likely be
declined.

Even after the balance is paid up, you may have burned your bridge with the
lender as a history of overdue government remittances can brand you as a bad
credit risk.

Watch Spending Closely At Startup

One of the things you can control early on is how much you spend and what you
spend it on.

This is going to change in time, but if you can spend wisely in the beginning
you may be able to avoid a cost cutting exercise further down the line.While
its normally true that you have to spend money to make money, you can still be
smart about the spending process.

Rules of Growth For Small Businesses

For years, I have tried to answer this one question: What do small businesses
that achieve sustained growth do differently from those that do not grow?

As a senior consultant for Inc. magazine, I speak to thousands of business
owners each year. I've learned that there are no silver bullets or 17-point
checklists that will lead to guaranteed growth. There are, however, seven
specific areas in which growth companies concentrate their efforts.

1. Strong sense of purpose. Most leaders of companies that have achieved growth
discover that it takes more than the promise of increasing financial reward to
fuel their aspirations and ambitions. They find a higher calling than simply
the pursuit of "more money."

2. Outstanding market intelligence. This is an organization's ability to first
recognize, then adapt, to fundamental changes in the marketplace. Many times,
small-business owners become too myopic, seeing only a limited view of the
markets in which they compete. Growth leaders see the bigger picture.

3. Effective growth planning. This is the best predictor of whether or not a
business will grow. To be effective, a plan for growth does not need to be
overly formal or complicated. However, it does need to be written,
well-communicated and regularly updated.

4. Customer-driven processes. These days, every company I talk to believes it
is customer-driven, when actually very few really are. Take a look at all of
the business processes from a customer's perspective. Are they in place to make
it easier for the company, or to help deliver on the promise of faster, cheaper
and better for the customer?

5. The power of technology. Successful leaders don't let the boom and bust of
technology cycles give them the excuse to ignore that we live in an information
age. If a company is in business, it is in the technology business.

6. The best and brightest people. Growth leaders recognize that they are only
as good as the people with whom they work. The ability to hire, train and
retain the best and the brightest people is often the difference between
success and failure.

7. Seeing the future. Few organizations take the time to regularly consider the
future. Growth leaders learn how to diligently monitor and interpret the macro
forces of change affecting the world in which they live.

Many Small Businesses Get Cash Advances

A growing number of small businesses that have previously faced obstacles
getting working capital now have a practical solution they can bank on. They're
taking a cash advance on future credit card receivables. This method of getting
needed capital is gaining momentum, particularly in light of the inundation of
Small Business Administration loan requests during recovery efforts on the Gulf
Coast.

The cash advances taken by these credit-worthy businesses are called Merchant
Cash Advances and are completed without the time, documentation and
availability issues associated with a traditional loan.

Here's how it works. Companies such as AdvanceMe (www.advanceme.com), the
nation's leading provider of merchant cash advances, purchase a portion of
small- and mid-size businesses' future credit card sales. These assets, which
traditional lenders and investors do not value, help business owners to access
capital quickly and easily without leveraging their homes or other personal
assets. Businesses simply sell AdvanceMe a portion of their future credit card
sales at a discount in exchange for a lump sum of working capital today.

The process has a number of advantages for merchants: It helps small businesses
manage their cash flow throughout the year. This is especially valuable to
businesses whose day-to-day operations are impacted by seasonality, such as
those in small college towns. It gives them access to the cash necessary to
weather the seasons, whether or not it's their busy season.

Often, a Merchant Cash Advance is preferred over a traditional bank loan
because payment of the obligation is directly tied to the merchant's revenue.
In this way, the Merchant Cash Advance Vendor only gets paid when the business
gets paid.

It provides business owners with the capital to fund marketing and advertising
campaigns, purchase equipment, train employees and/or attend industry seminars,
which they might otherwise not be able to do.

8 BIG Small Business Mistakes

Here's an interesting notion: Do you realize that there are mistakes you can
make at various stages of your business' growth that can be slowly killing it
for months or even years if you don't watch for them?

Well, these mistakes do exist and they are not just reserved for the rookie
companies. Many working businesses, including those you might think are
"successful" because they've been around for 10+ years, are often still making
them: and are possibly losing a lot of money and/or wasting a lot of time in
the process.

Although some of these big and sneaky mistakes seem aimed more at service type
companies, they really do fit the bill for almost any type of industry. I've
done my best with the listings below to give examples to prove it.

Underestimating Project/Service Time

This is a big one and it pertains to service companies as well as companies
that sell a product. This is a service company's bread and butter. If you don't
estimate your time to perform each and every service in your repertoire, you
will get burned and there is little you can do about it but bite the bullet and
learn from it. The best way to estimate time is to do it once yourself or watch
your best employee do the task and then throw in a little fudge factor on top
of it. For product companies, time becomes an issue with logistics so be aware!

Not Knowing YOUR Company Numbers/Incorrectly Setting Prices

Notice I emphasized the word "your". It's a common mistake to use a
competitor's as your pricing gauge without actually knowing why they use those
numbers. Think about the nightmare you will get yourself into if you take a
competitor's price, cut it by 10% and then start selling. What if the
competition has a bad pricing structure and is barely making money or even
losing money?!?! What if your costs are more than theirs?!?! You can use
competitor as a starting point but you can't base your whole strategy on it.

Different industries have their own variables as far as costs go and you need
to be aware of them for your project or product pricing. What you pay for a
product you are going to sell is not the only cost to have in your head when
you are pricing products. How much your labor and materials cost for a service
is only a piece of an hourly rate. Employees cost more than just salary and not
every employee is part of your labor cost. Every company has insurance to pay
for. There are tons of overhead expenditures that need to be part of your
price. Oh, by the way, the big one that many people forget about in their price
is the quality factor. What you include as "standard services" or "standard
product features" as well as job site etiquette or in store service or
warranties all need to go into your pricing. I'll get to more on why in the
next segment.

Not Charging for All of Your Time & Costs

This seems like a stupid statement to some but I bet most business owners will
admit that they have given away a little too much of the farm at times. Hey,
there is nothing wrong with giving a little extra here and there to show you
care. But either way, that's not what I'm talking about here. What concerns me
are those that put a lot of quality into their work or products or stores and
do not cover the cost for it. As an example, say you run a service company and
your competitors don't do a certain standard service that you do. You can't
just undercut their price to steal a job; you need to have that cost covered in
your rate and advertise the fact that it comes with the price upfront. Stores
undermine themselves, for example, when they put more people on the floor for
customer service but don't charge for it. These things cost you money and when
your competitors don't do them it costs them less money. Put out better service
and then under price them, and your competition just has to wait a little bit
for you to fall on your face so they can swoop back in.

As a business owner you need to believe that you are providing your clients
worthwhile wares that deserve to be paid for. If you get the chance to explain
why your prices are higher, then take that opportunity and do it. If they don't
like the fact that you include things that others charge extra for later or that
you treat them better, then they are most likely completely price shoppers. You
don't want them as regular customers anyway. Trust me.

Not Getting Paid Fast Enough

That's right, the old cash flow issue. As long as you are actually making
enough money to pay the bills, this problem can be solved, prevented or at
least made to be not as bad as it could be. Here's the deal:First off all, bill
customers very promptly. It is very common for a small business to not have the
procedures or systems in place to get invoices generated and out the door in a
timely fashion (see the next segment for more). Again, this would seem unlikely
since that's the reason why we are doing the work- to get paid. But it is very
easy for the people responsible for getting this info to the billing people to
be too busy to get it there or not have enough organization to give it to them
the right way.

The second part to slowing down or stopping a regular cash flow crunch is to
make the quickest payment deals possible with customers and the slowest
possible with vendors and employees. If there is any way not to pay employees
any more than twice a month, you better do it. Contractors always have an issue
with this. If you must pay weekly, then tell them before they are hired that
they will be getting the first week held back, essentially buying you a week.
It will help, I promise.

Part three involves credit. If your company can get a credit card, then get it.
This allows for certain important things to be bought (that you can afford) that
might come up during a cash flow crunch. Better yet, especially if you have no
choice but to deal with 45+ day customer payments, do your best to get a
company line of credit. This is a must if you plan on selling to the government
or doing commercial service work. These clients often have 60 to 90 day wait
periods.

Failure to Have Solid Systems and Procedures in Place- Too many procedures
(known as "red tape") is the reason why many people start their own business in
the first place. Unfortunately, having no procedures and systems in place at all
is not an alternative. Depending on the type of industry, business owners must
come to a happy medium or chaos and the unknown will ensue. Some basic examples
where procedures or systems are needed include billing, collections, payroll, hr
(interviewing, hiring, vacations, benefits, job responsibilities, etc.),
manufacturing, operating equipment, maintaining equipment, inventory, sales
calls/visits and logistics to name a few.

Even a one person show needs to have some admin procedures in place. This will
make it easier to hire temps and subcontractors and control what they are doing
for you. Without at least a watered down version of a system or procedure to do
everyday work, you will be to blame for causing many major headaches as your
company grows. I can't emphasize how important this is for when you bring on
new employees. I'm sure you heard this before, but I am also a big proponent of
having an employee handbook even for one employee. It's amazing the trouble
people can cause business owners just because they allow you to pay them.

Spending Advertising Money Just to Say You Advertise

I would almost rather see my clients not advertise then to spend without regard
to tracking the results. There is no point in a marketing campaign if you do not
put things in place that allow you to measure how well the plan is working. The
other wasteful part of marketing that many people make the mistake of doing, is
not tracking their previously successful campaigns. Why some people think that
just because a $400 dollar a month ad worked once very well for one busy
season, that it will automatically work every year after that is beyond me.

Spreading Yourself Too Thin- This is a classic mistake made by every
entrepreneur. The key is to figure out when you are at that "wearing too many
hats" point and start getting some help. The solution here is to know your
strengths and to be able see when you are not performing the duties that demand
these skills. If you are the best sales person on the company, you can't get
caught up in day-to-day operations. If you do, sales will slip and eventually
you won't have any operations to worry about. Think about this to help you
figure out if you are spread too thin: Did you really go into business for
yourself to work 80+ hours a week?

Not Getting Help Soon Enough- Set goals to know when to hire people to take
over where you are light on knowledge. Not getting help or waiting too long can
kill a company. Most people who start a business do it because they are good at
the technical end or the sales end. If you know the best way to make a widget,
then your strength is in production and that is where your time should be
spent. Hire an outside company or consultant to take care of the sales and
marketing and then hire inside when you can afford someone full time. Don't be
something to your company that you are not. It will only hold you back.

The three big issues people like to tackle themselves but usually are least
knowledgeable about are legal issues, accounting/bookkeeping issues and daily
operations issues. The odds are that these three things are your weakest link
so if you don't have a partner that has the background for these subjects, then
be prepared to get help as soon as possible. It's preferable that you do this
before you start a business.

Although looking for these problems at any time is a good idea, the end of a
year or season is an excellent business interval to make sure you are not
making these errors. Take the time, or make the time, to fix these problems. If
you don't know how to reverse the problems, then get some help. If you really
don't have enough time to either figure out if you have these issues or know
they are there and can't break away long enough to do it right, then get some
help.

Buy a Small Business in the United States

If you are looking for a business opportunity, the Small Business
Administration (SBA) has an excellent website, including a search option for
small businesses for sale in the United States. They also have financial
options for those who are looking for a business opportunity to consider.

Small businesses consistently employ fifty percent of the workforce in the
United States. Fifty-three percent of all small businesses are home-based,
while three percent are franchises. You can always find a business opportunity
that has to do with franchises. Franchises are a worthwhile consideration,
simply because in most cases, the name and products are well known. If you take
advantage of this type of business opportunity and buy a successful franchise,
you usually don't have to worry about it folding in the first year.
Franchise.com has a list of franchises offered for sale in the United States,
as well as in other countries. You can look at a list of franchises and decide
on the one you are interested in, and then learn more about it. The website
also lists the franchise fees and investment required.

According to the SBA, there were 24.7 million small businesses in the United
States in 2004, the last year for which figures are available. 580,000 new
small businesses opened in 2004 and 576,000 closed in the same year. The
competition for any small business to succeed is ferocious, but with more than
24 million in existence, it's clear that they do succeed.

If you are going to be working in the business yourself, it's important that
you buy a business that you truly care about. If however, this business
opportunity is purely an investment for you, then certainly the best business
deal financially would make sense. Some people who open new businesses work 14,
16 or even more hours per day until the business really gets off the ground.
This would be almost impossible to do if you didn't like what you were doing.

Home business opportunities are as far and wide as your imagination. You can
start your own business or buy an existing one. You could have an online
business, or a more conventional store or office. If you select a business
opportunity that will have you doing something that you love, the money will
likely follow.

It's not difficult to find a business for sale. There are listings all over the
Internet, as well as in almost every newspaper in the country. What matters,
obviously, is finding the right business -- one that will meet all of your
needs, not just your financial ones. How much time do you have to devote to
this business? Will this be your only business or one of many? Will you run it
yourself or will you hire people to do that for you?

You can do, or you can hire others to do, some sophisticated market research to
ensure that your product or service will sell in certain areas. Of course, if
it's an online business opportunity, you can do plenty of your own research
quite easily. You can look at what other websites are selling, whether it is a
product or a service, and to a degree, you can see how popular they are.

If you need to get a loan for your business opportunity, you have several
options. The SBA can direct you to several loan options, although they don't
lend money themselves. The SBA is a great place to start anyway, simply because
they do have so many resources. They have a lot of statistical information that
you might find helpful in your market research, and they have several free
publications to help you along in your small business journey.

Probably the most important thing you can do before buying a small business is
your homework. Investigate more than one business before settling on a specific
business opportunity, and above all, make sure it is something that you
enjoy!

Best Small Business Idea -- Overwhelm -- Get It Out of Your Head

If you are like most businesses owners, you've experienced overwhelm in your
business at one time or another. Maybe you experience it regularly and for good
reason. Hundreds of things are pulling at you at one time. You've got marketing
going, production to oversee, calls to return, employees that need your advice.
It's never ending right? How do you possibly handle it all?

Most of the small business owners that I talk to keep almost all of these
things in their head. I ask them where their business plan is. It's in their
head. I ask where their employee training manual is. It's in their head. About
the only thing that's written down is their calendar of appointments. Even a
lot of their to-dos are in their head. Here's one simple and powerful way to
get out of overwhelm -- write it all down.

Your overwhelm is in your head because most of how you run your business is in
your head. Start writing it down and you will start having less overwhelm.
Start taking a little time each day to document your business processes. Make a
list today of the processes that you haven't recorded. Cover marketing,
production, training, accounting, etc.

Then take one of these areas and document it in detail this week. Each week,
for the next few weeks document another area. Within a fairly short period of
time, you should have at least the basics of marketing procedures, production
procedures, client follow up procedures, and employee training procedures in
place. In other words, you've now got business processes. Processes that you
can rely on. Processes you don't have to think about. Processes that you will
use to grow your business without all that overwhelm now that it's not all in
your head.

Best Small Business Idea -- It's All About You

Jeanna Pool from Catalyst Creative writes a great ezine on marketing each
month. In January she shared 5 Great Marketing Tips for 2006. Number 1 was
"Stop Focusing on You". She declares 2006 the year of the client and exhorts
you to focus totally on your clients and their needs. I think she's right on.
And I think she's completely wrong. Why right and wrong?

Because if you've been in business for awhile and have great products and great
services and aren't getting the results you want, you may be too focused on your
clients and not focused enough on yourself. Last week, I encouraged your to
revisit your vision of your business and ask yourself why you started your
business in the first place. Now I want you to focus even more on what you
want. What exactly do you want out of your business? Do you want more money? If
so, how much? Write down a number. Do you want more flexible hours? If so, write
out exactly the schedule you'd like. Do you want to change the world? If so,
write out specifically how that would look.

Why all this focus on you? Because if you aren't absolutely clear on what you
want, how are you going to know if you are successful? How are you going help
your clients if you aren't taking care of yourself as well. Maybe you need to
be making $150,000 a year to provide your family with the life that you wanted.
You want to send your kids to college. You want to retire while you are still in
active and in good health. Or maybe you want to just make an extra $20,000 a
year working part-time while you take care of your children until they are in
school. Or perhaps your goal is to make a million dollars a year and live a
really incredible life. Defining this is very important. Why?

Because what you want will shape your business. It will determine who your
customers are and how you will help them. If you want $5,000,000 in sales, your
products and methods are going to be a whole lot different than if you want
$50,000 in sales. If you want to work only afternoons, that is going to shape
your business as well. If you want to sell your business and retire in five
years, that's going to affect your decisions as well. So right now, get out a
paper and pen and get ready to write.

Did you get your pen and paper out? Answer the question, "What do I want out of
my business?" Write in as much detail exactly what you want your business to
give you. Be as specific as possible. Write as much as you can. Think income,
lifestyle, schedule, partners, travel, location, employees. What exactly do you
want? Throughout the week, add to this and revise it. Compare where you are
right now to what you really want. How large is the gap? Next week, I'll help
you create a plan to narrow the gap with: Why Business Plans Don't Work -- How
to Create an Effective Action Plan

Best Small Business Idea -- Get Focused And Get Going

I used to give a talk titled, "10 Ways to Overcome Overwhelm in Business and In
Life". It was an excellent resource for getting into action and taking charge of
your business. If you'd like a copy, just email me and I'll send it to you.
After I'd given this talk for awhile, I realized that getting out of overwhelm
was even simpler. You don't need 10 ideas. That's overwhelming in itself. You
just need one essential key. If you can master this one key, you can pretty
much get whatever you want out of your business and your life. Here it is.
Don't blink or you'll miss it. Focus.

That's right, focus. When you are entirely focused on what you are doing in the
moment, you don't have any attention left for being in overwhelm. Focus and
overwhelm are opposites. Think about it. You are overwhelmed because you are
thinking about all the things you've got to get done today, tomorrow, and the
day after. You aren't solidly focused in the present moment doing what's in
front of you. But when you are stuck in overwhelm, it's really hard to get
focused. So what can you do?

It's actually very simple. Get back to basics. Go back to your core values,
your mission statement, your vision. Stop right now and think about the vision
you had for your business when you first started it. What did you want to
accomplish? Why did you want to do it? Were you looking for freedom? Did you
have a better way of helping people? Completely let yourself be absorbed in the
dream you had. Feel how it was when you started. Now you are focused. Take this
vision and write it down again. Go into detail about what you really want to do
with your business.

Now from this focused state, get into action. It should be much more clear to
you now what the most important tasks are. Focus your energy on those and get
going. Any time you start feeling overwhelmed, stop and go back to your dream,
your vision. Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing. Really feel it
and then start again. I guarantee you this will get you focused and get you out
of overwhelm. Now you can get what you really wanted out of your business.





Peace Icon  InfoBank Intro | Main Page | Usenet Forums | Search The RockSite/The Web