Small business start up costs can prove to be frustrating and stressful for a beginner business owner. Several entrepreneurs are intimidated by small business start up costs and choose to avoid even trying their knowledge in a small business for fear of not achieving success. Because starting a small business involves many expenses, they often think that having such a business will just lead them to failure. Fortunately, there are various ways to finance start up cost for a business; the ones that can help you some of the mounting business costs.
A business plan is an important catalyst of any successful business. In the absence of business plan, you can not easily get an access to business startup loans offered by banks and investors. Letting them know about your business plan can give them confidence. If you have professional business plan, you are providing a blueprint for successful business because you are making a change for your own business to be showcased to potential business startup funding providers. However, in doing this, you must strive to design a business plan that is really convincing and that pictures your abilities to manage such business reflected in your plan.
A business plan, for the purpose of acquiring a loan for business start up costs, has numbers of components. The first few pages showcases the Executive Summary and the Table of Contents. This is followed by the company descriptions- one of the most essential portion of business plans because this explains the short history, the company backbone, as well as the future plans, to the potential investors. The company description sections also mirrors the plan for business possible expansion. In other words, in this section is where the loan providers are most interested to know.
In the company description, you will need to steer clear of discussing that your business is a startup business. Startup businesses are categorized risky investments by most investors. Instead, convey what you have poured to the industry that you are presently in or plan on entering. You can also discuss the things you did that made others become successful. Another is, you shall discuss the growth of your business in the recent months or years and your forecast growth. You have to be sure that during your business plan presentation, you must be in full enthusiasm and passion for your new business venture and so you will be able to acquire a loan for your business start up costs.
Marketing analysis, in a well-written business plan, must be included. This explains your feasibility/ demographic study regarding your potential clients- this can help to convince your potential investors for your start up costs for a business . This portion of your business plan also tells your potential investors on how you are going to promote your business to clients in your target market. This also must show how intense your marketing research to ensure that your product would hit a great demand.
In order to acquire a loan for your small business start up costs , comprehensive financial plan must also be included in your business plan.
Numbers of new and small businesses struggle with the enormous quantity of small business start up costs incurred in order to materialize their business plan. Many entrepreneurs design a professional business plan to help them offer potential investors with their roadmap that shall poise them for success in their new venture.
What are the top three things you should concern yourself about when starting an Internet home based business? Here are some tips to make it in the online business environment.
Setting up an Internet home based business is like starting an actual business. Some people may think that since a business is operated online and from home, it is a smaller-scale venture compared to real businesses. This, however, is a misconception. Some Internet home based business are even bigger and are experiencing more growth than real ones. Starting and operating an online business venture may be a bit challenging when you are new to the field and is used to the conventional business and marketing world. However, there are also many resources on the Internet that you can get your hands on in the actual setting. The difference lies on how you take advantage of these unique Internet resources and make them work for you. Here are some tips on how you can successfully set up your Internet home based business.
PLAN AND SET GOALS
As in any business venture, the key to a successful Internet home based business is to plan. Set goals; determine what you want your business to achieve, and prepare concrete action plans on how you will achieve your business goals. Plan what you are going to need, in terms of investment and tools. In terms of investment, you might need to upgrade your computer for a better one, or you might need to purchase another computer to sustain your business operations. The investment requirements will differ based on the nature of your Internet home based business. In terms of tools, since there are a lot of resources available to you on the Internet, plan which resources can help your business. Do you need to set up a blog site, or join forums to advertise your site? If so, in what way should you advertise? These are just some of the things you should already lay out in detail before you even get started.
PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE
Once your Internet home based business is under way, the next thing you need to do is to advertise! There are plenty of ways to advertise on the Internet. You can set up a blog and write articles about your products. You can join forums and post website ads in various sites that your target customers often visit. You can exchange links with other sites to drive traffic to yours. You can post pictures and videos of your products on your site, your blog, and in forums. Also, master the art of search engine optimization to lure people to your website, and thus, to your product. The more visitors you get, the more potential customers you have!
BUILD A CUSTOMER BASE
Just as any actual business will not succeed without a loyal customer base, you also have to build a customer base for your Internet home based business. It is important to build a relationship with those who transact business from you. Chances are that they can even bring in more customers because of their contacts. Social networking is yet another concept that is very popular on the Web, and it will pay to take advantage of the social networking sites and communities online. There are a lot of social networking sites on the Web, such as Facebook and Myspace, which can help increase your customer base. When you have a loyal customer base, coupled with a social network that continues to bring in more and more customers, your Internet home based business will be unstoppable!
The arena where your Internet home based business will perform in may be different from the conventional marketing world, but the same rules applies. No business will be successful without careful planning, focused goals, a loyal customer base, and a source of customers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that once you put your business on the Internet, it will grow on its own. The Internet is as wide as the world we live in, and your Internet home based business will only be successful if you’re ready for a challenge
You have nurtured your idea, created a business plan, and secured financing. Now for the make-it or break-it question: How do you continue to grow your business year-after-year?
Building a better “mousetrap” doesn’t guarantee that the world will beat a path to your door. And, contrary to the inspiring message in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” there are no assurances that, “If you build it, they will come.” Increasing demand for your products/services and growing your business is realized by the creation and implementation of well-defined strategies.
Two major factors of marketing are the recruitment of new customers (acquisition) and the retention and expansion of relationships with existing customers (customer relationship management). Once you have converted the prospective buyer, customer relationship management (CRM) takes over. The process for CRM shifts from that of being the marketer, to that of being a builder of relationships. Building customer relationships involves nurturing the links between you and your customer, enhancing the benefits that sold your customer in the first place, and continuously improving the product/service in order to protect your business from competitive advancements.
The marketplace is ever changing; therefore, a marketing strategy that works today does not necessarily mean that the same strategy will work in the future. These changing environments necessitate the need to continually analyze and measure the results of each and every one of your promotional efforts. A system that tracks and monitors incoming sales inquiries, by the lead source, is imperative.
The basis of your business development strategy is the recognition of the concept that marketing is a process and not an event. Building a business is, in fact, building a brand. Building your brand is a process that consistently broadcasts your message through a number of different channels to a targeted audience. The trap in event marketing is that it creates the effect of start and stop marketing and produces gaps in the frequency of your promotional efforts.
The need for a written marketing plan is critical. The American Marketing Association (AMA) states, “Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives”. Your marketing plan is your road map that guides you through the marketing process.
There is a variety of ways to generate greater demand for your business. Whether you are starting a new business or jumpstarting an existing one, you need to identify at what stage of the business life-cycle your company is currently in. This information will impact your choice of strategies.
Here are twenty (20) effective business-building practices:
Review your unique selling proposition: The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is your biggest marketing weapon and the key to differentiating your business. What is a USP? In essence, it is a simple statement that sums up the unique features, benefits and value that you provide, that no one else can. You arrive at your USP after you identify the features, benefits, and advantages of your company’s products/services. After you apply the same process to each of your competitors’ products/services, then compare and isolate the elements that distinguish you from your competition.
Establish a marketing communication budget:: Determining and allocating a specific amount of money to fund your marketing strategy cannot be overstated. Whether you use the affordability method, percentage-of-sales method, competitive-parity method, or objective-and-task method to determine the amount of your marketing budget, you must pre-establish an amount of money that you will spend on marketing activities to achieve your sales/revenue projections.
Incorporate integrated marketing communications: A management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing must work together as a unified force. In practice, the goal of IMC is to create and sustain a single look and message in all elements of your marketing campaign.
Utilize indirect marketing: Needless to say, putting more “boots-on-the-ground” in your sales and marketing activities can pay huge dividends. Some of the more popular indirect marketing methods are networking, strategic alliances, independent sales representatives, affiliate marketers, and dealers/distributors.
Ask for referrals: You know the importance of referrals. But, if you do not continually ask for referrals, you will not generate them. It makes good business sense to always ask for referrals. Just ask your customer if they may know of other companies that could utilize your products/ services. You may be pleasantly surprised by their reply.
Explore different markets: If your products/services are presently being sold to one or two different markets, then it is time to explore the opportunities that may be available to you in other markets. A little brainstorming with your staff about this often produces a good “hit list”. As they say, “think outside the box”.
Consider additional channels of distribution: There are a number channels of distribution that may work for you. For example, selling direct, such as via mail order, Internet and telephone sales. Companies also use sales agents who sell on their behalf and/or
distributors (also called wholesalers) who sell their products to retailers. And finally, there may be possibilities of selling direct to retailers and end users.
Expand your geographic reach: Additional channels of distribution are often needed for you to expand geographically. You may want to consider the possibility of franchising or licensing others to promote and sell your products?
Increase product/service offerings: This is a very common method to increase sales/revenues. Important considerations when evaluating a new product/service offering are: Can the new product/service be sold to your existing customer base? Does the new product/service complement your existing products/services?
Differentiate your business: Differentiating your business means that you define your company in relationship to the competition and that you communicate to your customers the value added benefits of doing business with you, versus doing business with your competition. Differentiating your business also means that you continuously make improvements to sustain a leadership position.
Identify your customers’ competitors: A great source for new prospective customers is your customers’ competition. In most cases, these competing companies have the same or similar needs as that of your existing customers.
Survey your customers: In order to effectively differentiate your business, you need to look at your business from your customers/prospects’ perspectives. A customer survey is a great avenue for your customers to express their opinions, to air their complaints, and to voice their satisfaction with your business. The information collected from a customer survey provides the foundation for your marketing strategy.
Profile your competitors: A competitive analysis lists your leading competitors. It summarizes their products and services, promotional strategies, distribution methods, strengths and weaknesses, locations, offerings, prices, and branding. A competitive analysis also outlines strategies for gaining an edge and defines a course of action to take in order to keep competitors out of your market. The analysis helps you expose the competitor’s weaknesses and areas of vulnerability. With this information, you are better equipped to craft competitive and marketing strategies that you may choose to fine tune your brand and your messaging.
Acquire new customers: This is a given…your business cannot sustain itself without the addition of new customers. New customer acquisition is a process that combines market data with direct marketing tools to identify and reach high-potential prospects and convert those prospects into customers.
Mining your existing customers: It is far less expensive to generate additional business from your existing customer base than it is to generate new business from new customers. A regular review of your customers’ buying history and frequency of purchases can reveal some interesting facts about your customers’ buying habits.
Create customer loyalty programs: As the marketplace continues to be more competitive, more and more businesses are offering loyalty programs. These programs help to transform first-time customers into repeat customers by rewarding them with incentives, coupons, certificates or discounts.
Up-sell: Capitalize on the untapped value of your existing customers by promoting related or more expensive products/services. As an example, your customer who regularly buys golf balls is a strong candidate to purchase golf clubs, apparel and other golf accessories. Make a routine practice of recommending additional items that can be added to your customer’s order.
Merge or acquire a competitor: The benefit of combining your company with another company creates an immediate sales growth opportunity simply from the acquisition of their existing customer base. And everything else being equal, the new “combination business” should have the potential to become even more profitable than the two businesses operating independently. This potential for increased profitability comes as a direct result of both sales increases and operational efficiencies (opportunities to reduce total costs) that accrue from combining the two businesses.
Use SWOT analysis: SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is an assessment technique that paints an accurate picture of how your business stacks up based on those four factors. SWOT can identify your venture’s pros and cons, so that you can align internal strengths and weaknesses with external opportunities and threats. This exercise is essential to sound strategic planning. With SWOT, you can identify and prioritize the issues that will accelerate success.
Revisit lost customers: According to the research in the book, Customer Winback How to Recapture Lost Customers and Keep Them Loyal, written by Jill Griffin and Michael Lowenstein, a firm has a 60% to 70% chance of successfully repeat-selling to an active customer. A 20% to 40% chance of successfully repeat-selling to a lost customer and only a 5% to 20% chance of successfully closing the sale on a brand new customer. These statistics suggest that a key opportunity exists for businesses to increase or maintain a customer base by mining and evaluating their database of defected customers. Bernd Stauss and Christian Friege make this argument even more convincing in a case study entitled, Regaining Service Customers. Their findings show that the net return on investment from a new customer obtained from an external list is 23% compared with a 214% return on investment from the reinstatement of a customer who has defected.
Bonus Item. Dead prospect files: Dig out your old prospect files and make a “hit list” comprised of all of the old prospects that you think may still have life. Contact each one of them. Express your wish to discuss their present-day wants and needs, as well as, the opportunity to explore the possibility of you servicing their needs.
Which of the above business-building practices have you, can you, or will you implement in your business development strategy?
Cash Flows . Timing Is Everything When It Comes To Financing Business Cash Flow And Capital Management
Working Capital is an area of business that requires solutions that revolve around timing. Timing is everything when it comes to the fundamental problem of managing and solving the cash flow conundrum!Let’s examine some of those solutions using the example of a company trying to grow… which is what it’s all about is it not?!
This is when what we could call your ‘ cash flow cycle ‘ needs to be both understood… and addressed. That’s because the concept of timing has just kicked in … your have produced your goods or provided your services and a specific amount of time has lapsed as you now generate revenues via invoicing… and wait for payment. It’s no secret that that whole cycle varies between each company and industry. But whether your cycle is 30 days or 120 days the effects of that timing require certain activities to be financed.
The timing around this cycle, as well as the solutions that your bring to bear makes or breaks your overall liquidity and solvency – aka ‘ Survival’!Example of the need to finance that cycle are should be quite clear – your firm must buy supplies or inventory, at the same time taking on payables. Wages and salaries must be covered and then you’re in the waiting game when it comes to delivery and acceptance of your goods and services, as well as final payment from your clients based on your credit terms. It’s therefore no secret to the business owner to see that using our example it can easily take those 30-120 days for a dollar to in effect flow through your company.
Again… it’s ‘ timing’!When you look at your balance sheet you see that the ratios of current assets and liabilities have also changed dramatically. You’re unfortunately less liquid and this can only be solved by financing the shortages you have carried. Of course your customer could pre pay you in advance for orders, or pay you ‘ cash on delivery ‘ but that’s not the perfect world we dream about.Financing business cash flow is all about monetizing and managing your assets.
Solutions in Canada include:
Commercial bank lines of credit
Asset based lines of credit
Sale lease backs
Tax credit monetization
Purchase Order and Supply Chain financing
Utilize one or a combination of solutions to manage the ‘ patterns’ of financing that your business needs. Seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist your with putting together a solution that addresses the timing of cash flows and capital in your business.
This is perhaps a factor that affects both normal and strange businesses alike. As a matter of fact, when a business is helmed by a person that does not have the necessary skills to run it, it will be doomed for failure from the start. Technically, the manager should have the capacity to identify proper flow of cash in and out of the business. Ideally, a leader should be one that is adept in basic accounting. This is to ensure the business, regardless whether it is strange or not, is still earning enough income.
Most of the strange businesses are able to become successful simply because they adapt to the current presence in the market. As a company, they have to be flexible to the demands of their clients. As they are weird, they must be competent to work with any changes. For example, take a murder scene clean-up business; the employees must be able to adapt to the rules set by the local law enforcement. After all, some of the materials being cleaned up could potentially become evidence to the crime.
Current Economic Performance
Businesses succeed because anyone can afford to pay for the products and services being offered. A typical strange business will often be considered as worthless if the market does not see it as useful. Hence, its market must be competent to afford the services offered. When the current economic slump is present, more than probably the clients will not be capable to afford the services. Typically, if unemployment is quite high, then the market will most likely be unable to avail of the services. Plus, the economy becomes a factor to the success of strange businesses because of associated overhead costs.
Uniqueness and Distinction
Notably, most of the strange businesses are considered as success stories because they are distinct from others. Essentially, it means they are probably the sole business in the area that provides the product or service. As long as one markets his business to be the only player in the market, then most likely customers will flock on the doors of the company. However, it is important to remember that a business will only succeed as long as there is the demand for it. Hence, no matter how unique and different the company may be if there is no demand, then most likely it will fail.
Often, the success rate of strange businesses is always dependent on how a person will be able to market it. Plus, it comes down to how the people will like the products offered. As a whole, whether it may be a normal or a weird industry that one is working with, it comes down to determination and skills.
Even during a recession, business keeps getting done. The question really is whether or not you are going to shift your mindset to one who leverages opportunity instead of someone victimized by the winds of chance. If youre like most people, you would rather shift than suffer.
Here are some tips on how you can identify great business opportunities and begin to apply them to your life so you can enjoy success because of, instead of in spite of, the economic challenges of the day.
Look for industries that everyone needs regardless of their economic situation
By identifying industries that need help providing the day to day services that everyone needs food, shelter, clothing, day to day amenities of sustenance, and health care you will likely find ways to either find a job or identify a market you can serve with your talents.
Find companies that offer products for managing tough economic times
Look for companies that supply temp workers, handle business liquidations, or provide comfort items such as counseling services. They are all going to need help for the extra business they are flooded with.
Try brokering excess inventories through barter or trade
Act as the liaison between people who want to buy excess inventories and people who have them. If you build a network, you can end up getting some of the things you need directly easily.
Offer education, retraining, and tutoring
With people out of work, sometimes from industries that wont rebound due to shifts in technology, you can offer paid classes that help retrain an obsolete workforce.
Package your own products in a new and interesting way
If youre already in business selling products, try bundling them in a new, creative way. Make working with you more convenient, more complete, easier and more efficient than working with someone else.
Establish joint venture relationships that provide synergy
By partnering with another business person to offer both of your client bases more value, you both win and all of your clients win too.
Become a consultant
Many people who get laid off can go back to work as independent contractors for their old employers. It saves the employer benefit costs and you can often charge even more per hour than you used to get paid via a salary
For a very small amount, you can launch a website, sell products, promote your site and begin making money. Lots of people want to try something new during tough times you could sell them what they need to make a change.
Dont forget the needs of the wealthy
Affluent individuals who were more in cash than debt are open to finding great bargains and continuing to live their lifestyle. They see this economic time as an opportunity to get in low. You can cater to that.
Invest in you by starting your own business
By investing in your own business, instead of being subjected to the whims of an employer who can lay you off, you can choose your destiny. Bu establishing an additional revenue stream that allows you choices, you have more freedom.
When beginning your online business you should utilize all the help you may get, and the federal government is usually a great supply for assistance. You could surprise in what ways can they allow you to get started. Listed here are three areas the federal government presents help in getting your new business off the ground.
You want money to start out your corporation and the government can assist you get the cash you need in ways. First option supplied could be a loan. The federal government has lots of of tens of millions of dollars in authorities funding set up for small business and entrepreneurs. There are loans created particularly for low-revenue companies, handicapped people, military veterans and more. The second possibility for funds could be one of the fifteen hundred grants which can be accessible via fifty- authorities agencies. The grants are separated and grouped by state and business category. Such classes embrace but will not be restricted to agriculture, general enterprise and real estate. You can too discover grant money for analysis and development of your business. Many of those grants start at five thousand dollars and can finish in the six figures. Best of all these shouldn’t have to be paid back. It’s like receiving free money.
So you already know that money may be found, however what about different assistance. The federal government has this coated also. They offer assistance for small enterprise enlargement, growth and renovation. There are fifteen hundred authorities sources to provide the needed assistance for small businesses. A place to start out searching for this data would be the SBA, or small enterprise administration office. You could find this in your cellphone e-book, online or the help desk at your local library. By means of the federal government you may obtain counseling, training to improve expertise to help manage and function your business. There are some types and guidelines which are to be completed. For some examples of those kinds and more detailed info you may read supply books on finding authorities as well as personal foundations. These books can be found at your local library also.
Cash and assistance are now not a concern. Lastly the government gives advisory companies to you. These providers will help you in improving your management expertise and labor administration relations. This is essential knowledge when beginning business.
There may be a lot the federal government can do that will help you get your online business up and running. It’s just a matter of taking the time to search out your local sources and get the process started. Remember to benefit from these offers. It’s not everyday someone will hand you free money that may go to creating yourself more money. So don’t wait any longer, get the method started and you’ll be properly in your approach to a flourishing, profitable business.
Integrating USP to your existing business process is critical to your business success. Given that you have a state of the art, invaluable USP in your business, if it is inside your brain only, it is completely useless. Your customers should know the reason why they should buy from you but not other people, therefore it is required to expose to your target prospects that reason to buy from you. And this is the process of integrating USP to your business. In other words, if you want to make money without spending additional advertising cost, you are strongly suggested to integrate your USP to your business process.
In order to do that, it is assumed that you have already had the USP ready. And here is the steps of promoting your USP.
1. Get more prospects using USP: In your existing advertisement channel like Yellow pages, PPC, banner ads or facebook ads, put your USP in the advertisment. Rather than doing “putting your name out there” advertisment, give a reason to customer on why should they buy from you. You can say something like: “Providing the most variety of jewelry collection in town”, “Guarantee satisfied hair cut in 15 mins for only $7.”.
2. Train your sales people: you can ask your sales people what is your company’s USP and listen to their answer. Their answers may surprise you! Usually the top sales in the company got the USP right (it is also the reason why he/she is top sales!). Therefore you can optimize your sales force by telling them to sell your company products and service with your USP. Given the USP is in every sales pitch presented from your sales, you may easily get 5% – 10% increase in sales by converting more prospects to customer.
By the way, to make sure that your sales are doing the work, setting up tracking and rewarding program to see improvements before and after applying USP.
3. Get your existing customer to buy more from you: Packaging your existing products and services to make it unique across the industry is another way to generate more sales. While you create that packages, it is another USP of you and you simply up-sell them to this package. Provided that your offer is valuable enough according to your customer’s perspective, you will get more sales from existing customers.
4. Referral: If you are doing a good job in integrating USP, you can go one step further by providing another bonus or value added service to your existing customers if they get 3 people to join your list. Since you are providing value to your customer, they will be happy to promote you in return, and you will get viral effect for your business, simply by creating and integrating your USP!
To conclude, you need to put your USP out of your brain and have it in everywhere of your business. Both your advertisment and your sales people should know your USP is and presenting them clearly. Integrating USP can increase your conversion rate of your business and hence get more sales and make more money from it.