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?
When trying to run a successful business, many people will offer bits of obvious advice. However, there is no logic in considering the advice of people who have never been in your shoes. It will be more beneficial to heed the words of a person like Jeff Usner, an experienced business owner who is responsible for his own immense success using tools like the Internet.
As the founder of numerous businesses who has brought his net worth from six-figure debt to six-figure revenue, Jeff is a man you can trust. He knows what it is like to be starting from the ground up, and by being resourceful, he has been quite successful. He generated systems for sales that are responsible for such large net profits and implemented the necessary technological tools; now he wants you to do the same.
Success like this does not need to seem like a freak accident anymore. He is making it easy for anyone and everyone who is interested to get their hands on valuable business plans and marketing information. Simply follow him on his social networks and pay his website a visit to sign up for his mailing lists. This way, you can receive all his latest news and information about products and training.
For example, he is responsible for the creation of ProfitHub, which is a comprehensive program that trains its users on the Internet as a resource. You can learn everything from strategies to branding to creating websites with this product all information that is vital to online business growth. It is the perfect blueprint for online business strategy, which is what makes it so ideal it contains everything necessary for getting started.
He even makes himself personally available to anyone who wants to have an in-person consultation with him. This will make it easy to ask questions, have the strategies and skills laid out in front of you, and be informed about his events. Whether you want to meet him one-on-one or with a small group, he is available for scheduling, and it is often these types of meetings that make or break a persons success.
The way technology is advancing, there is no way around it: the Internet is soon going to be your most important resource for running a business, if it is not already. It can help create a clientele base, bring in consumer traffic, advertise, spread information, and much more. Since Jeff Usner is experienced in using it as a tool and puts all the necessary knowledge within your reach, everyone should seize the opportunity.
Many small business owners take shortcuts when it comes to security. They may not think they have the money to invest in a security system, or they may think that theyre not a target. However, this negligence is precisely the reason many burglars and other criminals go after small businesses. Here are 7 steps every small business owner should take to keep their clients and employees safe.
Not all criminals strike at night when the building is deserted. In fact, many prefer to slip in unnoticed through a side door during the day. Teach your employees to pay attention to your property and report any strangers who are lingering nearby. CCTV in Calaveras, CA, is a good way of monitoring your property at all times, and you can usually access it from work or home.
Maintain Your Building
Criminals will assume that your building is an easy target if you dont put an effort into keeping it well maintained. Long grass, weeds, graffiti, and other signs of neglect are signs that you cut corners when it comes to expenses and probably dont have a security system installed. Overgrown trees and bushes also provide good hiding places for criminals to conduct surveillance on your building while theyre planning a way to get in. Keep the exterior of your building clean and well lit to encourage burglars to try a different target.
Keep Emergency Plans Handy
Your building should have a written set of instructions for emergency situations posted in an area where all employees can access it. This should include steps for dealing with natural disasters and phone numbers of the local police and fire department. Review these plans with your employees regularly, and discuss what they should do in the event of a burglary or another crime.
Keep Track of Your Keys
The fewer keys to your building, the better. Make copies only for those who absolutely need them, and make sure you have a list of everyone who has a key. Tell your employees to be careful with the keys, especially in public places like the gym or Laundromat. If you lose track of a key, have the locks changed just to be on the safe side.
Dont Advertise Your Cash
Never let on to your customers how much money you have in the store. Your employees dont need to see you counting cash at the end of the day. Make regular deposits at the bank, and never leave large amounts of cash in your store overnight, even in a safe.
Protect Your Computers
Your computers contain sensitive information about your business and your clients, and its important to take steps to keep them safe. Use firewalls to prevent communication with other networks and block people from hacking into your system. Limit computers in your building to official use only–your employees shouldnt be using them to check their personal emails or surf the Internet. They may accidentally stumble onto something that could compromise the safety of your computers. Give every employee their own individual login so that you can keep them accountable for anything that happens while theyre logged on.
Invest in a Security System
A security system is usually the best defense against burglars, and it can also help keep your building safer from natural disasters like fire. Most burglars look for easy targets where they wont be caught, and will avoid your store if they know that its protected by a security company. This is especially true if they think theyll be recorded by CCTV in Calaveras, CA. If someone does break in, your security company can alert you and the police instantly, giving the police the best chance of apprehending the trespasser.
In November 2004, talk radio host Tom Martino picked up the phone on his consumer-advice show. Unhappy Washington state resident Melissa Feroglia was calling to complain about a jet ski she had purchased in Boring, Oregon at John and Susan Gardner’s Mount Hood Polaris. Unfortunately for the Gardners, Martino’s show was nationally syndicated.
Feroglia told Martino that her jet ski had broken down again and again. According to Feroglia, John Gardner had first promised to refund her money, but had then said that her ski jet was fixed and there would be no refund. Feroglia concluded her woes by telling Martino that at that point the weather was too cold. She would have to wait until spring to try out her jet ski.
Martino, in the flip and annoying way of many talk show hosts who could not be bothered with the facts, then told Feroglia that Gardner was lying to her. Martino and Martino’s producer continued the saga by telling us of a cycle we are all far too familiar with: Calling the shop, being told to contact the manufacturer, contacting the manufacturer, and being told to call the shop again. We don’t know if their tale was true or not.
We do know that Martino said, “Polaris sucks.” The situation further spiraled out of control as Martino encouraged his listeners to contact Mount Hood Polaris and the manufacturer and tell them that they would never again buy any Polaris products.
John and Susan Gardner sued after their phone lines were flooded and they were threatened. The Gardner’s lawsuit stated that people driving by the store for several weeks shouted insults and the store lost approximately $600,000 in business. A judge dismissed their suit and in April a federal appeals court upheld the dismissal. According to the federal appeals court, this was basically not slander because reasonable talk show listeners do not expect facts on talk shows like Martino’s, just opinions. Without facts, there cannot be slander.
In the eyes of the law, any damage to the Gardners’ business and reputation was due to Martino’s opinion, not to any false fact or facts. Given that this damage could not have been caused by reasonable talk show listeners, the Gardners have no recourse. No law protects businesses from talk show hosts who urge unreasonable talk show listeners to damage the business.
Tom Martino has more critics than just the Gardners. His critics are concerned by the “Troubleshooter Referral List,” a list of businesses that Martino endorses. A business can join Martino’s list by paying a $3,000 fee and agreeing to a code of ethics. This code includes agreeing to let Martino decide disputes with consumers and follow his decisions. Martino also personally endorses business products and services on the air for payment. Critics question Tom Martino’s being a creditable consumer advocate due to the very substantial fees he earns from his endorsements.
Martino apparently enjoys both sides of the street. He appears to profit as an entertainer masquerading as a consumer advocate. He also appears to profit as a businessperson selling endorsements that appear to make him a pseudo consumer advocate. Unfortunately, his audience does not appear to notice that he is a pseudo consumer advocate. He is not the real thing.
Perhaps some day we will have a law that holds talk radio hosts liable for inflaming audiences that can reasonably be expected to cause damage. Until then, businesses savaged by Tom Martino will continue to occur damages, both justified and unjustified. In the final analysis, we have no idea if the Gardners were fine upstanding business people or not. We don’t know anything about their business practices. We can definitely state that it would have required some very bad business practices for $600,000.00 in damages to have been a fair penalty. We can conclude two things from this: We need laws to handle situations like this and we need to watch out for Tom Martino and other talk show hosts like him.
Starting an Ameriplan business is a very popular opportunity right now and many people are interested in giving it a try. Opening a restaurant or another traditional business can cost thousands of dollars and requires a business license; along with a great amount of knowledge about the field you are getting into. Ameriplan is cheap to start and doesnt require a license, so its a great way to get your feet wet in personal business. They deal with discount health and dental programs, so there is a great need for what they provide. This all sounds great, until you actually get started and realize that you have no idea what to do next.
There are thousands of different ways to advertise and most people stick to the basics, like flyers and business cards. Finding customers is the most difficult part of any business and success or failure depends on your ability to find them and close the deal. The most common way that beginners get customers is to go get them one by one, but when you advertise they begin to come to you. Everyone is familiar with the internet, but few people know how to run their business with it. Like regular advertising there are thousands of ways to advertise online, and finding the way that works for you can launch your business to all new heights.
I cant possibly describe all the ways to advertise online, so instead I will describe some of the ways that worked in the past. The best thing to remember is to go where the people are, but most other IBOs havent gone yet. Years ago, an IBO named Bill Bertha began using Pay Per Click advertising on Yahoo and Google and made a killing. He paid for a sponsored result spot under the Ameriplan keyword so that when people went to a search engine and typed in Ameriplan they found his website right at the top. To this day he has signed up more members than almost anyone else ever has, but other IBOs eventually caught on to this method and its no longer cheap or easy to try this.
Craigs list and other free classified ads were big for awhile, but now they are flooded with spam and other business opportunities. One of the ways that I have seen recently is to purchase a banner ad in your local area online newspaper. There are still many opportunities to use this method if you are willing to pay for the banner ad but as soon as you have to compete with another IBO in your local area, the price will go up. Another way that still works is social networking sites like the many work at home mom websites. On these websites, many people come together looking for good ways to make money from home and save money on their families benefits. Finding new websites where future entrepreneurs come together will work perfectly for people just getting started, and they are free to talk to people on.
As old ways of online advertising go out of style, there are always new ways replacing them. Millions of people are currently obsessed with sites like My space and Twitter, but its only a matter of time before someone figures out how to use them. Having a good feel for where people are flocking to on the internet can give you the upper hand, but if you dont use the internet much you may want to stick with what you know. Advertising in the real world always works, but the internet changes every day. If you see a good opportunity to advertise your Ameriplan business online, jump on it because it may not work tomorrow!
Being a business team leader can be a very daunting task. Almost always you will find that your team consists of very diverse individuals. As a team leader it is your responsibility to motivate your team members towards a common goal. This can be very difficult when your team members each have their very own strengths, weaknesses and conflicts. In this article we will discuss how to recognize the four main personality types by color so that you can better understand the needs of your team members on an individual basis.
As a leader you will quickly notice how well your team works together once you have identified the individual strengths of each team member. Also, by recognizing each individual’s strengths you will know which task they will naturally excel in. This will lead to better delegation on your part which will ultimately build a stronger, more efficient, stream lined team. You will also find that you are able to communicate better once you recognize each team member’s needs, work ethics and values. Your team members will notice the change in how you are leading them and in turn be even more motivated to reach their goals.
Below is a short overview of the four main personality colors Orange, Blue, Gold and Green. Each color will be listed with the working styles, personality types and values attributed to it.
The Orange personality works well with other people in a healthy team work environment encouraging competition and camaraderie. They are very creative and highly energetic and do well with action oriented tasks. They love having the freedom to use their skills and show off their abilities. An Orange personality does have a difficult time dealing with too much structure or management. They tend to feel blocked and have a difficult time functioning if they feel they are being micro-managed. Time consuming and prolonged administrative tasks can difficult for the Orange where they may feel impatient and bored.
The Blue personality is a very social type. They love making friends and having a strong social network is very important to them. This makes them very good at building relationships with clients, customers, coworkers and employers. The Blue personality can be very sensitive to conflicts or strong competition but will thrive in any positive, service orientated atmosphere.
The Gold personality is a very serious individual and is so with their work responsibilities. They like to be part of a successful and productive team where they can continually contribute. They love receiving rewards, incentives and positive recognition. The Gold personality tends to need a great deal of structure where time lines should be enforced and expectations made very clear. They look to their leaders for constant reassurance on how well they are doing.
A Green personality lacks in people skills. They love facts, data, research, and anything analytical. You will find that they are almost always seen as an expert in whatever interests them. Most of those interests will be complex systems, data analysis, statistics, or design. The Green personality’s weakness can be the lack of follow through and tend to be quite rude in some social scenes.
By recognizing the personality colors of each of your team members you will have the ability to meld your team into a well coordinated, unified group. Your leadership skills will shine as you delegate tasks to each team member according to their strengths and expertise. Remember, a well harmonized team is a team made for nothing but success.