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?
Facts Regarding Reputation Management If you get this thing right, then you must develop a good reputation for your business so by that, whenever has seen your logo, they will be moved to make an order. Obviously, this does not always go according to plan and at times, you will find that your clients are making life hard for you or, that you have a bad day and drop the ball. When such thing happens, you may find yourself easily accumulating negative reviews and worst, developing bad reputation. This is basically the downside of brand and opposite of what you’re looking for. And when this sort of thing happens, you can utilize a technique known as reputation management to be able to fix your reputation and to get back on track. Reputation management could be done via statements and interviews but in this modern era, it is typically referring to a form of SEO or search engine optimization. The question now is, when someone starts searching for your brand, what they will find and is it good? There are basically 3 outcomes for this, one is that your business does not show up at all, your business may show up but because of negative reviews or perhaps, your business will show up and looks good. In reality, SEO is a kind of technique that gets any given page or site to top of search engine rankings. What this mean is, when someone is looking for your brand over the web, you will be able to define what will come up first.
Lessons Learned About Options
Obviously, your site will come up is the best case scenario. By doing this the right way, you will have total control of first impression that people is going to get regarding your business and determine what they read about you.
Services: 10 Mistakes that Most People Make
This can be done in a number of different ways like by filing your page with many relevant content, finding keywords and insert them to your content and lastly, building links. You must be sure that you list your business to various online directories like Google My Business and anything relevant. What’s more, you must be certain that you have more positive reviews than negatives. You might have to perform SEO techniques to get positive reviews to get this done. Question here is how to get it done. Whether you believe it or not, there are numerous strategies that could be done like by providing the best business or service possible so people’s experience will be a good one. It is a good idea as well to request them to leave a positive review.
How Can You Find A Dependable Copier Repair Service? If you are looking for a dependable copier repair service out there, this article is a good read for you in order to know the factors you can consider in looking for one. If you own a company, all the more you need the service of a good copier repair service out there. When it comes to finding a good copier repair service for your business, it is important that you don’t settle for something less. A good copier repair service is one that will be there always whenever you need help in replacing the ink of your cartridges. If you choose a good copier repair service for your company, you can keep it running always. Aside from that, having the best service man for the copier repair service is important so that he or she will be there quickly whenever you need help. This kind of service is very beneficial to offices that have only one copier with many crews using it. It is important that there is immediate help in case the copier fails and all departments are depending on it. In order to avoid this, you need to make sure that all copiers are properly running. You need immediate help whenever there is a need to replace the cartridges so that productivity will not go down. Productivity can surely go down when people start lining up at just one copier. Because of this, you need to make sure that it continues to work properly so that productivity will not decrease. If you want to keep your copiers running properly, you must have it maintained every week by a good copier repair service. The reason why maintaining the condition of your copier is important is because most workloads rely on them. One of the benefits you can get from copiers is copying documents for litigation. Aside from that, copiers are also used to scan some files. Aside from that, you can also send and receive mails just by using copiers which are needed for your office. Aside from that, you need someone from the copier repair service who knows how to replace the empty cartridges with new inks.
4 Lessons Learned: Repairs
Aside from that, you also need to make sure that there will be no delays when it comes to asking help from a service technician. If there would be delays, repair will become longer and copiers will not be running well right away. If your company expects lots of mails to receive in a day, this can surely affect your business and productivity. In other words, copiers that are running properly are very important for every business out there.A Quick Overlook of Services – Your Cheatsheet
Why Schools Need Security Systems One who owns a school might know that, together with all the important things he or she must deal with, security for the students and the staff is of primary importance. For students and for teachers and other members of staff alike, there have proven to be dangers to security from all areas, from vandalism to violence. For the responsible administrator, it is good to know that because of modern technology, ensuring the safety of a school has become much easier and more convenient than it was in the past. When you purchase a modern security system for your school, you will be happy to know that the price you pay for it will be worth it, as there are many things that you can gain from taking this important step. When one decides that a security system is the best thing for the school he or she runs, one will be able to enjoy the benefit of the fact that installing a modern security system is very easy. This was not true of the older analog systems, which required technicians to spend time installing them. Today, almost anyone can install a modern security system, as these systems have been designed to be user-friendly and very easy to install, making it possible for people to save both time and money. When one decides that the best step to take to ensure security within the premises of a school is to install a good security system, one will be happy to know that he or she will be able to achieve just that benefit. If you have experienced some kind of vandalism or violence within the school that you are running, you might have noticed that these occurred when there was minimum supervision, when the people who caused these acts felt that they were not being watched closely. On the other hand, when cameras are constantly monitoring every aisle of the school, people might not be as brave and daring to commit the acts which cause harm to others.
Learning The Secrets About Resources
Last but not least, school administrators will benefit wonderfully when they purchase a good security system for their schools, as when they do so, they will be able to enjoy its many modern features. For instance, if you cannot be at the school because you need to be somewhere else, you can still watch what is going on through the internet, making your life more convenient and the security of your establishment wonderfully easy to maintain.
If You Read One Article About Options, Read This One
When all has been said, it is clear to see that school security systems are a must for every establishment today.
What to Consider when Buying Patio Heaters Patio heaters are those that are usually placed outside in the patios. They help in providing favorable conditions in the patios for people to stay in. People sitting in the patio during the cold seasons are also kept warm. Purchasing of patio heaters require that some factors be put into consideration. This is to ensure that the heaters work effectively. An example of the factors to be put into consideration is portability of the heaters. People should be able to move the heater form one end to the other within the patio. This will enable them to adjust temperatures within the patios. It also becomes possible for people to move the heaters inside the house during bad weather. This is to prevent them from getting damaged. Such heaters should therefore be light so that people get to carry them around easily. The patio heaters should also be energy efficient. They will therefore be less expensive to operate. This will ensure that people do not spend a lot of money in catering for energy costs. It would be more efficient if people buy solar powered patio heaters. Electrical energy is therefore saved. They should not only be energy efficient but should also be capable of producing desired energy.
The Essentials of Heaters – Breaking Down the Basics
People should also consider durability of the patio heaters. The heaters should be made from materials that do not easily get damaged. Different materials can cause damage to the heaters while in the patios. They should be made from metals that are resistant to rust. They will therefore last for long. Changes in weather elements should also not affect them. Added to these, they should also have a protective covering to prevent them from getting damaged.
Lessons Learned from Years with Sales
Controlling the patio heaters should also be easy for people. If they have remote controls, it will be easy for people to control them without having to move. How they operate should also be easily understood by people. This gives people an easy time controlling them. They will not have to constantly contact electricians for help. There should also be a clear way of putting it on and off without having to go through a lot of trouble. People should also consider the prices of the heaters. People should always ensure that they go to qualified stores when getting these heaters. The most expensive ones usually have a higher durability and long life. Problems will also not be experienced soon after the heaters are purchased. It is also important to ensure that they are installed by people who are qualified. By going through the internet, people will be able to find the most efficient patio heaters. They can as well go through the products and services reviews of the various companies that deal with their production to enable tem select the best.
In the fast paced modern retail world, it is imperative that companies stay abreast of the latest technology. This is true in all industries, and retail stores are no exception. One of the first industries to embrace business transaction management (BTM) was in fact the retail industry.
Early Adaption to BTM Solutions
There are many reasons that retail stores quickly jumped on the potential shown by business transaction management. One of the most important and impressive reasons for adopting this technology into IT system’s management was that BTM was and still is very efficient in what it can produce. It makes the running of the complex IT systems behind a retail store much more effective by reducing the MTTR (mean-time-to-repair) and MTBF (mean-time-between-failures) for software problems; thus, keeping operational expenditures lower than would otherwise be possible.
BTM can auto discover and then monitor all the transactions and their dependencies in a retail order process flow. For example, it discovers the applications that check inventory, captures an order, validates the order, calculates shipping and tax, takes payment and the integrations of retail order process with demand management, fulfillment, and ERP. For each of these applications it monitors in real-time the transactions they invoke and their outcomes.
BTM is attractive because it can be tailored specifically for any size of retail store. It can be scaled in terms of the features used to the needs of the business. Then as the business grows the right BTM solution has the ability to grow right with the business. This keeps cost low, as there is no need to continually replace an existing IT system or add new layers of functionality.
Instead, the retail store can activate more complex features, or simply have them added to what they already use. On top of this, BTM software lets its users monitor and reduce the number of business impacting problems from a range of infrastructure as varied as legacy applications with their roots in the 1960s to the latest SOA and cloud-based applications. This lets users attain the highest availability and performance out of their existing IT environments at the lowest cost, instead of forcing redesign, again keeping costs to a minimum and reducing the need for a much larger IT team.
Business Transaction Management and Application Performance Management
Retail stores must be able to monitor various applications and the transactions they invoke in an efficient, timely and professional manner in order to stay competitive and provide a high level of customer service. Stock levels, sales, purchases and other important data are directly related to bottom line profits.
With a high quality BTM solution in place, real time monitoring is a reality within the system. This drastically reduces any potential problems from occurring, and ensures that the response times for any bottlenecks in the system are kept to an absolute minimum.
Application performance management takes BTM one step further. APM monitors the performance of various business processes and the IT transactions that impact the supply chain. Then through the powerful correlation abilities of a complex event processing (CEP) engine, APM turns huge data sets into useable information.
This information could involve anything from supply chain management and raw materials to tracking stock levels and cash transactions. If it involves information, BTM/APM work together to keep a business’ computer connected activities flowing smoothly. As there are multiple applications required inside the IT environment, each one performing a different function, yet needing to interact with the other applications within the system, BTM/APM is the only way to maintain control. Without a BTM/APM solution high performance and constant 24/7 availability just cannot be maintained.
The Nastel AutoPilot BTM/APM Solution for Retail Stores
Nastels AutoPilot BTM/APM solution can deal with all the issues faced by retail stores. AutoPilot’s business transaction management component improves business process execution. The built-in complex event processing engine enables deep-dive diagnostics which find bottlenecks in the system before users are impacted and business processes are disrupted. This enables IT to resolve them before they cause mission critical events that impact profitability.
The application performance management component empowers retail stores with the ability to do more than maintain control of their IT environments. It allows IT to optimize the environment. All in all AutoPilot offers one of the best solutions for resolving real-time issues quickly, cutting IT infrastructure costs and keeping customer’s happyall things that impact the bottom line.