Monthly Archives: April 2014

For many entrepreneurs, sales can be the most dreadful part of operating their business. When small business owners struggle with sales it can often be attributed to lack of a sales strategy.

Here's how you can create an effective sales strategy for your small business:

Step #1: Assess Your Business

Start by taking a look at where you're at with your business. A good way to do this is through a SWOT analysis, where you write out your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats facing your small business. Take into account the business landscape you exist in, what you do well, who your competition is and your business goals. Make sure you incorporate your current sales budget and the amount of time you have to devote to sales. Also look at what you've already sold and what methods you used to make those sales.

Step #2: Set Sales Goals

Now that you have a clear assessment of where you're at, you can set realistic goals to get you where you want to go. Make sure your goals are specific and concrete, such as selling 50 units by the end of the year, earning three new clients by the end of the month or increasing sales by $20,000 in the next six months. As you achieve each goal, you'll re-assess your business and set new goals.

Step #3: Create a Customer Profile

Write out a description of your typical customer and fill in all possible details about them, including age, gender, education level, occupation, income and geographical location. What are their likes and dislikes? What's important to them? What do they do for fun? Where do they get their information? What benefits does your product offer them and how are they likely to find out about it?

Step #4: Select Your Tactics

Once you have a clear understanding of your customers and their habits, you can decide the best way to market to them. Take into account your sales budget and available time. Possible tactics run the gamut from traditional methods such as print advertising, radio or TV commercials, sales letters, presentations and phone calls to online methods such as social media, email blasts, website offers and banner advertisements. It is important to select tactics, or a combination of tactics, that you are comfortable with. Don't force yourself to participate in a sales method you don't enjoy or you won't do it well and you likely won't stick with it.

Step #4: Make a Plan of Attack

Put the sales tactics you have selected into a calendar. You may want to combine this part of your sales strategy into the master calendar you use to manage your ongoing projects. Make sure you are creating a healthy balance between marketing your business and your other business operations. Examples of how to calendar your sales routine include setting aside four hours every Monday afternoon to make sales calls, sending sales letters with your business card the first day of every month, changing your newspaper advertisement every six months or updating your social media accounts with new posts at 10 a.m. every morning.

Step #5: Evaluate the Results

Make sure to frequently measure your results against the goals you've set. What worked? What didn't? Learn from the experience and make changes as necessary. Your small business sales strategy is an evolving document that will change as your business grows.

Are you a San Diego entrepreneur or business owner looking to take your business to the next level? Contact me at kim@kimberlyjonesliteraryartist.com to see how my marketing writing expertise can help.

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If you are considering the purchase of an existing business, there are some things to contemplate before going through with the deal. Buying an established and successful business is a less risky way to acquire the power and freedom of owning your own company. Buying the business means buying the existing clients, knowledgeable employees, and access to the resources needed to successfully operate. However, there are also some challenges that can arise. Making yourself aware of the certain details that you should consider can prevent any unexpected roadblocks from occurring down the road. The following are some questions that you should ask yourself when buying a business.

Are you familiar with the industry?

Make sure that you are informed, knowledgeable, and up-to-date on the current standards and state of the industry you are considering. Getting into an area that you are not familiar with may not be the wisest option. The learning curve that would be required of you may be detrimental to the success of your company. Not only should you be familiar with the industry but it should be an area that you enjoy. Putting in the work and the long hours that will be demanded is much easier if you love what you are doing.

Is there adequate cash flow?

Before you purchase a company take a look at their existing cash flow. Make sure that there is enough to cover immediate expenses and any debts that you need to pay off. If you proceed with the purchase without sufficient access to incoming funds, you could be digging yourself a hole.

Is the business in a good location?

Location has been deemed one of the most important details determining the success of a business. Its physical location has a huge impact on the target market and demographic that the business can expect to attract. It is also important to consider the business location in reference to where you reside. If you have to travel long distances to work each day, it may have a negative impact on your overall happiness and the success of your business.

Why are they selling?

If an owner is selling their successful business, there is a reason. The most favorable reason to purchase is a company is because the owner is planning to retire. If this is not the case, do some research to find out the reason that they are getting out. Through your investigation, you may discover some skeletons in their closet. It is good to find these things out sooner rather than later.

Can you get out?

If you decide to purchase a business, you are relying heavily on it being a successful transaction. However, it is a good idea to implement a back-up plan in case things do not go as expected. Don't put everything that you have on the line for the purchase. Plan ahead for the chance of unexpected and unfavorable occurrences.

If done the right way, purchasing an existing company can be a great way to become your own boss while reducing the risks associated with starting your own business. On the other hand, buying a company comes with its own unique set of challenges. Before completing the purchase of a business, ask yourself these important questions. Being armed with this information will make a successful transaction more likely.

For more information or advice on buying a business, contact Vandenboss Group at http://www.vandenbossgroup.com.

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Many countries offer some attractive strategies to lure innovative entrepreneurs across the globe. The place where many colleges and universities are gathered can be a business capital of country. They are offering new start-up visa to recruit dynamic entrepreneurs to remain competitive in the global economy.

According to the survey, business capital of any country is the leader in several aspects, nothing but startup costs, business confidence, strong banking sector, education programs and good coaching that is essential for young entrepreneurs. That is why the high number of new businesses are registered which reflects high-level of confidence among entrepreneurs.

To start a new business is an enthusiastic and empowering experience. The whole journey is filled with thorns, but a satisfactory in terms of gaining control on your destiny. Proper guidance with correct information is the way to lead your success in life. A good start-up program is required to achieve unlimited success in your business.

There are many challenges in the entrepreneurship:
Identification of an exact problem
Finding an opportunity in the problem
Finalize with a solution
Conversion of an opportunity into the business idea
Unite your solution into the business plan

"Encouraging entrepreneurship is the key of Country's economic growth." It will be crucial for country's economic growth as a young generation of any country entering in the job market can realize that being rejected from the job interviews is not an end of their dream. Funds are very much important for early stage of entrepreneurship. Banks and venture capital firms both are giving good option for funding. Many conventional and non-conventional venture capital firms are there. These firms can assist you from start-up seed money to the series of investment opportunities and continuous capital support. These venture capital firms are providing start-ups for many industries such as software, computers.

Sometimes they run university start-ups to get a real business experience for business school students or for university graduates. They avoid unwieldy bureaucracies and lengthy process of decision-making to bring your goal in reality. Usually at a time only one small business through the business development, financing and consulting is the target of these firms.

A good venture capital firm adds a quality and value to their investment through the regular discussion with management, board representation, industry expertise and influential networks. The key ingredient of the success of entrepreneurship is very important to make things happen. This is to collaborate right kind of people with contacts, business intelligence, sophistication, creativity and financial ability to create new ground.

Coup Capital Management is an unconventional venture capital investment firm specially for software. Our main concern is to pair students from business school with computer science or software engineering to their innovative ideas of business development by providing venture capital.

http://www.coupcapitalmanagement.com/

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Every entrepreneurial venture starts with a good idea, evolves to a bunch of amazing ideas, and with any luck, ends up as a successful business.

But how do you move from that first idea to your final success? Here are some steps to move your dreams into reality:

Define the difference. You need to be clear about how your product is unlike other competitors.

Do your homework. Are you the first with this idea, or will you have competition? Research online, visit conferences in your industry, talk to experts and search for mentors. You don't want to discover that someone else got there first after you invest valuable time and money.

Define your customer base. Who are your product or service's early adopters? Will people choose your idea over something they already spend time and money on, or will they decide this is a brand new way to spend time and money?

Determine your resource requirements. What exactly do you need to get started? Can you build it in your basement using standard tools and materials? Can you handle the startup alone or do you need a team? How much money do you need to get your idea off the ground? Expect to spend a fair amount of time on research, checking with suppliers, and talking with industry experts and specialists.

Build a prototype. Yes, this is critical with a product, but just as important if you're offering a service. If you're creating a service, your prototype can be a process map that details customer contact points and what has to happen internally to meet customer needs. A physical prototype should be working and include a clear understanding of function, reliability and production requirements.

Do the math. No plan is complete without a thorough financial analysis. This includes a realistic and convincing revenue projection and accompanying costs. You should be able to detail the estimated break-even point and future profits. If you need help on this part, get it.

Write your plan. I'm not talking about the pitch you give potential money people, I mean your internal plan for taking your dreams all the way to the finish line. You need to have this in place for yourself, so that when you wake up tomorrow you know what to do. It will keep changing, and that's okay. In fact, it's important to maintain flexibility in your plan.

When you take the leap with your big vision, you'll either bounce, crash or fly. But one thing's for sure, you'll never find out if you don't take action.

 

What and How to Start

Most people who decide to learn how to start a business first develop a plan that will produce a product or service that they will either own or represent. Those who have the better chance to be successful are very passionate about that product or service. In other words, they will not quit when they encounter obstacles to the success that they have planned. Many business owners consider their business to be a continuous learning experience, or a journey. Aside from appealing to those who appreciate adventure, that view clearly communicates that no plan can be complete enough to predict every challenge that a business owner will face. Whether planned well or if challenges are only a lucky few and easily managed, all businesses succeed in order to survive. The Federal Tax code recognizes a business to be legitimate if it is profitable for three out of every five years.

Learn by Doing

The Federal Tax code is an excellent and understandable guide to consult when planning a business. Specifically, IRS Publication 17 acquaints business owners of every sort on how to conduct accounting that is acceptable for Federal income tax purposes. It will help you to appreciate some advantages and pitfalls of certain kinds of businesses. Physical products must be created. That requires resources, an assembly line, employees, a physical location, packaging, a market, and a way to ship the product. Depending on the product, specific Federal, State, and Local regulations and licenses may be required. An accountant, a lawyer, an office manager, and other professionals may be necessary. If you produce more product than you sell in a year, you may have to pay a local jurisdiction an inventory tax on top of the cost of producing too much product. This is a lot to take in for a business owner who has never owned a business before.

An Information Product

Most businesses require promotion, the written word, to acquaint customers with their product. Since that is a necessary step in business ownership, why not begin the business with an information product? Especially when the information is in electronic form, there are no raw materials, no assembly line, no physical location, and there is very little need to hire an employee. An e-book can be written, promoted, and sold inexpensively, yet profitably. Plus, it is a repeatable product. Write one, learn from it, and write a better one. Continue to promote and sell all of them, for they are a product line of the writer. You may not see how writing a book or any information product will support your business plan. But, you will learn to write, to promote, and to handle cash flow by practicing with information that is crafted and sold as a product. The written word will support most types of businesses. Your starter business can evolve from an e-document business into something more complex. You can evolve from the owner of a starter business to become the experienced owner of a major business. Try it.

Tony is a fiction writer and independent publisher. He released and published the first book of a three-book drama series: A Voice from New Mill Creek: The Methodists, as an e-book in September, 2012. In April, 2013, he released his first romance novel, Goodnight Paige. In July, 2013, Tony released a guidebook titled How Tony Wrote and Published Two Novels. https://www.facebook.com/tony.grayson.752 andhttp://graysonta84.wordpress.com/

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Becoming an Entrepreneur is hands down THE best way that I know for you to regain control of your own financial future. You may not realize it now, but becoming an Entrepreneur is much easier than most people have been lead to believe, and I want to show you how you can join the party.

The economy is experiencing uncertain times, you have only got to look at a newspaper or watch the TV News to know this, and it seems that no industry is immune from cutbacks, downsizing and the almost inevitable redundancies that go with them.

My story began when I was made redundant from a Job I had been doing for ten years. Unlike the majority of people who receive "The Letter", instead of being crestfallen, I was elated (seriously I was). You see for some time I had been wondering if there was more to life than getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning to go work a 10 hour shift. So when the time came, instead of being something to be feared, instead of worrying about where the next pay check was going to come from, I saw it as an opportunity to explore myself, and investigate life's possibilities.

Enough about me though, I want to share with you just a couple of the ways that you could become an Entrepreneur, and make money while making a difference to other people. You see, business these days is not just about making money, it's more about making a difference to people, namely your customers and clients. Value dear reader, is the modern currency of business.

When first starting out as an Entrepreneur, it is important that you chose a market (or topic) that you have a passion for. While it is true that you also need to have a degree of competency in your chosen field, that is something that can be improved, or even learned from scratch, whereas if you have no passion for what you do, everything you ever say, think or write about your field, will have a major lack of congruence about it and trust me, your customers WILL be able to feel it.

So here's how I recommend you go about choosing which field is a perfect match for you as an Entrepreneur.

Firstly begin by asking yourself which topics and subjects you are most passionate about. Then ask yourself what experience you have, and what results have you gotten in other areas of your life. The secret here is to list everything that comes to mind, however seemingly mundane, obvious or unrelated they may be.

Here's an example I use with my coaching clients.

You may have spent most of your twenties backpacking around South America, and still have a real passion for travel and researching new places and cultures. On the other hand, your work as an Accounts office manager has helped you to become really very adept at planning budgets for projects. As a hobby, you enjoy blogging.

These seemingly unrelated subjects could be merged together to form the basis of a Business. You could start a online business offering advice on travelling through South America. You could offer courses in planning travel budgets. You could combine your passions for travel, research, and Blogging, to become a freelance travel writer, or even review travel guides.

This is a very simple example but when you actually sit down and list your passions, experience, natural talent and results, there will always be a myriad opportunities for you to start a business as an Entrepreneur.

Andy Taylor is an experience Entrepreneur, Coach and Consultant based in England. Over the years Andy has worked with top UK brands to improve Business performance, increase Productivity and Build brands from scratch.

Through his new website http://www.expertcatalyst.com Andy will be offering FREE advice to all would be Entrepreneurs, as well as Coaching and Consultancy services.

For more information on how you can join the worldwide ranks of Entrepreneurs who are changing their lives, by taking back control of their financial destiny, please visit http://www.expertcatalyst.com

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Work from Home - Steps to Being Your Own Boss

Does your current job have you so frustrated you want to quit? Are you considering starting to work from home? If so then you have come to the right place!

Now, just to get in the right frame of mind, you don't have to hate anything about your current (or lack of) workplace... But if you do, that's OK too. The main goal then, Is to replace your current income and free yourself from having to be under the control of a "Boss." So you don't need to become a millionaire in order to get there. People have different needs, some being happy with $3,000 a month in income and some with $10,000 a month, and some others wanting $100,000. But, it is up to YOU as to what you want.

There are many different ways to get there and each person has their own style, thankfully! I can't begin to imagine another me, let alone a whole world full of me, no thanks. I'll go into that a little deeper in a little bit.

First though, think of your life as you want it, not where it is, but where you want it. Think of the things you want in your life. For example: I want to be my own boss and control my schedule. I want to go wakeboarding today and have a BBQ party at my house tonight. Tomorrow, go play golf and then out to lunch. I want to drive around in my Aston Martin. I want to donate enough money that I can supply water wells in Africa. These are things I want. They don't have to be what you want in any way, shape or form. It'll take about $5,000 per month to reach my "goals." So I have to generate $5,000 per month in order to reach that. How about you?

Now, you probably don't know me. I don't give advice unless asked. But, seeing as you are reading this, I'll take that as you asking for my advice, lol. So here are the steps to get to work from home.

 

  1. Pick Your Passion

 

This may actually take a while. But I want you to think about what makes you come alive? Is it cooking? Is it driving? Is it camping? How about collecting things? The main idea is that we want to figure out what makes you come alive and go do that.

 

  1. Pick your Goals

 

This falls in line with what we talked about earlier. Not all goals are money related, but you need money to fulfill most dreams. Take Mother Teresa, she took a vow of poverty but she had millions to give away. Simply add up what you need to make in a month to pay your bills. Now, figure out how much other things you want to add will cost (like a $500 per month car payment). If it is a trip, divide what the cost is by how many months away it is. Now that you have a monthly goal, divide that by 30 and you'll have a daily income. That is what you want to shoot for.

 

  1. Pick a Process

 

This is where the most frustrating part of learning to work from home takes place. One of my business partners told be once, "there are a million ways to make a million dollars." You may not have a million as a goal, but the saying is true none the less. Look into the numbers and figure out something that will be able to reach them easily.

For example; If I needed to get $5,000 per month; mowing 100 yards at $50 by yourself is a process. But, that involves a lot of work, physical labor, getting 100 clients. It could work, but then you give up your valuable time. The goal is time and money to do what you want.

Now, what if you sold 100 people something that costs $50. That starts to sound a little better right? But, then you have to be good at selling and some people don't know how to sell. It could take you a while to figure out what exactly to do and say.

But. What if you find something that has a master of sales doing all the talking for you. That sounds really good right? It is possible and there are things out there, you just need to do a little looking around.

 

  1. Pick your Mentor

 

After you pick the way you want to make your money, you need to find someone who has done what you want to do successfully. More than likely, there are people who have made money doing what you want to do. Look around and find one that fits your personality and you could get along with. They do not have to be a person you have access to. If you are looking to be an expert at real estate, someone to look at is Robert Kiyosaki.

Once you pick someone, DO WHAT THEY DID.

You don't want to complicate things. People who are successful typically follow a certain pattern. If something works, they use it. If something doesn't work, they don't. Many people have blazed trails, start following the trail and once you have hit your goals then you can decide to keep following or blaze your own path off that trail.

Now, while my own dreams may be different than yours, we are still following down the same path, Looking to gain more time freedom. The path I am following has been used by many others successfully; mine involves working for 2 hours each day and being able to LIVE my life. There are a few simple steps that I follow and want you to follow as well.

To help you on your path, I want to give you a free report on how you can make enough to start to work from home! That report alone has the foundations you need to turn your dreams into your lifestyle. But it doesn't stop there. With the free bonus reports, I will show you which steps to take in which order. These alone will save you over $10,000 because you are leverage the knowledge of others and what they paid to get it!!

So, send an empty email to 2kday@aweber.com, log into your email, and open our email!

If you'd like some more information, simply send a blank email to 2kday@aweber.com and I'll send you a free report along with bonus trainings!

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Choosing to quit your job and launch your own business is a risk, but one made easier if you start up in an industry where you already have knowledge, connections and credibility. In that sense, the company you're leaving can become a key asset in your new venture -- or an obstacle to your success.

Here's a look at how you can turn your former employer into an asset that will help your new business succeed.

Show respect.
You want your company to know that while you worked for them, you did your best to serve the company’s interests. In practical terms, this means not talking to the company’s clients, suppliers, and fellow employees (other than your co-founders) about your new venture until you have officially left. If management hears about your new venture from an existing customer, there is a high probability that your relationship will end on terrible terms. Before you leave, you should limit your activities to researching, planning and securing funding.

Share your plan when you leave.
When the owners and managers of your current employer hear that you are leaving to start a company in the same industry, they may be worried that you plan to steal their customers or provide an identical service. While there may be some overlap, your current employer will likely have a different value proposition or customer focus. Explaining your plan to your boss and possibly a senior executive or owner, gives you an opportunity to make them feel less threatened by your new venture. They still may feel that you are doing something competitive, but your actions will demonstrate a high degree of integrity. Also, if they have a strong objection to your plan and believe that they have the legal right to prevent your new business, it gives you an opportunity to work out a friendly compromise.

Offer to help with the transition.
You’re probably playing an important role for your existing employer and your departure may leave a hole that will take time to fill.  When you leave, you can offer to complete certain tasks or handle limited responsibilities for a certain period time, as a paid consultant.  While they might not choose to take you up on the offer, it sends the message that you care about the firm and want to continue to have a good relationship going forward.

Let them know how they can help.
One major benefit of leaving on good terms is that you can ask your old employer to help you. They may be in a position to provide your company with references, refer you clients, or provide you with favorable vendor terms.

The change in the economy over the past few years has led to many companies downsizing, laying off employees or even closing all together. We all know someone who has been affected by one of these situations. While having coffee recently in a local coffee shop a friend of mine, Joe, came walking in. The company he worked for downsized eliminating his position.

Joe told me that he had sent out so many resumes that he can't even count them all. He had just stopped for coffee after another interview, which he heard the same thing, sorry. Joe was frustrated and getting depressed that he can't find a new job.

As we sat talking I asked him if he ever thought about working for himself. Joe quickly responded, no. Asking, what would I do? Didn't you work in the finance department? Joe said, "Yes, I did payroll and accounts payable." Instead of doing this for a one company why not do it for several? I never thought about that, he said. Joe then asked, how do I go about starting a business like that?

Joe let me help you, that's what I do is help people and businesses with their business planning. We need to do some brainstorming and lay out a plan. First, what type of businesses would you be most comfortable working with? Smaller business with maybe less than 20 people would be a good place to start, he said. Joe how many businesses like that do you know that you could talk to about working for them? I don't know, he responded. Let me give you an assignment, take a couple days and list people and businesses you know that you can approach that fit that category. When you get that done give me a call and we will move forward.

When Joe called he was so excited that there was light at the end of the tunnel. He was so worried about finding work it was affecting his health. What's next he asked? You have a list to work with, is there something in common among the names on the list that we can target a specific demographic? That's your next homework assignment.

We need to look at a budget as to what your cost will be to run the business. I can work from my house in a spare room and I already have a computer and printer that's all I need, Joe said. To operate yes, but what about supplies, business insurance, do you need a license? We also need to look at what income you need to earn to start our budget. WOW, he said, there is a lot to this isn't there? Yes there is, to plan a business takes work and most people don't realize it. We are only starting to get into the planning; when we are done you will have a road map to follow to move your forward.

I am sure glad I stopped for coffee the other day. Without your help I would not have even thought of starting a business let alone how to go about it. How did you learn all of this, he asked. Well Joe, what you are going through now I have been there twice. What I am sharing with you is what I learned over the past 25 years in business. My experience from starting a business to president of a board of directors of a multi-million dollar corporation allows me to share experiences learned from the bottom up.

Let me help you with your business planning. Email me at dave@theaveragejoebiz.com. Go to our website at http://www.theaveragejoebiz.com and request your free copy of our business planning workbook. The workbook follows along with our book, From the Bottom Up: The Ultimate Guide for Business Planning to Profitability, follow the link on our website to order your copy today.

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An emerging business is often associated to raising a kid. Initially, the kid needs your paramount attention to raise her, raise her and coddle her. Your influence will help shape what she will become.

At every step of progress, the relationship you share with her changes, your job changes and her needs change too. Every organization faces a lot of challenges as they go from a startup to a fully fledged company. As I speak about my own experience of mothering a start-up, here are my key learnings:

Over-valuing

This is a common mistake committed by most of the startups. Nothing happens overnight. Hence, one of most important things to take care of would be overestimating your initial success. So, while you start a business, keep in mind to set realistic targets. Research, read and talk to those with experience in the industry and then calculate your success at different levels.

Money

Getting financial support is a major matter of worry to small businesses and startups. Convincing investors and banks for endowment backing is a tough task to help you start a business. Handled with intelligence, long- term planning and determination, this challenge can be trounced. One suggestion is to have a balance of products in your company - some that sink in money and others that start giving you returns from day one. Of course this might not always be applicable for every line of business.

Focus

Problem strikes in when you try to be all things to all people. With experience you can wear different hats at different times. But when you start a business, you have to learn to delegate. So take up the key tasks in your stride and focus on those. Rest of the tasks, DELEGATE. Set up a process to ensure the success of delegated tasks.

Ardor and Purpose

If you don't enjoy the work you are doing, you will find it hard to get up off the ground the first time you get down in the doldrums. And every entrepreneur crashes down at one point or the other. More the zeal and intent you have for your love (startup), the more motivated and energized you will be to sort it out. Passion is must to grow a business.

Loving your product

Everyone loves their own baby and there is no reason why you shouldn't. But it is important to understand the relevance of the product in the market before you start pouring money into it.

As you gear up to run your own startup, here is a book that gives some valuable strategies for managing your time and stress as the founder of a business. It compiles 33 interviews with successful entrepreneurs about starting and growing a startup or business. I found it useful. You too will! http://dealfuel.com/seller/ebook-found-business-book/

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