Browsing: Small Business

Tips To Finding Quality Electronic Circuit Design

Finding a company who can give you superior quality electronic circuit design is not something you want to take lightly, in fact this can make or break your new product design from the start. You want to find a company who will work with you, help you design your product and take your vision and turn it into a reality at a price you can afford. So where do you start?

The internet has become a wealth of information and is probably one of the first places you should start your search for someone who can provide you with quality electronic circuit design. In addition to the internet, you can speak to other company owners, friends and acquaintances and see if they have needed a service of this nature and who they used. If this fails then take to the internet and do a search for companies that offer electronic circuit design, from here you can put a list together which you can then review and compare to find the one company you feel comfortable working with moving forward.

Review each of the companies you select online. The review should include going through each of their websites, identifying how long they have been in the industry, what sets them apart from their competitors and the services that they offer. As you do this, also read through some reviews you find online. The best way to do this is to search for the company name online and then visit the independent review sites and online forums. You will be amazed how this process can help you narrow down your search, reading real reviews from past and current customers can make a significant difference to your decision.

Compare the remaining companies that offer electronic circuit design based on their services and their experience. Look for a company that will give you a choice of either a full turnkey service or a task based service, this way you can choose the one you feel best meets your unique needs and budget.

Further look at the benefits the company can provide. Do they only offer electronic circuit design? Can they help with other aspects of the product? Can they turn your vision into a real product and have it ready to be put on the shelves at a price you can afford and within the shortest time frame? These are very important factors to bear in mind when making your selection on which company to work with now and moving forward.

Once you have identified the services provided by the company in addition to electronic circuit design, you will want to focus on the price they have quoted. It is so important to never base your decision on price alone. There are so many other factors you need to take into consideration when it comes to choosing an electronic circuit design specialist. Look at their reputation, their professionalism and their quality of workmanship well before paying attention to the price. The price should be one of your final decisions after you are left with two companies and you are torn on which one to choose.

The final step of the process in finding a company to give you quality electronic circuit design is the after sales service and support they provide. The company you choose should not wipe their hands clean of your company once you have the product and they have completed the design process, they should give you outstanding after sales care and service, enabling you to use their services with complete confidence.

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What Defines a Serious Business Buyer?

Individuals who desire to purchase an established small business must be well prepared before the search process begins. Well managed, profitable and successful businesses are in short supply and very high demand. Business owners and business brokers alike have little patience and interest in wasting their valuable time with buyers who have not taken the appropriate steps to demonstrate that they are fully prepared to acquire a business.

How does a buyer define themselves as being a “serious” candidate and not a casual, curious, tire kicker? The goal of this article is to outline the steps that a business buyer should take in advance so that they can stand out and be recognized as a serious and reliable buyer?

Let's start with a few examples demonstrating who is NOT a serious candidate.

  • I want to buy a small business in the area but am not sure what type yet. Can you send me information on three of the businesses you have listed for sale – the industrial manufacturing business, the durable medical equipment company, and the online retailer?
  • I am still working at my current job but am contemplating leaving the firm and purchase a business within the next couple of years.
  • My background is entirely in the printing industry but I want to make a change and thought about buying a wholesale chemical products company.
  • I have a little money saved up but need to get a loan to purchase a business. I am not sure how much I would qualify for or how large a business I could afford.
  • I want to buy a business but will need the seller to finance the purchase. I will pay them back back entirely out of the future cash flow of the company.

Preparing a business for sale takes reasonable work on behalf of the business broker and seller. Just a few of the steps include valuing the business, preparing the Confidential Business Review (executive summary), and organizing all of the corporate, financial, and tax documents. For a buyer to be recognized as a serious candidate, they too have work that needs to be accomplished prior to being in a position to venture in the marketplace and begin assessing business opportunities.

So, what makes a buyer a serious candidate?

  1. Personal profile and resume

Construct a detailed personal profile and biography. Not only will the seller need to see this document but any bank requires this as well. A resume is just a starting place. The document should cover the following questions:

  • What is your education and work experience?
  • Who will be buying the business? Just you, you and your spouse, a partner, an investor?
  • Why are you interested in buying a business?
  • What is your investment criteria?
  • What transferrable skills do you possess that qualify you for managing the business?
  • How will you be financing the acquisition? If bank funding will be utilized, a prequalification letter should be included. How much money do you have for a down payment?
  • What is your timetable to complete the acquisition?
  • Who is your advisory team? Which attorney will be drafting the Asset Purchase Agreement and facilitating the closing? Do they have experience with business acquisitions?
  • What are the contingencies for the business acquisition? Do you have to leave a current job? Do you have to secure financing from a partner or a bank? Do you have to relocate and sell a house?

How will the buyer be funding the purchase?

Buyers should be knowledgeable about the size of business they are qualified to purchase. Will the buyer be utilizing personal funds for the transaction or will third party financing be used? Most acquisitions (without real estate) require 25% of the purchase price as a down payment. (Funds needed for closing costs and working capital are often provided as part of the loan package and can be financed.)

Buying and selling a small business requires a two way exchange of information. The buyer should be ready to distribute the amount they can invest and have a detailed plan on how they will finance the entire transaction. The idea that the seller is going to finance the sale is not a plan and this type of buyer will be quickly dismissed. Business brokers can be a great source for recommendations on which lenders are appropriate and likely to finance the business they represent.

The buyer should have a current personal financial statement prepared. If bank financing will be utilized, the buyer should be clear on their borrowing capacity and have a lender prequalification letter in hand (a banker can prepare this in a matter of hours). Do not expect the broker or business seller to provide complete access to sensitive and confidential business documents without receiving assurances that the buyer has the appropriate resources to either purchase the business outright or obtain a business acquisition loan.

What industry experience or transferrable skills does the buyer have?

The optimal situation is when the prospective buyer has direct industry experience. This is especially prudent when bank financing will be involved. Obviously, every business is different and each will have unique requirements for successful ownership. For some businesses, the buyer may be able to satisfy this requirement by having related practical work experience or transferrable skills. Certain businesses may require licenses, certificates, or a particular expertise to operate. If the buyer does not possess these it will be critical to confirm that there is a manager or key employee in place that has these qualifications. In other situations, the business may be very specialized and a buyer lacking a critical credential will be disqualified from obtaining bank funding. These issues should be discussed early in the process as the business broker will need to determine if you are managerially qualified to operate the business.

What is the type of business the buyer is seeking and why?

A serious buyer has developed a detailed and concise “investment criteria” for the business they seek to acquire. Several of investment criteria attributes will include the type of business, the industry, the geographic location, the size of business, and the price / value of the enterprise.

Serious buyers will focus on enterprises which are suited to their background and qualifications. A buyer who inquires about an industrial packaging distributer, a restaurant, and a custom millwork company will not be treated as a serious candidate. Having an investment criteria that relates only to “profitable businesses” or “those businesses which generate a minimum of $ 150,000 in cash flow” without regard to the business type, industry served, geographic location, and size is a clear red flag that the candidate has not put the proper time into honing their acquisition objective.

  1. Realistic expectations.

Successful entrepreneurs recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect company. Business ownership involves taking on some level of risk and acquiring a business is no different. Buyers who seek to purchase a business 100% free of any flaws will be searching for a very long time. There will be areas of improvement for every business and the buyer will have to make a decision as to which negative elements are acceptable and which ones are not. Buyers who are too risk adverse may just not be cut out for small business ownership and being an employee is a more suitable career objective.

Additionally, buyers often fail to realize that there is a limited supply of great businesses for sale … those that have year over year revenue growth, excellent profits, and bright prospects for continued promotion. Many of these businesses sell for the full listing price and for these types of successful businesses, buyers should be careful when submitting an offer less than 90% of what it is listed at. Most of the time there are a multiple buyers who are evaluating the business and those candidates who submit, either a low-ball offer or an offer with unrealistic terms attached, will be wasting the valuable time of all parties not to mention possibly burning a bridge with the business seller and eliminating themselves from consideration.

  1. Ability to react quickly

A serious buyer is well organized, has done their research, and knows what they want and what they can afford. They are decent and capable of moving through the process in a timely and methodical fashion. If a partner, spouse, or investor will be involved in the acquisition, these individuals are communicated with in advance and are in agreement with the defined objectives. If advisors will be assisting in the evaluation, the advisers are aware of the acquisition search and are on standby for their assignment.

A serious buyer should have an understanding of how businesses are valued in addition to a comprehension of the typical steps in the acquisition process. They are prepared with a list of well thought and detailed questions designed with the objective of determining if the opportunity meets their investment criteria. A serious buyer recognizes that a quick no is far better than a slow no and they tackle those gating issues from the outside that would disqualify the business from being acquired. Once the opportunity is qualified a serious buyer is in a position to make a 'realistic offer' and provide a letter of intent or terms sheet. A professional support team has been identified for the drafting of the Asset Purchase Agreement and facilitating the transaction closing. Lastly, a serious buyer will understand the due diligence process and already have their checklist in place. Funding for the acquisition has been planned and money for an earnest money deposit is liquid and available.

  1. Professional Communication

A serious buyer is honest, direct, and forthcoming. Now is not the time to be cagey, cute, or evasive. You want to convey at the earliest opportunity your investment criteria, time table, financial wherewithal and reasons for pursuing the acquisition. This type of communication will build a foundation of trust and honest dialog in the weeks ahead. One viable solution for a serious buyer is to retain a business broker to assist with the search and business qualification. This approach provides far better results than a haphazard approach of firing off requests for information on any business posted on-line that catches their fancy. The business-for-sale industry is not the real estate industry. There are no open houses. This is a highly confidential process where professionals are involved and retained to protect the sensitivity of the business for sale data. A buy-side broker is paid by the prospective buyer for the time, energy, and work that is generated on their behalf. They are compensated to produce results.

There is nothing worse than going through the myriad of steps in preparing a business for sale to find a buyer that is not properly prepared nor has gone through the logical thought, planning, and preparation steps for acquiring a business. We have outlined the information that a business broker and seller needs when qualifying a candidate as a serious buyer. In order to close a transaction all of this information is required so it best that the buyer come prepared with this data at the outside. Few parties in this arena, want to have their time wasted or patience tested. The bottom line is that when you find the right business you are in a position to act and make a realistic offer. Successful businesses are few and far between and often receive multiple offers. Why should the business broker and seller invest time in you?

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Why the Indian Handicraft Industry Is Booming

One of the most important industries in India, which is currently making many headlines, is the Indian handicraft industry. For decades it has remained one of the instrumental industries in India for being one of the largest creators of employment. It is still considered to be the cottage industry, even though it has evolved as a major revenue generator for the country. The handicrafts items are known for its versatility as material used to make these products are environmental-friendly.

The online commerce has added required fuel for the industry with lots of players coming into the online handicraft space. And the online boom has certainly generated additional interest from the countries like USA, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, etc. Given credits to the rich Indian history the demands of Indian made handicrafts products are selling like hot cakes and it is increasing with every passing day.

The increase in demands of the Indian handicraft products has given chance to small time local manufacturers increase their sales and become a national or a global seller. The customers to take a pile of the cake as they are now having plenty of options to choose from and there are many ways to connect with the seller or the manufacturer.

Taken everything into the account the Indian handicraft industry is still fragmented with more than 5 million regional artisans and more than 60,000 exporters / export houses, promoting regional art and craftsmanship in the domestic and global markets majority of which consist of women and people who belongs from weaker communities. There has been consistent growth of 15% in the industry year by year. And such a robust growth has got the attention of many predominant Indian personalities, the most recent one and the most notable one being Prime Minister of India, who spoke about the Indian handicraft industry and about its growth growth during his Start-up India event held back in Jan, 2016.

The artesian are coming up with new and creative products and designs every day. Be it clocks, vases, home decorative, home furnishings etc. The demand for all these products locally and internationally is immense and every single day more and more start-ups are venturing into this industry because of the potential in these kinds of products.

Even though the industry numbers are positive the thing that remains to see is that the industry is mostly spread all over the country mainly in rural areas and small towns. As it is the industry where macro investment is not needed, and it can be started from ones home on a small-scale basis.

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How Are Virtual Offices Completely Different From Executive Offices?

Business people contemplate both virtual and executive offices as a powerful strategy to prevent the price and effort for an unbiased office space. The two different in a manner that executive office requires supervisors in the area itself while users can run a virtual office everywhere on earth they may be. A businessperson in Hawaii or Tokyo, for instance, may even run Makati virtual offices.

On the reverse side, virtual offices are only addresses used by an agency to construct a favorite picture so that you can reveal residency in a specific place. Businesses that use this type of office service will be the ones that want broad-range journey or services which do not require a business office for customer visits. This office features a phone answering software, package delivery, along with mail service. You are going to find several commonalities with respect to services given by means of an executive office. One notable distinction is the fact that in the virtual office, communication is communicated via phone or maybe e-mail.

Lots of small businesses require a workplace and convention place to meet up with consumers. In the event, you have this kind of organization and also, you just tend not to need to construct an entire office by yourself, executive office is actually that which you need. In this kind of option, a company will rent an entire service office space (typically in a small business center) where you'll have an actual workplace to run in. Services vary from admin support along with phone answering. There's also technical services including corporate meeting room rental, teleconferencing, office catering, copy, and delivery services.

Exactly what are the 4 types of a virtual office?

The four kinds of virtual offices are physical office space, mail forwarding, phone facility, and even support staff. Each one may differ in expenses reliant upon the services presented.

Most likely the most used selections you may get from your virtual office services business is mail forwarding. A lot of people will not be prepared to work with the business with no residential address. Having an alternative address brings a great impression in your company profile and causes it to be a much more legit and workable company. For organizations with offices around the world like in London, NY, and Tokyo, these alternative addresses develop a perception of a well-recognized company.

Support staff is one other significant requirement for a fresh company. Specific virtual offices require services of accountants, attorneys, bookkeepers, and additionally secretaries. It could help you save time plus energy in the event you contact them before for the support desired.

In the event you're a freelancer or home based company, you can begin having a real office space. Most beginning organizations use common office space to speak to consumers, have an interview for a variety of positions, in addition, to having interactive video calls. You'll find professional spaces with various degrees of abilities in addition to services which may serve every one of these requirements.

Communicating with consumers is one fundamental part of the company. A phone facility empowers all callers to talk to an operator for inquiries as well as other trade-related issues. Even outside company time, this attribute lets direct forwarding of critical messages to you personally. When on seminars, company travels, or should you be unavailable for phone calls, this system will continue to work.

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The Advantages of Doing Business With Local Retailers

With the growth of big box stores and online shopping, it can seem that smaller, local businesses are fighting an uphill battle. However, in reality there are many things local retailers offer that the larger corporations can not.

The greatest advantage of doing business locally is personalized service. You can get to know the store owner and employees by name. With continued business, you will often be grateful by name when entering their business. This develops a relationship that means more than just making a purchase. We all want a personal touch and to be known by others. It makes us feel special. The greeters at the big box stores can not duplicate that personal touch.

Local businesses thrive by building relationships with their customers. When they know you personally, they want to help you, and not just so they can sell their product. They genuinely want you to be satisfied with your purchase. Also, satisfied customers will be repeat customers.

In addition to making their customers feel special, local retailers can provide personalized merchandise. Even box stores can not stock every brand or type of product. However, most local retailers will special order what you need. Many box stores will not do that.

Local retailers also have knowledge and experience with the products or services they provide. They can be a wealth of knowledge when you need advice on the item you are planning to purchase. How often have you gone to a big retailer and found sales people with little more knowledge than you?

Now of course the largest argument here will be price. It's true most local retailers will not be able to offer the same product at the same price. However, you might be surprised how competitive they can be. Even if you pay a little more with the local business, remember the extra benefits of their personalized service and expertise.

With the growth of online shopping, some people do not even enter a brick-and-mortar store much more. It's true there are advantages and conveniences for shopping online. One of the big reasons people shop online is to keep paying sales tax. This is a difficult issue. Even though most consumers do not realize it, most states require their residents to report online purchases to their state tax agency and pay the sales tax directly to the agency. However, this is difficult for states to enforce. It is likely the federal government will step up at some point to pass legislation relating to these taxes.

So, shopping online may not be as big of a money saver as people think. In addition, you can not see products firsthand and visit personally with the person selling the product. At a local retailer you can see what you are getting, and they can deal with any special orders to make sure you get the exact product you need. Then you'll have follow-up service in case something needs to be fixed or repaired later.

Whether you are shopping for clothes, electronics, carpeting or other items, think about stopping at at your local retailer before going to a box store or online.

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Does Pricing Mindset Really Matter?

For a long time I poo-pooed all the talk that flies around for 'mindset' when I was building my first business.

I am a practical, logical, no BS, not-even-particularly-emotional kind of girl (I'm an accountant by profession for crying out loud).

Quite frankly, I found that 'guff' about talking yourself rich embarrassing.

'Just show me what to do and how to do it' has been my mantra since school. And I've generally been fairly successful at whatever I've put my mind to.

The problem was that because I was so dismissive of any information around 'mindset' or 'mission' or 'creating a new paradigm' (got to love Americans) I did not take any steps at all to find out anything about this vital ' piece '.

Until about 12 months ago that is – and that's when everything started to change for me. That's when I began my own Money Breakthrough.

When I finally opened my mind (and ears) and started to read about, hear about and learn about all the internal things that are actually coming to us as women, I began to realize exactly what had been holding me back in my own business for so long.

You see, I have taken just about every course there is on marketing and client attraction – direct mail, Facebook ads, Google Ads, email campaigns, ezines, webinars, teleseminars, telesummits … I could go on and on. And I'm pretty good at all of them – because I've implemented what I've learned.

I have not had too much trouble attracting clients and have helped others do the same. But there's a difference between having lots of clients and creating lots of money.

Like many business women I am constantly learning, constantly wanting to find that magic 'thing' that will suddenly make all the hard work pay off.

So I could not understand why, with all this technical knowledge, I still was not getting the results I really wanted. What more was there to learn ?!

And then I finally started to address what was going in my head – and let me tell you, I never … NEVER … thought I would be writing those words!

As a woman who has worked most of my adult life in male dominated working environments (and being a bit of a tom-boy), I just could not see that this piece of the Jigsaw even exhausted – let alone that I was missing it.

It turns out this is INCREDIBLY common for women. We take so many more courses than men do, we implement better than men do, take time over getting the how-to's 'just right' …

But we still see fewer rewards than men do. We attract fewer clients, convert fewer leads and make less money in general than men do. Fact.

So I started to learn why … and not only has everything become clear to me, my results have sky-rocketed.

I've been able to seriously start paying down old debts (and save money at the same time), budget PROPERLY and create money goals that I am actually achieving every fortnight.

It's all to do with getting a grip on our own relationship with money (and for me, a big part of that was pricing), with the emotions we feel when we're talking about money, asking for money, considering what to do about money … and as we all know, like it or not, emotions pretty much rule our lives as women.

Even mine!

Focus on what your own issues are around money – WHY do you feel bad increasing your fees? WHY do you feel guilty charging people who need your help? WHO is it you're worried about upsetting? HINT: It's often to do with the money story you grow up with.

My goal setting has never been clearer or more detailed and I'm breaking the habits that have been sabotaging me for so long.

In fact this has been such a game changer for me that I have incorporated what I've learned and implemented into my own trainings.

How you do money really IS how you do everything.

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3 Common Questions Startups Ask!

I actually believe that this is what happens to a lot of people who want to start a business. They suddenly realize that time has gone past so fast and they wake up to the fact that they need to do something before the year runs out. So I have written this article to help answer three common questions most people have when it comes to starting in business.

The first question is: “When is the best time to start a business?”

Let me first of all, say that those waiting for a perfect time will never see it because strictly speaking, there is never a perfect time to start a business. Think about this; quite a lot of businesses flourished under the last economic downturn. It was the same in the 1920s economic collapse and it will be the same in future. So the answer to that question is quite simple. The best time to start a business is Today!

What I am saying to you is start now, start today with the decision that you are going to create your dream business. Start today with a thought about the service you're going to provide. Start today by putting your ideas down on paper. That in itself is a step in the right direction. Again, I repeat; start today.

The second question that a lot of people asked is: “What type of business shall I start?”

This obviously requires a lot of thought but I'm going to give you two simple rules that you can follow to decide on the type of business you should start. Broadly speaking the type of business anyone can start falling into two categories.

The first one is to convert your hobby, passion and skill into a business.

The second is to exploit an existing opportunity

Let's talk first about converting a hobby, passion and skill into a business. Most of the time this type of business requires little or no money because you are already providing the skills, product or service. Sometimes people already know you as being able to offer this particular service. Therefore, it is easy for you to get clients, find a market, create a solution, and extremely exploit opportunities the market presents. I must admit this is my favorite type of business, the reason being that any business will go through tough times and without passion to overcome obstacles, most people will simply give up!

So what about exploiting an existing opportunity? Perhaps you're working in the place and have discovered that a particular service is missing or that an opportunity exists to deliver maybe a consultancy, particular product or a particular service. That is the kind of opportunity I'm talking about exploiting. Since you're already functioning within that particular industry, it is easy for you to gain access to decision makers and those that can purchase your solution or service. This particular type of business tends to demand a high level of entrepreneurial skills and it helps if you had a passion for that particular industry.

The next question that most people have in their minds is about the money needed to start up a business. So they may say things like ” Where am I going to get the money to start or how do I get the money to start?”

At an investors meeting, I went to a few weeks ago, one of the investors said there is never a shortage of money, there is just a shortage of well tested and well-presented ideas. This means anyone with a well-tested business idea can actually raise the money they need for their business by way of investment.

Another way to get the money you need to start your business is to ask the existing customers or potential customers to pay a deposit or pay in full before the service is delivered. This is very possible especially when your product is extremely useful to your target group. Actually, getting your potential clients to pay towards the cost before the service is delivered confirm that you have a great product or service in the making.

Are you seeing with these types of questions out of the way that there is no reason why you should wait till December or January to start your business? Why not start acting today? Why not take action today? Put pen to paper. Consider the first steps you can take towards starting your own business and do not wait any longer. The year is about to end. The sooner you begin the sooner you achieve your dream of owning and running a successful business!

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Small Business Marketing From Finish to Start

“Maybe the start line was supposed to be your finish line. Author: Tablo

Normally whenever we think of taking on a project, we lay out the plan and define the tasks necessary to accomplish the goal. Consider something as basic as building a house. The builder and the buyer agree on the basics – number and size of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen layout – the usual “footprint” of the house. It then becomes the responsibility of the architect to develop blueprints which will be submitted to the town or local authority for approval. Once approved, the builder will assign a project manager to move through the steps to completion.

Here's where small business marketing works best, when the parties work in reverse order. The client (the internal marketing manager or the external business decision maker) needs to embrace the idea of ​​where they want to end up. And unlike the house building example, there are many different choices to define success.

For example, success could simply be defined as a growth in revenue from an existing run-rate to a run-rate with a higher number. For example, lets say the business has been growing 10% a year for the last 5 years, and the goal and purpose of marketing is to improve that growth rate to 20% a year over a reasonable period of time.

Success can be the launch of a new product, a new service, a new solution with a return on investment higher than other launches of the past.

Now to achieve those goals, marketing begins to work, for lack of a better word – backwards. The marketing professional starts at the finish line, incorporating one or more goals that need to be achieved. Marketing looks holistically at the various components that can be engaged in order to handle those project steps similar to the building project manager. However, since marketing activities (also known as the marketing mix) can have varying costs, and different choices require more or less time to check it off as complete.

Here's an example of a small business marketing process and plan.

Let's begin with a goal: Grow the revenue by 20 percent over the next 18-24 months.

Why not a firm date? It's foolish in an ever shifting set of marketing tools and popular formats to set a hard date. Imagine building a plan before Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn took off. Odds are good that the completion date would have been significantly impacted by these “new” mediums of communicating with buyers and influencers.

In this author's opinion, the center of the marketing universe is a good website. A great website is better, but should be a living tool that adapts to changes in the way people choose to search for information. So a good website will suffice as long as it provides slightly more than basics about the company, the product, the brand, the solution, and a place for visitors to go for information.

Landing Pages must be Clean and Simple (and Device Agnostic)

Inside the website is our landing page (s). A landing page is where, when someone does a search, and finds your ad (more about that later), clicking the ad link brings them to a specific page directly. Thus, they should not have to plow through the history of the principals, the location of offices, awards, past downloadable PDFs, webinar replays, etc., etc., etc. by bringing them to the home page.

Instead, they should go directly to the page on the website that speaks to the topic via keyword (s) that they searched for, and the “bait” used in an ad to get them to click the ad. Most people are smart enough to roam around the website on their own, to learn more about the company if they are interested. But the goal of that landing page is to respond to the SPECIFIC need, and the SPECIFIC solution, which bought them there to begin with.

OK. Let's assume we've got that solid landing page (quite likely several for each of the solutions, products or campaign being run). How did people get there? In a world of literally MILLIONS of pages, how did they find yours?

The magic word is CONTENT .

Content should not be confused with advertising. In fact, advertising positioning as content is quickly discovered as such, and harms the brand deeply. Content is education. It is sharing opinions, experiences, thoughts, ideas, successes, and without an obvious goal of getting something in return beyond an acknowledgment that the author is a subject matter expert, and is willing to provide information without a hidden agenda. The altruistic motivation is what buyers crave far more than clever jingles, surveys, puzzles, or quizzes.

Think about your competitors

Now we move back some more. Who are your competitors and what do they know, do, offer, profess or otherwise claim that whether real or not, is intent in casting their goods in a more favorable light then your own. Often these claims (real or otherwise) are unchallenged, simply because they are crafted by expensive marketing research companies, which lipstick is more attractive that the pig that's wearing it.

Look back at who your competitors were not so long ago. Have they really created something far better than yours, or have they simply done a better job of convincing buyers that you are yesterday's news. Having been in the IT sales and marketing business for more than 25 years, there are some companies that come to mind that seemed to never be knocked out from their throne – WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, Wang, Digital Equipment, and many other – gone or just consumed by other companies. So while others were innovating these companies rested on their laurels ever being a footnote in the early days of PCs. And one need not go back 20 years to think about MySpace, the Zune, even Napster.

Take the time to evaluate your competitors and create a simple but honest SWOT analysis (S = Strengths, W = Weaknesses, O = Opportunities, T-Threats) so you the marketing efforts can identify the weak spots and attack them.

Putting it all together

The singular most important foundation a business has for marketing is its database. The database (whether in a sophisticated CRM tool, or an excel spreadsheet). In addition to current and / or former clients, it needs to be regularly fed, updated, parsed, and managed or every other dollar or hour spent will be sub-optimized. The database provides not only the contacts, but a history of business / client experiences – both good and bad. And it is the starting point to unforgettable any real or perceived “warts” potential clients might find, and an opportunity to address them before going live with campaigns.

Now we have all the parts, we need to converge all the actions to drive buyers and influencers to the landing page (s), where we can generate the dialogue and begin to turn clicks into customers. Addressing all of the nuances of email marketing, snail mail marketing, content marketing through blogs, and distribution through social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and (especially) Google+. Tie in a moderate budget to generate visits by using Google AdWords and follow up with participation in industry events where subject matter experts are thought out for their knowledge and ideas.

Summary: There are specific steps for small businesses that do not require an excessive budget or an onboard staff. Rather, a marketing professional whose personality matches your business, with expertise in driving measurement results, can add value, improve business results, and help act as a partner in achieving both short and long term goals.

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Buying and Selling Gift Cards

There are all sorts of ways to make some extra money. One of the easiest ways to make money is by buying and selling gift cards. It is quick and easy. Some people make a good living flipping them online. There are many websites online that you can buy, swap, and sell them.

Stores and Restaurants

Generally there's confinements on the use of gift cards. Most stores and restaurants will not allow you to return them for cash. In most cases, you will have to use them to make purchases in their respectful business and not allowing you to use them at other restaurants and stores. Many people consider them to be extremely helpful when they have a top-notch measure of assets connected to them. However, when a gift card is used and the amount of money left on the card becomes low, the cards become less attractive to the person who owns it and this is the point at which they may be left lying around and might even become lost. In return, these cards never get used resulting in lost money. In fact, about 40% of them never get used to their full value and about 20% became lost. Imagine if you could capture these cards and flip them for cash. You could make a good living just by flipping gift cards online.

Selling Cards Online

Selling gift cards online is the fastest way to flip them for cash. Of course these websites do charge and have fees for using their website to sell them. But who cares!?! This is still money you would have never received if you allowed the cards to be lost or never used. Now think if you could get your hands on cards from other people who will never use them. This is where you can really profit. You can offer to buy them at a discounted rate and sell them online for a profit. It's that easy. That is why a lot of people are taking advantage of this idea to generate income. It is a simple way to make some extra money. And just like anything else, the more you put in, the more you get back. Some people buy and sell cards full-time while making a great income. The business is growing fast. It is strictly regulated at the moment so the idea of ​​making money buying and selling gift cards is wide open. One of the fastest ways to make money.

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Start A Cell Phone Business In A Few Simple Steps

Cell phone business is lucrative and profitable which could be the reason as to why more and more people are getting into the business. It is also not that hard to start making it possible for anyone to get up and selling within no time. But just like starting any other kind of business, you need to be strategic when opening a cell phone store. When you have proper planning then you will start on a high and move swiftly all the way.

Step 1 Get all information on the business. Nothing can be worse than trying something you have no idea about specifically in terms of management. To run your cell phone business properly, you at least need to know the basics of the basis so you are sure that you are up for the management task ahead of you. You can get help from someone who already has a store or you can do a simple research to help you know what you need to know before you begin. Remember, there are business registration and tax requirements and such things.

Step 2 Decide how you will be attaining products. You can choose to be an authorized dealer or you can go the franchise owner way. Whatever you choose, you can find phone companies that are willing to help and also support you to distribute the phones. Remember that the cell phone business also means getting other related items and accessories to offer complete services to your customers. Some phone companies are very supportive in that they can also help you with hardware and software recommendations and even inventory management solutions.

Step 3 Think about capital to start the cell phone business. This is the area that gives many people trouble, but you can sign up for grants or loans as long as you are sure you can repay before due date. If you are lucky, you can work with phone companies that offer products without hefty financial requirements. They work out arrangements so you can repay in a time frame that is good enough for you. Weigh your option and choose the right path to acquire the money that you need to open the store.

Step 4 Choose the ideal location for the store. If you have what it takes, you can build your store, but remember that you can always hire space for your business which is a much cheaper option. When it comes to the cell phone business, location is everything. Even though everyone is a potential customer, young professionals and students seem to always be in the hunt for better, more sophisticated phones and so it might be a good idea to locate your business near where they are. The location also means you think about competition and how to stand out from them to be successful. Shopping malls, near private companies and schools make the best spots for a cell phone business. When all this is done, you can then go right ahead and plunge into the market.

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If You Have an Idea For a Business, Don’t Wait For Everything to Be Perfect

There are some of you out there who want to start a business. So you research your market, write a business plan and then get stalled. You want everything to be perfect so you obsess over the details.

The difference between “good enough” and perfect may cost you weeks or months of actually selling your product or service, time in which you could have been making money. Getting each detail to be perfect may stop you from ever starting your new business. If your product or service is not perfect, you still have the ability to make changes while you are actually in business. After all, think of all the products in the stores that are “new and improved.” These companies knew that selling something that was “good enough” would satisfy most of their consumers. Your product or service will likewise be good enough to get your business going even if it still has a few glitches.

To get yourself out of the “I'm waiting until it's perfect” phase, try to think of what your perfect exit would look like as opposed to what you have now. Can you live with fewer sales, fewer customers, a slightly different service or product? Probably yes. If you can not, maybe being an entrepreneur will not work for you. You do not have the luxury of having everything run perfectly at the beginning of your start-up, no one does. You need to be the type of person who can solve business problems on the fly, because no matter how perfectly you plan things, something will go wrong or something that you never planned on will happen. So, let go of the notification that once you have launched the perfect product or service, that everything will go perfectly.

Decide at what point you can live with less than perfect and start taking steps to open your business. Create your corporation or limited liability company, consult with your team of professionals (an accountant, a lawyer, an insurance agent, and a banker). Learn what you will need to know to at least start your new business and take your experts' advice to heart. Realize that you can and will make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. If you can not figure out on your own how to fix the mistake, go back to your team of professionals and ask for their analysis of what the problem is and how to fix it. Most new business owners try to do everything on their own (mostly because they do not have the money to pay for advice). Asking advice from other business owners can be a cheap way of getting help. Why would they answer your questions and help you? If they are in a non-competitive business, they know that you may be an expert in an area in which they are less knowledgeable and you can trade advice. You can also find help from owners of the same type of business if they are outside your area (either geographically or the type of market to which you are selling). If you would prefer to pay for advice and you are short on cash, raise more capital so you can consult with experts for what you must pay.

On the other hand, it is not smart to start your business when you are half-way through the planning stage. If you do not have a working product or have not thought through who your target market is, your business may never get off the ground. There is a certain amount of planning that must be completed before you should start your business. But do not postpone actually getting started until everything is “perfect.” You may never see that day. So, once you get to “good enough,” start your business.

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Scale Up and Sell Wholesale

Are you a Solopreneur who has a tangible product to sell, one that you feel is ready to get into the hands of many more customers? You have an efficient and reliable means of production worked out: you may manufacture in-house and have a great team working for you, or you have a reliable wholesale source who sells to you at a competitive price. You fulfill requests for product on time and seldom back order.

The product is sold on your company website and is also available in a network of local stores. Sales are brisk and there are lots of re-orders. Yet, you now realize that absent wider distribution, you are actually losing money. You conclude that it is time to look for a third sales channel, a wholesale distributor.

Congratulations! Selling your product through a wholesale distributor is a big step, a validation of your business acumen. Be a real pro and take a minute to understand what factors may persuade a wholesale distributor to include your product in their mix.

A distributor is a middle man who makes money from products he sells to a wide range of retail outlets, so he will take on only those products that he expects to sell quickly. Show that you are a good risk by demonstrating healthy product sales both from your website and at retail outlets.

Be prepared to sell your product to the distributor for less money than you sell to retailers. The distributor needs to see a certain profit margin before s / he takes you on. Moreover, the distributor must buy inventory and so must invest in significantly more product than a typical retail establishment.

The advantage for you is that your product will be much more available. Another advantage for you is that many more retailers will stock your product when it is available through a wholesale distributor, because many retailers prefer to purchase a wide array of merchandise through a limited number of vendors. It is too time-consuming to deal directly with many small vendors, interacting with numerous salespeople and invoicing each separately. One-stop shopping is more efficient.

Distributors also prefer business owners who have multiple products, because it is favorable to their administrative costs. It is easier to sell multiple products from one company, so the more products you have available for sale, the more attractive you are to a wholesale distributor.

When your sales are strong and the time you spend selling individually to retail outlets becomes unwieldy, it is time to contact wholesale distributors to learn if you are considered a good prospect for them. Ask the retail establishments to whom you sell who you should contact and ask for a reference.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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Business Lessons From the Honeybee

I have often advised the diligent work of the honey bee. Just stand in any garden for a few minutes and very soon you will see one or two honey bees foraging for food within the flowers.

These insects never seem to get tired of working, so it's obvious why an industrious person is said to be as 'busy as a bee.'

On deeper reflection, I realized that there are many insights that this tiny insect can give us about being successful in business. I did a little research on the practices of the honey bee and I was quite impressed with the systematic way that it goes about achieving its life's work.

Here are some of the business lessons that I earned from studying the honey bee:

Create products that are highly valued

The honey bee is the only insect that makes food that can be eaten by humans. Honey is also the only natural food that contains all the vital ingredients for life – vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fatty acids and water.

Bees also produce other things that are of great nutritional, medicinal and economic value to people such as bee pollen, bee wax, bee venom and royal jelly. These insects are also self-sufficient as they create everything needed to sustain the entire colony.

Are you customer-focused when creating the products or services that are provided by your business? Do your offers bring excellent value to many people?

Design efficient business systems

The honey manufacturing process is a perfect example of how an efficient production line can create consistent, predictable results.

Worker bees collect nectar from flowers; store it in special stomachs; deliver it to other bees in the hive; these chew on the nectar to break it down; drop it into combs in the hive; beat their wings on the combs to thicken the honey for long-term storage; then cap each comb with wax to preserve the food, and start the process again.

Have you created proper systems for all your business processes such as product development, manufacturing, sales, marketing, accounting, and human resource development?

Be persistent in your work effort

A honey bee will work diligently to fill its stomach with nectar; it may have to visit over 100 flowers before its task is complete. To produce one pound of honey, about 500 honey bees have to fly more than 35,000 miles finding nectar and taking it back to the hive.

This distance would be the same as traveling over three times around the world! In fact, the phrase 'working to death' is a reality for these bees as many pay the ultimate sacrifice to get the job done.

How committed are you to developing your enterprise? Are you prepared to give up leisure time and do whatever it takes until you have created a successful business system?

Focus on teamwork

Honey bees exist in communities in which each member has specific tasks to accomplish, and each job is important to the survival of the entire colony.

The queen bee is the visionary leader and reproductive agent; the female worker bees take care of the queen and her babies, build the comb, collect nectar, produce honey, and defend the colony; and the male drones' only purpose is to mate, as they neither have stingers to defend nor stomachs to collect nectar.

Does your business have prerequisite job descriptions that indicate the importance of each person to the success of the entire team?

Use effective communication skills

Another common saying that's attributed to bees is 'to make a beeline for it.' This comes from the actions of a foraging worker bee after it discovers a source of nectar.

The insect returns to the hive and performances a sophisticated 'waggle dance' that reflects the exact location of the nectar. Using these directions, the other bees are able to fly straight to the place described by the forager bee.

In your business, have you effectively communicated your vision, mission and business objectives to your team? Are all your employees working towards a shared goal?

Expand your customer base

Foraging honey bees adopt a global outlook when seeking nectar – they do not only stick to their immediate neighborhood. They can travel over four miles and cover some 50,000 acres in their search.

Bees can remember the locations of profitable sources of nectar and regularly revisit these areas to obtain more. They will avoid wasting time with flowers with double petals that make it difficult to extract nectar.

Have you done research to determine your best target market? Do you market repeatedly to existing customers? Are you looking globally in an effort to develop a larger customer base?

Make prudent use of profit

Finally, have you ever considered why these insects create a store of honey in the first place? Bees use this complex production system to ensure that they have enough food for the winter months when nectar is unavailable.

Are you retaining some of your business profits for the lean times?

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How to Pick a Good Store Location

If you are selling products, rather than services, at some point, you must decide whether you will be selling your products out of a store location. If you decide you need a store, there are several factors to consider when deciding where to establish your storefront.

You want to find a town that has reasonable rents (and other costs that you will incur with renting), that has low taxes, the right zoning and other regulations, and sufficient available labor to staff your store. Is there a public transportation that runs through that town or is that not an issue for your customers?

The location within that town is also important. Is the location consistent with the image of your business, is the neighborhood safe, is there sufficient parking nearby, will your customers have to feed parking meters or can they shop as long as they like, there is enough foot traffic in the part of town in which you are interested, are there other stores near who will attract similar customers? Is the commute easy for you on a daily basis?

Once you have found a part of town that suits your business, can you afford the rent? Frequently, business owners must make a trade-off between the amount of rent they can afford and locating their store on the most heavily trafficked streets. Do your types of customers need special amenities that are available in that part of town and will they be available in your store? Will your store be able to be seen from the street?

Before you sign a lease, talk to other store owners in the area. How is business for them? Is there any construction in the area planned in the near future? Are there any competitors very nearby? Are there any other stores that would complement yours and feed you some traffic? Talk to other store owners who would have the same landlord as the one you are thinking of renting space from. How is the landlord to work with? Does it (or the management company) respond promptly to problems? Will your store need special wiring or fixtures installed and will the landlord provide them?

Give yourself plenty of time to choose the right location. It may take months to find and you do not want to have to set for whatever is out there because you are in a rush. When you finally choose your store location, consult with an attorney who will, at the least, point out the problem areas with the landlord's lease. If you can afford it, have your lawyer negotiate with the landlord to get the best deal possible.

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What Kinds Of Businesses Are Best Suited For A Mobile App?

Ever since the introduction of the smartphone and mobile apps, people have been downloading apps at a nonstop rate. Nowadays, there is an app for just about everything. The only thing is, many small businesses do not have an app for their business which is understandable due to the expensive nature of apps as well as an app not being the best fit for each business.

The purpose of this article is to elaborate on the small business types in which having a mobile app would present a major advantage. A mobile app can work for any business if they use it correctly, but certain business types are a better fit for mobile apps than others.

# 1: The Restaurant

Have you ever been to a restaurant only to find out that the tables are full and there is a wait? Have you looked at the restaurant website only to find an outdated menu? These are problems that people can face whenever they want to eat someplace and thankfully, there is a way to make this process easier.

A mobile app would allow a customer to book a table instantly. It would save the hassle involved in going online to book tables. The app would provide an easier interface to update the restaurant's menus so that the customer can stay well informed about any promotional or special menu items that the restaurant is trying out. An app is also a great way for the restaurant to advertise any pricing specials that they have going on. It would be a great way to save paper and they can target their most loyal customers, the ones who most likely downloaded their app to begin with.

# 2: Any Business That Has A Carryout / Delivery Service

Customers are always calling ahead to have their orders placed or utilizing the delivery service to have the products delivered to their doorstep. Having a mobile app is actually a gold mine for these businesses that utilize these services. The mobile app makes it easy for the customer to place their order and either have it picked up or have it delivered to them. With the touch of a few buttons and the input of some information, the customer will have full control over what they want to purchase and will be able to do it without the hassles that might come with placing an order online. Pizza businesses, sub shops, and even Chinese places have utilized an app that allows for pick-up and delivery. So, a small business such as a pizza shop, sub shop, dry cleaning, or other specialty store that makes use of carryout or delivery services would be an excellent fit for a mobile app.

# 3: Any Business That Has A Rewards Or Loyalty Program

There's no better feeling than having enough points or making enough purchases to allow yourself a freebie. Loyalty and reward programs often encourage customers to make more purchases, which would most likely work for food / drink businesses or businesses in which there are usually repeat purchases .. A mobile app would be a perfect tool to use a loyalty programs such as through the use of a barcode to scan each customer's purchase as opposed to paper cards.

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