Business Financing Strategies – Proof of Product

For individuals that aspire to start a business or even for those that are in the early stages of business operations, one of the key components for attracting investors or obtaining traditional credit via a bank loan is offering a product and / or service with sustainable demand. Warren Buffet talks about one of his priority criteria for business investment is the sustainable demand derived from a company's “competitive advantage .

It is a well-known fact that the engine of the US economy is small business. According to the SBA, small businesses account for 99.7% of employer firms. For clarity, the SBA defines a small business as any manufacturing or non-manufacturing business with less than 500 employees. Prior to start-up and even during the early stage phase (0 to 2 years) of the business, intentional focus and time investment is needed to legitimize the planned demand of the product and / or service offering. Is it enough to just have a desire to operate and own a business? Well, it's half of the puzzle honestly. True, it's pretty dreadful to operate a business for the exclusive purpose of making money, but there's a need for balance. The optimal route is to start and operate a business that you have a desire for and that that gives you the opportunity to earn a living and become wealthy.

Here are two ways to “test” the competitive advantage of your product and / or service for sustainable demand:

(1) – Give Away for Free a Sample Version
You can not beat free. Yeah, there are some that think you can not give away valuable business offerings for free and expect the market to take you seriously. Well, that's sort of the point. In other words, value is in the eyes of the market. Ultimately, the market decides whether or not you have something of value to offer with their willingness to consume your sample version and then demanding more. Also, from a production and cost standpoint, generating free samples is typically marginal in comparison to building out the entire product with an unproven market.

(2) – Create a Presentation of the Proposed Offering and Share with Perceived Target Market for Feedback
Yes, I know it's scary and down right crazy to expose yourself and your business offering to others in order to get their unfiltered feedback, but there's an upside to doing this. More often than not, you will discover that either you were way off base OR you just needed to tweak a few things to deliver something of value. Is there a chance that someone could steal your idea and attempt to offer the same product and / or service as you? Sure … if not here then at least in China or the Ukraine, right? Also, it teaches you to have thick skin and not take yourself too seriously.

The point here is not to get bogged down with the analysis paralysis syndrome and looking to create the perfect business. Here's a news flash: the perfect business does not exist and probably never will. Interact with your target market and understand their painlessly pain points. Once you learn these, then it's time to generate a product and / or service that alleviates these pain points. By listening to your target market and delivering what they want, you in effect will have created a business with a competitive advantage and increased the opportunities of having sustainable demand.

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Headlines That Hit Like a Vegetarian

“You hit like a vegetarian”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger, Escape Plan, when Sylvester Stalone punched him

Just like Sylvester, most headlines out there hit like a vegetarian. Your prospect sees them and ignores them.

Why?

A couple reasons for this. First of all, most people do not know how a good headline looks like. Then, the way you are taught to write headlines is bad. It's very mechanistic and it can not elicit an emotion response from your audience. In order to resolve the problem of bad headlines, you must first understand how bad headlines are created in the first place. You are told to find a good headline. You may search for “good headline examples” or even “best headlines of all times.” The results are indeed headlines worked great in the past.

Now you have to copy paste a headline you fancy and just substitute words when you are done, voila, you have a headline. And here lies the problem. If you want to copy word for word a successful headline, you must be careful. The headline was about a specific market and it touched a specific pain point.

Take for example one of the most famous headlines ever written: Do You Make These Mistakes In English?

It was about an ad that sold an English correcting course. The target market were people who English were subpar. They could not get better positions in their jobs, because of their bad English.

Let's take the headline and twist it for a weight loss product: Do You Make These Mistakes When Trying To Lose Weight?

Weak.

But what makes it weak?

It does not talk to the market. Everybody wants to lose a little weight. Even professional body builders. It's not a problem that grabs someone's attention and forces them to read.

How can you remedy this problem?

Easy.

Learn more about your market.

No, scratch that. Study the market.

Find their hot-button crisis and see what makes them stop and read or listen to your message.

Now, let's take for example a specific niche in dating: men who recently got divorced and they go out for their first date with a woman they like. An ad selling a dating product to them could have the following headline: Are You Going To Make These Mistakes On Your First Date? Way more powerful. There is a fear inside them that somehow, they will screw up. The headline reaches out, grabs them and pulls them in. From now on, before writing a single headline, make sure you have studied your market. It will reveal the emotional pains, worries and nightmares your customers are facing. When you learn those, it will be easy for you to write headlines that hit like Conan the Barbarian.

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Don’t Spend Your Time Watching The Ground Come Up At You

I had a rough winter. One that was only two years after my last rough winter. And it has not gotten much better since. Sure, we are getting by, but do not have enough business to get ahead. We are still much better off than others in our same situation. I am speaking of my consulting business. By March / April, I have always been very busy, not this year. Should I lay down and die, just be depressed, or is there another option?

It is easy to do. Wallow in self pity. Be depressed about your situation. But it is certainly not constructive. Spending your time worrying about what is going to happen will not do anyone any good. Instead, problem solve your situation.

So how do you problem solve your situation?

Define Your Problem

First, you must know what your problem is. For instance, I could say that I do not have enough work. Or I could say that my billable rate is too low. Or maybe I could say that I am in the wrong business. Any of these could potentially be true, but how do I want to frame my problem?

Collect Any Relevant Information

Measure any information you find to be relevant so that you can get a good picture of the way things are.

What Does The Perfect Situation Look Like?

Define, ie write down, what your perfect situation would look like. Would I want to work from home? Travel? Employ others to do the billable work? How does my perfect business look?

What Have Others Done In The Same Situation?

Research what other companies or individuals have done in the same situation. Come up with 2 or 3 possible solutions to the problem, if that is possible.

Decide What Elements Are Important In Your Solution

Come up with specific features of your solution that will be important to you. Perhaps making more money is important. Perhaps spending more time at home. Perhaps doing specific types of work. List those features and rate them in importance against each other.

Rate Your Solutions Against Each Other

Rate each of your solutions based on the elements / features previously defined, weighted by the most important features.

Implement The Best Solution

Put the highest scoring solution into action.

Evaluate Your Solution

After implementation, make sure your solution is performing as desired. If not, make adjustments and measure again.

Beat Your Head Against A Brick Wall

Sometimes, like in my situation, you must work at the difficult task of selling. Some days are successful, some are miserable, but you need to keep working at it to keep your businesses growing or just going. There may be no substitute for this hard work. And putting in the work is a much better idea than wallowing in self pity.

Do not ever spend your time watching the ground come up at you, ie expecting a major crash, it is a much better idea to work your problem or work hard to get beyond your situation.

What do you do when things are challenging?

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Top 5 Problems Facing Startups Today

Startups are emerging everywhere these days. Today, startups area flooding the entire marketplace and everywhere, students are even advised in schools and other educational institutions not to look forward to graduating and actually looking for a job, but rather to work as much as possible while in school to make names for themselves by investing their time in startups and business innovations.

Today, tales and stories of startup entrepreneurs and business owners seem to be on the front page of every newspaper and magazine issue, serving as an encouragement or incentive for more people to brainstorm and come up with ideas which, according to them, are worth investing in.

People see technological breakthroughs as something that could revolutionize the world world and open people up to more abundant opportunities. Because of this fact, more funds and resources are being made available for the beginning of feasible startups and businesses.

The untold truth about startups is this;
Launching and maintaining one is not nearly as easy as successful entrepreneurs make it look. As much as there are more avenues being made available for startups to emerge and bloom, there are still some challenges that continue to persist. As an aspiring startup entrepreneur, you should expect to face some time-tested challenges and roadblocks.

Startups face challenges at different stages and various rungs up the ladder to success. Issues may differ based on the difficulty experienced in executing various goals and objectives and the capacity of the entrepreneur (s) to handle various problems as they come is a huge advantage. Startup entrepreneurs make mistakes, depending on the type of startup or the group of people (if any) working together. However, there are some challenges that are facing startups on a general level today.

Here is a list of the top 5 challenges that your startup will face and how you manage them will go a long way in determining whether your startup will succeed or fail:

Funding
The big issue comes first. Funding remains one of the major challenges that emerging startups face. It's a really dicey issue in the sense that every investor prefers to put their money somewhere they know it will be safest. Here, they usually invest their money in already established and successful startups. Logical as it is for the investors, it also limits the number of successful startups that are available today. Truly, there are some startups today that if given the appropriate funds, will go on to become serious trailblazers in their fields. However, they lack the readily available funds simply because investors prefer to be 'logical' and invest in the established, most prospective startups.

As an alternative to the usual Bank funding, it might be worth giving this blog post a read: https://www.alternativelybusinessfunding.co.uk/blog/post/were-in-the-business-of-funding-when- no-one-else-will .

Lack of Innovation
The desire to build startups and make money quickly and easily has sadly created a feworms in our minds. This said, most startups are simply 'knock offs' of old, more successful ones. The innovation is extremely lacking in entrepreneurs today. When investors and clients see these, they become a link to invest as they generally fail to see the difference between these new startups and old ones.

A major method for attracting funds for a startup is to have at least one unique feature; something that makes you stand out from the immeasurable amount of startups that are related to, or similar yours. People usually embrace re-imagined ways of doing things rather than favorably new and innovative methods. The consequence of this is that innovation is generally trumped.

Unfeasible Goals
It's always helpful and advantageous to set goals for your business. Goals give your business a direction, provide a means of measuring your business' growth over time, act as a means to assess the success (or otherwise) of your business and serve as a method of pitting your business against other businesses in your fields.

In running startups, it is important that your startup surpasses (or at least meets) your set goals; it shows that you're on the right track for future successes. However, where most startups get it wrong is the goal setting part. Most times, upcoming startups set goals that are simply unrealistic, giving their structure and size. Also, following a huge success, startups tend to 'raise the bar' and in the process, they set goals that stretch them too thin. For consistency, it is important to set high but controlled and generally attainable goals and objectives, given a level of resources and your capacity of meeting those goals.

If you're struggling for ideas on how to set yourself goals for your start up, I'd highly recommend reading the following article over at Wanderlust Worker: https://www.wanderlustworker.com/10-business-goal-setting- tips-how-to-set-and-achieve-career-goals /

Decision Making
This challenge is mostly faced in businesses that have multiple owners (Ie, partnerships). While partners are great as they offer a greater capital base, these businesses are usually made up of owners who come from various backgrounds and who have differenting (sometimes conflicting) business orientations.

These differentiating orientations greatly affect decision making. In running a startup, it is essential to be able to make decisions fast, especially when the window of time you have to act is very small or when the opportunity that presents itself to you is about to close. Some partners may have no qualms with taking certain risks while some feel it will not be 'safe'. A partnership lags here because no decision can be taken without everyone's consent and without accommodating every partner. It's vital that you get used to making (sometimes) tough decision, and quickly.

Personnel Selection
No matter how great your business management skills are as an entrepreneur, sooner or later and no matter how small, you'll still need a team to work around you. Finding the right team members can be a bit of a challenge; you have to select people who have the same passion as you and people who are capable of handling the hardships that come with the job.

The right person will greatly help you; their skills will eventually help in relieving you of some of the work. Choosing the right personnel is a task that must be done with utmost care and impartiality. You can easily be tempted by a person's character and hire them, only to discover that you've made a mistake and hired the wrong person. Other biases (nepotism, attraction, etc) must also be avoided when selecting the right personnel for your startup.

If you're still in the frame of mind that you want to start a new business, our team will be more than happy to discuss crafting and developing the perfect start up business plan for you.

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Restorative Cleaning: Bring Carpets Back to Life

Restoring your customers' carpets to like-new condition is a feat worth overcoming. Doing so will help boost customer satisfaction and increase the chances of them coming back to you in the future. Carpet cleaning services are relied upon because it helps property owners save money. Your carpet cleaning supplies and equipment are the golden ticket to saving damaged rugs from requiring expensive replacements.

The carpets that are the most hard hit happen to be those within commercial buildings. Employees and customers tread across the floors day in and day out, leaving behind soiled, dingy carpeting. If not consistently taken care of, these carpets can quickly become unmanageable. This is where your cleaning program comes in.

With a proper preventive cleaning program implemented, your customers will be able to reduce the damage done to their floors. While interim cleaning and preventive cleaning are key, they're not sufficient for restoring carpets.

Offering Restorative Cleaning Services

Another term for this is deep cleaning – this should be done at least once or twice each year, especially after wintry, wet seasons. This is the last resort for maintaining carpets, and is frequently needed because of all the mud and debris that's tracked in by incoming traffic. There are both portable and truck mounted carpet cleaning machines you can use for the restoration of carpets.

The Process of Restoring Carpets

Once you have the correct cleaning equipment on hand, you can begin targeting the areas of the carpet that are difficult to clean. This may include stains and spaces caused by food and heavy soils. Certain areas may even be worn due to insufficient cleaning redundancies.

Here's a quick checklist for the carpet restoration process:

  1. Begin by removing all the stains and soil from the carpet (various methods and machines can be used)
  2. Neutralize and deodorize all bacterial contaminants you find
  3. Apply a carpet protector to the surface of the carpet, using the instructions of the manufacturer
  4. Use a pre-spray that's suitable for the carpet fibers and allow it to set for five to ten minutes
  5. Start the agitation process using a pile lifter (this will restore matted fibers and loosen up embedded soils)
  6. Use a low-moisture hot water extractor to rinse the carpet using water temperatures 120 degrees or hotter (the carpet should take no more than two to three hours to dry)

You can implement the above steps into your carpet cleaning program, using whichver equipment you deem necessary.

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The Benefits of Using Vinyl Banners

Before the invention of vinyl digital printing, custom banners were limited to blocky letters and clip art style graphics, but today custom banner and vinyl banners look unbelievable. From business advertising to announcing an event citywide, the vinyl banner uses are just limited to your imagination. Whether you are looking for vinyl banners for your business, or just looking for a cost way to say “Baby on board” it's the right choice to consider.

Digital Printing

Before digital printing was used broadly, the only technique for making a vinyl sign was done by heat pressing other chunks of the material onto the banner. This does not just affect the durability, but also the visibility. Words should be blocky and the graphics included was very simple in nature like as clip art.

Today, digital printing has been altered for use with vinyl banners the ability to make a high quality, professional looking custom banner is not only easy but also inexpensive. One advantage of digital printing is the right color showing as well as the use of high-quality photographs with thousands of images and plenty of colors.

Durability

Durability is one advantage of the vinyl banner over paper or cloth. These banners are weatherproof and tear resistant. Vinyl banners can also be used in windy areas by piercing small holes to lessen the surface area that withstands a blowing wind.

On the brink of the durability the ink and the vinyl material used for digital printing can be ultra – violet resistance which enables these banners to be put up in direct sunlight for a long duration of time without any fading or worsening of colors. In short Ultra violet resistant inks keep looking looking bring when spotted far longer.

Uses

The best fact of these custom vinyl banners is that they are so versatile. Also, you are pretty much able to use it for anything. Because of the fact that these banners are durable and weatherproof, they are also perfect for outdoor advertising. Businesses can use them to advertise open houses, special sales or other special events like meetings. Cities might use them to advertise city-wide fairs, events, parades or anything else the people need to know about. Individuals may use them for anniversaries, parties and family events.

Since they are highly durable, they can last for years if it is cared and stored properly for. This means you use the same vinyl banner after year, which is right for people in various industries like hotels. Whether you are an individual or a business owner, custom vinyl banners offer a solution to all your advertising needs.

The ease of usage

Today these banners are widely used and it is also very easy to handle. You see them all over the city and they usually have certain grommets in every corner. All you need is to take some nylon rope and hang anywhere. When not needed that can also be taken down and discarded properly.

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Insured Couriers – Deliver Your Wishes With Comfort

But in the case when the digital world is not enough to entertain us then we need to take some assistance physically. When it is about sending a materialistic thing to someone or receiving it, the importance gets much higher for the insured couriers. So the question is what is a courier service basically? A courier service is an organization which takes the responsibility for delivering a letter or a parcel which you want to send to a different city in your own country or even to a different country. The most surprising thing is the postal services do the same thing but in a much time consuming manner. The difference between the conventional postal services and the proper courier services is from hell to the heaven. Multiple aspects for the users which make the courier service one of a kind are given below –

Personalized delivery and signature of the same for proof:

When we tend to send something to our beloved ones or officially, we try to make the matter short and simple and obviously without any risks. The main thing where the insured couriers go ahead of the others is the provision of a personalized delivery with the utmost safety and a proper time management which gives you a breeze of a relief.

Multiple Choice:

The second point why the people are running for the couriers more than any other service is they can be avail with ample of good choices. From a lot of companies choosing the profitable one for you is always comfortable than going with the one or two service provider which will not provide you the flexibility.

Time is Money:

This famous saying is just not got famous anyways but it is comprised with the best lesson in our lives. This eternal truth has its relevance for the delivery of your goods or documents as well. The largest difference between the conventional postal services and the insured couriers is the duration of time. The courier companies manage the time properly and try to be as much as less time taking.

Special Treatments:

For the sake of the security, everyone tries to go along with the much legal way. The insured couriers would be able to deliver you the whole work with a proper paperwork which promises to provide an organized and risk less piece of work.

The whole matter of the above is a direct declaration why the insured couriers are really required for the delivery process. You need to be conscious about going with the thing that can affect your future. The main concerns that you should have are having the work done at the end of the day, and have a sleep with relief.

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How Small Businesses Can Survive Online Onslaught

Every company owner who has started his online business becomes frustrated sooner or later in his career. In order to successfully create the market for his business, he needs to focus on what's special and different about his or her business. Today the small business owner has a range of online paid marketing alternatives. In the rapid changing technological world, small business owners have many tools and technologies which can help automate particular function of their marketing and advertising strategies. If you're a normal offline business proprietor, online marketing may sound to be a difficult concept for you.

Marketing can at times appear cost-prohibitive, but it is a critical element for success of the business today. Internet marketing is continuously moving towards more innovative approach and strategies. It is not an option, it has become a priority. In case you are new to internet advertising, it is advisable to take the help of a professional search engine optimization service provider who understands these concepts and has the capability to design the internet marketing campaigns around these concepts.

Like the conventional business a digital business too must be most visible to internet clients or the company will not take off and eventually fade away. Starting an internet business is similar to starting any other business in the offline world, it requires time and you need an extremely strategic plan to secure you from starting to end of your development all the while making sure you figure out ways to make your web business stick out over the rest.

Think about marketing strategy as a compass which will guide your company to the ideal path. Nowadays to be able to develop into a thriving small business entrepreneur, you have to promote your business intelligently. Marketing through directories has to be a continuous process that should be monitored carefully. Marketing on the web has become more and more competitive if you prefer to be in the limelight and become successful. Internet advertising has come to be among the most powerful and smartest weapons for business advertising activities. Internet affiliate marketing is gaining prominence on the internet world and can be a fantastic way to boost your company's prospects when done correctly. Local PPC marketing will definitely offer a laser targeted visitors to your website.

Advertising in smallish businesses generally have sales as the primary focus of their advertising strategy. You may use marketing and articles to advertise the best characteristics of your company.

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13 Free Online Educational Resources for Business Owners

A small business owner wears many hats. Often, they are responsible for finding business, customer service, sales, advertising, and bookkeeping. This is in addition to the duties surrounding the actual service or product the business provides.

There are many resources available on the internet to help you wear your many hats with more confidence. Here are some of the most useful courses, websites, and other resources you can access now.

1. The University of the People

The University of the People is an online, fully accredited university, based in the United States. They offer tuition-free associate and bachelor degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science, and Health Science.

2. Coursera

One of the greatest bastions of self-directed education, Coursera offers instruction in a variety of topics. Learn how to market yourself, and improve your personal brand. Take a class on bookkeeping or accounting. Or, sharpen and expand your marketable skills.

3. Open Culture

Open Culture bills itself as a repository of free cultural and educational resources found on the internet. Their list of videos, courses, and audio files, related to many different aspects of business management, will keep you busy for days.

4. Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration should be the first stop for every self-employed entrepreneur. Their website offers free courses, downloads, and videos to help you on every step of your path. Learn how to write a business plan, find funding, do market research, and so much more. The SBA also offers a mentoring program for new small business owners.

5. Free Management Library

If you want the knowledge that comes with participating in an MBA level business program, but do not want the expense, the Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA is for you. You get access to all the lectures, readings, and assignments that you would in a full university course. But you get to do the work at your own pace, and all for free.

6. iTunesU

The iTunes app gives you access to hours of podcasts. Many prestigious universities and schools have partnered with Apple to bring you audio and visual files straight from the halls of Ivy League business schools. Enjoy top notch instruction from schools like Stanford, Harvard, and UC Berkeley.

7. Udacity

Udacity is one of the newer faces in online self-directed education. Their courses concentrate on web and computer technologies. Take one of their free courses, or invest in one of their paid offerings. If your business is web or computer based, their offerings can help you find new services and products to help grow your business.

8. MIT OpenCourseWare

Best known as the gathering place for academic elite to explore engineering, science, and other futuristic technologies, MIT offers many past lecture courses for your personal development. They offer courses that cover many topics, including classes in business and entrepreneurship.

9. edX

Another new website catering to the self-educated crowd, edX offers a variety of courses that a small business owner or entrepreneur will find indispensable. They also offer certificates that prove you put in the work. Their MicroMasters program will have you feeling like an expert in no time.

10. Code Academy

Computer technology is the future. If you find your computer programming skills are holding you back, look at the courses offered by Code Academy. Their short, interactive tutorials and lessons will get you up to speed with what you need to know to tackle lucrative online markets with confidence.

11. HubSpot Academy

This one is for all you keyboard warriors! If you are trying to carve a slice of the internet marketing pie for yourself, this is the site for you. You can work towards a certification in inbound marketing, email marketing, inbound sales, content marketing, and many other offerings. Most courses are free.

12. TED Talks

Make this your one-stop source for information, entertainment, and inspiration. TED talks cover the whole fabric of life, from personal stories to motivation to advantage garde and unusual instructions and solutions.

13. ALISON Diploma in Social Media Marketing

If you want a quick yet thorough guide to effective social media marketing, the diploma in Social Media Marketing may be what you need. This free course will take you from social media newbie to media marketing master in under 20 hours.

Being a business owner is hard. But these free online business education resources can make it easier!

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On Business Growth: Why Small Businesses Should Have Websites

Ten years ago, the prospect of owning a website for small business was close to impossible. It used to be an unexplored territory that was not very accessible, had limited potential and was very expensive. Fast forward to the present, the tables have turned. The Internet has now become the most efficient and direct way to promote, advertise, and sell.

However, many small businesses are still hesitant to get their own website because they can not quite see how it would be beneficial. For a better perspective, here are some of the reasons why getting a website is a profitable investment for small businesses:

Visibility and Accessibility. Establishing an online presence allows small businesses to be seen and to be reached by their customers. Well, having a physical office space or store which can be frequented by would-be customers can actually do just that. However, these physical spaces are limited by geographical boundaries and could not really operate 24/7 without the business invest on additional manpower and operation cost. Websites, on the other hand, gives small businesses their virtual office space online to make them accessible to customers round the clock. With websites, the customers can check out the company, what it offers, at what cost, and even place orders while the business owner is sleeping! And all of these can be done at a cost that is only a fraction of what most businesses would spend for additional manpower and operation cost when they operate 24/7.

Marketing and Promotion. Small businesses typically have a smaller area of ​​operation, so, their target customers are just a specific group of people confined in a certain location or demographic profile. However, even if the number of target customers may not be that many, advertising can still cost much. Traditional marketing and promotion are done by advertising in newspapers, television, and radio, giving away flyers and brochures, and hosting sales events. All of these come with a price and it is not at all cheap. However, when a small business owns a website, it can easily use all available online marketing and promotion strategies and direct all these to their virtual office space and make sales. It has been proven that having a website has boosted many businesses' sales because not only is the promotion strategies effective, they are also much, much more affordable than traditional advertising strategies.

Wide audience reach. Small business has the opportunity to expand the reach of their market. The Internet is a venue which is not limited by spaces and boundaries. What this means is that a small business in the USA can actually expand to the global market so long as its operation allows. By establishing a website, a small business has also opened its doors to accommodate a wider group of customers.

Quantifiable. Websites come with analytics that allow their owners and users to monitor the activities that occur in the site. This means that it is possible to see which of the posts in the website are effective and are frequented by customers. It can also monitor from what location the business is doing well. These and other information are available in a company's website, all of which are very important in analyzing the market to help the business craft better strategies for promotion.

These are just some of the advantages that small businesses can reap if they set up their own website. There are still more that websites can offer only if companies are just more open to this new world of advertising.

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We Ended Our Retail Operation, Should You?

We used to be a big huge sellers on Amazon. Big. We had a basement warehouse and bought by the pallet fulls. We used FBA on Amazon … sending in shipment after shipment of product. In fact, at one time we had more product in the Amazon warehouse than in our own stock.

We also sold direct to consumer, which was a bit of business. We sold locally by delivery and nationally by mail.

It sounds like we should have been rolling in cash but we were not. Amazon was tricky because we sold a commodity product that others could also be selling. Lowest price wins, and many sellers would sell for a loss. So we took a different tactic, we started selling items that were soon to be discontinued or were already discontinued, buying up a large portion so we could outlast the other sellers. Sometimes we won, sometimes we lost. Weave away a lot of product that our buyers did not want.

Retail sales is filled with risk. You have to be really good not to lose money doing it. But it is also addictive because there can be a lot of activity. When you end it, all that activity goes away, making you feel like you have no business. Or making you feel like you are not profitable. But I have news for you: We are just as profitable without retail sales as we were with it, because we were only breaking even.

What we got back from ending our retail operation is time. Time to write, time to plan, time to do paperwork, time to have a life. Our business is not overpowering our life now, we have time and options.

In network marketing, the dream is to have that commission check coming in month after month and being able to live your life on your own terms. Yes, you still have to work but you can take a day off anytime if you like. You can work from a beach in the Bahamas if you like. You can do things big and small. If you sell retail, whatever you do, your business limits your options.

If you do not sell retail, how do you build a business? In network marketing, you buy product from your company for yourself and you find other people to sponsor, who will buy product for themselves and also find other people to sponsor. Your responsibilities go up as your group gets bigger. Again, there is work, but there is also options. You can go on vacation without planning for a month about how do deal with your business while you are gone.

Is network marketing without retail right for you?

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What Role Do Boardrooms Play For Start-Ups?

Starting a business today has never been easier. The internet and other technological advances now make it possible for startups to compete at the same level with established brands in their niches. Most of these emerging ventures are technology based and they are not constrained by issues, such as physical assets, office space, and personnel.

However, the importance of the boardroom still remains as it allows entrepreneurs to brainstorm and also meet their clients in a professional setting. Employees in most startups communicate remotely through Skype, video conferencing and other tools, which means there is no need for large office space. This is where renting a meeting venue becomes critical.

While leveraging modern technology is an innovative way to keep in touch, you must also appreciate the role of formal meetings. For instance, a new client would like to meet in person and because you do not have enough office room, renting conference rooms becomes a great idea. There are many other reasons why these rentals are important for new companies and they include:

  1. Creating a professional outlook: Every client wants to get a first impression of your operations. If you do not have an immaculate space for such a face-to-face meet, you can lose a lot of contracts. Luckily, hotels and other offers now provide affordable rooms for rental and they are equipped to look like a traditional boardroom. The idea is to give an office atmosphere away from the office and allow meaningful discussions.
  2. Modern technology: These meeting rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to allow seamless communication and interaction. There are projectors, video conferencing facilities, printers, whiteboards, Wi-Fi connection and other fixtures to ensure everyone concerned is connected even when they are not present.
  3. Affordability: Buying real estate in any city is an expensive affair, which will deplete much of the startup capital. Renting out a boardroom solves this problem. This venue is available on a need-to basis. You only pay when you use the room thus saving your company a lot of money.
  4. Building your reputation: By providing a favorable environment for your business, you will gradually earn the trust of new clients. This is something most new firms struggle with and it has been cited as a major cause of failure. You need to earn the trust of every stakeholder be it an investor, supplier or client.
  5. Tailor-made solutions: You can easily create the same atmosphere you have at your company by branding the space with your colors and messages. Most hotels assist in doing this and they have affordable packages to suit new companies.

A professionally equipped meeting room has high-quality furniture and communication gadgets to facilitate easier communication. It is a more affordable option to building your own meeting space.

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Small Businesses: Weather the Holidays

Unless you're a Seasonal or Retail based business, it's no secret that business will slow down around the holiday season. Right around October is where you can see a big drop in sales. These Holiday months can be rough on small businesses, so how do you continue your company's growth into the holidays? If you agree that there might not be any customers to sell during this time, what do you do with the extra time?

It's crucial to not become idle and complacent during this Holiday season. As a business owner, there's always things to be improved on and not hustling through the Holiday season can allow competitors to close in on your market. No matter what industry you're in, there's always challenges that need to be addressed. The harsh reality is – businesses fall victim to the Holiday slow season and end up closing doors.

Hustle-Work-Holidays

Stay ahead of competition and prepare for the Holidays. While others slow down and sit around, get the edge with these 4 tips.

Follow up on overdue Invoices

If you're a small business, there's a high chance that there's outstanding invoices that have not been paid. With the additional downtime, make an effort to cash in on these invoices. Sometimes it's as easy as invoices that you forgot about. Other times, it's more difficult cases that need to be sent to collections – either way, you should not leave money on the table. Any money coming in is helpful to your books.

Make sure to keep note of why invoices are outstanding. Later, you can improve your billing process this way to ensure no more leaks.

Trim fat by cutting expenses

It's easy to allow monthly expenses to get out of control. When business is doing well, you do not notice the small thing. But You do not have to wait until urgent times to do a review of your business expenses. There's always ways to cut back. Where to start? Try Asking your employees. For Example: You can reduce your marketing expenses if your employees know that the ROI will not be good or You can ask for email subscription / marketing services to be suspended a month. Finding ways to trim your expenses will give you extra cash flow into the new year.

Another expense you can look into reducing is your payroll. You can increase your employee morale and satisfaction by offering an option to have 1-2+ weeks of unpaid vacation. Some Employees will appreciate this option as they cherish time with their family and loved ones. In exchange, you get to reduce pay for the month, and It's a great way to keep everyone happy.

Build up a cash reserve

It's always good to have a 2-month operating cash reserve, regardless if it's the Holidays or not. In the months leading up to the last quarter, stash away some money for your cash reserves. If times get rough, you'll be glad that you have it. You never know if you might need it for some unexpected tax liabilities or other operating expenses.

Reflect and Plan your attack

During the slow season, you should reflect on the past year of business. Meet with your accounting department to see what month was the busiest, then plan accordingly. Plan to apply strategies that were the most successful and make a note of what services or expenses offered the best ROI. Then Challenge yourself with a realistic goal that you want to beat. This will encourage growth and serve as a benchmark for you to work toward.

It's not easy running a business. But between balancing your books, keeping your employees happy and solving problems daily – sometimes you forget about relaxing. Our final piece of advice is about stepping away. Taking a Vacation will not destroy your business. The best time to take some personal time off is during the Holiday slow down. Going away for a vacation can do wonders for your thought process. According to (Forbes), 3/5 people reported having better clarity with their thoughts after an extended vacation. Use our tips to ensure productive use of your downtime.

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Properly Train Your Carpet Cleaners for Max Customer Satisfaction

Your carpet cleaning business is only as great as the employees you hire. If you're not bringing aboard skilled workers, then you're going to have to ensure they're properly trained. This should include educating them how to use carpet cleaning equipment and how to select the best cleaning methods for the job. You should have a clear cut maintenance plan in place that your trainees can easily adopt.

Every successful carpet cleaning business has a preventive maintenance program. The following will help you put together a strategy that's effective for your employees, as well as your customers.

Daily Prevention Methods

Preventive cleaning is a must to keep your customers' floors in tip top condition. This is especially so for those who own commercial buildings frequented by customers and personnel. Mats should be placed at the entrances and exits to minimize the amount of soil and debris that enters the property. Regular vacuuming is also a requirement. This can be carried out by their own employees or by yours.

Daily vacuuming and sweeping is needed for both the tile and carpeted areas. The key to making carpets last longer is by vacuuming regularly. This will prevent damage caused by soils. One study shows that 79 percent of soil inside of carpets is dry particulate soil. This is known to scratch and abrade the carpet fibers, which makes them look damaged and worn out. You'll typically find this happening in the high-traffic areas.

Vacuuming should also be done before the hot water extraction process using commercial carpet steam cleaners or other portable carpet cleaning machines. Let employees know – water and dirt creates mud, so you want to remove the soil before applying any moisture.

How to properly Vacuum a Floor

The vacuum used for your customers should be properly maintained and adjusted accordingly. Your workers should ensure the hoses are not clogged with debris and that the brushes are clean. The bags should also be emptied regularly. Before the process begins, the dial should be set to the highest height setting, then lowered once use begins. A change in the pitch of the motor will signify when the setting is correct. The machine should also begin to push forward when the setting is accurate.

Areas that have a lot of soil will need an upright machine and brush bar for agitation. A single or dual motor can be used. The most important areas that need pre-cleaning include elevators, the first 40 feet of entrances, stairwells with carpets, outside of bathrooms, transitioning areas (from tile to carpet) and crowded areas, such as copy rooms and nurse stations.

Interim Cleaning

Besides preventive and daily maintenance, it's important to implement interim cleaning. Your employees will need to incorporate this using carpet cleaning equipment with low-moisture. Little to no chemicals will also be used. This can be viewed as a light cleaning in between deep cleanings. This allows quicker drying times, requiring no downtime for fast-paced environments, such as businesses and medical facilities.

Restorative Cleaning

Once or twice a year, restoring cleaning should be performed for each client. Your employees should keep record of the dates, so that the interim and restoration cleaning is performed accordingly. During the restoration process, you will need to use hot water extraction or steam cleaning. The better quality your carpet cleaning equipment the better.

Make sure all employees are knowledgeable about all the different machines and tools that use. They should be properly cleaned and maintained to increase the longevity of your gear.

Keeping your customers floors cleaned through the year is your top priority. With a thorough preventive and interim cleaning plan, you can do just that. Use the above tips to start planning your schedule and training your employees to provide ultimate customer satisfaction.

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The Pros of Having a Custom Car Flag

Have you ever seen a flag blowing from a vehicle and wondered what is it for? It can be an advertisement of some sports team or a company that the person driving the car representations. There are also times when businesses and individuals have custom car flags made to promote a business or a product. Sounds a great advice, right? That is not the just the way you can use these custom flag. There are plenty of advantages to having one wandering from your vehicle.

Sports Team

You can buy a sports team car flag on any sports website, but are they customized? Does the flag have your favorite team or your name on the flag? Maybe you need to customize the flag based on your favorite team. One of the most important benefits of having a custom car flag is that you can advertise any sport and express your team spirit with any team and just professional sports.

Advertise your Message Across

Many people are using flags to advertise their product or service to represent this business. If there is someone with a disorder that you want to spread the word about, this can be the best way to express it! You can have the child's name on it and spread the word about whatever the cause is. People will spot this immediately when you are driving all over the town.

Business Promotion

If you are willing to promote your business, a car flag is a great way to do so. You can advertise your new product or business by driving the vehicle around the city to let people know about it. This is a faster method to advertise and having it customized can make a huge difference as it can express whatever you are willing to say! It acts like a direct representation of your business and it's like a traveling billboard sign.

It is essential that you find a custom flag maker who is able to work with you to make a custom car flag. Whether you are searching for advertising a volleyball team or your latest creation or invention, a customized car flag is a great way to spread the word. Is there any better way to promote whatever you want to promote?

The Options Available

The ideal material for moving vehicles is the knitted polyester. It can also be applied sewn according to the complexity of the design. Talk to a provider to know the other material used to make custom flags as there are various kinds of car flags and poles to choose from. You must also do some basic research to see which type will suit you the most. You can choose a 17 “flexible pole for promotional use and a premium single-sided knitted polyester 20” stiff flagpole is best suited for more frequent use. You can also design your own flag and customize your fabric with their wide selection of durable polyester.

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