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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Above Aboard: Part 9 Start Your Small Business Now

Now that we have a very effective business plan, a business plan that we promised to follow throughout our journey to our very own small business, it is now time to make everything legal. What's the first step? BUSINESS REGISTRATION!! Entrepreneur Magazine Philippines is generous enough to define what are the different types of business and the right government agency for each type of business. Read on. ^_^

The first step to operating a business responsibly: REGISTERING YOUR BUSINESS.


CHECKLIST: Basic Parts of a Business Plan: Part 8 Start Your Small Business Now

In the previous post, you learned how to make your very own business plan. Detailed steps are discussed there and it's very helpful to small business enthusiasts like you. In this article, checklist will be given to you so that you will know if you missed something or you've had everything written. Entrepreneur Magazine Philippines shared you the checklist or what we call the basic parts of a business plan. Read on and learn.



7 Steps to Make Your Own Business Plan: Part 7 Start Your Small Business Now

Entrepreneur Magazine Philippines shared the steps on making your very own business plan. Isn't that cool? Read on and learn. 



Monday, August 9, 2010

According To Plan: Part 6 Start Your Small Business Now



You already know what you want right? Then it is time for you to get going. First, MAKE A PLAN! In business, it's making a BUSINESS PLAN. If you wanted to succeed in your small business then make a plan. Don't know how will you make a plan? Then continue reading this series of Start Your Small Business Now by Entrepreneur Magazine Philippines.




Sunday, August 1, 2010

Know What You Want: Part 5 Start Your Small Business Now

Now that you already know how to do the research and you already found out what's your market going to be, then it is time to know what you want. It means you need to know exactly what you are looking for. So if you are really interested to know how to set up a small business in a right way, then it is advisable for you to keep continue reading this series of articles from Entrepreneur Philippines magazine. Remember, the more you know what you want, the greater chance of success you will have in the world of business.


Although there are many ways to conduct market research, what's important is that you know exactly what you're looking for. Being clear about what you want to learn, says Perez of Satisfind, will not only lead you to ask the right questions but will also show you the best way to gather the answers from the best possible survey respondents. 

Market research can be classified into qualitative, says Kai Salvino, Satisfind's director for customer research. The former explores the "whys" and "hows" and the latter gets the numbers and other measurable results like age, income bracket, and educational attainment.

Qualitative research methods include focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews, while quantitative research counts the usage, attitude and image (UAI) study; product, concept and brand name tests; and pricing studies among others.

Also, it's important to define the market you would like to penetrate, says Paulo Lao, a strategic marketing lecturer at the University of the Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries (UP-ISSI). "What market is involved? What are the customers' unmet needs and wants? Is the product or service you're going to offer better than the one existing in the market? That's really the source of business opportunity," Lao says.

Continue on Part 6 of Start a Small Business Now: ACCORDING TO PLAN.

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.

Research Basics: Part 4 Start a Small Business Now

The previous post discussed that you need to find the market first before you create the product. That means you need to research. This part will give you the basics of researching in the most simple terms that everybody can understand. Enjoy reading this part from Entrepreneur Philippines magazine and I hope that it will help you expand your knowledge about researching.




Most start-ups think that market research is expensive, and so entrepreneurs forego doing it. But in fact it can be done for free, it pays off in the long term, and can be considered "an investment for the entire business," says Perez of Satisfind.

What's the simplest way to research your market? Ask or interview people, even just your immediate network of relatives, friends and neighbors. Brad Geiser, director for strategics, creatives and market research at Geiser-Maclang Marketing Communications, says:

"As you interview people, your body of knowledge increases. When you're new in a business, it allows you to accumulate facts, and it's cheaper."

Personal interviews are one of the five basic methods of market research; the others are surveys, focus groups, observation and field trials. Most businesses use one or a combination of them based on the data that they need and how much money they're willing to spend to get it.

Interviews, like focus groups, include unstructured and open-ended questions and provide more subjective data than surveys. Although their results aren't statistically reliable, they also yield insights into the attitudes of your target customers and usually uncover issues related to new products or services.

Surveys, meanwhile, have five kinds: In-person or one-on-one, telephone, mail, and online. All of them are relatively inexpensive. In general, you can analyze a sample group that represents your target market with concise, straightforward market with concise, straightforward questionnaires. The larger the survey sample, the more reliable the results will be.

Observation research removes the inconsistencies between people's response to a survey or focus group and their actual behavior, because when you observe customers in action at stores, at work or at home, you can see how they buy or use a product or service -- thus giving you a more accurate picture of customers' usage habits and shopping patterns.

Lastly, field trials work by placing new products in selected stores to test a customer's response in real-life selling conditions, which can help you modify your product, adjust your prices or improve your packaging. Usually, startup business owners should establish a rapport with local store owners and websites that can help test their products.

If after your research you realize your business probably won't work out, "it's not death sentence for your idea," says Geiser, who was also interviewed in The Ultimate Guide bookazine. "A real entrepreneur will figure out a way to make it work. What people really look for in market research are new ideas, new beliefs, and new directions -- an edge. Not just what is, but what could be."



Continue on Part 5 of Start a Small Business Now: KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.


Get Off On The Right Foot:Part 3 Start a Small Business Now



Now that you know that you are meant to build an empire starting from being a small business owner, you need to make one step towards creating your business NOW. Go ahead and read this article from Entrepreneur Philippines magazine and you will learn a lot.

GET OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Make sound business decisions -- even before you start your enterprise -- based on solid market research.

IT IS ALWAYS wise to exercise caution, or as the saying goes, "look before you leap." New entrepreneurs taking the leap into a new business, therefore, would be prudent to scope out or research their market even before they put their first peso into their pet ventures. 

Market research means collecting the information you need to make decisions about your business. It is the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data relevant to selling the goods or services you produce.

Why research your market? As small business expert Susan Ward of About.com puts it, "Trying to start a small business without researching your potential market is as sensible as setting out for the North Pole with a surfboard."

Or, as noted Internet business expert Ian del Carmen of the Fireball Group of Companies says: "Do your research. Your amazing idea might not be the perfect business for you. What I always teach my students through my Internet-business coaching program is to find a market first before creating a product, not the other way around.

"If you think your beloved product would sell without extensive research -- if there is a ready market craving for that product -- you're one the wrong track," adds del Carmen, who has recently moved his growing business to the United States after years of operating locally.

Market research not only gets you on the right track, it is "a way of collecting information you can use to solve or avoid marketing problems," according to the Start Your Own Business book published by Entrepreneur Press USA (2004). The book adds: "It enables you to identify specific segments within a market that you want to target, and to create an identity for your product or service that separates it from your competition."

Ward stresses that market research isn't something you shelve when you're working on your business plan; in fact, it should come before a business plan, and then "needs to be an integral, ongoing part of your business' development," she says.

Although it is likewise true that many businesses have succeeded without researching their markets -- the old "build it and they will come" tactic does work -- the wise entrepreneur knows that market research will help minimize the risks that must be taken.

"It is about finding the answers to a particular question," Michelle Perez, president of the marketing communications first Satisfind, says in the ENTREPRENEUR Philippines bookazine The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Business (2007). "Understanding customers, how they look at the product or service, and what kind of impact that product or service has on them [is the heart of market research]."


Continue on Part 4 of Start a Small Business Now: RESEARCH BASICS

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.

10 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Sailing On With Your Own Entreprise: Part 2 of Start a Small Business Now

Let me continue rewriting one of the most important issues of Entrepreneur Philippines magazine, my favorite business mentor. This part will discuss self assessment towards setting up your own business. Enjoy reading and continue asking yourself NOW!



Ian del Carmen, president of the Internet marketing firm Fireball Group of Companies, takes a more cautious tone. "I agree that any time is the perfect time to start a business BUT it is not right to say any person is the perfect person to start a business," he says. "Anyone can start any business in 2010 as long as he/she is emotionally, intellectually, financially, and most of all, strategically ready."

Here are 10 questions -- as advised by the entrepreneurs we interviewed -- you need to ask yourself before sailing on with your own enterprise:

1. Do you enjoy making decisions and being in charge?
2. Do you have the willingness to take initiative?
3. Do you have enough money saved up to start your business?
4. Do you have a good credit rating?
5. Do you have strong people skills?
6. Are you flexible, and can you adapt to changing circumstances?
7. Are you good at short-range and long-term planning?
8. Are you willing to take calculated risks?
9. Are you good at following through on your ideas, plans and projects?
10. You don't expect your household income to rise within a year of starting your business?

If you can answer "yes" to all of them, then you probably are ready to be an entrepreneur. But to learn about the other details of starting a business, turn to the next several pages. Your time is now.





Continue on Part 3 of Start a Small Business Now: GET OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.

START A SMALL BUSINESS – NOW! PART 1: INTRODUCTION


While we were strolling in the mall, we bumped into a magazine stand that sells back copies. I rushed through it and while others are getting magazines about fashion and foods, I went to the business and finance section. For sure, I looked immediately for my favorite magazine, my inspirational and motivational partner in business, Entrepreneur Philippines. I was shocked to see that I missed a very important issue this year. My God, it was titled as NEW BUSINESS STARTER GUIDE! That’s actually why this blog was established! It is for small business enthusiasts especially for those who are just starting.

I will rewrite here straight from the magazine, yes I’m gonna type it manually, all the articles that I think will be useful to the small business enthusiasts who are reading this blog especially those who were not able to get a copy of this magazine. Since I really love this issue, I think I will type almost everything that’s in the magazine and it needs to be divided into several posts. Well, Entrepreneur magazine is an angel, a business partner, and a business mentor to all of small business enthusiasts in the Philippines.

Ok, let me begin the first article that I saw which is entitled “START A BUSINESS – NOW!

There’s not better time than the present to begin your own entrepreneurial journey. We tell you why.

The time is now – to start a business, that is. Why is that? Well, there’s no better time to start anything that the present moment. And we’re not just saying that because it’s the New Year, which always lends itself to thoughts about beginnings. But while these musings may just be fancies, forgotten as soon as February steps in, starting a new business is an entirely more serious and committed undertaking.

And because we at ENTREPRENEUR don’t want you wasting your Christmas bonuses, savings or retirement fund on a venture that won’t last three months – leaving your would-be employees grumbling the rest of the year – here’s our effort to help you along the road of entrepreneurship: a concise business starter guide that you can turn to when you feel you are ready to take the plunge.

Again, we assert that now is the time to be your own boss, whether of a small enterprise or, if your resources allow it, a big-capital undertaking. Besides the fact that you can only dilly-dally for so long before you decide it’s the right time to start, here are some macroeconomic facts to support our stand:

• The Asian Development Bank forecasts the Philippine economy to grow by 3.3% this year – meaning it has weathered global financial crisis. “Economic recovery is under way and is likely to strengthen in 2010,” ADB assistant chief economist Joseph E. Zveglich Jr. Said in a recent BusinessWorld report. “The prospects are looking up. We are seeing some improved business and consumer sentiment in recent months. And there are some signs that trade has bottomed out.”


• Personal consumption and government consumption, which are measures of private and public spending, are also on the rise, indicating that people are starting to let their money loose.

• The number of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) – which make up 99.6% of all businesses in the country – continues to rise, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

If you’re not the kind that’s swayed by big number and official forecasts, then maybe advice from fellow entrepreneurs will. Asked if it’s wise to start a business in 2010, Armando Bartolome, a noted franchising consultant and president of GMB Franchise Developers, says: “Starting a business does not depend on having a perfect time; what is required is for an entrepreneur to have established a business concept and written down a business plan.”

“I see that next year (2010) things will be much better (for business) yes full of challenges,” Bartolome adds.

Ditto with Lex Ledesma, a serial entrepreneur who is part owner of the iconic Whistlestop restaurant and one of the founders of The One School. He says: “I don’t believe that timing or the general state of the economy has anything to do with the timing of starting a business. The big question is, what is the business? The specific business should serve the needs of the present market. Plus this should be differentiated.

“Also, the nature of enterprise should be aligned with the passion and skills of the entrepreneur. If these criteria are met, then the time doesn’t matter, “Ledesma adds.

Continue on Part 2 of Start a Small Business Now: 10 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Sailing On With Your Own Entrerprise.

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.



Saturday, July 31, 2010

Small Business Marketing Strategies - 3 Key Strategies For Maximum Visibility of Your Site

Let's get into the detail. What are the marketing strategies for a small business' site to have a maximum visibility? I found an article and what the author said is very true and very effective.

There are several small business marketing strategies that can provide optimal success when choosing the web as your marketing venue. Small businesses today are at a great advantage with the internet providing several tools and resources for internet marketing and traffic generation. Knowing what these small business marketing strategies are and how to use them in order to locally market your business properly is very important before you get started.

1- Business Marketing Strategies: Start with the Site


When you want to employ top small business marketing strategies online, you want to start with the site because you just cannot get anywhere without your base. This site will be where you are directing your target audience in order to find out more about your business or purchase goods and services from you online. This site should consist of several elements to ensure that there will be a high search engine ranking such as:
  • Appropriate Locality Related Keywords
  • Keyword Rich Content
  • Use of Meta Tags and Descriptors
  • High Quality Graphics
You want the page to which you refer your target audience to consist of a landing page with the necessary information and elements to ensure they are able to catch the scope of your offering and get right to where you need them to be.

2- Business Marketing Strategies: Build an Email List


Once the site is in motion, you want to build an email list of subscribers to which you can email information to direct them to your site, to your business and what you offer. Building the list can be quite simple with some key business marketing strategies. There are several ways you can capture an audience to build your email list such as:
  • Adding sign-ups to home page of site
  • Blogging sites
  • Opt-ins upon site entry
Building the email list allows you to share pertinent information with your audience, thereby getting them to be part of your business dealings and, as a result, more likely to convert to customers and ongoing loyalty.

3- Business Marketing Strategies: Blogging and Article Writing


There is a strong force behind blogging and article writing that many business owners have found to be extremely beneficial to employ in their small business marketing strategies. The key picture here is getting extreme exposure so you are found by the search engines, target consumers, and everyone else who inquires within your niche. Starting up a couple blogging sites can greatly increase your visibility, as well as traffic generation to your site.

As you provide relevant information that is sought out, you are building a special relationship with your readers, allowing them to trust your services and products. When it comes to small business marketing strategies, writing articles and posting on your site or on third party sites can also greatly enhance your visibility online and are therefor proven traffic builders.

There are various strategies that can be combined with others to offer high volume traffic generation, allowing your community and all that you wish to become your consumers to see and be well aware of your business and all you offer. Using the right small business marketing strategies means understanding what it takes to get the exposure that is needed exceed expectations.


(c) Copyright - Darren Brunson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Small Business Marketing Ideas - How to Make the Most Out of Your Marketing Efforts


Hey small business owners, check this out! I'm practicing this one and then I found this article! Very effective :)


The internet is a crucial tool in the arsenal of small business marketing ideas. Even though the internet can reach people across the globe, a new trend is focusing locally with advertisements and promotions. One of many small business marketing ideas is using banner ads with a local emphasis. Some ways of bringing traffic to a small business website is to offer free promotional items or considerable discounts. An important way of following up with your ideas is to make sure your site has web presence beyond its own URL. The best way to ensure this is to register with search engines and make sure the content is optimized for higher rankings.

A website must stand out. One way to make sure of this is to use one of the small business marketing ideas. A prominent idea that will bring customers is to offer free or heavily discounted services or products. Some things to consider when building a website with small business marketing ideas in mind are creating an E-zine and including SEO (Search Engine Optimization) content.
An Ezine, like EzineArticles for example, is a place to write articles on the products or services being offered. It can be very helpful in taking advantage of many of the other small business marketing ideas. A business would benefit by expanding its coverage to trends in the target market. As a business owner you should be commenting on blog posts. When writing articles or blog posts choose keywords that will bring up a site in search engines. A common rule of thumb is to have keywords placed at two to three percent density. That means if a post has 250 words, a keyword and possibly a variant should show up between five times and seven times.

Another very important aspect of small business marketing ideas is to comment on blog posts and in chat rooms related to its offerings. This can also work well for setting up affiliates, which could be a very valuable method in small business marketing ideas. Affiliate marketing follows the old adage of "You rub my back and I will rub yours". Businesses that have similar offerings or focus on the same market might advertise the other one and each gets a residual payment each time someone clicks on the ad or buys something from the other business.

A new trend in small business marketing ideas involves online advertising. The advertising should be based on a users local area and demographic information. Business owners may balk expenses associated with such a campaign. However, the way online advertising works is currently in a state of change. Rather than the old method of Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC), the latest fad is using Cost-Per-Action (CPA) advertising. The difference is that a publisher does not need to be paid unless a purchase is made. With pay-per-click, a publisher had to be paid even if someone did not sign up for a site or service or purchase a product. But please be aware that even the best small business marketing ideas are useless until someone puts them into action!

(c) Copyright - Darren Brunson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Starting a Business Without Leaving Your Full Time Job

Yes, you see it right! You can do it! I am doing it! My friends are doing it! You can really do it! Why would you leave a job just to put up a business if you can do both? Actually, it has even an advantage! You have a constant customers!!! Who? Your colleagues! So do not give me a reason that you cannot set up a business because you are the breadwinner and you cannot leave your job, because again you can do both things!!! Amazing isn't it? Read on the article below to check how.


Starting a business in a bad economy, accounts for a very smart move. It provides as a backup option and can prove to be a strong money generator. For example, a small home business or internet business is easy to set up and requires minimal capital.

There are many benefits of working full-time and running a business. A regular job provides family benefits and the side business allows you to follow your dreams, thereby maximizing tax deductions and earning extra income.

There is a wealth of information available on the internet, book stores and libraries that provide guidelines for starting a business. However, before you jump into it, it is always good to chalk out a plan on the time and effort you are ready to invest in starting and running a business.

Analyze your Available Time

In a given week there are 168 hours. Of that sleeping, eating, personal care, family time, and social life could roughly demand 94 hours. If you have a 40-50 hour regular job 5 days a week, you would have a surplus of 30+ hours and weekends to work on your business. But planning is crucial as you do not want to go on a work overdrive, the work done should be enjoyable.

Choose the Right Business

The next important step is to choose the right business based on your passions, skills and time availability. A good side business is one that does not compromise your regular work, family and social responsibilities, but lets you realize your dreams of becoming financially strong.

Plan the Structure

After you have identified the kind of business that interests you, make a work flow or work chart of the business process. Find all the help and resources you need to start and run the business. List your goals, "spread the word" on the internet through family and friends about the products and services your business offers.

Use the Internet

There are two ways to run your business: "online" and "offline". Traditional offline businesses have been there for centuries where the focus is to expand the business by word of mouth alone. The power of the World Wide Web is now known to one and all. It has the ability to cross all known physical and geographical boundaries to connect people all over the globe.

It is the online business that gives many advantages in terms of marketing your products online and the convenience of working from home after your full time job. Harness the power of starting your business online to reach out to prospective customers and clients and expand your business on a global scale.

It is vital to set your expectations on a realistic level when starting a business. Staying grounded and following the rules of business, you can make inevitable progress. The journey of preparing yourself and your mind to undertake a business venture on the whole is the best investment one can make. It makes one strong enough to survive any kind of economy and not fear the fluctuations of the job market.
Get a great head start and start your business!

Owning Your Own Business Now

Well, I'm a person who is not financially stable. I just graduated college because of scholarship. I was expected to just work as a normal employee then earn then help my family. That is the normal thing that they want to see me doing. BUT I took a step. I decided I do not want to be an employee forever. I do not want to be stuck in the rat race. I need to do something. Then that is what I did! I took the risks, use my little amount of savings, then enter the world of business! 

What I'm saying is you do not need to be rich to own a business. You do not need to be supported by everyone because there will be times that they will not agree with your idea. Trust your guts, research more, and be determined of what you want to do, and that is OWNING A BUSINESS! This is the right time to take a single step and own a small business.



This article will help you realize you should act now. NOW IS THE TIME. GO ON AND READ.

You can own your own business now. Just find something you do well and like to do and act on this passion. Although the possibilities are endless, you can make choices through a trial and error process. If you have been working for others your entire life and have had it up to your eye brows, a move into something of your own may be your best move. I know--but what? This was my story many moons ago, so you may have to go through a similar process to mine to narrow your choices.

If you do not know exactly what to do, start by going to the local library and walking the aisles noticing categories. Go to the mall and peruse the stores and make note of things you like. Talk to owners of businesses you may enjoy and get their reactions. Look at the nonfiction books in a bookstore to see what trips your trigger. Make sure you have a pocket recorder or pad and pen or pencil so no ideas or thoughts get away.

If the above leaves you doubtful, the next step should be the personal approach. Attend chambers of commerce meetings and talk to various business people and discuss the ins and outs of what they do. Call on your local small business administration and pick up their business literature and possibly speak with a counselor about what you may be qualified for. You may come up with a business idea you never heard of or did not know existed.

If you would consider buying a business, pick up a local newspaper and check the classifieds for active business brokers. Visit one or two or three and discuss different businesses that they have for sale. They can explain each one to see if one appeals to you. This worked for me and it may work for you. But you have to find an agent who will take the time to understand and analyze your desires and capabilities. I wound up buying one and eventually had 3 very successful locations.

If you decide to be an independent contractor like a handyman, carpet cleaner, landscaper or start a website business, you can work from home.

If you want to be in business where everything is set up for you including all products and procedures, you may want to investigate franchises. Just make sure you do your homework and due diligence before signing up. You should definitely visit several franchise owners to make sure the whole thing is viable. A good franchise can be expensive. Also, make sure you get a lawyer who specializes in franchise law before you sign anything.

After you examine and analyze yourself and do your networking, many more ideas will come to the surface. You may have to go with your gut and just pick one. Then you can pump your fists and pat yourself on the back for making a great life-changing decision.



Start Small When Starting a Business

OK, let's say you inherited millions and millions of money? What if you suddenly became a multimillionaire man because you won the lottery? Then suddenly you are wise enough to decide that you will use your tons of money to start a business and not spend it into gadgets, cars, and houses! Wow! That's very lucky of you!



But let's say you have no experience in handling a business? Will you put up a very big business because you have tons of money to invest on it? Well, sounds like a bad idea! If you are a beginner, no matter how rich you are, you need to start small.


Why? Well, I found an article that best explains this.

When starting a business it is best to start small. This advice is popularly given to people who had no experience on handling any type of business. But why start small when you have enough capital to start with? There are so many reason, first is to know the playing field.

Like when learning how to ride a bike, a learner has two small wheels on the side on the back wheel of the bike. These small wheels serve as a guide and protection so that the learner won't fall off when riding a bike. In due time, the learner will get use to balancing the bike and can now remove the two small wheels. The two small wheels have served its purpose but now it is not needed anymore. The learner knows how to ride a bike.

That also applies in business; the business owner or incoming entrepreneur must first learn how to manage the business with proper care. Just like the two small wheels of the bike, the entrepreneur needs it to make their business prosper. But in business it is not wheels, it is experience.

The business owner must know what is like to lose money, to earn money, to deal with customers, to properly manage employees, to handle taxes, and to keep inventory. All of this is critical to make the entrepreneur a well rounded and experience business owner.

If you started your business with a huge capital and somehow did not make its returns, it will not only lose your money but also demoralize your morale and confidence in starting a new business again. But keeping your business with a small capital and somehow did not reach its financial target; the business owner can count their losses and move on the next one - another new business venture.

It doesn't matter if the business owner loses 10 businesses as long as they learn something from their mistakes. This is what you call credit to experience. One day this particular business owner will gain knowledge from their past mistakes by not doing it again and making it perfect the next time around.

So when starting a business, start small. Remember the two small wheels and don't be afraid of losing and committing mistakes. One of these days your small business will be a big business enterprise.



Small Business Online Advertising Solutions

Everyday there are millions of people using search engines online. The days of the big phone book are over and the keyboard has taken its place. If you are a small business owner, advertising online can be a great way to boost customer sales and get your business out there right in front of the people that want to see it.


With online advertising, you get to see instant results. There is no waiting for your advertisement to be printed, or even in most cases, any advertising costs. The internet is the best free advertising that you can possibly get plus anything you put online will be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Many small business owners have one thing in common, they all want more customers, which in turn makes them more money. Now the best way to do this is to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find your business, look at what you are offering or selling, and make a purchase. What easier way for a customer to do this than from the comfort of their own home? With online advertising, this is what you are doing, you are putting your business right in front of their eyes.

Now there are many different ways to advertise your small business online depending on what type of business you own. If you are a local business and want customers to come to your store, you would want to first let the people know what type of business you are, and second where you are located. The easiest way to do this is by using online directories. These are the yellow books of the new age. Here you can make a whole profile for your business, and most online directories have places for customer reviews and feedback. Being listed in many different directories gives you more opportunities for potential customers to find you.

If you are a small business that sells different products or services, you might want to use a different online advertising approach. You would want to have a website that your customers could easily find. The website should have enough information on your products that people would have no further questions and be ready to purchase your product right away. Your web page should be easy to find which usually requires some sort of optimization of your website which allows for a higher rank in search results.

No matter what type of small business you own, online advertising is a great way to boost sales and really get your business seen. Whether you decide to have someone do your online advertising for you or do it yourself, online small business advertising is guaranteed to give you the boost your business needs.


8 Ways to Generate New Ideas For Your Business

You've got your own business but how will you market it? You need some new ideas to put into your business so that customers will keep on coming. Customers will always look forward to check on what's new to your business and they keep on enjoying the new things they found on your business. BEING CREATIVE! That's the right term. All successful businesses, even though they are stable, keep on being creative to stay on top. As a small business owner, you also need to work on your mind and think, think, think of something new. 

 
I have an article here that I found that I will share to you about 8 ways how to generate new ideas for your business. This is so important in a small business enthusiasts like you. So enjoy reading!!
 
The only purpose of a business is to bring in a customer; and there are really only two ways to do it - through marketing or innovation.

New ideas are the lifeblood of any business so it is important to encourage creativity among employees and to be truly innovative.

But creativity and innovation are not the same. Creativity is all about coming up with new ideas, whereas innovation involves putting new ideas into action.
New ideas can be very difficult to find. When you do find them and put them into action, they can provide a powerful marketing edge and become a license to print money.

Here are 8 ways to help generate new ideas for your business success:

1. Ask for Opinions
 
You could hire consultants or you could simply seek opinions from someone who knows absolutely nothing about your business. We often get so close to what we are doing, that we cannot see another way of doing things. There are times when we need to step outside our own environment because sometimes ideas used in one trade can be adapted to another.

For example, which came first the ball-point pen or the roll-on deodorant? They both use the same ingenious principle.

2. Encourage Staff Creativity


If you employ staff, encourage them to think up new ideas and get them to suggest changes. You will need to be open-minded and encourage their input. You will need to be tolerant when their ideas do not work. And you will need to reward them in some way for good ideas, although you will probably find that the satisfaction of "seeing their ideas in action" may be reward enough.

3. Brain Storm


One of the best ways to tap into new ideas is through brainstorming. This could involve family, friends, staff, customers and even other business owners. The key with any brainstorming session is to disallow any negative comments and to only analyse or develop ideas once the session is over.

The purpose of a brainstorming session is to produce a quantity of ideas. It is quantity not quality. Refining the ideas comes later.

4. Re-educate the Mind


There is an old saying, "you never stop learning" and it is true. If you are willing to make a personal commitment to perpetual re-education you will reap the rewards. Allocate an annual budget (maybe 1% of your turnover) for personal and staff re-education. Consider training courses, seminars, workshops, audiotape programs etc.

5. Become a Case Study


Consider approaching a local high school, college, or polytechnic that runs business courses. Offer your business as a case study in return for feedback from the students.

6. Become a Surfer


There is a wealth of information on the Internet and most of it is free. Search other areas of business rather than just your own as you might be able to adapt a totally unrelated idea.

7. Read and Subscribe


You can often find ideas in the most unlikely places. Business, fashion and trade magazines are all worth a browse. These days it is easy to subscribe to any number of overseas publications.

8. Travel Opens Your Eyes


Visit similar (or even unrelated) businesses overseas. You will be surprised at how freely many of them share their knowledge; after all you are not a threat to them. In my travels I have made it a point to visit factories that make the strangest things, huge shopping malls, numerous small businesses and international marketing companies. It must work, because each time I seem to come home buzzing with ideas.

I would like to finish by repeating what I said earlier. The only purpose of a business is to bring in a customer; and there are really only two ways to do it - through marketing or innovation. So, there you have an important key to success in business. What you do with this information will depend on you. I wish you every success!



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Small Business Success Tips - Dependability

When we are setting up our first small business, we need suppliers so that we can make our products. We are really looking for trustworthy suppliers. This time, we are the customers. There are two suppliers. The first supplier promotes very well. It seems that his business was very well planned especially his marketing method, it was very impressive. That is why I chose the first supplier. I came to his shop and he gave me a very good product presentation. I left his shop with a lot of supplies that was bought from him and a decision that I will do business with him as long as I am still in the business.


What happened?

After a couple of weeks from the purchase of the products from the first supplier, I began asking questions and found some glitches in the products I bought. Unfortunately, this very well promoted supplier does not know one important term in the business industry: after sales service. His shop is not accessible enough for me to visit everytime I will find glitches on the supplies that I bought from him. 



Even if he delivers very good quality products, even if the products are well promoted, and even if he is very good in presenting the products, I ended up not being my lifetime supplier. Yes, I bought a few supplies. But will I go to him again? Of course not! 


What's my point?


If your business is not a necessity and you are not the only one catering that business, you should be really dependable to your customers. You should create this magic between you and your customer that your customers will always depend on you and you alone! 

                                                 http://www.flickr.com/photos/38307206@N02/

Who's my supplier?


I found a supplier that assists me everytime I am having trouble with my business. He is always there to answer all of my questions. He gives me discount in everything I buy. I can reach him if I have problems with the products I bought from him and he is very much willing to replace them. He will apologize sincerely and will give you a smile that you will really forgive him easily. He keeps a record of our business so that we can reserve items we wanted to buy so he makes a way to save our time. Our supplier is doing business with us for more than a year now and will continue doing business in years to come.


Lesson learned: BE DEPENDABLE!! MAKE IT A WAY THAT PEOPLE WILL GO TO YOU AND YOU ALONE!!





The article below I found in Ezine is a broad description of why dependability is very important.


Small business owners looking for a way to distinguish their business from their competition have many ways to do so. They can charge less, or advertise more, or fly a huge red weather balloon over their store. None of these choices lead to small business success.

Yes, short-term campaigns can lead to short-term success. The secret to long-term success, however, has two parts and two parts only: retaining customers, and generating customer referrals (also known as word-of-mouth). And the way to do both of those parts is to give the customer what he wants and needs.

If a customer only sometimes gets what he wants and needs, he will look elsewhere. If he gets it late, or it's not quite right, he will look elsewhere. If you miss an appointment, or a deadline, he will look elsewhere. Customers need dependability.

This is a fast-moving world, and people work hard to keep up and get ahead. They come to you because you say you can help them: you can provide a product or service they need. You can fix their car, or paint their wall, or balance their books, or train them to succeed in business. They don't have time to waste waiting for you, or even worse, waiting for your errors to be fixed.

Lack of dependability will destroy your small business success faster than high prices, or mediocre quality, or slow work. Customers will spend more for dependability. They will put up with mediocre (but sufficient) quality if they can count on you. They will allow for the extra day or week if they are confident you will deliver at that time.

Dependability is a rare quality. It is valuable because it is rare. Think of all the times you have been disappointed by lack of dependability, and you will find they are very frequent. Every time you have had to wait in a waiting room; every checkout clerk who has needed to call for a price check; every check that wasn't in the mail; all these and more have made you wish you had a choice. Or when you have had a choice, you have taken it.

Your customers feel the same way about your business when the transaction is not smooth and easy and what they were expecting (or better). You can almost build your whole business on dependability! McDonald's did.

A survey the author did in 1990 of his clients, with over 600 respondents, asked them to place speed, quality, price, and dependability in order of importance. Over fifty percent named dependability as most important. Quality came in second, then speed, then price. There is no reason to think that the responses would be any different today.

Do whatever it takes, is the lesson here. Be on time, meet your deadlines, keep your word, even if it means working all night, paying overtime, losing money on the job, or missing your golf tournament. Be dependable.

If your customers can count on you, they will.

Small business success depends on dependability.

Small Business Success Tips - Planning

What's the most important thing in putting up a small business? Planning! We even have the saying that: "If you want to be a failure, just fail to plan!" That easy! But of course we don't want to be a failure right? We don't wanna waste our effort, time, and money for nothing right? So what do we wanna do? PLAN!


BUSINESS PLAN is very important before setting up a small business. All of businesses, small or big, need BUSINESS PLAN.

Don't know how to make a business plan? Well, lucky you, I found guidelines on how to make a powerful business plan. Just click on the links.

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Below is an article I found which is very helpful to small business enthusiasts. Read on.

Some small business owners plan to the smallest detail, sometimes planning themselves into a nervous breakdown from long hours and stress. Others are completely impulsive, shouting orders madly and cursing the dolts who didn't order enough whatchamacallits. Neither extreme results in smooth production in all areas of the business.

The first trick to planning is to plan for the positive. Trying to anticipate and prepare for every possible obstacle is a negative approach, and self-limiting. The only necessary plans are those that will lead to success. If you want 200 attendees at your next event, plan how to bring in 400, even if your hall will only hold 250. Don't let your production capacity keep you from bidding on jobs that will strain that capacity.

The second trick to planning is to identify the essential elements of success. For your event, you need a sound system, refreshments, and your printed materials. Sure, other items will come up, but set up the essentials, and you will have a framework for any other needs to fit into.

The third trick to planning is allowing lead time. "Too little, too late" should never apply to your business. Being "too busy" is never a valid excuse. "Too busy" comes from an earlier lack of planning. If you are in this vicious cycle, the only way out is to discover what is essential and do only that until you are caught up.

The fourth trick to planning is thoroughness, which is different from obsessing over details. Whether you are planning for a major client project or a minor office rearrangement, make a list of the essential actions. Always, always make a master written list of essential actions when planning. The list can change over time, but the list is absolutely necessary, or guaranteed, something will slip through the cracks and lead to a crisis.

The fifth trick to planning is to plan with a purpose. Plans can encompass any time period from minutes to years. Merely planning how to use your time, however, will not move you forward at any great pace. You can get a lot done and still not accomplish much of what you need and want to accomplish.

Example: you plan to meet with the mayor from 3:00 to 4:00 to talk about parking ordinances. If that is the whole of your plan, you may not accomplish much. A real plan would be meet with the mayor in order to show him how changes in the parking ordinances would benefit the city. With that plan, you can gather your data, practice your arguments, build your Powerpoint presentation, all with a single end in mind.

Similarly, planning to double your landscaping equipment sales in the next year does not give you much of a framework to hang actual actions on. Instead, plan to quadruple your client base by expanding your sales area and establishing the superiority of your equipment through dramatic demonstrations throughout the year. That plan will get you where you want to go.

Finally, be sure to include others in your business plans, especially your staff. They have to plan their own actions and decisions to fit in smoothly with your plans. Key staff should have a complete picture, and lower-totem-pole staff need to know about anything that will affect their decisions and actions in that department. After all, your staff will be the ones who will help you bring your plans to life, even if your staff is only one part-time bookkeeper.

In summary: no planning means constant fires to be put out and bridges collapsing; too intensive and painstaking planning means projects take too long and cost too much. Just enough planning means the company grows through a series of successful actions that always contain some element of surprise. Some level of occasional challenge keeps life interesting. Plan on it.