Building Your Business Success – Part 2

11 01 2011

Last week we began a brief discussion of how to build your business success

Key to Business Success

for 2011.  We reviewed the concept of what Commitment means to your small business success and that you personally are responsible for your small business success.  This week we are going to finish the discussion on Building your Business Success for 2011.

Actually anybody who starts a small business can be successful.  The differentiating factor is, how LONG will your business be successful.  Again, it does partially go back to that commitment thing.  You may be successful when you first start your business, but you must remain committed to your business success.  True business success is also founded on solid business basics.  If you do not have a good grasp of business basics, it would be wise, even before starting your own business, to take a class or two, or take a seminar to learn and master the basics of business.  Without business basics, you may be successful for a little while, but your lack of basic business knowledge will most likely get you in more trouble and could ultimately contribute to your lack of long-term business success.

We must all continue practicing and reviewing and mastering the basics of business.  Without a well established / thought-out business foundation, everything you build, will most likely not stand the tests of time.  Keep up on your basics.  If you don’t know, be sure to ask a trusted source that will help you master your business foundation.  With a strong business foundation, all the work you do for your business will be successful.

Focus on Continuous Growth

Another key to building your business success (and not just making a New Year’s Resolution) is to focus on growing throughout the year, and ultimately growing for the next several years.  Do not just focus on growing your business for this month or the next.  You need to have a long-term view of where you want your business to go if you want your business to grow.  Focusing only on the month-to-month growth will not provide you with enough time to really refine and define what direction you want your business to grow in the years to come.  If you focus 2-, 3-, 5- and even 10-years in the future, then the short-term setbacks will not be so difficult to resolve.  By looking at the long-term, you can look past the immediate obstacles and focus on how to obtain that long-term goal.  By having long goals, you will find it is much easier to get past the little stuff.  If you only look from month-to-month, the problems that may crop up will most likely appear much larger than they actually are.

Lastly, it is never too late to make your business successful.  You may have had a really bad year in 2010, but that doesn’t mean you will have a bad year going forward.  Review your business plan, identify what went wrong and more importantly, look for WHY you did not follow your business plan or why you were not successful last year.  If you can identify WHY things didn’t occur (this is different from placing blame) then you can identify what you need to do to avoid that obstacle going forward.  Even if you had a decent year last year, it is not too late to revisit your business plan and adjust for any new plans or ideas you may have.  Again, be sure to keep the long-term view when reworking your plans.  When in doubt, enlist the assistance of other experts in  your field of business, to help review what you have and where you want to go.

Here is to your continued business success in the new year.

If you are looking for a second income opportunity, or are looking for some type of small, home based business to get involved with, we may have something that would interest you.  We offer a wide variety of business opportunities, from Pre-Paid Legal Services, to Stem Cell Nutritional Products, to Waterless Cleaning Products.  If we don’t have exactly what you are looking for, we may know where you can find it.  Good luck and let’s all see our businesses grow in 2011.

Until next week…

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More Tips on Growing your Business

17 11 2010

How many times have you reviewed your financial statements and wondered how you were going to increase sales this month?  If you were not increasing sales, you will have to worry about what other item you are going to have to cut back next month.  This is one of the main worries of the small business owner from the beginning of time.  You may have an incredible product to offer your customers, but if you don’t have the income or more precisely, PROFITABILITY, to support your product, your business will not be around for very long. This week we have more tips on growing your business.

This week we are going to review some more tips and suggestions to help boost your small business sales.  Not all of these tips are going to work for all of you, but perhaps some of these tips, if not directly helpful, will get your creative juices flowing and generate some seriously profitable ideas for your specific business venture.

As we have discussed in earlier blogs, your product,  service or opportunity (or all three perhaps) needs to not just fill your needs, but to fill the common need of your target customer.  Can you help people learn how to survive this current real estate downturn?  Do you have a new and innovative way to help clients sell their homes?

Have you looked at the prices you are posting for your particular products?  If you lower prices a bit and sell more products, would you ultimate make more income?  The key here is to advertise that you are lower prices again to assist your customers survive this economic downturn.  You don’t want them thinking you are lowering your prices to get rid of inventory.  You want your customers to believe that your new lower prices are a direct result of you wanting to help them deal with this economic strife.

Do you have a product that is more of a discretionary income item? Have sales gone down because people are not as willing to spend on discretionary items?  Can you rethink how to market this “luxury” item so that when your customer uses this item, they are given a brief “vacation” from the day-to-day stresses.  Using your item will give them a little bit of pleasure which in turn helps bolster their energy for the next round of reality.

Or, do you have a product or service that is a necessity, no matter what the economic climate has become?  If you don’t have this type of product, is there some item out there that might complement your current product offerings?   This item could help you to grow your business and develop a sustained income month over month going forward.

Lastly, don’t forget your customer.  Customer service and honest follow-up, especially in this economic environment, is the best business.  How many stores have you gone into where the clerks were cranky or just plain mean?  Did you leave that store feeling positive about your purchase?  If you found another store where the clerks were cheerful and friendly, don’t you think you would be more willing to spend additional time wandering around?  With  internet sales exploding, and on-line marketing at every turn, it is critical to differentiate yourself from your competition with your customer service.  People will be drawn to good customer service.  They will be more willing to spend their hard-earned cash at your business too because you made them feel better either about themselves or about their purchases.  These same customers will also be more receptive to purchasing higher priced products (i.e. “do you want fries with that?”).

It is truly amazing how much more people will purchase if you spend a little quality time with them.  Keep them appraised of any new promotions, send a very brief message monthly to let them know that all is well, periodically offer a customer loyalty gift or coupon.  Even if your customers do not redeem the coupons, they will be pleased that you thought of them, and will be more inclined to spend money with you instead of going to your competitor.

Hopefully some of these tips on growing your business sales can be implemented in your business.   What would be even better is that some of these tips inspired you to think of other ideas that grow your business.  Good luck and have a great business week.

If you are looking for a second income to supplement what you are currently doing, please feel free to explore our website.  We offer several home based business opportunities and are more than willing to discuss in detail any opportunity you are considering.  We offer Pre-Paid Legal Services, Stem Cell Nutrition and can assist you in starting up your own waterless detailing business.  You only have to ask.

Until next week…





5 More tips for Small Business Success

28 09 2010

Last week we introduced 5 tips for small business success.  This week we are going to continue the topic, providing an additional 5 more tips for small business success.  Hopefully these simple tips will help you to focus on what is important in your small business so that you will continue to grow and be successful.

1 – After you have started your business, one key tip to keep in mind is to not borrow any family money and do not ask your family for advice.  Even though you may believe that the money you borrow has no strings attached, there are strings, there are always strings attached.  Even if you family may not have attached those strings, you will know in your heart that you owe that money and you may be your own worse enemy in terms of putting pressure on yourself.  Borrowing from a bank is much less personal, any arguments you have with your banker will remain strictly related to business. If you have a fight with family about money, you know that there will be more brought into the argument than just the business and money owed.  It is not worth the risk of ruining family relationships in order to get money to fund your business.

Also, family advice, though well-intentioned, may not be the best to follow.  There are two schools of thought here;  your family will tell you that you are crazy for starting up a new business, and not support you.  The other thought is that even if you have a really bad idea, your family will not tell you it is a really bad idea because they do not want to hurt your feelings.  By asking the advice of a third-party, you are taking the emotion out of the advice and getting pure business advice.

2 – Make sure to network with other small business owners in your industry.   Do not necessarily network with your direct competition, you do not want to provide them with your business secrets, but network with other business owners in the same type of industry.  You can then discover other resources for ideas and problem resolution.  These networking friends may also be able to point you towards additional advertising and marketing channels.  Networking provides a great sounding board for new ideas with like-minded people.

3 – Despite your desire to keep prices low, there will ALWAYS be someone else who will undercut your prices.  Unless you have other products to make up the lack of profit, do not try to cut your prices below your costs, despite what competition might do.  Differentiate your products and services by not focusing on the cost, but what value added items you have.  What additional items/services do you provide for your customers?  Many times cheaper is not better.  “Good ain’t cheap, and cheap ain’t good.”

4 – Remember, when you started your small business that your customers were in a particular mind-set.  As time goes on, customer’s tastes and desires will change.  What may have been popular when you started your business may no longer be the desired item now.  Remain flexible, be in front of what your customers want by listening to their thoughts and ideas.  You may need to adjust your products and services to suit your customer’s changing needs.

5 – Always stay informed on the small business resources available to you in your local area.  Stay in touch with your networking group to discover any new services available.  Also keep in touch with your local Small Business Association office.  These offices can point you to other types of resources to help you grow your small business.

The key to these 5 additional tips for small business success along with the tips provided last week is to be reiterate the importance of planning ahead.  You do not want to focus on today, but you want to stay focused on what will be happening to your business in the next year and next 5 years.  Stay flexible and stay in touch with what is going on around your business.

Check out our website for additional sources of income.

Until next week…





5 Tips for Small Business Success

22 09 2010

We have talked throughout the year about small business success.  There have been several blogs posted regarding building plans, budgets, etc.  This week I would like to review 5 tips for small business success and what we all need to do in order to keep our small business’ successful despite the economic climate.

The most important tip for helping to keep your small business successful is to develop and follow a business plan and mission statement for your business.  There have been several articles related specifically to developing your business plan, we will not go into that again here, but just remember that if you do not have a business plan for your small business, how do you expect to have a “road map” to grow your small business successfully?  By taking the time to write your business plan and mission statement, you have been able to outline where you currently are verses where you want to go.  Following your business plan (making appropriate adjustments along the way) will allow you to stay focused on growing your small business.

The second tip for small business success is to be sure you are able to get accurate financial data on your company in a timely manner.  If you get your monthly financial statements two weeks into the next month, you won’t be able to implement any adjustments until the following month.  By not having timely financial reports, you are basically driving your business blind.  How do you know if your spending is exceeding your income without timely statements?  You cannot fix what is broken with delayed reports.  Perhaps you do not have detailed financial reports, but you need timely and reliable financial reports if you expect to continue to keep your small business profitable.

The third tip for a successful small business is to continue to profile your target customers.  Determine both the physical characteristics of your customers (age, gender, race, income) along with their emotional characteristics (what they like, don’t like).  This information will help you to effectively target your marketing campaign.  You do not want to waste your hard-earned marketing money on advertising to, let’s say NASCAR customers, when you are in a part of the country that doesn’t even care about car races.

The fourth tip for business success is to be sure that you have profiled your competition.  Do you know what products they carry, and how successful they have been selling to the same customer base?  What are their weaknesses, what do their customers complain about?  Is this something you can capitalize on?  Have you wandered into your competition’s store to see how they present their products and services to their customers?  Is there some design there that you can use, or is there something they are not doing that you can do?

The last tip for continuing your small business success is to be sure that you have gone into business for the right reasons.  Make sure that you have the experience, expertise, finances and desire necessary to make your business a success.   Luck will be part of your business success, but without the other aspects, luck may make you successful for a short period of time, but not for the long-haul.

These 5 tips for small business success should help you to focus on what is important for you to continue to grow your business.  You may want to keep these tips close at hand, especially when you might think your business is struggling.  They will help remind you why you went into business and what your goals are for your business.

Next week we will cover some additional tips for your continued small business success.  If you are looking for additional sources of income, our website may have an opportunity that appeals to you.  Feel free to e-mail us with any of your questions.

Until next week…





Failure to Plan Part 2

6 09 2010

Last week we introduced the topic of a failure to plan with small businesses.  Many people love the idea of being their own boss and operating a successful small business, but many may not plan properly for that same business endeavor.   There are many reasons why small businesses fail, some of them due to no fault with the originator.  Sometimes a business may fail despite the best laid plans, but those are usually few and far between.  Our focus is to strive to reduce the risk of failure to a nominal percentage.

We covered the lack of a business plan that could quickly spell a new small business’s demise. Part of the importance of a business plan is to include a vision, mission and value statement for your new small business.  It is important to have these statements, but to have them and then not to have any actionable plan to achieve them is no better than not having a vision statement at all.  It is important when developing your vision and mission statement that they actually MEAN something that you can measure.  Just to say that you will be the best in the industry is an empty promise.  How will you be best in the industry?  How will you offer superior products and service?  By making these types of statements means that you should have some form of measurement.  You should have some other company standard that you are measuring yourself, your company and your products and services against.  Without a solid basis of measurements, your vision and mission statements are not any more important or useful than the paper they are written on.

Along with having an initial plan, you should have documented some version of where you believe your business to be in 5 to 7 to 10 years in the future.  Documenting these targets will allow you to make longer term decisions.  Sometimes we get caught up in the short-term fix and lose sight of our long-term targets.  By documenting your 5/7/10 year goals, you will be able to keep in the forefront your long-term goals and may then make  better long-term decisions even when faced with a short-term problem.

A trap that many established businesses fall into is the one where you take time out to do a strategic planning session, write all the decisions down, and then not utilize any of the plans decided upon.  It is often very easy to continue with business as usual, but if you have had a successful strategic planning session, why did you waste all that time if you had no intention of implementing the new goals?  Again, when re-adjusting your strategic plan, be sure that you have measurable targets in place.  You need to have a measuring stick to be sure you and your business are moving in the direction you had planned.

Worst of all is failing to make the tough choices in your business.  There will be times that you may have to stop one project because it just will not produce the necessary profits.  This can be extremely tough if the particular item was a pet project of yours.  You may also have to make the tough decision to let certain people go if they are not producing to your defined targets.  These are all tough decisions, but necessary to maintain the health of your business.  (notice though that all these decisions are based on measurements against a predefined target)

In a nutshell, if you want to have a successful small business, you need to have a plan.  You will need to have that plan documented, you should have clear and measurable objectives so that you know when to make adjustments, you need to follow your plan and adjust when necessary and lastly, you will at some point have to make some tough decisions.  With luck, those tough decisions will be very few and far between.  You will never be accused of failing to plan.  The more you practice planning and adjusting your plan, the easier it will become.

If you are interested in earning an additional income or possibly start your own small business, we may have something that would meet your needs.  Please feel free to review our website and contact us with any questions you may have.  Even if we do not have a business opportunity that is exactly what you are looking for, we would be more than willing to work with you to find your perfect opportunity.

Until next week…





Balancing time with home based business

9 08 2010

Time is something that once wasted can never be recovered.  It is a fact of life.  No matter how hard you wish, there will not be more than 24 hours (and a few minutes) in a day.  Therefore, when you start your own home based business, time is a huge factor in what you do and when you do it.  Your passion for your new business venture will help you build and grow your new home based business, but if you do not take time out for other issues, you will probably not be completely successful.

Most people will start a home based business while working a current job (did you know that J.O.B also means Just Over Broke?).  This way there is no sudden drop in income flow, and you have the financial backing (the bank of YOU) to get the home based business up and running.  The problem is, your personal life can suffer, especially if you are already working long hours at the regular J.O.B..  Then you ask yourself, when do you carve out the time to get your personal business going?  Then, when do you personally get some version of rest?  As you are probably aware, when you are working for someone else, you are trading your valuable time for their money.  Not always a good trade, but it does usually get the bills paid.   More people are looking to ways of earning a second income stream now.  With multiple streams of income, you will stand a better chance of success, especially if your main J.O.B. is terminated.

The key is to find ways to balance your time so that you do not seriously neglect your family and personal life while starting up your home based business.  You also do not want to impact your current job and have that terminate too early.   It is very difficult to balance your already precious time, but if you want to be financially free, you have to make some sacrifices.  This article will hopefully provide some suggestions on how to mitigate those sacrifices so they don’t hurt those around you too much.

Many of us, when we start-up our own home based businesses will have a tendency to want to work 7 days a week, all hours of the day and night.  This will not do you, your family or your current job any good at all.  One helpful idea can be to include your whole family in your new business venture. It is a home-based business, right?, so include everyone if it is feasible.  If your family is also somewhat invested in what they are doing, your business can really sprout wings and fly.  If you have young children, having them help in some aspect of the business process can help them to learn good work ethics and the value of money.

Be sure to also take at least one day off for yourself.  No matter how much your new business idea may be burning a hole in your mind, you need to give both your mind and your body a rest.  Get away from your home based business venture for at least a day.  By getting away from it, you will return to it with a clearer perspective and possibly discover on opportunity or solution to a problem you had not seen before.   Taking that day off is like taking a mental health day.  Every human body needs to take a break.  Do something fun with the family, or just go out and do something that you really, really enjoy.

When you are balancing your regular J.O.B. with your new business, set a schedule for yourself.  You have a schedule set for your job, so why not do the same thing for your home business?  This way, when you are clear about what needs to be done, you will reduce the tendency to do too much in one day, and you will reduce the chance of burn-out.  As you set the schedule, be sure your priorities are well-defined.  Remember there will always be another crisis to solve.

If you are looking for second income opportunities, please check out our website.  We may have something that will work well with your current lifestyle.   We will always encourage questions and suggestions.

Until next week…





Will Branding Grow Your Business?

26 07 2010

KFC

We have talked before about how to grow your business.  Obviously, you will follow a business plan to help get your business off the ground, the business plan will also provide a basic path for you to follow as your business grows.  But  a big question is, will branding grow your business?

Let’s first go into what, exactly, is Branding?  We are not talking about marking livestock or people, but we are referring to branding as a marketing term.  When you reach for a tissue, how many people want a Kleenex?  If you want to tape something together, do you ask for Scotch Tape?  What about getting a soda, don’t you ask for a Coke or Pepsi if you are wanting a cola type soda?  That is the branding we are discussing tonight. 

Branding is the assigning of a name, slogan, symbol to a product or service.  It has evolved into including the identity of the company, or the personality of the business to the product.  As we are mainly small entrepreneurs, branding anything we may have will most likely take much more capital investment than we will see in our near future.  So, it begs the question, is it really important to have whatever we are offering to the public (be it product or service) branded? 

We have all seen how a familiar product brand will outsell its competition, even the generic brand.  You see people tending towards the familiar brands, even if the other labeled products are exactly the same and less expensive.  Consumers will tend towards the familiar over something new and even less expensive.  If you think about branding though, isn’t a brand just a name or a concept that we have become familiar with?  It is not necessarily all the marketing that we have been exposed to, granted the marketing helps, but that is not all.  If you try a particular brand-named product and have a good experience, then you will let others know about the good experience.  The reverse is true too.

So, really the key to branding on the small business level, is to let people become familiar with your product and / or service.  The more familiar they are with what you have to offer, compared to similar items others are offering, the higher the likelihood that your product / service will outsell the competition.  Even if you have a product or service that is not common, if you have developed familiarity with your consumer base, people will be more willing to purchase from you than from any competitor who may crop up in the future. 

Part of what branding would be for small business is the concept of you branding your company, not necessarily the specific products you are offering.  It is stated this way, because as stated in earlier blogs, as the business climate changes, your product line may be modified to meet the new needs of your customers.  What you should probably focus on, is your own unique method of presenting the products and services.  You should be offering with your product or service, something that no one else is offering.  You may want to emphasise your business integrity, or perhaps that the product you are selling is the first in its field.  You want to offer to the customer something they have been looking for, and have not been able to locate in any of the competition.  Once you discover that aspect, you want to be sure your customers know that you offer something nobody else offers. 

Once your customers discover you are offering what they have been looking for, your “branding” will be advertised through them.   You want to create the thought in your customer’s mind that you and your offerings are unique and what the customer wants.  They in turn will tell their friends and your business will grow.  You will have discovered the small business version of branding to grow your business

If you are interested in starting up your own small business, please feel free to check out our website, www.hawgwash.net.  We offer several types of small business opportunities for those looking for a second income. 

Until next week…