Small Business Owners Entrepreneurs

July 30, 2011

Small business financing    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

To finance a small business is vital when starting a business. The business is likely to get better if finance is prepared well. In order to start and manage the business well, there are some factors entrepreneur has to consider.

Personal finance: prepare a worksheet of liabilities and assets. On the side of the assets, it will comprise cash at hand, investments, savings, life insurance policies, real estates and bonds, vehicles that the business owned among other assets. On the liabilities side, record things like credits card debts, insurance payments, real estate loans, taxes among other liabilities. The difference between the two sides will give the net of the business. This is what will come in hand while requesting for a loan.

Family finance and budget: To effectively plan the capital of a business, it is better to have an idea about the finance of the family. Prepare a finance record that will show all the expenditures of the business in a year. Then separate the expenses into flexible and fixed. Fixed expenses include things such as clothing, gas, entertainment, repairs, and gifts and among others. This will help to determine the survival of the family and will help the business making in case it loses finance. For the business to be on the save side, it is better to save at least equator of the annual income to cut the expenses.

Feature the cost of the business: There is no success that will be seen if three will no any plan. It is a must to calculate the starting capital. Starting cost comprises things like advertising, insurance, equipment, modeling, legal fees, and deposits among other supplies. Operating costs are help to run the business. Count things like utilities, supplies, rent, telcom, wages, bills, and others. This are cost will provide an idea about how much capital will be the best for running the business. Another thing is to investigate the financing options. The success of a business lies on the type of financing the entrepreneur will opt for. Some capital may be borrowed from banks, or other borrowers to enable stability of the business.

July 25, 2011

Entrepreneurs Don’t Have Average Credit Scores    Author: Admin

Posted in Entrepreneur | |

Fair Isaac, the company that develops the formula to determine credit scores looks at the average statistics of consumers and factors that into your score, called a (FICO). According to Fair Isaac the average consumer will have:

One inquiry on their personal credit report in a given year
54% of credit holders carry a balance of less then 5,000 on all debts other then a mortgage
Have access to 12,190 on all credit cards combined

Now are entrepreneurs, like you, the typical consumer? I asked one of my clients (J.G.). No., said J.G.. You will see that as an entrepreneur, we have several more credit needs then the average consumer. So when the personal credit bureaus compare us to the average consumer, our credit consumption is not normal. Which is why your credit score lowered since starting your business. That’s not fair said J.G. My reply, If you don’t understand how the system works, you’re right.

Let’s look at J.G.’s situation. He has applied several times with suppliers for various credit lines over the last year. Each inquiry will likely drop his credit score approximately 5-10 points. The credit bureaus as suppose to lump three together and only drop 5-10 for the three, we’ll see if it happens. He also has a 60,000 line of credit available and carries a balance of 42,000. Both the amount of credit and balance are more then the consumer average which can hurt his score as well. This is without looking at anything else in the business or his personal life.

If J.G. had just taken the time to develop a business credit profile and start establishing basic lines of credit in the business name and then slowly build the businesses credit over time, he may never have ended up without the ability to buy the home he and his family wanted.

This is why I have written books and developed products and services with our company, Business Credit Services, to provide an education to the entrepreneur on how to become the typical consumer again and separate your personal and business life.

Posted in Small Business | |

Should Small Businesses have a web presence?

In one word, yes! The internet is the most effective marketing tools in existance nowadays, have the capability of reaching far more people than any leaflet drop or advertisement in the local paper ever will.
Should you produce your own website?

It all depends on your skills, if you have the ability to produce a site that looks good, then go ahead, it will save you money and will work wonders as a marketing tool. However if your skills are limited or non-existant then we’d say no. Why? No, not because we want your money (although we don’t mind if you want to give it to us…), because if your site doesn’t have a professional look to it, then it is going to reflect badly on your company’s image.

Do you need to spend lots of money?

It really depends on the size of your website, if you’re looking simply get a presence on the internet, then you can easily get something for around 250 if you take the time to look, if you’re really getting into the idea of being online and effectively having your shop exist in cyberspace you’re going to be looking at more money, however even then, there are many self-build options such as Ekmpowershop.

What content do you need?

This all depends on what you want from being online, if you want to sell online, have your products online is going to be very useful! If you’re just looking to get your company online, then there are TWO elements that we believe are imperative:

Information about your company
How to contact you

Without these two no-one is going to know who or what you are, with the former being your chance to sell yourself. Remember when people look at websites, if its well designed they won’t know if they’re dealing with a multi-national company or a one person organisation, this is your chance to play alongside the big boys!!

What to do now?

So you’re convinced a website is the way to go? Excellent, this can only be of benefit to you! Now you’ve got to find a designer (there’s one right here!!!), things to keep in mind when looking is what kind of style are you looking for, find some websites that you like then find some designers and see if they can produce something along that line! If they can, you’re on the way to bringing into being what can be one of your best employees!!

Posted in Small Business | |

Disaster Preparedness For Your Small Business: How To “Weather” Any Storm

In the event of a potential disaster, do you have a business continuity plan for your employees and your business? Are you backing up files on a routine basis, and could you recover them in an emergency?

On average, nearly 60 percent of businesses damaged in a disaster close after a year, according to the Association of Small Business Development Centers.

Last year’s devastating hurricanes heightened awareness of the importance of disaster planning for businesses, large and small. But destruction of your company’s infrastructure is not limited to natural disasters-it can happen anytime. Daily misfortunes like computer crashes, network breakdowns, and power outages threaten your business each and every day.

Having weathered four major hurricanes last year alone at its corporate headquarters in South Florida and across nearly 100 stores in the Gulf region, Office Depot has real-world experience in disaster planning and recovery. To help businesses be more prepared, the retailer has compiled “Disaster Preparedness: Advice You Can Depend on to Weather Any Storm.”

“A sound contingency plan can enable your small business to respond effectively to a crisis, and prevent that crisis from becoming a full-fledged disaster,” said Tom Serio, Director of Business Continuity Management for Office Depot.

According to Serio, the overarching principle in disaster planning and recovery is to protect your most valuable and irreplaceable assets: your people and your data. Among the guide’s other recommendations:

• Keep contact information for employees and local emergency services, as well as key vendor and supplier information, updated and easily accessible. Establish a clear process for communications and plan how you will contact one another in different scenarios.

• Protect your business from faltering after a disaster by backing up key data at least once a week. Copy data to removable media, including DVD-R or CD-R discs, or to removable drives such as the Ativa McAfee Flash Memory Drive with anti-virus software.

• Move back-up software to a secure off-site location. Store copies and documents you use in day-to-day operations in a secure and fire-proof location like the Sentry Fire-Safe Electronic safe.

• Periodically review the data being stored on any back-up systems to ensure that the right data is being copied and that it can be restored.

July 22, 2011

Small Business Owners Entrepreneurs    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

A small business owner can contribute to a society in many different ways. By selling a product or service to its customers, a small business is really enriching the life of many citizens. In this way, a small business acts as the motor to a vibrant economy. Running a business can be a very rewarding way to make a livin. While it can consist of many hours of work, it can give an individual pride in what they are doing. This pride can result in a strong sense of motivation. When you are providing a great service to the public, you want to keep working hard so that more people can experience what you have to offer.

A small business is rewarding because you are in control. You have the ability to manage the day to day operations of the business because it is relatively small. A small business does not have to deal with the problems of larger companies. Larger companies lack autonomy and have a complicated chain of command. Some employees might not know who to turn to in times of trouble. In a small business, all these problems are quickly alleviated. All the workers know who to turn to when a problem arises and this leads to a more smoothly run business.

Operating a small business can be very profitable. Many of the costs associated with a large business become obsolete. You don’t have to worry about paying many different individuals. Sometimes one or two individuals can run the whol store. For this reason, it can much simpler than running a large business. The customers get familiar with the staff and are happy to come back time and again. This loyalty is missing in many large companies, but in a small company the customer feels like family. By keeping this friendly atmosphere, your sales can see tremendous growth year after year.

July 19, 2011

Mobile Cloud Computing Changing the Face of Business    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Apple has made much of iCloud’s launch – and while it’s easy to be wary of hype, Apple’s past successes have made the world take notice of cloud services. So what does it herald for businesses?

iCloud embodies everything that Apple excels at: it’s user-friendly and seamlessly integrated into Apple’s product range. Microsoft’s SkyDrive provides a similar service, yet despite being older, it may become just another challenger. However, like Google Android’s open ethos in the mobile OS market, SkyDrive could become a more inclusive, business-friendly platform for data sharing than iCloud, which is likely to retain the ‘barbed-wire fence’ approach reminiscent of Apple’s App Store, iTunes service and iPod digital media format.

Following typical technology trends, both iCloud and SkyDrive are set to be rapidly adopted by virtue of the wide compatibility of product ranges, from Apple’s iPhone integration to the cross-platform flexibility of Microsoft’s sprawling business and consumer product range. To this extent, according to a 2010 IBM survey, thanks to the success of iPhones, iPads, Windows Phone 7 and Google’s Android operating system, cloud computing is on the cusp of mainstream domination. So, with mobile cloud computing set to explode in popularity, its advantages and challenges are more relevant than ever.

Advantageously, it enables cost-effective, flexible, on-the-go access, so staff will become more productive on the move, building relationships and sharing data online. Easy data manipulation via mobile devices will also allow businesses to react rapidly to customer demands. Furthermore, cloud computing will see businesses reduce costs by eliminating dedicated IT requirements and downtime on physical servers. And most importantly, the translation to mobile will make cloud computing’s advantages more widely available.

Of course, it also carries its share of challenges. Foremost is security. Hosting sensitive data off-premises inevitably poses risks. Coupled with the problem of mobile device theft, many businesses are understandably reluctant. It remains to be seen what security measures will be taken, but once these are addressed, IBM found that 91% of businesses expect cloud services to become the dominant feature of IT.

Cloud computing can expect a huge surge in attention from consumers and businesses thanks to iCloud. The relentless drive for mobile innovation, alongside the launch of Google’s ChromeBook, will further emphasise the clouds importance for business. However, businesses still need to adapt to survive. Cloud services mean IT is going mobile. It’s those businesses that unlock its potential that will thrive.

Posted in Entrepreneur | |

Entrepreneurs – You Might Want To Drop Out Of College

Young entrepreneurs and business owners are often times faced with the choice of which road to take. On one hand, there is the more conservative route of staying in college and getting a degree. On the other hand, many have thriving businesses that are making more money than their degree will ever get for them. Is college simply a hindrance? Or is it a valuable resource that should be continued at all costs. Many college business owners don’t even realize they have the choice of dropping out. Knowing this option is there could be vital to the success of their future business. If you are in college and are an entrepreneur or business owner you must ask your self this question: should I drop out of college?

The answer to this question often comes in many forms from many different people. I was recently at an entrepreneurial conference and had the opportunity to discuss this matter with many rich entrepreneurs. The answers I was getting from them were vastly different from those that my family had given me. On the one side I was being told that college is only useful if you are getting something out of it, and that if I was serious my businesses should take priority over schooling. From the family side I was being told to stay in school no matter what, put schooling at the forefront – there will always be time for business and it will be good to have a safe backup. Both of these answers have their merits, but which one is right?. It became clear to me that it was my decision- not the other wealthy entrepreneurs, and not your family.

Why are you in college?
This question is the fundamental element in the decision to drop out of college. Entrepreneurs must figure out the reality of why they are in college before making a decision to drop out. Some business owners are in college because their parents told them to go there, or because they didn’t realize they had the choice. Other young entrepreneurs are in college because they find the information valuable and want to continue learning while they expand their business. Even more still had childhood dreams of one day being an engineer or architect and want to follow through with their early ideals. You must answer this question truthfully and honestly if you are going to make a choice about running your business full time or staying in college.

Why Do You Want to Drop Out?
It is very important to understand exactly why you want to drop out. Many business owners and entrepreneurs have vastly different reasons for dropping out of college and it is key that you understand yours. I have often fielded this question in conversation, and many times a young entrepreneur will want to drop out of college on pure speculation. This is never a good idea without a solid business plan. I recommend having a solid business plan and some backups in the least, as well as some plans for continued learning of business skills. Dropping out is a risky decision – entrepreneurs will understand and easily accept this fact. Understanding and accepting risk is part of being an entrepreneur and starting new businesses. I have also talked with many entrepreneurs who already have million pound plus income, and are thinking about dropping out in order to focus more on their business. This instance presents an entirely new set of questions. Whatever your reasoning make sure that you understand and research your position.

Here is the Secret to Making the Decision
It all comes down to balancing the two sides of the argument. If you’ve figured out both your reasons for being in college and your reasons for dropping out and starting a business, then you can easily make a decision. The trick is to look at a list of both sides: your reasons for being in college and your reasons for going out and becoming an entrepreneur. If either side has reasons that aren’t your own, or that have doubt in them, then you will most likely pick the other side. Here is an example situation, look at the two lists and decide what the student should do.

Student A – Reasons to Stay in College:
- My parents are paying for it, and they would flip if I left
- Everyone I know is in college, it would be weird to leave.
- A degree might give me some security later on.

Student A – Reasons to Drop Out and Pursue Business
- I have a solid business plan and have been working on it for months
- My income is almost half of my parents already
- Having more time to work on business would let me expand faster

I think it is fairly clear in this setup that we have an entrepreneur at heart. There is doubt in the reasoning behind college, and he also doubts that he will even need the security of a degree. The second list is much more profound and certain. This student knows he will be successful as an entrepreneur and he only wants to build his business more. There is certainty and understanding in his tone. With this situation it seems very likely that the student would be far better off dropping out of college and pursuing his business goals.

The case is almost never as cut and dry as the situation above, most young businessmen have far more complicated setups. Even with the complications, the end result is always the same. Follow the path that you are sure of in your heart. If you are an entrepreneur in the right position then you will know exactly why you want to drop out and that it will be better for you. Or, you will know that staying in college will teach you more about business and let you grow faster out of college. I will leave you with one last thing.

Listen to your own thoughts, and pick the path that you know is better for you.

CRM Essentials For Small Business    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

CRM or Customer Relations Management are essential to modern business but small business often has different needs than big business and here well look at what is essential for CRM in small business.

Every CRM system is built on the contact database. In fact its key to the entire system. The contact database allows for the entry of information on customers and prospects. It also allows for the maintenance of this information. This will include basics such as name, address, phone, and email address.

If you sell to larger customers such as other companies where you have many contacts you will want your CRM software to have to the ability to mange contacts in groups related to one customer. So for example ABC Company might have Joe, Sam, Sally, and Molly all attached to it. This allows you to easily change information for the entire group.

You will want to closely exam the reporting capability. If you put all that information into the system you want to be able to retrieve it in a format that is usable to you. Some systems come with canned reports that you may or may not be able to edit to meet your personal needs. Some also come with a module called a report writer that allows you to design your own custom reports.

A good CRM package will have good analytical ability. This will allow you to analyze the data you have collected to help answer a host of questions such as:

1. Which customer provides the highest profitability?
2. How long does it take for them to commit?
3. Which products do they purchase?
4. Which customers are loyal?
5. Which sales associates have the best sales conversion rate?
6. Are new customers more profitable?
7. What products dont move?
8. Where is more staffing needed?
9. How many calls does it take to convert a lead to a sale

Thats just a small example of what type of information youll be able to analyze.
For small business price is also an issue. You dont want to go so cheap that you get a package that isnt adequate or that you spend more time fiddling with then actually using it for what it was designed.

Then again you wont have the budget to go really big. Youll want to do your research but first you need to determine exactly what your priorities are. Then you can start to price compare too.

So to summarize:

1. Determine what it is you want the software to do.
2. Set your budget.
3. Do your research.
4. Start to compare products online.
5. Make your decision.
6. Make your purchase

One thing is for certain if your small business is going to be profitable and successful you need CRM.

Posted in Small Business | |

Critical Small Business Decision #7: Stock Inventory Or Dropship Product For Your Online Store

Starting a business online could be much quicker than starting one offline. However, as a small business owner, you need to be prepared to spend a fair amount of time and energy to make your business profitable. After all, that is why you’re going into business isn’t it?

An online business is still one of the greatest work from home business opportunities on the planet. You may even have a grand vision for an online store, but find yourself struggling to handle the basic details of getting your store up and running. One essential detail is selecting the products you will use to “stock” your store. You will also have to decide if you want to keep an inventory or want to use dropshipping. Starting a store online can be as challenging as starting one offline, but it if you understand what’s involved, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. By identifying and using the right resources, you can make your start-up a smooth one.

The key to having a profitable online presence instead of just another online enterprise is creating or locating good quality products that you can sell for a profit. One way to do this is through drop shipping. Drop shipping allows small business owners, like you to establish a professional relationship with vendors who wholesale the products you want to sell. These vendors will ship customer orders directly to them rather than you having to stock inventory and do the product fulfillment yourself.

Prior to opening your store, it is critical to have the foundation of your business firmly established. Organization must be an integral part of this process. As your list of vendors and dropshippers increases, you should have all of their contact information in a convenient location for easy access. Don’t short-circuit this part of the process, it is amazing how much time you can save by being organized and by having established contacts within your product market. Take the time you need to build your store right from the ground up and business will virtually run itself in due time.

A number of factors will contribute to the ultimate success of your business whether that business is online or offline. The Internet, especially, is often viewed as a way to “get rich quick” rather than as a way to build a good business with a greater reach. You will get out of your business what you decide to put into it. Today’s technology allows small business owners to build their businesses faster, but it

July 11, 2011

Entrepreneurial Myths: The Truth Behind Them    Author: Admin

Posted in Entrepreneur | |

If you are about to start off in business you will have no doubt heard these comments:
So many businesses fail. Why are you doing this?
I hear that you need a large amount of money to get a business off the ground these days.
Why are you throwing away the security of your job?

These, and more of the same, are typical of the barriers that so called friends and advisors, put in your way if you are thinking of starting a business. These barriers are built on the back of myths about the pitfalls and challenges which surround running your own business.

In this article, well take a look at some of these myths and reveal them to be exactly that just myths! Dont get me wrong, being an entrepreneur can be tough and there are hurdles to cross, but lets bring some common sense into the debate!

You Dont Have a Personal Life

Yes you will! It can be hard juggling the responsibilities of running your own business and spending time with the family, but at the end of the day, you are going to have far more flexibility with your personal life, than any employee will ever have. The real issue is, do you have the time management and planning skills to get things done, thereby allowing you time to spend with your family.

You Have To Be Cunning and Ruthless To Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Ok, it may help you in the short term but this is not a sound, long term strategy. To be a successful entrepreneur you need to build relationships with both customers and suppliers who will stick by you during the rough times. Being ruthless over pricing may get you one or two good deals but you are unlikely to build a lasting and profitable relationship. Your aim should be to strike a balance between what you want and what your customer or supplier wants.

You Wont Have To Work As Hard

Your current job may be stressful and subject you to long hours. The idea of running your own business is appealing because you can slow down and take life at your own pace. To a degree this is true but theres no getting away from the fact that it will be hard work. Most small businesses dont achieve profitability until year 3 and so its a long slog. Remember, if was easy, everyone would be doing it!

What does make the difference though, is that you are finally doing something you love and so the hours and the struggles dont seem like hard work at all. So perhaps this myth may be true after all!

You Have To Have an Original Idea

No you dont. Most businesses are built around a central idea. The difference is usually how its delivered. The core products of all fast food places are the same, as are clothes shops, newsagents etc. You can make a decent living effectively copying someone elses idea but done in a slightly different way. Dont be put off by the doomsayers who will gleefully point out that its been done before. Your response should be, Great! That shows the idea works!

You Will Be Your Own Boss

No way! Theres only one boss in your new business the customer. They are essential to your success. When you were working for that large, faceless Corporation, the loss of the odd client wasnt that big a deal – plenty more where they came from.

In your new world you have to do whatever it takes to keep your customers and keep them happy. The customer is the one who calls the tunes. You have to listen and take note, before someone else does. However, at the end of the day, when all their demands are met, then perhaps you can have some time to yourself and enjoy the pleasures of being your own boss after all!

You Need A lot Of Money To Get a Business Off The Ground

Some businesses do need a fair bit of cash to get moving but there are many areas you can go into without the need to invest in a large amount of stock, machinery or equipment. The low-capital businesses involve the use of three very cheap commodities your brain power, your knowledge and your time.

A business where you sell your expertise, not actual goods, to other people can be cheaply set up and carry high profit margins. All you may need is a PC, a desk and a telephone line. Whats stopping you?

You Only Have To Do What You Want To Do

Unfortunately this myth is wrong. We all have areas or skills in which we excel and its this expertise which usually forms the basis of your business. Your dedication to paperwork, bank statements and the VAT man may not be that high, but branching out on your own doesnt mean you have the choice to avoid these terrible tasks.

Whilst you were able to do this when you were sitting in the big corporate office, you can no longer hide. These tasks have to be done otherwise the deck of cards can start to collapse.

If you do have serious misgivings on certain areas, marketing for example, then consider taking a course to improve your skills. If its something you seriously cant do, then go and find someone to do it for you dont hope it will go away because it wont.

You will have seen that some of the myths not being true is good news and others not so good news! Be sensible in considering the myths which are thrown at you. See it for what they are – comments from people who dont know what they are talking about! In the next issue Ill have some more myth-busting ideas for you.

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