Small Business Owners Entrepreneurs

March 19, 2012

Web Advertising for the Small Business    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

If you run a small business, advertising costs must be figured in as part of your overall expenses. If you have received quotes for phone directory ads, business association block ads, and mostly any other print media, these costs are quite high. So, what if your budget is small, perhaps negligible? Will you be left outside of the advertising arena or are there other avenues to help you get the word out? The answer in one word is: yes. Lets explore ways you can get the word out through online meansyes, via the internet!

The rise of the internet has spawned an entire industry with it. You may remember in the late 1990s stories of companies who made a fortune and then went bust. The irrational exuberance of that era has, thankfully, passed by and in its place is a much more rational, but very lively market.

Todays biggest players online are search engine providers led by Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. Between them, these three search engines dominate the market. Mostly everyone today searches the internet for products sold by small businesses to large corporations and these are the people you want to target. Indeed, while Christmas season sales typically increase around 4% year over year for brick and mortar retailers, the internet has been seeing year over year increases of 30% and higher! No small business operator should exclude the internet when crafting a marketing plan.

Speaking of the search engines, both Google and Yahoo! have their own advertising networks. Google has its AdWords program while the Yahoo! Publisher Network is a comparable, though newer program. This is where you, as a small business owner, can do some of your advertising. By selecting the advertising plan that works for you, you can have your ads appear on web sites in your local area or across the world and be charged a small amount per click. In other words, you dont pay for advertising unless someone clicks on your ad and goes through to your site. To keep clicks from getting out of control you determine the price per click and the amount per day, week, or month you are willing to pay. No busting of your small business budget!

Banner or text ads on select sites can also be helpful for your small business. If there is a web site you like and you suspect that a lot of your customers would frequent that site, contact the webmaster to learn what his advertising charges would be. Perhaps in exchange for submitting a few helpful articles, the webmaster would waive your advertising fee altogether. Or, at the very least, accept any other help you could provide [moderating a forum, answering questions, etc.].

Another way of getting the word out is through your own web site. No, you dont need a web professional to establish your site, but it does help to have someone who can guide you through the set up process. At the very least a few pages is what you will need, so set up costs shouldnt be terribly expensive. In addition, figure on paying monthly hosting and domain name fees but these expenses should be no more than 100-125 per year. Pay a little extra for a web professional who can help you optimize your site [make it search engine friendly] and youll get your money back much quicker. Finally, check with your accountant for small business tax deductions.

You can also generate plenty of attention by writing articles, just like the one you are reading now. No, you dont need to be a professional writer, but if you can clearly convey your thoughts and present a plan of action for your readers [such as: buy my product] you can get what amounts to be free advertising. How so? By submitting what you write to article submission sites for wider dissemination. By including helpful links in the author resource box you can cause search engines to make your web site much more visible as your article gets reprinted on other web sites. Furthermore, readers will perceive that you are an expert and will likely inquire to find out just what you are all about. You can call this, small business advertising on the cheap!

No, as a small business owner you dont have to be strapped by high advertising costs — who has the cash to spare? Instead, the internet offers to you several cost effective ways of informing people about who you are, what you do, and where they can find you.

Select the marketing plan that works best for your small business. A mixture of all four points is a great plan of attack for many small business ownersjust like you!

March 12, 2012

Used Phones for the Small Business    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

I recently updated the phone system for my business. We’re a small company with just a handful of employees in an office about the size of a two car garage. We do a lot of business over the phone and although we could handle the call volume with our old system, I still felt (and was informed many times) that it was antiquated and hard to use. I knew it needed to be brought up to speed so I consulted my employees and asked them to list the features that they felt would improve productivity and make their jobs easier. I then looked for phones and equipment that would meet our needs. I was somewhat in shock over the price of a new phone system.

I didn’t realize it could cost so much. Disheartened but not defeated, I kept searching until I found a vendor who offered the phone system we were looking for at a great price. It was substantially cheaper than the next closest competitor, which made me look a little closer. As it turns out, these phones were used. They weren’t refurbished phones, and came with the same warranty as a new phone, but there was something in my psyche that turned me away from the idea of buying used electronics. Still, money is money and if they were going to give me the same warranty as a new phone system had, what did I have to lose. After talking to the vendor and voicing my concerns, I purchased nine phones and the line equipment we needed for a lot less than what it would have been brand new.

The new system has been in place for several months now and everyone is quite happy with the improvement. The phones are reliable and we have never had a problem with them. If you decide at some point to update your business phone system but don’t think you can afford what you really need, look into buying used phones. You can save quite a bit of money and, as I’ve found out, they are a product that holds up well to daily use. I’m afraid that if I hadn’t stumbled onto them in my search for the best deal, I might have never found the system I have now, and never even considered purchasing used equipment. If you find a reputable company to deal with that will back up their products, new or used, you can make a little money go a long way.

February 13, 2012

The Value of Web Presence for Small Businesses    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Undoubtedly, the internet can make the difference between a successful small business and one ignored by customers. Due to the global nature of the Internet surpassing physical frontiers between nations, and even making it unnecessary to use printed business cards when they can easily be hosted online.

Web presence can make small businesses more competitive from any angle, allowing you to understand new trends, as well as discover opportunities and problems without wasting time. A small business with Internet presence improves your opportunity to connect with a number of suppliers and customers that otherwise might not be possible in your local area.

Furthermore, traditional printed business cards including an Internet address, not only opens a new range of possibilities to succeed, but also is a way to increase your communications, showing an appealing professional appearance, no matter how big or small your business or company is actually. Magnetic business cards often create a long-lasting marketing image.

In fact, you will be surprised to see prospective clients seeking what they want through search engines. Others might check for URLs in business cards instead of browsing the printed yellow pages, because a web presence translates is synonym to having a shop or booth in every corner of the world, where every individual or small business can have the same presence as the big enterprises.

Of course, budget, skills, knowledge and other Internet resources determine the performance of every small business online. However, it will always be beneficial to develop your business web presence if you want to get customers from every location around the world or, as a practical alternative, you can create online business cards for you, your partners and employees.

On the Internet, you will find a number of websites offering both services, development of your web presence and creating your online business cards, ranging from low-mid prices to those unaffordable for people who are just starting a new business venture. However, you do not need a big budget to start.

There are a number of free Web hosting services that will gladly give you web space to develop your presence. If you have no idea how to create a website, they usually have facilities called online tools or web site builders, allowing you to create a nice looking page with just a small amount of information regarding your small business, products and services.

If you do not feel comfortable with those tools, there are other options for you. If you want to create only a business card that looks like real printed business cards, you can always get free or cheap web templates, coming in a variety of designs and only requiring your information to be uploaded, which will create your web presence instantly.

Tips on Starting A Small Business    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Small businesses have many challenges to stay afloat. Many budding entrepreneurs think that all they need is an idea or product, a name for their small business, and a bit of work and the product will sell itself and money will come rolling in. If you have ever run a small business – even a home based business – you will know there’s much more to it than that!

The first thing you, as a potential small business owner must always do, is research your market. Then research your competition, then the available supply for your product or service, and find your unique selling position. This alone can take weeks often months.

Once you are satisfied that there is a market for your product or service then you need to sort out your business plan and cash flow projections.

Small businesses may appear low cost but many suck up substantial capital before they turn a profit so now, unless you are very fortunate, you must sort out how to finance your small business. Do you remortgage your house? look for investment partners? borrow from friends or family? or approach the bank? Whichever you choose you need to convince others that your small business will be profitable and they will get a return on their money.

Once finances are in place the hard work starts. You may have premises to arrange, suppliers to sort out, staff to recruit and mangage, accounts to keep, products to design or source, lawyers to consult, accountants to hire and we must not forget in all of this market and get the all important customers to look at and purchase your products.

To do that you have to advertise your small business, but where and at what cost? Don’t forget you have to provide customer support and accept returns. Then there’s waste disposal … and on and on.

Who’s paying for all of this – in simple terms you, and your friends, investors andor your bank are paying, until you are selling sufficient product or service to cover the costs – usually many months or even years away.

New small businesses rarely return a profit in the first year and frequently not for two or three years. Make sure you can finance it properly.

Is it worth doing it? That’s your decision but every year tens of thousands of people do start their own business and many are succesful and reap the rewards of all that hard work. But many also fail, and all too often it’s due to lack of preparation

If you’re about to set off on your new business venture prepare well and Good Luck. With good planning, persistence and a lot of hard work you too can build a profitable small business.

January 9, 2012

Small Business Owners – Listen Up    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Have you ever considered why SPAM has caused such a public backlash compared to the deafening silence from its unsolicited paper cousins of direct and junk mail? People seem to care a lot more about what enters their Inbox than their letterbox. And for the word care think about logical substitutes of notice, read and respond.

All this translates into campaign results that can surpass other forms of direct communication making it an ideal cost effective option for any small business owner.

And whats more I believe that as a small business owner the odds are stacked in their favour to become budding email marketing superstars.

Let me explain why.

Firstly, its about personality. E-mail messages written in a personal style seem to work the best. Writing this way doesnt seem to faze most small business owners. Usually their business shows more of their personality when dealing with customers than larger competitors so writing this way seems to be a natural option.

Secondly, a small business owner can understand what content that has a good chance of being read. With them working closely with customers they tend to understand what their customers want to know about and can easily translate this into articles and reports that will be read.

Thirdly, the time and cost efficient nature of email marketing ideally suits the busy small business owner. It can take the same amount of effort to create an email newsletter for 500 subscribers as it does 50,000. Plus the costs of an email production are a fraction of the alternative paper option.

For a small business owner a regular e-mail message can have as much personality and content to end up being the next best thing as a phone call from themselves, just more efficient and at a lot less costly to produce.

So there you have it, three reasons why small business owners can make it big in the Inbox. Have fun harnessing this great tool for your company.

January 2, 2012

Small Business Loans Encouraging Business Initiatives    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Being a small business owner is not easy. Apart from the problems that the small business owners have to face in operating business, the severest of problems is in raising capital. It is not easy to raise capital for business use; particularly in an environment in which small business owners are accorded a status similar to borrowers with bad credit. Self employment is considered a bad credit case because of the unstable income generation through small business. It is said how a small business owner will pay fixed installments on a loan if he has not made much income (profits) in a particular month. Banks and financial institutions are thus not receptive to the demands of the small business owners.

However, a loan can be designed particularly suited to the small business owners. Few lenders, who did not want to lose on the opportunity of lending to the rising group of small business owners, devised such loan. It is known as small business loan. Small business loans are advanced to small entrepreneurs who invest it in a series of purposes like expansion of their facility, buying technology, purchasing new tools and equipments, and also to buy raw materials and pay wages to workers.

Lenders advance small business loans on the principle of moderate risk, which is no different from lending any other loan. The principle of moderate risk implies lending by keeping sufficient cover against risks. Therefore, while designing the terms of the small business loans, lenders are often seen to be using this principle. Take for instance, the rate of interest. The rate of interest charged on small business loans is higher than the normal. Similarly, lenders will only lend a limited sum on small business loans. These are sufficient proof of the manner in which lenders prepare for any risk that may emerge in the future.

What differences can a borrower notice in small business loan, which goes in his favour? Borrowers can get an arrangement designed by which they can repay loan installments with ease. Small business loan with a flexible repayment schedule sufficiently solves the problem of the self employed people. Through a flexible repayment schedule, borrowers do not need to make repayments of a pre-specified amount and a pre-specified period. Depending on the income that they are able to salvage in that period, they can make repayments accordingly. Therefore, in certain months (or any periodicity chosen by borrower to make repayments) there can be underpayments, overpayments, and no payments at all (termed as payment holiday).

However, not all lenders may be ready to accommodate your financial condition thus. If you consider the clause of flexible repayments so necessary in your case, then you must mould your search operations accordingly. With the help of brokers, searching small business loan according to ones desired criteria is not very difficult. Brokers are associated with several loan providers in the UK. When a person applies for small business loan to these brokers, they forward it to all the lenders who they think can appropriately advance loans to the entrepreneurs. The broker conducts the entire search operation. The borrower just has to choose from the large number of deals that the lenders forward. Brokers can also arrange small business loans from lenders who accept flexible repayment. Similarly, other specific requirements of borrowers can be incorporated into any small business loan searched. Brokers charge certain fees for their services. However, the best deal that these help to find will make the issue of fees irrelevant.

Small business loans can be either short term or long term. A short-term small business loan is repayable in a period ranging from certain months to a year. Long-term small business loans on the other hand, advance money for as long as 25 years. Depending upon ones requirement, the small business owners can decide term of repayment and other terms and conditions of the small business loan.

December 26, 2011

Small Business Funding …….A savior for small enterprises    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Getting a bank loan is easier said than done all kinds of paper work, formalities, guarantors, and high interest rates.its enough to make a small business owner lose sleep.

Business cash advance or small business funding- a new concept in the economic block is proving to be a savior for small business owners and entrepreneurs, even those with bad credit history. Cash advance is a small business loan that is sanctioned against your future credit card and debit card sales.

The reputed and reliable small business funding companies pre-approves loan after understanding the nature of your business. They do not ask you to bring along a guarantor or pay hefty hidden costs.

All you need to do is to have a merchant account with a minimum monthly amount of transaction through credit card sales. Every day an agreed upon percentage of your credit card sales will go towards the repayment of your business loan till the time the complete loan amount is paid back.

Use this capital sourced from small business funding company to run, strengthen or expand your business or for any other purpose of your choice. Till recently, business owners plagued by bad credit history found it extremely difficult to get small business loans when banks were the only source to secure business loans.

But now with many private players entering in the lending market, securing loan for your business has become much easier. No matter what FICO score you have managed to secure in your credit report, bad credit small business loans are easily available in market.

Caution: If you are looking for a small business funding company then be careful of certain facts: Check out if the company is charging anything as closing cost. There is no closing cost involved in cash advance or small business funding. Plus, your bad credit history should not affect the approval or interest rate. So do not pay any extra amount to get approval.

December 19, 2011

Small Business Credit Card – Credit Card Services For A    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Small Business Credit Card – Credit Card Services For A Business

If you are a new business and looking for a credit card, chances are you want a small business credit card. Because you are a new business, resources may be limited as well as manpower. When youre looking for that new card, you should consider the credit card services for a business that the issuer provides.

Credit card services for a business when looking for a credit card?

Sure. A small business credit card can provide you with more than extending credit. After all you are new and small. You may need all the help you can get.

Financial institutions understand the additional control and constraints a business needs over their credit. Business card offers vary just like personal credit cards, although some of the incentives are the same. However, various issuers go even further with their business credit card offers and add credit card services for a business.

When looking for a new small business credit card, you want to keep in mind that although youre new and small, you dont intend to stay that way. You want a credit card that can grow with you. Here are a few features to consider when looking for that new small business credit card.

- After the initial APR introductory offer, what is the regular interest rate?

- Is there a yearly fee?

- What is the line of credit and can it be increased as time goes by?

- Is there a limit to the number of credit cards that can be issued on the account?

- Do they offer airline mile points?

- Is there a cash rebate program?

- Do they have partnerships with leading retailers for office equipment and supplies so that they will offer discounts when using my business credit card?

- Is my account accessible online so I can manage my daily expenses?

- Is there an extended payment term for larger purchases?

- Does this offer include quarterly and yearly reports?

- Can this information be transferred directly to my companys accounting software program?

- Is there a choice of how I receive the summary of my expenses?

All of these benefits are not offered for every business credit card. But, the right combination for your situation can save you time and money. Choosing the right small business credit card can add significantly to your bottom line.

December 12, 2011

Small Business Tax Deductions You Should Remember to Claim    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Are you a small business owner who is planning on preparing your own taxes this year? If you are, you may want to know about the business deductions that you can claim. You may be happy to know that there are a number of deductions that you may be eligible for. Just a few of those deductions are touched on below.

Your commercial space can be used as a tax deduction or a business expense. What is nice about this type of deduction, it that it can be used a number of different ways. For instance, if you are a small business owner who operates an online business, you may actually work from your home. If you do, you could actually calculate the amount of square footage that your business takes up and calculate rent for yourself; rent that is tax deductible. The same can be done if you rent a commercial building space from a commercial landlord.

The supplies that you need for your business can also be considered tax deductible. For instance, if you run a pet grooming salon and you recently decided to update your equipment, you may be able to write off the new equipment as a business expense; a business expense that is tax deductible. When it comes to supplies that your business may need to survive, it can be anything from a new computer, to computer paper, to pens, and a stapler. To save yourself the most money on taxes this year, you will want to get as many tax deductions as you possibly can. Of course, you will want to do so legally though.

In addition to the supplies that you may need to run your small business, the future that you need can also be written off as a business expense. In keeping with the above mentioned example of running a pet grooming business, if you run a pet grooming business, you may need to have an office desk, office chairs, as well as lobby or waiting room chairs. All of these furniture pieces and others that may need to be purchased can be considered businesses expenses and can be written off as deductions.

The above mentioned small business expenses are just a few of the many that can be written off, but they are some of the most obvious ones. One other expense that you may be able to receive a tax deduction for is any insurance than needs to be purchased. This can be looked at form a couple of different perspectives. For instance, if you need to buy your own health insurance coverage, the money spent on coverage can be deducted from your profits made. Also, if you run a business that requires you to be insured, like a pet grooming business or even a hair salon, the cost of insurance coverage can also be considered a deductible business expense.

As nice as it is to know what type of tax deductions you may be able to claim or business expenses that you may be able to write off, it is important that you remember to save all applicable documents and receipts. For instance, if you are going to list your new office desk as a business expense, you need to make sure that you have proof that you actually bought it, when you bought it, and how much you paid for it. That is why it is extremely important that you keep accurate business records, all year round, not just at tax time.

December 5, 2011

Small Business Owners: Should You Hire a Professional Tax    Author: Admin

Posted in Small Business | |

Small Business Owners: Should You Hire a Professional Tax Preparer?

Are you a small business owner who is getting ready to get your taxes prepared for this year? If you are, you may be wondering whether or not you should use the services of a professional tax preparer. When it comes to determining whether or not you should use the services of a professional tax preparer, you may want to think about the pros and cons of doing so.

When it comes to hiring the services of a professional tax preparer, one of the many pros or plus sides to having your small business taxes done professionally are the results. Most professional tax prepares have the required amount of tax preparation training and many also have years of experience with preparing taxes. This experience is what often guarantees that you will get better, accurate results.

Another one of the many pros or plus sides to having a professional tax preparer do your small business taxes for you is because of the deductions that they may be able to get you. As it was previously mentioned, many professional tax preparers have up-to-date tax training. This up-to-date tax training often means that they are educated on any new small business deductions that you may be able to qualify for, as well as old deductions. This is nice because most small business owners, like you, who do their own taxes, actually end up missing out on multiple opportunities to save money on their taxes.

Your liabilities, when hiring a professional tax preparer to do your small business taxes for you, is another one of the many pros or plus sides to seeking assistance. Even if you have some tax preparation experience, there is a good chance that you would end up taking your time, then go back and recheck your forms and then recheck them again. This is due to the fact that those who file their own taxes are often held liable for any mistakes that are made. The same is not always said when a professional tax preparer is used. Most professional tax preparers do not make mistakes, but if they do make one, you shouldnt end up being held responsible or liable for that mistake.

Although there are a large number of pros or plus sides to doing business with a professional tax preparer, there are also a number of cons or downsides to doing so as well. Perhaps, the biggest one is the costs. It is no secret that it can get fairly expensive to hire the services of a professional tax preparer. In most cases, the amount of money that you are charged will all depend on the complicity of your tax forms. The harder they are to do, the more money you are likely to be charged. Of course, it is important to remember all of the above mentioned pros to hiring a professional tax preparer. Many time those benefits, alone, are worth the cost.

The decision as to whether or not you want to hire a professional tax preparer to do your small business taxes for you is yours to make, but, as outlined above, there are a number of benefits to doing so. If you are interested in trying to do your own taxes, but you later find it too complicated to do so, you may want to think about seeking professional assistance, as it is never to late to do so.

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