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Why Are Small Business Outsourcing Ideas Essential In Your Business?



Small Business Outsourcing Ideas


Smaller and larger businesses alike have many different needs for specialized services. For example, companies of all sizes will need to perform detailed tasks related to paying government taxes, dealing with human resources issues, exploring legal issues that arise over the course of business operations and more. In larger companies, there are often specialized departments that provide in-house support in these and other areas. Smaller companies, however, cannot afford the overhead associated with having specialized, in-house staff for these and other niche areas. The clear solution for a small business to consider is to outsource these and other tasks to specialty firms.

Reducing Overhead
The key reason that a small business may consider outsourcing is to reduce overhead. Smaller companies must find a way to accomplish the same tasks as a larger company in order to compete in the marketplace and perform basic business operations, but funds are limited. Small business outsourcing provides smaller companies with the ability to eliminate the fixed overhead associated with dedicated in-house staff while providing the same overall end result associated with the use of highly skilled, knowledgeable labor.

Small Business Outsourcing Ideas
Clearly, there are significant benefits associated with small business outsourcing, but business owners should carefully review the different options to find the right solution. There are numerous small business outsourcing ideas that businesses can choose to implement. The needs of the company should be analyzed carefully to determine which of the small business ideas is a best fit for the company. In addition, the business owner should also consider the budget available for these services, as some options will be more costly than others.

Different Solutions
Small business outsourcing does make sense, but companies should review the different solutions available to find the ideal solution for their needs. Small business freelancers may provide part-time or full-time support. However, these are contract workers, so the employer will not be responsible for withholding taxes, offering health insurance and more. In addition, outsourcing can also be accomplished through a private firm. For example, accounting services for the entire company may be contracted out to a third party accounting firm, and the firm will handle all aspects of financial planning, tax preparation and more. Each solution will offer different services and benefits and will also be available to the business owner at a different rate.

Like larger companies, smaller companies also must obtain specialized services to complete certain tasks. In very small companies, there is often a belief that the business owner or one of the few employees in the company must be a jack-of-all-trades who performs all of the specialized tasks related to IT services, accounting services and more. While this is one option, a better option to consider may be to use small business freelancers or outsourcing firms to complete specialized tasks on behalf of the company. The business owner and employees will be able to continue to focus on running and even growing the company while support services are provided to the company through outsourced services. 


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Everything You Need To Know About Outsourcing in a Small Business



Outsourcing in a Small Business


Small businesses today face numerous challenges as they compete in their relative marketplace. Regardless of the nature of your business, you must find a cost-effective solution to compete and level the playing field. Outsourcing in a small business work environment may be easier than you think. With a closer look at the benefits associated with small business outsourcing, you may discover that this is the ideal solution for your company.

How Outsourcing Works

A small business such as yours often must complete various tasks on a regular basis to stay operational. For example, you may be required to set up an IT network for your computer systems, be knowledgeable in government tax changes and more. In some companies, the business owner does tackle these tasks on his or her own. However, becoming knowledgeable and even striving to become an expert in these and other related areas can be time-consuming and challenging. Your main goal should be focused on helping your business grow rather than consuming yourself with the day to day operations for your company. Small business outsourcing is a cost-effective solution because you pay only for the services you use.

Freelancers and Outsourcing Firms

Outsourcing in a small business is actually easier and more cost-effective than some business owners may think. For example, with outsourced services, you will not pay overhead related to providing additional employees with office space and office supplies, and you will not be responsible for their benefits or employer-related taxes. You can choose between working with a private freelancer or an outsourcing firm. The rates charged by these different options can vary, and the skills, level of experience and expertise in niche areas of the field can also vary.

Finding the Right Outsource Services

Because the options for small business outsourcing can vary so significantly from one option to the next, it is imperative that business owners first identify what their specific needs are. For example, do you need to work with a professional who has significant experience in a niche area, or is it better to work with a professional with broad but more generalized experience in a specific field? You may consider obtaining referrals and recommendations from other companies. Certainly, comparing the prices of different outsourcing firms is a necessity, but it is more important to find a company or freelancer who offers the services you need first before comparison shopping to find the lowest rate.

If you run a small business today, you understand how challenging it can be to retain your competitive edge. When you are forced to wear multiple hats and to become a veritable specialist in numerous different niche areas to keep your business running, your attention is diverted away from helping your company to thrive. Instead, your attention is focused on helping it to stay afloat on a daily basis. By outsourcing your various niche tasks to professionals who specialize in these areas, you will be able to concentrate more of your time and energy on growing your business. 


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4 Awesome Tips For How to Brand Your Small Business Effectively


How to brand your small business


Do you know how to brand your small business?  Branding a small business can be a challenge.  Two of those challenges are know-how and lack of money.  Below are some great ways to brand a small business successfully.

Identify Your “Pivot Point” – Most business owners never think through the true value proposition of their small business.  They tend to confuse what they do with why they are doing it.  The secret is that no one wants to buy your service or product – they want to buy what the service or product does for them.  Are you selling expensive cars or status and exclusivity?  Are you selling homes or giving the sense of independence?  Find the “it” behind your business.  What is the reason for your company’s being?  To know how to build your business, take the time to think about the key attributes of your small business and then you can build brand identity.

Brainstorm Ideas – Once you know the true benefit of your business, you can begin generating ideas.  Begin by thinking of phrases and names that will give you a business theme.  The name doesn’t have to be descriptive, but it should be engaging, capture the core of the brand’s key attribute and have the consumer begging to know more.  Feel free to use made up names, metaphors, positive connotation words and more.  Buy magazines that fit in with your own brand message and look for headlines, phrases and words that might spark ideas.  Always keep the company pivot point as the main focus.

Narrow Your List – Let all these ideas simmer in your mind overnight.  The next day or so, start gleaming on your list.  Keep only the ideas that allow your company lots of room to grow.  Experiment a bit with matching tag lines.  When you pair a company name with a tag line, it might sound great when you hear it.  Look around for some matching domain names, and see if any competitors are using something similar.  Here are more tips for choosing a business name and creating a small business website.

Select a Winner – If you found a name that sounds good and the domain is available, it’s probably a winner.  It’s always wise to hire a trademark attorney to make sure you don’t have problems.  Next, you want to move on to the logo design.  There are plenty of good logo designers out there that will do a good job for you.

Finally, you are ready to launch the new brand.  Start spreading the message about your brand by being consistent.  Have the same look and feel on your blog, website, and social media accounts.  By consistently giving the same look, you will own your own place in the business industry.

Now, you can say that you know how to brand your small business.  When you dedicate time, attention and commitment to branding your company, you will build a small business that keeps your customers coming back for more.  


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How To Create A Small Business Logo Your Customers Will Love





How do you create a logo for your small business? For many small business owners, this is an early question. If you have ever asked this question, you may also be wondering why should you have a logo, how can you create one, and how can you create a great logo on a modest budget. 

Why You Should I Have a Logo? 

Any small business should have a logo. It shows that your business is a serious venture and not a fly-by-night small business that will cave in a matter of months or days. A great small business logo effectively conveys a sense of what your business is about. Part of owning a small business is the feeling you get when you go to your website and see your logo. The pride you feel when you hand your first business card to someone and it has your logo on it.

How Can I Create a Logo?

Creating a logo for your small business is much easier than you might think. There are several ways to create your logo. When you're looking to design small business logo, graphic designers are one option. The other option is to create the logo entirely by yourself. This might be helpful if you have experience and interest in either doing artwork or working on Photoshop. 

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A logo, by definition, could technically even be painted if you wished. Really a lot depends on what you want from your logo. Some companies specifically want a logo that exudes style, while other companies want a logo that is more practical--choosing functionality over form, so to speak. You might have a friend who does graphic design--or know someone on one of your social media networks that either is an artist or may know someone that would create your logo for a reduced price. The Internet is teeming with young artists who will gladly do artwork at a discount just to secure some business. So, for someone looking for a good logo design, there are many options available. 

How Can I Create a Great Logo on a Modest Budget? 

When looking at design, small business logo graphic designers might be your best option, especially if you or someone close to you can't make the design. You might consider holding a contest at 99 Designs, a website where you hold a contest to choose the best design among several artists who will enter the contest on a freelance basis. You definitely have to have some kind of a budget in order to hold a contest, but it might be worth your while if you're having a hard time trying to find someone to design your logo for a reduced price or free. 

Hopefully now you understand why your business should have a logo, how you can create a great logo, and how you can create a super logo on a modest budget that won't break your piggy bank!

What did you think of these suggestions?  Do you have any other ideas for how to create logos while saving money?

How to Create a Website for Your Small Business

How to create a website for your small business



When a small business owner starts out, he or she must buy a domain and create a website with interesting and unique content. Many people build a website but do not take the necessary steps to build it up, and the business will miss out on an excellent chance at finding new clients. With that being said, here is a quick guide on how to create a website for your small business.

Domain and hosting: A company should have a domain name related to the product or business name. This will help as customers will remember the website and they will find it with ease. As far as hosting, an entrepreneur should choose one that offers plenty of customization options. Furthermore, a person should choose a host offering solid customer service 24/7. With a memorable domain name and reliable hosting, a business owner will be on their way to attaining success with their website.

Content: A website must have well-written content that users enjoy; the website content should compel visitors to spend money and keep returning. Luckily, one can write attractive and interesting web pages by keeping it simple, to the point, and informative. At the same time, the writer must understand search engine optimization metrics. Simply put, when creating content that Google and the leading search engines love, one can see their website rise to the top of the first page for many organic search terms. Without a doubt, many ignore content, and they suffer as they see clients flock to a competitor.

Design: Users should have no trouble navigating a website on all devices. Ideally, the visitor should have access to all the important pages from any page. With header and footer links, a site owner can accomplish this and make sure that visitors do not leave when they cannot find a page. Furthermore, after building the website, one must test it in various browsers, tablets and smartphones to make sure the pages load properly and efficiently.

Change: Now, some business owners make a serious mistake as they never make changes to their existing content or pages. This can cause problems since a business must always change to meet the market demands. To understand what works and what does not work on a small business website, one should use analytic software such as Google Analytics to track visitors.  This will allow you to see where they come from as well as what page they leave from. With this simple tracking code, a company can understand what works and what fails. When a small business can follow customer metrics and understand how to fix an ineffective page, the website can thrive as an entrepreneur will know what he or she needs to do to improve the website and marketing plan.

When understanding how to create a website for your small business, one will gain success with their business venture. Without a doubt, a small business website can help the organization bring in new customers and make more money.

Choosing a Small Business Location

Choosing a small business location


Choosing a small business location is a great deal more complicated than simply picking the cheapest building or office suite you can find.  A small business has to be easy to find for its customers, and you have to be in a place where you are free to make it known that your business lives there without being encumbered by surrounding businesses or vacant offices.

A small business location has to accomplish three things.  The place where you are has to look good.  You can't survive in a community that doesn't look good, because no matter how hard you try, you can't be the one thing that shines in a nasty complex.

A small business location also has to give you options for expansion.  The worst thing you can do to yourself is choose a space you'll outgrow in six months.  This will mean a move that might turn off your customers.  While they may be happy for you, they are not going to want to learn a new location every time you need to expand your operations.

Finally, choosing a small business location should allow for your customers to easily find you.  Yes, there are a myriad of office complexes that are easy to find, but is your office easy to find in the muck that surrounds it?  When you are in a place that is hard for people to find, you will have a very hard time convincing customers that coming out to see you is a good idea.

The best small business location is a place that is so easy to get to that you have customers dropping by just because it was on their way home or to the office.  This is the best way to cultivate face-to-face relationships with your customers.  You give them a place to go that they like and they'll keep coming back.

A business has to feel free to live in a space where it can thrive and grow, and you cannot thrive and grow in a poor location.  You may feel that you have no other options, but the reality is much better.  There are tons of office spaces and storefronts that are easy to find, look good, and give you the chance to expanding without moving every few months.

You don't just put your small business somewhere where you can put up your sign quickly.  No, you put your small business in a place where people want to go.  The most loyal customers will bring their friends by, and the customer base will grow from there if you carve out a niche for yourself that no one else has.  Don't relegate yourself to some back alley.  Choose a location that is perfect for your business today.

Create Social Media Accounts for Your Business

Create Social Media Accounts


Create social media accounts for your business not just because social media sites are fun to use but because everyone is using them.  Nearly all of your potential customers are on social media sites, and they can be easily drawn to your business if you have a presence.  Every small business would benefit from social media because it is a free testimonial page for your business that can spread the news about you like wildfire.

Small business social media accounts are not a new thing in today's economy, and your website users  understand that companies have to do their best to bring in customers.  Setting up an account for your small business is just the first step to using social media properly.

When you start using social media to promote your small business, you cannot just promote your business.  It's actually much better if you are using the site, as the owner of the business, as if it were your own social media page.  Therefore, you post things that are of interest to the business as a whole.  You repost things you find that relate to your business and make you seem human.  Nobody online wants to read ads from someone who sounds like a bot, but people who see posts that are fun and interesting reposted to your page are more likely to follow your business and become patrons.

Some social media websites are the best place to reach friends and family because they can, in turn, recommend your business to their friends and family.  This is the best way to build a customer base in your community because many of the people on sites like Facebook have friends who live near them.

Create social media accounts for your business on every website that you think will help add to your customer base.  It is a good idea to be on the site, but you have to enjoy using the site.  The more you enjoy it, the more your followers can see it.  When you put those two things together, you end up with more excited followers of your business' page.

Small business social media accounts do not have to be a place where you endlessly promote your business as if you are a bot that's just pumping out messages.  Social media sites are a place where you can interact with current and potential customers in a non-business environment.  People who enjoy you are more likely to frequent your business in the future.

If you think that social media is only a cheap way to gain customers, you are missing out.  You can gain a great following on social media, and all for the price of some time in front of the computer.

Choosing a Great Small Business Name



Choosing a small business name requires delicate balancing of various factors to ensure that it does not only stand out but also stays on the right side of the law. Getting the right name for a small business has got trickier with today’s tools for marketing both online and offline. Changing a business name can have serious consequences. Here is an example.

A business website should ideally feature the name of the business. Changing the name requires changing the website name and logo. While making the change may not be complicated, it creates its own complications. Search engine rankings will suffer, and the brand already associated with the business in various places, including blogs, forums and social sites will lose relevance.

Coming up with the right small business name requires time and effort. The following tips cover the important angles to consider.

Relevance

Many small businesses start out as solo or freelance operations, and the owners often choose their own names. Unfortunately, such names do not usually portray a professional image required to build brand awareness. The name must be able to scale with the growing business without becoming irrelevant.

Points to consider when choosing a small business name include:

Appearance – on an advertisement, a logo, business card, social site and the Web at large
Uniqueness – a name that resembles the name of an existing business will not only confuse customers but also risk charges of trademark infringement
Sound – the chosen name must be easy to pronounce
Clear – the name must not have potentially offensive undertones or have embarrassing spellings
Connotations – the name must appeal to target market and reflect business philosophy

Web Readiness 

The name must include important keywords for the small business and be available. A simple search of domain names will determine whether the name has already been taken.

Trademarks

The cost associated with trademark infringement can easily break a business. Trademark search tools help to find out whether the selected name or its variations have already been registered.

If a business is to be incorporated, it can still operate under the proposed name even if another business is already using it so long as they are in different regions or offer different goods or services. However, the name must still comply with relevant state naming requirements.

When making searches, it is important to include misspelled versions of the small business name, similar sounding names and synonyms.

Domain Registration

If the desired domain name is available, it must be claimed without delay. Procrastination is risky considering the fast rate at which domain names are claimed. It is also important to claim social media identity.

Trademark Protection

Filing for a trademark helps in protecting the business name, including logos and symbols associated with it.

People often confuse this with registering a business name. Businesses operating under personal names do not have to be registered, and the registration does not offer trademark protection. The necessary steps for registering “Doing Business As (DBA)” names differ from one state to another. 

4 Key Lessons For Starting a Small Business Step-by-Step


The pull to become an entrepreneur and take your future into your own hands is strong for a large percentage of the population currently struggling to find fulfillment in a 9-to-5 job. Many want to learn how to start a small business and succeed with it so they can do what they really want with their life. It is important to know the steps to take to make sure the business is a profitable and manageable one once you decide what business to start. The first step is, however, deciding what type of work best suits you.

Start a small business by choosing one that suits your personality, capabilities and also offers the potential for real earnings and growth. The general rule of thumb, whether you want a brick and mortar establishment or an online company, is to find some products or services to sell that are in demand and do not have tons of competition already. If there is a lot of competition, you must be able to offer something truly unique, such as extra options, cheaper price or the best customer service anywhere. Popular options include retail or e-commerce of everything from clothing to craft supplies, service industries from auto detailing to freelance web design and businesses that provide help to people who need it.

Once you figure out what type of company to start, you need to know how to start a small business step by step.

One: Set Up Your Business Entity

Start a small business by registering for a fictitious name at your local government offices if you are doing business under another name. Get any applicable licenses and resellers permits that coincide with your state's sales tax laws if you are selling tangible goods or services. Decide on an accounting method and get business bank accounts.

Two: Get a Location: Real or Virtual

Whether it's office space, a retail shop or only internet space, every company needs a location. In fact, even real world locations should have a website as well, since most people shop and search online these days. Pick a location with good traffic and without too many competing businesses nearby. Have a website professionally designed.

Three: Acquire Products or Determine Services That Will Sell

You should already have some idea of the products or services you will offer before you get to this point. Make relationships with wholesalers or distributors of the product lines you wish to use, or get involved with affiliate programs for existing shops online. Affiliate marketing remains one of the most lucrative online businesses around.

Four: Marketing & Advertising

Up to this point, you've learned how to start a small business, but this is the main step in building a business that is profitable long term. Marketing, both online and offline, is the long term practice that will determine if you will still be around years from now or if your company will fail. 

The Best Small Business to Start

The Best Small Business to Start


Many people are deciding to go into business for themselves.  The grind of working in an office and taking orders from a boss is not appealing, so people are deciding to start their own small business. When people make this decision, they often don't know what to do.  What is the best small business to start? With so many to choose from, this decision can often be overwhelming.  Obviously, you will want to choose something that you are good at and you have a passion for.  Here are some of the small businesses that have seen the most growth over the past decade:

1. Day care


This is one of the best small business ideas because the demand for it will always be there.  However, it is not the type of business that you can instantly get up and running.  You will need the proper licensing and training.  Running a professional daycare business is not like babysitting for your neighbor. However, the earning potential for a daycare business is very solid.  Because of the tough economy, many couples have full-time jobs.  Since both the mother and father are working all day, they need someone to watch their child.  Since there is not always a relative available, day care services will always be needed.


2. Photography


Even though every smartphone has a camera in it, people will always need experienced photographers to take photos at weddings, company functions or staff photos that will be included on website profiles of various employees.  It does not take a huge investment to get started in this business.  All you need is a few thousand dollars to by a top of the line camera and you can begin.


3. Computer and smartphone training


Are you experienced at using all of the latest apps and features of Macs, PCs and smartphones?  If you are, why not put your knowledge to use and make some money off of it?  We are living in a world of technology.  This is widely considered to be the best small business to start because of the explosion in popularity of smartphones in recent years.  Many older people are who are not familiar with technology are getting smartphones for the first time.  They need someone to show them how to operate their new gadget.  Why can't that person be you?


4. Moving company


This is another one of those businesses that there will always be a demand for.  This is one of the best small business ideas because there will always be people moving into new houses or apartments.  There will always be students moving into dorms.  These people will need help lifting their heavy items, so that is where you come in.  When you start this type of business, you need to make sure you are properly licensed and that you have liability insurance in case you break some valuable items during the moving process.  Needless to say, you or the people you hire will need to be in great physical shape with no back problems for this type of work.


If you are looking for the best small business to start, these are all great examples.  You can duplicate other business plans or if you have an idea to add a new twist to these businesses, I'm sure you will achieve success.  Most important part is that you are not afraid to try.

Business Management Fundamentals

Business management fundamentals


Businesses may be of any size. They may deal in any kind of commodity, and they may have one of at least three structures (sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation). But business management is built on certain principles which are the same regardless of the type of organization in which it is done. Every action and decision has to be coordinated properly so that a carefully chosen goal may be achieved.

Some history

The modern discipline of business management developed with the rise of the modern stock exchange during the 16th century, when the discovery of the New World opened up ocean trade routes, on which trade required more money than the simple proprietorship or partnership could make. Prior to that time, there was no distinction between owning a business and managing it; and those who managed small shops or farms did not plan the exact way in which they would do so. With stock companies, those who brought in their money often knew little about the businesses they were financing, so they hired managers who did possess such knowledge.

What does the business manager do?

Management of a business is as much an art as it is a science since the primary function of the manager is to get people to work more efficiently than they otherwise would. There are four main skills that form part of management:
  1. Planning — What is the desired final product? What resources, human and nonhuman, should be used to achieve that goal? If they are not available at the present time, how will they be obtained? What could go wrong, and how will that be prepared for?
  2. Organization — How are you going to make things happen? How ready is everyone to do what he or she has been assigned to do? How well trained and motivated are the employees?
  3. Directing — Here is the part where you tell each employee what he or she is to do, when to do it and what to use. In this function, the manager may play a role similar to that of the conductor of an orchestra.
  4. Monitoring — The manager is focused on making sure that everything is going along smoothly, fixing anything that is not, and in general remaining on top of things.

Small business management

The management of a small business is in many ways a separate discipline from business management in general. The processes described in the previous section do, of course, apply here as well, though they take place on a smaller scale. There are books on the subject, and at some colleges and universities (such as Penn Foster and Flathead Valley Community College), you can even choose specifically to major in small business management. For an example of a college program in that discipline, go here. Software and apps (including those for mobile phones) are also marketed.

When it comes to managing a small business, you need to start with the fundamentals of business management.

How to Become an Effective Business Manager

Effective Business Manager


So often, a small business manager is responsible for a myriad of tasks, including recruiting, hiring, overseeing and coordinating the activities of employees, setting strategy, establishing budgets, and finding new markets for expansion. Thus, in order to be effective in this position, you must be, above all, flexible. Additionally, you might consider taking the following tips to heart.

Train Employees Thoroughly


A business cannot prosper without productive employees. So commit plenty of time, attention, and resources to employee training programs; be sure these sessions explain in detail every aspect of the business. It’s also wise to partner a new employee with a longtime worker, so the latter may mentor the former during his or her initial weeks. Let new employees know that you’re available to answer questions and hear concerns, too.


Know Your Stuff


Study your field constantly. Learn to use new technologies and media platforms. Always scrutinize the marketplace, the work of your competitors, trends in advertising, changes in the law, and anything else that might possibly give your business an edge.

Hold Yourself to the Same Standards as Everyone Else


If you want respect as a small business manager, you must earn it by holding yourself to high standards. If you make a mistake, admit it to colleagues candidly and then move on. And don’t bend the rules that you expect everyone else to follow. Always follow the company dress code, for example, and don’t exceed the lunch hour. Do not award yourself special bonuses or unnecessary perks, either.

Goals and Detailed Plans Go Hand-in-Hand


An effective business manager is both a visionary and detailed oriented. To that end, always have in mind a broad, long-term vision. For instance, you might decide that your business will achieve X amount in annual sales or Y percent market penetration. Then craft a highly detailed strategy to make that vision a reality. Devise a budget. Decide which cost management strategies you’ll employ to stay on that budget. Create monthly goals, and communicate those goals clearly to every one of your business’s employees so they’re keenly aware of what they need to work towards.    


Build Relationships with Customers


To the greatest extent possible, get to know your clients and customers personally. Engage them in conversation. Stop and say “hi” whenever you see them, whether it’s at your business or at the mall with your family. Send your biggest clients holiday cards, or even invitations to dinners or golf outings. Doing so will increase their loyalty and bring in new business through positive word of mouth.

One Thing at a Time


When you focus on one task at a time, rather than trying to multitask, you decrease the number of errors you’ll make, reduce your overall stress level, and increase the chance of a creative breakthrough. Multitasking is sometimes necessary for a business manager, but it’s greatly overrated. In addition, prioritize your tasks: Allot the most time and energy to the most important among them. See if you can assign less important activities to someone else.    


Continually practice these tips and become an effective business manager.

Growing Your Small Business

Growing your Small Business


Most entrepreneurs dream of building their company and making a lot of money in the process. Sadly, many business owners work hard but fail to realize their dreams because they did not develop a solid plan. Here are five tips on how to grow a business.

Plan:  When dreaming of an idea, most people want to get started immediately. When starting rapidly, an entrepreneur feels that he or she can start making money and building a solid customer base. Instead, one should create a solid and workable business strategy. One must include financials, marketing strategies and a basic idea on how the company will turn a profit. Remember, to grow a business, one needs a plan. Of course, when creating the plan, one should not go overboard or stress. It is just a simple outline of the company and its long-term plans.

Adequate funding:  Many companies never gain traction in their market. This happens for a lot of reasons with one of them being that the company does not have enough money. When the business cannot afford to pay top-notch employees or buy products, it will have a hard time making money. Simply put, when trying to grow a small business, one must have enough money. To get capital, one should apply for a credit card and build their profile. Then, after some time, one can apply for a loan at a bank or lending institution.

Employees:  In trying to cut costs, some opt to pay employees or contractors a low wage. Now, in the short-term, one will save money by using this method. However, in the long run, one must invest in their employees and contractors. When paying a decent wage, the organization can attract the brightest talent who gets results. Without a doubt, one cannot grow a small business without some solid and dependable employees.

No salary:  When turning a profit, some entrepreneurs want to live it up and draw a large salary. This mistake can lead to serious problems when the company faces leaner times. Ideally, a CEO should not draw a wage. Of course, this is not always practical; a company owner, should, at the least, draw a small salary, so he or she does not take away money from the organization. Without a doubt, to grow a business, one must make this sacrifice.

Bookkeeping:  Some companies neglect to set up a solid and long-term bookkeeping plan. Instead, many busy entrepreneurs opt to throw receipts into a box or drawer. One should not do this as it can lead to serious and difficult problems. Instead, a company should hire a professional bookkeeper and keep copious records and notes of all transactions. In the long run,  this will pay off since the organization will have an easy time obtaining loans and doing taxes when they have organized books.

Most people do not know how to grow a small company. Luckily, when following these five simple tips, an entrepreneur will know how to grow a business and rise to the top.


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Setting Business Priorities

Time Management for Small Business

Small Business 101










Setting Business Priorities for Building a Successful Business



Building a successful business normally takes time, and it requires setting priorities so that the business can survive through good and bad circumstances.

Business priorities will often vary based on a diversity of factors including the company’s mission, financial status, human resources and the industry. Therefore, it is essential for each business owner and their representatives to develop a list of priorities and remain consistent in accomplishing them.  However, before an individual or a team of representatives starts this process, there are some things that they should know.

Why are business priorities a necessity?


In an ever-changing global business environment, it seems nothing is remaining stable. Consequently, when the business leaders are in the process of managing their operations, whole organizations have to regroup to keep up or remain on the cutting edge of the industry’s competition.

In many circumstances, the challenges during these times can become overwhelming since there are so many different things on the table to do. However, when the business is well-versed in setting priorities and keeping everyone on the same page, the business will not get side tracked by accomplishing goals and objectives that will not add value to the mission.

Another top reason for setting priorities is it allows the team to accomplish the more lucrative projects first. Consequently, the team will increase business profits and everyone involved can enjoy the fruits of their labor (i.e. company bonuses etc.).


Defining Priorities


With so many variables that can affect today’s businesses, defining priorities usually takes more skill and experience to do it effectively.  Fortunately, there are software applications available on the market, and they can assist with expediting this process.

This software is designed to help with making an informed decision because it may also provide trends and other valuable information.  For instance, the business owner can set the top priorities based on the activities that bring in the most finances. Whether the finances are derived from cutting out unnecessary procedures in an operation or selling more products to a specific target market, the business owner and their representatives should set the highest priorities based on financial income.

In some cases, the company may have a need for additional resources so that the company can expand their activities into other markets. To achieve these and other objectives, the business owner and their representatives must know what it considers to be the most important. By defining priorities, everyone in the company can stay on task and move forward together.


Tips for Setting Business Priorities


Tip #1 - One of the first tips is to create a list of objectives. This list will assist the staff with setting the business’ priorities effectively.

Tip #2 – Set a specific criteria designation to each objective. On a scale ranging from 1 to 3, it will make the items easier to classify. With the highest priority ranking number 1 and the lowest priority ranking number 3, the group can decide which objectives should be accomplished first.

Tip #3 – Involve all key personnel in the process. To ensure the process is thorough and effective, everyone who has a stake in this process should be involved. Leaving out key stakeholders can present major problems in the future. 


Now that you know the basics of setting business priorities, it's up to you to put that knowledge to action.

Time Management Tools for Small Business

Time Management
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Time management is very important for small business owners and entrepreneurs. In fact, one of the biggest problems is when the owner is working 90 hours a week on a consistent basis. Many business owners can't figure out how to manage their time properly. That is why they are overworked and miserable. Here are some time management tools that can help you manage your time better.

Salesforce.com

This is one of the best CRM (customer relationship management) systems out there. Now, I understand that many business owners may not need it because they are not customer-facing themselves. But most business owners interact with customers on a daily and hourly basis. In fact, if you're not interacting with customers a lot, then it means your business may not be going well. In any case, Salesforce.com is a great tool that will allow you to save a ton of time. It will also enhance your customer relationships. It will enable you to load in contact information, create opportunities for your sales and deal pipeline and will allow you to set tasks so you know when and how to follow up. It's much better and easier to work with then keeping all of your customers in an excel spreadsheet or some other static database.

Synced Computer, Tablet, and Smartphone

I've noticed that the business owners who are the most efficient leverage the technology they have. Most sync their computer, tablet, and smartphones together. That way, they can manage their schedules and their projects on the go or when they're out of the office. It can be a bit of a pain to set it up so you can sync everything together. Outlook is a good standard schedule, email and project management tool. The great thing about it is that you can easily sync it with any tablet or smartphone.  If you own Apple products, may apps auto-sync such as Notes, Reminders, and Calendar...all helpful in time management.

Dragon Dictation App

One of the biggest time wasters is when you have a brilliant thought, you forget it, or have to spend hours figuring out the details. You could use the Dragon Dictation App. The basic app is free and very easy to use. You can speak into is and it'll dictate into text everything you say. That means you can take notes on the fly when you're out or on the road.

Basecamp

If you do a lot of project management, you really need to use Basecamp. It's a very useful tool that will support the management of projects. It's also great for teams to collaborate on projects. It collects all of the communications and schedules in one place.  You can try it FREE for 2 months to decide if it's beneficial for your business.

It's important for small business owners to manage their time properly. These are just some time management tools that can help you do that and maximize your productivity.


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Time Management for Business

Time Management for Business
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The common thinking when it comes to business is "time is money."  In order for a business to be successful, it has to be well-organized and efficient with its time.  Proper time management in business is often the key to being successful with both customers and employees, and putting time management strategies to use can have an immediate impact on a business.  If a business is having trouble managing time efficiently, the following time management tips may help.

When analyzing time management in business, one of the first steps is to decide what has the highest priority at that moment and for the upcoming week.  One of the best time management tips for this is to develop an Action Plan for the upcoming week.  This plan should be thought about at the end of each week, and developed in time to be implemented the next week.  Friday is often a good day to develop the next week's Action Plan.  A staff meeting can be held to find out what got done, what didn't get done and what is the most pressing assignment still awaiting completion.  Employees and management can work together to develop an Action Plan, listing the top three items that need to be completed the next week, what day they will be done and who will be in charge of seeing them be completed.

After settling on an Action Plan, the next of the time management strategies is to prioritize.  Take a close look at the items on the Action Plan, and see which of these is most urgent.  Ask yourself how each task will impact the business, and will it have a negative impact if put off too long?  Do the same with the second and third items, and soon the Action Plan will not only have what items need to be accomplished, but in what order as well.  Learning to correctly prioritize for a business is much like triage for a hospital, where the most serious problems get done first and so on until everything is finished.

The next and perhaps most important step in time management for business is learning how to stay focused on the task at hand.  No matter what type of business a person is involved in, there are always distractions trying to intervene.  Some of the biggest problems with distractions come from people who are self-employed and working from home.  With family and friends always wanting to stop and talk for a few minutes, it's much too easy to let the day slip by without getting much work done.  The best way to handle this is to have a regular work schedule, such as 8-5 Monday through Friday when you are officially working.  While hard to initially implement, it can work wonders once followed.  By staying disciplined and keeping distractions to a minimum, much more work can be completed and much more money made.  By using these time management tips, an individual or organization can find themselves being much more productive.

Five Benefits of a Small Business Website


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Despite the nearly universal opinion that internet marketing boosts the income and profits of businesses of all sizes, a disturbingly large number of businesses out there don't actually have a website. The following list includes several vital reasons why a small business should create a small business website. It's important to note that this list represents only a sampling of why it's great for all companies to create websites and that it doesn't take a degree in web design to get a terrific website launched.

1. Advertising is quick and easy

When a company that lacks an internet presence needs to advertise a sale or new product, a lot of time must be put into the marketing strategy for things like billboard advertisements, radio spots, and even television commercials. This is a pricey endeavor for a small business. A small business website offers a much less expensive way to let everyone know about something new and is particularly effective when paired with a social media campaign.

2. Website creation is not expensive or time consuming

There are several resources that will help a small business to create a beautiful website, and whether a web design professional is hired for the job or whether the process is handled internally, utilizing web-based tools for creation requires almost zero technical expertise. Although it is beneficial to have a website specifically designed to be unique for a small business, it's fine to launch the initial website with a simple template approach and automated website design software.

3. Web presence makes customer service easier

Placing a focus on customer service helps all companies, but small companies might have to spend a lot of time on the phone answering questions that could be handled less expensively online. Not only will a website offer a "Frequently Asked Questions" display to take care of most basic customer inquiries, but many customers these days prefer handling their customer service through the internet because it doesn’t require time spent on hold on the phone.

4. Improves company image inexpensively

Refurbishing a brick and mortar location takes a lot of time and money and can't be done particularly often. Making a professional and updated small business website, however, is a much easier process. Today's customers will very often have their first experience with a company through the internet, and so that first impression from the company's website represents a prime opportunity to show the professionalism and polished appearance of the company brand.

5. Increases selling power

The effort put into creating a website and proper web presence that includes things like social media and branding opportunities provides a significant opportunity to increase sales. A website may increase sales through online purchases, or it might allow a company to hit that elusive sales goal that was decided upon at the beginning of the year.

The internet exists as a significant equalizer in making it appear that a business is actually larger than it is, and this means that even the smallest companies can use the internet to create brand growth, increased sales, and higher customer engagement. Creating a website offers far too many benefits to pass up.




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The Importance of Bookkeeping for Your Small Business

Small Business Bookkeeping
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Bookkeeping refers to keeping the financial records of a business operation. A bookkeeper, business owner, or family member usually performs this function. An accountant may be needed to interpret and adjust these financial records, prepare financial statements, and file tax returns.

Importance of bookkeeping 

You need financial information to help you run a business, even a small business. Cash is the life-blood of any business operation. Without cash, or the ability to get cash, your business probably will fail. Financial information tells you the sources and uses of cash. This information can serve as an early warning that you will run out of cash unless you make some changes in your business operation. This same information can help you minimize unnecessary uses of cash. It also can help you develop additional sources of cash. The financial information for your business activities should be kept separate from your personal activities. The best way to do this is to have a separate business checking account.

Do-it-yourself bookkeeping 

In this type of small business bookkeeping, the business owner or family member keeps the financial records. This may be done using hand-written records, or it may be done on your computer using an accounting program. The person who performs the bookkeeping may need to read a book on bookkeeping or accounting to know what to do. This type of book can be found at a local library, a local bookstore, or an online bookstore.

Hired bookkeeper 

You may want to hire a bookkeeper or an outside bookkeeping firm to maintain your financial records. This person or firm should have the qualifications and experience needed to perform this service. You should have confidence in this hired bookkeeper. You must be willing to share your financial information and discuss financial matters with this bookkeeper.

Online software 

Another way to maintain your small business bookkeeping records is to use online software. The Outright website is recommended for this purpose.  To begin using their services, you give them links to your various online business accounts. Then they can access the information from these online accounts and feed this information into your accounting system. Outright maintains your accounts using IRS-approved tax categories. This simplifies the preparation of your income tax return.

You can review your Outright financial information from any computer with Internet access. They even provide an iPhone app for this purpose. Besides the information that they automatically download from your online accounts, they allow you to enter other information such as your business mileage. Outright provides many types of useful reports to help you run your business operation. These reports include your profit and loss, your sources of income, your best customers, your biggest vendors, and your sales by state.

Final thoughts 

The financial information provided by your small business bookkeeping or accounting system helps you with both day-to-day business decisions and long-term business planning. You can't run your business without it.


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Why You Need Small Business Insurance

Small Business Insurance
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It is important for small business owners to do everything they possibly can to protect themselves and their business. Obtaining small business insurance gives business owners peace of mind and safeguards their business against many liabilities. Even online businesses can benefit from having some kinds of business insurance. This article will provide a brief overview of the most common and useful types of small business insurance.

Commercial business insurance is not required by law, but having it can protect you against lawsuits, natural disasters or a death of any of the business owners. A lot of small business owners think that choosing to structure their business as a limited liability corporation is the same as having liability insurance. The truth is, no matter how your business is structured, only commercial liability insurance can protect you from business losses. When you are first starting your business, whether it is based in a physical location or completely online, do your research to find out if the local laws in your area require insurance for certain functions conducted through your business. This includes insuring company vehicles or individual employees who do certain tasks.


Some kinds of commercial business insurance are:



  • Product Liability: This coverage protects your business against lawsuits and injury claims caused by defective products that your business may produce.
  • General Liability: This coverage protects your business against lawsuits caused by general accidents, negligence and injuries.
  • Professional Liability: This coverage protects businesses that provide a service from lawsuits caused by malpractice, negligence and other incidents that may occur while providing the service to a customer.
  • Home-Based Business: This coverage protects home-based physical or online businesses from various liability and property damage.
  • Commercial Property: This coverage protects your company’s physical property from various damage caused by bad weather, fires, vandalism, burglary and more. With this type of insurance, the term property can be used to define the actual building that your business is based out of, computers your business owns, documents, and even lost revenue.
There are a lot of options for business insurance, so you will have to speak with your insurance company to make sure you choose the best coverage for your business.

If your business has employees, there are certain kinds of insurance that you are required to have by law. These kinds of insurance typically include:



  • Disability Insurance: Employers in the states of New York, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico are required to have disability insurance. Employers in other states can choose to offer this insurance as an employee benefit.
  • Unemployment Insurance Tax: All employers in the United States must pay unemployment insurance taxes. The amount varies by state. The first step in obtaining this insurance is registering with the workforce agency in your state.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance: Employers are also required to have workers compensation insurance. There are many ways to obtain this type of insurance. You can choose to go with a commercial insurance company, become self-insured or participate in your state’s workers compensation program.
Regardless of whether you run a physical business with employees or a home-based business online, small business insurance is something you need to look into. It not only protects your business, but your future revenue and assets as well.



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The Small Business Administration Offers Resources to Grow Your Business

Small Business Administration
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Starting a small business is tough and it's even harder if you don't have access to resources to help you along your journey.  If you are thinking about or ready to start a business, there is a resource you definitely need to be aware of: the Small Business Administration (SBA).
  
The Small Business Administration is a U.S. government agency that assists small businesses and entrepreneurs. The agency’s activity can be summarized in three words that include contracts, capital and counseling. SBA loans are made through credit unions, banks and other lending companies that partner with the SBA. These loans are enhanced to provide up to a 90 percent guarantee. There are several services that the Small Business Administration provides for businesses today.

Programs

This agency provides various programs that help individuals start their own businesses. This includes topics on creating a business plan, choosing a business structure and obtaining licenses and permits. Additional information includes how to choose and register a business name and a guide to business regulations and laws.

Another useful guide that this agency provides is a basic course on how to manage a business. It includes useful information about how to grow a business, running a business, business regulations and laws. Additional topics include how to lead a company and how to get out of a business. It also includes a guide on local resources, health care and business guides for industry.

Loans

The agency also provides a guide to the loan programs it offers to help small businesses grow. Loan programs include debt financing, venture capital programs, surety bonds, microloan programs, the CDC/504 loan programs and disaster loans. Each of these loan programs also has a guide to eligibility requirements, use of their proceeds, fees, repayment terms, interest rates and the application process.

The agency also provides people with a guide to prepare their loan application. It includes topics that help people determine their financing needs and credit factors. The agency provides a business loan checklist. This checklist describes the documentation requirements and questions that lending companies will ask before approving a loan. The SBA also has a tool that helps people find small business loans from their local and state governments. These programs include venture capital, low interest loans and economic and scientific grants.

Grants

The Small Business Association also provides useful information about government grants. This includes application forms for construction and non-construction grants. The website has an article about research grants designed for small businesses from the Small Business Technology Transfer Group and Small Business Innovation Research. The agency also has a complete list of various government agencies that offer STTR and SBIR programs through the federal government. Additionally, the agency has a search tool that helps people find grants from local, state and federal governments.

Contracting

This agency also provides a thorough guide to contracting. It includes steps that businesses should complete to increase their capacity to contract in the industry. It also explains the agency’s role in government contracting, small business size standards and much more. Additionally, the agency includes contracting support for small businesses. This informs people about government-provided tools to help entrepreneurs build their business potential to compete in the federal sector.

The Small Business Administration website helps business owners gain in-depth knowledge of the business world. At the same time, this agency provides numerous options to help people grow their businesses.  If you're ready to do business, the SBA is a place you should visit.




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