While there are many things that differ from industry to industry, and even from business to business, there are a few things that remain constant for every business owner. One of these is the need for a formal business plan. A business plan is required for everything from applying for a loan from a bank to recruiting business partners and top level employees, so it pays to have one that is both up to date and up to industry standards at all times. This isn’t a one time thing either. As your business grows and the markets you are in change, you are going to need to reflect this in your business plan with edits, additions and omissions. Something as simple as one key piece of information that is either wrong or outdated can make your business plan look bad no matter how clean the rest of it is, so keeping this document tuned up and ready to be looked at is a wise strategic

Navigating the financial landscape that comes with running a small business is often difficult, and it’s made even more tough by the presence of certain potholes and mirages. One common scam that small business owners should be aware of is the grant scam. How does a grant scam work? This type of scam is kept alive by a simple misdirection. Business owners will either stumble across or otherwise be made aware of a grant that their business is able to apply for, which, should they receive it, will give them what essentially amounts to free money. This should be the first logical red flag, but many business owners are willing to take the existence of grant programs at face value as fact. Once the business owners are sold on their grant applications, the next phase of the scam kicks in. You will be sold (or attempt to be sold) an expensive audit of your business plan, additional help filing your request, a one time fee, or

Many small business owners want to expand the techniques they use to market to their clients and build loyalty, but don’t have a huge budget to play with, or a lot of time to tinker with fine tuning something. Enter the newsletter, a simple concept that has stood the test of time thanks to its effectiveness and ability to increase engagement with a brand’s key customers. Small business owners in any industry can benefit from the creation of newsletters, and some businesses may wish to have more than one mailing list in order to run the gamut from enthusiastic clients to industry partners. Putting together a mailing list is a lot more simple nowadays thanks to CRM tools like Mailchimp and ConstantContact. You have the option of building a template for your newsletter that is simple to copy and edit to change out content on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Take the time to build a nice looking template. If you can’t, consider purchasing

In virtually every industry, there will come a time when, as the owner of your business, you will be summoned to appear at a trade show or other type of industry event. These events generally serve as a way for brands to showcase their wares while meeting and networking with old clients as well as potential new ones. When you go to a trade show, you are most likely going to leave laden with an assortment of product guides, free samples and branded goodies. In the end, things can add up to be a lot to keep track of, and finding what you are looking for and remaining focused on your goals when at one of these events might take more finesse than you would have thought. Have a game plan before you get to the show. Going to a trade show will often be an event in itself, with many of them hosted in “destination” areas such as Las Vegas or New York. That’s why

The average small business owner has a long list of concerns, as well as goals that they need to hit in order to keep moving their business forward. The challenge they face is to balance the needs of their business against the needs of their clients. In order to make sure everyone is happy, a happy medium needs to be created between the dollars you put into your production and the dollars put out when marketing your product. While there is no secret sauce that will work for every business, here are some guiding pieces of advice that can let you create a more informed strategy for yourself. Marketing will create better ROI the more product satisfaction you are able to deliver. One problem that small business owners can create for themselves by overdoing their marketing budgets is over-promising and under-delivering. In general, the opposite scenario is what will create loyalty for your business. Larger companies may promise the world and only deliver an adequate product,

When it comes to managing a sales team, it can sometimes be tough given the pressures to make conversions and the competing personalities that make up your team. Nurturing teamwork, positive morale and profitability takes some seriously dexterous management at times. In order to keep things as simple as possible when creating a lead distribution strategy, here are a few tips. Evaluate your sales reps based on performance. If you let non-business related factors cloud your judgment in a sales environment, it can create significant problems for you. Instead, let the track record of your employees speak for itself. That being said, you should also recognize the different strengths present on your team. IF one of your reps is a great closer, and another one happens to be gifted in teaching beginners, then play to those strengths potentially by creating a team where new hires are taught to open deals by the one employee while having the close come in if it looks like a deal

When you take on a new employee, or when you promote one who has been with you for a while, you will find yourself needing to teach them new skills specific to their roles. The better and faster that you are able to do this, the more efficiency and speed you will bring to bear in your business endeavors.  While the expertise that you have is all your own and might require some specific training methods, using some proven and effective methods for better teaching can help save you and your employee’s time. If you find these methods work for you, then share them with your managers. The more leaders you have in your office, the greater your ability to succeed. Create a written supplement to your instructions. When you’re in the middle of teaching a skill, but get pulled away because of a conflicting responsibility, don’t leave your trainee sitting there empty handed. A training manual is an extremely useful tool for briefing new hires

For some small business owners, taking care of their business is such a high priority that at times they can forget to take better care of themselves. Where this can become particularly evident is in the dietary choices that they make. When pressed for time, it can be tempting and all too easy to simply order takeout, or grab a doughnut off of a snack tray, but this is not going to do you any favors in the long run. Eating a healthy and balanced diet has benefits that go far beyond your waistline; it can improve your energy and mood and even help you live longer. This guide isn’t going to prescribe you with a miracle diet, rather provide you with some suggestions that you can use to make better choices and work with your on the go lifestyle. Switch to whole grains. Whenever possible, go for whole grain products as opposed to bleached flour. While some people prefer the texture and flavor of white

The “credit crunch” that has seen many traditional small business lending programs increase their underwriting criteria means that for many business owners, bad credit business loans are no longer a reliable or readily available option for financing their expansion. One of the biggest obstacles surrounding their applications is a lack of acceptable collateral to use as backing for the funding issued by their banks of choice. Collateral can take the form of a cash percentage of the business loan, a piece or multiple pieces of valuable equipment, such as a truck, a bulldozer or a specialty oven, or a piece of property such as a business or residential location. The problem is that many business owners either don’t have sufficient collateral to match the amounts they are looking for, or if they do, don’t feel comfortable signing an agreement with the possibility that they could lose their assets in a worst case scenario. A lot don’t know that there are alternatives that exist that can

While the last bit of nippy weather is finally fading away, small business owners everywhere are waking up to the promise of Spring, and a brand new busy season for many industries. Even as volume picks up and orders for seasonal products and services start to roll in, it can be helpful to get you and your employees energized and in a different frame of mind in order to make the most of the new season. An overhaul of your company culture isn’t necessarily in order, but doing something to celebrate the season and inject a sense of excitement into the office can be a good idea, especially if there have been morale issues on your team due to slow business, the cold, or both. Here are three simple ideas for greeting the Spring season that any small business owner can do. Try a classic activity, such as hosting a company picnic. Sure it’s cliche, but a company picnic is both simple to organize, low cost,

TOP css.php