Monthly Archives: April 2016

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4 Things to Avoid When Marketing Your Small Business

In the rush to open your small new business, you’re probably occupied with a thousand details. In many ways, the timeline sets itself according to what has to be done in order to launch your product or service.

Unfortunately, what gets left behind is often an equally important, but seemingly invisible consideration – marketing your small business.

By the time you get around thinking about marketing your small business, you may be low on time and money! Not exactly the best conditions in which to make important decisions about marketing strategy!

Making small business marketing decisions under the gun leaves you with a greater risk for making mistakes. Marketing is one place where even small mistakes can have lasting consequences.

Following are a few of the most common small business marketing mistakes.

Not Doing Your Homework

First and foremost, you have to spend a little time researching your industry. Start with your competition. What are they doing to market their business? Take note of where and how they market their product or service, especially the successful ones. Call in or email an inquiry as if you are a potential client. See what their process is, what type of material they send you, and how they follow up.

You can also join an organization like the local Chamber of Commerce to strategize with other business owners in your area or field. Developing relationships with other small business owners allows you to leverage combined expertise, and may also leads you to joint marketing ventures that can save you time and money.

Spending Too Much, Too Fast

It’s easy to jump in and start spending money, especially if you have it in the way of a small business loan or other start-up capital.

But this is one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make when planning your small business marketing strategy. More is not always better. Sometimes it’s just more.

You want to spend smart, not necessarily big. Don’t spend a dime until you’ve done the research to back up your investment, and then start small. It’s much, much easier to add additional marketing than it is to ramp back after you’ve already spent the money.

Spending money too fast can mean running through most of your start-up capital too soon, leaving your business without the funds it needs to survive.

Spending Too Little

In an effort to curb costs and ration your budget over the long, slow haul to profitability, you may just make the opposite mistake of spending too much money and spend too little.

Starting a business is scary, and most small business owners don’t have an unlimited time to turn to a profit. With a tangible or intangible deadline looming, it’s common for small business owners to keep a death grip on whatever capital they have “just in case”.

But you will have to spend money to make money, at least on some level.

If you have the jitters about spending your working capital, start small with something that has measurable results. You need to be able to determine if your campaign has produced results within a short period of time and before you’ve spent too much money. This way you can kill it and move onto something different if it’s not working or ramp up the existing campaign if it’s doing its job!

Information Overload

The internet makes it possible to tap into previously unheard of quantities of information. That’s both good and bad for anyone looking online for small business marketing advice.

With the advent of blogs and free websites, everyone’s an expert! But they’re not, really. They only play one on TV!

Seriously, though, carefully choose the advice you seek out and use to market your small business. To avoid getting bogged down with too much information, choose one or two sources you know to be reliable, and resist the urge to cruise the internet for fifty more opinions.

Take it Slow

Launching a small business is a learning experience above all else. Avoid making rash (or expensive) decisions when it comes to marketing your small business, at least in the beginning.

By taking it slow, you can try different marketing techniques and check the results as you go, mitigating the consequences for your long term small business marketing plan.

John Edmond worked for many years in insurance and finance and now writes on small business marketing and the Internet at A href=”http://www.business-in.info/blog”>Small Business Marketing. For ebooks on marketing off and on the web go to OneClickBooks where all single ebooks are just 99p

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Business Credit Cards – Smart Choice For Your Small Business?

Small business credit cards can simplify many aspects of a startup business. However, there are situations that may complicate the application process for a small business credit card, resulting in a large financial burden being placed on the personal finances of the individual who applies for the card, or prevent an established business from taking full advantage of the rewards possible with a business credit card. Although business credit cards are usually the smart choice for any small business, business owners must pay attention to the structure of the business, the business plan itself, and the financial burdens that may result in the event of an early business failure.

In an age of on-line payments and multinational business ventures, many small business owners are finding business credit cards to be a smart choice for simplifying payments, organizing expenses, and expanding the capability and autonomy of employees both locally and abroad. Before diving right in and applying for a small business credit card, however, every responsible business owner should ask himself or herself: is a small business credit card the right choice for my business?

There are several factors that can help determine this, but one of the simplest is how long the company has been in existence. Until a company has been around for at least two years, many banks and credit card companies may be reluctant to draw enough conclusions about the company’s financial responsibility to approve a large line of credit. In cases such as these, whether a business credit card is approved or not will depend on the personal financial and credit history of whatever individual–from business partner to simple employee–actually puts in the application for the card. This may not be a problem in the case of a rock-solid personal finance history, but if there’s any doubt, acquiring a good business credit card may be a trickier proposition.

Another thing to watch out for in the case of a startup small business is the question of personal financial liability. Since Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad in 1886, corporations have had the legal status of individuals, except insofar as business credit cards for startup companies are concerned. The first years of any business are the hardest, and in the case of company bankruptcy, any outstanding financial obligations based on a business credit card will be the original applicant’s responsibility to meet. In the case of a large financial obligation, this can be a disaster for personal finance. Of course this is no argument against small business credit cards in all cases–far from it. However, any company interested in setting up a small business credit card would be wise to double-check its business plan and make sure that, in the rare event that the worst occurs, a “Plan B” for paying off the credit balance is firmly in place.

Even established small businesses would do well to examine their financial needs before taking the plunge with a business credit card. In the case of a business which involves a great deal of travel on the part of its employees, a large on-line business component, or a wide variety of expenses that require the business to deal with a number of different suppliers, a small business credit card is virtually essential. However, some small businesses are largely local, largely service-based, or have only a handful of employees authorized to make purchases. In cases like this, the reluctance of a few business credit card providers to allow disputes over billing errors or payments may actually complicate expense reporting and year-end inventories–sometimes a very real problem in the case of small businesses that have expanded far beyond their original business plan or intentions, resulting in a draconian system of purchaser agreements and expense accounts. So the decision to apply for a small business credit card should be made carefully, with defined uses for the card well in place, and a possible light restructuring of the business might even be warranted in order to ensure that payment responsibilities and individual employee purchasing requirements are well-defined in order to avoid possible later problems.

With all of these caveats, are business credit cards ever a good idea? Absolutely: these caveats represent only a few problems, nothing compared to the wealth of tools a good small business credit card can provide for a burgeoning small business. A good business credit card can–and usually does–simplify inventory management and tax reporting, allow employees a greater degree of autonomy on travel, make e-commerce easy, and, depending on “rewards” or travel mileage options, can even directly offset a large share of the expenses for some businesses. So yes, a small business credit card is, in the majority of cases, the smart choice for a small business. But as with all financial matters, care should be taken to determine when that smart choice should be made, or whether the business is structured to take full advantage of it.

For more information on how to contrast and compare business credit cards in order to help secure the best card offer for your business, Robert Alan recommends that you visit CreditCardAssist.com

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Small Business Loans are a Big Deal – It Will Make the Difference

Getting a small business loan is a big deal to a small business. It can mean the difference between being able to continue operations or have to shut down, or it can provide the necessary funding for a successful small business to grow or expand to the next level. A small business loan can also help a business overcome temporary market conditions and help it weather the storm until calmer conditions come back again.

A few important things that every small business owner should know about a small business loan. First of all it is not normally possible to get a small business loan from a bank or credit union in the first two years of operation. That’s because the failure rate for small businesses is greatest during this period and unless a business can provide security guarantees in the form of cash or property a small business loan may not be the best place to seek financing for the blossoming enterprise.

Secondly the bank or lending institution is much more vigilant about granting a small business loan than it is with other forms of credit like car loans or mortgages. That’s because they have little to seize if there is a default on a small business loan since almost all of its capital resources have already been allocated to make the business survive. They have a double set of criteria that a small business must meet in order to get a small loan, the ability to pay or repay and the creditworthiness of the business itself.

Thirdly, the bank wants to not only know that the business is or can be successful before they hand over a small business loan. They also examine the personal financial situation of the principals or owners of the enterprise to ensure that their credit record is both established and free from any unfortunate circumstances like previous bankruptcies or defaults on previous loans, personal or professional.

Once theses hurdles have been overcome, the banks, credit unions and other financial institutions are more than happy to offer assistance to their small business neighbors in the form of a small business loan or business line of credit. They also realize that successful businesses generate revenues and they want to ensure that the small business continue to take advantage of their services as their businesses grow and prosper.

Applying for a small business loan can be a nerve racking experience for even the best small business owner, but if you do your homework and make a solid business case then there’s nothing really to be afraid of. You simply do your best and follow the process and then like a hundred of other aspects of small business life you wait and hope for a positive solution to just another small business problem.

David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc. His company publishes afree weekly e-newsletter on Small Business Consulting at their web site http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com

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Tips For Setting Up Your Small Business

If you have been itching to start your own small business but not sure where to start, business ideas and opportunities are everywhere to be found. Identifying good opportunities is often as easy as identifying problems many people share and finding a solution for those problems.

Anyone can own and run a successful small business; you do not need to have an MBA to turn your business opportunity into profits. You just need capital for investment, a good solid team and reliable small business software. To run your business smoothly and efficiently you need effective business software as they help automate and simplify many office and management tasks related to accounting, management, scheduling and database etc.

To setup your small business finance, various types of loans are available. If you want to start a business and require relatively low capital, then a small business loan is the best option for you.

Two forms of small business loans are available:
* Secured small business loan: This kind of loan is ideal if you have home or property to place as collateral. Interest rates are comparatively low.
* Unsecured small business loan: If you do not have a house of your own or you do not want to put your property up as collateral, you can opt for this kind of loan. Rates are generally higher.

Approval of your loan depends upon several factors, such as the purpose of the loan, your credit history, your business plan and the collateral placed. Normally, you can get a loan ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 100,000. The repayment period for these loans range from 5 to 20 years. The lender takes all these variables into consideration when calculating the interest rate, loan amount, and the amount for monthly installments.

With a business loan you can raise money for business opportunities with flexible repayment options. You can even use this money as an effective tool for debt consolidation at tax-free interest rate.

The loan procedure involves a lot of paper work that tends to get quite chaotic and confusing. An alternative to this is to apply for a loan online with reputable firms. You will only need to fill out an online application form and the lender will get back to you with the best possible deal for your case.

You can go a long way expanding and growing your business if you make smart use of your business loan.

To start your own Small Business visit Small Business Grants. Susan also enjoys writing at Health and Fitness.

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Small Business Loans – Know the Requirements

Every American dreams of having their own business and while most of us will never be corporate giants, many of us can more easily achieve the goal of having our own small business. It will certainly mean a dedication of energy and a commitment of long hours to make this dream a reality, but what most of us don’t realize is that it will also require a small business loan. We may need some initial funding to open the doors on our new hardware store or barber shop or we may require a small business loan to keep our gardening center operating through the long winter season.

Whatever the reasons for our small business loan there are certain requirements that any bank or financial institution will ask us to meet before they lend us back some of the money that we have deposited with them over the years. Those requirements can be summed up as being eligible and creditworthy in the eyes of the banks and financial institutions. Once we can do that we can then be eligible for a number of forms of small business loans in order to be successful entrepreneurs.

The Small Business Administration of the federal government is one source of funds for small business loans. They make available guaranteed amounts of money for banks to provide to small businesses who meet the criteria noted above. One of the most common small business loans is called a 7 (a) loan. This refers to section 7 (a) of the Small Business Act and authorizes the agency to provide a series of financial assistance options to owners of small businesses. Banks and other commercial lending institutions can access these funds to provide them to eligible small businesses and while the bank lends the money, the Small Business Administration guarantees payment if the lender defaults on the loan.

To become eligible for a small business loan the business must be able to show that it has the capacity to pay back any monies that are borrowed. That means that a company must be able to show proof of revenue and customers to the bank in sufficient quantities that they can no longer continue to operate but can also pay back any monies borrowed at the same time. Once this information is presented to the bank they can then make a judgment on the eligibility of the small business loan request.

The second criteria, being creditworthy, is a little more complex and involves research by the bank on the company and its principals to see if they have a proven track record of paying their bills in the past. One document that may be requested is called a “Statement of Personal History” from each owner or operator of the company to verify this information.

David Gass is President of Business Credit
Services, Inc. His company publishes HREF=”http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com”>a
free weekly e-newsletter
on Small Business
Consulting at their web site

http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com

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Changes to Georgia Small Business Health Insurance Plans

The health reform acts that recently passed the House of Representatives will result in a lot of changes in Georgia small business health insurance plans. Changes will occur mainly in how business owners purchase Georgia small business health insurance plans. Most of these changes will not kick in until 2014.

One big change is the institution of Shop Exchanges, Small Business Health Options Programs. These SHOP Exchanges will enable small businesses to pool together to purchase Georgia small business health insurance plans. Each state will set up its own SHOP exchange. The purpose of this program is that it will lower Georgia small business health insurance plan costs; although it is predicted they will only be 1-4% lower under the exchange system.

The definition of a small business will change too. Currently, a small business is defined as one with at least two employees, but no more than fifty. In the future, a small business will be defined as one with two to one hundred employees. Any Georgia business that meets that definition will be allowed to purchase Georgia small business health insurance plans. Small businesses that grow beyond the size limitations will be allowed to be grandfathered in, and will still be allowed to purchase Georgia small business health insurance plans for their employees. States may be allowed to limit pools to companies with less than fifty employees until the year 2016. After that, they will not be allowed to limit the pools.

Health insurance companies will not be allowed to increase Georgia small business health insurance plan premiums, or exclude coverage, based on pre-existing conditions. This is a major change from current insurance company policies. In the future, Georgia small business health insurance plan premiums can only vary based in geographic location, applicant’s age, and the presence of tobacco use. At this time, health insurance carriers are able to increase premiums if the applicant’s health is high risk, or exclude services for pre-existing medical conditions for up to eighteen months, typically.

In 2014, small business owners with more than fifty employees will be required to offer a Georgia small business health insurance plan to their employees, or pay a penalty per full-time worker. The Georgia small business health insurance plan coverage also will have to meet certain minimum benefits, which will include preventive medical care. Employers will have to face penalties if the Georgia small business health insurance plan coverage they offer does not meet the minimum requirements.

There may be tax credits offered to small businesses that offer Georgia small business health insurance plans to their employees, if they meet certain criteria, which may be a small number of full-time employees and not making a certain amount of income. Companies should check with a tax expert on whether they, and their Georgia small business health insurance plans, meet these conditions.

So, although the health reform acts will result in a lot of changes to small businesses and Georgia small business health insurance plans, most of these changes will not go into effect until 2014. Until that time, the Georgia small business health insurance plan market is still the same.

Sam Dicosta shares his knowledge on health insurance that makes you able to find the plans that best fits your needs. If you want to know about Family health insurance Georgia, Georgia small business health insurance, group health insurance, affordable health insurance Georgia, Wellpath North Carolina visit www.cvty-healthinsurance.com

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Small Business Ideas – The Good and The Bad

It is not enough to come up with small business ideas. You have to come up with small business ideas that are viable. In other words, you need to bring something to the small business community that is workable. In order to understand this, let’s look at two classic examples of business ideas. One was good and one was really off the tracks.

Does anyone remember the Edsel car? This car was hardly a winner. In fact, it was considered one of the biggest “lemons” in car manufacturing history. Even in the planning stages, advisors kept noting that this was not a car that was going to do big business. There were even serious concerns that it would do any business at all. Mainly, the design of the car was loaded with flaws. It was also a large, gas-guzzling car debuting during a weak economy. Even the name given to the car “Edsel” was a loser. Yet, they trudged on in the marketplace and sales of the Edsel were a disaster. It simply was not a viable product. Ultimately, it was a $ 400,000,000 failure.

Now, consider the example of Federal Express which was one of the greatest small business ideas in history. Without a doubt, not only was the concept of Federal Express viable, there was huge demand in the market for such a concept. The United States Post Office did not offer overnight delivery. The concept was considered to absurd and unfeasible. Then, along can Federal Express in 1972. The company not only delivered on its promises of delivering when it “Absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” it did so effectively and inexpensively. Again, this was one of the greatest small business ideas of all time. Granted, it did not stay a small business for long. FedEx quickly grew into a multi-billion dollar company!

What is most striking to note here when comparing these two tales is their stark financial differences. Edsel could not succeed in the marketplace despite being backed by the weight of the multi-billion dollar Ford Motor Company. As previously mentioned, Federal Express derived from the world of small business ideas. It was launched by a small businessman named Fred Smith. Smith did not run Federal Express or any of his small business ideas out of a huge corporate office in 1972. Some may find this surprising, but like other small business ideas Smith originally devised FedEx from his home. So, how could Smith succeed with such limited resources while Ford failed so miserably? How could Smith’s small business ideas trump the government’s ability to deliver mail? Like other good small business ideas, Smith produced a business model that was viable and need based. In other words, his small business ideas made sense. Additionally, there was an actual demand in the market for the small business ideas he was offering. With these two components working in his favor, it should come as no surprise that Smith’s small business ideas were a massive success.

The lesson to learn here is that all small business ideas must be viable for them to work. If not, the small business ideas will not survive in a competitive marketplace. If, however, the small business ideas one comes up with are feasible then the odds of success will increase.

Of course, viability alone will not yield immediate success with any small business ideas. Solid business plans, marketing strategies, capitalization, and time investments all play a vital role in turning those small business ideas into successful, realized businesses. However, all the planning, marketing, money, and labor in the world can not make small business ideas that aren’t viable successful. Keep that fact in mind when you brainstorm your small business ideas!

Samantha Lewers is the founder of Small Business Champions Club , offering money making and success strategies from the world’s most successful people. Visit Small Business Champions Club to claim 5 free gifts valued at 7.

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Small Business CRM Solutions

Small businesses are different from big businesses. Small business have smaller payrolls, smaller workforces, and different needs. Most small businesses are run by individuals. Some small businesses focus on sales and have only one person doing sales (maybe the owner or developer). Other small businesses are larger, with more people doing more jobs. Whatever situation your small business is in, its needs differ from larger businesses.

However, one aspect that is not different from a larger business is customers. Without customers, a business cannot succeed. Whether you have one customer or many, managing customer relationships is essential to helping your business grow and succeed. Customer relationship management, CRM, is the process of managing the business’ relationships with customers and developing strategies to make these relationships better. CRM allows businesses to understand their customers and their customer’s actions through data analysis and information.

Small business CRM solutions can be hard to find. Many CRM solutions are targeted for big business CRM solutions – and these are simply not cost effective for a small business. However, as the desire for small business CRM solutions has grown, the availability of small business CRM solutions has grown. This means the same analytical tools available for big businesses are available for your small business.

Small business CRM solutions tend to have a few things in common with each other. First, they are flexible. This means the small business can pick and choose what functions of the CRM solution they want. Rather than having to purchase a whole business CRM solution that includes sales force automation, customer service applications, warehouse and development management, and other activities that your small business might not engage in, small business CRM solutions provide the option to choose only those tools that you will use. This is important because it is this flexibility that makes CRM affordable to small businesses.

Small business CRM solutions will also have good contact management and reporting capabilities. A good contact management system will allow the small business to manage their marketing and sales opportunities better. It will allow the whole company to see where various offers are and will include information such as when the last time a customer was contacted or purchased something. A good reporting system allows members of the management team to track sales and performance without needing additional help. Both these systems will be user-friendly and understandable in a good small business CRM solution.

Small business can benefit from CRM solutions just like large businesses do. It is no longer out of the reach of small businesses to have CRM solutions; they can use the same tools and tactics larger businesses do. Additionally, small business CRM solutions allow small businesses to gain expertise in efficiency and performance without having to hire a consultant or have the same, large, base of workforce to practice techniques on. CRM solutions help a small business with efficiency without having to practice anything; they simply have to use the CRM software to increase their efficiency.

Small businesses can, and should, use small business CRM solutions to help their businesses grow.

Small Business CRM – The number one resource for CRM solutions.For more details about us and our services plz visit our websites www.crmreview.org.

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