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Small Business Startup Tips

All small businesses have some financial hurdles they have to overcome. But by following these proven tips and techniques, most every small business owner can start to save substantial amounts of money in operating his business.

Establish an Online Business Presence

No matter what type or small business an individual is involved with, whether it’s product or service oriented, he needs to immediately establish a strong website to make potential customers aware of his very existence and to help increase sales. Even a brick-and-mortar shop needs to establish a powerful online presence. The best way to do this is to have a website professionally designed. If money is tight, there are many very low cost sites online that easily walk the website owner through a streamlined process of building a website. Make it look as visually attractive as possible with nicely worded text and attractive, colorful icons.

Buy Items in Bulk

All small business owners in order to save money must learn that one of the best ways to do so is to buy all of their products in bulk. Buying the products on a small, individual scale is very costly, so it’s necessary to find bulk suppliers of the type of product the business owner sells. He’ll find that the price per item will be dramatically reduced in terms of his cost when he buys in bulk as opposed to buying in small retail batches. All businessmen can obtain excellent value and prices when buying inventory at bulk purchase rates. Shipping rates overall will also be much lower when buying items in bulk.

Establish Orders on Credit

To conserve cash, which is usually in limited supply for new small business owners, simply try to establish credit orders from all the vendors that the small businessman deals with. It can be something as straightforward and common as 30 days net payment after delivery. Buying on credit buys time to utilize the cash for other business aspects such as payroll and overhead operating expenses such as rent and utilities, which businessmen can’t pay on credit. That’s why it’s essential to get credit extended on every single vendor a businessman is involved with, from his major product suppliers to his advertisers. Most companies will be very open to this because they also want to increase their revenue share of their target market.

Shop at Discount Supply Stores

Another superb way to conserve cash is by spending much less for a businessman’s products at major discount chain stores. These are the major shopping clubs that have physical locations around the country. They have such a wide variety of products in stock for sale that the small businessman can even purchase and save on office supplies such as printer cartridges and reams of photocopying paper. These discount houses stock everything at the lowest possible prices, including electronic products, apparel, technical devices, food supplies, and even a wide range of pharmaceutical products that the small businessman can purchase for him and his family at tremendous savings so specific business funds don’t have to be used for that.

April 6, 2011   2 Comments

Who’s Got The Time?

Every small business owner and home based business owner dreams of being an international bigwig with offices in Cairo, Sydney, London and Rome. In his dreams, he sees himself talking on three phones simultaneously, buzzing his personal assistant for a mocha latte while having his hair trimmed and notifying his pilot of a trip to the Bahamas in the company Leer. Time management won’t affect him at that level of business, but it sure does affect him in the beginning. When will he find the time to manage his accounts, reply to clients’ emails, blog himself into the bigtime or even grab a sandwich for lunch?

Luckily for this business owner, there are resources on nearby pages for doing just that. Time management in the beginning is crucial to the small business owner and the home based business owner. Making a list at the beginning of the business day is essential for keeping organized so that little details don’t fall by the wayside. Those little details, such as emails, outsourcing some of the workload, managing vendors and clients and such are the difference between staying in business and losing his clients. Software is available for such organization, as well as automated response software, outsourcing software, customer relationship software and much more.

No business owner can handle all that himself or he’d be in the office 24/7. That’s where time management skills come in. Trusting the software to handle the nitty gritty every day is easier to do when he understands what it is, what it does, when it does it and what the results will be. Tutorials on just such software are available along with pricing and hardware requirements. When the business owner chooses the right software for him and the level of his business, he can better manage what’s left to do, such as marketing, follow-up and vendor relations.

Not only that, but this business owner has a life, or at least that’s the theory. When will he have time to take his wife to dinner, see the kids play lacrosse or indulge in his hobby on his basement worktable? The small business owner and the home based business owner needs time to himself to unwind from the pressures of work or he’ll be no good to anyone. A relaxed, smiling business owner is attractive to his clientele which will bring them in more often, making his business better.

In today’s economy, small business owners and home based business owners are the example others try to emulate. Since we’re all in this together, providing a good example to those who, through financial necessity, look to begin their own business, means showing them how good time management works. Success breeds success, which will lift this economy out of the pits and back up where it should be. And then, who knows, maybe all the small and home based business owners can meet up in the Bahamas and learn how to manage some leisure time with those little umbrellas in drinks.

March 30, 2011   1 Comment

Building your business and succeeding

Study The Target Market
Marketing planning is an essential part of every small business. A study of the target market should be the first step in any marketing plan. Relating the findings of this study to sales and marketing helps define plan implementation as well as creating links to the best methods for small business promotion. In-depth knowledge of target markets has other benefits such as networking for business referrals through business associates and contacts.

Building Small Business Roots
A small business is not unlike a tiny seedling that can grow to massive proportions with the right amount of care and maintenance. Too often, through the breakneck speed of daily business transactions, the fundamental care and maintenance of a small business operation is overlooked. The small business growth phases from start-up to stable revenue should be considered carefully. A solid start-up with an energized propulsion for growth usually determines continued success.

Build roots from business start-up to insure the best promotion. These roots can begin locally or with a core group of business associates and client prospects. This may mean involving your business in a more diverse plan of promotion in order to cast the widest net. Though the net cast may be wide, small businesses need the security of discretionary choices of promotion. Advertising professionals know that small businesses with consistent, rather than sporadic, advertising visibility enjoy a healthy saturation of their products and services in their business community.

Know Your Business Promotion Style
With full knowledge of the target market, determining service or product saturation is less complex. The methods used to infuse the target market with the initial offering of services or products should reflect quality, consistency and reliability. Offering services or products in a unique style of promotion reduces competition for the same sales and marketing territories. Determine the style of promotion so it reflects business image as well as intent. Promotion style quickly becomes a formidable method of business identification and branding.

What To Do With Product or Service Saturation
Know the limits of saturation of the business offering. Acknowledge the point of saturation and effect a consistent method of maintenance for the saturated area to insure continued revenue. Recognize the saturation point as an opportunity to extend business roots beyond that particular region or domain. In addition, there’s a secondary opportunity to creatively reinvent promotions, advertising and presentation to suit the needs of the prospective clients in the newer sales and marketing territories.

Practicable Methods To Stable Revenue For Small Businesses
The small business composite of planning includes:

  • In-depth knowledge of target markets
  • Solid start-up with energized propulsion for growth
  • Building business roots through business associates and contacts
  • Discretionary sales and marketing promotion
  • Create a unique promotion style
  • Know service or product saturation limits
  • Maintain saturated areas for continued revenue
  • Utilize points of product or service saturation to extend sales and marketing territories

In addition to these mechanisms for growth, be vigilant of changes in market trends.

March 28, 2011   No Comments

Smoothly Starting Your Business

All business owners want their business processes to be completed as smoothly as possible, this is especially true for small businesses that are just starting to operate. If you are a business owner looking for ways to help your business obtain a smooth start then keep on reading.

Save Some Money, and then Save Some More

While SBA loans are an advantageous financial tool to lean on when starting a business, saving one’s money should always be the first thing listed on one’s business-starting checklist. There are too many people that believe they can take out a business loan and start repaying it immediately with the profits their business brings in; however, for most businesses it takes several months (sometimes even a couple of years) before profits are gained. So, for the first several of months a business is in operation a business owner should remember that loan repayments will probably have to come from their own personal savings.

All business plans should include a way for the business owner to make the first year’s loan repayments, while at the same time keeping in mind that personal living expenses will have to paid too. Most small business owners find it very helpful to first save up enough money to pay loan repayments for a year and also have enough money saved to pay their living expenses for a year; this helps them to keep their financial stress levels down, enabling them to focus on expanding their business, which helps them to begin enduring profits as soon as possible.

Think Realistically

It is always important for small business owners to remember to think small when first opening their business. While renting a huge workplace and hiring on a number of full time employees may seem very adventurous, it is not realistic for most small businesses when they are first beginning. Employees should never be hired on until they are absolutely necessary. In fact, there are a large number of temps that can be hired on until full time work becomes available.

Most small business owners that start out small endure less harmful consequences when they make mistakes, and any early screw-ups they make most times do not lead to harmful debt issues.

Understand Your Legal Business Entities

Many small business owners have learned the hard way that any business debts they incur become personal debts if they are not protected in the proper manners. A large number of small business owners find it financially wise to open their business as a corporation or LLC; this helps them avoid becoming personally liable for any debts that are incurred during their business operations.

Watch Who You Hire

There are a large number of job seekers in today’s society that are perfect candidates for small business operations. Instead of hiring average, competent employees, small business owners should hire employees that have special training in the job duties they will be performing.

March 24, 2011   No Comments

Small Business Owners: How To Let ‘Em Know You’re There

For the small business owner and the home based business owner, getting people to the on-ground store or the website is paramount to staying in business. Everyone knows about business cards and fliers, but what else can these owners do to catch the attention of potential clients? Since people respond to visual stimulation, small business owners can do three things immediately at little cost to stimulate that recognition and get some foot traffic going on. If the business owner knows of a dollar store nearby, it will have most of what he needs to get started.

Uniform Recognition

Chains use uniform tops to identify their employees which are usually worn over black or khaki pants or skirts for the ladies. These uniform tops are embroidered or sport a name tag with the company logo on them. If the business owner can go to a dollar store, T-shirts, ball caps, stencils and children’s finger paints. Paint the company name using the stencils onto the ball caps and shirts. If you’re not the artiste type, companies that embroider logos and company info onto uniform tops have specials for everyone from beginning business persons to those already established. Wear the T-shirts and ball caps everywhere and just listen as people wonder and ask where you got that great T-shirt.

Windows On The World

Shrink plastic that adheres to glass has been used for many years for holiday decorations. How many windows have you seen sporting scary stuff on Halloween, snowmen and Santas at Christmas and bunnies and Easter eggs at Easter? Well, why not letters? Why not spell out the name of the business and/or its website at home and the rear window of cars? Asking the owners of buildings just built but not rented yet or buildings with space for lease if you can use your letters in the windows until the space is rented, upon which removal would be required might help as well. Seeing your letters in windows might stimulate someone with a business of his own to rent the space, so you’d be helping the landlord or owner of the building to market his space.

Yard Signs

Have you ever noticed when you need something, such as a junk removal or the lawn mower repaired, there’s a yard sign advertising it just when you were looking for it? If you’ve been looking for a jazzercise class or learning to kickbox, there’s a yard sign for it. It works for them and it will work for the small business person, too. Just a white sign with your company name and address or your web address is all you need and they’ll run to check it out.

These are ideas for when the business is young and needs recognition. When revenue increases it will be time for Internet marketing and SEO, blogging and forums. Freebies in this area are all over the web and can be utilized by the small business owner. For now, get out there and visualize more clients.

March 22, 2011   No Comments

From Garden To Kitchen To Pantry

Frugal living is a state of mind that leads to a far more wholesome way of life than the consumerist lifestyle. Adopt a frugal lifestyle and many good things follow because there is a synergy to frugal living that benefits the entire family. The seasonal process of canning garden produce at home is a great example.

The only real requirements for home canning are a large pot, good quality jars, lids and rings. What goes in the jars is up to the individual, but most people can whatever their garden is producing in excess. Interestingly, a garden is not a requirement if there are any U-pick farms within reasonable driving distance, and for fruits and berries this is an excellent outing for the whole family. Many U-pick operations are organic, offering quality organic produce for a fraction of the price in supermarkets.

The first step is to have the equipment and supplies ready, so either order online, find a local supplier, or check yard sales. Used canning equipment is often available at yard sales for ridiculously cheap prices, especially the jars. Quality canning jars are an excellent value, just be sure to check the rim of each jar carefully for cracks or chips that would prevent the lid from getting a good seal. Lids and rings are often available locally or can be ordered online.

Find a U-pick farm with strawberries, for example, and take the children to the farm in the morning on a day that is completely free. The goal is to enjoy the time doing something productive. If picking with small children, keep the visit short and fun, but get the fruit you need. Picking fruit can get tiresome very quickly, especially on a hot day, and the fruit has to be processed and canned later that same day.

After returning home, wash the berries and cut off the stem and leaves. Any school-aged child can do the paring, and “many hands make light work” so get the entire family involved. Time spent around the table working on a common task can be quality family time. After washing and paring, process the ingredients according to the recipe. Pour the contents into the jars, place the lids on and put the jars into the water-bath on the stove. The Ball Blue Book explains how to do everything in perfect detail, and it’s been guiding American families through the process of safely canning food at home for many decades.

Depending on the season there are many options in terms of what can be canned. Apples purchased in bulk from an orchard, for example, can be sliced and canned as apple pie filling or ground and canned as applesauce. The value of the canned produce can’t be measured in just monetary terms, but has to include memories as well: Take one quart of apple pie filling, a frozen piecrust, five minutes of preparation and an hour later there’s a fresh-baked apple pie cooling on the counter. On a cold winter evening, that’s the smell of home.

Please share your ideas related to saving money, building great memories with children, working together as a family and building relationships in a frugal lifestyle. Do you have memories related to common family projects like summertime canning to share? We’d love to hear them.

March 18, 2011   No Comments

Scrapbooking Memories with Dolly

Dollar Days Scrapbooking

Dollar Dolly steals the show again in this bit where she and her sister Doris take a trip through the past as they attempt to build a scrapbook.

March 10, 2011   No Comments

Save More By Not Eating Out!

Looking for small ways to cut back on your spending?

Taking your lunch to work can be an excellent way to save money and eat healthy. The average person will spend about $8.57 a day eating out during a typical work day. Over the course of a year, that can add up to over $2000 dollars. Taking your lunch means eating healthier, too, as you will have a lot more control over the amount of calories and ingredients you use in your food.

Start by figuring out a few menus that you know you can make easily.

To make menu planning simple, prepare a few different meals that can be varied by swapping out a few ingredients. Start with the most basic menu you can think of, a sandwich or salad and a piece of fruit. At the grocery store, buy whichever cold cuts and cheese are on sale (and, preferably, that you have a coupon for). Typically, it’s cheapest to buy cheese by the block. By avoiding pre-cut slices such as American cheese you can save money and calories. Use a cheese slicer to portion out the cheese into 1 oz slices, which should be about 70 calories a slice. Be sure to shop for whole-wheat bread; grocery stores typically put one brand of bread on sale each week. If possible, buy your fruit in season and try farmer’s markets or look for sales at your local grocery store.

Salads are healthy and easy to prepare, as long as you make sure not to use too much dressing or croutons. When shopping, look for whole heads of lettuce. While washing and cutting your own lettuce can be a bit time consuming, whole lettuce is usually much cheaper than bagged, pre-washed salad. The same is true for other vegetables, dice whole carrots, radishes, onions, and tomatoes on your own. To add some dairy, shred one of the1 oz cheese slices from making sandwiches. Carefully portion out the deli meat and add that as well. Since cheese and meat are the two most common areas where people add too many calories to their salads, this will enable you control the amount of fat and calories you add to your salad. As you review grocery ads, you’ll notice that salad dressing goes on sale about once a month. By combining these sales with a coupon you can get bottles of name-brand salad dressing fairly cheaply, or sometimes even free.

Pack your lunch in sturdy plastic containers. Consider using disposable plastic storage products for your sandwiches and salads, as these items can be squished fairly easily in brown paper bags. Use small plastic cups for dressings and dips, adding these to your salad or sandwich in the morning will cause it to be fairly soggy by lunch time.

March 9, 2011   1 Comment

Top 10 Necessities for Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year again when the sun is shining, the birds begin to chirp, and you notice six months worth of winter dirt on everything in the house. Don’t be overwhelmed by the sudden urge to take a fire hose to all visible surfaces. Take a deep breath and begin by purchasing these must-have spring cleaning products instead:
1. Rubber Gloves
You already know you’re going to be elbow-deep in dirt. Avoid alligator hands and throw on a pair of these stylish icky-protectors. No matter what you’re cleaning, no worries – it’s not getting in. Available in Large, Medium, and Small.
2. All-Purpose Cleaner
Thank goodness for modern technology. Condense all your cleaning solutions into one handy concoction and stop lugging all those bottles all over the house. First Force Oxy works on the majority of surfaces including appliances, counter-tops, and bathrooms. Net wt 32 oz.
3. Sponges & Scrubbers
You’ll be going through these bad boys. The pictured package comes in 5 different color combination’s sure to adequately distract you from the task at hand. 5 piece package. 1-3/16″ x 3-3/4″ x 2-3/4″.
4. Spray Bottles
Pick your poison: Vinegar, lemon juice, industrial grade bleach? They’ll all be easier to use and look cuter to boot in these colorful little containers. 4 assorted shapes and colors. Spray with trigger.
5. Paper Towels
After cleaning every window and mirror in the house, you’ll need at least 140 paper towels. Better make them strong ones while you’re at it. 2-ply.
6. Trash Bags
Spring cleaning generally equals metric tons of trash. These extra heavy grade trash bags can hold heavy, sharp, and wet trash. Also ideal for throwing an imperfect spouse’s belongings onto the lawn. 45 gallon. 100 bags per case.
7. Broom
The first step to clean floors. Just simply avoid gifting this broom to your wife – she will not appreciate it. Alternate use: shooing away pesky house cats. 48” x 7”. Angled broom with metal handle.
8. Inset Killer
Where there is dirt, there’s the things that live in it. Show no mercy and use Ortho Home Defense Indoor to shoot on site. Works on all things creepy and crawly including roaches, ants and flies. 33 oz spray bottle.
9. Laundry Detergent
Bringing the summer clothes out of storage, putting the winter clothes into storage…certainly a reason for bulk detergent. Tide will aid your perpetual battle to keep fabrics clean and looking spanking new. 26 oz box.
10. Air Freshener
Overpower the scent of bleach and elbow grease and leave your newly cleaned home smelling fresh. Try the pictured assortment. A variety of scents ensures bathroom doesn’t smell like fresh apple pie and the kitchen like new car. 2 oz pump bottles. 48 pieces, assorted scents. Made in USA.

March 7, 2011   1 Comment

Benefits of Outsourcing

Small businesses often outsource various important functions—such as IT, payroll, and accounting—because that is the only option they have. However, it is important to realize that outsourcing provides many other benefits in addition to helping the business owner run a smooth operation. They include the following:

  • Outsourcing is a cost-cutting measure because it releases funds that can be used in some other investment in the business by changing fixed expenses into variable expenses. It also helps startups to forego large expenses at a time when they can least afford them. In addition, your company will attract more investors if you outsource because you will use more of your capital for activities that are income-producing.
  • Any small business that does not use outsourcing will have higher advertising, distribution, and research and development expenses, along with others, which causes them to raise prices. With this in mind, you may be ahead of competitors in your industry if you decide to take that step.
  • With outsourcing, there is no need to hire temporary employees for short-term projects and seasonal activities, and your staff will be free to devote all of their time to conducting regular business.
  • A reliable outsourcing company will have the resources you need to begin a project immediately. Without their help, you might spend a considerable amount of time trying to find the workers you need and giving them the necessary training to do the job. Also, if the project calls for a major investment of capital, that can result in further delays as well.
  • With the benefit of outsourcing, managers can focus on the company’s main mission and satisfying customers without having to worry about being distracted by the peripheral issues that vie for their time and attention
  • Outsourcing levels the playing field for small businesses, because it enables them to provide the support services that large corporations offer to their customers with expertise, efficiency, and impressive economies of scale.
  • Competition, market conditions, the state of the economy, technology and government regulations often change rapidly and create a certain element of risk for any business. A good outsource provider will assume the risk you are facing, and as a rule, they are quite adept at knowing how to lessen and avoid it. They should also provide systematic reports as a sign of their effectiveness and accountability.
  • Some functions that are part of your company only have to be done on a part-time basis. For example, if you need someone to spend a few days each month to take care of payroll, that would be the time to think about outsourcing the task, as opposed to paying your employee a full-time salary to do the job.

March 4, 2011   No Comments