Before anyone starts a small business, they must make a list of all goals they have and every way they can reach those goals. Making a long list of goals, concerns, finances, and more is the only way to start on the right track. Starting a business is all about paying attention to detail and researching every aspect of business. Also, many tips that business people should learn are available so they have a better chance at success.
Many entrepreneurs want to succeed so badly that they seek second opinions whenever they can. They decide to use the services of business consultants and research a certain professional’s licenses, experience, references, testimonials, and other details. Businesspeople also look into the consultant’s personality so the interaction will be easier. For some, a consultant that has a long line of diverse networks and can provide referrals is important.
With or without a business coach to lead the way, every prospective business owner must have a sensible and detailed sense of finances. There are a range of expenses that are related to business from investments to profits. Studying sales and revenues allows people to gain a better understanding of the potential earnings for a business in a specific amount of time. This detailed analysis will lead to an optimal outline of goals and budgets. A realistic overview of expenses will show how expensive business can be and how much steady investment is required to keep the business from sinking. It is a good idea for people to look over every level of financing every month. This is the best way to know where to spend and save.
The process of starting a business goes well beyond finances and into areas that are very different but still important. Web design companies are made for the benefit of businesses and provide a long list of services that vary from a simple page layout to complicated search engine optimization (SEO). Web design is a technical process that many businesspeople do not want to deal with, so they must hire web designers. At least, it is important to know the basics of web design for business. Some websites are designed to promote certain products or services and have a great deal of content and visually appealing, flash-based designs. There are ecommerce sites that are designed to sell products. Sites that have more to look at will be more expensive. Knowing what to include on every web page will lead to greater control and success.
Businesses should also know the type of advertising methods that are available for small businesses. One option is to choose advertising that is cost-effective and another is to choose advertising that is targeted to a specific audience. Businesses that serve a local market will want to focus mostly on local advertising that may include passing out flyers, putting up ads on the radio, and more. Another popular option nowadays is to advertise using social media sites. There are plenty of marketing methods that companies use every day to reach a target market or every consumer sector in the world.
Starting a business involves a good amount of risk and pressure. There are many business courses, consultants, and methods that are available to offer help to those who need it most. However, the most important tip is to take a tried-and-tested route and take risks only if the best judgment has been made.
December 2, 2011 No Comments
Times are hard for everyone, and people are looking for ways to save money. Many techniques involve doing things yourself or doing without, but there are many things that a home owner can be done that will not feel to be a sacrifice and will result in a noticeable savings, not just now but for years to come.
Increasing the shade around your house will keep the house cooler in the summer and decrease power use for both the homeowner and the rest of the community. Plant shade trees in the spring in locations where they will eventually provide shade to south facing windows will reduce the amount spent by the homeowner on electricity. To further increase savings, the homeowner should make one or more rain barrels. Fifty-five gallon barrels can be purchased used for a minimal amount of money anywhere and after cutting a hole in the top and attaching a spigot at the base can be placed under drain spouts to catch the water falling off of the roof. One inch of rain will fill a barrel this size and then can be later used to water the trees planted for shade.
Another way to save money by lowering electrical bills is to install a hot water timer. By turning off the power to the hot water heater for up to 18 hours a day, a timer will reduce the electrical use of the most power hungry appliance by 75 percent or more without affecting the service provided by the heater. A timer can be installed using just a screwdriver and pliers and takes less than an hour to complete.
In many parts of the country, governments are tasking people to reduce waste, even going so far as to charge for trash collection by the amount of trash picked up. Recycling is a common way to reduce the amount of trash processed and sent to landfills, but an additional task to consider is composting. Almost 50 percent of all household trash is compostable; plant matter, vegetable matter, fruit, paper towels, toilet paper rolls, dryer lint, and egg shells are all very good compost material although any other animal product, meat, fats, bones, should be avoided as should any bodily waste from any animal that eats meat. The compost bin can be as simple as a basic pile or as complex as a rotating drum, but the end result will be the same: rich organic material ready to add to gardens and plants that will eliminate the need for potting soil and commercial fertilizers.
As the need to cut costs and stretch the household dollar becomes more critical, much can be done that involves changes in attitudes and practices and that have the added benefit of helping the environment. Regardless of why a homeowner makes these changes, they become a win-win scenario for the homeowner, the community, and the environment.
December 1, 2011 No Comments
The holidays can be an expensive time for anyone. With the economy gone so far south, many are wondering if its possible to have as nice a holiday season as in years past. The short answer is that it is possible to be frugal and have a great holiday season, with just some forethought and ingenuity.
First, sit down and think about priorities. This doesn’t just mean reminding yourself of the “reason for the season,” but also deciding what you really want out of the holidays. In all the planning and prepping, would you rather have a fantastic sit-down dinner with family or take a great vacation? What gifts do your recipients <i>really</i> want more than anything else? Keeping your priorities in mind will help make sure your limited resources go where you really want them to.
Next, look at ways to scale down what you already do:
1. Instead of sending a heap of Christmas cards, send e-cards instead. You can also send postcards, which are much cheaper to mail, or hand-deliver cards to people you’ll see in person during the holiday season.
2. Buy gift wrap at dollar stores instead of high-end gift shops, where it’s usually the same quality, or giveifts packaged very simply. A nice bow or gift bag can be just as pretty as lots of paper wrapping.
3. For parties, try having a potluck with friends instead of buying all the food yourself. You’ll usually end up with some great recipes and conversation trays.
4. Instead of buying a bunch of expensive decorations, use nature for inspiration. Collect pine cones to make ornaments or wreaths, along with pine boughs or a brightly-colored poinsettia. If you have kids, sit down one afternoon and make your decorations. Paper snowflakes decorated with glitter look lovely in a nighttime window.
There are other ways to save money and still have a nice holiday season. If you’re exchanging gifts with a large family, consider a “Secret Santa” drawing instead of everyone purchasing gifts for the whole group. If you’re the crafty type, try making a few of your gifts. Even non-crafty people can put together a gift basket with things like popcorn, a DVD, and hot cocoa, or other items. Gift baskets are great for couples, kids, and co-workers.
You can also save money on entertainment and travel by thinking creatively. Instead of paying entrance fees for skiing or ice rinks, go sledding instead, even if you don’t have kids. Adults can have just as much fun as kids when hurtling down a snowy slope together.
If you’re traveling for the holidays, try alternative transportation, like a train ride, rather than paying for airfare or gas. Stay with friends or family instead of in an expensive hotel. Plan ahead as much as possible to avoid paying holiday prices for your trip.
Being frugal doesn’t have to mean having a stringent holiday season. With these tips and your own creativity, have fun this holiday season without breaking the bank.
November 24, 2011 No Comments
Keeping track of small business finances can be a daunting task. Come tax time, many small business owners feel overwhelmed by their business taxes. Many business owners enlist the help of certified public accountants to get their taxes done correctly. These professionals can be of immense help. Even if a small business owner selects to hire a CPA, there are still some general points that he or she needs to understand about business taxes.
It is important to realize that different business structures are taxed differently. Sole proprietorships, corporations, and various partnership structures each have their own particular rules and regulations. For example, partnership entities in the US do not directly pay income taxes. Instead, the income made by a partnership is taxed once it has been passed through to the owners. A traditional C corporation, on the other hand, does have to pay direct taxes on income. Additionally, the owners of said corporation are still taxed on their individual earnings from the business. In a very real sense then, business owners who keep a C corporation structure instead of choosing an S corporation structure are taxed twice, which is not usually the best situation for small businesses.
Since different structures can result in drastically different tax levels, entrepreneurs should think very carefully about which structure to pick when first setting up their businesses. Entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with the basic taxation differences between each type of business organization. A qualified attorney or accountant can then advise business owners on their final decisions.
Smart business owners should become familiar with the required local, state, and federal tax filing schedules for their businesses. Depending on how much income a business is bringing in or paying out, withholding taxes or sales and use taxes might be due biweekly, monthly, or just once per quarter. Although accountants usually take care of these documents themselves or at least remind their clients when forms are due, it still makes good business sense for owners to have the general tax timelines in their minds.
Perhaps the most important tax tip for a small business is to keep meticulous records. Entrepreneurs should record every expense and keep copies of every receipt. Business owners should also develop a logical filing system for all of this information. There are many computer software packages available that help small businesses keep track of their finances. Such programs are also usually capable of automatically generating tax forms, which can save businesses time and money.
Setting up a dedicated business bank account is also highly advisable to avoid any potential tax issues. Personal and business finances should never be mixed. Although it might be more convenient to put this week’s groceries on the company credit card, such an action can severely complicate an organization’s record keeping. Mistakes on tax forms are much more likely to occur if it ever becomes unclear which expenses are business ones and which are personal ones. In the case of an audit, such confusion can be very detrimental.
November 24, 2011 No Comments
Opening and running a small business is an exciting new venture with many opportunities for those who are entrepreneurial or business-minded. Although it’s important for them to invest in the business, small business owners should also be careful how and where they spend. Start-up costs can add up fast and it may take a few months to start turning a profit. The savvy small business owner incorporates money-strategies into every area of the business, whenever possible. Doing so allows them to manage cash flow and cost in order to prevent financial problems from occurring early in the business.
Only Buy What You Need
Purchases and expenditures should be carefully planned. In order to grow, small businesses need to advertise and this can get costly. Instead of paying to have a commercial made and aired throughout the metropolitan area, small business owners can have signage made and posted for much less money. Office supplies are another area where small business owners can save money. Rather than buying a desktop computer for each employee, they should buy only the amount needed for the employees who truly require a computer to complete their work.
Owners of small businesses can benefit by shopping creatively. Retail office supply stores have to turn a profit, too. Business owners can save money by shopping at discount or outlet stores, as well as from auctions. Discount stores often carry discontinued products that are completely functional but have been replaced by the latest, greatest design. These types of shopping alternatives can save money by cutting costs or by getting small business owners a larger amount of product for the normal price.
Barter and Negotiate
Small businesses open all the time. By working together, small business owners can save each other money through bartering and negotiating. A small business that makes signage and another one that sells office supplies can barter to take care of business needs without adding cost. Additionally, the small business owner should always negotiate price when possible. Although retail chains aren’t likely to negotiate, there’s a lot of room for negotiation in auction-based business and with other small business owners.
Reuse and Recycle
When other businesses upgrade supplies and equipment, or go out of business, they usually liquidate in order to bring in some cash. Liquidation sales are an effective way for small business owners to obtain the supplies and equipment they need for their businesses without buying them brand new. These sales can be found in newspapers and are advertised on the businesses themselves.
Buy or Ship in Bulk
Bulk purchases save the small business owner money because the high number of items being purchased brings the total price down. Bulk rates can be taken advantage of for buying things such as office supplies or when shipping packages and mailing items to customers.
Business owners might not think that saving a few dollars here and there is a big deal. But over the course of the year, these savings can add up and have a positive impact on their bottom line.
November 21, 2011 No Comments
In these difficult economic times, people are looking to save money in a variety of ways. One of the best ways to live frugally is to barter for goods and services whenever possible. Bartering is the act of exchanging goods and services without using money.
During the Great Depression in the 1930′s, bartering was common. Many people would pay their doctor’s bills with eggs and milk from the family chickens or cows. Other people paid their bills in produce. For a time, bartering fell out of popularity. However, the practice is making a comeback. How would you barter with someone for goods and services? For example, you may want to have your lawn cut, but you cannot cut it yourself. You may also not have the money to pay someone to cut it either. In such a case, you might think about trading services in exchange for having your lawn cut. Perhaps you would be willing to make and decorate a cake instead of paying money. In this case, the cake is what you are willing to barter.
If you have a tight-knit community or a support network of family and friends, you may not have any problem-finding people with whom to barter. In fact, you may have already been bartering and not actually known it! If you do not have a support network or if you do not live in a tight knit community, it may be more difficult to find people who are willing to barter with you. However, it can be done.
One of the best ways to find people willing to barter is to search online. There are actually many different bartering forums that exist in order to help introduce people to each other and to educate people about the practice. One such site is called SwapAce. Here, you can trade goods and services, learn more about bartering, and learn how to improve your negotiating skills. Another way to find people willing to barter with you is to advertise on Craigslist or other similar sites. If you own your own business and want to barter with other businesses for goods and services, you may want to join a group like ITEX. Bartering for services can actually help you to get your business up and running without using a lot of capital.
Of course, it is important to mention that you should take precautions and be careful when joining any online group or participating in a group online. Before joining the group, it is important to read over the rules and to obey them.
Although it may take you some time to find a person will to barter for goods and services, most people who barter say that the effort and time is well worth it. Take some time to look into bartering and join the ranks of those who enjoy living frugally.
November 18, 2011 1 Comment
Small Business owners must consider the advantages of including video on their websites and posting them on YouTube and other forums. Videos are more compelling than simple type and draw viewers’ attention. Potential customers are 50 percent more likely to click on a video when perusing search results. If the video is informative or humorous and engages the viewer, they are much more likely to follow through by reading your content or clicking on a link to your website. That point is the first thing to consider when creating a video. The commercial must have a call to action. That action could be accessing a company’s website, filling out an online form for further information, or contacting a company directly. Successful videos always include a call to action on the part of viewers.
Videos either call for immediate action or encourage the desire for a particular product or service. Videos are more memorable than print alone, so viewers of videos are more likely to remember a particular company when they are ready to make a purchasing decision. There are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that consumers discover a video. The video may not receive a cult following, but it may reach the necessary demographic and achieve its goals without necessarily going viral.
Clear resolution is a necessity. Video has evolved from the grainy out-of-focus offerings of years past. High definition videos make a good impression on viewers. Content is important, but first the video must be clear. Videos should be shot in wide screen HD quality with 16:9 aspect ratio. They should be posted in MP4 video format with H264 file compression. Keep videos very short unless the subject matter is particularly complex and technical and targeted to an audience that understands the discussion. How-to videos may also be a bit longer since they must include all necessary steps to complete the assembly or process being taught.
Videos are accessed by the same process as other online services through the use of keywords. The keywords should be included in the video if there is audio. These keywords must also be included in the title, in the first few descriptive words about the video and in the tags. Try to keep titles within 65 characters including spaces. Longer titles may be clipped in search results. The first 140 words of any video description are what searchers see, so these should be engaging enough to draw viewer interest. A 5000-word description is allowed and marketers should take advantage of the space to connect with important keywords, always remembering to refrain from the kind of keyword stuffing that can cause search engines to downgrade a listing in search results.
Captioning is another tool that can be employed to promote a video through clever use of keywords and descriptive tags. YouTube allows customers to create their own captions or will provide the service for video postings. As soon as a video is released, employ YouTube’s share option, so it is available on a company’s Facebook page. The video can be embedded in a blog, mentioned in tweets and generally promoted in any way possible to increase viewer traffic.
November 17, 2011 No Comments
Marc Joesph, founder of DollarDays Int. has a new article out on the International Business Times website.
Below is an excerpt from the article:
What has America gotten itself into? Just about every state and every city is cutting back funding to services needed by those who need it most.
In Chicago, the headline read “Temperatures Dropping. Will the State Restore Funding for Homeless Shelters?” It goes on to report that the 2012 budget was cut 52 percent for homeless prevention services. This cut is on top of the fact that more people were turned away from homeless shelters in Chicago last year than were taken in.
Read the full article HERE and make a comment!
November 16, 2011 No Comments
When you are getting your small business off the ground, there are several avenues that you should consider when doing your initial planning. You need to start out by sitting down and setting out a series of goals for your business, both long and short term. Ask yourself where you would like your business to be, who is interested in your product or service and how you plan to market your business.
One of your primary concerns will be with keeping your overhead, or business expenses, low. Supplies are one spot that can often eat into profits, so keep close track of them and use them wisely. One way to save money here is to recycle your file folders. When you need to change one, simply put a new tab over the old one and it can easily be used again. If you will be using a large amount of one particular item, consider buying in bulk. This often costs less than buying them in smaller packages.
Keeping close track of your business expenses is also important. Track your mileage for business trips, going to get supplies and related work activities. You need to keep a running tally of expenses for supplies, utilities and related costs. These can be used as deductions on your taxes at the end of the year. The easiest way to do this is to keep a vehicle expense record, which has organized slots to keep track of mileage and costs. This makes it simple to add things up at the end of the year.
If you plan to take your business online, you can save a lot of money on your overhead versus running a traditional type of store. Your primary cost with an online store will be with marketing, primarily in the use of advertisements that are displayed on other websites. Marketing online also involves activities such as blogging, making links and adding informational articles to your store. These activities help to keep customers informed about your business, any sales that you may be having and new products you may be featuring.
Your blogging efforts should start out small, beginning with a free membership on a blogging site. Updating it frequently with helpful tips, informational posts and hard hitting news will keep your customers in touch with your business. You will also get to know a lot about the types of services and products they are interested in, which helps you to target your business in the right direction.
Your business can also grow online by having a strong social presence on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These sites are great places to get in touch with your customers and conduct market research. You can see what is exciting your section of the market and adjust your plan accordingly. By paying attention to your marketing, costs and plan, your small business will have a better chance of being successful and profitable.
November 14, 2011 No Comments
Small business owners are often simply people who have left unsatisfying career paths to fulfill their dreams of owning their own business. Owning and running a small business is a challenge that never seems to end, and it places many demands on the business owner. The first five years the business is open often determines whether the business will develop into a successful and stable company, or whether it will join millions of other unsuccessful small businesses and close its doors permanently.
Though many new small business owners are operating on a strict budget, it is imperative not to skimp on advertising. Getting the word spread about the opening of the business, as well as the products and services the business offers is important to the immediate success of the company. Advertising can be accomplished on a budget, thanks to the Internet. Internet advertising has leveled the field between large companies and small businesses by providing both with an affordable venue to reach out to millions of potential customers across the globe.
Creating a company website should be one of the first goals a business owner addresses. Website development and creation can be done on a budget and can help to inform local shoppers in the community of the small business, as well as to inform shoppers across the nation of the business. Website content for the business should be informative, creative, and should hold an element of intrigue that will encourage browsers to make a purchase. Offering new customer discounts and Internet ordering promotions will help to entice new customers to make a purchase and will encourage customer loyalty.
In addition to making advertising a priority, joining vending markets and festivals to offer free product samples and coupons will also help to increase awareness of the company in the local community of the business. When a business combines a great product or service with superior customer service and a willingness to work hard to spread awareness of the company, it becomes intriguing to the local community it is in. Word of mouth amongst consumers is the best possible type of advertising for a business.
When consumers try samples of a product and love it, they are often quick to tell their family and friends about the product and the business. This encourages others to try out the goods offered by the business. Providing gift baskets available for sale, as well as making gift cards and certificates a possible purchase will also be another helpful service small business owners can offer to the public.
Email newsletters and local mailers will increase interaction with customers and is an affordable way to inform the public about new sales and promotions that the business is running. Creating a social media page through Facebook and Twitter is also another great way to increase customer interaction and this will help to secure a relationship with potential customers in the community, as well as Internet customers.
November 2, 2011 1 Comment