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THE BIG MO N EY
Stuff we put load of effort into
Developing Realistic Financial Assumptions in Your Business Plan
4 Tactice Every Business 5 3 Effective Should Implement 6 $3 Million in 6 Months 7 Do You Have What It Takes? 8 Back-End Productsâ€Ś 10 Business Plan Writers 11 Hello Im Johnny Cash Your Computer your 12 How to Make Personal ATM
13 Define Social Marketing Social Marketing 14Enhance Your Campaign 15
Mobile Marketing- Text Message
Stuff we put load of effort into 16 Small Business Tips 17 Analyzing Customers In Your Business 19 7 Online Business Plan Scams and 1 Real Deal
Are you Satisfied with your Business just as it is?
21 ChacklistFor Starting A Business 22 Finance Your Small Business 23 Franchise Opportunities 25 Alternatives to Credit Cards 26100,000 Subscribers in 30 Days? 285 Mobile Marketing Productivity Tips 30 Social Marketing Jobs
Hi Readers Welcome to this edition of CityMag. In CityMag we teach you everything you need to know to make your business a success online. Every month, we cover topics like: Social Marketing Small Business marketing Mobile Marketing Franchising and moreâ€Ś Your contributions and feedback to this publication are highly valued, so please use the links to our facebook page, twitter feed, email and our website to keep in touch and help keep us on track to make this the best publication possible. We also specialize in helping small businesses become hugely successful online. Should you require any professional assistance with your online strategy, please get in contact with us, as weâ€™d be happy to give you a free appraisal of your current online performance and suggest some improvements to help boost conversion of your prospects into customers. Thanks for investing your time to educate yourself by reading our publication. We look forward to serving you and your business now and well into the future. Have fun, The Editor
Developing Realistic Financial Assumptions in Your Business Plan Many investors skip straight to the financial section of the business plan. It is critical that the assumptions and projections in this section be realistic. Plans that show penetration, operating margin and revenues per employee figures that are poorly reasoned, internally inconsistent or simply unrealistic greatly damage the credibility of the entire business plan. In contrast, sober, well-reasoned financial assumptions and projections communicate operational maturity and credibility. For instance, if the company is categorized as a networking infrastructure firm, and the business plan projects 80% operating margins, investors will raise a red flag. This is because investors can readily access the operating margins of publicly-traded networking infrastructure firms and find that none have operating margins this high.
As much as possible, the financial assumptions should be based on actual results from your or other firms. As the example above indicates, it is fairly easy to look at a public company’s operating margins and use these margins to approximate your own. Likewise, the business plan should base revenue growth on other firms. Many firms find this impossible, since they believe they have a break-through product in their market, and no other company compares. In such a case, base revenue growth on companies in other industries that have had break-through products. If you expect to grow even faster than they did (maybe because of new technologies that those firms weren’t able to employ), you can include more aggressive assumptions in your business plan as long as you explain them in the text. The financials can either enhance or significantly harm your business plan’s chances of assisting you in the capital-raising process. By doing the research to develop realistic assumptions, based on actual results of your or other companies, the financials can bolster your firm’s chances of winning investors. As importantly, the more realistic financials will also provide a better roadmap for your company’s success.
3 EFFECTIVE TACTICS EVERY BUSINESS SHOULD IMPLEMENT Do you remember your first day as a business owner? You were probably just like the rest of us... pretty darned happy and bit on the proud side. Yeah, back then we thought we could conquer the world. Now we're too busy conquering our own little corner off the world to pay a lot of attention to the rest of the world... unless it's to learn a few tips from successful marketers just like us who have made it big. Tips just like these... that will apply to every market regardless of the product or service - are a great motivators to try something new. Yeah, you never know when the next idea will be worth a million dollars! 1. Create a Special Offer A special offer is exactly that... an offer that is special. Normally, customers would not be able to purchase tthis product or combination of products, and once the products are gone... sorry! You don't have to go out and order a bunch of new products to put together a special offer. It don't take a whole lot... just use what you've got. Grab a few items that are related, elated, group them together, discount the price, and your customers will be excited to be getting a good deal. Think about it from your standpoint... you've sold three or four items rather than one. Yeah, combination offers are winning deals for everyone! 2. Address the Small Customer Groups Niche markets are everywhere, right under your nose! Within the customer audience that you serve right now are groups of people who share common traits. Think about it... maybe you have a group who speaks Spanish, a gro group of teens, and a group of middle class family men and women. Evaluate these classes of people, and discover the unique needs and desires they share. That will set you up to customize your advertising campaign directly to them. Itâ€™s not hard to take your current ads, and make a few changes to adjust to the niches. Theyâ€™ll be impressed that you understand THEM, and the increase in your profits will be the best thanks you can get.
3. Set Up a Winning Referral Program Successful marketers develop the ability to turn their customers into advocates. Often, they don't even have to directly ask customers to refer them to others. Their willingness to go the extra wins customer loyalty and support. Naturally, satisfied customers refer their friends and family to the place that will take good care re of them. Quality service and is the first step toward referrals, but you can easily take it one step further. Studies show that every satisfied customer tells three people about you. What would happen with a little incentive added to the picture? Yeah, a lot more. Give customers who refer friends a thank you - whether it's a discount, special gift item, or a simple thank you card - and watch the referrals spiral! You can get two birds with one stone by implimenting customer surveys. A few quick questions about what the customer does and doesn't like about your product, followed by a request for the names and addresses of friends and family who would benefit from the product, and you're all set to go with the contact information of a prospective customer!
$3 MILLION IN 6 MONTHS
WITH ADSENSE! Markus Frind, the creator of Plentyoffish.com is a success story worth noting, as he has managed to take a niche formerly ruled by giant corporations and give it his own brand of marketing savvy. A case of David vs. Goliath, where the little guy comes out on top in the end. Markus is the top "individual" adsense publisher in terms of pageviews. Lets find out what some of his secrets are as he shares some advice with our readers. Feel free to comment! Markus, what is your experience in computer programming and how did it prepare you for becoming a webmaster? The average pageviews a day is around 14 million for the last week. I'm getting another 80 million pageviews a day from users polling the site to see if they have new messages. Really intensive bandwidth wise! When I go to your website, I notice that the ads are targeted to my region, yet I have not even registered- can you explain to our readers how you accomplish this feat? I'm just using ip2location.com- Basically i take your IP, look it up in the database and it tells me what your city is. I then bring up a list of users in your city, nothing magical about it at all. Are most of your visitors coming primarily from search engines (SERPS), or are you finding that they come from other avenues? Do you actively advertise in the media? Search engines account for something like 2% of my traffic. The vast majority of my traffic, like any other site with over 5 million pageviews a day comes from word of mouth, and repeat visitors. The services on your site seem to be offered at no cost to the registrants. Is there some advantage you have over your competitors that allows you to do this? I've developed new algorithms that allow me to create a mega site for next to no cost. Several years ago I created algorithm that was thousands of times faster then the algorithm used in the 1990's to find a string of 22 prime numbers. At the time a professor used several super computers and hundreds of regular computers over the course of several years to find a record. I did the same thing on 1 computer in 2 weeks. Fascinating! Are there any other sites you currently maintain, or is plentyoffish.com the only one?
Its the only site at the moment. I've got a few other sites I registered for friends so they could learn to do marketing/affiliate stuff. At this point i think 1 site is enough. Any tips for those looking to create a profitable endeavor on the internet? IF someone else thinks what you are doing is a cool idea I'd say it isn't... Find something no one else thinks is important and build up a site with big traffic in that area. Also keep in mind, sites that have low monetization today but have traffic may be the gold mines of tomorrow. In the internet world anything and everything will be monetized at some point and traffic is king. Traffic is King- very wise advice, Markus. One last questionHow do you find the time to maintain such a large commodity on the internet? Surely you must have some other interests in life besides programming and website monitoring? It only takes a hour a day on average, but its very tiring work. I spend the other couple of hours reading and seeing what is going on.
DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? Do you have what it takes to be really successful? Have you ever thought about what you must be prepared to endure and do in order to be successful in business or your career? I think I have been asked at least 5,000 times what it really takes to be successful in business, so I jotted down 10 questions you can use to gauge whether you already have what it takes, or if you need to do a little “work” to get there. Many years ago I heard Jim Rohn say that you either pay the price of discipline or the price of regret. Discipline weighs ounces…regret weighs tons! With that said, here are 10 questions to ask yourself:
Are you disciplined? Do you take rejection personally? What about criticism? Do you bounce back quickly from making errors or failing over and over again? Are you a planner or do you do things by the seat of your pants? Are you prepared to take risks? Moderate or Big? Do you stay focused on one thing and one thing only until the result you want is achieved? Do you have the stamina to keep going long after everyone else is tired? Can you delegate well, or are you the only one who can do things right? Do you wait for things to happen or do you aggressively go after what you want? Do you do whatever it takes to achieve your goals or just what's convenient? These questions are critical for you to ask yourself in order to get a true picture of your nature and behavior. What I have found is that successful people are aware of the consequences of not being efficient in these areas, and find other ways, resources or people to manage for them. Food for thought? Remember to create a masterpiece! You have permission to publish these articles electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated
Back-End Products.The Key If you're not trying to sell back-end products to your customers, you're making a big mistake. It is easier to sell to existing customers than it is to sell to new ones who don't trust your business yet. Below are ten killer strategies you can use to sell your back-end products to your existing customers: 1. When you ship people the first product they bought, insert a flyer or brochure for your back-end product in the package. 2. Give customers a free subscription to a customers only ezine when they buy your product. You could include your ad for your back-end product in each issue. 3. Send your customers greeting cards on holidays or on their birthday. Include a small advertisement inside the card for your back-end product. 4. After people order your first product from your web site, take them to a "thank you" web page and include your backend product ad on that page. 5. Send customers a free surprise gift after they order your first product. You could attach another ad with the free gift for your back-end product.
6. If you're selling an electronic product, like an ebook, include your ad for your back-end product somewhere inside the electronic product. 7. Give your customers a free membership into your "customers only" private site. You could include your ad for your back-end product somewhere inside the private site.
8. Contact your customers by phone and ask them if they were happy with their purchase. You could tell them about your back-end product. 9. Send your customers a thank you letter by mail or e-mail. You could mention your back-end product somewhere on the letter. 10. Ask your customers if they want to be updated in the future when you have new product offers. You could have them sign up to receive e-mail or snail mail updates. Your business will have a greater chance of surviving when you attempt to sell back-end products to your existing customers.
BUSINESS PLAN WRITERS: SHOULD YOU HIRE ONE? Are you interested in starting up your own business? If so, you should carefully consider writing a business plan. The thought of preparing a business plan tends to fill most business owners with dread; it can be a difficult, stressful, and time consuming process. For this reason alone you may want to think about seeking assistance.
Why Hire a Professional Business Plan Writer? One of the many ways that you can seek help to write your plan is by hiring a professional, who in this case is a professional business plan writer. What Is a Professional Business Plan Writer? Before deciding whether or not you should hire the services of a professional business plan writer, you should first clearly understand what they are. In most cases, you will find these individuals to be experienced, professional writers who are well versed in business terminology and who can effectively understand the needs of businesses. It is important to understand when writing anything, even a business plan, that it is the wording which makes all the difference; the words used can be the difference between success and failure. That is why a large number of small business owners turn to professional writers for assistance.
There are a number of different reasons why small business owners turn to professional business plan writers. One of the key reasons is of lack of experience when it comes to putting ideas on paper and not knowing what format a plan should take. If you have never created a business plan before you can easily find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper for hours on end! Although it is relatively easy to learn how to create your own plan, it can be a time consuming process to undertake the research and get into the appropriate mindset. With the right experience, a professional business plan writer will be able to create a detailed, professional business plan in half the time that it would take you to create the same plan. How Do You Find Someone?
When it comes to searching for a professional business plan writer, you will find that different writers perform different duties. For example, a large number of writers will merely take your ideas, which you have already thought out and developed, and present them in a professional matter; they will just present your plans in a more professional way than you could.
If you are interested in acquiring the services of a professional business plan writer, you have a number of different options. One of those options is to search for someone locally. Dealing with a local business plan writer is great, especially if you want to deal with someone face-to-face. Your search can focus on your local government business advice centers or even asking fellow business colleagues. If there is a writing group or circle in your locality then you can approach them for potential names.
Then there are the professional business plan writers who will work with you to develop your plan from the inception of the basic ideas for your business to the finish document. Naturally since more work and time goes into to assisting you with developing a business plan from the bottom up you will probably find that the services of these writers cost more than traditional ones.
The only problem that you may find is that not all areas of your country will have professional business plan writers. This means you may have to turn to the Internet for assistance. By conducting an online search you will find a large number of professional writers who specialize in creating or writing business plans.
What a Professional Business Plan Writer Can Do For You
"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" - Surprising Lessons For Work At Home Moms I've unearthed some surprising bits of wisdom for new wahms by listening to Johnny Cash lately. I thought I would share some of these tidbits from the Rockabilly legend. 1) Understand Your Man ...er, target market! That's right. Do you understand your target market? Are you aware of her needs, desires and driving ambitions? Does your website speak to your target audience? If not, perhaps you should make some changes or your website visitor or customer will be "as gone as a wild goose in winter" too! 2) A Boy Named Sue Life ain't easy for a boy named Sue...and life ain't easy for a wahm either. In your business you will have those confidence killers, dream stealers, fun suckers...whatever you want to call them. You will have people who try to tell you that you can't achieve your goals, that what you try won't work. Don't let them get you down!
John Henry's Daddy told him to: "Learn to a turn a jack, learn to lay a track, learn to pick and shovel too." Are you learning all you can about Internet Marketing so that you can succeed in your business? Do you reinvest in ebooks, coaching and mentoring, and software like John Henry's hammer? b) Technology has its place but it can't take the place of humans. When the steam engine threatened to take the place of men, Johnny proved that in the end, humans are more valuable. Learn to use technology (like autoresponders) but remember that your website visitor is a human and inject some of yourself into your marketing efforts. 5) One Piece at a Time This ballad is about a man who decides to build a Cadillac. He steals one piece at a time from the assembly line "and it didn't cost him a dime". But in the end, it didn't work out exactly like he planned!
Sue's father told him, "This world is rough, and if you're gonna make Does your website look like a pieced together jalopy? Are you it, you've gotta be tough." unwilling to spend any money on your own domain and hosting, How can you get tough in your business? content with a free site cluttered up with ads? 3) Man In Black- or Branding 101
6) In The Jailhouse Now
J.R. Cash didn't don the all black suit because he didn't have anything else to wear. It was his trademark. He wore all black for a reason.
Please don't throw away your hard work by doing one of the following things:
Spamming What about you? Are you working on your brand? In a world full of Elvis Presleys and Jerry Lee Lewises, how will you stand apart? And Copying other people's articles or content remember, your target market doesn't have to be just like youJohnny Cash wrote Folsom Prison Blues and connected with inmates Stealing graphics when he had never yet step foot in jail! Clicking on your Adsense ads 4) The Legend of John Henry's Hammer This song has two bits of wisdom: a) Learn your business and you will succeed
Not keeping records and neglecting to pay taxes It just isn't worth it, and you may find yourself in the jailhouse. Much better to Walk the Line so you can sleep at night.
How to Make your Computer your Personal
Do you think that ATM’s are only available at banks and credit unions? Think again. Your computer can become your own personal ATM machine. How can you turn your computer into a money making machine? Jump into the world of internet marketing. An Internet marketing business is not only profitable, but can be started quickly and affordably. What should you do first to help you start an Internet marketing business? You need to create a website that reaches millions of potential customers all over the globe. There are hundreds of software programs, companies, and offerings out there. If you are not familiar with Internet infrastructure then you may have a difficult time trying to find the right company to host your website. We have taken the confusion out of this situation for you by providing references for the best software tools to help get you started. First, you will need a domain name. Domain names are the text that users will type into the Internet to access you website. Think carefully about your domain name so that it is relevant to your product or service. Once you have a domain name in mind, you need to make sure that it is not taken. You can type it into your Internet browser and see if anything comes up. However, it is good to check this through the domain provider we recommend which is www.godaddy.com. When you purchase a domain name at www.godaddy.com, make sure that you only purchase the domain name and none of the extra services. Godaddy has a tendency to jack up the prices on these services when you can find them much more affordably at www.frontierpowerhosting.com. Frontierpowerhosting.com will be your web hosting service. This web hosting Service Company is top notch because you receive your OWN IP address. It is critical to have your own IP address so that your emails are never blocked due to an email spammer that has the same IP address. Frontierpowerhosting.com also has excellent customer service phone support. In addition, Frontierpowerhosting.com provides an “Email Tracker” feature which enables you to track your emails.
Frontierpowerhosting.com also will provide you with information regarding the deliverability rate for any emails you send. This information will help you tailor your marketing efforts. Next you will need to setup a “smart Autoresponder”. A smart Autoresponder is one that automatically sends emails or forms to users in order to capture their personal information. Make sure that your Autoresponder captures the following information: first name, last name, email address, time and date stamp. An effective smart Autoresponder is called “Auto Responder Plus” which you can find at www.arp3.com. Auto Responder Plus is software that you can download on your web hosting account. Once you have these tools in place, you are ready to create your website. Change your personal computer into a cash cow today!
Define Social MarketingOld Wine in A New Bottle Generally, social marketing can be defined as a new concept (not so new though) to market or promote an endeavor using the internet and the web2.0 based tools. Started with this small approach, social marketing has now gained a new level as many people across the world are joining the worldwide business chain with several new ideas and strategies. The purpose of social marketing is to provide fast and quality service using the World Wide Web. All the enterprises of online business market are aiming to be part of global economy and take their business to next level with the help of social media marketing. In essence, social marketing is the key word to get a worldwide platform and succeed in business. Apart from this brief definition social marketing has different other wings that needs a proper co-ordination for proper marketing. Social media sites were basically created an online network of people who wanted to communicate with each other and stay in touch. Business owners and corporate houses used the social media tools for marketing their businesses, services or products. Just from its beginning, social marketing has succeeded to create a difference in the world of business. Businesses houses that made careful and strategic use of social media sites created a revolution in the marketing world but at the same time careless and casual dealing spelled doom for many businesses. If you are a newcomer to the world of social media marketing then you need not worry a lot about the results of your efforts because there are thousands of online resources from where you would be able to learn some vital tips and tricks to crack the social networking or social marketing nut. Online reviews, e-books available on "social marketing" would provide you with a comprehensive picture of social media marketing world. The pros and cons of this business and survival strategies are also discussed thoroughly in these books, journals or articles. Here, in this blog we will discuss the two most potential social media - Facebook and Twitter and strategies that would get surprising fast results from.
Facebook: Let's start with Facebook that has been ranked as the second most popular (Google is still number 1) social media site for its popularity. With the introduction of Facebook, social marketing has taken a new turn and the generation now defines social marketing in a single word, which is Facebook. Business owners are making the most out of Facebook and taking the opportunity to measure their performance from both positive and negative comments on their products and services. Using Facebook, clients can research on the needs and demands of customers, which changes frequently. At the same time one can provide updates on the upcoming services or products fan pages to keep the visitors engaged. Spending a few extra dollars on Facebook and let visitor's know about your company directly from Facebook. Twitter: As a social media site, Twitter has been ranked tenth and is being used widely to deliver short messages at incredible speed. A short message of 140 characters reaches the inbox of your consumers in a minute and the tweets will spread to the mass in an explosive manner. There is no other cost-effective and timesaving marketing idea than tweeting about a product. Twitter has more preference among the busy users who prefer to get product updates just right to the point. The most important fact about twitter is that it always contains relevant messages, so the customers will read them thoroughly, instead of just ignoring them. Now, it depends on your business and the product when you get down to choosing between Facebook and Twitter - choose the one that suits your business needs perfectly.
Enhance Your Social Marketing Campaign Social Media marketing has ushered in a new age of advertising and promotion that business, groups and organizations around the world have readily adopted. Today social media campaigns are actively promoted on various networking engines through online promotions and marketing. So the question is, among numerous brands how does one stand out in social circles? I want to bring to your attention a new article by John Jantsch and Hugh at Hide and Seek media titled "5 Tips to Enhance Your Social Media Marketing Campaign". The article is essentially a how to guide to build and develop your own social media marketing campaign.
Amplify: I cannot stress the importance of amplifying social profiles. This is the key between a successful campaign that will lead to consistent growth for your business and a onetime spike in your online traffic. People that are a part of your social graph want to know that you care about their opinions and genuinely want their attention. A lack of follow through can cripple a social marketing campaign before it even starts.
Repurpose: Its all about marketing in as many ways or methods as possible. With any news or update, you should be writing blogs, actively posting on your Facebook fan page, creating podcasts, essentially building your brand in as The 5 tips are Integrate, Amplify, Re-purpose, many ways as possible. Remember, just about Generate Leads, Learn. For a detailed any medium you can think of can be and should understanding of each of these areas I suggest be used to market your business. (and highly recommend) that you read the original article. I would however like to take a Generate Leads: The key here is to make sure moment and summarize each area. you generate leads elsewhere, you don't need to be actively selling on your campaigns, Integrate: This is in my opinion the starting step instead these campaigns should provide links to for any successful marketing campaign. an area where prospective buyers' needs can Remember every social platform has its be fulfilled. benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to understand the needs of your business and what online marketing tools will give you the best bang for your buck.
Learn: Don't reinvent the wheel, learn from those who have done a good job marketing their brands. Learn not only about how they do it but where they do it. Is there a new social network where you can market? Is there some unique way to market brand? Do your research!
Mobile Marketing - Text Message, the Leading Medium Mobile Marketing is the fastest growing advertising technique and can communicate instantly with customers. Businesses may send a text message blast to all customers that have given permission to receive them, offering a keyword or promotional offer. Customers will view the text message moments after being sent containing a link to the website or simply by reading the message and showing it to the business. Compared to other types of mediums such as TV, print, and radio, mobile marketing is less expensive, personable, and instant. It has become effective due to the technological cell phone age that has created an instant gratification public. Text messages are more likely to be opened and responded to than emails or direct mail, primarily because customers must opt-in for the mobile promotions. These customers want to be advertised to and are more likely to use the coupon promotion bringing customers to the business more effectively. With customers providing permission to contact them, they are trusting businesses leading to brand loyalty. Cell phones are a very personable item that people continuously use 24/7, allowing advertising to reach consumers at a high rate. The reach of mobile marketing not only advertises to smart phone users but to traditional cell phone users also. Mobile traditionalists comprise 60% of mobile users that website advertising cannot reach. Text messages can reach an audience of 100.7 million compared to the web at 34.1 million. People have their devoted attention to their cell phones and interact with them uninterruptedly. With web and TV, the audience is most likely distracted by numerous attempts to gain attention. Mobile marketing breaks through the clutter and advertises to customers as an individual. Cell phones have become personable through individualized apps and reflect an active user perspective on consumers. Marketing professionals can detect where a customer has been, what they've been doing, and essentially know that customer. This allows businesses to better fulfill the needs of their customers, relating their product specifically to their habits. People use their cell phone for just about everything now, carrying it everywhere, checking their personal accounts, and leaving intimate details about themselves. Businesses can relate relevant and valuable information to customers creating a deep relationship.
GPS location is also a successful tool that mobile marketing utilizes. It can direct the text message blast within a certain mileage of the business or target certain demographics specifically. By reaching a more precise target, there is no wasted circulation and the message is delivered to the intended target audience. Through the help of mobile carriers, there may be user profiles to better pinpoint a target audience. Mobile marketing uses geography to make advertising integrate into a campaign, focusing at home or away. The use of an effective mobile marketing campaign has the chance to double a business' revenue but at the cost of $100,000, in 2007. In a recent campaign I conducted for a counseling business, the use of text message appointment reminders and online booking doubled the profit intake for the business. Since mobile marketing is a recent advertising campaign, there are still challenges to be considered. But, it has proven to be an effective and upcoming marketing medium. The beginning of mobile marketing has been successful and shines hope on upcoming advances for companies such as AdMob, Quattro Wireless, Millennium Media, JumpTap, and InMobi. Future mobile marketing may include video messages, advertising with games, screen savers and coupons. Mobile marketing has proved to be a success for many businesses, and is an upcoming leading medium in the advertising world.
Small Business Tips
Another of the great small business tips that you can use is about advertising. If you want to get customers, which are necessary for the success of many businesses, you will have to advertise in order to get them. Advertising is something that you should always make room for in your budget. Of course, finding the most affordable methods of advertising early on will make quite a bit of difference. It may take more work, though. If you want to start your own small business, the market for a business is something you should consider. If there is no market for your business, you will not have any success with it. So, make sure that the people in your area will want to purchase the products or services that you will offer them. This is a very important part of having any sort of success with a business - possibly the most important in some cases, because it can often determine the success or failure of a business.
Owning and running your own small business is a great thing to do, but it is not always easy. If you want to have success with your small business, there are some ways to do it, though. Here are some small business tips to maximize your profits and minimize your headache, even early on with the business. The first of the small business tips that you need to remember is that in the early time of the business, you want to keep your profits as high as possible. This is not always an easy thing to do because often, especially when your business has first opened, your customers are pretty low, and therefore your money is pretty low. In order to make this happen, keep your spending as low as you can. Avoid buying anything that is unnecessary in order to keep all the money that you can.
Another of the great business tips that you can use is to always take advantage of the Internet. Even if your business is not one that would benefit in any way from a website, it is a great idea to advertise on the Internet. This can greatly expand your ability to get customers. And what's even better - Internet advertising is far more affordable than many local newspapers. This is advantageous for additional advertising at a great price, which is especially great for young businesses that don't have a lot of money to spend on advertising. If you have a successful small business, then you will experience all of the great advantages of it. But, you have to have a successful small business in order for that to happen. These small business tips will help you make your business more successful so that you will actually make money. Keep all of these in mind when you buy a business or when you start one of your own. They will be helpful in both cases to get your business established and
Analyzing Customers in Your Business
The Customer Analysis section of the business plan assesses the customer segments that the company serves. In it, the company must 1) identify its target customers, 2) convey the needs of these customers, and 3) show how its products and services satisfy these needs.
The first step of the Customer Analysis is to define exactly which customers the company is serving. This requires specificity. It is not adequate to say the company is targeting small businesses, for example, because there are several million of these types of customers. Rather, the plan must identify precisely the customers it is serving, such as small businesses with 10 to 50 employees based in large metropolitan cities on the West Coast. Once the plan has clearly identified and defined the companyâ€™s target customers, it is necessary to explain the demographics of these customers. Questions to be answered include: 1) how many potential customers fit the given definition? is this customer base growing or decreasing? 2) what is the average revenues/income of these customers? and 3) where are these customers geographically based? After explaining customer demographics, the plan must detail the needs of these customers. Conveying customer needs could take the form of past actions (X% have purchased a similar product in the past), future projections (when interviewed, X% said that they would purchase product/service Y) and/or implications (because X% use a product/service which our product/service enhances/replaces, then X% need our product/service).
The business plan must also detail the drivers of customer decision-making. Sample questions to answer include: 1) Do customers find price to be more important than the quality of the product or service? and 2) are customers looking for the highest level of reliability, or will they have their own support and just seek a basic level of service? There is one last critical step in the Customer Analysis -- showing an understanding of the actual decision-making process. Examples of questions to be answered here include: 1) will the customer consult others in their organization/family before making a decision?, 2) will the customer seek multiple bids? and 3) will the product/service require significant operational changes (e.g., will the customer have to invest time to learn new technologies? will the product/service cause other members within the organization to lose their jobs? etc.). It is essential to truly understand customers to develop a successful business and marketing strategy. As such, sophisticated investors require comprehensive profiles of a companyâ€™s target customers. By spending the time to research and analyze your target customers, you will develop both enhance your business strategy and funding success.
Angel Investors: 7 Online Business Plan Scams and 1 Real Deal We've all seen the hype: "We'll put your plan in front of thousands of investors!" "We'll write you an awardwinning online business plan!" "Only $3,000 for thousands of investors to learn about your company!" I cringe every time I see one of these ads. Vultures are preying on honest business people who want to fund their businesses. Here are some ways to spot them:
1. "Only qualified investors see your business plan." Yeah, sure. And who "qualifies" them? Have a friend try to sign up as an investor (that part is usually free). How is she "qualified"? Is there a background check? Does she submit a financial statement? Odds are that she will be asked to do nothing more than sign a statement that she has a certain net worth. That's no "qualification" in my book. So who are these "investors"? Who knows. One could be your strongest competitor. 2. "You approve anyone who sees your business plan." Okay. So what are you going to do to qualify the potential investor? Are you going to run a background check? ask for ID? ask for tax returns? or just be so happy that anyone wants to see your business plan that you jump on the idea? (That's how these scams get away with charging thousands of dollars -- too many entrepreneurs are desperate for funding.) 3. "It's only $500 (or $300 or $100) to register." What does it matter if it's free? If it is diverting your time and energy and resources away from finding a viable investor, it's not worth it. 4. "Your idea is great, but we need to put it into our format. This will only cost $800." Don't walk -- run from these guys. 5. "Your idea is so great that we want to invest $2,000 in it." (That's after you spend $5,000 to put it into "their" system.) Do I really need to comment on this? 6. "Talk with a satisfied customer, or 2 or 3." Here's this entrepreneur who just got $2 million in funding, and he has nothing better to do than sell the web scam to you? Trust me, entrepreneurs who just get funded barely have time to eat, let alone talk. 7. "Look at all these written testimonials." This is harder to disprove because the testimonials look so real -- even the companies might be real. But unless the testimonials, and the companies, can be verified independently, I wouldn't trust them. And I'll lay odds that they cannot be verified independently.
There is one huge exception to this: ACE-Net (http://activecapital.org). This is more properly the Access to Capital Electronic Network run by venture capitalists, institutional investors and individual accredited investors. It was developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy to encourage the creation of a national marketplace for investors to find and invest in equity offers by small companies. ACE-Net isn't for all companies. Those seeking under $1 million will probably find the paperwork daunting. Those seeking over $5 million won't qualify. There are special qualifications, and of course lots of forms to fill out -- but nothing like the forms required for a formal initial public offering. But for those who do qualify, it's an amazing tool in raising financing. Spend some time with the website and the forms, and see if your local SBA office can put you in touch with another company that went through the process. As with any investor tool, don't rely exclusively on ACENet. Use it in conjunction with your personally developed targeted funding search. This, combined with an exceptional business plan, doesn't guarantee success but it places your company head and shoulders above all the rest.
Are You Satisfied With Your Business Just As It Is? Did you know that satisfaction is the number one emotion people want to experience about their life and business? Yes, fame and fortune are up there, but satisfaction is the key. Satisfaction is about contentment, gratitude and pure joy. Are you satisfied with your business and your life? If not, read on and see how you can transform your life in the simplest method possible. To be satisfied is to enjoy each step along the way, to be able to integrate the practical with the fanciful, to continually refine your dream or vision. You need a vision for your business. You had it at least once in your life, especially if you chose to go into business for yourself. You may be making the money that you want, have fame in your community, but still are unhappy and wonder - "Is that all there is?" If you are in any way unhappy or dissatisfied with your life or your business, you need to re-ignite your original vision or create a new one. But wait, you say, you already have a business plan. Isn't that sufficient for your business success? Why Isn't a Business Plan Enough? A business plan is for banks and credit institutions, but outcomes are based more on desire than on business plans. Vision with a Capital VÂ is bigger than a business plan. The difference is, if your vision is not articulated, you cannot include it in your business plan. Who Besides Me Benefits from My Business Vision? Customers know when you have a clear, passionate business vision. The benefits clients, customers and vendors receive are a result of your clarity about the dream of your business. The more you can relate your vision to your family and community, the more you can excite everyone. More excitement attracts the customer of your dreams.
Lance Armstrong wanted to win the Tour de France. Once he achieved this goal, his vision was to win more Tour de France's than anyone. He did just that; he created a World Record of six wins. What he also did benefited the country of France, even though he is an American. France's tourist dollars increased. American television advertising grew as more people tuned into these races. Armstrong's battle with cancer increased donations to the American Cancer Society. Benefits abounded for anyone connected to bicycle riding, including manufacturers and sports clothing providers. Do Independent Professionals and Micro Businesses Need a Vision Too? Definitely! Independent professionals and micro businesses require the clarity of a vision. Martha Stewart started small. She was a caterer after she completed her career as a model. A product of her times, the 1950's, Martha's first thought was to make a home look warm and inviting. As a great cook, Martha created elegant, well-designed meals and events. She had her vision for success. When Martha Stewart dreamed well into the future, she had a vision of a conglomerate business, with far-reaching rewards. She created OmniMedia, with her own magazine, television shows and products; all sold worldwide. From small business visions, big business visions grow. Even in prison, Martha continued to expand her Vision with a Capitol V to include two new television reality shows. Martha never stops expanding her Vision with a Capital VÂ . You now have the key to your business future, the joy that can make your efforts worthwhile. You will also achieve fame and fortune as an outcome, but satisfaction is the key. Be satisfied with yourself. Create a Vision that helps move you forward. Enjoy yourself, your business and your life.
Checklist for starting a business
Use this comprehensive checklist to plan each step of your new business and transform your dream of entrepreneurship into reality. These steps may not necessarily be completed in the order listed; however, you can use them as a guideline for completing all of the necessary business startup tasks.
-Determine what kind of business you want to start. - Learn about the industry for your business. - Analyze the market for your business. - Study your competition. - Educate yourself on running a business. - Join trade associations. - Name your business. - Perform a trademark search. - Register a domain name. - Design a website. - Obtain a logo. - Determine business structure (sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation). - Evaluate your personal budget. - Write a business plan. - Write a marketing plan. - Locate financing. - Create a list of start-up supplies with budget. - Set up a system for accounting and payroll. - Apply for business license, fed tax ID, fictitious business name. - Select a location and set up shop. - Order signage.
-Obtain business tools (computer, printer, fax, postage, office supplies, and fixtures). - Order business stationery (business cards, letterhead, brochures). - Obtain inventory. - Create an operations and employee manual. - Hire employees. - Set a launch date. - Plan a grand opening event. - Send announcements to everyone you know. - Send press releases. - Turn on the OPEN sign! - Revisit your business plan and update often. - Evaluate your marketing strategy often. - Prepare a realistic business plan.
Do not expect to conquer the world with your first year's business returns. Starting a business is a life changing undertaking and one you must be patient with. The rewards are there, but make sure you set yourself achievable targets when you reach them they will give you the confidence and satisfaction to set new goals and to continue building your business' success.
FINANCE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS: SO MUCH MONEY – SO LITTLE TIME
$37.4 million funded from venture capital today. $86.4 million funded yesterday. $51.4 million funded the day before.
It’s a new agency, with new programs and services, and lots of money to lend. Although much of the focus of the SBA is on minority business enterprises, the SBA still has a lot to offer non-minority companies.
These numbers are not made up. They are actual numbers from actual reported venture capital funding. I get these notices emailed to me day after day, rain or shine.
Also talk with your local banks. (That was plural “banks”, not “bank”.) Talking with a number of local bankers will rapidly bring into focus the wide ranging priorities of the various banks, and where your company fit in.
I’m not personally looking for business financing – but the entrepreneurs who read my website are. These numbers are a constant reminder to me that companies – lots of companies – are getting funded every day.
As for venture capital and angel investors, there are several options.
And these numbers just reflect the reported venture capital funding. There is probably double that amount from angel investment and unreported fundings, and millions more from the $16 billion pool that SBA has this year. All in all, it’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of companies and banks and groups and individuals actively investing in small business. So how come you’re still looking for financing? Perhaps you aren’t presenting your company effectively. Or perhaps you haven’t located the right lender. It’s also possible that your concept just isn’t very good, but I doubt that. The fact that you are reading this article means you are a serious entrepreneur, with a serious business. So where do you go to find all these investors? Here are some starting points: For standard business financing, talk with the local office of the Small Business Administration.
One option is to go to online sources. There are a number of online services, such as VFinance, that sell the names and addresses of possible investors. It’s not expensive, perhaps $2-5 per name. The idea is that once you get the list of 200 or 2,000 names in hand that you will contact each with a written executive summary or business plan, and then wait to hear from one of them. This is a very passive approach, roughly akin to throwing paint on the wall and hoping that something will stick. If you are like most entrepreneurs, patience is not your strong suit, so sitting and waiting for a response is not quite your cup of tea. Another option is to go to one of the many directories of venture capital firms. These directories typically include addresses, phone numbers and emails, along with the geographical areas of interest and the types of investment that each is seeking. Most businesses can narrow down their list of prospective investors to several hundred venture capital firms this way. And again you are faced with the prospect of sending out written material for each one, and waiting for a response. A third option is to take a more proactive approach. Identify your best prospects yourself from a number of reliable sources. Get introductions where possible. Learn everything you can about your target investors, and then go after it. Typically a phone call is the first contact, not an anonymous executive summary. Knowing that you are calling your best prospects, you know too that they are open to hearing from you. You have names, you have investment histories, you have everything in hand to make a real connection with the target investors. Then go do it.
Franchise Opportunities Are Not Always As Good As They Sound
Franchise opportunities are out there and if you look, you’ll find more than you can count. In order to find out if a business franchise truly is an opportunity of a lifetime, there are a few points that you must evaluate. Point 1: Market Trend Most franchise opportunities are based on current market trends. You will see a lot of franchises that promote the current size of the industry along with potential market. But just because it’s a large industry does not automatically guarantee opportunities for success. In cases like this, you should check with industry associations to determine two things. Firstly, the growth stage of the industry you are interested in, and secondly, whether or not that industry has experienced a positive growth over the last few years. Point 2: Territory Coverage As you know, if a franchise decides to spread itself too thin, it won’t do well. Over saturation and rapid growth are not necessarily good things. Having a protected territory is important when you sign up for franchise opportunities. This is because being protected means that your competitors will remain outside the franchise company. So before you sign up with franchise businesses, check your contract and find out if you have first refusal rights if or when a franchise becomes available in your local market.
Point 3: Company Support As you might have guessed, success comes with a strong support network and good franchise opportunities provide a full level of support. This is to ensure higher success rates for your franchise business. Support can come in terms of training, marketing, management and even field support. Signing up for a business franchise that does not offer these things might have you running a franchise without heads or tails. This in turn leads to a low chance of success with your franchise. Point 4: Exit Strategy As with all contracts, they will not run indefinitely so it’s important that you determine early on the terms and costs to end your business franchise contract. Before signing up for anything, find out the franchise company’s expectations when it comes to the renewing of the franchise contract in the future. Point 5: Franchise Business Plan Franchises are considered great business opportunities simply because they have a higher success rate than regular start up businesses. However this does not mean that a business plan is not required. Having a franchise business plan will be invaluable as it will help you understand your franchise business better as well as the market you are about to tap into.
ALTERNATIVES TO CREDIT CARDS Are you one of those people who only ever got a credit card for the convenience of being able to pay without cash, or because you weren’t aware of any other easy way to borrow money? Millions of us are, thanks to the unavoidable advertising of the credit card industry, and few people realise just how many alternatives to credit cards there are. Let’s take a look at a few. Debit Cards.
Pre-Paid Credit Cards.
Debit cards are often used in many European countries, but are relatively unheard of elsewhere. Basically, they’re just like credit cards and are accepted everywhere credit cards are accepted the only difference is that they take any money you spend directly from your bank account, instead of you getting a bill at the end of the month. You should be aware,though, that you aren’t as wellprotected from fraud with a debit card as you would be with a credit card.
These are cards that work just like credit cards, except that you can’t have a negative balance - you have to put money on the card before you can spend it. That means that you ‘top-up’ the card, like you would a mobile phone. This is good if you want to know how much you’re spending, not to mention that you can even give the cards to children. They’re also safer than debit cards, since someone who stole the card could only spend whatever money was on it at the time.
When you’re buying one big thing at a fixed price (like a car), or you’re going to spend all the money on one type of thing (home improvements, for example), it’s worth budgeting it all out and going to a bank or another loan company. They’ll be able to lend you the money at a much better rate than a credit card would, simply because they know why you’re taking the loan and can set regular monthly payments for you to repay it.
Bank Overdrafts. A good bank overdraft, used together with a credit card, can be a far better way of borrowing money than using a credit card. Your overdraft limit is set by the bank according to how much you gets paid into your account each month, and you don’t need to pay it off until you want to. Basically, it just gives your account the facility to go into minus numbers, if you want it to. Many banks charge relatively high interest rates for overdrafts, but rarely as high as a credit card - and they will give much better rates for good customers.
Credit Unions. Credit unions are like banks, only more local. They are co-operative, owned by their members and run by the community, and are a great place to borrow money. This is because there are limits in law on how much interest credit unions can charge, and they don’t need to make a profit for owners or shareholders, because they don’t have any. It’s well worth checking if there’s one in your area.
100,000 SUBSCRIBERS IN 30 DAYS? Two years ago, I sat in Joel Christopher's "Master List Builder Seminar" listening to ideas on how to build my list faster. The room was filled with seasoned on-line and off-line marketers. They all told us that the money was in the list... something we all knew intuitively. People in the room shared just about every method imaginable for building a list. They covered what worked, what didn't, and what you definitely should not do. They shared their personal experiences and the results of their latest list building tests. A few of the speakers had tremendous impact on me. One was Paul Myers, whom I previously knew primarily from on-line discussion forums. I had also enjoyed several LONG phone calls with him. The other speaker whose message intrigued me was Frank Garon. Frank spoke of buying lists of new subscribers for less than a penny a name. He spoke of something called "co-registration." Terry Dean also validated for me the impact writing good ezine articles can have at that seminar. Frank Garon REVEALED that he and other top marketers regularly joined together and bought batches of tens of thousands.... maybe 100,000 names. These names were gathered via on-line forms placed on high traffic websites. The forms offered more information on the types of products and services that Frank and his friends offered. The websites' visitors checked this box requesting more information, and these names (along with datestamp, IP address and other relevant information) was passed to the opt-in name purchasers. As I listened to this talk of building a list of 100,000 in a month or less, I wondered, if it's so great, why isn't everyone doing it? The answer that later became clear is that many of the top marketers ARE doing it. It's not their only method of building a list, but it's definitely one of their most profitable. The next question that popped into my tiny mind was, "Are these really subscribers or will I be accused of spamming if I send emails to these people?" These people do actually opt-in to receive more information about starting an on-line business. They do physically check a box requesting more information be sent to them. That does technically make them opt-ins. Later, my coaches and mentors would share with me many SECRETS. One was that when you have access to one of these list, it's all about return on investment. We all know that names purchased via co-opt systems are less responsive. They are less responsive because the subscribers don't know you - they don't have a relationship with you.
These mentors went on to share that there was a proper way to legitimately turn these opt-in "LEADS" into subscribers. The method is very simple. In your first, and every email to them, you remind them that they requested more information of this type through an on-line form. It doesn't hurt to include the date, IP address and email address they subscribed from. Then you go on to share some fantastic information with them... maybe in the form of your ezine. In every contact with these purchased names you also include an easy method for them to unsubscribe. If you provide genuine value, over time, you will build a relationship with many of these leads. Many will unsubscribe, but again - the important metric is return on investment. that's what you need to track. If you start out with 100,000 names but 6 months later that list has dwindled down to 10,000 or maybe even 1000, what is the lifetime value of those list members remaining? That's the question you need to ask. You answer that largely based upon what you currently earn for each subscriber on your list. Another concept that sank into my head at Joel's workshop was the concept of building sub-lists. These are lists that are kept separated based upon the source. This allows you to send emails/offers to your lists based upon list demographics or how they were acquired. I now have many sub-lists. These sub-lists are from articles I written, teleseminars I conducted, interviews I given, course I've authored, website forms, joint ventures, and co-registration purchases. Each list is generally set up as an autoresponder that I can send select messages to. My autoresponder system allows me to send out an unlimited number of both scheduled and unscheduled messages.
1. Have daily goals.
5 Mobile Marketing Productivity Tips You Need To Know Making more money does not necessarily mean working more hours. You can increase your output and so your income by being more efficient. You can raise your productivity and income by being focused. In addition, you can form good habits that automatically enhance your productivity. Apart from those factors, here are five specific tips you can use to boost your productivity.
Every day have a set of goals that bring you closer to your grand goals. May be as a mobile marketer you want to dominate your chosen niche of text message marketing. You will need to do something daily that moves you closer. A goal that is written down is better than one that is in your mind. The mind thinks in pictures and when you write a goal down it brings conviction as more senses are involved when writing. Keep your goals simple, realistic and attainable. This will require honest self-analysis that will help you estimate the time it takes to complete a task and the resources you require to do it. 2. Start with the toughest task first. When you start with the toughest tasks you defeat procrastination and your day becomes a success. Small wins motivate you to conquer others. Tough is relative and what's tough to someone may be easy to another. In addition, what is tough today may be easy 6 months from today after you are used to doing it. However, I think you know what is tough to you. To some people its writing articles, for others it calling customers, yet for others it is doing workout. 3. Maximize your peak times. You need to identify your peak productivity cycles and schedule your most important tasks during this period. Minor tasks can be performed during off-peak times. You may find that writing a newsletter to your clients is the most important task and that your peak time is morning 6:00 am to 9:00 am. What you need to do is write the newsletter during this period when your mind is fresh and alert. From my past experience, I have noticed that, most people's peak times are in the mornings. Therefore it would be unwise to reply emails or update your Facebook pages during your peak time if these are minor activities. It would also be wrong for you to watch an indepth CNN coverage of an earthquake in Iran. This certainly can be done during off-peak seasons. 4. Learn to work in solitude. Productivity is highest during long uninterrupted blocks of time working solo. Sometimes it is difficult to work in solitude especially for mobile marketers who work from home surrounded with their family members. However, success is about solving problems. And you can solve this by either working late in the night or early in the morning when everyone is asleep or locking yourself in a room for minimum 60 minutes. This is especially important when you are doing key tasks that require concentration. Your clients will not understand that when you were writing them your 2-year old son was pulling your trousers and you failed change their names on the emails. Now John is receiving an email meant for Elizabeth. 5. Identify milestones. You need to have small and big milestones on your work. A small milestone may be to write 1000 words. A big milestone may be to write a 150,000-word eBook. To boost productivity have a milestone that you work towards and you don't stop till you hit it. Once you pass the milestone you can reward yourself with a cup of coffee or a pat on your back.
SOCIAL MARKETING JOBS Social marketing jobs have become more popular in recent years. The popularity of social media web sites have caused businesses to include jobs in social media marketing. Traditionally, jobs in marketing focused on print, television, and radio ads. Marketing professionals used these mediums to influence the buying behavior of targeted markets. Corporations are discovering that social marketing is less costly and quite effective. People tend to buy products based on recommendations from friends and family. There is a trust factor that plays heavily into the buying behavior of consumers, so marketing professionals can target the captive audience on the internet. Studies show that people are spending more time online than ever. There are billions of users on the internet, and this number continues to grow every day, so the potential market is enormous. In addition, many forums are developing around certain interests, so this leads to a captive audience that is interested in certain activities and products. This is the perfect environment for a marketer. Jobs in marketing depend upon the professionals being able to reach and influence their target audience. The internet has made this easier in some ways. Social marketing also includes brand and reputation management. A company must pay close attention to what consumers are saying about their products and services. One person having a negative experience can negatively affect the public perception of a product or service; thus, social media professionals have a duty to effectively manage the brand of their clients. Also, social marketing provides an environment where consumers can communicate with companies. This communication line opens up a direct method of active dialogue. Customers can critique products and services, and the corporation can use this market research to improve their products and services.
For example, one company recently changed their logo. Consumers were vehemently opposed to the change, and ultimately, the company changed back to the old logo. Customers were very unhappy with the change, and this company realized that they should have done more market research before making a change of this nature. This type of social interaction between consumers and companies is important. The internet is a excellent way to exchange large amounts of information immediately. Information can reach people around the world within a few seconds. This type of marketing is cost efficient, and marketers are able to track the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. They can see the direct effect that a social marketing campaign has on the sales of a product or service. Also, a campaign can be adjusted quickly if it is not effective.