The 5 Most Important Things You Should Consider Before Starting a Business

All too often, I have seen creative people with promising ideas start businesses on the wrong track, ultimately resulting in wasted time, money and failure. By definition, entrepreneurs are optimistic risk takers who, to a point, believe that they will overcome any obstacles they may face as business owners. This is actually a characteristic essential for real success, but most new business owners can ill afford to many missteps, especially the ones that could have been anticipated and avoided. The reality is that a business starts as soon as the idea emerges, not when a bank account is opened or a web site launched. This article could appropriately be titled “The 5 Most Important Things You Should Consider Before Spending Any Money On Your New Business.” If these five respected areas are made clear and taken into account, any potential business-owner could easily save capital, save time and put themselves in a better position to succeed.

1: The Master Mind Concept - When two or more individuals join in the pursuit of a common goal, a “Master Mind” is created – a totally separate and distinct entity that occurs as a result of collaborative thinking; some call it synergy, others collaboration. What I have learned is that if used correctly, it can be the most powerful resource that you will ever be able to tap into.

2: Focus - The starting point for success is focus. The main reason that businesses fail is not due to a lack of capital, but from a lack of focus. When an individual has an idea, with a motive for profit, a business is born. Micro Businesses, with no structure to begin with can, easily become separated from their original idea. The entrepreneur that can stay focused on the original idea, that contrived the business, has the highest chance of succeeding.

3: Structure - The absence of structure in a business is the chief cause of a lack of focus. The first step in creating structure is realizing that no successful business owner does everything themselves. People that need to be “in control” of everything are actually losing control of their business. There are three core segments to every business: marketing, operations and administration. The three must, at all times, equate to one another. If you have created a “Master Mind” and realize that you cannot and should not do everything yourself, you are on your way to creating structure.

4: Payroll & Sales Tax Compliance Issues – In today’s business environment, the need to raise revenue without raising taxes is a complicated balancing act. Federal, state and local governments have been increasing enforcement activities to generate cash flow. Unfortunately, this approach comes at a great expense for the new business owner who is not armed with the right information. My years of experience have shown me that these issues are significant enough to resurface years later and put your business in jeopardy. You do not need to be an expert in law, but you do need to understand how the law will effect your business and what the cost of compliance will be; ignorance of these laws and regulations will not save you. The major issues right now are unfilled and/or late payroll tax returns, independent contractor (sub-contractor) vs. employee issues, backup withholding and sales tax compliance and collection.

5: Principles vs. Tasks – Principle-based management will set you on a path of true success. When you operate your business on a firm set of principles, no matter what happens in the marketplace, your principles will carry you through. Principles set the stage, while tasks encompass the details of day to day operations. Tasks are important, but they should not drive your business; task masters make good managers, but poor business owners. Leaders of business follow their principles in making the tough decisions. Your principles must be set from your own beliefs, otherwise they will not carry you through the tough times. Some principles I follow are: take money out of the equation, be a teacher and create a franchise business model. When a situation arises that I am sure about, I do two things: consult my “Master Mind” and follow my principles.

Put yourself in a position to succeed; focusing on what you do best is the first key to success. Knowing that you cannot, and should not be the center of all trades will help you to start building structure.The concept of the “Master Mind” will attract like-minded people who will help you propel your business to new heights. Remember that success is the result of hard work, but hard work alone will not bring success.

Tips of the Top Businesses – 10 Tips

Most small business marketing is done blindly. Sad, but true. If business owners aren’t busy copying each other (not realising the copiers are themselves being copied by the ones they’re copying), then they’re trying to emulate the marketing strategies of the giant corporations, with their deep pockets and limitless budgets.

Small business marketing – 10 secrets of the top companies

Alas, this form of marketing simply doesn’t work for small businesses. There’s no accountability, no tracking and so no way of knowing what’s working and what isn’t working.

But don’t despair. Small business marketing done the right way is profitable, quick and very easy IF you follow the rules. So let’s look at the 10 small business marketing secrets of the most successful small businesses.

1. Direct Response Marketing.

The most effective form of marketing is direct response marketing, which, in contrast to “ordinary” marketing seeks to elicit a specific response from the target market rather than just hoping, usually in vain, to grow the “image” of the business or promote that most pernicious of frauds, “brand awareness”.

2. Testing and measuring.

Successful businesses track all their marketing, from the humblest email to the most sophisticated direct mail or AdWords campaign. They can tell, with a very small margin of error, exactly how many sales and how much profit every single piece of marketing they’ve done has ever made them. And by a process of stepwise-refinement, they can take so-so ads and turn them into formidable marketing machines that churn out vast profits like clockwork, year in, year out.

3. Accountability.

Because smart small business owners track everything they make every ad carry its own weight. There is no guesswork or estimation. If an ad isn’t paying its way or it can’t be measured… then it’s cut, ruthlessly.

4. No such thing as failure.

When an ad fails to make a profit, your average business owner falls into despair and feels he or she has failed. Not so your smart marketer. Smart marketers realise they have just learned something very, very valuable: how NOT to write an ad for that market. It means they never have to make that mistake again. Leave your emotional attachment to results behind, and you’ll fare far better in your marketing, that’s a promise.

5. Always make an offer.

Smart marketers realise every single piece of marketing they do MUST have one offer (and one offer only). It must be specific, clear and unambiguous. Moreover, for best results it must be time- or quantity-limited to make it more desirable. This is completely counterintuitive but it works. It’s called “scarcity” and it’s perhaps the most powerful weapon in the marketer’s armoury.

6. Offer guarantees.

The most successful businesses understand and embrace the power of guarantees to drive sales. Ordinary business owners run scared from doing this in the mistaken belief they are going to be ripped off or cheated by unscrupulous customers and clients.

Yes, it happens sometimes… but so rarely the extra sales vastly outweigh the losses. But the emotional reaction to being cheated can be so strong it actually stops business owners from using guarantees. If you can master your feelings about this… you’ll dominate your niche, no question.

7. Relentless follow up.

Successful business owners follow-up with their leads, customers and prospects relentlessly. They’ll keep making them offers day in, day out until they buy, die, or tell the business owner to stop. Most business owners are too thin-skinned to be this forthright… but as the old saying goes… “timid salesmen have skinny kids“.

8. Focus on buying customers, not making sales.

The value of customers and clients is always in the long term. So rather than focusing on sales, sales, sales, smart marketers invest the time, money and effort in getting a customer or client for the longer term. Hence the emphasis is always on service, not sales. And another way of looking at this is to say they are buying customers with their marketing expenditure.

9. Focus.

Reason for being in business is to make a profit. Even a “non profit” has to make enough to meet salary and keep the lights burning. And that means the focus must always be on making sales. This isn’t to contradict the last point, because it’s assuming the long view… and the long view in terms of sales is always better served by growing a trusting relationship.

But the point is this: the focus, long term, must always be on profits and Return on Investment (ROI).

10. Premium prices.

Finally, savvy business owners realise competing on price is a dumb, dumb way to run a business, because a price cut is a self-inflicted and often fatal wound. Truth is, “low price” is important to only around 14% of people. The other 86% are more interested in things like reliability, good service, quality and convenience. Get those down pat, and your customers will gladly pay whatever you ask of them — and those who won’t… then refer them to your competitors with a smile.

So there we have it. Just 10 simple strategies you can put to work for you in your own small business TODAY and start enjoying an immediate increase in sales and profits.

How Social Media Is Changing the Way We Do Business

Social media for business, is changing the way we market our products and services. Technology and online opportunities are influencing the way consumers interact with each other, lead their lives and make purchases.

As a business owner, you can use your knowledge and understanding of business social media, to expand your business into new and exciting directions.

Some of the online social marketing options include Facebook for business, and Facebook marketing. The new trends in social media for business are seeing smart businesses integrating themselves into their customers’ daily lives. Their products and services are becoming a part of how their customers live, and their business messages are being communicated directly and subliminally throughout their daily routines, including spending time with friends, and even waiting for the bus.

Facebook for Business – The Power of SOCIAL

People get more excited about a new product when they are referred to it by a friend, and when they are exposed to products and services, while they are having fun. Facebook marketing directly targets consumers while they are relaxed, enjoying themselves and laughing with their friends online.

Think about how people use Facebook and other social sites. They share photos of their family, stories about their holidays, declare their love, and catch up with old friends. Facebook is a time to chill out, be yourself and relax. People love using Facebook and Facebook marketing makes the most of this new marketing platform.

Smart businesses who target consumers when they are happy and content, know that during these times, consumers are more open to new ideas, including trying new products and making purchases. Facebook marketing is about quick, easy and spirited marketing campaigns that are fresh and positive. Consumers love this, and respond well, which means more interest, and more online sales for your business.

Who is your target market?

Many marketing campaigns simply hope that if they tell enough people, they might reach a few who care. Business social media works differently to this, and is unlike any other marketing opportunity previously available.

The unique and powerful properties of these new marketing platforms make it an intelligent choice for businesses who are actively seeking online exposure to the specific demographic that will show interest in your products or services.

Facebook for business allows your online advertising to be specifically targeted to the consumers who are best suited for your business. If your product is desired by young females, Facebook will display your advertisements to a young female audience.

Facebook knows they are reaching the right audience, because Facebook users have already provided them with their gender, age and interests. This is where the power of social marketing lies.

There is no need to pay for advertising that reaches the wrong people, when you can specifically target the individuals who will care about and actually purchase your goods or services.

What Possibilities Does Facebook for Business Offer?

Facebook for business, allows your business to be listed on Facebook, and have its own Page. This Page can be ‘liked’ and followed by interested consumers, and they will allow you to keep them updated on information about your business. This could include the latest specials or offers you have, new products or services that you are introducing, or even some funny stories about your business and the people who work there. Facebook is fun, and Facebook for business makes your business fun too, even if you work in an industry that is traditionally very serious!

How Does Facebook Advertising Work?

Facebook allows you to place strategic advertisements on the site, to be seen by the demographics most interested in your business. Your targeted, results-focused ads can make them stop, click and follow through on your offer if it’s positioned in the right way. Even the consumers who don’t make a purchase or take up your offer then and there can click the ‘like’ button to receive your regular ‘Posts’ from your Facebook Page into their News Feed.

How to Begin Your Facebook Marketing Campaign

If you want to launch an online social media presence for your business, and get involved in Facebook marketing and Facebook for business, you will need to talk to experts in Social media marketing. If you talk to people who understand the powers of business social media, you will feel confident that you are making the right choices, including the most cost effective options.

One of the biggest myths about social media for business, is that the costs need to be high. Business social media is one of the most cost effective marketing methods available, shows immediate and measurable returns and is perfect for small businesses who are operating on a tight budget.

Talk to a professional in business social media, who can explain the options available and provide you with the right advice for your Facebook marketing campaign.