|Small Business Information|
Are You Ready to Own and Operate a Business?
How often has someone thought of starting a business based solely on the fact they think it will be easier than working for someone else. Fact is, owning and operating a business can be one of the most grueling experiences you will have. Granted, there are many advantages, but unless someone has actually run a business there is much to consider before you make that decision.
The following information will help you operate a business more professionally. With today's technology there is no reason you cannot have the look of a large company even if you are working off your kitchen table. If you have a home based business it is suggested you have a room dedicated to your business. This helps you to stay focused and there are some major tax benefits in doing this.
-Choose voicemail rather than an answering machine. There is a major difference in the perception to the caller.
-Toll free number. Check with your local telephone company to find out if this is available to you if you will have a lot of clients/customers from outside your calling area.
-Have a separate business phone line. You do not appear very professional if your children answer the phone.
-Email. Avoid using free services due to limitations and perceptions. -Dedicated fax line. A small business will appear as such if the fax number and phone number are the same.
RUNNING AN OFFICE
-Stay organized. The more you can keep yourself organized the easier it will be to respond to customer's requests in a timely fashion.
-Color file folders. A great way to organize your file system. Each color indicates a category.
-Dedicated file cabinets. Separate personal papers from business.
-Form letters. Don't reinvent the wheel with every letter you write. Keep form letters on a disc or your hard drive.
FINANCIAL END of running the business. There will be many costs to running a business. The following are some of the investments you will need to consider.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED IF YOU WANT TO STAY COMPETATIVE
-Which ones are most beneficial for you to join? To get the biggest benefit from any organizations you need to get involved. Use the monthly meetings to network.
-Dues and fees. How much are the annual dues and cost for monthly meetings?. Figure that in your budget.
-Conventions. Are there any conventions you need to go to? What is the time and cost investment? Talk to others who have gone to find out if it will be worth the investment.
-Network. Most of your business will come from referrals.
QUALIFYING THE BUYER
-Who is my customer?
-Do they have a budget for my product or service their budget?
-Do I want to work with them?
MANAGE PROFESSIONAL IMAGE
-Responding to requests by providing what the customer needs. If you are not the person for the job, who can you refer (that's why networking is so important)
-Follow-up. Do your follow-up in a timely fashion
-Develop a good relationship with the client
-Return calls as soon as possible
-Send information in a timely fashion
-Priority mail is often less expensive than first class. And it can be more impressive to your client.
-Keep in touch after the fact. A mistake a lot of people make in doing business is they do a job for a client and then seem to forget the client. It is easier to get repeat business than it is to find new business, and yet, so often business owners and salespeople (which is what you are if you own a business) will look for the new customer and forget about their existing clientele.
Kathleen Gage is a keynote speaker, author and business advisor specializing in marketing and promotions. Access Gage's's FREE eBook about how to gain visibility on the Internet with Street Smarts Internet Marketing at http://www.streetsmartsmarketing.com/free-ebook.htm
Knowledge is Power
Why does research and education play an important part of the business relationship?
Franchisee; Vacation Managing
Do you own a franchised business? Over 400,000 franchised businesses currently operate in the United States, which is a true testament of free enterprise. There are many advantages of franchised businesses, which anyone who owns a small business has thought about. One thing they probably have not considered; whether they are franchisee or not is that in a franchise system; your local franchise runs as store exactly like yours. They are aware of every single aspect of your business. So it makes sense that if you want to go on vacation you should have the closest franchisee watch your store for you and you can return that favor for them later.
Successfully Adding a Service To Your Business
There will come a time in your business where you feel ready to add another service offering. To make this successful, there are ten tips to consider before moving ahead.
Five Quick Ways to Speed Up Cash Flow
At one point or another, almost every business runs short of cash. Whether due to normal fluctuations in demand or an unexpected decline in sales, cash shortfalls are the bane of every company, and are responsible for sleepless nights for many business owners.
Questions to Ask as Your Business Grows
Here are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself regarding various areas of the business before you start your growth push.
Awning Cleaning Business Case Study: Entrepreneurship 101
It is most fascinating to study how entrepreneurs spot opportunity in the market place. "My name is Lance Winslow and I am a serial entrepreneur, I admit I am addicted and need help." ..."Hello Lance." Let me explain how I formed one of my companies which became a franchise system in itself and became a module under the umbrella company I had formed many years the prior. I at first saw it as another business to fit into our growing niche of cleaning businesses. It was to be called the Awning Wash Guys. This is an interesting case study in how businesses form and how companies seek, find and exploit opportunity in the market place. Here is the story:
How To Ruin Your Business
If you're like the rest of us, you've spent a lot of time trying different things to make your online business come together. There are countless methods of conducting a viable marketing career, but there are also as many ways to destroy one as well.
Increase Your Profits with a Point of Sale (POS) System
Whether you operate a chain of restaurants, a mom-and-pop convenience store, or a medium-sized retail shop, you are in business to make money. And, one of the most critical aspects to your profit and loss is your ability to track information? you need to know which products are making you money, what items need to be re-ordered, who your customers are, and so on. This is where today's point of sale (POS) systems play such a valuable role.
Frodos Journey: What It Can Teach You About Marketing Your Small Business
Just recently, I took a break and caught "The Return of the King" at the movie theater. At the same time, I was pondering a topic for this article. As often happens, the themes and timing converged. Here are 10 things you can learn about marketing your small business from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Fire the CEO
If you are the boss and you think your job is to run the business, you are dead wrong. Your job, the most important job in any business, is to market the business.
What To Consider Before Buying A Franchise
Here are some useful tips on what to consider before buying a franchise. Before investing in any franchise system, be sure to get a copy of the franchisor's disclosure document. Sometimes this document is called a Franchise Offering Circular. You should read the entire disclosure document.
Four Reasons Why Small Businesses Succeed (or Fail)
The American system of business management has been admired and emulated around the world. This system is characteristic of two traits in the American psyche: (1) enthusiasm for the future and making things better, and (2) an openness and willingness to change in order to achieve that end.
Pressure Washing Business and Post Fire Cleanups
Many have not experienced a fire up close. One year about 15 years ago I almost lost my house as did our neighbors to a wild fire. It moved so fast and the sky so black, with cinders everywhere and soot like a nuclear fallout horror movie. Luckily our neighborhood was spared except for a couple of homes. The fire fighters did a good job that day, others living further down the path of the fire and lower in the canyons did not fair so well, a few people even lost their lives. From that day on, I take fires seriously and you should too.
Making Your Purpose Your Business Step #2- Getting From Point A to Point B
In my previous article, Step 1, your challenge for the month was to research where your passion lies. Based on your research you might have discovered that self investigation can lead us to two places; either we find out our answer or we realize we need to ask more questions to get that answer.
Should I Franchise or Not?
A reader of one of my online sessions asked should he franchise his business or not. He had set up a service business and was getting ready to expand and wanted to know if franchising was a good potential strategy for this. How do I franchise my business? There are many criteria for franchising and if you have ever thought you might wish to franchise your business then this advice could be of value to you:
Mobile Car Washes and Shoe Policies
Mobile carwashing is hard work, it is tough on the your body and it pays to have athletic type shoes that do not get wet easily. Sometimes rapid pace car washing in parking lots can be a lot like playing basketball, except you are on a slippery and uneven surface. Here is some advice after 27 years in the business of twisted ankles and soggy socks.
Carwash Manual Sample Outline
Car wash businesses are unique to other businesses. In fact they are about as unique as the many different type of vehicles one is asked to wash. Many vehicles are best cleaned using slightly different techniques. If you own a carwash or a mobile car wash you will need an operations manual to assist your managers in staying efficient.
Forming a Corporation ? Investors
You've come up with the best idea since sliced bread, figured out a business name and formed a corporation. There is, however, one small problem. You need money. Welcome to the world of investing.
How To Choose A Franchise
You'd like to go into business for yourself, and believe that the best way for you to become your own boss is to buy a franchise. You know it will takes time and money to be successful, and that's OK. But which franchise should you buy? Which makes the most sense for you?
Franchising Industry Burdened in Over Regulation
There were only an estimated 1800 active franchisors in this country at the end of 2002, that number down from 6000 in a single decade. It is not hard from this effort to increase regulations to see why. I believe the Federal Trade Commission's franchising expenditures should be cut by the same rate of decline after all they caused it. Why is the Federal Trade Commission favoring one business model over another, actually the franchising model lowers prices to consumers through economies of scale, efficiency of operations and competition. Any and all increased regulation over the franchising business model is a clear sign that the Federal Trade Commission is titling the field for the larger corporate box store and by doing so is hurting our country, decreasing competition in the market place and decreases choices for forward advancement of every citizen who wants to have a fulfilled life and a meaningful job. Shame on you, FTC; what an insidious consequence of this rule-making group at the Federal Trade Commission? Such a small group gets to decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of American workers and the destiny's of thousands of America's future bright star entrepreneurs and innovators. If this whole process is not evil, then I cannot even imagine what is?
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