Small Business Topics

One thing that is for sure with online business is that in order to build a Internet home business opportunity you must supply high value information on a web site. This makes sense because people who are using the net is not looking to be sold, they are looking for information on different subjects of interest. The number one job of any web site is to provide information people are looking for. This opens a great area of interest for anyone looking to make income from the Internet and with a nice plan any business can grow to unlimited potential.

Locating profitable topics are the best way to find any Internet home business opportunity. A web site must locate all the keywords that are being used by individuals on the net. These keywords tell you exactly what people are typing into the search engines to help find the information they are looking for. By building informative pages of content around these keywords a business can begin to bring in some of the free traffic from the search engines. By locating all the keywords people are using to locate information on different subject matter the pages of a web site build topical pages of information on the exact subject matter they are searching for. This way when people are arriving at the site they are being “supplied” with what they desired and this creates an amazing amount of trust for the business. The possibility of making a sale from a visitor now has gone up in amazing amounts.

So many web sites and online businesses make the grave mistake of trying to sell through a web page first and many times only trying to sell. In order to start a successful Internet home business opportunity one must think like a visitor coming into a site. Because most individuals using the Internet is looking for information and not to make a purchase creating a plain sales page is very ineffective. If a person was looking for some advice on how to remodel a bathroom and found a web site just selling bathroom supplies the person would just click the back button to find another site which has some content on the subject they are interested in. If when this person went back and found another site which has the great pages all about how exactly to remodel a bathroom and then made some recommendations as to products that they may need that person is much more ready to do dome buying. The reason is simple, they now know and understand what they need to do from the helpful content they read. They also believe they can do it and want to get started as the pages got them exited. The person now wants to get started and has a lot of trust in the web site making the recommendations because they knew what they were talking about and supplied the information that the person was in need of.

Any Internet home business opportunity begins with provide information people are looking for online. This information is discovered by locating the exact keywords people are using to try to find the information they are in need of. By building pages of content around topics of interest using these keywords people finding your web pages will feel comfortable because they were supplied what they needed. Once this trust and credibility are established the visitors are much more willing to make purchases from the site as well as return to the site as a lifelong customer. Think as if you are a visitor coming into the web site and always look at your Internet business as a visitor, would you be happy coming into the site and would you feel the pages of the web site delivers a value to the net?

Effective Internet Marketing

Starting an internet business is easy and in most cases relatively cheap since overhead is almost nonexistent. It is so easy, in fact, that thousands of internet businesses are started everyday. The hard part is making them successful and that requires some effort and possibly some investment.

In order to invite visitors to your internet business site, you first have to determine the type of visitor you are hoping to attract. If providing a product geared toward a specific audience then your internet marketing efforts will have to be aimed at the same group. Every time you change the product to focus your effort on you will also have to adjust the focus of your internet marketing.

One of the most cost effective methods of internet marketing is through affiliate programs. There are many sites that are willing to place you advertisement on their website for the promise of a commission if you realize any sales from that advertisement. This works in favor of both parties in that you do not pay for advertising unless it is successful and the other website wants your ad to be successful so it can make money.

Using affiliate internet marketing you can get your ad on thousands of additional websites without paying a dime for the advertising until you see the results. Try telling a print advertiser that you will pay for the ad only if it results in sales and see how often your ad will run. One of the tricks to affiliate internet marketing is to keep track of which sites are carrying your ads.

Do these websites represent the values with which you want your business name to be associated and you receiving any traffic from your exposure on their pages can be used to determine the viability of leaving your name there.

How Do I Do A Business Plan

Business plans are a necessity for any business start-up or investor, and with new start-ups being formed every day, the demand for business plan writers and business plan services will always continue. For any business to have a chance of success it must focus on clearly defining its direction.Below are three simple tips on what you will need to do to become a reputable and successful business plan writer.

1.Don’t overcomplicate things Avoid filling business plans with complex jargon and long sentences as it will only confuse the reader and make the task of reading the plan look like a very long and tedious one. Try keeping information short and sweet, which can be done with the use of sub-titles and bullet points which will make all information easy to read.The client will find it a lot easier to navigate their way through the plan if it is structured in this way.

Look to avoid the use of acronyms and technical terms, and if you feel like you have to use them, then make sure you explain them fully in a universal way that the readerwould be able to understand.

2.Know who your reader is knowing who the audience is will allow you to pitch the business plan at the right level. Banks will often require an emphasis on financials with an overview and description of the business. Venture capitalists and other sophisticated investors (such as angels) may require in-depth research and analysis into the market potential.

Where the plan is being presented to more than one group, consider if the plan needs to be altered to cater for each group’s requirement.Also consider how the plan should be presented and in which media. If uncertain prepare to produce the plan in both paper and electronic formats.

3.Provide a clear methodical structure Once you know who the reader will be and the likely requirements of the plan you can then consider a suitable structure. Typically the structure should be clear, methodical and cover any areas sufficiently to be able to successfully convey the right message.

Look to avoid the use of acronyms and technical terms, and if you feel like you have to use them, then make sure you explain them fully in a universal way that the readerwould be able to understand.

Emphasis should always be biased towards achievements and strengths; however any weaknesses within the business model should be highlighted. Often this adds a level of integrity to the plan.As a general rule, ensure that the plan has an index, executive summary and comprehensive financial section. The Executive summary should be brief but impressive and be enticing enough to encourage the reader to continue. The financial section should not just be pages of numbers it should be a narrative about the assumptions, the risks and the funding requirements.

Small Business Start

1) Choose an industry that you are interested in – don’t just do it for the money. There are lots of business opportunities our there where you can work from home or make money online but make sure it captures your interests. You could be in it for the long haul.

2) Does the business that you are choosing offer any form of training to help you be a success from the get-go? Let’s face it we don’t know everything especially when were just starting out. Check to make sure someone has gone before you and laid out a duplicatable process that you can model.

3) Can it be considered a “Ghost Operation”? In other words would the business or system allow you to make money without always having to be there? Many online business opportunities are set up this way, allowing the business to run on “skeleton crews” with as little as 10-15 hours per week.

Planning A Small Business

I love entertaining so I frequently host gatherings which include the casual dinner party and BBQ’s to the more formal anniversary parties. Getting my family and friends together for gourmet food, good conversation and laughter brings a warm feeling of satisfaction to my heart. From personal experience I know how planning even the smallest of gatherings can be very time consuming. There is the planning of dates and times, getting the guest list together, shopping for food and decorations, checking out venues, hiring entertainment, etc. Think about starting an event planning business so that you can offer your clients the benefits of hosting a great event with the convenience of one stop shopping for all of their event planning needs.

Skills you need with you start an event planning business
Knowing how to throw a great party is a valuable skill when starting an event planning business. It will help you to have an idea of what your customers will be looking for. It will also help you to offer ideas and tips to clients looking for valuable resources for their event. Having an eye for detail and a fun personality are a great asset to any event planning business. Good time management and organizational skills are helpful as well. Being on time, keeping invoices, orders, client information, vendor lists, venue information and any inventory you choose to carry such as party supplies organized is a must for your business to succeed.

How do you get started?
Starting an event planning business takes a little time and research. The best way to get started is to offer to plan events for your family and friends. This will give you experience in planning a variety of events as well as build up your portfolio for future clients to see your work.

Read books, take classes and attend workshops to help you to grow in your field. Join the International Special Events Society (ISES), to stay on top of events and happenings within the event planning industry.

Target market
As an event planner there are many types of events that you can plan including private parties, fundraising events, corporate events, wedding, business launch parties and more. Start off by putting real thought into what type of events you would be best at planning. Even though you may be good at planning all types of events to be successful it is always best to choose one area of expertise and add to that if you choose to as your business grows.

A good business and marketing plan
Sitting down and writing out your business and marketing plan even if it is only on a single sheet of paper to start with will really help you to start your event planning business off on the right foot. Who will your clients be? What services will you offer? What will you charge for services rendered? How will you market? Are some of the questions to keep in mind when starting your business.

A quality vendor list
A major key to event planning success is to develop a rolodex of reliable vendors to work with, like caterers, musicians, photographers, videographers, party suppliers, venues, etc.

Starting an event planning business is the perfect choice for someone who is detail oriented and enjoys working with others. Research your industry well and learn how to market yourself to prove your credibility. Be patient and your hard work will eventually pay off.

I love entertaining so I oftentimes host gatherings which include the casual dinner party and BBQ’s to the more formal anniversary parties. Getting my class and friends together for foodie food, good conversation and laughter brings a warm tone of satisfaction to my heart. From personal see I know how planning even the littlest of gatherings can be very time consuming. There is the planning of dates and times, getting the guest list together, shopping for food and decorations, checking out venues, hiring entertainment, etc. Think about starting an event planning business so that you can offer your clients the benefits of hosting a great event with the public convenience of one stop shopping for all of their event preparation needs.

Skills you need with you start an event planning business
Knowing how to throw a great party is a useful skill when starting an event planning business. It will help you to have an idea of what your customers will be look for. It will also help you to offer ideas and tips to clients looking for valuable resources for their event. Having an eye for contingent and a fun personality are a great asset to any event planning business. Good time direction and organizational skills are helpful as well. Being on time, retention invoices, orders, client information, vendor lists, venue data and any armoury you choose to carry such as party supplies organized is a must for your business to succeed.

How do you get started?
Starting an event preparation business takes a little time and research. The best way to get started is to offer to plan events for your family and friends. This will give you get in planning a multifariousness of events as well as build up your portfolio for future clients to see your work.

Read books, take classes and attend workshops to help you to grow in your field. Join the International Special Events Society (ISES), to stay on top of events and happenings within the event planning industry.

Target market
As an event planner there are many types of events that you can plan including individual(a) parties, fundraising events, incarnate events, wedding, business concern launch parties and more. Start off by putting real thought into what type of events you would be best at planning. Even tho’ you may be good at planning all types of events to be successful it is always best to choose one area of expertise and add to that if you choose to as your business grows.

A good business organization and marketing plan
Sitting down and committal to writing out your stage business and marketing plan even if it is only on a I sheet of paper to start with will really help you to start your event preparation business sector off on the right foot. Who will your clients be? What services will you offer? What will you charge for services rendered? How will you market? Are some of the questions to keep in mind when starting your business.

A select vendor list
A major key to event planning success is to develop a rolodex of reliable vendors to work with, like caterers, musicians, photographers, videographers, party suppliers, venues, etc.

Starting an event planning business is the perfective tense select for someone who is detail orientated and enjoys working with others. enquiry your industry well and learn how to food market yourself to prove your credibility. Be patient and your hard work will eventually pay off.


Free Business Plan Samples

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To Start A Business

Employing the right strategy for your website design can be crucial in determining the success of your small business. Even though it is essential to hire a web design agency to get the job done efficiently, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Always put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Many large businesses have achieved success with this simple principle. Granted, these big business have a big budget for these kinds of market research, but that doesn’t mean that you have to ignore this important factor altogether. While you don’t have to spend that much on the information you gather, you can get a basic understanding of your target audience and the market within which you are operating. Your website should therefore reflect the people you are seeking to make an association with. This can only be done if you put yourself in your consumer’s shoes. Don’t just list down your products or services in a formal way, but try and connect with them on a more personal level, either through content, imagery or design.
Talk to your TG in a language that they understand
While you may know a great deal about your business, product or the service you offer, your potential customer may not. You have to assume that they don’t know you at all. That is why it is important to keep your communication simple and free from any industry lingo that they might find ambiguous, technical or downright confusing. Craft the content on your website to reflect the way that your customers speak, in a language that they will effortlessly understand. Your message should be communicated to them clearly and in a way that they can value.
Create a balance between information and imagery
You may have a lot to say on your website, but that doesn’t mean that you load it with tons and tons of text. Not only does this comes across as tedious for a user to sift through, but it can also repel them away from your website. You need to be able to strike that delicate balance between text and imagery. Visual aids are key to the effective design of your website. After all, pictures do speak a thousand words, and almost everyone can relate to them. Imagery can effectively cut the clutter of a large chunk of text and can have a lasting impression on a web user.
Keep it simple always
Simplicity is the key to having a web design that connect with a user on an intrinsic level. If your website has tons of flashy features due to which it doesn’t load well, it might turn prospective customers off. Not only is it not cost-effective, but it does very little to increase user appeal. You have to assume that your customer is landing on your website for a specific purpose, either to know more about your product or to sign up for a newsletter. All those flashy distractions might just chase them away and lead them to a competitor’s site which is simpler and more straight forward in comparison.

Small Business Search Engines

Do you know what search engine optimization is? If you do know what this phrase means, you are better off than most people who are trying to advertise their business. If you don’t know, there is many a search engine optimization firm that will try to teach you in return for giving your business to them.

So what exactly is search engine optimization? Search engine optimization is getting your business or website to the top of the search engine results by using certain keywords and other advertising techniques to help you out. If you are going to use a search engine optimization agent, who is going to basically do the work for you, you may have to pay a lot of money, depending on what type of company you have. Certain companies are going to be more expensive to promote and other companies, just because they are in a very competitive area. For example, if you are selling clothing, the costs of a search engine optimization campaign is going to be larger than if you are selling something less common like coffee filters. More people search for clothing on the Internet than they do for a coffee filters, which means that a search engine optimization company is going to charge you more money for this type of campaign.

Search engine optimization can get you to the top by increasing the number of people who click on your website. You may not know this, but the order of the website search results are listed by surfer popularity. This means that it is difficult to get to the top, but once you are there and have a quality business, you are likely to stay there.

A search engine optimization agency is going to take the work out of Internet advertising for you. Before, it could kind of get confusing when trying to figure out how exactly to get to the top of the search results. Even now, most people don’t do their search engine optimization by themselves. Instead, they find someone to do it for them

A search engine optimization firm is going to find out who your competition is, do a bit of link tracking and then find out what the best keywords are for your website. If you are dealing with a reputable search engine optimization agency, they are not going to recommend using keyword spamming, which can leave customers to your website very frustrated and annoyed. Keyword spamming is going to bring a lot of traffic to your site, but it is also going to bring a lot people to your site that just aren’t interested in what you are offering.

For search engine optimization, you really have find a search engine optimization company that knows what they are doing and can bring the right type of customer to your company. If you don’t get the right type of customer, you are not going to get an increase in business. In fact, having the wrong type of search engine optimization can actually hurt your business, making your website look disreputable and cheap.

Small Business Portal

Growing Web portals online has encouraged all the small business owners in the market to come and promote their businesses over internet. Small businesses like small manufacturing unit, exporters, and suppliers from any field of business. Web Portals are similar to Websites or Web Pages which are informative in nature. Again an informative website is a collection of web pages online which offers vivid variety of information related or concern to the business it offers or the idea what the designer or the owner has in his mind. These business portals nothing different from the hard bound business directories we people generally have at home just that web portals are the electronic version of the same. Web portals acts as online B2B directory where B2B stands for business to business which means that it specifically facilitate or comes in handy to the business owners of any area but if seen other wise they are equally helpful to the general public like us as we about equally require business listing around us. Also with the growing exposure to internet we who working professionals or students or business owner do roughly 10 percent of our daily shopping from internet, if not we at least look for the required products online once before going to the shop.

In India the business related web portals or Indian b2b portal are really growing these days, with the increased reach of the consumers and business owner in India the scope of business owners to list their businesses online has also grown. India nurture a uncountable numbers of small cottage size businesses on its chest, spread over the India from north to south and east to west. India B2B portal are has high scope of business listing on them together with business variety provided that the consumers and business owners are well aware of these websites.

Listing businesses with online B2B directory not only help support your business by promotion it online to be visible to numerous visitors and potential customers. It also builds BUSINESS LEADS, BUSINESS CONTACTS, and POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS for any business listed online.

India B2B portal offers its visitors and customers to list their business for free as well as paid, under various business listing categories. It offers highly interactive interface for the visitors and easy index-able business categories to help both the list-ers and the visitors to find their required elements on the business portal.

With various membership schemes available for paid business listing keeping different business sizes in mind and numerous visitors recorded daily, it is believed that the growth of business is confirmed with business listing.
Business portals stand more efficient than the individual websites if seen through ROI criteria. If compared return is not much as per the investment is concern for private websites. Whereas it is just contrary for web portals, business owners get much more benefits than they may get from private website of their business, for example business lead from all over the region. Indian b2b portal is the best way to go for any business owner, small, large, manufacturer, exporters, or any kind of trader, situated in India. Not only that it benefits business situated over India, but also others by providing contact details of the traders who are based in India. This facility helps majority of the business owners who are not based in India but still wants to get into business with Indian marketers.

Online B2B directory offers wide variety business categories for businesses from agriculture, transport, hardware, medical and many others to choose from. Directory being available online is visible to masses worldwide also and is update every day. Indian b2b portal offers genuine business listings which saves time of the visitors or potential customers. All these facilities makes Indian b2b portal one of the major and best BUSINESS 2 BUSINESS Portal in India.

Planning A Business

Strategic planning is a method of planning events in a strategic manner in order to accomplish the goal at hand. This type of planning works by looking at the whole picture and you then figure out how you are to get from one place to another. Probably the most important example of strategic planning is that which is done in the military. In this example, we could say that the strategy is to overtake an area while the tactical planning is how you will fight each battle. The strategy is the plan to get through the whole picture.

Now, take this to the leaf of business strategic planning. Strategic planning can work in a number of ways in a business environment. For example, you may want to make a plan to get the business from one level to the next. Depending on what that is, you can make a plan that the business will follow to achieve the end results. Here are some ways in which this type of planning can be put into place.

• Financial aspects such as profit, loss, increasing sales or lowering costs.

• In human resources, you can devise a strategic plan to recruit new hires, to promote individuals, to staff a location quickly.

• Also, you can use strategic planning in your business marketing plans. How you will market, where you will market, and how much you will spend in those areas are all determined through the strategic planning.

Like any other things in business, though, you also have to have back ups when it comes to your strategic plan not working. This will help you to find the right choices each time. Because you will have something in place to handle things when they go bad, you will feel more confident about your plans. Strategic planning is something that any company or business can use quite effectively.

Financing A Business

Vendor lines of credit serve two important roles for businesses seeking capital. They first give a business access to products and services based on “net terms” ranging from 15 to 60 days. Secondly, vendor lines of credit can help businesses build their credit scores. In order to build a solid foundation for business credit, businesses must have one bank loan, three business credit cards, and five vendor lines of credit established to build proper business credit.

Another benefit of vendor lines of credit is that they are a lot easier to obtain, than a conventional business loan. Most vendor lines of credit are not secured because collateral is not required to obtain the line of credit. Credit lines are available for all products and services imaginable including office equipment, computers, and even gas for company vehicles. There are more than 500,000 businesses that offer credit lines to other businesses. Out of these though, only 6,000 report your payment history. This means that approximately 1.2% of all of the vendor lines of credit available actually help you build your business credit scores. It goes one step further, and out of the 6,000 that report to the credit agencies roughly 1,000 will allow you to obtain the vendor credit line without using your personal credit history.

You are probably wondering what is so special about business credit scores, and why is it so important to build them up. Many business owners and other entrepreneurs don’t realize that business credit works exactly like personal credit. Without personal credit you cannot purchase a car or house. You have to have a history of paying on your open accounts in a timely manner. The same principal needs to be applied to your business that you would apply to your personal credit. You also want to separate your personal credit from your business credit. This is essential for anyone that wants to properly establish and grow business credit.

If you have vendor lines of credit open with the other 98.8% of businesses out there you will only gain the credit given to you. This does you no good for the future because you aren’t building your credit score while you are using that vendor credit line. The most efficient way to build your business credit history is to have credit accounts open with companies that will report your payment history. This will help you get closer to your goal of being able to borrow the money you need to really grow your business. You have to remember to build your credit first, and then attempt to get the large business loan you desire.

Another benefit of always ensuring that you build your business credit is that after your initial launch you will have the credit backing you to obtain more money for rapid expansion. You can grow your business quicker than your competition with the access to the cash you need. This creates an ease of mind for the business owner and the business itself.

Just knowing the importance of building your business credit using such things as vendor lines of credit will not be enough on it’s own to get you the capital you want. There are many other aspects to obtaining financing. If you follow all of the steps you will be in a position to get the capital you need and deserve.

Business Plan Objectives

Business Plans written with the primary purpose of presenting the company to outsiders differ in format and presentation from a plan developed as a management tool. While it would benefit the company and management to go through the efforts necessary to establish goals, objectives, strategies and action plans, outsiders unfamiliar with not only the company, but also possibly the industry and products require a different presentation. The emphasis for any plan for outsiders should be on selling the reader on the attributes of the company. A plan for strictly internal use is geared more toward defining specific, measurable performance targets and assigns responsibility for reaching those targets.

A business plan used as a management tool is not a static document. It should be reviewed every quarter and updated to reflect changes in the business environment and the progress of the company.

The business planning document is often the first exposure an investor has to a company seeking financing, often even before talking to the entrepreneur on the phone or having a meeting. Because it makes the critical “first impression” for the company, a poorly prepared plan can be a reason for an investor to decline on the investment, and not take the time to ask for more information. While we all hear of stories about deals that were scratched out on the back of an envelope, after a brief meeting between a savvy entrepreneur and a multi-millionaire, the truth is: no business plan equals no capital.

The business plan is often used as the basis for the offering memorandum that is prepared for investors.

The business planning template below can be used for an established company or for a start-up. Obviously a start-up company may not have an historical background, or the previous years’ financial information. There also may be some gaps in the management team as well.

Below is an outline of each segment of a plan developed for presentation to potential investors or lenders.

Business Model
The Product
The Market
Competitive Environment
Management, Operations, Production, and Facilities
Current Ownership
Strengths, Weaknesses, Risks, and Opportunities

The length of each segment can vary but overall the business plan should not exceed 30 to 40 pages, not including the financial statements. Entrepreneurs have a tendency to jam pack as much information in their business plan as possible hoping the quantity will substitute for quality.

Free Business Plan Sample

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 companys 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 companys target customers. By spending the time to research and analyze your target customers, you will develop both enhance your business strategy and funding success.

Start Up Loan For Small Business

To run a success business depends upon a lot of things. A planned business strategy plays an important role. Second and foremost important thing is the finance. Without a good financial backup, you will not be able to get success in your business. Business finance loan may help you in running the business successfully.

Business finance loan is especially designed to fit all the business requirements. People from small, medium and big businesses can obtain business finance loan. On the other hand, people with bad credit suffering from CCJ’s, bankruptcy, defaults, arrears, etc. can also look for such loans.

Whether you are starting a business, expanding your present business or for any other business purposes, business finance loan could help you in all possible way.

Main benefits of business finance loan are its flexibility. Business profits are not fixed, it changes almost all the time so, it is a great help for the borrowers to manage their repayment period. Flexible business finance loan makes it more convenient for the borrowers in repaying the loan.

To get an easy loan approval, you need to show your business plans, projects and profit statements. You also need to shop around for getting the loans at competitive rates of interest. Browse different financial websites and search for different loan offers. Consider you financial requirements and choose one of the best loan deals.

Apply for Business finance loan now through online process and raise funds for your business. Implement your plans and strive for excellence.

Steps To Starting A Small Business

It must be an enthusiastic feeling you are having right now. You have finally made the difficult choice to go into business for yourself. You dream of the freedom from your hounding boss and the exhilarating feeling of writing your own paycheck. It’s a lifelong journey that has to start at the first step the very beginning.

I am attempting to take everything all those self-help books say and boil it down to a real action plan that is a simple as it can possibly be. Basically make it much like a recipe. You really don’t need all that filler; you just need to know how to get started. A bunch of fluff is not going to help; in fact it slows you down. Instead of reading, you should be doing!

This section will be those most difficult first steps of just getting started. Effectively launching your business and then growing it for success are their own unique steps in the future. For now, I’ll have to assume you have an idea already and have researched it enough to know that it is a good idea and has a bunch of customers clamoring for your product or service. Please be sure you have a good quality product and/or superior service. You are not trying to make a quick buck; you want to have a business that lasts.

I also have to assume that you already have some sort of support network in place, trusted friends, professional advisors like accountants and/or lawyers, and a maybe a mentor with excellent opinions. If you don’t have them, you can pick them up along the way. But you’ll need them all at some point.

You probably want to know what qualifies me for writing about this. Academically, I have an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. Professionally, I have been a consultant for many entrepreneurs, I worked at a home business franchise company for several years, and I have a few successful entrepreneurial ventures of my own. I even helped my own family launch a very successful online business selling premium pashmina and cashmere products. I’m not a super rich entrepreneur, but I’m successful and happy. My key expertise is online ecommerce, but the following ideas are relevant to starting any type of business.

How to Establish Your Business

This first part is really what most people don’t know how to do. It’s the fundamental process of actually setting up the business. All the good ideas in the world have to start at the beginning. It’s not the fun part, but it has to be done.

It may seem elementary to you, but why have not you done it yet?

So, let’s start from the start.

1) Giving Your Business a Name

Your business’ name is important. It is your customers’ first impression and your public identity. You probably want to choose a name that is professional, but also may hold some meaning to you and your potential customers. My personal and professional opinion is to not get too elaborate with your name. Make it simple and direct so you don’t have to waste a lot of time branding or explaining to your customer just what it is you do or sell.

For example, for my family’s business selling pashmina products, we decided to go with The Pashmina Store. There is no question what the business is. Simple and direct…and the URL was available (which is very important).

Most people have a desire to name their business after themselves, using something like their family name, their first name, or their initials. This is a perfectly acceptable; as long as you get the idea across about what it is you are selling. For example, if you are selling raincoats and your name is Smith, you may call your business Smith’s Raincoats or even Raincoats by Smith.

Take the time you need to select on a business name that you’re happy with, says what you do, and has a good URL for a website. You should run your name choices by your friends and family to gauge their reaction and to get their thoughts.

2) Register Your URL

I know, you just decided on a name and have nothing close to a legal business yet. But I suggest snapping up the best available URL (or web addresses) as soon as you can. In this day and age, your website and the URL will be a large part of you business identity. It will also be the source of your email addresses, so getting a good URL matters. We were lucky enough to get our store’s name for the pashmina and cashmere business, I hope you are as fortunate for your venture.

It is best to investigate available URLs even as you decide on a company name. Try to get the URL of your exact business name, or as close as possible. I suggest getting a .com” rather than .net” or other since that is what most people know.

You can research names and register at websites such as and There is a small fee, but it is worth it if you are serious about your business. These two services even will help you inexpensively set up and host a website and email service.

3) Your Business’ Legal Organization

Next, you will have to determine what legal structure is best for your new business. Early in a business’ life, a sole proprietorship is most common. However, it is beneficial to know the different types of legal business structures before you decide for certain. You’ll need to know all about them as you grow, in any event.

You’ll most likely want to discuss the options with your accountant and/or attorney as well. To get you started, here are the three most common forms of business.

1. Proprietorship. As mentioned earlier, this is the most popular structure when starting a new small business. It is also the easiest to start. In most states and cities, all it typically requires is a D.B.A. (doing business as”) and a tax ID number, which would likely be your Social Security number.

A proprietorship provides you the maximum amount of control over your business…but it also leaves you the most potential liability. In short, you are personally accountable for your business and all of its debts and legal issues.

2. Partnership. This form of business is common if your business requires you to take on a business partner for expert knowledge or financial needs. A partnership is a legal definition of your business relationship and defines which party is responsible for what aspect of the business venture.

For example, you may be the engineering type who can make the product. Another person may be the talkative type who can sell sand in the desert. Yet another person may be the main financial backer. Whatever your circumstances, a partnership allows you to define each person’s part in the business and put it down on paper in a legal manner.

3. Corporation. This is the most official and potentially complicated legal form of business. This is also the most expensive type of business entity, but it does provide everyone involved the least amount of liability.

It is very common to start as a proprietorship or partnership and then change to a corporation after the business is established and growing.

4) Business Registration

Again, most likely you will start as a sole proprietorship. The process is very simple and inexpensive. But the process can vary a bit between states and even cities and counties.

The goal here is to get your business name registered as a D.B.A, or doing business as”. You will need this in most areas to open a business checking account. The fees are typically minimal, but vary on your location. Your County Registrar is most likely to be the office you will need to contact to ask about what the process is to get your D.B.A. The methods will vary by location and in some rare instances you may not even have to register. Just be sure to ask about all of the steps to make sure you’re covered.

After you have made some calls or used the Internet to find out the steps in your area, you will most likely need to go fill out paperwork at the government office that handles the registration. The good news is that the paperwork is generally light and the wait is not too long. They or you will be responsible for checking to make sure the DBA name is not already taken, and in many cases you will be able to check on the Internet before you even go.

After the paperwork and name check, you will have to pay a fee, which is generally small. Once it is all done, be sure they give you a notarized copy of your registration as you will need it at the bank to open a business bank account and possibly for other things.

I wish to remind you that what I offer are general guidelines and information to help get you started. It is always a good idea to discuss your options with an accountant or lawyer to determine what is best for you and your individual circumstances.

5) Obtaining a Business Address

This is a step that you can skip if you simply plan to use your home address or an existing business location as your address. But in most cases, you’ll start working out of your home and probably wish to protect your privacy and create an aura of having a larger business by getting a new business address.

This process is as simple as going to the post office or a private mail box center (PMB) such as The UPS Store. I suggest a PMB over the post office because you can usually use a street address and list your box number as a suite” to help create a more positive image versus having your address be a P.O. Box number.

6) Your Business Phone Numbers

Like the business address, you can skip this step if you plan on using an existing phone number. But you should consider adding a second phone number to your home or office to be used just for your new business. You can even get what is called an overlay” and put a new phone number on top of your existing phone. It will go to the same phone as you have now, and in most cases you can assign a different ring tone so you know it is for the business.

A toll-free number is also an important item to have, but you don’t have to have it right out of the gate. But studies show that customers are more likely to contact you if you have a toll-free number. They are not that expensive to set up and the charges are based on usage, so if you use it a lot you should be getting more than enough business to cover the expense.

Remember that you phone voice is important. Talk with a smile the customer can hear that smile. Be sure you have a pleasant and professional sounding message for your voice mail as well. And call back your customers who leave messages as fast as you can. Your competition probably is not taking care of them fast, so you should.

7) Business Banking Account Formation

Having a separate business banking account is advised since it will help you keep your financial records straight. It will save you a lot of time during tax season to keep your business and personal spending separate. I suggest using a larger bank, such as Bank of America or Wells Fargo, which serves the business community. They will offer a wider range of services and possibly be a good source of business loans to help fund your growth.

You may want to call several banks in your area to compare their small business service options and the associated fees. Once you decide on the right bank for your needs, make sure you know what paperwork to take when you open the account. In most cases they will require at least your notarized D.B.A certificate.

8) Logos, Business Cards, Letterhead and Others

Some people may tell you to invest lots of money upfront to develop a great logo and then put it on expensive letterhead. These people have never started a business on a budget. While you do want to appear professional, you can do just fine with your own computer and printer while you wait to grow big enough to afford such materials.

Most likely your word processing program or other such program already has a letterhead template. That is fine to use for now. Choose a nice font for your new logo” and use some color for it, if you wish. Do purchase some nice paper to put it on. Then simply print out as needed.

On your letterhead, make sure you get all of your important information across in a professional way. In general, you’ll want to include your business name, mailing address, phone number, fax number and email address.

The same goes for business cards and envelopes. You can buy nice envelopes and business card stock and use your existing program templates to create professional materials as needed.

Having a designed logo or company motto on your letterhead is a personal choice. Make sure it looks good and reflects the business. Also make sure it looks good when it is made very big or very small since it will be used in various formats.

The Next Steps

Once you finish Step 8, you’re in basic business shape. It is difficult to tell you what to do next since there are so many types of business and different ways to go about it.

In general, you’ll need to start letting people know about your business and getting customers. This may mean developing a website that sells products or promotes your services. It can be as simple as handing out business cards to everyone you meet. Or maybe it is pounding the pavement” and meeting people to tell them what you are doing.

But there are a few things to keep in mind that relate to any business. The Nike slogan has it right when they proclaim Just Do It.” Nobody is coming to you, so you have to reach out to them. And it takes time and effort. Yes, you do have to work” and sell” no matter what those advertisements may promise for their wonderful business opportunity.

Here’s the secret” to success: You will have to work harder than your competition, treat your customers better than your competition, offer a better product and or service than your competition, just plain be better than the rest. Yes, that is the secret!

My first job out of college was as an executive recruiter, a headhunter. I was successful at this job. In fact, I was one of the tops in the nation. It was not because I was naturally better than anyone else, it was because I worked harder and I worked consistently. Have a plan for the day, the week, the month, the year…and do it consistently. Get into a routine and stick to it. You’ll get sidetracked along the way, of course, but keeping your efforts consistent will pay off. You’ll make you own luck.”

Since you are your own boss, you do have a little luxury to make a schedule that fits your lifestyle. If you want to start at 10:00 AM, or play golf for lunch, or work late at night, that is fine. But stick to the schedule and make it your routine. This will help you get over the initial feelings of being scared and overwhelmed and start getting you comfortable with your new professional life and on your way to success.

Along the way, you’ll start to discover what your strengths and weaknesses are. You don’t have to be an expert at anything really; you just have to be average to above-average at a lot of things as an entrepreneur. If there are glaring weaknesses in you business skills, you simply have to work at them. You can read a book, take a class, whatever…but you’ll naturally get better each and every day just by doing your business.

Finally, do not get so frustrated in the beginning that you quit before you even get started. Depending on what you start with and what (or who) you already know it is going to take some time. Even minimal success is probably going to take several months and maybe a year or more. Make sure you are mentally and financially ready for at least a year.

If you’re not ready now, don’t worry. You now know the steps and what to expect to even get started. It is better to take you time and be well-prepared than to rush off and make a mistake that you will regret for years to come.

Launching and growing your business are the essential main steps 2 and 3. But those are whole other beasts that are best discussed at another time. Until then, I wish you the best of luck and hope that your new business is an incredible success.

Business To Business Financing

Commercial borrowers need to realize that they have more commercial loan options than they think. These business financing options are referred to here as “Thinking Outside the Bank” because most commercial borrowers believe that a bank is the best source for a commercial loan. Non-traditional business lenders are commonly considered to have the competitive edge for a variety of business financing situations.

Here are two brief examples about how a commercial borrower is likely to benefit by “Thinking Outside the Bank”. In many situations a traditional bank will provide a commercial mortgage but will include non-competitive covenants and terms. In other cases a traditional bank will decline the business loan because they do not provide commercial financing to the commercial borrower’s particular type of business.

Commercial loan borrowers might feel that a bank is their most likely source for business financing. However, since traditional banks usually focus on a few types of businesses, non-traditional business lenders should be emphasized for any business loan situation. Therefore the recommended commercial mortgage strategy discussed in this article is to “Think Outside the Bank”.

As I noted in an earlier commercial mortgage article, in many non-competitive business loan situations it is not unusual for a local traditional bank to impose harsher business financing terms than would commonly be seen in a more competitive commercial loan market. Such traditional banks routinely take advantage of a relative lack of other commercial lenders in their local market.

An appropriate response by commercial borrowers is to seek out non-bank business loan options. It is neither necessary nor wise for commercial borrowers to depend only upon local traditional banks for business financing solutions. For most commercial mortgage situations, a non-local and non-bank commercial lender is likely to provide improved commercial loan terms because they are accustomed to competing aggressively with other commercial lenders.

There are at least three commercial loan situations in which business borrowers will typically experience that non-traditional lending sources can provide conditions that are best for the borrower: (1) commercial mortgage loan programs; (2) credit card factoring programs; and (3) working capital management programs for credit card processing.

Commercial Loan Programs – Commercial Mortgage Business Loan Choices

Two of the most prevalent commercial real estate loan obstacles can be precluded with a “Think Outside the Bank” mentality by businesses. The first commercial mortgage obstacle is the common practice of most banks to decline business financing for special purpose commercial properties such as churches and golf courses.

A second business loan possibility is the frequent practice of many commercial banks to add recall and balloon conditions to their commercial loans. The bank can then require early payoff of the commercial real estate loan under stipulated conditions. Both commercial financing situations can easily be prevented by a non-traditional lending source.

Business Loan Options – Business Cash Advance Programs

Many merchants that accept credit cards in their business will qualify for a merchant cash advance with credit card factoring. A traditional bank will usually be a poor source of help if a business needs to use credit card financing.

Because even thriving businesses frequently need more cash than they can borrow from a bank, it can be of critical importance for a business to “Think Outside the Bank” and locate non-traditional lenders to assist with this business financing need.

Business Loan Options – Credit Card Processing Programs

A credit card processing service can be a key function in improving the bottom line of merchants with high volume credit card activity. The analysis of credit card processing providers can be efficiently combined with credit card receivables and credit card financing.

In managing a merchant cash advance program, it is often possible to obtain a significant improvement in credit card processing activities. It is probable that a non-traditional lender will be the key source of effective help with credit card processing because traditional banks are usually not competitive in providing assistance with credit card financing.

A closing business financing thought: I have written an earlier business loan article about commercial lenders to avoid. It should be noted that there are in fact both traditional and non-traditional (non-bank) lenders which should be avoided.

So when commercial borrowers “Think Outside the Bank”, it is still of critical importance that they are prepared to avoid a wide variety of problematic non-traditional commercial lenders in their search for viable business financing, especially when it involves business cash advance (credit card receivables and credit card factoring) programs, credit card processing services and commercial real estate financing.

Copyright 2005-2007 AEX Commercial Financing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.