One of the biggest struggles I had in starting my business was actually coming up with the idea. I wanted something that was scalable as well as needed in our society. I combed through hundreds of ideas before settling on my current venture. Through this discovery period, I uncovered what I believe are the five most important concepts in determining what makes the perfect business idea.
So, what is a perfect idea? Each individual entrepreneur has their concept of the perfect business. While Google is a great business for the founders of that company – it may not be a great business for others that are non-tech savvy or who do not want to run such a large organization.
Therefore, each perfect business is defined by the business owners. Keeping this in mind, let’s start on my five concepts of finding the perfect business:
# Understanding your customer
This might seem strange to start here as how do you know your customers before you have a business idea in place. The answer is simple – your customers make the business,
According to statistics published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), about half of all employer establishments survive at least five years and a third survive ten years or more. This is a far cry from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within five years.
Better success rates notwithstanding, a significant
percentage of new businesses do fail. Expert opinions abound about what a business owner should and shouldn’t do to keep a new business afloat in the perilous waters of the entrepreneurial sea. There are, however, key factors that — if not avoided — will be certain to weigh down a business and possibly sink it forevermore.
1. You start your business for the wrong reasons.
Would the sole reason you would be starting your own business be that you would want to make a lot of money? Do you think that if you had your own business that you’d have more time with your family? Or maybe that you wouldn’t have to answer to anyone else? If so, you’d
To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money – only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought. You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to reach to achieve success. Read on to find out how.
1. Get Organized
To be successful in business you need to be organized. Organization will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day – as you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you’re not forgetting anything and you’re completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business.
2. Keep Detailed Records
All successful businesses keep detailed records. By keeping detailed records, you’ll know
Write a business plan, any business plan
You have a passion, and you’d like to make it your profession. No matter how enthusiastic you are about your small business, though, it won’t be successful unless you have a plan in place for how you’re going to start and run it.
It doesn’t matter how long or detailed your plan is, as long as it covers a few essential points. Most successful small businesses will need to have a break-even analysis, a profit-loss forecast and a cash-flow analysis. A cash-flow analysis is especially important since you could be selling your products like hotcakes, but if you won’t be paid for six months, you could still run out of money and have to close your doors.
A business plan is essential because it allows you to experiment with the strategy for your business on paper, before you start playing for keeps.
Determine how you’ll make a profit
Profit is, after all, the ultimate goal of any successful small business. You should examine your business’ expenses (rent, materials, employee compensation, etc.) and then figure out how much you will need to sell to cover those costs and
It happens all too often in sales teams. The manager outlines on a whiteboard the revenue that’s expected to come in for the month and each team member gives a quick overview of what activities he or she has planned.
And that’s as far as it goes. The weeks pass. Deals aren’t closing and the manager has no insight into why. Some members of the team are open about what they’re doing, and the challenges they’re facing. Others are less so.
This is a team that’s stumbling along without a clear idea of where it’s going; how it’s going to get there; or what to do about the potholes along the way.
Why? Because it has no clear and measurable process to pull leads through its opportunity pipeline. It can’t effectively manage its activities, ensure accountability and cut through to the root causes of problems.
Defined sales processes
To avoid this situation, you need processes that provide clear insight into the status of opportunities in the pipeline and next steps for each one.
“Teams with formal processes that are monitored and measured are
The secret to being a successful sales professional is building a long-term relationship with your clients. Each client is different, so you’ll have to tailor your approach to their individual needs. But the building blocks of successful relationships don’t change. Here are some of those key elements.
- Know your product, including its features, capabilities and shortcomings. Know its advantages and disadvantages compared to similar products offered by the competition.
- Employ courtesy. Always treat your prospective customer with courtesy and respect, even if the customer is asking annoying or repetitive questions, not paying attention, interrupting you or otherwise being difficult to deal with.
- Ask questions. Find out as much as possible about the prospect and his potential need for your product or service before you meet, and use the meeting to gain further information about the conditions under which the product would be used.
- Be prepared to discuss options. How can you help the customer meet objectives?
- Do not speak disparagingly of the competition. You need to be able to show the ways in which your product is superior, but do so without
We’re bombarded with words, all day, every day—e-mails, brochures, reports, letters, ads, speeches, articles, PowerPoint presentations and much, much more.
You can’t afford to let your business communications get lost in the crowd—not if you want to inspire your customers to buy, encourage your employees to work harder, or simply invite associates to a business luncheon.
Here are a few ways to make your messages stand out from the pack.
1. Know your audience
It’s an old saying in the advertising business: A message aimed at everyone often appeals to no one.
To communicate effectively, you have to know your readers. Are they familiar with your subject? Are they likely to resist your message? Are they old or young, urban or rural, highly educated or not?
Knowing your readers makes it easier for you to answer everyone’s most pressing question: “What’s in it for me?”
Tip: Picture the typical reader in your mind. Is she an 18-year-old university student in a small New Brunswick town or a 60-year-old executive in Vancouver?
2. Know your message
Before typing a word, decide what
When you start a business, especially your first business, there’s an inevitable learning curve. You’ll make mistakes and some of them might cost you money. Here are six common mistakes new small business owners make and tips for avoiding them.
As small-business owners, we’re forced to learn as we go especially when it’s our first business. Sometimes experience is the best teacher. Some mistakes, however, are easy to avoid. We put together a list of some of the most common mistakes that new entrepreneurs make and how to avoid paying up for the error.
Lack of Insurance
Nearly every business needs insurance. If you have employees, you have to pay into workers’ compensation. Workers’ Compensation is a state run agency that provides benefits to employees who are sick or injured while working for you. You don’t have to pay workers’ compensation for independent contractors but be careful. The IRS has rules that explain the difference between a contractor and employee.
Depending on your business type, you may also need general, product, or professional liability insurance, commercial property insurance, or home based business insurance. TheU.S. Small Business Administration has comprehensive information on the
Starting a new business is exciting and scary all at the same time. While you hope you will succeed, you worry things might not go as planned. Increase your chances of business startup success by following these six tips.
Be Passionate About Your Business
Perhaps the most important key to success is passion. Getting out of bed every day and going to work is a grind,
Email is one of the top ways to reach customers and prospective customers. There are many different ideologies when it comes to the most effective email marketing techniques, but there are some tried and true basics that apply across the board. I’ve tested several strategies over the years managing the email newsletters and lists for multiple sites, and share my favorite email marketing tips below. Remember, the goal is to increase opens and encourage readers to take action.
Email Marketing Tips
Spend Time on Subject Lines
This is the make or break part of your email. People read subject lines and either choose to open or not. Your subject line should be compelling, if nothing else. Your type of business and the service or product offered might largely dictate what you put here. Some brands can afford to be sassier than others. Regardless of personality, however, the subject line should make people want to open the email to get more information.
John Hayes at iContact put together a list of the best words to use in email subject lines which is worth a read. Likewise another great resource on email subject lines was published
With a host of digital tools gaining popularity over the years, more and more businesses are implementing these to strengthen their marketing strategies. In an attempt to meet and exceed customer expectations, all businesses are looking for ways to extend their reach to existing and potential customers.
A business’s reputation is a primary aspect that customers tend to check before they decide to avail themselves of the products and services offered by it. As many as 75 percent of consumers say that word-of-mouth is a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. With the internet dissolving barriers among customers, word-of-mouth can travel at the speed of light. Therefore, your business’s online reputation can have a major impact on lead generation and retention.
Ideally, if you search your business’s name online, you should be able to see the links to your website, social media profiles etc. –primarily the things that you can control. Results containing negative reviews can hurt your business’s prospects. Therefore, you need to have the right strategies in place to manage your business’s online reputation. Let’s take a look at some of these.
Online Reputation Management Tips
Claim Your Brand Name
There are so many different ways to market a business online these days. But luckily, you don’t need to try all of them in order to find out what works. Members of our small business community have already done some of the legwork for you. Here are some of their top tips for developing an effective online marketing strategy.
Increase Website Traffic and Get Better Leads
Getting traffic to your website only really helps your business if you’re able to convert some leads. But there are some simple methods you can use to increase your web traffic while also converting leads, as Christopher Uschan outlines in this Acumium blog post.
Create an Insta Worthy Account
Instagram is becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool for businesses. But you need to really focus on creating an account that’s worthy of the platform if you want to get good results. Here, Kayla Wilkinson shares some tips for using Instagram on the Inkhouse Inklings Blog.
Follow These Social Media Rules of Thumb
Social media marketing isn’t an exact science. But there are some general rules that you can follow to make your business accounts more effective.
A business plan serves two purposes:
- It provides a road map for your business.
- It helps you obtain outside financing.
If you’re going into business for yourself, you must have a business plan – period. Numerous studies have shown that one of the major reasons new businesses fail is poor planning. (Many people want to start a business, but not everyone has what it takes to succeed. Learn more in Are You An Entrepreneur?) The good news is that developing a business plan is not as hard as it seems. In order to develop a solid business plan, you need to have a thorough understanding of the business you’re entering. Next, you need to determine how you’ll use the plan and who your target audience is. Finally, you should create a complete a business plan that is comprehensive and concisely written. We’ll explore each of these steps in detail.
Step 1: Know Your Business In order to prepare a business plan, you must know the business you are entering inside and out. This means lots of research. Research comes in two forms: reading everything you can about the industry and talking to those who are already
In Real Leaders Don’t Follow, author Steve Tobak explains how real entrepreneurs can start, build, and run successful companies in highly competitive global markets. He provides unique insights from an insider perspective to help you make better-informed business and leadership decisions. In this edited excerpt, Tobak reveals the truth behind six popular myths to help you decide if entrepreneurship is the right road for you.
The entrepreneurial world has always been about challenging the status quo and questioning conventional wisdom in search of new and better ways of doing things. That’s what gave rise, in one way or another, to every great American company. After all, if you’re just going to follow the pack and do what everyone else is doing, you may as well just go out and get a job working for someone else.
Today, however, there’s a pervasive and nearly deafening mantra insisting that each and every one of you should quit your job and become an entrepreneur. The social collective says that every day you wait brings you closer to a life of poverty and regret.
But that’s simply not true. The idea that you can’t have a fulfilling career, be
The biggest problem founders and small business owners have is that they’re experts in their field and novices in what it really takes to effectively run a business. That’s what usually trips them up, sooner or later.
Don’t let that happen to you. Admit that you don’t know what you don’t know about business, starting with these 15 tips guaranteed to help keep you and your company out of hot water. Some are straightforward, others are counterintuitive, but they’re all true. And some day they’ll save your butt.
Always make sure there is and will be enough cash in the bank.
Period. The most common business-failure mode, hands down, is running out of cash. If you know you’ve got a cash flow or liquidity problem coming up, fix it now.
You can’t fire bad employees fast enough.
You just can’t. Just make sure you know they’re the problem, not you (see next tip)
The problem is probably you.
When I was a young manager, my company sent us all to a week of quality training where the most important concept we learned was that 90 percent of all problems are management problems.