To run a sustainable business online you need to create a marketing funnel where you siphon traffic from sources like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into your funnel, and create your own traffic source.

Guaranteed to get you think! Check out this interesting article.

How To Go About Starting A Small Business

People toy with the idea of starting a small business at various stages of their lifes. Some think of starting a small business after their educational career is over. Some think of starting a small business because of unpleasant or unhappy situations they have encountered in their work places. There are also others who think of starting a small business, because that is the only way they will be able to work again following a break from work for reasons such as health or redundancy.

Toying with the idea is one thing, but if you are taking positive steps to get started, then certain myths associated with starting and running a small business should be dispelled from your mind.

1. Starting a small business might appear to be an easy option to many who are desperate to get out of a situation but running a business is not as easy as it appears to be.

2. The general impression created in the minds of many people is that you can make a lot of money by running a small business. A few people do make a lot of money by running a small business. On the other hand there are many people who loose a lot of money unfortunately due to lack of proper research and planning.

3. Another myth is that you are the Boss, so you can work when you want, relax when you want and go on holidays when you want. You are the Boss that is all to it. The rest simply does not happen because of other factors that come into play which will need your presence and attention most of the time.

One major blunder made by many small business entrepreneurs is that they never made any self assessment before starting. It is absolutely important that you do a self assessment to find out whether you possess the following qualities and capabilities that are necessary to operate a successful small business.

1. You must be of sound health.

2. You should be able to work on your own most of the time.

3. You should be self motivated and dedicated.

4. You should possess an outgoing personality and have the ability to get along with other people.

5. You should have the ability to work under pressure.

6. You should preferably have some knowledge about your business.

7. Failure is no option to you.

In addition to the above the following factors have a very important and significant impact in the success of your small business.

A good support system such as your spouse or members of your family.

Contacts in the business world who could help you with advice and help you promote your small business.

Good financial assets to help you start and develop your small business and sustain you during the early months.

Since they are popularly known as small businesses, many would be entrepreneurs are under the impression that it could be run in a slip shod manner. Most of the inputs necessary to operate a large business successfuly are also necessary in the small business venture too.

Success does not come overnight. There could be disappointments and failures during the early months.Those who cannot withstand these pressures should not contemplate starting a small business.The ability to withstand all these pressures and remain motivated is absolutely necessary to succeed.

How To Finance Your Small Business

If you have a great business idea or plan, or you would like to expand your existing business, don’t let a lack of funds stop you in your tracks. There is a wide variety of financing available for small businesses. Let’s take a look at the financing opportunities that small business entrepreneurs can take advantage of.

While the financing sources comprise diverse institutions, such as banks, government sources, venture capitalist and “angel” investors, it is useful to look at what all lenders, regardless of category, want when they loan money or invest in a business enterprise.

When you seek money for an already existing business, lenders will be interested to know about the history of your business; whether it has a track record of good management and good performance. Your credit history will also be under scrutiny. A good credit history will help you to get a loan.

You can also bolster your chances of getting a loan by putting up collateral. This reduces the risk for the bank in case you default. And finally, if you can show that your own personal money is invested in your enterprise then lenders will have more confidence in the proposition.

Many small business loans are turned down due to poorly presented proposals, inadequate collateral, insufficient cash flow and a lack of management experience.

These are the general points that lenders and investors are interested in, now let’s look at the main sources for small business financing.

1. Traditional Lenders: Banks, credit unions, and finance companies are the main source of loans to small businesses. Many of these institutions have a small-business department and are experienced in handling small-business loans. The most logical place to start is with the institution which handles your business and personal banking.

2. Government Sources, the Small Business Administration (SBA): The programs of the SBA work in conjunction with the traditional lenders, as they are mostly loan guarantee programs that reduce the risk to lenders in case of default. Some of the popular SBA programs are as follows

a. The 7(a) loan guarantee program: This program helps businesses which lack sufficient collateral, by providing repayment guarantees ranging from 75-85% depending on the size of the loan.

b. The SBA LowDoc loan program: There is only one form to fill out for these loans and approval time is rapid (within 36 hours from when the SBA receives the applications. These loans are only for amounts up to $15,000 but they can be used for start-up businesses.

c. The SBA Express loan program: This is another quick-procedure loan guarantee program, but it covers loans up to $250,000. The SBA guarantees 50% of these loans, and interest rates in this program may be higher than in the other SBA programs

3. Venture Capitalists: These are typically firms that are seeking investment opportunities in companies with a high profit potential. Usually when you take money from a Venture Capitalist firm it means that you have to give up some ownership and control to the investors. If you are thinking of going in this direction, then it is imperative to investigate the VC firm, and make sure that it has good references.

4. Angel Investors: These are individual investors who are looking for good opportunities in a wide variety of businesses. You don’t have to be a high-tech company to attract these funds. Angels have smaller sums to invest than venture capitalists, and their investments range from $100,000 to $1 Million.

Prepare your proposal carefully, and approach the institutions or individuals that best match your needs and capacity.

Engagement with your audience is one of great advantages of social media marketing, but creating meaningful and advantageous conversations is as much an art as it is a science.  Engagement increases brand loyalty and public conversations can serve as free advertising.

The team at Awareness, Inc. reviews proven steps and real world examples of how to ignite the social spark with your fans and followers from our recent whitepaper 11 Strategies to Increase Engagement with Social Media.

Contests

The team at Socialnomics always has lots of great information – check out this article on improving social engagement for your business.

How to Effectively Brand Your Small Business

Branding a small business is a must if you want to succeed in a competitive world. The importance of branding a business disregarding its size is based on not only real benefits, products and services that your business possesses, but also an image concept that all businesses should keep in mind.

From color business cards to global business identity, depending on how effectively you brand your business, the more or the less opportunities of success will knock at your door. The reason why large companies brand their businesses is because they know this is the best way to differentiate their products and services from their competitors while creating a corporate image.

Many small business owners believe it is not necessary to development a corporate image, particularly those whose business integrate just a few individuals as staff, or even when they own a one-man business, using the internet for selling or promoting their professional services. However, even a small business should utilize the same principles as the large enterprises to brand their business.

Furthermore, if your business has business cards, stationary and other branded elements along with a matching website, you will not only create a corporate image, but also loyal relationships with your customers and prospective customers, who will find more reliability with a small business with these characteristics, than others without a professional look and feel.

Because you only have the opportunity to impress new customers once, you should make sure that this impression is a positive and lasting introduction and handshake, only possible if you brand your business conveniently and professionally. There is no need to spend thousand of dollar to achieve it, but do not go to the other extreme using uneven elements.

Small businesses should be aware of the elements that will make their brand unique and recognizable, including consistency between online and printed elements, such as your logo, signage, business cards and even a slogan that helps people understand at a glance your business’s mission statement.

Effective branding must achieve these goals; be consistent and never differing, carrying the same logo, colors, slogans and statements through to every element of your business, all of them always visible and unique, hence the need to avoid elements that anyone can find anywhere such as free or cheap clipart.

Creating your brand, whatever your budget requires a business plan to have a solid appreciation on whom your customers will be and what can you do to serve them. This is not only a matter of elegant stationary or catchy business cards; it is the most important deployment of a small business for an eventual growth in future terms.

Google Search has always been about finding the best results for you. Sometimes that means results from the public web, but sometimes it means your personal content or things shared with you by people you care about. These wonderful people and this rich personal content is currently missing from your search experience. Search is still limited to a universe of webpages created publicly, mostly by people you’ve never met. Today, we’re changing that by bringing your world, rich with people and information, into search.

Some major changes in progress here. Google has taken massive steps into the social media world with this change.

How do I Value my Small Business?

The problem with selling any small business ($500,000 and below) is how can a realistic value be put on the business. If a business is valued too high no one will be interested or worse value it too low prospective buyers will think there is something irregular. Also where it is listed for sale is important, EBay is a tremendous medium for certain things however fraud is common place.

Unfortunately there is no fixed system when it comes to valuing any private business, the IRS, Courts of Law and the Inland Revenue all use there own systems. There are also many wonderful mathematical formulas that can be used; however there is no fixed system. To be honest the whole system is complicated with no fixed rule apart from one. What price is a person is happy to sell a business for and what is the buyer happy to pay?

If you are either buying or selling a small business do not be afraid of negotiation, it is a natural process within business. The following list is a simple aid to assist people who are interested in finding a value of a business, either for the sale or purchase.

1. Does the business have employees either full time or part time? Prospective buyers should be aware that any business in the UK which employs 5 or more people has specific duties in regards to Health & Safety.

2. Is the business purely an internet business? Be warned it is very easy
for an online business to appear to be doing very well, when the truth is completely the opposite. This practice unfortunately is leading to the devaluation of genuine online businesses.

3. Does the business have fixed assets or stock? It is much easier to value a garage where real estate and equipment can easily be valued, where as it is less easy to value a business with no fixed assets i.e. Legal specialists, Solicitors, Health workers etc.

4. Does the business have a full audit trail; it is surprising how many small businesses listed for sale do not.

5. What area is the business in; it goes without saying that businesses located closer to major cities are valued higher than businesses in a rural district.

6. What are the future growth prospects for the business?

7. Will the business require insurance/liability policies?

These are just a few factors that have to be considered, as you can see there is much more to take into account than how much revenue is generated by the business. I hope this short article has been of some assistance to any potential buyer or seller of any small business.

Home Based Small Business

If you are serious about the idea of making money through home based business then here are tips which are a beneficial tool for those who want to begin to work at home based business. A simple solution is to start with a business from home focused on the internet arena i.e. where the work is based on Internet.

The market is teeming with numerous ideas of home based internet business launched by innumerable companies. Every single day new schemes come into the market under the garb of legitimate home based internet businesses. Sadly, most of these so called top home internet business are pure pyramid scams.

Home based internet businesses can be a good opportunity provided you are serious about it. With increasing unemployment & rising costs, having a steady income has become a critical issue nowadays. This has a direct bearing not only on the security and well-being of their children but also on the security of their retirement days. If you work at home on internet, not only will you be able to earn a steady income but also be with your kids in their growing years. Moreover, the more you earn now, the more secure their future will be. In such circumstances, if you plan to start a home based internet business, it makes perfect sense.

But the problem lies in how to select the right internet home based business opportunity? The different ideas of top home internet business often confuse the mind and stop us from taking a quick and concrete decision regarding the best home businesses. Then there are questions regarding the viability of these top home internet business opportunity. Then, you are also doubtful whether the income generated from the work at home on internet opportunity be able to replace that from a fulltime job?

In addition to the reliability factor there is another question regarding the amount of investment. What would be the costs of starting work at home on internet business initiative? When the monetary return from top home internet businesses is uncertain, then there is no logic in starting one. Hence, selecting the right internet home based business is of critical importance.

One such work at home on internet business opportunity is internet affiliate marketing. There are innumerable companies offering reliable affiliate programs. And in most cases, the affiliate fees are either free or a basic minimum. The benefits of these home based internet businesses are many. There are tensions regarding inventory build up, or issues such as commercial property, licenses and other related chores. You will be able to keep your total focus on how to market the product or business concept on your website.

After selecting the right affiliate program to start your internet based home business, you should go about building your own website which will mark foray into home based small business.

Do not leave your internet home based business midway and change to stable but permanent job. This is the mistake most people in the work at home on internet do. Also don’t expect that you will become successful in your top internet home internet business in a short span of time. So stay put and works hard at your internet home business.

There are various benefits associated with internet based home business. They also require a smaller investment than offline ones. But it requires equal dedication, ethics and hard work to make it successful in this competitive world.

Guide To Small Business Factoring

Factoring is becoming a popular yet not so well known tool in the arena of small business. It is an important way of keeping cash flowing through the business when invoices are delayed or accounts receivable are higher than the money in hand. Basically factoring helps you get cash for your business without having that time delay from the time you issue an invoice. They also provide you with collection services and sales ledgers that can be helpful as well. If you are a small business owner, then you should consider this guide to small business factoring as a way to fund your business month to month.

How does factoring work? It is easy and yet complicated all at the same time. The factor will generally manage your sales ledger for you while also providing you with colletion services for all outstanding invoices. Typically you will be loaned 80% to 90% of the total amount of the invoice. You will generally receive the money within 24 hours of agreeing to the services of the factor.

Factoring for a small business does cost money, though. Usually there are a couple of different costs you have to consider. A service chare will usually cover the management of your sales and collections. The other charge is a percentage of sales factored as well as an interest charge of some sort on the cash advance the factor is giving you. The interest rates, obviously, will depend on your company’s credit, the credit of the invoiced companies, and the institution you factor through.

No guide to small business factoring would be complete without telling you want to look for in a factoring company. Obviously you should look for a stable financial institution that will be able to support the business. You should also look for good terms and a company you are comfortable working with since there will be plenty of interaction. Finally, you may want to consider a company that will give you internet access to your accounts. You can easily track the ledger, sales, collections, and your factored amounts that way.

It is also important to understand that no two factoring companies are completely alike. While much of what this guide to small business factoring has explained is typical, there are exceptions to most every situation. The best thing you can do for your business with regards to factoring is research the companies you are considering. Think about what you need and what you want and what everyone is offering you.

A guide to small business factoring can never be complete. There are too many ins and outs when it comes to almost any financial transaction. There are also a number of variables involved like current interest rates, your credit rating, reliability of your invoiced companies, and many other things as well.

Before you ever agree to a factoring relationship, make sure you understand all terms as well as how long the contract is for and what renewal terms are. Protect yourself and do your homework and you can use factoring as a way to keep your cash flowing.

Many new business owners think that marketing is just advertising or selling. Then there are those that consider marketing is getting people to buy things that they don’t really want! If this is how you think of marketing then you might be missing a trick, so in this post I want to share with you 5 Small Business Marketing tips that can sky rocket your business.

Before I reveal these 5 small business marketing tips that will give your business a jump start let’s take some time to uncover exactly what Marketing is.

The chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as

“The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”

That definition lead my nicely into my first marketing tip.

There’s no doubt that marketing a small business takes effort and knowledge. These tips are a very useful guide.