General

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I found this interview very interesting. Regis McKenna helped launch Apple into the megabrand it is today, and gives some interesting insights into where it all began.

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An up and coming trend that you need to be watching.

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Familiarity breeds contempt? What do you think?

In the world of advertising, stereotypes abound. Men are domestically challenged; women choose cars by color; seniors don’t know squat about the Internet, etc.

Most themes that drive marketing decisions have been used for years without regard to changes in contemporary society, and this has never been more true than with ads geared towards women.

Gross assumptions remain in the advertising subconscious, especially the myth that women don’t know much about money and investing.  

An excellent read if women are part of your target market.

Mobile ShoppingYoung people between the ages of 18 and 24 are even more connected to their mobile devices than you might think.

Nine in 10 young adults spend between one and five hours on their mobile devices daily. Nearly one in 10, meanwhile, are on their gadgets between five and ten hours each day. Just under a third would actually like for brands to send them promotions via smarthphone and tablet, but more than half say that it’s “extremely important” to be able to opt out of such come-ons.

Some good tips in this article.

9 Hot Tips for Small Business Marketing on Facebook

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I learnt some interesting things from this article – I hope you do too!

How to Incorporate Your Small Business

If your small business is growing rapidly, you might consider incorporating the business to help it reach its full potential. To incorporate business is not difficult, but there is a process to follow. This step-by-step guide will help you get on the right track.

Prepare for Incorporation

To prepare for incorporation, first choose your primary business location. If your business operates in only one state, you will need to incorporate in that state. If your business operates in multiple states, then you have the option to choose which state to incorporate in, usually the state that’s more business friendly when it comes to taxes and laws pertaining to business.

Next, select a name for your corporation. Check with your Secretary of State to make sure the name you choose is not already taken by another company. Also, do research online to be sure the name is not taken by another business and doesn’t have a patent by another company or individual. Once you’re sure the name is free to use, you can register your company name. The name will likely need to be registered as “Doing Business As” or “DBA.”

Choose a Filing Agent

The next step is to decide who will register your corporation, receive forms for incorporation, and file your paperwork. The least expensive route is to do all paperwork yourself, but if you’re completely new to incorporation, you’ll benefit tremendously by hiring an agent. The agent must live in the state where you will incorporate the business. The agent may be an attorney who provides incorporation services or the agent can be a service that specializes in incorporation. Hiring a service is usually far less expensive than hiring an attorney.

Develop a Corporate Structure

Whether you’re the only member or shareholder of your company or you already have multiple shareholders, you should determine a corporate structure before registering the corporation. To structure the company means to determine how the stock will be spread among shareholders along with other rights such as voting rights and finances. Be sure everyone is in agreement with the structure and put everything in writing before filing your paperwork to incorporate the company.

Next, put together your corporate by-laws, or a set of rules that determine how board members will be elected, their duties, how and when board meetings are to be held, and other important details of how the corporation will be operated.

Ready to File
Now you’re ready to obtain an Employee Identification Number (EIN) and select a board of directors for your company. Once these two tasks are accomplished, check to be sure you have all necessary paperwork and check the company name availability once again to be on the safe side. Now, you’re ready to file your corporate paperwork for registration.

Forming an LLC – Know the Difference

Keep in mind that forming a corporation differs from forming an LLC (Limited-Liability Company). When you form an LLC, your business will be treated as a sole proprietorship or partnership under federal and state tax laws. You will be required to report profits and losses, income, credits, and deductions on your individual tax return.

Corporations, on the other hand, pay taxes on the company’s profits. The shareholders are treated as individual employees, and each receive their own salaries and file their personal tax returns separately. LLC formation requires less paperwork and has fewer legal issues than a corporation.

If you’re pressed for time and want to get things moving quickly with your company’s incorporation, there are websites available to help you incorporate online. These sites provide printable paperwork, state-by-state instructions, and other helpful items to make it easier than ever to incorporate your business.

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.

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.