Big Questions and Answers of Small Businesses Entrepreneurs

Organizing information, ideas and techniques to understand where your business can lead you. Will it be a success or a failure? Of course nobody wants to get failed especially when you’re just about to put up a small business and would contribute all resources involving time and money in the name of success.

On this Virtual age, growing business using different social media like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, to name a few, and other free or inexpensive tools on the web to promote a different kinds of businesses or companies makes it a whole lot easier.

As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibilities” proves also to be true when it comes with businesses utilizing Social Media to the maximum. These great social media platforms and tools need great attention and proper concentration. Several questions would come to business entrepreneurs mind that needed precise and useful answers such as;

Q1. Would small businesses get acquainted with the idea of group buying?

Group buying is one of the latest fads in online shopping wherein consumers purchases as a whole or group to acquire big deals on products or services offered. The idea of selling your bulk products in a short period of time is very tempting even with small businesses entrepreneurs. Before jumping into a decision, you may want to consider these valuable queries, information and ideas.

The advantage of Group buying is generating a great sum of profits in a short matter of time. Deals were usually taken in a day. It is quoted as “A billion dollar web trend”. It gives you a great number of new consumers or clients signed up to test your products or services which is not bad if you or your company offers something of great significance to them. If you focus mainly on facilitating customer try outs or to generate fast money, then Group buying is right for you. If you give more value on sustaining a luxurious brand status or high revenue limits, then Group buying is not a very good idea for your business

Q2. How to utilize location-based services?

There are hundreds of location-based services that were built to assist users search and explore the best’s locations that surrounds them. Examples of these location-based services are Loopt, Gypsii, Plazes, Mobiluck, and a whole lot more. Stores and restaurants businesses with stable addresses take advantages of theses location-based services by contributing precise venue agreements. It has been a great challenge for businesses that are without exact addresses, like online and media services or companies. Be creative! Whenever you produce content online by means of a website or blog, if possible leave insider tips on other sites that are related to your content or business. Also, utilize these location-based services by using some mobile applications or sites that supplies advertisements and promotions to users in a particular location.

Q3. How to start a blog (if not a tech expert)?

Starting a blog does not require a computer science expert at all. There are lots of social media platforms that are user-friendly and require simple knowledge or understanding.

Building a website or a blog could be a lot of pressure or could be simple. There are hundreds of various content management systems to choose from like Concrete5, Cushycms, Modxcms, and more! Develop also your small business themes to enhance your professional looking web presence for your consumers while showing valuable information about your business and support a blog you’re using to link up with your consumers or clients.

If you are still perplexed on how to get your blog stand out and working, then consider on hiring a web designer or developer. Leaving things up to the experts also works than pushing yourself on something you are not capable of and beyond your interests and see your business flop! Remember, you can always hire a web designer or developer to help you grow your business.

Q4. Why social media strategy may not serve you well?

We all know in any aspects that too often or too little sometimes may bring us undesirable results. This implies in how often or little you should be updating your page. The best way of knowing when and how often should you send out a tweet, post on Facebook or check and revise other social sites is by observing and adjusting to the needs and wants of your customers. Also, your clients or consumers do not want a flood of marketing messages. Maintain your promotions to the lowest as possible and supply only valuable and relevant contents to your audience. Another reason would be the lack of important proposals for your audience. Commonly, consumers follow brands on social sites to for these following reasons, to avail discounts, promos, and be the first to know and buy newly endorsed products. Respond to your consumers’ needs to preserve their loyalty with your brand. Lack of advertisement is another factor why consumers or clients may not know or may never have heard your website. Make the most out of your website, location, poster ads, flyers, and social media business cards to promote and publicize your social media profile and your business’ or products’ details. Using social media as a tool for promoting your small business would clearly point out and support that you or your business and your consumers, clients or audience would deal or interact socially. The main reason of these different social media is to establish a relationship or commitment between two persons or group whether it is a business or personal related purposes. Interacting with your consumers or clients would help build trust and reliability on your products or brand.

Q5. How to optimize social media page for search engines?

Search Engine Optimization mainly concerns on your content. Significantly, your social media profiles and their URL’s should be after your business’ name. Sometimes, desired URL is unobtainable so modify another one as long as it was relatively on its original name. Avoid difficult and unidentifiable abbreviations and misspelled words. If you’re already done with your URL name, fill out all details about your business or brand. If you have other social media pages, add link to them to increase popularity of your website or social media profile by means of inbound links or backlinks. Link your business profile on each account you have on different social media platforms. In that way users may connect with you with their own preferred social media sites. Lastly, constant updating of your page providing good content that would be very useful to your audience would be great. Always add something that would interest your audience and maintain their expectations.

With all these guidelines, we hope it could help you in any way it can. Trial and error is good, but wasting your resources and much valued time would not be practical enough to let all your efforts go to waste. We still believe in this saying, “Prevention is better than cure”. Which does not only applies on our health issues, but also in our whole aspects as a person, and as a businessman. Prevention means being aware, having equipped knowledge and better understanding which is far better than finding your business caught between hard situations that would seem impossible to put up again and flop eventually.

Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Home Based Business Entrepreneur?

Almost everyone thinks at one time or another about running their own business! Perhaps we see ourselves as the next Richard Branson or Donald Trump! Being an entrepreneur can be very appealing but not everyone is cut out to become one. This article asks the question: do you have what it takes to run your own successful online business?

One of the great things about the internet is that you start a business with very limited funds. For under $50 you can get a business set up and running – this provides a quick and safe way to see if you have the necessary skills to become a successful online entrepreneur. The beauty of this approach is that it can be started part-time around your regular work and family commitments.

Running an online business is not really about the product or service you provide. Far more important to your eventual success or not, are the attitudes and characteristics you bring to your business. Most business owners are taught to do a SWOT analysis on their business. The initials stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Unfortunately, very few owners actually do the same analysis on themselves! This can be a very enlightening process!

The first thing I recommend to all my clients is that they honestly evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses. Are they disciplined enough to get up early and work late? Do they see tasks through to completion? Are they prepared to take responsibility for their own success?

These are all important questions to ask before you spend any money! You must know how to plan, organize, and control every aspect of your new business. It is hard work and the buck always stops with you!

Organizing your time is a difficult task but if you want to run a successful home-based business, you must be able to do it. That may mean negotiating with children and partners, as well as keeping up with your regular commitments. You should also be able to work alone because now you’re the boss and all business decisions will be made by you! Kind of scary isn’t it?

You must also learn to be bigger than the problems you encounter. Even with an online business, you will have to deal with certain business problems and risks. You can’t eliminate such risks because they go hand in hand with running any business, whether online or offline. You must develop the resilience to overcome any challenges that you meet on route.

Running your own business will still mean that you will have to deal with all sorts of different kinds of people. You will encounter demanding customers, moody vendors, and some very sharp business practices that will happily drain your credit card if you allow them! To become a successful home-based business entrepreneur, you should know how to deal with all these situations.

Another ability you should possess is being able to make quick and accurate decisions. There is something called “the paralysis of analysis”, where we are so concerned about the possible consequences of our actions that we freeze the decision altogether. It is actually nearly impossible to know the full outcome of any decision we make – there are simply too many unknown variables. I have always followed my intuition and adopted the Nike philosophy – Just Do It! The more decisions you make the better you will get at them!

To be an effective online business entrepreneur, you must have lots of energy and superior work ethic. Owning an online business may mean working longs hours, usually late at night when the family has settled down, and on the weekends too. All of these sacrifices become worthwhile when the profits start rolling in!

Many of the risks we have spoken about can be reduced by choosing your home-based business carefully. There is a great deal of hype on the internet that may lead you to believe that money will come quickly and easily and without too much effort! These “instant wealth” opportunities should be avoided like the plague! Choose a reputable business with a proven track record and follow the system they teach.

Once you understand the responsibilities of an entrepreneur, then you can better assess if you have what it takes to become successful in an online business. Working at home with your own home-based online business requires dedication and hard work, but it can be done! Thousands of people just like you and I earn their living this way every day. You could be one of the success stories too!

Copyright (c) 2009 Steve Cowley

Learn From My Experience – First Year Tips For Small Business Entrepreneurs

The Number One first year tip – it’s ALL about finding customers and keeping them happy

Whether you are at the feasibility, seed, or launch stage, you need customers!

If someone is showing interest but is not asking about prices, then you may have a new hobby, which is nice, but not a business.

Why? Ideas and plans are a dime a dozen. Cashflow is King. A potential customer is proof positive you may have found a genuine demand or gap in the market – but only when they start talking price.

A vision means squat without a plan for customers.

“A customer base equals capital”

Attracting investors will be much easier if they can see you are already generating a cashflow.

Also customers will attract people interested in working with you – and eventually you will need a team to go anywhere significant.

A customer means you are not dreaming!

Don’t wait for qualifications

You could be forgiven for thinking that in the 2010’s you need a string of qualifications and / or an MBA before making a move. It’s not the case. Examples abound and if necessary you can hire to cover the gaps. Rather, try to emphasise product, ideas and team.

Which book learning are we skipping over here? What are some of the nice to have’s you might defer?

In the initial stages of a business there are marketing skills – be content with seeing the original gap and creating a product to fit. Then finance skills – skip high finance and stick to the basic organisation of personal and business finance to cover risks, and finally time management skills where the essentials can be mastered quickly.

Later in the development phase we have operations – leadership, management, IT, property, culture/psychology, teamwork, loyalty, communications and regulations – the list goes on.

While it may seem heresy to some, the fact is there are many successes in business who started young with no management training.

Beware Franchising

Starting out under the protection of a franchise is a seductive option. Beware! While it may be a way to start-up with less risk, pay particular attention to:

· The franchise sale

Franchise operators are very good marketers – of their franchises. Be wary that you are not sucked in too much by the promises and pictures. Seriously, it’s their job to sell you, just make sure they have a viable plan and you can sell their product.

· Your independence

The bottom line is that you have decided to become an entrepreneur, for reasons which quite likely include working for yourself, and by signing up with a franchise you have immediately given that independence away.

Will you be happy working for a head office? How much input to the business do you really have? Have you just bought yourself a job?

Take a real close look at your marketing plan

How are you going to find and reach customers? Your first job is to run like mad just to find them:

First, are you in an active sector and do you have a ready path to market? Where are you sourcing your leads – today?

Watch out for your own psychology. When starting out you may want to just go with the first half decent opportunity you come across. Relax; try to look at things objectively.

Beware of the “1% of the market is huge” syndrome. Yours may be a billion dollar market, but how do you get any of it? What do you think the competition is doing right now?

Any idea of the cost of acquisition of a new customer? Will your model develop repeat customers? If not you will be forever selling, and this is not a good place to be.

Most forms of marketing except word of mouth are very expensive. When starting out there is no doubt the best marketing model is word of mouth.

Branding. Despite the hype it’s nothing new. Don’t even think about mega-brand style exposure. A start-up is about a reputation, person to person sales and keeping a handful of customers happy.

What is the shelf life of your idea? How are you going to protect it in the internet age?

How smart is the business model?

A business model is the way we do things – how we find and reach customers, differentiate the business from the pack, price, sell and deliver our product.

But there is more. Other desirables include a residual structure, one that compounds growth, and which is leveraged either in time (employees) or money (loans).

Is it going to be a dynamic business or a job?

Realistically – are your finances strong enough for the first year or two?

Being an entrepreneur is a gamble and you must be prepared for the worst if it happens. How do you view losing money? Perhaps try investing on small bets in the stock market and see how it feels before investing in your own ideas.

Don’t get into debt you cannot handle. We should be bold but not take risks. Avoid betting your lifestyle, limit the investment to what you can “afford to lose”, then do everything to make sure that does not happen.

Entrepreneurs should always have backup plans. Not everything will work by any stretch of imagination.

How many hours are you working?

Have you really planned your diary? How will you fit everything in? Not all of us can survive on 4 hours sleep per night.

Remember the working rule – hard and smart.

And if you do work all hours, what is your effective hourly rate? Planning any time off?

Do you have a good business partner?

If you aspire to anything other than a micro business, you will have to think “team”. The synergy gained outweighs potential downsides. While a committee of one gets things done, eventually you need others in your corner.

Are you ahead of trends?

No business can ignore trends. Try to have an eye on the picture three to five years ahead.