Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals
For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.
There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:
* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals
Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.
An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.
Statistics prove that the demand for unsecured small business loans have been rapidly increasing over the past few years. The idea of an unsecured loan creates new financial horizons for individuals that may not have collateral. This is also of special interest to new business owners that are interested in entering a new business venture. Potential business owners are always interested in a business loan to provide working capital for their new endeavor.
The paradox when applying for most unsecured small business loan programs is that a new business owner does not yet have any collateral. This can quickly shatter a business dream. The only other consideration such an individual can have is to use his or her personal assets to secure a loan. But new business ventures have a risk associated with them, once that many people are not willing to transfer to their hard earned assets.
Collateral is often the biggest obstacle to the prospective business owner. Not only does a new business not yet have any commercial collateral to provide; but it is asking a lot for an entrepreneur to put his hard earned personal assets at risk in order to start a new business venture. Yet, without collateral, getting a business financing can sometimes seem impossible.
Small entrepreneurs, who do not have collateral to offer, find unsecured small business loans as an alternative, which help them expand their business to new horizons. They are only required to make regular repayments to the creditor without any apprehension of their business assets being repossessed by the lender in case of defaults. At the same time, small businessmen who opt for unsecured small business loans should be prepared to pay a little higher interest as compared to other credit options. However, interest rates may vary depending upon the credit history of the businessmen.
No collateral unsecured small business loan products are now available through select lenders, although they can still be relatively difficult to find among traditional banks and lenders. The revolutionizing force is coming from a plethora of web based lenders that are offering innovative new financial solutions, including no collateral loans. A variety of unsecured loan products for business and personal needs can be found via web based financial companies.
Applying for unsecured small business loans is easy, all the business owner need to do is just go on line and submit their loan details. Then the lenders will refer back to you with the loan decision in a few days.
Small businesses are often beaten out by larger competitors because the bigger business has better practices than the small ones do. The good news is that there are many of the business best practices that are used by big companies that can be translated for small businesses.
These business best practices are some of the best kept secrets and will in the long run make a business more successful. Here are a few ways you can use these business practices to fit your small business.
One: Borrowing ideas from other companies is one business practice you can use in your small business. This is known as best practice benchmarking and it can lead to vast improvements in your business structure if it is done the right way.
Most small businesses have a tighter budget than the big businesses do so the business practices that you learn can save money and can be even more beneficial to you than it would be for the big business. When you emulate another business and how they cut costs, you will be able to do the same thing they have done in a much shorter time period.
Two: You have to have a clear understanding of business methods if you are going to borrow their business practices. You need to do some heavy research and ask questions. This will help you figure out how others were able to get the job done to get them to their goals.
This is imperative if you are going to have success using these practices with your small business. One helpful way to find out the information you need is to send surveys to businesses that are successful in the business field you are looking at.
Three: Once you have studied the business best practices and you know how that business uses them, you will need to translate them to fit your small business. Before they will work for your business t want business practice you can use in your small business is borrowing ideas from other companies here may be some crucial modifications that need to be made.
Four: One business practice that is imperative to the success of any business of any size is to have good communication in your business. This means that you need to communicate on a regular basis with your employees.
You have to do this to make sure that everyone is on the same page business wise. Otherwise, you may find problems cropping up that you will have to deal with.
Emulating business best practices is fine but you want to make sure that you don’t steal their practices outright. Always do your research and use the business practices that you can modify to fit your small business. Don’t do anything to get your business in trouble in the future.
Here are seven ways for owners of small businesses to save money on their taxes.
1. Incorporate Yourself: If you`re still a proprietor or partner of a business, it`s time to incorporate yourself. Not only will you limit your liability, but you may enjoy lower tax rates on small business income and other tax advantages as well.
2. Be Home Based: If possible, continue (or switch to) being a home based business. Not only will you keep your overhead down, but you will be able to write-off (or deduct) the business use of your home.
3. Income Split: Pay reasonable wages to your spouse and children. In this way, you can legally divert income taxed at your higher rate to your family members that are in a lower tax bracket.
4. Rearrange Your Affairs For Maximum Tax Savings: Can you make some changes to turn your hobby into a moneymaking business? Can you use that extra room in your house as a home office for your business? Can you arrange to use your car more for business purposes? Can you arrange for more of your entertainment expenses to be business related?
5. Document Your Expenses Well: Do you document your expenses well so that they would survive a tax audit? Have you kept a mileage log so that you can prove the percentage business use you claim for your vehicle? Have you kept receipts for all your entertainment expenses and listed the business purpose on the back of each receipt?
6. Be Punctual: File all returns and pay all taxes due (income, payroll, sales, et cetera) on time. This way, you avoid expensive late filing (and payment) penalties and interest.
7. Develop a Tax Planning Mindset: Some people only worry about their taxes during tax season. However, you will save a fortune in taxes, legally, if you make tax planning your year-round concern. Do you make business and personal purchases, investments, and other expenditures with tax savings in mind?
Do you have a knack for writing? Well, why not put your talents to good use and start earning money through your writing? If you have been excluded by the editors of the publications high forehead bigger than you always wanted to work and have resorted to bogging just away his thoughts, then why not put your own little web content writing service company ? As for having enough capital, so do not really need much except for his team – which, obviously, and a reliable Internet connection – this is an absolute necessity, and, of course, natural talent in writing.
Bearing in mind that what you are trying to establish here a small business content website writing service, you just about to start or small businesses who are still fighting their way into the possibility of settling in the market or to grow your business. You can start offering such services to potential customers, of course, try to avoid a budget can really afford and do not dwell on the benefits. If you ask by a huge professional immediately, so expect your potential customers to easily get off and decline their offer. Remember that, given the economic situation these days, companies are really doing their best to make ends meet while still being able to make a profit. Try to reason with them how to put your own website and you and helping manage the content of the website will boost sales of their companies to be able to reach more potential customers without having to spend so much on advertising, etc. Try to find a creative way for you to be able to present this idea.
Launch a web page small business content writing service is not really a novel idea. Since so many people are switching to an independent career, there are more ways for small businesses to get some consultation or public relations service for much less cost compared to how large advertisers and agencies Advertising usually charge. Would also be very beneficial if you are able to provide you with samples of their work. If you have already finished writing public relations, web content writing and editing, or have worked in advertising, then you will be able to provide its customers with an impressive body of work just so they will be able to get an idea of style. If you and your prospect are apparently different styles, trying to properly assess your client has a point. Do not be overly biased and imposed his personal style and taste of its customers, try to work with them and adjust to what they want, what your company needs, after all they are paying to do just that. However, when they are a bit hesitant to the suggestion that you are a customer, to voice their concerns and hope that the two of you will be able to find a solution.
When considering whether you are ready for small business coaching, check first to see if you are suffering from any of the following 3 business frustrations. An experienced coach can guide and support you in remedying these road blocks to small business success.
Not Enough Customers
One of the major frustrations for entrepreneurs is how to consistently fill their sales pipeline with qualified prospects Are you suffering from too few prospects to convert into customers? Have you considered your approach to how you go about marketing your business?.Many businesses utilize a very limited tool box of strategies and tactics in bringing potential customers to their business. A small business coaching program can open your eyes to many different methods for pulling more clients and their dollars.
Lack of Focus and Lack of Direction
It is very easy to become distracted and diminish your effectiveness by splitting your attention over too many tasks. Are you doing too many things and think this means you are productive? This can lead to poor results and an unhappy business owner. Machines can multi task; humans weren’t designed for this function.
Reaching your goals and dreams is more probable when a clear focus and defined objectives are directing your energies. To satisfy your main business goals you need to forego the adhoc decision making approach and structure the way you make decisions based on important priorities. A decision to commence a small business coaching program could be the answer.
Working Too Many Hours
Perform this exercise and enlighten yourself. Write down how many hours you are putting in each week towards running your business. Multiply this by say 50. Now jot down how much you draw in remuneration from the business per annum. Divide the dollar amount by the yearly hours and this will reveal your hourly rate. Sometimes owners will discover what they already feared; that they are earning less than some of their employees.
One of your reasons for starting a small business coaching regime may have been to be financial independent or at least to make enough to enjoy a great lifestyle. The main goal here is to improve your business to the point where:
– You are making more income than if you were working for someone else
– The business is making a profit (not just covering your drawings)
– You will eventually be working less hours
A business credit card offers many benefits to a small business. A business credit card helps to keep business and personal expenses separate. Having a credit card solely for business use can make a lot of difference in the business finances. Many small business owners do not understand how beneficial a business credit card can be.
Establish Credit And Creditworthiness
Just as you personally want to establish credit, your business needs to establish credit. It is common for small business owners to use their personal credit for their business credit, but this can get rather tricky. When it comes to taxes and financial liability it is much better for the business owner to keep personal and business credit separate.
Easier Accounting Saves Hassles
A business credit card will help simplify accounting. There will be no need to sort through papers to figure out business form personal expenses. Using a credit card, the purchases for the business are all in the statement. These figures can be easily transferred to the books. This helps to make accounting much easier by keeping expenses streamlined.
A small business owner may find himself having to okay purchases or write out checks for purchases made by employees. With a business credit card, the owner can get additional cards for those who have spending power. This will help cut down on time wasted getting purchases approved and also save money because far less checks will have to be written. It will make the business more efficient.
There are many credit cards that offer rewards for purchases. With a rewards card a business owner can get an additional incentive by earning things like free airline miles, gasoline and even cash back on purchases. This is something that can be very helpful to a small business. Rewards are earned through purchases, so a business is earning something for money they would have spent anyway. It is like getting double for your money.
Business credit cards are a great idea, especially for small businesses. Many small business owners do not understand just how beneficial they can be, but as you can see they offer many perks. A small business owner would be very smart to get a credit card that will make it much easier on them in the long run. They will find they save money, save time and make the business more efficient and run smoother.
Small businesses owners often find that there are certain times of the year when cash flow is not as healthy as it could be. This could be due to the fact that the business has seasonal customers, money being spent wastefully or through outmoded business practices. Regardless of the reason as to why money is being lost one thing is for certain good business owners and managers are all looking for a way to save the business money.
One way to save money in a small business is to implement small business management software. Software such as this enables a business with less than 50 employees to be operated via one software application. By being able to switch to one application a small business owner can save thousands every year as all other applications that require a monthly or annual fee to be discontinued.
As soon as they see just what small business management software can do many business owners and managers are keen to start using it. Not only can small business management software save a business money in terms of slashing the number of applications a business has to pay for it also saves money in other ways such as:
Increasing the number of leads that are converted into sales with ease. When using small business management software an employee can create a quote and save this to a customers file. This will contain their contact details and other relevant information. If this quote is not accepted within a certain period of time, this lead can then be chased up by the sales department.
By ensuring that projects are always completed on time a business will not lose customers. With small business management software projects can be assigned and tracked in real time. Managers and owners can quickly and easily check on projects that are nearing their due date in order to ensure that they are progressing as they should be. By utilizing this feature projects should never be behind schedule ever again, which means that money will be saved in the long run through customer retention.
Small business management software also allows employee calendars to be seen by owners and managers at a glance. This means that projects and so on can be planned with regard to staffing numbers. Money is therefore saved by ensuring that all employees are working to capacity and not being diverted to projects which are already fully subscribed.
As small business management software is web based it means that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. So if a manager or owner is away from the office on business they can access the application and get any information that they need. This saves business money as laptops and mobile internet is not required when an owner or manager visits potential customers.
These are just a few of the ways in which small business management software can save a business money each month.
As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.
Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.
Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?
Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.
And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.
Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.
All types of businesses, be it home based, manufacturing or a start up business, must have online presence today. Small Business Websites have the possibility to appeal new customers and have many growth opportunities.
What is needed is to make these websites attractive to project a very good image of the business and they should be able to present the exact business activities in a very professional manner. For this, the content material must be full of important information.
There are quite a few website designing companies that provide professional service but out of those companies, choosing one such company that would serve your requirement is tough. Prior to getting into any kind of agreement with these web designing provider, one needs to be certain of the quality of services in the long run and also availability of the support staff. The contract need to be handed over only if the business owner is comfortable with everything the firm offers.
The most important thing to have Small Business Websites would be that the firm developing such websites should have a knowledge of buildig websites for small businesses, SMEs and individuals so that their performance and competence could be checked. It is important to make sure that they look after the needs of the small business and listen to the marketing aspect also.
Such websites hold the ability to create recession proof business so that in times of volatility the marketability of businesses doesn’t get affected. The design of the website can be optimized for the search engines and are accountable to rank high in SEO parameters.
Since a designed website gives the initial impression to a customer about a item, it should be created very carefully. The first impression to website visitors with well designed websites is far greater than that of an in house website and thus it can bring in much greater business.
The cost factor is also accountable for driving a website. The setup and maintenance costs should be estimated properly and competing prices should be compared thoroughly prior to engaging a firm to build a website. It’s prudent to compare the prices of few other web designing agencies to select one that designs Small Business Websites at a fair price and one that understands how to market your business.
One more essential thing to consider is the after sales support. Also, they are supposed to give one month free post sales service to make alterations if needed. Even there should be provisions for add-on features like ecommerce, SEO and others.