Archive for

Home Based Business! What Do Donuts Have to Do With it?

Internet World Statistics tell me that there are over 6.7 billion people living on this planet. The latest figures show over 1.6 billion of them use the Internet while in the year 2000 there were just under 361million users. That is a growth rate of almost 450%. In the US alone and back in 2005 there were 13.8 million Home based Businesses (info. provided by Entrepreneur.com) and in my own country, Australia in the state of New South Wales there were 254,000 in 2004. Today there is more. Tomorrow there will be more again!

The idea, concept, consideration of a home based business is for the most part is a noble and popular one. The reason so many people are thinking about or have already started a home based business is as varied as the individuals that choose it. However, for the most part it can be said that most home based businesses are borne out of convenience.

Single Mums find it convenient to work from home while they can still care for their children. Stay at home Dads are much more common in today’s day and can find it convenient to keep an eye on the “little ones” while they do business from home. Maybe commuting is a problem and navigating the hallway in ones own home is far more convenient than the city streets or country roads. Whatever it is though the thought is there – “work from home”. This doesn’t mean though that we have a “Home Based Business”.

Of course there is a difference between “work from home” and a “home based business” and often (I think) we get the two confused a bit. We speak “home based business” but think “work from home”!

The differences are considerable and may be found in the definitions themselves. You see when you research the word “Business” you will find something like this (depending on your source):-

Business: The purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit (Macquarie Dictionary).

We also see in association a Business Name:

Business Name: The name other than a surname under which a person carries on business or profession, such name being necessarily registered.

If we dig a little deeper from the same source we identify the people that do business are described as the following:-

Businessman /woman: A person who engages in business or commerce.

And

Businesslike: Conforming to the methods of business or trade; methodical; systematic.

And finally:

Business Plan: A formal statement of business goals, the reason why they are believed attainable and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organisation or team attempting to reach those goals.

Work on the other hand is something different. (According to Wikipedia) being thus:

Work:(1) Exertion directed to produce or accomplish something; labour; toil. (2) A productive or operative activity (3) Employment; a job; especially that by which one earns a living.

So this is what I’m getting to. Sometimes we focus on the hole in the middle of the donut and don’t look at the whole thing! We can say we have a home based business but we don’t see the big picture and therefore we are working from home instead. If we are serious about a home based business then we must see the whole thing. Build from the right foundations and bring clarity to our vision.

There is nothing wrong with work from home at all. In fact if we are to have a home based business we will indeed work from home. It will be an integral part of our business but, if we don’t have a business plan, a registered business name, or if we are not attempting to buy (or create) and sell something for profit, conform to business principles and conduct ourselves in a businesslike manner we don’t have a business at all… we are just working?

You may have started like a “bull at a gate”, you may be going “great guns” or you may be struggling to get your focus or organise your day. Don’t fret! Take a moment to reflect on your foundations. Have you got a business plan with goals and a systematic approach to achieve them? Are they realistic? Are you structured properly? If not then take a little time to get these things in order. Then get back into it and gain the rewards you deserve for having a go, not giving up and enjoy the lifestyle you have chosen.

Just a word of warning! If you don’t have a Business Plan you can lose your way. If you don’t have a Business Structure you may well have problems with taxation in the future and if you don’t have a business mindset you will struggle to enjoy and achieve your dream. I heard this saying today and can’t remember who quoted it but it goes like this “Goals are in concrete, plans are in sand!”

If you are interested in getting educated in the successful use of the Internet and additionally want the opportunity to market top tier education material may I suggest that you visit the website below?

Now I know that you will never look at a donut quite the same again. And I hope that you never look at your home based business the same either.

I wish you all the prosperity and satisfaction that you hope for and more in your Home Based Business.

Cheers,

Do You Own a “Saleable” Business?

We are told often enough as small-business owners, that we must have a plan in place to enable us to exit our business in a structured and orderly fashion. It is, in fact, generally a good idea to have an exit strategy formulated and in place from start up on day one.

However, to be able to successfully implement an exit strategy, you must own a business that is a “saleable” asset. So what does a business in the form of a saleable asset actually look like?

Here are 5 key areas for you to look at if a prospective purchaser is to be sufficiently interested in making you an attractive offer to buy your business:

1. Is the business profitable? This might seem an obvious question. However, just because your business is showing a positive cash flow, doesn’t mean it’s making money. Does it earn an acceptable return on your investment in time, resources and effort, over and above what you take out to live on? If not, don’t expect to be able to sell it. Simple as that.

2. Would your business still be profitable if you weren’t there to run it? If the answer is no… you don’t own a business, you have a busy job with overheads. Unless you can clearly demonstrate your business will continue to make money when you are not turning up every day to run it, you’re asking a buyer to buy your job. How successful do you think that will be? It’s vital your business generates profitable revenue without having to rely on just your efforts and expertise alone.

3. Are you able to hand your buyer a set of operational procedures to follow and achieve the same results as you, albeit with some training? This is the basis of a franchise business model. And this is why franchises are in the main very successful businesses. Following a proven operating system dramatically increases the chances the business will continue to perform profitably for your buyer well into the future.

4. Where are your customers going to come from? You might have a good number of customers today, but what guarantee is there they will remain as customers when you go? And, even if they do stay initially, they won’t necessarily remain customers forever. How will they be replaced? How can the new owner grow the business? If you’re struggling for answers, this will have a significant impact on the price you get for the business. If you can show a marketing plan that the new owner can follow – showing examples of past campaigns and their results and the customer service strategies you use to keep people coming back – the buyer is likely to pay a premium for your business.

5. How is the business controlled? Could you appoint a manager and be sure the business will continue to be a success in your absence? If you can do this, your business can be replicated, and this will increase its value many fold. This can be easily achieved through a systematic reporting system that keeps you informed and updated on what is happening daily in all key areas of your business.

Businesses with these 5 key elements in place will sell quickly and often for up to as much as 4 times the ‘recast’ net profit. However, those that don’t are lucky to get back stock and physical asset value (often highly depreciated) with no value attached to the actual business element whatsoever.

With all 5 elements in place, you will own a valuable and ‘saleable’ asset that will amply reward you for the years you’ve invested in time, money and effort.

7 Keys on How to Communicate Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

Men and women in small businesses don’t have the same marketing muscle as large businesses. Trying to create a brand and image like big corporations – on a small business budget is a recipe for disaster. A small business simply doesn’t have the advertising budget needed to build a big corp brand and to gain recognition in the market through branding in the big-boy budget way.

So how is a small business to compete with the “big guns?”

The answer is by utilizing effective communication strategies with their customers and clients. It is by using strategies and means that are affordable and practical for small business owners. These are very different from the big corporate model.

As a small business owner, communicating with your customers or clients should be at the top of your agenda. Your customers will give you feedback which may help you improve your business. And, as the business owner, you must be sure that someone is listening because the most common loss of current customers… and new prospects, is indifference on the part of your service team.

If you use the right communication strategies, and team training, you can also cement your business in people’s minds so that they become repeat customers and loyal referral champions. So, their loyalty builds with you more and more. And, they become evangelists for your cause, ongoing.

Unfortunately, all too often small businesses miss this step and conduct themselves in a manner more reminiscent of large corporate companies. Number one: indifferent. Number two: impersonal. Number three: we’re right and “sorry about that” attitude. And, the list goes on. This can spell disaster for the small business owner. Unfortunately, big business often gets away with this. You won’t for long!

Here are a few tips to help you avoid these traps and communicate effectively with your customers and clientele:

#1 – Ask for feedback. Good or bad, feedback from customers can be the saving grace for any small business. You can’t fix things when you don’t realize they are broken. So negative feedback is good to have, versus working in the blind.

It will help you improve, tweak, and keep what’s working and get rid of what isn’t working within the business. It’s important to never become a “legend in your own mind,” or in the minds of your team, when it comes to customer satisfaction. First, and always, ask your customers or clients how they feel about your service. How do they think it could be improved? It is really only their perception and opinion that matters.

You can ask customers to fill in a simple survey card or a fun poll about their preferences, their experience, and so on. It may help to make the feedback anonymous and to make it easier for the customer to state their true feelings about your business. Adding a small incentive to do so doesn’t hurt either. Just remember it is what “they think” that matters. Not just patting yourselves, one another, on the back and saying, “We’re doing great!”

You simply are not the judge in this that matters. In this end, the customer is always right. Since, if made wrong, they’ll simply leave you! So, guess who wins.

#2 – Stay in touch. It’s a battle these days. You are fighting, whether you know it, or not – to stay in the minds of your customers – versus thousands of other marketing messages they are hit with every single day.

Even if the customer was impressed with your business in the first instance, it’s easy for them to forget about it or go somewhere more convenient when they’re in a rush. However, if you stay at the forefront of your customer’s mind then you’ll up the chances of them becoming repeat customers.

Local internet marketing, social media marketing and offer many free marketing strategies for small business owners to profit from. And, this is another big opportunity and area to explore for small business owners!

Send your customers reminders about your business and news about special offers that will benefit them. You can also offer repeat customers a discount voucher and other incentives to get them to come back to you. But keep in mind that the best incentive for customers to return is often a simple “thank you” and great customer service. And, this is a team effort. Not just an idea, or a once-in-a-while happening. Consistence in all forms of business marketing is key.

#3 – Differentiate yourself and dominate your market. You can do this by treating each and every customer as though they are your only customer and making them feel special. Send out birthday or Christmas cards to your customers – when everyone else is “too busy.” Look for ways to be memorable and remarkable, in your market, versus others who just copy cat one another.

It is unique distinctions that set you ahead of your competition. Whereas, most business owners just copy what their competitors do and soon they all look alike (to the prospect). That’s when price becomes the primary question for the prospect, since there isn’t anything else that really makes you unique or special in their minds.

#4 – Show constant appreciation. After all, if it weren’t for your customers and clients, you and your team have no reason to be there. Right? So, freely let your customers know you appreciate them by sending a simple thank you card, perhaps with a discount voucher inside. Or, maybe an online option through your own newsletter through services like Constant Contact. And in some cases a small thank you gift may be a worthwhile investment for major loyalty and return business – depending upon your customer’s contributions to your business.

Treating customers well is one sure way to stand out from the competition in any economy – in any business.

#5 – Get creative. Many businesses use the same old boring marketing strategies. Why not stand out from the crowd by “juicing” up your marketing? Humor goes a long way in marketing – come up with a funny campaign that will grab your customer’s attention. Or, something engaging your customer like a “quiz” night at your restaurant, or bar, for example.

What may seem “crazy” to some can catch the eyes of potential customers or clients and get them interested in your business. Being at your place a particular night of the week, versus home, or somewhere else. The first step is always getting the customer through the door – a creative marketing campaign will help you do this. Once they’re in the door it’s up to you to WOW them with your services and keep them coming back.

Communicating effectively with customers and clients doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about connecting with people on a more personal level and setting up your business to help your customers to receive exceptional value. A few simple strategies can help you achieve this and stand out from the competition.

#6 – Use local marketing online. This is one of the most front running marketing gold mines today. As of this writing, 43% of all searches on Google are for local businesses, by city, state and zip code. This is people using local search, to buy services and products offline, at brick and mortar stores like yours. Online search has taken over internet yellow pages and print yellow page use and is growing daily.

Google is the king of local search marketing these days. You may, or may not be part of “page one” on Google. If you’re not, it is wise to find out how you can be – since this is the “king of search engine traffic” and people finding your local business via Google is money in the bank. Our clients absolutely love this solution with us, since they begin seeing new traffic in their doors almost immediately.

In any case, reach out to local business experts in your area, or online, and find a coach or mentor to help you speed your business success. Learn how you can optimize local marketing online. There are too many options today, to be an expert is every area, and run your business, too! So, look for experts who can help you take advantage of local online marketing options at reasonable fees. They may even offer you a customized marketing plan to use as your monthly map to business growth.

#7 Every “pro” has a coach. To help speed your marketing success along, you will be wise to find one or more mentors, to help you in your business ownership journey. And, Lord knows, it is a journey! Personally, I’d say do it now. Find a business and personal coach sooner than later. It can speed your success by years ahead of your competitors… and, probably save you thousands of dollars, if you connect with the “right one for you.”

All that is wasting is your time, money and loss of customers in the meantime… if you don’t really have the marketing expertise you need, in addition to your specific business know how. Most business owners I’ve met over the years know their “business expertise” very well. Other things, like marketing, is another matter. And, often since they are week in marketing, they simply don’t do it. Big mistake!

As I say, find a coach, a pro to help you… and, watch your business grow beyond your competition! Much in successful marketing includes a practical, systematized plan, that is consistently acted upon. No time like the present to ACT upon your success! My best wishes to you in that end!