Copyright (c) 2009 Dr Mark Yates
Economists are gracing our TV screens and newspapers proclaiming that the current economic downturn has finally bottomed out, and that we are about to turn the corner of the current credit crunch.
Irrespective of this opinion, in times of business hardship a great many opportunities for existing and aspiring business entrepreneurs manifest. The opportunity has never been greater for a small business start-up to grow exponentially.
Top 5 Tips For A Small Business Start-Up #1- Research Your Market
Business research has never been easier. Nowadays you can conduct most of your market and competitor research from the comfort of your own home or office computer. Online search engines are your best friends and although I advise caution as to complete accuracy of information, they do offer you a valuable insight.
Conduct a small business review. Identify your competitors and then use Google and other search engines to identify your competitors marketing campaigns and how much they are investing in targeting their online customers. Although online marketing doesn't include conventional marketing, it does offer a fantastic insight into your competitors business modus operandi.
Top 5 Tips For A Small Business Start-Up #2- Formulate A Strategic Business Growth Plan
Don't confuse a strategic business growth plan with a conventional business plan. A conventional business plan is generally required when you are looking for some kind of business finance, i.e. a bank loan or external investment. In reality most business owners park their business plan in a dusty cupboard never to be seen again after they have secured their finance. A strategic business growth plan is a much more pro-active working document that should form the foundation of your business growth. The initial foundation stone of this plan is a small business review ideally produced by a proven business growth consultant. This small business review can usually be produced quickly without spending a small fortune.
It should by definition include how you intend generating business, how you will take a share of your competitors business, how much you intend to turnover weekly, monthly and annually, how much your gross and net profits will be. It should also include financial forecasts and profit and loss data.
Two of the most critical issues to address when working with your strategic business growth plan are that;
1. The plan should include key performance indicators or KPI's as they are known in the business world.
2. The plan should be discussed and analysed by the MD or business owner weekly, followed up by a much more in-depth discussion which should take place every month with the MD, owner, directors, partners, shareholders, investors and senior managers to ensure the KPI's are being met.
On the basis that very few Small Business Start-Up will have such a corporate hierarchy, you should rely on external or outsourced business support partners to assist. (See top tips for a small business start-up #3 for further information on the right business partners.)
Top 5 Tips For A Small Business Start-Up #3- Find The Right Business Partners
A small business start-up generally lacks the expertise and resources that a medium or large business usually maintains. This means that for the managing director owner of a small business start-up, he or she occupies the loneliest position in the entire business world. It is for this reason that I advise retaining the right business partners. Initially you should appoint a proven business consultant, don't be confused into thinking this business consultant has to specialise in your particular type of business. Although there are a few business consultants who do specialise in one particular type of business, a very high percentage of business consultants are classed as business generalists.
Obviously if your research identifies a business consultant who specialises in your industry, then that's a bonus. However I advise that it is more important to appoint a proven business growth specialist as the first of your right business partners. If you appoint a proven growth specialist then he or she will have extensive contacts who can step in and out of your business as and when required without you having to pay full time salaries and executive benefit packages. Your business consultant will want to produce a small business package and a small business guide designed to encourage other business heavy weights to join your business on a part time retainer basis. Investing the time and money to produce this small business package and small business guide will provide far more value than cost.
Effectively your right business partners will be your very own part time low cost board of directors, an asset that many small business start-ups fail to capitalise on.
Top 5 Tips For A Small Business Start-Up #4- Never Step In The Ring Unless You Can Win
Never step in the ring unless you can win is based on the premise of having adequate financial resources. If you enter the business arena as a small business start-up without sufficient funds to get you through the first 12 to 18 months, you will seriously struggle to achieve business success and long term business sustainability. This is one of the main reasons why such a very high percentage of UK small businesses fail within the first 12 months. Appointing your right business partner i.e. a business growth consultant should bring an external source of financial expertise into your business on an as and when required contractual basis. Cash flow is key to any small business start-up for achieving good annual turnover and great profit margins.
Top 5 Tips For A Small Business Start-Up #5- Attack The Market
You've formed your own small business start-up, appointed your right business partners now you need to attack the market. Proactive business thinking will always lead to greater annual turnover and a healthy profit ratio. When I say attack the market, I am not being melodramatic. Business, real business is a war, and most wars are won before a battle commences. Being reactive in business will not win the war. Reactive business owners are destined to a live of mediocre business gains.
I only advocate attacking the market when you have integrated the first 4 of the top 5 tips for a small business start-up.
Implementing these top 5 tips for a small business start-up will give you a definitive edge over your counterparts who are also starting their own new business.
Are you a newbie in the online market and wanted to promote your small business? There are actually many small business marketing strategy that you can implement and target your market using them. But before you go about the process, the one thing that you need to consider is your budget. Are you ready to invest good-sized money to do all the small business marketing strategy? For beginners, this is really intimidating, especially to those who are not knowledgeable about the internet marketing “technology”. But don’t get frustrated because with a little help from the experts, which they call themselves internet marketing gurus, you can fuel your small business marketing strategy and get the results you need for your small business online.
Have you ever thought about leaving your regular job and start doing a better job marketing your small business or professional services? This may sound a radical move for anyone who has a good 8-hour job, but if you want staggering income and you want to run your own business, you can simply do that in the internet. You can actually jumpstart your own online business and establish it a name in the WWW thru small business leads. There are various key skills that you can do to market your online business and one is generating small business leads. You need to master this in order to succeed. The question now is – how to get qualified small business leads.
Generally, generating small business leads is the prime most important skill that any small business marketer should master. However, the goal to regularly get qualified leads is the most challenging task. But don’t worry because there are plenty of ways to generate small business leads. Just think about this – your business will not grow if you market to the same audience or stagnant population. It is important to note that, you need to branch out and reach as many targeted audience as possible in order for your small business to succeed. By knowing the right techniques of getting qualified small business leads, you are way to skyrocketing your own small business.
Five no-brainer ways to increase small business leads
Here are 5 no-brainer ways to improve your small business leads. Make sure to read them and implement them to boost your prospect building skills:
Know your client’s needs – In order to get the attention of your target market, you need to focus on your client’s needs. This is the first thing that you need to do to get noticed and get viable small business leads. It doesn’t matter whether you are printing a brochure, advertising on industry periodicals, or use search engines to get the traffic necessary for your online business. Getting results-yielding small business leads is possible by using powerful words in your marketing. This means using words that prospects will automatically notice and will meet their needs. Never spend on unproductive marketing methods – If you want to get good small business leads, eliminate useless marketing methods. If your strategies are not giving you results then don’t waste time and money on them. Marketing takes time and getting small business leads also require your aggressive marketing work. It is a must that you measure the impact of every marketing method that you implement so as to know the good and bad tactics. Maximize your website’s potential – To increase your small business leads, use your website properly. Remember that its purpose is to generate leads thus, it needs to be packed with information that prospects want, it is easy to navigate, and you provide them a means to contact you. By allowing visitors to reach you, you are literally opening the doors to getting money-making small business leads. Cross-market – Another powerful way to increase small business leads is to establish marketing relationships with relevant companies. This means companies that sell products or services that complements what you are also selling. Ask questions – Because your goal is to generate small business leads and to attract prospects to buy your products or services, use a good marketing statement like asking a question. Whether you are using a website, brochure, or any form of ads to generate small business leads, a great thing is to answer prospect’s particular problem. By providing a solution to their needs, you sure will get massive small business leads.
Get help from an expert who knows how to generate qualified small business leads
Remember these tips and implement them aggressively. For some this might be quite complicated but with a little help from an expert, such as donovanmc.im-for.com, you sure will find the whole process a no-brainer. This site will teach you how to create the best “bait” to drive targeted traffic, create direct response site that is designed to generate leads, and all other brilliant small business tactics.
It's important to know that the U.S. Federal Government, as a rule, does not award federal grants to private for-profit small businesses. Unless you are a 501C3 non-profit agency that is organized for charitable purposes and tax exempt under the IRS tax code, your small business is not eligible for federal grants.
That's the bad news. The good news is there are federal resources available for qualified small businesses to apply for.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal agency created in 1953 to help Americans start, build and grow businesses. The SBA serves people in the United States, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Although the SBA does not award grants to start or expand small businesses, they do have a wide range of loan programs available. You can access the Small Business Administration website at sba.gov. You can also find SBA programs in Federal Programs - Small Business Administration (SBA).
The SBA does have an exception to the "no federal grants" rule for small businesses, but it is targeted to innovation research and high technology companies. The Small Business Innovation Research Program is a highly competitive program that funds the startup and commercial development stages of an innovative technology, product or service. The Small Business Technology Transfer Program is another competitive program that funds awards to small businesses which partner with nonprofit research institutions for the commercialization of technology products.
Below is just a portion of the SBA programs that may be able to help American small businesses. The Small Business Administration is primarily a guarantor of loans, meaning that the federal government does not loan money directly to small businesses; they guarantee the loans made by lending institutions to qualified small businesses, making it easier for small businesses to qualify for loans they might not otherwise be eligible for.
1. 504 Certified Development Loans: Provides long-term fixed-rate financing to small businesses to acquire real estate, machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization. These loans are usually delivered through a Certified Development Company (CDC) with liens placed on the collateral and a contribution of 10% equity from the borrower.
2. 7(A) Export Loan Guarantees: This program aids and assists small-business to increase their ability to compete in international markets by enhancing their ability to export; facilitating technology transfers; enhancing their ability to complete effectively and efficiently against imports; increasing the access of small businesses to long-term capital for the purchase of new plant and equipment used in the production of goods and services involved in international trade. Loan proceeds can be used to construct, expand, or convert facilities; to purchase building equipment or materials; inventory and for export working capital.
3. 7(A) Loan Guarantees: Loan proceeds can be used for working capital, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, land and building (including purchase, renovation and new construction), leasehold improvements, and debt refinancing under special conditions. Loan maturity is usually up to 10 years for working capital and 25 years for fixed assets. This loan targets start-up and existing small businesses.
4. Microloan Program: These loans target women, low-income, and minority entrepreneurs, business owners, and other individuals possessing the capability to operate successful business concerns and to assist small business concerns in those areas suffering from a lack of credit due to economic downturns. Provides short-term loans up to $35,000 for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery or equipment.