Running a small business is full of challenges and opportunities. People that decide to start a new business do so for different reasons, but it is important to know why you do it. For example, one of my motivations for starting my own law practice was to be able to manage my own schedule and truly help people in a way that was unique to me and my personality.
People are motivated by money, opportunities, passion, problem-solving, etc. When we have something that really drives us and motivates us to improve, it is important to keep that drive when the challenges arise in our business. On of the easiest ways to stay focused on our motivations is to write them down.
When we write something down, it make it feel real and tangible. It gives us something to see and not simply something we ‘think’ about. When you write it down, remember to put it in a place where you will be able to frequently see it and be reminded of your motivations. This will keep your perspective focused on what you are attempting to accomplish.
We live in an age where new technology is constantly supplanting old ways of doing things. This phenomenon has had a largely positive impact on commerce, increasing efficiency and aiding the spread of new information and products. But it has also complicated the choices available to those who are starting a business for the first time.
Many new business owners are wondering: “Is having a traditional brick and mortar store worth the trouble?” To provide some context, and make the decision-making process a bit less agonizing, here are some of the pros and cons of tangible brick institutions versus virtual business models.
Brick and Mortar Stores: The Pros and Cons
- Humans are material beings. Prior to purchasing, many consumers like to be able to physically touch and inspect whatever it is their buying. For a certain set of people, this principle holds true whether they’re buying a car or a dining set. A physical location allows consumers this option.
- A brick and mortar store can serve as proof of legitimacy. There are plenty of fake businesses on the internet set up by scam artists. So consumers will be reassured that they won’t end up getting ripped off when purchasing from an actual, in-the-flesh business.
- Few people stumble upon a website truly at random. With a physical store, there’s the chance to pick up extra business on a walk-in basis. This especially holds true for businesses in highly populated areas.
- Opening a brick and mortar business requires a great amount of overhead, even if it’s set up in a suitable and preexisting building.
- Establishing a physical business requires much research, as location can dictate profits. Even then, it’s something of a gamble. What may have seemed like a good location might not turn out to be, and relocation is expensive.
- Businesses that operate at a physical address are limited in the hours that they can serve customers. After all, if a business has closed for the night, it can’t serve customers.
Virtual Business: Pros and Cons
- If set up correctly, an online business will operate at all hours of the day and night, and there’s no need to hire clerks, security guards, or cleaners. This grants consumers constant access, allowing them to buy whenever they feel truly ready or when the inspiration strikes.
- Although they still involve quite a bit of time and work, online businesses are very inexpensive to start-up.
- A virtual setup allows access to a much wider pool of potential clients. This international clientele pool is even wider than that seen by a brick and mortar business, located in a bustling metropolis.
- Competition in the virtual business sphere is fierce. Instead of competing on a local level, a virtual business has to compete with international competitors right off the bat. Online businesses may be easier to put up, but also easier to knock down.
- A virtual setup can severely limit personal interaction. This can make it more difficult to establish a relationship with customers and create a positive brand identity.
- Unless the budget is already in place to hire an IT staff, setting up a virtual store will require the development of a skill set which is likely new for many would-be entrepreneurs.
Justin blogs about business tips, as well as how to start and market a business on behalf of Kwikkerb, and also provides information on the Kwikkerb business opportunity.Read More
Owning and operating a small business is exciting, stressful and fun. However, there are many things to keep in mind and constantly consider. Small businesses have tremendously changed over the past decade and especially over the past few years.
As the internet evolves, people are changing their ways of doing business and making money. You no longer need to open up a business, or work for a corporation to earn a steady income. The internet has allowed average people to take their skills, turn them into services, and get clients.
Creating a Name
You may be wondering whether or not you should personalize your business name or not. For example, if your last name was Smith, should your business be named “Smith’s Writing Services”? Creating a business name is one of the most exciting things you get to do.
Think of something catchy, short, and effective that will best describe your area of work and stand out against your competition.
If you aren’t already familiar with the freelancing industry, you may be unaware that there are many sites from which you can find work and begin developing clients. These websites are specifically designed for freelancers and clients online looking to outsource work. You no longer have to go out in the field to hunt down clients and work.
In fact, you don’t even have to call and talk to them on the phone! Most freelancers only deal with their clients and contractors via email, or once in a while on Skype.
Go Old School
Consider reaching out to some small brick and mortar businesses in your area. Most people are so focused on the internet and outsourcing, that their communication is always through email. Consider walking into a business with your portfolio or even sending them a brochure.
Even when on freelancing websites, consider leaving your phone number so the client can reach out to you. Many freelancers don’t use this tactic, yet it can be beneficial to standing out.
Your Competition Is All Over the World
Unlike small brick and mortar businesses whose competition is usually the big corporate stores or other small business in their area or town, online, you are competing with people in countries you may have never even heard of. It’s best to be prepared and ready to show clients what you have to offer.
Price doesn’t always have to be a factor, as some clients want to work with people in their area, so stay focused on your businesses qualities and understand exactly what your client wants and needs.
Robert is a sports writer for several local news papers. He built his experience through college and freelancing. You can contact him through his Enthuse profile.Read More
Any time you become convinced you have to try a new product, it’s because you got excited about the results it offered. Think of the infomercials on television showing how a product is used, how it compares to the competition and the convincing user testimonials. All these things build up your expectation for your own results. Then there are some commercials that are so vague, you have no idea what the company sells, life pharmaceutical commercials. If you’re creating a new online business, you need to be able to clearly define what your unique product or service promises. Vague, mysterious and fanciful wording won’t deliver that message. If people can’t visualize how your product or service is better or offers some type of benefit, it will be difficult to draw people in.
An organization was formed to offer teaching in a food industry, promising a degree. The curriculum was not complete at the time the website was launched. There was no clear explanation how the person paying for the classes would benefit. The most you could derive from the offer was that you’d receive a piece of paper to hang on the wall. This same organization had a store selling related products, diluting the effectiveness of coming across as a reputable learning organization.
The idea did not go over well. There was plenty of excitement and expectation, but when launched, it fell flat. There was no clarity about the classes and the type of career it would lead to. This organization used the words “prestigious” and “accredited” frequently without any evidence to back them up. Wrong language. Wrong promises. Wrong approach. What it could have done instead, was demonstrate the benefits over other, similar learning methods and provide proof of results.
This next business relied on referrals to survive. Their website used such vague language that no one could tell for sure what type of seminars they offered. Vague promises of achieving and doing amazing things with your life after taking the seminars did little to define what they offered. This approach led to their being perceived by outsiders as a “cult.” That cult reputation led to bad online reviews; their lack of an online presence did very little to refute the claim. As a result, this business has been unable to grow and recently closed a location.
If people have to physically see or experience your product or service in order to be convinced of its value, your website is not doing a good job of selling. It’s one thing if you are selling something people use on a regular basis. You do not have to convince consumers that they need the product. You just need to convince them they should buy it from you. But, when you are bringing a unique idea to the market, your vision is not enough to make it succeed. If you can’t get others to visualize the end result, the idea will fall flat on the floor.
Unique ideas require research and a vision is not research. Research requires analysis of information available about the target market, the existing market and the potential for growth within that market. This research will provide you with the information you need to understand your market’s needs. From there, you need to develop language and a selling point that appeals to this market. If your wording is just grandiose, like your vision, people won’t see it. If it sounds too good to be true and doesn’t provide proof of results, the wording doesn’t sell.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Could 2013 be the year of the entrepreneur? It certainly seems like it could be! The sound of a home based business to many is of pure perfection, especially when they consider the perks that come with one.
The biggest is of course that you are at home and are always close to your family, yet other big perks include being able to work on your very own schedule and there is of course the savings you can make on everything from travel expenses to buying food on your lunch break.
A small business can turn into a large one with hard work and the correct planning; however some people do like to keep them small. So whether you are planning world domination with an offshore company formation set up or just looking to do something you love, it has to start somewhere.
Though a home based business sounds like a dream come true, many people make a variety of mistakes that can eventually result in their business turning into a failure. These mistakes often range from not making sure they are complying with government regulations, not putting into practice an effective marketing strategy and simply not having the correct business plan in place.
For this reason I am going to warn you of the mistakes you should be avoiding if you are seriously contemplating starting a home based business.
Mistake Number One – Ignoring Planning
Many people dive into a home based business without drawing up a business plan; they play it by ear and often get themselves into trouble. A business plan can be instrumental in helping you to find much needed funding, keeping you on track during the tougher times whilst also ensuring that your business develops and progresses year on year.
If you do not get a business plan together you could find that your business will start to suffer financial loss and eventually fold.
- Check with your local and national government to find out if there are any regulations your home business should be complying with and make sure you have everything from the correct paperwork to some form of business insurance set up.
- Take time doing some competitive research, which means finding out who you competition is going to be. Look at what they seem to be doing successfully and what they are not doing as well at as they should be.
- If you are hoping to get some form of business loan, a business plan is essential. You will need to ensure that it is well presented, thought out as well as being completely accurate and honest. It will need to include any research you have done on your competition as well as your profit and expense forecasts.
Mistake Number Two – Borrowing either Too Much or Not Enough
In instances where people want to start a home based business but do not have the capital to do so, they will have to go down the route of looking for loans, finding some investors or even getting a business credit card.
- If you do have to borrow money, ensure that you get the amount right. Do not overspend on things you may not need, as having too much debt when setting up your company can end up putting it in jeopardy. On the other hand, not having enough money when starting out can cause plenty of problems too.
- Only purchase what you really need. Make sure that what you are buying is going to be needed early on, things such as additional equipment and materials can be purchased later on when your business starts turning some good profits.
Mistake Number Three – Not Enough Marketing
Marketing is of massive importance for any new home based business, which really does not have to cost an arm and a leg. A very effective method is to make use of the many free or low-cost resources available to get your word out to your particular target audience, with these generally being via social media, blogs and of course radio stations and your areas local newspapers.
- Get help from your friends and family by asking them to spread the word for you. They could do this verbally or through their own social media outlets.
- Make use of the biggest social media devices that are free, like Facebook and Twitter.
With these tips of what mistakes to avoid in mind, you should be in a better position to ensure that your home based business turns into a success.
Bill Jobs has been an expert in business for many years and likes to share his thoughts through writing his own guest blogs. Whether you need advice on offshore company formation or simply want some tips on how to market your business more effectively, he is the man who can help you.Read More
Right now, I’m helping a business get through a difficult transition. They operated as a branch of a larger business and the CEO decided that they could not afford to maintain this branch of the business. Rather than close the doors, the manager decided to take over the lease and continue the business under a new business name. This meant splitting up the contact list, filing for a new business name, new signage and a new domain name. They are starting from scratch and must begin from the bottom to establish an online presence. For most this would seem dreadful, but starting from scratch does provide the opportunity to fix the things that were done wrong on the original site. Here’s how the new one will benefit from the change:
Better Domain Name
The original domain name targeted a very broad keyword, one that truly didn’t describe the business properly. In fact, it was a keyword that barely described the business at all. The new business’ domain name includes the business name plus keywords people actually type into search when they are looking for this type of service.
The old website had fewer than 10 pages and gave people no reason to return to it. The member filled out a form online and didn’t even make payment on the site. Payment was taken in person at the facility. The website was not optimized for any keywords and despite being around for 10 years, hadn’t accumulated a single solitary back link. It did not link to any of the social networks, did not collect subscriber emails; it simply provided an overview.
The new business’ website is being set up to not only lure local traffic for which there is no competition, it will contain a blog featuring popular guest posts who can attract their own blog and social network followers. The site is being set up with keyword optimized urls and engaging content, an email subscription field and online payment.
The old company’s listing was followed by bad reviews in the SERPs; reviews which they had paid $5000 to push down and were unsuccessful in doing so. The new company has identified the reason for the bad reviews and is setting up their business to avoid having the business perceived the same way. Their clean slate means they can send their happy customers to the review websites and ensure they receive enough positive feedback to counteract anything negative that may be posted down the line.
To the company’s advantage, they are planning to expand this location’s offerings by bringing in well-known talent with credibility. This advantage alone merits coming to the new business versus going to the old one.
Is starting over a hassle? Sure. But, the positive is that you get to fix anything that was broken and improve on anything that worked. In this case, the trust an older domain should have offered was barely a factor in pulling in traffic and back links. Doing everything right from the beginning should naturally build the trust of the new site and quickly out shine the old one.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Theresa Happe works with Namefind.com where businesses can find domain names and their available social handles. Visit site.Read More