Archives for March 2013

The 4 Most Important Questions to ask Before you Quit Your Job to Open Your Own Business

If you’’re ready to leave the corporate world behind and head out on your own there are a few questions that you should answer before you make the big leap.  Many people don’’t realize how unprepared they are to cut ties with what they’’ve known for so long and end up not succeeding because of this.  Since we love our readers and we don’’t want this to happen we’’ve put together a little Blog about the 4 most important questions that you must answer before going it alone. Our advice; read them, use them and answer them because when you do you’’ll be ready.  Enjoy!

Is your new business making enough money to support you and your family?  If it’’s not but it’’s close and it’’s sustainable then you may be ready but if you’’re going to be hurting if you lose that paycheck we suggest that you wait until your side-venture is making enough to at least pay the basic bills before you tell your boss you’’re leaving. Keeping your job and the money it provides as you get you won business going isn’’t a bad thing as long as you don’’t let it hold you back from making the break.

Do you have enough money to run the operation until it is in the black? If you do kudos but if you don’’t you’’ll need to plan where, when and how you’’re going to get said money before you start. Lack of capital is one of the biggest causes of small business failure so make sure you have the resources you need before you quit your day job.

Do you have a safety net? If your new business fails completely (and we sure hope that doesn’’t happen) it’’s always best to be prepared and that means having something to fall back on.  Money stashed away, the opportunity to get another job and a place to stay are extremely important, even if it’’s just you. If you have a family this is even more important. If worse comes to worst, make sure you have a means of obtaining cash.  For instance, there is a new UK based lender that offers pay day loans, if you contact them they can answer your borrowing questions you may have.

Can you multi-task? If you can that’’s great. If not you’’re either going to need someone who can by your side or you’’re going to need to be a fast learner who can pick things up quickly as your business grows. You also can’’t have an ego because you may need to sweep, stay late, come in early, go home late and take care of a million things that you may never have even thought about. And then some. If you’’re not up to the task you may want to stay put until you are.

Only 4 things but all 4 very vital to your success so make sure you know the answer to them before getting rid of the safety net you know as a ‘‘job’’. And, when you’’ve answered them all, by all means get out there and kick some butt! Cheers!

Success Tips for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs, no matter the business they have or the industry that they work in, all have the same general challenges. What separates many successful entrepreneurs from those that don’’t succeed is sometimes simply a matter of how said challenges are handled. Many times it’’s not that the business owner isn’’t up to the task it’’s simply that they don’’t have the experience necessary to make the right decisions and the correct choices.  With that in mind we’’ve put together a blog with a number of tips about success from, well, successful entrepreneurs who have faced similar challenges and overcome them. (Who better to ask, yes?) Enjoy!

One of the most important skills that an entrepreneur can have is the gift of good networking skills.  Being able to meet new people, exchange ideas and get out there and meet the public is vital to being able to then give the public what they want. Also, surrounding yourself with like-minded people who have the same goals is an excellent idea, especially if those people don’’t compete with you and will give you frank and candid answers without sugar coating them.  (Hey, we’’re just being honest.)

That segues nicely into making sure that you shut the negative voices out, including the people who tell you that you can’’t, you won’’t, you shouldn’’t or you couldn’’t.  Sometimes these people may come from within your very family or circle of friends and it’’s tough to shut them out but you must. An entrepreneur needs positive people around them who have the same goals and the same vision.  Even if they don’’t understand what you’’re doing as long as they are supportive that’’s all that matters.

Taking risks is part of being an entrepreneur as well (as long as you don’’t bet the family farm on some magic beans). The fact is, many successful companies have gone over the edge or come close to it before they found success. They tried, failed and then tried again, and you should learn to do that also.

Hiring to your weaknesses is something that takes someone with the humility and common sense to know that they can’’t know everything. If you’’re a great ‘”big picture”’ guy but you can’’t design a website worth a darn you’’d best partner up with someone who can and who will be there when things start to take off.

Finally, don’’t try to keep your idea a ‘‘secret’’, especially if it’’s a good one. The fact is, unless it’’s the nuclear launch codes nobody’’s going to be trying to steal your idea and you may just find someone who’’s so interested in it that they decide to invest and / or became a partner. Talk about your idea to anyone who might listen and get in front of as many decision makers as you can that may be able to help you.  If one can’’t he or she might know someone who can so keep trying.

How to Choose the Right Name, Logo and Tagline for your Startup Company

Three of the most important tasks that you have as the founder of a new startup company are to choose a name, a logo and a tagline for your company. The truth is, marketing today, more than ever, is all about using words and images that sell and a well-chosen name, logo and tagline can do more for a company that mountains of publicity (although mountains of publicity still would be nice, don’’t get us wrong). To help you make the best decisions for your start-up’’s name, logo and tagline we’’ve put together this little blog.  Enjoy!

Choosing a name can be tricky but don’’t get stuck on it.  If the name that you want is available as a domain but it isn’’t cheap you should probably invest in it anyway.  The name that you company has will give it an identity with consumers and, if you want to sell a lot of whatever it is you’’re going to be producing, making, creating, writing or whatever, a well-chosen name can be the doorway that takes you there. Consider FaceBook for a moment.  Right now it conjures up images of the world’’s biggest social network but before Mr. Zuckerberg’’s baby was born the name meant nothing.  But, even though the name FaceBook was not known among the public at all,  it was incredibly catchy and was easy as heck to remember, the 2 most important traits a name should have. And the rest is history.

Creating a logo for your company is best left to a professional designer. Like the name you choose it should be something that catches the eye, is easy to remember and exemplifies what it is your company does. The Nike ‘‘swoosh’’ exemplifies the motion that you get when you wear their sports equipment.  The Twitter Bluebird logo is incredibly easy to remember and it stands for the speed at which they allow people to share their thoughts online through their social network. And if you don’’t succeed at first remember that there’’s no law saying that you can’’t change your logo if you find a replacement that’’s much better.

Using Nike’’s tagline ‘‘Just Do It’’ isn’’t fair to use as an example of a great tagline because it may be the world’’s best and most often imitated besides ‘‘Got Milk?’’. Nevertheless Nike’’s masterpiece of a tagline exemplifies everything about what a good tagline should be.  Short, sweet and easily to repeat.  Believe us, every single sports product company on the planet wished that they would have come up with that tagline because it’’s so perfect.  That’’s what you need for your company as well so take some time, call an expert (or at least some people whose opinions you trust) and try to pick something that will, in as few words as possible, tell the buying public exactly what your company does.

How hard could it be, right?

Top 20 things you can do to save energy all year round

A lot of people like to complain that their electric, water, gas or other energy bill is just too high.  We counter that by saying that, for the most part, those are the same people who don’’t turn off lights, wash small loads of laundry with a full load’’s worth of water and keep the heat on so high in winter that their house feel like a sauna.  But, rather than judge we put together a very simple list of some of the best tips for saving energy that we have come across.  Cheers!

  1. Turn off the lights!
  2. Turn TVs, stereos and computers completely off when not in use.
  3. If you won’’t use something for a few days or are going on vacation, unplug things that aren’’t vital.
  4. Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it.
  5. Don’’t put big furniture over or in front of heating ducts.
  6. Keep shades drawn and doors and windows closed when the AC is on.
  7. Invest in a programmable thermostat.
  8. Replace that old hot water heater.
  9. Insulate any pipes that carry hot water.
  10. Turn off the water heater if you go on vacation.
  11. Change the air filters in your heating and AC units twice a year.
  12. Make sure the insulation between the house and the attic is sufficient to keep heat loss down to a minimum
  13. Close vents in rooms that you don’’t use and their doors too.
  14. Turn the water off while you lather and wash your hair and body.
  15. Leave lights off during the day and use sunlight.
  16. Use 1 larger light bulb instead of several smaller ones.
  17. Use motion detectors on outside lights so that they aren’’t on all day.
  18. Clean and vacuum refrigerator coils occasionally.
  19. Cool off hot food before storing them in the fridge.
  20. Cook things in the oven at the same time to save gas or electric.
  21. Defrost food before you microwave it.
  22. Wash full loads of clothes and only use cold water.
  23. Clean the dryer lint filter after every use.
  24. Dry one load right after another because the machine is still hot.
  25. Don’’t waste water on the grass or washing the car.

And there you go. 25 excellent tips that you can start using today that will lower your energy bills and help save the planet a little bit too.  Come back soon and we’’ll have more.  Cheers!


Fraud and Your Bank Account

No matter how securely you handle your account information you can still become a victim of fraud. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are stolen each year from bank accounts through various means. As a consumer it is important to know how fraud occurs and what to do if you are a victim of fraud.

Your debit card is the number one way criminals can use to access your account, so be cautious when, where and how you use it. Many retailers have found themselves the victims of clever hackers that have used their skills to access their payment terminals and steal their customer’s information. As convenient as the debit card is learning to carry cash can actually help safe guard your account.

So what do you do if someone accesses your account with stolen debit card information? The first thing to do is to notify your bank immediately. Banking employees can quickly block debit card activity and keep any additional items from coming through. If you notice the fraud quickly enough many charges may be able to be sent back to the merchants where they were charged making for a quicker retrieval of you funds. In any case consumers need to know that they are protected by the law in cases of debit card fraud, and although you may have to fill out some time consuming paperwork your money is protected and will be returned to you.

Laws are very clear to protect the consumer and your banking institution should work with you to put back any funds that are lost to you as a result of fraud, however, it is not an overnight process and in some cases can take up to 10 business days to see your money returned to your account. The best thing the consumer can do is to take precautions before fraud happens to protect their debit card information and in turn protect their bank account as well.

How to Set Up a Business – In Brief

Many people wrongly believe that setting up a business is a difficult process, when this is not actually the case. If you stick to a simple system, and keep your mind focused, the whole process really could not be easier. Still sceptical about how easy forming a company is? Then follow our four-step guide below and you could be up and running in no time.

1.       Idea

Deciding to start your own business is always very exciting, and it can be easy to get too carried away and try to incorporate everything you have ever wanted to do or may ever want to do from the get-go. However, it is highly recommended that to begin with, you try and keep your premise as simple as possible. It is much better to do one thing very well than lots of things in a mediocre fashion. Obviously if your original idea is a success, you can always expand anyway.

2.       Name

The key to any business is a great name. Unfortunately, functional monikers such as ‘Smith & Sons Glass Blowing’ don’t really cut the mustard anymore, so picking something new and interesting is key to ensure that your idea gets the attention it deserves.

As it is the first thing your audience will learn about your brand, you need to make it clear what it is your brand wants to convey, whilst keeping it simple and easy to understand and allowing for possible easy expansion in the future.

3.       Setup

The final main step you need to start a business is to choose on your business structure. Whether you are choosing to form a limited company or an unlimited one, the structure you decide upon can affect how it will run in the future. Do a bit of research into the various types available, and choose which is most applicable to how you would like to run your business. It couldn’t be simpler!

4.       Trade

Once all of the above are complete, you can start trading. This can be daunting, but try and keep true to your original idea and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

The Best Online Business for 2013 Part 4 of 4

Welcome back.  We truly hope that some of the ideas you’ve seen here on the 1st  3 Parts of our 4 Part series have been helpful in stirring up some ideas and opportunities in your brain.  This final part will give you just a few more interesting and possibly very profitable ideas that you can turn into your own online business in 2013. Enjoy!

Do you love to sew baby clothes?  If you do and they’re really well done you could turn that into a custom baby clothes business and sell your creations online on eBay, Etsy and others sites.  New moms especially love something unique for baby and if you give them what they want they will reward you financially for it.

If you’re like most of us catching your mistakes when you write can be difficult and frustrating.  On the other hand if you’re an excellent proofreader you could start an online proofreading service and help people spot their mistakes before they are embarrassed by them.

Resume writing is also a skill that few possess and, although there are already services out there, there is always room for more as new people enter the workforce every day.  An online resume writing service may be just the ticket that you need to make a great living in the future.

Do you adore your pets and make them custom clothes and accessories? Why not use that love (and those skills) to turn it into an online pet clothing and accessories business?  If you love pets and are extremely handy with arts, crafts and sewing this might be something wonderful for you in 2013.

There are certainly plenty of people playing video games online these days but much fewer girls than boys.  A girls-only online gaming club may sound a little silly but, with their numbers growing, may provide an outstanding way for you to make a living online.

Are you an eco-warrior?  Do you love weddings?  If so why not combine those 2 loves and be an eco-friendly wedding planner who plans weddings for others who share your desire to save the planet but still want to party on their big day.

Are you the best mom in town?  A nanny who’s better than super? Why not showcase those skills with an online parent coaching service  and help other parents to raise their little monsters, um, we mean children, correctly.  Many moms and dads need daily help with this and it could well be a very rewarding business online.

And there you have them.  Almost 40 ideas that you can use to start, build and create an online business in 2013.  We hope that you’ve enjoyed the Blogs and that, in 2013, your entrepreneurial spirit and your love of online business comes together successfully.  Have a great 2013!

The Best Online Business for 2013 Part 3 of 4

Welcome back for Part 3.  Continuing with our theme of best online business that you can start in 2013 we have many here that, with a little bit of effort and patience, could become the best thing you ever did to make a living.  Take a look, make some notes and get to work!

A College Entrance Exam Essay Writer can make a great income catering to high school kids who are musically inclined but can’t write worth a darn.  Yes the moral and ethical issues are there but, if you can get past those (and a lot of cash can help) you could help the thousands of kids who struggle every year to write something that looks and sounds good so they can get into college and waste mom and dad’s money.

Market research is something that many small businesses need but few can get done. If you have a market research company online to help them they will help you to have an excellent year financially.

This may not be in your skill set but a custom software development business can be very lucrative.  If you have the ideas but not the know-how there are people you can hire that will do the development if you have the idea.  It takes a little research to find a developer to work with but once you do you’re ready to get going.

Do you love to cook, bake or otherwise make great food?  If your friends are always looking to you to provide the food at parties and holidays why not turn that knowledge and experience into an online cooking school?  Post videos, sell products and make a living doing what you love.

A remote computer repair service could be your financial ticket if you’re computer savvy.  There are plenty of programs that you can use to diagnose computer problems remotely and help the hundreds of thousands of people who have them every day with their laptops and PCs.

If you’re big into being green you may have what it takes to start an online marketing consultant business for green companies. If you’re passionate about the environment and a great marketer you could put the 2 together and make an excellent business out of them.

Are you a card sharp?  If so you could start your own online poker coaching program.  There are quite a few already so you may need to focus on a niche group, an uncommon strategy or a specific type of poker.  Texas hold-em and other games of chance can be your point of focus too.

If you’re a brilliant money guru turn that brilliance into a personal finance coaching business online. Depending on whom you think you can serve and what they have to offer this could prove to be very profitable.

Not a bad bunch of ideas, yes?  We have more so please join us back here soon for Part 4.  See you soon!