Archives for June 2014

How to Make Time for Your Side Business

Do you dream of the day that you can quit your day job and go full time into building your own business? The fact is that most businesses take quite a bit of time to actually become profitable so, before actually quitting your day job, it’s best to start building your side business on the side.

It’s a bit more work and it does divide your focus, obviously, but it’s one of the best ways to make sure that you’re truly committed to your new site business or if it was just a “passing fancy”. Below are a number of ways that you can get your side business going before completely quitting your day job. Enjoy.

First you should come up with a realistic estimate of how many hours per week you can set aside for your new business. More hours don’t always lead to better results, so it’s best that you arrive at a reasonable amount of time and stick to it consistently.

If you’re a writer and can work on your side business from home on your computer, you will obviously need less time than if you’re going to bake and sell cakes or teach a yoga class. These things need to be taken into consideration when it comes to setting aside the proper amount of time per week.

Strategically planning your days so that you don’t have to miss out on things like sleep, family obligations and exercise is also very important. Delegating some tasks and automating others in order to give yourself more time is a great idea and, if you make a personal to-do list, you might see things that you can skip entirely.

Speaking of delegating, there’s no reason to go it alone in your new site business if you don’t have to. If you lack expertise in a number of areas that are important to your new business, recruiting partners to help you is your best bet. Once you make the jump from side business to full-time business, these people will already be in place and ready to help you make it an even bigger success.

Setting a target for how much money your company will need to generate on a consistent basis before you give up your steady paycheck is a definite necessity. Knowing how much you’ll need to charge per customer, and how much per order you’ll need in order to make enough money to do this, are also critical questions to be answered.

Simply put, the more time that you have to prepare your “side business” while you still have regular paychecks coming in, the better prepared you will be when you finally “cut the cord” and leave your full-time, weekly paychecks behind. This could buy you the time you need to make sure that your side business can actually be turned into a full-time, viable business that supports you and your family.

Small Advertising Budget? Pay-Per-Click is the Answer

Your average small business, especially if it’s young, doesn’t have a lot of cash on hand for a marketing budget. With pay per click or PPC however, they can still run a successful, highly measured advertising program that delivers an excellent ROI.

The first thing to do before starting any new PPC campaign is simply to figure out exactly what one customer is worth to your business and, more importantly, how much you’re willing to spend to get that customer. Knowing, for example, that each customer is worth approximately $100, and that you are willing to spend $50 to get them, is vitally important.

Of course there’s no business on earth that can convert every lead into a customer, and so you’ll need to use a formula based on conversion rate to determine exactly how much you can actually afford to pay for leads.  Using the example above, you would pay $5. per lead if you converted 1 in 10 of them into a paying customer.

Here are another few reasons why PPC for small businesses is an excellent idea.

First, using PPC to target visitors at every stage of the buying funnel is possible if you focus on keywords that your potential customers use when they are getting ready to purchase. By adding geography, language and time you get an excellent way to pinpoint qualified customers.

With PPC you want to avoid broad matching so that you don’t pay for unqualified clicks that drain your budget. In order to get a higher relevance you should start with a broad match and, since PPC is an auction format, your price will be driven by demand/value.

Remember that there’s actually no direct correlation between the budget you have and the results you’ll get. For example, tripling your PPC budget won’t necessarily mean that you triple the volume of quality leads you’re going to get.

Another great feature that comes with PPC is the ability to test many messages. Testing content and combinations of words and messages is a great way to find out if the keywords you’re using, and their relevance to your ad copy and landing pages, is increasing leads and sales.

For example, you might find that rearranging the copy you have in the headline, or changing the description line to a customer quote, can increase your CTR.

PPC also allows you to test lots of markets using their collaboration tool because it’s used in 165 countries and eight different languages. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to have native language speakers review your content and not rely on Google translate to do it.

Lastly, especially when your funds are tight and every single lead counts, don’t rely on your opinion to make decisions but data instead. In almost all situations numbers will trump any opinion or emotion that you might have. Any PPC campaigns that you have that are performing you should ramped up and those that aren’t should be turned off.

At the end of the day a carefully planned, highly detailed PPC campaign used in conjunction with a metrics program can generate excellent results without the need to spend a huge amount of money.

Author and businessman Jack Welch put it best when he said “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”

10 Tips for Hiring Excellent People

As an entrepreneur it’s definitely okay for you to obsess over hiring employees because, for small businesses especially, one bad hire can squash an entire team’s productivity quite quickly.

Below are 10 Tips for hiring excellent people that have been gleaned from successful small business owners around the country. All of these business owners stress that hiring an employee that “organically fits” into their corporate structure and are passionate about their brand is truly more important than the credentials that they bring with them, and that personality is also a big factor.  Enjoy.

  1. The best people to hire are those that are passionate about your products and truly believe in the mission that you have set out for your business. Even if their credentials might not be exactly what you’re looking for, their passion will in most cases allow them to quickly make up for those deficits.
  2. Nearly all successful small business owners will tell you that integrity is more important than experience. Being able to trust your employees is a key factor to your long-term success.
  3. Most agree that hiring someone with serving experience that they learned in a restaurant is an excellent trait as anyone who has been able to successfully work in the food service industry really knows how to get things done quickly and efficiently.
  4. Nearly anyone can be taught a technical skill. For successful small business owners, a person’s personality and demeanor is usually more important as these two traits usually can’t be changed.
  5. Taking a potential candidate out to lunch or dinner before offering them a position in your company is an excellent idea that adds a new dimension to the interview process and can give a lot more details on whether or not a person will fit into an organization.
  6. Most small business owners agree that hiring someone with a lot of enthusiasm for life, tons of energy and a positive attitude is an excellent idea.
  7. One brilliant suggestion is to provide an assignment to a potential new hire during their interview. The way they handle the assignment and follow it through to its conclusion can be a real eye-opener and give you a lot of information into how they will perform.
  8. All successful business owners agree that it’s better to wait for the right person than to compromise on your hiring standards. If you don’t feel that a person is right for the position, keep searching until you find one that is.
  9. Finding someone who volunteers or gives back to their community in some way is usually a sign of a person who cares and will thus care about your business as well.
  10. Trying to avoid hiring someone out of “sympathy” as, in many cases, this will only come back and shoot you in the foot at a later time.

And there you have them! 10 excellent Tips that, if you’re an entrepreneur getting ready to start a new business, or you’ve already started and need help expanding, should help you to find the best people to accomplish the tasks ahead.


Why Team Building Exercises are So Important to the Success of your Small Business

As a small business owner with a small group of employees you may not give much thought to teambuilding exercises but the fact is that, if your people know each other well and care about each other a lot, the success level of your business can be increased exponentially.

The fact is that the people who work for you will, over time, become your extended family. Being part of a family, as you no doubt already know, can be a very rewarding experience but can also be very challenging and at times a bit frustrating too.

Have you ever noticed however that, if you go on vacation as a family, relationships after that vacation are usually much better and bonds between family members much stronger.  Sharing an experience together does that for a family end, for a group of employees, can do the same.

While we’re not suggesting that you take your employees to Tahiti on vacation (although if your business is really doing well and you can afford it, it might be a consideration) there are certainly plenty of activities that you and your employees can do as a group that will help them to bond and increase everyone’s affinity for each other greatly.

For example, enrolling your team in a softball or bowling league and competing against other small businesses is a great way to bond as well as have a lot of fun.

Taking the entire group out to lunch or dinner is also a fantastic idea. The Italians call this “breaking bread” and the fact is that eating good food is a positive experience that, when shared, can create long-lasting bonds between your employees and yourself.

In many industries there are conventions, expositions and other events that could certainly be attended by you and your entire group of employees. You’d be amazed how many people that work for you don’t really have an idea about the intricacies of your industry. One or two days at an organized industry event can help them to learn a lot about what is your company actually does, as well as get to know their fellow employees at the same time.

Something much simpler and easy to do, as well as being relatively inexpensive, would be to order out for food for the entire group and, while everyone is eating together, have a “BS” session and listen to the comments and feedback that everyone brings to the table. This is not only a great way to get to know your employees but also to hear about any problems, situations or frustrations that they are facing.

At the end of the day the fact is that, as a business owner, you’re sort of like the “proud papa” of the business and your employees are your “children”. You need to keep them in line, reward them when necessary and scold them when necessary as well.

Just like a family you also need to spend time with them doing something fun, interesting or different outside of work. If you do, you’ll find that the rewards are definitely worth the investment.