Tips for Running a Small Business Successfully

As with anything in life it helps to have a few Tips and some inside information when you get started in your new small business so that you can avoid the common pitfalls and problems that people before you have experienced doing the same thing. To that end below are a few great tips that you can and should use when you’re starting any new business.

Do we have to talk about a Business Plan?  If you don’t have one you really have no business going into business.  Your business plan, even if it’s quite simple, is the map that you will use to plot out your future moves?  Would a sailor leave port without his map?  No. Should you start a business without a sound business plan? No.

Use your Bank to your advantage, and if you can’t do that find another bank to work with that will help you run your business more efficiently and fits your particular business plan, find another bank. The fact is that most banks will help you out if you’re a smaller, start up business by giving you better rates, free direct deposit and smaller loans that fit your budget.

Get out in the public, make friends, talk to people and network, network, network. Join in community events, talk to owners of businesses similar to yours and completely different too. Join some small business associations.  Get out there and make yourself known!

Make sure you’re organized and stay organized.  Information about your time, your people, your finances and your inventory need to be at your fingertips constantly.  Make a spreadsheet that keeps track of all the important numbers and details and review it thoroughly once a week. Organization can make or break a new business.

Stay on top of new info, new techniques and new developments in your industry. Take online classes, subscribe to newsletter and magazines about your industry and stay informed. You never know when something new wil come along that wil make you life, or your customers’ life, better.

Get the licenses and permits that you need before opening your doors and make sure that you’re running a legal business in every way.

Certify all of the people that work for you that should be certified. Having these certifications will not only give your clients more confidence but it will also allow you to charge more for your services.

Running a business can come with large expenses. To help reduce costs, considering using a freight broker to improve your business’s efficiency as a whole.

Finally offer references or testimonials and also put them in your marketing.  Nothing helps a business more than testimonials.

How to Start a Fundraiser


The most common way for an organization to tackle the ‘lack of funds’ problem is to raise funds through a fundraiser. Even though raising funds requires the organization to put in big effort, the money raised can prove to be an essential support in the long run.

However, estimating the amount of money needed is one thing, and starting a fundraiser is something completely different. It’s not easy to run one when you’re unclear about the basic steps that need to be taken. In order to make your fundraiser successful, you need to plan meticulously plan it out, so that you increase the probability of making it profitable.

Here are the steps that you should keep in mind to ensure that your fundraiser hits a homerun.

#1: Choose a Worthy Cause

Regardless of how much cash you want to raise, you will have to start with a worthy cause. People who take part in a fundraiser or buy the merchandise sold at such an event only do so because they’re motivated by the cause.

So ensure that the cause you’re selecting is worth it. Let everyone know why exactly you’ve chosen it by highlighting the important points. Ultimately, the more worthy your cause is, the easier it will be for you to convince others to contribute to your fundraiser.

#2: Do Your Homework

Making the right decisions is critical when you’re running a fundraiser. You can’t afford to make any costly mistakes. This is why you should do your homework prior to starting the fundraiser. Look into other organizations or groups who have done something similar in your chosen area.

See if any of their ideas go with your vision. Understand why some of the fundraisers were successful while others weren’t. Taking this step will help you take better decisions that will lead to the success of your fundraiser.

#3: Determine the Fundraiser Type

What type of fundraiser would work the best for you? If your organization has already tasted success with a certain type of fundraiser in the past, then you could go with that. Since it’s already been proven to work.

If not that, you could go for a seasonal fundraiser where you plan according to what’s in vogue at the moment. For instance, if it’s the baseball season you can have a baseball merchandise sale, along with offering promotional koozies for your organization. Try and keep your fundraiser as relevant to the current season as possible.

#4: Set a Fundraising Goal

In order to boost your chances of success, you need to set a fundraising goal. This gives your volunteers a specific direction to work in. While it’s okay to have big goals, try to be realistic in your approach.

Consider the kind of profits you generated during any previous fundraising events, and use them as a yardstick to to create practical goals.

#5: Work on the Promotion

One of the most important steps that you cannot afford to miss is the promotion of your fundraiser. While different organizations approach it differently, there are a few things that will always remain common during promotion.

To start with, you can create a press release that can be sent to local newspapers and get radio stations to share it with their community. Besides that, try and leverage the power of posters and flyers that can be easily distributed at restaurants, universities and other places that allow public postings.

Financial Analysis is Key to Any New Business

You often hear about how many businesses fail within the first year of start up.  The issues often focus on a lack of affordable human capital, increasing debt obligations, and a lack of financial capital as well.  Though at times these risk factors could be mitigated with more attention to detail.  I might be a blogger by night, but I’m a corporate finance executive by day, and as such I know the importance of finance analysis when it involves running a business.  You can’t be successful if you don’t know what money is coming in versus what money is going out, and the general purpose for your overall cash flow.

First and foremost, if you don’t create a monthly income statement (P&L statement) make sure that is the first thing you do.  This is a snapshot in time of the income your business is bringing in.  It should also highlight any expenses you are incurring, and even compartimentalize them as well (i.e. selling versus manufacturing epenses).    Once you start doing this on a regular basis you can begin to visualize trends and analyze why certain expenses are high one month over others.  Not to mention this will be you consistent visibility into how much money you are making, or not making, as the months go on.

A balance sheet is another vital piece of financial reporting that should be completed on a monthly basis.  This is a rolling view of your available cash, assets, and liabilities associated with your company at any given time.  This is especially important because it illustrates working capital, which is necessary to any successful business.  It also allows you to monitor any debt obligations you have, both short and long term.  Any good financial manager keeps a watchful eye over his balance sheet each month.

Cash flow statements are quite important as well, though they often fall to the wayside of financial analysis.  The term “cash is king” has been a popular saying for many years, and for good reason.  Since the economic fallout in 2009 many companies put most of their emphasis on cash flow, since actual money is what is necessary to meet payroll and to satisfy debt obligations.  Companies with sufficient liquidity can survive economic storms of the past and last long enough to find a successful path forward.

Please keep in mind that if you want to start and maintain a successful business then strong financial analysis is key to that success.

Franchising 101

One of the best quotes I have ever read about franchising is this; “Owning a franchise allows you to go into business for yourself, but not by yourself.”  That quotes sums up very concisely the number 1 advantage of buying and operating a franchise, which is the fact that although you’ll be in business for yourself you’ll have the support of a proven company (and their system) behind you tohelp and guide you along your business path.

A franchise, by definition, is the right to market a specific company’s goods (or services) to the public, usually within a specific territory or location.  Typically the company (franchisor) receives a fee for ongoing support and thus has a vested interest in making sure that the franchisee is successful. In other words, it’s in the best interest of the mother company that the baby companies live long and prosper because if they do everybody wins.

The concept of franchising dates back to the mid-1800’s when the inventor Isaac Singer invented the 1st sewing machine.  Mr. Singer realized that, in order to really sell a LOT of machines, he would need help from people who had a vested interest in selling them. Thus he began to sell licenses to people in other areas of the US and also provided training so that they would become experts, like he was, on how to run and maintain the machines.  This was the very first franchise and was extremely successful. Singer sewing machines would go on to become the biggest sewing machine brand in the world.

Today franchises lead the way in business, with 1 in every 12 new businesses a franchise.  There are franchises for practically everything, from taxes (Liberty Tax Service) to tires (Goodyear Tire shops) to food (McDonalds, Chipotle Grill, Menchie’s frozen yogurt et al) and even medical services (Doctors Care). The reason; they have a much higher rate of success than single, stand-alone businesses.  In fact, the US Chamber of Commerce found that 97% of new franchises were still in operation after 5 years.

If you’re looking for a business opportunity a franchise is thus a very dependable, highly successful route to take. If you’re interested in more info click onto one of our other articles and do your due diligence before making any decisions.  Enjoy!


Top 10 Small Business Opportunities in 2012

One of the best bets for small business minded entrepreneurs is definitely online.  There are so many online business opportunities out there that it would be hard to give an exact list of them all.  Even with the online piracy act laws that the present administration keep trying to jam down our throats the fact is that there exist many opportunities online that are lucrative and don’t require nearly as much computer expertise as just a scant 5 years ago.

For example, Social Media specialists will be a growing field as the rising power of this online phenomenon continued to gain momentum and continues to shape trends and drive revenue streams. The simple fact is that every single business in the future will need a social media expert to guide and structure their social media campaigns and profiles.  There are a number of services that can be offered under the social media umbrella and, if you’re a social media guru, you will find your services in demand.

If you can show business how to let their employees work ‘from the cloud’ you will also be in demand in the coming years as more and more companies strive to keep their people at home, saving time, energy and office space. A support company that helps businesses to help their people to work remotely is an excellent opportunity in a rapidly growing field.

Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing services are also on the rise.  Crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to find the money that they need to get their projects off the ground and Crowdsourcing lets them find the ideas that they want. Putting together a web-based platform that lets them do both is like throwing birdseed at the park; pretty soon they’ll be flocking to what you have.

As social media grows more powerful so does the threat of sabotage and reputation damage by unhappy customers and unscrupulous competitors. A bad review or an unflattering photo can be very damaging and, if you can help your clients to avoid or erase these problems, they will pay you handsomely for your Reputation Management services.

Finally there’s web content, and if you’re a talented copywriter and can keep that content flowing there are many companies that will pay you generously to do it.As the search engines constantly change the need for high-quality, original web content grows even stronger. Fill that need and online businesses will fill your coffers.

So get out there and use these ideas to start your own small business today.


Serviced Offices Help SMEs Cut Down Overheads

Serviced office space in Leeds and across the UK refers to the rental of fully furnished offices in business districts. Services that are usually supplied include the rental of hotdesks and furnished conference rooms, receptionist and mail forwarding and the use of prestigious addresses that SMEs and independent contractors can use.

This type of rental contract is particularly well suited to certain job sectors, including those who work in sales (for example, estate agents or medical reps), construction, tutoring, accounting, insurance, nursing and many others.

Contractual companies that operate in locations over certain periods of time need to have permanent offices for short to medium contracts – but these do not necessarily conform to conventional 6 or 12-month lease periods. Thus virtual offices are useful because they’re flexible depending on a person’s needs – whether you require a fully kitted executive suite or mail forwarding.

Renting this type of office is helpful to small businesses on a number of levels as well. The fact that the premises tend to be in prime locations assists in helping new start-ups cement their reputations without their having to part with high expenses. Employees can also make use of the building’s furnishings – in fact every comfort that comes with renting a fully fitted building is available – without their having to sign, and pay for, a complete lease.

Meeting clients in this environment is far more desirable than meeting them in the local Starbucks, from the perspective of professionalism. Employee retention is increased as it provides people with a comfortable and smart location in which to get their work done, but – and perhaps best of all – the virtual office is a new take on the more common 9 to 5 office model, in which employees barely leave their desks throughout the day.

Suited to a surprisingly high number of business sectors, virtual offices are becoming more and more applicable to other types of industry including software development and customer service and support – and long may it last.

5 Tips for Starting any New Business

Every year thousands of people get the entrepreneurial bug and decide that they want to start a new business, either online or in the ‘real world’. What usually happens next I that the ‘high’ that they were on slowly starts to fade as they realize that staring a new business of any kind takes a lot of effort and a lot of patience.

So with that in mind here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re dying to start a new business and want to keep that dream alive.

One of the most important factors in starting any new business is to know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish.  You need to really define what it is you want to get out of the business, what it is you’re really good at doing, and what your weak points are also. If you don’t have a clear vsion of this you should step back and wait until you do.

You will need to know what your resources are before you start any new business.  Do you have substantial savings, can you get access to loans and other money that you will need to keep the business afloat until it start to make a profit. This is very important. Most new businesses fail because they do not have the capital to survive the first few months or years it takes to get a reputation and client base that will support them.

Once you’ve decided what you want and made sure that you have the financing it’s time to do your due diligence.  This means researching every possible avenue to determine what the best route is to open your business and give it the best chance of survival.  If you sell widgets and you’re in an area of the world that hates widgets you may want to reconsider your plans.

Finally, test, test, test.  Your first few customers will give you more knowledge about your product and potential than anything else so get as much feedback as possible as you test your product or service as much as you can.

If you can do all of these tasks and they all have a positive result it’s time to really start
going and make that entrepreneurial dream of your into a reality.  Good luck!


Starting a Business? Do Your Competitive Research Online

Starting a new business? Know your competition, experts say, and start sooner rather than later.
For a start, you should begin a search for company information in order to learn about businesses already doing what you want to do. Indeed, one of the things many start-ups forget about is Competitive Intelligence, or CI.
CI can be as simple or advanced as you want to make it, from knowing who your competition is and understanding who the key players are at each, to (more advanced) knowing a competitor’s general financial situation and their individual specialties, which can help you understand how you might compete against them. The more you know about the competition, the more able you are to asses where openings in the market might be and how to take advantage of those openings.
While CI has been big in places like the United States for years, many UK businesses are just beginning to avail themselves of this practice, which is an established field that abides by ethical codes of conduct. In fact, many start-ups entrusted with seed money from venture capitalists, or from friends and family, see it as their moral obligation to understand the market they are entering into as thoroughly as possible, and this includes understanding the competition.
But where do you begin to search for this information? Certainly some research on Google will turn up bits and pieces of information, but there are now full-fledged CI services in the UK, such as, that allow you to search for company information online, and even set-up on-going searches that will track your key competitors and provide you with updates via email on their financial or leadership changes. As required by UK law, businesses must release certain information to the public in order to remain in compliance and keep their legal status to operate. This is intended to protect the public, and is in the interest of transparency and freedom of information, but it is also a requirement that also allows conscientious businesses to collect information on their competitors in order to better compete with them.
It’s then easy to see how, as you start building your marketing plan and make preparations to start your business, the search for information about competitors is essential and will put you on the right track from the very first day of business.

Two Golden Rules For Every Small Business

Running a small business is by no means a lesser accomplishment than running a major corporation. Small business is what drives the economies of a country, sustains societies and offers products and services that are truly essential. Come to think of it and a world could do without an Apple because an iPad is not what we cannot live without but a neighborhood or a city center area cannot do away with eateries, grocery shops, small boutiques and the likes. Sure, the headlines are dominated by the billion dollar deals and the honchos of global giants but when you consider the revenue and taxes every small business generates cumulatively, the billions by the corporations would seem to be unutterably insignificant.

A small business faces as much trouble as the large businesses but the resistance is weaker and sustainability is always a matter of concern. Here are two golden tips that every small business could use and if used successfully then a world of prosperity awaits.

Create A System Independent Of Your Intervention

Most entrepreneurs running a small business let everything depend on their able shoulders. Right from the basics to the business meetings, an entrepreneur or two partners tend to do everything on their own. There has to be a system in place for every small business wherein if the proprietor goes on a holiday for a month then the company will not fall into pieces. You must make your business independent of your intervention. You can intervene as and when you want but let the operations be managed by your staffs, stop reminding everything when there are people assigned to those tasks, take your hands off the accounts and taxes and let the professionals do it for you. This way, you would be able to do better things such as planning for a much better, bigger and more rewarding future, not just for your business and yourself but also for your employees and customers.

You Are Always Ready To Grow

A small business can think that it is doing fine or decide to tread uncharted territories. Most people think growth is not a possibility since there is a lack of funds or one doesn’t have the available time. The latter can be taken care of if you adhere to the tip above and the former will never be a problem. If you have a growth opportunity then funds, resources and other factors would automatically fall in line, at times from banks or from other investors. You just need to be sure that you want to do it and it is viable.

The Do’s and Dont’s of Starting a Small Business

One of the best ways to prepare for a future would be to start a new business. Starting a new business needs not be a difficult task but can be quite challenging. The most important aspect of successfully setting up this new business would be to plan. Planning is basically the best way to start up and establish a new business. A good plan will ensure that the business is set up properly so it may operate successfully.


There are many reasons why an entrepreneur may choose to start a business. It may be because they need to set up their professional career, a need to make money and generate profits, the need to have a job and even for purposes of investing and having a regular source of income. Whatever the reason for establishing a business, it is essential to have a solid plan and a back up plan.


When choosing a business to start, an entrepreneur should carefully consider their options so that they begin a business they know something about or one which they have skills which they can employ. Such considerations are very important. It is also absolutely necessary to keep costs down in the initial phases before the business starts making money. Finally, the business will have to be marketed so that customers may get to know of its existence. When setting up a business, some of the most important considerations should be capital, labor, premises, marketing and a plan. All these are very important factors and each should be taken into consideration. When coming up with a plan, an important aspect needs to include a budget and finance.


Budget and Finance


Every business needs to be financed in one way or another. The source of the funds needs to be established. It could be savings, loans or capital contributed by partners, members or even family. These funds will need to be properly budgeted. For example, some funds will be needed to set up and establish an office or business premises such as a shop or warehouse. These costs need to be set up. Another important consideration should be the equipment and stock, if any. All the budgeting should be made accordingly.