Top Marketing Tips for the Small Business Owner

As an entrepreneur it’s no doubt that you are constantly searching for effective but economical marketing tools to find new customers and generate sales. Below are a number of excellent, cost-effective tips that should help you to do just that. Enjoy.

  1. Include an offer in your advertising. The more attractive you can make it the better, and give your customers an easy way to take action and acquire that offer.
  2. Have a more economically priced version available. If you sell one or two products that are relatively high-priced, you should have a “stripped down” version of them available for customers who may want them but not want to pay full price.
  3. Have a premium version of your product. Just as you will have customers looking to get something “cheaper”, occasionally you will also have customers who wish to get “the best”. Offering a premium product, possibly a combination of products or services that you offer, can boost your average sale and revenues.
  4. Consider using unusual or unconventional methods for marketing. This differs with the type of business that you have, the area that you serve and the type of offers that you are able to make. Thinking “outside the box”, while it might sound cliché, can sometimes generate a lot more sales because people aren’t used to seeing your advertising in a different way.
  5. Reduce the size of your ads. Most business owners believe that they need to increase the size of their ads in order to generate more sales but, in some cases, the opposite may just be true. Sometimes a shorter version of your advertisement will get a better response.
  6. Partner with some other small businesses on your advertising. If you can find businesses that don’t compete with yours and advertise your products together, you’ll get your advertising at less cost and possibly get a lot more sales too. Cross promotion like this, if done well, can oftentimes deliver an excellent ROI.
  7. Offer a really special deal to your already existing customers. You already should know that selling to an existing customer is easier, and cheaper, then selling to a new customer. Why not take advantage of this fact by offering your existing customers an amazing deal on a service or product that they have already purchased and might need again? You can do the same with new products or services that you might be offering, giving them the opportunity to get them “first” before you offer them to the general public.

And there you go! Seven excellent marketing tips that, hopefully, will help you to increase the amount of new customers contacting you, and the amount of new sales your company generates.

Just remember that even if one tactic doesn’t work particularly well, or doesn’t work well the first time, you shouldn’t give up on it completely.  Sometimes it takes a few views in order for a new customer to actually “see” your advertising and respond to it.

The Secret to Hiring Excellent Talent

Here’s a newsflash that many entrepreneurs might not want to hear; it’s almost impossible to build a successful business or start up by yourself. Also, it’s not the best idea to hire a group of friends or family to help you as usually this ends and family problems and ended friendships.

When it comes time to hire talent for your new business or startup you really need to take a look at yourself first and determine what your own strengths and weaknesses are. The reason is simple; you want to pick people who complement those strengths and make up for those  weaknesses. If you do you’ll put together a team that will more easily form a tight partnership, win over new customers, expand quickly and do all of the other things that are crucial to your growth and success.

One of the most vital aspects of this is to create a culture in your new company that is attractive to the best people. There is no way to build a great team for your startup if the atmosphere and working conditions at your business are unattractive. Of course one of the problems with hiring top talent is that, in most cases, top talent comes with the top talent price. Overcoming this challenge takes creativity, to say the least.

One of the ways to do this is simply to higher people that can do the things that you can’t. For example, if you’re excellent at business development you probably should hire someone who’s good at marketing or customer support.

One of the best ways however to recruit new people is to be an excellent salesperson. Why? Because if you have a vision about what your company is going to be and you’re passionate about that vision, you’re going to need to be able to sell that to talented individuals and persuade them to see your vision and become passionate about it as well. If you can do that and convince them that what you’re providing is, in actuality, an excellent opportunity, it will be much easier to get great talent at an affordable price.

Simply put, the odds of putting together an excellent team is going to be much higher if you can instill the same passion and vision into your new employees as you have in yourself. If they are convinced that they are working with you towards something that’s going to be “big”, they’re going to be more inclined to work for you at an amount less than what they can get somewhere else.

Another important aspect of hiring talented people is to make sure that your hiring process weeds out the people who don’t truly believe in what you are doing, don’t see your vision and don’t have the passion necessary to really make things happen. Keep in mind that while all of the people you hire should believe in your vision and show your passion, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should all come from the same background. Diversity among your team members can be quite valuable.

To close out this blog we’ve got 5 steps that you can use to hire excellent talent for either your new startup or for an already existing business.

  1. First, identify precisely the exact skills that your business needs.
  2. Identify your strongest skills and, more importantly, your weaknesses.
  3. Recruit people who are better than you in those areas where you are weak.
  4. Use your core values, and your vision, to create a strong culture among your employees and team members.
  5. Use these values to manage your people and, if necessary, move them out of your company if they don’t “fit in”.


The Best Retirement Tips for 20 Somethings

The average 20-year-old is in the process of finishing their college career, settling into their new career of choice and making decisions that will affect them for the rest of their life. What we suggest is that, while they are doing these things, they also start planning for something that may seem very far off in the distant future; their retirement.

Okay, we realize that retirement is some 40+ odd years away and that there’s certainly plenty of time to start saving but the fact is that, during your 20s, the financial habits that you create are the same ones that will (hopefully) set you up for a good life when your career comes to an end. Below are some of the best tips that we’ve come across over the years that can help you to do just that. Enjoy.

  • Understanding how compound interest works and taking advantage of it now is probably our best piece of advice. By simply putting $5000 a year in a tax-deferred retirement account, an amount that equals just over $400 a month, you’ll have over $1.3 million 40 years from now. That assumes an 8% per year average which is rather high so let’s cut that in half and say that you’ll get 4% which is more likely. That still equals a retirement fund of over half a million dollars.
  • Paying yourself first is a financial technique that most specialists will advise and so will we. Opening a 401(k) with your employer is one of the best ways to do that and having money taken automatically out of your paycheck every week is the best way to fund it. If your employer has a matching program you’d also be well of vice to take full advantage of it and put in the maximum amount that you can to take advantage of what is essentially free money.
  • This might be the hardest pill to swallow but controlling your spending is absolutely vital if you want to have a comfortable nest egg when you retire. Simply put, the less money you spend in the next 30 to 40 years the more money you’ll have when you stop working. We’re not suggesting that you live like a pauper and eat beans and rice for the next 3 to 4 decades but simply make better spending decisions, put together and use a budget software app and take advantage of any and all opportunities to save whenever you . Once retirement comes around trust us, you’ll be glad you did
  • Start educating yourself about your retirement options now, including all of the savings options that you have, the types of investments available and any other financial information that you can get your hands on.
  • Pay off your college loans as fast as possible. The interest on college loans can make it very difficult to pay yourself first, put money in savings and build a comfortable retirement account. While it may mean making some sacrifices for a few years, the quicker you pay this debt the better off you’ll be.
  • Make, and meet, smaller financial goals so that you become financially disciplined and create excellent financial habits. Pay off your credit cards in full every month, save for that new car and pay for it in cash rather than taking out a loan and try to resist using credit cards to make large purchases that you can’t pay off at month’s end.
  • Try your best to boost your contributions to savings, IRAs and 401(k)s every year. Using the money from your bonus or pay raise is a great way to do this.
  • Start diversifying your portfolio now. Even though you can afford to take a few more risks (and absorb a few more hits) right now, it doesn’t mean that your portfolio should be composed of 100% stocks. Simply put, a diversified portfolio will, in most cases, provide you with a better overall outcome by the time you reach retirement age.
  • Turn financial organization into a habit now, while you’re still young. While you may pile your laundry in a heap on the floor and have three months’ worth of McDonald’s wrappers under the seat of your car, when it comes to finances, disorganization can be very costly.

Right now, while you’re in your 20s and your life and career are ahead of you, is the best time to put these tips and advice to work for you. Even if retirement is something that you really don’t want to think about, the habits that you create now will stick with you throughout your life and career and could very well mean the difference between a comfortable retirement and a retirement filled with financial stress.

If you have questions about retirement planning or concerns about your finances please let us know and we’ll get back to you with answers and advice.


Starting a business while you’re still fully employed

If you’re a small business owner you know that managing your small business is definitely a full-time job. If you are running your own business and working full-time at the same time you basically have given yourself a Herculean task that some people might call crazy to attempt. The fact is however that many people start a new business while they are still fully employed and, according to some estimates, nearly 2/3 of all small business owners work at either full or part-time jobs while their company is developing, gaining traction and creeping into the black.

The fact is that there were only so many hours in a day and many people can quickly become overwhelmed by the responsibility of running their own business and taking care of their regular job at the same time. It’s for those people that we put this blog together today, with tips and advice and should help you to survive while you’re working both. Enjoy.

One of the most important things that you need to do is separate your regular job from your small business job. Simply put, unless your boss is extremely nice (or extremely gullible) it probably would not be a good idea to take care of your small business tasks while you’re sitting at your desk at your day job. It’s also not a good idea to use company resources to get your business off the ground. Instead you should set clear boundaries so that your regular job and your new small business never overlap, setting yourself strict hours and keeping them as best as you can.

Of course one of the most important things to keep in mind is that, if you stretch yourself too thin, your performance at work may suffer and your small business may suffer as well. Think about getting tools like software for financial management to help run your business more efficiently and preventing yourself from getting stretched thin. While many people believe that the extra time to focus on their business would be great, getting fired from any job and losing that steady paycheck can be more than just an annoyance, it can financially ruin you.

If you’re not keen on losing your job but you also don’t want to miss an opportunity to help someone or further advance your new small business, the best thing to do is find someone to help you. Hiring an employee to work part-time or even finding a partner would both be a better option than ticking off your boss, losing your job or losing a new customer. If you choose to go with a partner you’d do well to find someone who has expertise in the area or with a product that you’re going to be selling.

Since it’s a bit difficult to market your business when you’re still fully employed it can also be difficult to generate leads or turn a profit. With that in mind the best thing that you can do is start networking like your life depended on it. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce, having cards made and handing them out wherever you go and participating in local business fairs is a great way to get your name out there at a very low cost. Sponsoring a local charity or athlete is also a great way to endear yourself to the community and get your new business going while you’re still at your old job.

Depending on the type of business that you are starting and the type of business that you are currently working in, you may be tempted to exploit your personal relationships or contacts. While there is nothing wrong with talking about your new business in some cases it can be illegal. If you’ve signed a non-compete clause with your employer and you start poaching clients you could very well find yourself in some very hot legal water. On the other hand, if you are moving into a new sector that could possibly work well with your current clients at work it might not be a bad idea to seek their support.

One of the most vital bits of information that we can give you today is the need to start small and consult with a start-up expert like SunDoc Filings. Finding out if there is a demand for your product or services is vital as well, and working nights and weekends to see if that demand is there should be on the top of your ‘to do’ list before you fully commit to any new project or business. If you’re going to be opening up a brick and mortar retail store you may want to first try your hand at a local marketplace and see what type of results you get. This type of due diligence and market research should not be underestimated as it will give you a much clearer idea of what type of potential your new small business actually will have.

Starting small will also give you a much better idea if you are personally able to handle a full-time job and a small business at the same time.  One thing is for sure, your time management skills are going to get a thorough workout.

The final step, transitioning from a full-time job with a small business to just running your small business, is something that will be different for every entrepreneur. Knowing exactly when the best time is to quit your job for good can be a bit difficult, to say the least. In the end, it would probably be best if the money that you were making with your new business was equal to the amount that you are making at your full-time job. If that’s not the case you will definitely want to know exactly how much money you need to make in order to cover all of your basic bills and not have to dip into your retirement or savings accounts too deeply.

Whatever the case and whatever your situation, we wish you the best of luck with your new small business. Please be sure to come back and visit us here regularly as we’ve always got great information on all sorts of financial, small business and energy topics. See you then.