Monthly Archives: May 2017

Planning Business

1. What product or service will your company provide, and what need does it fill?

2. Why will your target market purchase from you?

3. How will you reach your target market?

4. Where will you get the financial resources for start-up and operations?

            A well-developed business plan is more than a road map.  It serves to define the business concisely, identifies goals and milestones and a desired timeline in which to reach them, and serves as a resume for “selling” your business to banks and investors.

            The most important component of a business plan is the financial report. A financial report should include at the least 3 components: an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow analysis.

            The income statement is a summary of a company’s profit and loss over a certain period, usually a year, but for a fledgling company, the time may be shorter.  It serves to track all the income and expenses of the operation; where expenses can be or should be reduced, and where weak points in the business may be.  For example: is the phone bill excessive

A  balance sheet serves as a snapshot of the company at any given point in time and shows the kind of assets, liabilities, and ownership position of the investors within the company.

A cash flow analysis shows how the company generated and used cash for a period of time.  The cash flow analysis shows three types of activities, operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities.

When writing your business plan make sure you know your audience.  Typically your audience is either going to be directed at what is known as ‘angels’; e.g. Mom and Dad or wealthy investors that become personally involved in fledgling business.  If you are directing your business plan to the Bank of Mom and Dad or to a wealthy family friend then your business plan probably doesn’t have to be as perfect as if you were submitting your proposal to a formal bank.

The second type of audience that your business plan could be directed at are venture capitalists.  This is were you need to make sure all of your i’s are dotted and t’s crossed.   Venture capitalism is all about taking a risk and getting a high return from it, so the only way to attract investors in this market is to persuade them with a top-notch business plan.

Whatever you decide to do for your businessFree Web Content, the critical first step of a business plan will set the tone and provide a solid platform from which you can grow and hopefully succeed.

Key Strategies to Strengthen Your Business

It should be one that you review regularly along with a close examination of your web site’s traffic stats and sales figures. This approach will allow you to spot new profitable opportunities, identify and help solve problems… and incorporate new goals and strategiesinto your business — like the three we’re going to cover in just a minute.

A thorough review of your business is really THE best way to ensure that you accomplish your main business objective for the year — whether that is generating a certain amount of profits or launching a new product.

At this point I should say that if you don’t have a business plan, please go make one now! Seriously, right now!Here’s an example of the importance of a plan… Many people buy themselves a gym membership at this time of year with the objective to “get fit.” Well, I’m no fitness guru, but to have any chance at all of accomplishing this goal, it’s vital to create a fitness plan containing other smaller goals — like lose 5 pounds by March, 10 pounds by June, and so on.

Not only does ticking off these smaller goals within your overall plan keep you motivated, but keeping track of progress in this way lets you see how close — or far — you are from achieving your main objective. Not having a plan means many people who join gyms use their membership twice in January and then never again… with the only thing getting leaner being their bank balance!That’s why it’s so important to make a business plan and set achievable goals — it’s your road map to success and a beefier bank balance!You should always be planning different ways to improve your success and get more profits in your pocket… So with that said, let’s jump right into the three killer strategies that are hands-down the best plan for making 2005 your most profitable year yet.

Key strategy #1:

Improve your sales process and convert more traffic into sales Do you get regular traffic to your site? Once your visitors get to your site, how long do they stay? How many of them buy?The best way to improve your sales process is to start by looking at your web site stats. These are a goldmine containing priceless nuggets of information, like how much traffic your site is getting, how people travel through your site, which pages are the most popular, and where your visitors are coming from.

By analyzing these stats, and looking at them alongside your sales figures and online promotions, you can work out things like what proportion of your traffic is being converted into sales, and which promotions or online campaigns are working better than others.

You’ll then find yourself with a much clearer picture of your business overall, and a good idea of what you need to change, improve, or build on.

If your web stats show good traffic levels but low sales figures, then you need to tighten up your sales process. Review both your salesletter and your order form — even just a few tweaks can make a HUGE difference.

Your salesletter: If people are leaving your web site from the sales page without clicking through to the order-form, then the salesletter is simply not doing its job in convincing visitors to buy your product or service.

In this case, it’s time for a salesletter tune-up. First stop — your headline. Make sure that it’s compelling, will resonate with your target market, and contains the main benefit of your product or service.

Then, ensure that your body copy builds your credibility, focuses on the BENEFITS (not the features) of your product or service, and includes testimonials and a strong guarantee.

Another quick fix is to make sure that your P.S. reinforces the main sales messages. (Remember, many people ONLY read the headline and P.S.)

And, of course, the call to action is very important in the sales process. It should state EXACTLY what you want the person to do next, how they can do it, and that you want them to do it NOW! It’s the bridge between the salesletter and the order form.

Your order form: If your web site stats show that people are abandoning your site at the order form stage without placing an order, then there may be something wrong with it. Is it too complicated? Does it have a different “look” from the rest of your web site? Are there links on the order page to other web sites or other pages on your site?First, you must make sure that your order process and the form itself are easy to understand. To help people follow the process, provide a step-by-step guide that leads buyers through the ordering process, spelling out things like how to fill the form out, how the product will be shipped, when their credit card will be charged, and so on.

This could be on the order form itself — allowing a buyer to read it as they complete the relevant steps. The form itself should have a simple layout with all the information fields arranged in a logical, easy-to-follow sequence. Use the “KISS” principle — “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”As far as possible, the order form page should have the same “look” as the rest of your web site. Keep it clear and uncluttered — there should never be other distractions on the page like images, irrelevant copy, advertising, or links to other sites that take the buyer away from your site. You want them to focus on filling out the relevant information.

It’s a good idea to reassure people that they are making a safe, secure purchase when they access your order form, by saying something like, “Welcome to our secure online order form.”

Key strategy #2:

Offer a “backend” product that’s an easy sell to your existing customersStatistics show that 30% of your existing customers are guaranteed to buy from you again. It makes sense… you’ve already done a lot of the hard work establishing your credibility and proving that you run a reputable business that gives your customers what they want.

So, offering another “backend” product to your existing customers can be a great way to boost your profits without eating into your marketing budget.

A backend product can be any one of a number of things. For example, if your site sells cameras, new products could include:

An add-on to your existing product, such as a new lens for a cameraA relevant information product, like an eBook containing photography tipsA complementary product, like a bag for the camera… And so on. Sit down and come up with a list of products related to yours that you think your market might be interested in.

Remember that the key to finding any new product is to identify a problem that your customers have and then come up with a product or service that solves it for them. Always read and keep any feedback or comments you receive from your customers — positive and negative. You can also solicit feedback through a customer survey or questionnaire.

In addition, you should also be constantly assessing the needs of your target market by reading the publications that they read, and visiting the web sites, online forums, and blogs that they visit. And don’t forget to check out your competitors’ sites!When you’ve found a suitable product, launching it to existing customers is easy. You already have their contact information, so you can simply e-mail them a promotion highlighting the problem they have, and explaining how your new product or service will solve it.

You can even use your customer feedback as a selling point, saying something like, “I’ve listened to feedback and comments from my customers, and can now offer you a product I just KNOW you’re going to love…”

Key strategy #3:

Set up an affiliate program to drive tons more traffic to your site and boost your salesHow would you like to have a network of other people to do your selling for you? Well, in a nutshell, that’s what an affiliate program is. An affiliate is someone who promotes your product on their web site in return for a commission on every sale that they send your way.

There are a number of reasons why you should consider this top-notch strategy for your business:

It can drive TONS more traffic to your siteThere are ZERO advertising costs — affiliates do all of their own marketingThere is no risk to you, since you only pay your affiliates after they’ve made the saleYou gain exposure to new target markets through the e-mail lists and web sites of your affiliatesThe fact is that affiliate programs are one of the most powerful ways to market online, and almost every product or service will be MUCH more successful if you offer an affiliate program for it. You can find affiliates by putting a page on your web site inviting people to apply, and by approaching sites that you think have a similar target audience.

Starting and managing an affiliate program can be done one of two ways — you can go through a provider or do it yourself. Using a provider like Commission Junction or Linkshare can be very expensiveFree Web Content, so it’s well worth looking into managing the program yourself.

Steps for Business to Business Partnership Deals

There are many important stages to creating a successful business to business partnership deal. Generally all B2B partnerships keep to a few basic steps from initiation to execution. The following are ten points to be aware of while moving through the process of establishing a business to business partnership. Whether you’ve never established a partnership business deal or you have created several, these steps can be a good guideline to follow.

Process guide for Business to Business partnership deals

  •  Identification – Identify the advantages you’re seeking in forming a business partnershipdeal. This way you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a partnership. Also be sure to understand what value your business provides to potential partners.
  • Exploration – Finding the right partner is critical. Create a target list. Reach out and meet people on your list. Be ready to perform due diligence on companies and understand the opportunities that may be presented to you and your company.
  • Structuring – Work out the partnership details with the other executive management team. Make sure to include these steps during implementation of the partnership.
  • Negotiating – Know what you need from the partnership and what your final numbers are concerning any revenue shares or costs associated with the partnership.
  • Drafting – Work with your company’s legal team to create a template for creating partnership deals especially if your company’s business model is B2B.
  • Reviewing – Try to get as much of the work done beforehand as possible before having the lawyers review the agreement in order to keep costs down. After you have a great working template just a simple review is often all that will be needed.
  • Signing – Always meet in person if possible to sign the agreement and make sure to keep copies of all business to business partnership agreements both in a cloud based service like Dropbox and in hard copy formats.
  • Executing – Educate your staff about the partnership. Be sure to create a training manual that explains the details of how the partnership works. This can also be provided to the partner’s staff in order to bring them up to speed. Make sure everyone involved has current and correct contact information to reduce communications issues.
  • Review – Schedule regular partnership review meetings and updates. This keeps communication open and is critical in the early stages of a new partnership to fix any unforeseen issues that may come. This will also be a valuable tool for establishedpartnerships as new opportunities for growth may present themselves. Always be on the lookout for new and innovative ideas as they relate to your business to businesspartnership.
  • Reward – Build incentives for both your team and the partner’s team. When staff can see the direct benefits to new relationships in their pockets versus just more work being placed on their shoulders they are more likely to take the relationship seriously and strive to maintain effective business partnerships.

Businesses to business partnerships are one of the best ways to grow a company and expand into new markets quicklyPsychology Articles, but they do require a well thought out start-up process if they are to be a successful and integral part of your businesses growth strategy.

The Little Secret To A Successful Business

What is it that an individual can do to achieve lasting success in their small business? Here are a few ideas to improve your chances of gaining small businesssuccess using time tested secrets I personally use in my own business.

1. Research. You can either market the product you have now in the hope of it being acceptable to the market place or you can research the market for the best product to sell.  At any rate market research has to happen first and once done, marketing is a continual through the life of your business.

2. Cash Flow. Lack of cash flow is a major reason for business failure. It’s OK to gain sales and make money but if you don’t or can’t collect it you are destined to go broke. The rule to keep in mind is to make sure you invoice as soon as possible and you pay as late as possible. This is a simple plan that works. So sit down, and take the time to create a cash flow plan now.

3. Technology. Technology will save you thousands of dollars and halve your work time. Buy as much as you can afford. Remember, the hours spent in your business are worth money and plenty of it so be smart and embrace technology. Technology can automate every part of your businessincluding communicating with customers.

4. Passion. There is nothing worse than going to work and becoming a clock watcher because you are unhappy. Find something you are passionate about and do that. The day won’t be long enough then to do all you want to accomplish. Why? Your passion creates enthusiasm and that will carry you through any tough spells.  It’ll motivate you when your business hits bad times.

5. Marketing. The prime function for you as a business person is not to sell product but to become a marketing Guru. Marketing is one of the areas where many business owners fall down and that has a bearing on whether or not a business will be successful. You love your business and you want it to be successful. Do research and find out how are you will convince prospects to buy what you have?

6. Advice.  You may think you are pretty smart. You may have specific knowledge about your specialty which is great, but you will come unstuck if you haven’t run a successful business before. You must still seek advice from experts when building your business. The reason is business is not about what you know in your field. It’s controlled by legislation, consumer rights and marketing.  Get advice from solicitors and learn about customer service from experts. Being prudent in this area will help eliminate any start-up mistakes and set you ahead of your competition.

7. Delegation. When you own a small business you have to wear many hats. You are the CEO, GM, admin manager, customer service manager, research and development person, sales and marketing manager and everything else. It’s not practical to manage your business this way and hope to grow at the same time. Delegating responsibilities and tasks is an important component of running an efficient and successful business. As the business owner your time should be spent growing the business, working on the business, not in it.

8. Internet. I am not talking about using the Internet to sell your product or service [even though it is often used for this] but rather use it for research, communicationFree Web Content, making payments to save time. Use the internet to gain more for your business to save time and money for businessbuilding tools and the latest resources.