Category Archives: Business

Small Business Software for Your Company

Today, the small business software has turned out to be a booming industry. Almost every kind of business has realized the importance of using business software for their day to day operations. It is a great way to manage and maintain a business. And just because a business might be small is no reason not to go in for some invoicing software or billing system.

Small firms and corporations can settle for small business software that is basically a general purpose kind of software, a customized invoicing package or a mix of both these. The choice that you make will depend on the kind of business that you have besides the size of your budget set aside for your company to spend on business software.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways for a small company to start operating business software is to make use of open source application suites like Open Office or Star Office. The difference between these and Microsoft Office is that the former are free whereas you have to shell out quite a bit of money for the Microsoft Office. And although this might help you draft letters, create documents and spreadsheets you might want someone to develop some user friendly small business software for your business. If you think it works out too expensive, then you might like to choose from the standard packages for invoice generation.

If yours is a small business, then you might as well opt for the small business software that is all ready to be used and is developed specifically for small organizations. The price will not be very cheap nor too expensive. Almost every business needs to print invoices. Imagine if you have to get your invoices made manually. They will take forever and if your volumes are high, you will not be able to meet with the demand. If you search for software invoice you are sure to come up with some good options. Yet another option one has is the online billing. With this online business software, a user name and password is provided to the user and he can login online and make his entries and take prints and reports. The data is available online from any place around the globe even when you are on travel. The backup of your data is taken remotely by the software firm who is supplying you this great option.

The only thing you should take care of before you select one of the small business software is that the sellers have a good feedback and people are talking about how the software has helped their business to grow and reach greater heights. If you choose the right kind of business software you can be sure that it will help your company get more efficient and provide you with reports which you can analyze and make your business even better.

Business regarding franchise legal guidelines

The corporate and business world is consists of many assorted laws numerous from the fitness of the business plus the internal status in the businessempire. There are several things that add together with the organization empire mainly because it depends in many characteristics in the business world and that the business can be conducted. This is determined by the interior elements plus the external ones also. Internal ones add the whole place of work department that will asks a good deal from your employees including team operate, collaboration, identifying more modern ideas. These add up while using internal environment in the business corporate and business, the various other constituents include the dealing using employees, administrators, consumers plus the dealing using partnerships also. This whole adds up in your corporate laws, the legal guidelines that simply claim that how a selected business can be conducted, and what are primary along with secondary degrees of the business regarding management along with finance expenditure. A fact that could be easily realized is that will business fully depends on how market expands on, plus the market moves if your consumers goes, so the organization elements are generally surrounded with these possible dependencies.

Business entire world and franchising have a very deep relation containing always turned out itself while beneficial along with advantageous regarding consumer rate plus the flourishing in the business. The acceptance is evident also, so next popularity, the individual rate in addition rises. Nevertheless typically conversing, franchising isn’t while easy mainly because it seems. Franchising basically ways to extend your small business to a new multiple spots, the excellent example can be of McDonalds, probably the most important franchise on the globe as you will discover it from any location when being hungry calls. It’s quite difficult because the idea calls for several risks and many management approaches, one issue that franchising guarantees will be the extension involving business plus the increase involving consumer rate though the drawback can be that a number of owners implies dispute throughout policies which could possibly cause eradication involving whole organization foundation if your major people moves rear. So a new franchise law allows to keep up all these kind of uncertainties.

Franchise law allows you protect your company’s investors as they are the backbone in the business, zero investors implies game around. Another portion of this law keeps the shoppers intact while using company; this is conducted by identifying some undeniable fact that helps to develop consumer’s desire for the product or service. Another portion of these law allows you protect your owners by simply resolving just about any dispute rising most notable, the act might be stated because “Peacemaker” take action. Corporate laws plus the laws in relation to franchiseare definitely the most important given that they help in starting strong foundations that could be seen as being a remarkable promoting scheme in case followed appropriately. These legalguidelines hold everything that you should done underneath unfavorable instances and you’ll find more laws in advance of them with regards to the commercial promoting and world-wide marketingHealth Fitness Articles, though the core ones are reported above and they are core of not simply the laws in relation to business and also the key of organization foundation.

What Can Beat Your Business

When you began your business did you think, ‘Gee, I hope I am a miserable failure, and never get my business off the ground’? Of course not. You had dreams of a booming business with numerous customers, and steady cash flow. So what are the mistakes an entrepreneur can make that will knock the legs out from under the business?

First and foremost don’t be an eager beaver and try to do everything at once. If you are getting advice from an online self acclaimed guru, make sure you are getting solid advice.

If they are telling you to do everything at once, they are probably giving you false information. The trick is to know good information from the false. If you are getting advice that says you can become wealthy over night, or do this or that and you will receive a thousand dollars in the mail the next day. It is most in likely false information. A ‘guru’ trying to make his own over night wealth, on the dreams of online marketers.

Pie in the sky claims are the first clue you are getting bamboozled. There is only one true way to make your business prosperous, and that is the investment of your hard work. You will get out of it what you put into it. Hard work, passion, persistence will reap business growth.

Another business assassin is not taking time to research. If you are opening a business to sell banana’s to monkeys you better research how monkeys like their bananas. Get around the net looking into competitions websites. Find what will make it easiest for your customers to shop your business. Make it possible for your demographic to see how you operate. Give your customers what they want, and your competitor some real competition. You snag every consumer out there, but with a little research you can make it hard for them to pass our what you have to offer.

Remember quantity verses quality, quality always wins. You don’t have to sell all your product at dirt cheap prices, but you don’t have to sell it for a kings ransom either. If you are providing value, for a reasonable price you will find that your repeat customer base is growing. It takes a lot to get a client to your website, so you want to offer them something they will keep coming back for. What kind of customer service will you have waiting for the consumer? Will you correspond with your new client through auto responders, blogs ,email, or ezines? What will you use to show your client you are the most attentive, honest online marketer around? This is something to have planned out before designing a website.

If you throw yourself into designing your website without the proper tools, you are injuring your business before it even gets a name! You need the right tools for every job. To design a website you need your own domain name, a web host, a service you can prophet from, and finally a way to bring traffic to your website. These are the building blocks to your online business. With out them your business will fail.

The key to true success it work. If you put in the time, and effort you can avoid the pitfalls of business failure. Anyone who tells you it will be easy to start a business and make it successful is probably the self acclaimed guru with an agenda. Trust your instincts, do the research, and work hardScience Articles, you will see your business build upon itself day by day.

To Run Your Business Must Have Skill

Running a business can be very demanding. It doesn’t make a difference if you have a small or large business. Once you have the skills and knowledge to run a business, you can be very successful in a short period of time. To become an successful business owner, there are some skills that you must learn. Even if you’re not a Pro, you can produce higher profits. To several people, such skills are natural but don’t worry because you may still have time to develop the right attitude and character. You have to invest time and effort for the sake of your business.

The Right Attitude and Character

Self-belief and the right attitude are essential. Given that you’re just starting out, you can’t expect instant profits. There will be times when you produce small amounts of money and if you’re blessed, you can produce more in a short time. Without self-belief, it would be unattainable to manage the business and employees. Obedience to the jump business counts a lot. You see a lot of businesses fail because the owners are not exerting enough effort or investing enough time. They tend to spend a lot of time having fun, thinking that the business can run even without their presence. If you have an online business, you are required to work hard. Even if you have an automated system for the business, there is a need to monitor the operations closely.

There is no room for laziness if you want to have a business of your own. Set aside a time for working and for not working. With a positive attitude, you will have a better chance to succeed. Even if the income or sales is low, don’t feel down. You have to be motivated at all times. Don’t be satisfied with what you already know. As a start-up business owner, you must have the desire to offer something new. You have to improve your services or offer better products like gold.

It’s normal to come across and commit mistakes. When this happens, you should try to evaluate the situation. Find out what went wrong and learn from such mistakes. By correcting the errors that you’ve made, you will be able to move forward and be more competitive. To put it together, here are the skills that you should have – obedience, self -belief, and right attitude. Positive attitude is the key and of courseScience Articles, you should have passion for what you’re doing. It is vital that you possess adequate knowledge on the business that you’re running. Knowledge is power and you can attract more customers if you can ensure quality services or products all the time. Start evaluating yourself today!

Materials to achieve business success

Now, you want to go into business, you have a product or service to sell . . . I would strongly advice that you go into a business you love, a business you enjoy. A business you know something about or that you are good at. If you don’t know or enjoy your line of business, your customers will sooner or later discover this and disappear.

Acquire the necessary skills you need to understand your line of business. Gain the experience. You can be very effective and productive in a business you understand. It sure helps if you enjoy it, but you must understand something about it.

Statistics show that most businesses started nowadays, fail. The truth of the matter is that your business can be among the successful ones out there. You just need to do the right things at the right time. I have discovered that many business people suffer because of lack of knowledge.

It’s actually very easy for businesses to excel and increase their sales. All it takes is for businesses to understand and implement certain things to enhance their business. You need to start doing some things you have probably been neglecting. I will explain these things to you in this book . . . so get ready to improve your profit dramatically.

Your business needs certain ingredients for it to be prosperous. Think of a well-prepared soup with all of the necessary ingredients . . . It becomes a delight to the stomach. Take away some vital ingredients and the result is soup that even your dog would sue you for offering to it as a meal.

Create a business plan. This serves as a road map for your business. I really want you to understand the importance of having a plan before you go into business. Don’t just jump into business without thinking carefully. You need to have a clear vision about what you want to achieve with your business. Stick to your plan, but I must emphasize that you need to be flexible too. Your plan might need some changes as time goes on.

Don’t stick with a direction that isn’t working forever. Make new changes to your plan to fit your present situation. You must be willing to change when necessary. There are useful computer software available in the market to help you with your planning.

An important ingredient in achieving business success is preparation. Find out all you can about what laws, rules or regulations that apply to your business. Keep your business legal. Protect your business against law suits and other legal problems by talking to a Lawyer whenever you have agreements/contracts being signed. This could save you a lot of headache and money in the long run. Get the necessary permits for your business.

Set appropriate and realistic goals which should make you achieve and create something good. Have confidence in your ability to provide and promote your product or service. Remember the old saying: “All things are possible to he(she) who believes?” . This is very true about business.

Determine what type of product(s) or work/service you want to offer. If you are into a businesswith a broad area of operation(market), I would advice you to narrow your focus and specialize in a particular branch of your kind of business. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades.

You then need to ensure that you portray your company to the public in the right manner. Your business cards, brochures, flyers, adverts, posters, website, etc. should reflect your business in the best way. Enlist the help of experts to get this done. The customers first and continuos impression of your business is very vital in creating a successful business. Your business needs to look good!

Determine the type of person that will be most attracted to the product or service you are offering. Determine the best method to reach them. Are they limited to a particular area? Do they belong to a demographic group? Do they have special interest? Do they read a particular type of newspaper or magazine? Are they more prone to listen or watch a particular type of show?

You can market your product or service more effectively when you have answered these questions. You must learn to accept other people as they are in any sales effort. Don’t get impatient when a prospective customer is slow to understand or make a decision. In any sales effort, you must accept other people as they are, not as you would like for them to be.

One of the most common faults of sales people is impatience when the prospective customer is slow to understand or make a decision. Handle such situations as if you were on a date or applying for a new job. Be patient!

Be determined and stay focused. You probably have invested all or a substantial amount of your money in your business. It can be very difficult owning your own business initially, but it’s worth it. You realize you have to work more, you worry more and you push yourself harder. It’s really very challenging.

Things can get really stressful sometimes that you almost want to give up. You start regretting leaving your employed job. Your determination has to come in here. No one can guarantee your success in business, except you, but utilizing the advice in this book would go a long way in making things much easier for you.

Like I earlier mentioned, it helps if you love the business you are into. You generally have an easier time getting through your initial start-up problems when you enjoy what you do. Be motivated. You can make it. One very important step in improving your business is your reading this business enhancement book. Information is power!

Your business should have an effective accounting and record keeping plan. Have a well-planned book keeping system. Keep sales records, proper employee records, tax records, businessagreement records etc. There are several good accounting software available in the market for those with computers. Otherwise, get an accountant to review your records from time to time.

Think of the kind of customer your product(s) will appeal to, and focus on that customer base. Target your customer base with your sales message. It’s very important that you know who your typical customer is. You get to increase your sales by providing this customer group with other products or services.

Advertising/Marketing is very important to your business. Potential customers have to know you exist. They have to be able to reach you. To be successful in business . . . you must do some form of advertising or marketing. Put aside money for advertisement.

Monitor how effective or ineffective your adverts are. Don’t waste money and time running an advert that doesn’t work. Your business needs an efficient customer service plan. You will lose your customers if you don’t treat them right.

They might even tell others not to do business with you. It’s very difficult to repair a damaged image. With all the competition out there, word of mouth still remains the most powerful form of advertisement . . . so don’t spoil your reputation.

Treat every customer like your most important customer, and they will not only come back, they will recommend you to others. Get your staff to be polite and friendly. I don’t shop at certain shops because of how rude and unhelpful their staff are. I am quite sure others feel the same way too.

Forget the idea of some people being “born with great sales skills.” We all have this talent. Every society is built on selling. Just think about it . . . we all do some form of selling(marketing) every time. We do this when we try to be close friends with others, when we try convincing people to see things our way. We’re all sales people in one way or another.

A wise man once said “Anyone can sell anything to anybody. We could correctly say that some things are easier to sell than others, and some people work harder at selling than others. But regardless of what you’re selling, or even how you’re attempting to sell it, the odds are in your favor.

If you make your presentation to enough people, you’ll find a buyer. The problem with most people seems to be in making contact – getting their sales presentation seen by, read by, or heard by enough people. Selling is challenging.

It demands the utmost of your creativity and innovative thinking. The more success you want, and the more dedicated you are to achieving your goals, the more you’ll sell.” Patience must be applied here.

In selling, we all begin at the same point, and have the same finish line as the goal . . . a successful sale.

Someone once said that business is only about two things; satisfying customers and making a profit. This is a true statement. So organize your business! Keep at it and try out the ideas in this book. Remember, “You cannot fail . . . unless you quit!”

Drawing People Into Your Business

As a business owner certainly you have noticed business slowing and yet you feel powerless to do anything about it.  One thing is for certain, you don’t want to sit by and watch your business go out the window without doing something.  So what can you do? Well, there are some great ways to attract people to your business without spending a fortune.

You should be talking to people that you meet about your company and what it does. You never know when someone may have a need or they just finished talking to another person that has been looking for a service like the one that you provide. Keep some pens or key chains with you that have your company info on them. These are a great way to keep your business in other peoples minds. They will think about you when they pull that pen out to use.

You can find free bulletin boards all over town. One of the best places is on a college or university campus. These are hot-spots and get used and looked at tons. You really never know what you will find so people check them regularly. You need to maintain your flyer that you decide to put up. These are constantly shifting areas and if someone is interested they will take your flyer, or cover it up if they need the space.

The worst that you can do is nothing at all. You are not the only business that is going through hard times right now. Count your blessings and appreciate all that you have. Negative feelings only attract more negativity into your life. What you want is some positive influence in your company and your life. When you radiate positivity you will attract more customers and more money is right behind that.

If you want people from the community to come to your businessPsychology Articles, they need to know your name. It also helps if they know you and what you have to offer. Sometimes that is all it takes to get new business. It could be a very simple promotion after all.

Creating Equity In Your Business

Many business owners today are confronted with assessing the value of what they have or, more appropriately, may have left in their privately-held businesses.  Consequently, most business owners are looking at their business to determine the value and how it can be extracted.  This is a part of the exit planning process.

There are two very different aspects to getting the money out of your business.  On the first hand, there is the income that you draw from the business in terms of salary, personal/business expenses, and bonuses that you pay to yourself and/or retirement plan savings. All of this constitutes money that’s coming to you from the cash flow of the business going towards the lifestyle that you have built for yourself.  The second and much more important aspect, particularly in light of the recent economic condition, is getting to the equity – the illiquid part – of your business.

As a part of the exit planning process, an owner will want to know their Value Gap – i.e. how much money they need to extract from the business in order to maintain their lifestyle without the business.  The chart below helps to illustrate this point.  We see that Bill Brown has $1,000,000 saved for retirement but needs a little more than $7,000,000 to maintain his lifestyle.  Bill’s Value Gap is $6,000,000.  The question becomes, ‘How can Bill get to the equity in his business in order to close this Value Gap?’

 {2009 Savings: $1,000,000} > {Value Gap: $6,027,783} > {2013 Asset Base Required: $7,027,783}

Like most business owners, Bill is focused on running and growing his business (and surviving the current economic conditions).  Bill has some money saved for retirement.  However, as we can see, it is nearly impossible for Bill to extract enough ‘income’ from his business to meet his exit goals – Bill needs to get to the equity in his business.

 Essentially, the equity that’s in your business is representative of more than the accumulated earnings.  It is representative of the value that somebody else would pay for it, so the question becomes, ‘How can you plan to tap into that equity over a long enough time period to draw it out to meet your personal goals?’

The first step is to realize that there are many ways to get to the equity in your business.  You can find a buyer, groom a successor, or even create a buyer for the shares of your company’s stock.  The most important part of this planning process is the recognition of the need to plan for your exit and to measure the amount of equity that you will need to extract from your business.

In today’s environment, the equity can be managed in many different ways.  What’s important, first of all, is that you set a plan and an expectation as to how you can access that equity.  The natural inclination is for a business owner to want to sell – to pull the equity out all at once.  Today’s marketplace has fewer buyers than previous years, due mostly to the economy and the contraction of credit throughout the world markets.  As an owner, you need to know that options other than selling the business are available but may require some creativity on your part.  The key is to understand what somebody else would be willing to pay and identify that person.  From there, we can go and take a look at how that other person would value what you have and how you would receive those ‘equity’ payments.

So, in Bill’s example above, he needs to achieve a net amount of $6,000,000 for the equity in his business in order to achieve his exit goals.  If Bill were to sell the business, he would need to get an asking price in excess of $6,000,000 because taxes (both federal and state) are going to be owed, and advisory fees are going to be a part of the difference between what Bill ‘gets’ for his business sale and what he keeps.  Like many owners, Bill is challenged by today’s lack of buyers and lower values.  Therefore, he wants to look at alternative ways of getting to the equity in his business.

Bill may look at the option of selling a portion of the equity in his business to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).  By selling a piece of the equity today, Bill can bolster his current savings (i.e. increase his financial readiness) while continuing to own a majority of the stock in his company.  Although Bill will likely get a lower value for the shares sold today, he can begin to diversify himself away from the business and, potentially, receive important tax benefits that go along with the ESOP sale.  This is a controllable way of getting to the equity in your business.

Bill may also look to his management team to assist him in extracting the equity from his business.  Bill’s management team has the potential to continue to run the business in Bill’s absence.  However, Bill has not started the conversation with these managers as to his future expectation that they will be so empowered.  This is a delicate conversation to have with the managers because the future is too difficult to envision today.  What this means is that Bill may decide to sell the company in four (4) years when the next exit window opens for him.  So, he does not want to over promise his managers a future ownership stake that he cannot deliver.  Bill should recognize that there are ‘higher level’ conversations that he can be having with his managers today which would make the company stronger, while also positioning those managers as potential successors to the business.  When measured against what Bill needs to extract from his business, it may turn out that having his managers pay him out over time is his best option and he can build a stronger company in the meantime.

In conclusion, whether you’re looking to your managers to help you pull the equity out of your business, or you’re looking to sell to an ESOP, or you are biding your time, waiting for an outside buyer to arrive, it is important to have a concept of equity beyond just the cash that flows from your business to you.  And from this very important concept and realizationFree Web Content, you can begin to think of your business as the investment that it is and begin to create your exit plan to get to that equity and achieve your personal exit planning goals.

Ways Protecting Your Business Ideas

The intellectual property transfer market is now estimated to be worth over $100 billion. If you have a new idea, a patent or an invention, you may be able to license it or sell it for millions of dollars. Many Fortune 500 companies are now making their intellectual property available for sale or licensing at new online intellectual-property exchanges. These companies are trying to maximize their return on research and development investment and generate a new source of revenue by licensing their unused and underutilized inventions to others.

A number of online forums, including Minnesota-based New Idea The traditional transfer of intellectual property is complicated, costly, and can take up to one year. However, these online forums simplify and speed up the process for transfer of new ideas.

The Internet currently reaches more than 560 million users around the world. This makes innovators’ potential for exposure much higher than with traditional forms of media. The worldwide online commerce has reached $2.2 trillion in 2002 and is expected to reach $6.

8 trillion by 2004. The innovators today can leverage the massive reach of the Internet and promote their new ideas to the global market without substantial marketing costs.

Official copyright registration and patent rights can be obtained from appropriate authorities. A directory of Patent and Copyright Offices around the world is available at http://www.newideatrade.com/government_patent_copyright_offices.htm. When a potential buyer contacts the seller for more information about the intellectual property, the seller should require the buyer to sign a non-disclosure agreement before revealing the details.

As a business owner, you already know how important it is for your customers to feel safe about doing business with you. After all, if a customer even suspects he may not receive everything he was promised, then chances are he’s taking his business elsewhere. So to prevent that you offer guarantees, secure payment methods, prompt customer service, and more. You do whatever it takes to show each customer that you are sincere and trustworthy.

But what steps do you take to protect yourself and your livelihood?Too many business owners spend all their time worrying about their customers’ security without thinking of their own, even though small companies must often deal with customer fraud, non-paying clients, and more.

Just as you’ve taken steps to ensure that your customers are satisfied with their buying experience, so should you feel comfortable and secure by taking a few precautions of your own.

Get Everything in WritingWritten contracts are not just for helping customers understand what they can expect to receive for their money, they are about laying down the ground rules for your business relationship. When these guidelines are in writing, nothing is left up for a debate or becomes a misunderstanding.

Both parties can be assured that their interests are being protected and both should have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities in the event that something goes awry.

A good example would be if you sold a toy which a parent returned six months later because it was broken. Without a contract in writing specifying the time limits and conditions of your return policy, you might end up with an ongoing battle wit the customer which could result in lost business and even lawsuits.

Written contracts also don’t need to be crafted by lawyers. You can write everything out yourself in ordinary, easy to understand language. When you and the customer sign it, it becomes a legal and binding agreement. It’s really that simple.

Don’t Be NaiveSo many people in business get burned by their customers simply because they are too trusting. For example, some of you may have shipped products before the customers’ payments cleared. Or you may have completed agreed upon work without asking for a deposit. Both are risky propositions as many new entrepreneurs discover the hard way, especially if they do business online.

You can protect yourself by always asking for a partial payment in advance and by always waiting until a customer’s payment has cleared before you ship their products. Another method of protecting yourself and your customer is by using a service such as Paypal.com to handle your transactions. The service protects you from non-paying customers and offers your customers protection for lost, damaged, or unshipped products.

Know Your Local LawsOne of the best ways to protect you is by becoming informed. When you know your legal rights, you’ll have a better understanding of how to effectively deal with troublesome customers.

For example, some states don’t allow you to limit a customer’s right to return a product beyond a certain time limit, so you may not legally be able to enforce a guarantee of only one week. On the other hand, if you know your rights, then you’ll also understand what steps to take in case legal action on your part is necessary.

For instance, you may want to send a certified letter demanding payment before you file a lawsuit. Additionally, if you appear knowledgeable about your rightsComputer Technology Articles, many customers might think twice before failing to pay or committing fraud.

The bottom line is that you deserve to be protected just as much as your customers. A few advance precautions now can ensure that you’ll have a long and satisfying business relationship with your customers.

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.