How to start a business
Start a Business
If you are thinking about starting a business, you are on the right track to freedom from the regular day to day job. Although, opening a business doesn’t mean you won’t place yourself back to the office, rather it’s going to make you the main person in it. Business is a job, however it is more of your own venture which you are responsible for and interested in growing. You’ll be spending many hours on development, generating new connections, finding better deals, resolving issues to enhance business productivity and many other activities dealing with your business growth and stability.

Everything starts with your idea. You have an idea to sell or produce a specific product. You view your office, store or ways to distribute your products or services. The main thing that should help you determine your steps has to be a business plan. Business plan should clearly define your vision, including many aspects such as: competition, product/service description, design and manufacturing, target audience, distribution channels and many other things. Developing a business from a ground up is a very intense practice, it requires individual to have specific skills and set of mind. The person has to be almost cold blooded to work out best deals, see next step and not to stress over failures.

Even though many small businesses fail within their first year, their owners learn from the made mistakes and do their best to succeed in their next business. Life without failure is not possible. Every businessman knows that with failure comes success. Every new lesson has to be learned and applied to the situation. Here are several main steps to follow for business opening:

·         Idea Generation:

        o  Generate an Idea
        o  Speculate on the Idea
        o  Consult and talk to people you trust
        o  Brush out all unnecessary things
        o   Have a solid view of your idea

·         Generate a solid Business Plan

·         Find a financing
        o   Find investors

·         Select physical or online space for your business

·         Market your business

·         Invest into Marketing

·         Launch

Business idea doesn’t have to be one of its kind; you can successfully sell and earn a good profit from the products or services that are offered by your competition. What is more important is that you have to find a unique aspect of yourself to be differentiated from the competition.


 
 
Internet for business
Internet for Business
Internet use for Business Operations

Internet provides many different opportunities for business operations. Business can tremendously grow by employing internet means and discovering the full potential of social networking. Every day more and more businesses select internet as their main source for many different practices, such as: contacting customers, offering customer service, generation leads, finding and creating new customer and constantly advertising their services. It is now known that many companies select internet as one of their primer source is for advertising and media relationship building. Traditional forms of advertising such as television, radio and billboards are very expensive and usually can only be afforded by the large organizations. With that said internet offers a much lower price for “its service”. When compared with how much needs to be spent on producing just one TV or radio ad versus internet spending’s one can clearly outline the price difference and the outcomes.

Here are several ways of how the internet can be used to achieve your business goals, strategies and lead generations:

·         Internet marketing
·         Search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Pay-per-Click (PPC)
·         Article and PR writing and distribution
·         Social networking and social media
·         Use of forums, blogs and communities

One of a great ways that internet might help you is by giving you an ability to find out what the client want or need, and the best part is that the internet gives you an option to use it almost for free. You will not be paying money for your online marketing research and target development as internet is not as expensive as traditional forms of marketing research.

Internet offers great ability to find new customer and directly contact them by constantly delivering a unique message that can appeal to the needed market. An ability to develop a good communications message is a MUST, as you have to make sure that you target audience is interested in what you are planning to deliver to them. Internet offers a wide variety of sources to provide business with support they need and bring cost effective solutions.


 
 
leads
Identifying new leads and opportunities

Every business is determined to live upon finding new leads and opportunities and converting them into customers. Without customers and sales there is not business. Business can only be successful if all sales cycles are met and the customer is willing to buy service or product. Depending on the business you might have different challenges with one remaining constant throughout all organizations striving to get more sales through acquiring new lead and generating new customers. Generating new customers is somewhat challenging especially at the beginning stage of business. When you are in the early stages of business it is hard for you to get a constant customer flow and big numbers of sales, but don’t worry it’s almost the same for everybody. At the early stages when you don’t know many tricks and pitfalls you are destined to make business mistakes. It is better to do them now with lower amount and lower risks then when you have big sums and big deals.

Now, let’s come closer to identifying how to get new leads and where to find new opportunities.

First of all, let’s not forget about the oldest way of unintentional marketing that is transferred by your customers – word-of-mouth. It is the oldest and probably one of the most influential forms of “marketing” that the world knows. Each customer’s reference is a powerful tool and has a very high chance of converting into a sale. People trust each other and share information. Therefore, if your product is good and reliable be ready for some customer references. However, to be successful in word-of-mouth you have to be sure that you have a good solid product or service; otherwise people will be sharing their negative experience with their friends!

Second, there are many and many business/professional directories where you can find business names including contact information such as phone and emails, or at least you can get the name of the person or persons you want to reach. Having a name of the person your contact is critical. You can always find out extra information such as email or phone number from contacting the firm directly and talking to the reception and telling them that you’d like to send something to Mr. or Ms. so and so but don’t have their email. One of good business directories is Jigsaw. Certain information is free such as: name, position and title; however the information that you need the most such as email and telephone number is paid.

Third, traditional forms of marketing. For a very long time marketing played a very important role in any business, its primer role is to create awareness, attract customers and communicate with them through the means of marketing messages. If this is applicable to your business you should be trying traditional newspaper and magazine advertising, billboards, direct mail, radio ads (if the budget allows you) and other forms of traditional marketing.

Fourth, online forms of marketing. With the internet expansions there are many different forms of marketing that you can engage yourself into, they range from email marketing, banner advertising, paid targeted websites ads, Pay-per-click by Google and Bing, SEO (search engine optimization), affiliate programs with other websites and other types that would suite your business.

All those sources should work cohesively to create a good funnel and a fresh flow of leads and opportunities for your prospect to customer conversion.


 
 
Business Opportunity
Business Opportunity
Finding new Business Opportunities

Every business has a potential growth limit. There are always different constrains and business development failures, including team members leaving, not enough budget, new laws and so on. For a successful business growth there always has to be a good push from your team to achieve goals, if not the business might be failing and not getting needed results. However, sometimes it is hard to identify what is needed and how to progress in the stage of maturity. But there are several different things you as a business owner or management team can do to increase productivity and continue business growth.

Tips to prolong business growth:

One of good tactics is to hire young graduates or young professionals. They are more open minded and will have a fresh look at things you do in your daily business. They can advise you on what you might change to achieve better results or they might show new better ways of achieving same results while using fewer resources.

Recreate your business plan. Recreating your business plan is a good tactic in defining new goals and establishing new achievement. Also, creating new business plan will point you out to things that you are not doing well right now and will lead you to tasks you do good. Successfully developed business plan will define and outline aspects of your achievements and should showcase new methods of achieving targets.

Increase sales team and enhance sales techniques. If you realise that your sales team is doing a good job and they do bring business but are constrained with time, you might start thinking about employee new sales team members. It should increase sales cycle and add new opportunities to the business. Also, you must enhance your sales team with news sales techniques to better develop your business department to make sure they operate efficiently. Knowledge always provides more power and creates new options. By providing sales training to your team you are increasing your chances of business growth. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to invest into your sales force and see them leaving your company with more experience and knowledge. You have to negotiate a deal that by providing them with training they are obligated to guarantee to bring X amount of sales or stay for a specific time period with your company.

Check for competition. You should always stay on top of what your competition does. You have to be aware of their new techniques, business development and marketing efforts. It will outline their achievements or failures and will give a better opportunity to prepare yourself while creating better competitive advantage.

Creating new business opportunities is somewhat challenging but is very exciting and rewarding, it will bring you new leads and business. Don’t be afraid to try out new thing and execute method that don’t work; it is always trial and error.

Good luck in your business development projects!


 
 
Telecommunications
Business Communicatons
How to Select a Business Communications Dealer?

Business communications is a rapidly growing industry with many new trends being created and developed. Industry is far more advanced than it was even two to four years ago. It is constantly growing and becoming significantly large with several main key players. As mentioned there are only several major players in the telecom manufacturing space and you can pretty much count them all. The biggest names in the industry are: Cisco, Avaya, NEC, Mitel, Shoretel and several others. If you ever getting products from them you might expect at least some stability versus companies that are just climbing up their telecom success ladder.  Although there are young companies that are successful in their telecom doings unfortunately they can’t compete at the same level as the telecom giants.

Let’s start by out lining what would a good telecom dealer look like:

First of all, let’s mention that the best choice for you would be a vendor who can provide you with multiple solutions or products at once. For example, someone who is licensed and certified to sell and service (very important to have both) several manufacturers at once, so let’s say they can propose NEC, Avaya and Shoretel at once. You might be asking, why is it important? Fair question! It is important because not everything that is offered might make scene. While Avaya IP Office is a good fit for many SMB’s it is fair to say that NEC SV8100 and SV8300 might out bid it by the price and cost implementation.

Second, your telecom dealer must realize that even though it is to his personal benefit to sell you with highest margin it is still his responsibility to solve your need at the most beneficial cost for you. You have to contact several dealers in order to initialize who is going to be the most appropriate person to work with.

Third, initialize what previous experience and customer references dealer has. If you have a big project and it’s going to cost you a good amount of money, it might be logical to put it out for tender and see who is going to submit. Having an ability to research previous customers and see their references will give you a great ability to dive deep into understanding the culture and tech abilities of the telecom service provider.

Fourth, experience and knowledge. Ask how many years of experience business has, keep in mind that number of years doesn’t mean current success as many thing might have changed. Things such as crew and operation management might have changed or business is going through current internal restructure and etc.

Every business regardless or its size, complexity or type of operation needs to communicate internally and externally with its clients. Sales teams require communication with prospects and current customer, tech or customer service teams has to provide support and so on. Business communication is critical, make sure you choose your provider wisely; otherwise you might suffer from telecom failures.


 
 
Online Business
Online Business and E-commerce
5 Tips for Powerful Online Business and Online Selling

Business Blog is keen to providing you with the best reading and learning experience. We do our best to provide you with the most useful and filtered information for you to spend less time on  going through the material and more time on actually extracting all the needed information. We do understand that in the busy business life you don’t get much time to spend on information that does not bring any benefit. Therefore, every week we update of 5 Tips section to help you learn and develop your skills.

This week we’ve decided to spend some time on sharing some tips on online business and sales. Let’s start with 5 Tips for Powerful Online Business and Online Selling:

1. Introduce your business to the prospect or buyer. In order for someone to buy from you or do business with you they need some history. Provide them with several important tips about your achievements in the industry, years in business, products, your overall mission and vision. Many businesses suffer from not realizing that people need to know you before doing business with you. If the prospect does not know how long you’ve been selling online or doesn’t see obvious signs that you can be trusted most likely he won’t convert into a buyer.

2. Use social media! Social media becoming more important in the customer service and customer interaction than any other source; customers can contact you and have conversations with you at the time and location convenient for them. It is a very important channel of picking up new customers as well. A well deployed social media channel is very likely to bring you new customers and keep connected with old. The more friends and likes you have the more you can appear on the pages of your customers which in its turn will bring you more exposure. One thing to keep in mind is that all social channels have to be updated on a regular bases, you might not have time to update it every day but it has to show a sign that someone is taking care of the account and it’s posts not dated one month old.

3. Check on competition. It is your task to keep up with the competition and to scan through what they do. The suggestion is very simple learn of what they do and do it better! All developments can be enhanced and developed better than what is available now on the market.

4. Update your technology. Make sure that whatever you use is up to date and in a good condition. For example if you use software for your e-commerce make sure you bought all the necessary upgrades and licences, same goes with computers, servers and any other important tools for your business.

5. Deliver more! Your customers are important to you, therefore deliver more then you actually can. It is your responsibility to make ever customer happy. Of course there are situations where it is not possible but still try to do your best not to do just a minimum job, do more and you’ll see the benefits.

We hope our tips on online business and online selling (e-commerce) helped you to increase your knowledge. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us or leave a comment.

Thank you!


 
 
employee motivation
Employee Motivation
Employee Motivation

Every successful company owns a part of its success to the employee engagement and motivation. Motivators are the biggest factors in making employees willing to work with passion and true belief in your company. As an owner, executive or management personal it is your job to keep your employees focused and willing to input their knowledge and skill to achieve higher results.  Motivation is a key factor when it comes to engaging your workforce. It is well known that people are willing to work for you if you can offer a great work atmosphere. In addition, employees are willing to give up a certain amount of wage to have a good, friendly environment at work as found in “Understanding Employee Motivation” research.

What you need to do to motivate?

First of all, you have to trust your employees. The work atmosphere has to be easy going but with everybody knowing what they have to do. Your leadership has to be always visible and proven to the employees so that they understand that you are a success. There are many different motivation theories with strategies, techniques and tips. However, there are basic things that every employee needs in order to be motivated to work for you:

·         Good work environment
·         Ability to communicate with management
·         Ability to generate and provide ideas
·         Freedom of choice
·         Ability to participate in company’s decision
·         Wage

 These are the most common things that employees look at when they looking for a firm to work for.

It is well known fact that engaged employees willing to produce more for the company then it actually cost to employ them. Motivation is the key for success of the company as people work in teams for the same goals and willing to achieve higher results. We can compare families with work teams. As in family we have different hierarchies and goals and can see one family unite working together to achieve that goal, workforce is the same thing if compiled properly into a team and given a task. Employees should know their clearly defined roles and must have a belief that in the case they are stacked on something there will be help from their peers and management.

Trust is one of the biggest sources to engage the team and individual employee to the process of attaining the needed goals. Motivation is the best source of energy to fuel employees’ belief that they are being noticed and that they work for the best result in the best company with the best team. It is management’s task to portray and truly hold the respect and will to show employees that they are valuable not only to the company but also as a personal friendship.


 
 
Brand
Brand Building
Brand Building - Building more than just a brand

Brand is a very important aspect of your daily business life. Brand defines everything you want your business to be. Brand can be associated with the feel and vision customers get after being in contact with your company. You can make it almost anything you want. For example, think about Disney! What is the first thing that comes to your mind? Most likely it is fun, childhood, toys, ice cream and great time! Then think about Nike, it is sport, action, move, running and anything related to sport activities. Your brand has to have the same kind of message. Although your brand is not as known as those mentioned above, when you’ll be getting more customers and referrals you’ll notice that people do differentiate you by your brands, mission statement and vision.

Building brand is one of the most important marketing strategies. Many successful brands are successful because customers can differentiate them by just looking at the logo or colors. In order to make your brand stand out you have to create a unique logo and brand yourself with something memorable and easily recognizable. Usually a good graphic designer will be able to create a unique logo for you. Use catchy colors for the website and brochure design. Make them all look in the loop and close to each other, so that is makes sense for the customer who saw your flyer, brochure or business card and your website to recognize you as the same brand. Small tip: don’t go on too many colors, the more colors you include on the print material the more it’ll cost you to print. Usually anywhere from 2 to 3 is the most optimal color range. However, don’t be afraid to use little bit more colors on your website. For example, you can have a header in blue, menu bar in light blue, main body in white and footer in blue or something that would resonate with the color range.

Successful branding has to be spread across all marketing channels going from the most cost effective and reliable to the next affordable level. One thing to keep in mind is you have to experiment with your marketing push across all different marketing channel platforms. In sometime you’ll find out that some work better than others and others bring more profit. It is always a trial and fail with some marketing strategies. You have to do regular things that bring the constant steady results while experimenting with new techniques and strategies.

As mentioned previously marketing push has to be done through the means of different marketing strategies, here are several examples: internet marketing, press release, news and other types of press marketing, advertising, lead generation and peer groups, etc.

One of the most cost effective and result driven marketing strategies is the internet marketing. With its ability to be spread out in a short amount of time to a large amount of users, it brings a good return on investment while being relatively at the low cost if compared with traditional forms of marketing.  Google and Bing both offer a PPC (pay-per-click) advertising that can be placed in search. In addition, search engine optimization is a good source of defining a landscape for your website in a competitive web space.

Brand building is one of the most challenging and most rewarding marketing practice’s, it offers many benefits to those who are willing to invest time and resources into it.


 
 
Business Development Strategy
Business Development Strategy and Planning
Creating Business Development Strategy (Part 2)

Please read Creating Business Development Strategy (Part 1)

Up-Sale or transform old customers to New Opportunities:

The cost of finding a new customer is always higher than the cost of transitioning individual to the returning customer or retaining the customer. It cost several times more to target, develop a message and communicate that message to the potential target. Therefore, after developing a onetime relationship with the customer it is critical to continue your communique and to retain the customer for the future business. You have to grow your funnel by continuously growing the number of prospects and the number of existing customers. If the customer bought your major product you can up sale anything that will logically suite customer’s needs. For example you’ve sold a phone system to a customer you can also sell peripherals because they suite the purpose of communication.

Uncovering and Creating New Opportunities:

There are numerous ways to target and create a potential interest from the customer to you; you can use marketing to target your audience. Here are several marketing methods that can be implied to find new prospects:

·         Internet Marketing
·         Email Marketing
·         Direct Mailing
·         Telemarketing
·         Lead Purchase
·         Researching existing Tier 2 and Tier 3 customers for potential conversion
·         Exhibitions, seminars, user groups
·         Referrals
·         Other forms of marketing

Be cautious as not all of the above might suite you or might be effective for your industry, but they will lead you into the ideas of how you can attract and what methods to use when trying to find new prospects. It is recommended to have marketing campaigns at least once in 3 month. Marketing should be a reoccurring and constant practice that you should be using for your business to grow. You have to experiment with various strategies and techniques to find the best marketing bundle that will work best for you. It is important to mention that there is no ultimate one practice that will be brining you all the opportunities but at least several different practices that should make you successful.

Business Development Plan Example and Ideas:

It is your best bet to develop a Business Development Plan and review it every 2-3 month to identify what stage you are at and to see what needs to be changed in order for you to succeed more and what is successful right now.

You need a copy of all existing accounts to go over and to sort out what is logical to target. If you are just starting out, you might as well use all leads that you have or you’ll need to find all the leads to target.

Target all possible sources: business directories, online directories, websites, verticals, etc. At the development and growth stage you must be adding a certain percentage of leads rapidly. Every week you must increase your funnel and work on the current leads. Growing you funnel doesn’t mean anything until you close the deal. Therefore, develop skills for closing deals.

After developing a certain amount of leads you must develop marketing strategy and message. Contact your prospects through the means of marketing.

You should be getting opinions of others, ask people who might know of what you are doing and know business side.

You can use a “SMARTER” mnemonic to set objectives and measure you success or failure (read more at Wikipedia):

·         S.pecific
·         M.easurable
·         A.chievable
·         R.elevant
·         T.imed
·         E.xciting
·         R.ecorded

Successful Business Development Strategy comes from developing your thoughts and constantly looking and measuring the results. It is critical to work hard on all the errors and things that don’t bring any positive feedback. Your strategy has to be supported with your action, which is the only way to track your results.

Summary:

It is important to set goals and to follow the plan; no goal means - no target to reach. You have to have a specific target to make sure you are where you want to be.


 
 
Business Development Strategy
Business Development Strategy
Creating Business Development Strategy (Part 1)

Please read Creating Business Development Strategy (Part 2)

The Business Development Strategy is used to develop and stream in the right direction your overall business idea and is meant to support your initial Business Plan. In addition, business development strategy is essential in setting up an approach for developing new opportunities and creating new leads, either from existing accounts or by targeting new potential accounts and prospects, in order to close them.

The post is aimed to set the layout and to touch up on the main key points in creating a successful business development strategy which can be used as a support for your Business Plan.

Let’s start by saying that the main object is ‘Strategy’, therefore you will be developing a practical and attainable set of objectives in order to surpass your targets.

Identifying main strategy points:

There are several main key questions that you need to answer in order to establish the layout of the strategy and give yourself a good start. The key questions are: Who? What? Where? When? Which? Why? How?

The following is the explanation for the questions above:

Who – identify your potential target audience?

What – identify the best possible product or service (what to offer)?

Where – identify the operation location?

When – is the best time to approach the customer?

Which – workforce personal to use?

Why – would they be interested in buying from you?

How - will you retain them as a returning customer?

In order to answer all those questions effectively you have to dig in to your current records and do data analysis. If you have records for the past twelve month and you have conducted regular account reviews every decade you won’t have any problem and will be fast on your track, however what if you didn’t conduct reviews or don’t have any records as you’ve just starting out?

If you’ve just started out your business or planning to start in the near future, you have a good opportunity to engage yourself into a market research practice which will help you in identifying the market and its potential. Market research and market analysis is a very important step as it’ll show you whether or not you should enter the market and will help you identify the potential of your market.

Outlining Customer Profiling:

A successful business development demands a solid customer profiling in order to select the best possible target to reach. Here are several important factors to work with:

- Business Sectors

- Demographics

- Size of organisations

- Financial Situation

- Psychographics

Identifying those sections will help you to analyze and create strategies for your successful business plan.

End of Part 1: Creating Business Development Strategy – tune in for more in our next post!