Tools for the New Age Entrepreneur

tools for entrepreneursThere are numerous resources that help small business owners achieve success. However, sorting through them can be a challenging task. If you are a small-business owner in the start-up phase, consider using these 11 essential resources.

Small Business Administration 

This resource offers useful information and links, which can help you start and expand your company. You can also obtain SBA loans from the site.

Score

Scores matches you with a mentor who will give you advice and free counseling with your best interests at heart like switching banks for a better financial bundle, who your target audience is when marketing, and where to start!

Small Business Development Centers

SBDC has professional business advisors who can help you will all aspects of starting and building your company for free.

International Franchise Association

If you want to purchase a franchise, this resource can help you find one and everything you need to know.

Biz Buy Sell

Biz Buy Sell is a resource for people who want to buy a business. There are nationwide listings on the site, so you can find businesses for sale and brokers in your city.

Bplans

Bplans has over 500 business plan templates that are free. You can also read helpful articles or purchase Business Plan Pro from the site. Business Plan Pro is a best-selling business plan program.

Microsoft Office 2010

Although Microsoft Office 2010 is old software, you can make it better if you integrate it with Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Sharepoint 2010 improves file sharing and collaboration tasks for everyone involved.

The Company Corporation

The Company Corporation makes forming an LLC or incorporating your business a simple task. The specialists on the site will tackle the paperwork and all filing procedures for you.

Patent And Trademark Office

If you need to file a copyright, patient, or trademark, use this resource because it has all the tools you will need.

Venture Beat

According to The New York Times, Venture Beat is one of the best blogs for small businesses because it has a lot of useful information about the venture capital industry. The writers cover the most popular industries, such as social networking, green businesses, and mobile technology.

Charity Navigator

Most business owners want to give back to their communities, but they don’t know which causes to donate to. Charity Navigator is an established charity evaluator; the staff evaluates the financial health of thousands of charities in the nation.

How to Get Started Running a Business from Home

home officeAccording to Quoted Data, the UK has one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world, and this makes it a great place to establish a home business. With more and more people finding that they have that little bit extra cash in their pockets, they’re willing to spend that little bit more on what you’re trying to sell them, and working from home is a great way to do it.

A home business brings with it a variety of advantages. For a start, you can work to your own hours and to a schedule that’s convenient for you; not your boss, but running your business from home also presents a number of challenges. We’ve outlined three such challenges below and explained how you can overcome them. Good luck! 

Integrating Work with Your Family Life

One of the most difficult challenges that you’re going to face with running your business from home is integrating your working life with your family life. If you have kids, you being at home might make them think you’re going to be available to them 24 hours a day, but this may not be the case.

Therefore, you’re going to have to establish some careful boundaries that allow you to get your work done while ensuring your kids don’t feel left out. A good way to do this could be with dedicated play times where you spend time with your children every couple of hours, giving you a nice break, and your kids something to look forward to. 

Creating the Home Office Workspace

Of course, a more obvious challenge that you’ll face will be actually establishing your home office environment. To do this, you might have to ask whether your home’s office/study room is large enough for your operation. If it isn’t you might have to consider creating a home extension, installing a loft conversion or perhaps even changing around the kids’ bedrooms. Once you’ve found a room, decorate to taste and –crucially – budget. Use a site like Pinterest to help you. 

Preventing Work Cluttering Your Home

Finally, you’ll face the issue of your work cluttering your home. Ensuring your office is big enough for storage is a great first preventative measure, but after that, it’s all going to be about clutter management. If your business requires products to be mailed out, ensure you have a fast and efficient delivery service like TNTDirect that can collect your products rapidly, ensuring as little as possible of backlog.

So there you have it. If you’re establishing a business from home, now you know how to avoid these common problems.

Starting a Courier Business: 3 Tips for Getting Started

courier businessWith the UK labour market increasingly volatile, it appears as though graduates are keen on entering the challenging world of entrepreneurship. As potential careers in banking, law and consultancy are no longer as viable, lucrative or readily available as they once were, graduates with an understanding of their innate skills and value are ready to take the plunge and shape their own professional destiny. While your choice of business start-up will depend entirely on your qualifications and creative vision, however, it may be worth establishing a simple model while you continue to learn.

3 Tips for Establishing yourself as a Courier

Setting up as an independent courier provides a relevant case in point, as although there are several moving parts to this business it can be supported by a relatively simple infrastructure. Consider the following steps towards establishing a new courier venture: –

 Invest in a Reliable and Low Cost Vehicle

Start-up costs are often a huge consideration for business owners, as they may be required to invest heavily in the venture before they have a viable source of income. Becoming a courier can help to negate these costs, however, as it requires a lower initial investment and offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to begin trading quickly. By using a reputable online market such as the Exchange and Mart, for example, you can identify a reliable and low cost van that fulfils the exact requirements of your business. You are then almost ready to start earning money, after a brief promotional campaign and the refinement of your business plan.

 Create a Clearly defined Service and Target Audience

Once you have one or a fleet of vans, the next step is to refine your service and target a precise consumer demographic. As a starting point, you should consider whether to serve businesses or consumers directly, with the former providing the easiest and most seamless entry into the marketplace. You can then establish the terms and limitations of your service, including types of packages that you will courier and the price point for each. These decisions will provide the outline of your business plan, and once this has been confirmed you can drill deeper into the details and target a specific type of consumer.

 Embrace the benefits of Word of Mouth Marketing

Marketing is crucial to promoting your service and creating an entire brand around your business, This is an important consideration for business of all sizes, even those that are committed to operating within their local area and fixed geographical boundaries. This does not mean that you have to invest huge amounts of money in a creative and strategic marketing campaign; however, as word of mouth advertising is arguably the most effective form of promotion for small business owners. By delivering a high quality service and exceeding customer expectations, you can develop your businesses reputation organically and achieve long-term success.

Start Your Own Clothing Line: 3 Tips to Help

start your own clothing lineSome of the most exciting business ideas are the ones that allow you to be at your most creative. Fashion is certainly one of those, but it’s also a very tough industry. If you want to be successful, then it’s essential that you maintain the right blend of creativity and business acumen. There are many people who have tried and failed in the world of fashion, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are three of the most important things you need to think about.

Be Unique

If your products aren’t unique and don’t offer something that people can get elsewhere, then you will lose out. As a small business, you’re always going to struggle to keep up with the big distributors when it comes to price. Economies of scale mean that your clothes will almost always be more expensive than huge chain stores. The only way of fighting this is by offering a better product. Spend a long time on the concept and design phases in order to get things right.

Be Efficient

Many business leaders will tell you that profits are made and lost in the supply chain, and it’s just as true for small businesses like yours. It can be tricky maintaining that balance of having enough stock to satisfy customer demand, and not having loads built up and taking up space. Most businesses like yours will need to pay for some sort of space to hold stock, but ideally this should be as small as possible; there’s no point paying for more. In a well-oiled supply chain, stock should be constantly moving. Maximise your available space by using a good system; Warehouse Storage Solutions have some good examples of racks that stack your clothes up high.

Be a Brand

The truth is that in fashion, the brand is almost as important as the products themselves. You could have some fantastic clothing designs, but if you don’t have a strong brand that people want to buy into, then you aren’t going to be successful. If you think of all the major fashion houses, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about here. It could well be a good idea to consult some marketing specialists for this bit, but then if you’re of the creative disposition, then you’ll probably be good at this yourself.

Two Smart Ways to Market Your Small Business

smart ways to market your businessIf you’re looking for a way to win the attention of the public and get them coming through the front door to your business, then you’ll have realised how hard it is to get recognised in a competitive marketplace with all kinds of brands jockeying for people’s attention — and their hard-earned cash.

However there are always ways to capture the eye of potential customers by thinking differently from your competitionand recognising what it is that they want. Here are some tips for you to bear in mind to help you when it comes to marketing for your small business.

Offering Something Different

Always remember from the off that you are not a big firm with a large budget and massive name recognition. While other firms may have to do very little as they are the first port of call for customers, you may be starting from the very beginning and trying to establish a brand from scratch.

Big businesses advertise in order to build on their name recognition and generate more sales in the future. Smaller firms don’t have the resources and the budget to do that, so you have to build your advertising strategy in order to produce far more immediate sales. You can do this for example by including an offer in your advertising to drive in sales now. Many customers look for a cheaper price, so offering a smaller version of a product or service at a lower price will entice them.

Similarly other customers are willing to pay a higher price in order to get a better level of service or a premium product. If you offer a more comprehensive packet you can boost your average sale size and your total revenue. Alternatively you can combine several products or services in a special package which you can then sell at a higher price.

Targeting Your Message

Of course you can always try some rather more unconventional methods of marketing to generate business. For example you may want to print a small ad on a postcard and mail it to your targets rather than relying on spending money in traditional media on messages that may go missed. Reducing the size of your ads will also allow you to run more ads at a lower cost.

If you’re operating in a community with other small businesses you could consider setting up joint promotions too. Ultimately you must look to bring the most value from your established customer base, as they already know and trust you. You can use software like Phorest to maintain relationships with your existing customers, and keep them coming back to your business. That way you can rest assured that you’ll keep a steady level of trade coming in rather than constantly having to bring in new custom.