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Starting a Business? 5 Step Reality Check Helps You Know If Your New Business Will Succeed

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “How can I be sure my new business will succeed?” There is no crystal ball that can accurately answer that question. However, if you are serious about starting a business there are five steps you can take that will begin to give you a clearer picture. By following these steps you will gain tremendous insight into what lies ahead. Whether this reality-check convinces you to dive in, or hold back, you’ll be well served by what you learn. While we are huge proponents of founders developing a well written business plan, the steps below can be followed even before you start your small business plan.
Step 1: Write a simple elevator pitch to see if your business idea is compelling to others. If you haven’t created an elevator pitch before, you can stitch together the essentials very easily. Write a one sentence answer to each of the following questions. What problem will your company solve for its customers? Who has this problem and how large is that group? What will make your business unique so that customers will buy from you instead of a competitor? Finally, what are your qualifications to run the business? If you force yourself to write and re-write the very best one sentence answers to each of these questions, you will have the elevator pitch you need for this purpose. Now, try out your elevator pitch on 10 people you trust and respect to get their feedback and reaction to your well-formed business concept. This is the warm up for steps two and three.
Step 2: Talk to would-be customers to find out if there is a true need for your product or service. When you are thinking about starting a business, you obviously feel there is a void in the marketplace. Don’t wait until you open your business to find out if the need for another business is real or imagined. Armed with your elevator pitch, go have face-to-face discussions with future customers. You are not going to them to sell, or pre-sell. You are doing market research. After describing your business by generally following your elevator pitch, go into “ask and listen” mode. To get the information you are seeking, ask questions like, “How are you currently meeting your needs for (insert the products or services your company will provide)?” Listen carefully-this is the voice of the customer. In step one, you spoke to friends and respected colleagues. In step two, you are talking to people who currently buy products or services like those you will be selling. Select individuals who will be focused on the content of your ideas and less concerned about simply wanting to be encouraging.
Step 3: Become an expert on the competition. Identify 5 other companies that are already doing what you plan to do. Learn as much about them as you can. One of the best things to learn is if they expanding or shrinking. You want to be entering a business where the market and demand is growing! Take everything you learn and ask yourself what it says about the opportunity for your new business. If you can’t find any companies that already do what you’re planning to do, there two likely reasons: 1) There is not enough demand to support a business; 2) You didn’t look hard enough. The third possibility, and the one most often cited incorrectly, is that a genuinely new opportunity has been discovered, one that nobody else has ever thought of, and so there is no competition. Rarely is this the case.
Step 4: Develop a rough estimate of your breakeven costs. Think about the process of engaging the customer to the point of making a sale. What are all the things that you must have in place to make that sale? Do you need an office? A building? A sign? Computers? Phone service? Special equipment? Employees? Will you need to take a salary from the business from its inception? How much will you spend on marketing so that customers find out about your business? List all of the major items and estimate their costs for the first full year. Divide this number by twelve to see your total monthly fixed expenses.
To calculate their breakeven sales number, some types of businesses must also take into account their “cost of sales” or the additional cost that is incurred for each sale made. In a pure service business, such as consulting, there will be little or no “cost of sales.” A consultant sells his or her time. The breakeven revenue for this type of business would be the total monthly expenses calculated above.
Other businesses, such as restaurants or retailers have to take into account the cost of the goods they sell. For …

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Use Mobile Marketing To Put Your Business In Your Customers’ Pockets

Getting started in mobile marketing can seem daunting because there are so many options available to you. The following tips will bring mobile marketing into perspective and help you choose a viable strategy.

You should never send messages to your customers without a good reason. You should only message them with useful information. Some businesses failed in their mobile marketing endeavors because they chose to send arbitrary and impractical text messages to their customers. Customers aren’t looking for humorous, personal messages from a business they patronize. They’re looking for valuable information and ways to save money.

Make your point but keep it short when it comes to mobile content. Mobile device screens are small, so droning on and on about a product just to get more keywords in is annoying to readers. Mobile marketing demands short, concise, and direct messages to consumers.

Check out the things your rivals are doing, you will get advantage when it comes to social network marketing. It is important that you are different than competitors.

Make sure you know when people are getting your text messages. They shouldn’t be sent when they’re sleeping or having dinner with their families. Regardless of how tempting the offer or how enticing the message may be, customers are unlikely to appreciate an off-hours text.

Mobile marketing is one of the best ways to watch your profits rise. More and more people every day use mobile phones for social networking and to download applications. Both of these serve as excellent mediums for marketing your business. You need to target your customers where they are congregating online.

Have a basic understanding of mobile devices if you want to develop a successful mobile marketing campaign so you may optimize your site and ads for a mobile platform. Try out as many mobile devices as you can so that you understand the user’s experience.

When calling or texting someone, remember there is a live person on the receiving end; therefore, it is important to be considerate of the time in which you call as well as the type of message you are sending. Act accordingly.

Apps are not difficult to create. Your customers would love to receive a free app; why not build your own? Offering your own unique app will help to improve your business and take full advantage of mobile marketing. There are many choices to make about app features; the possibilities are endless.

Although lots of people use their phones for Internet text, not all know the different kinds of abbreviations used online. Any lack of understanding in your advertisement will yield unfavorable results both short and long term.

The many different techniques used in mobile marketing are all based on a few shared principles. Usually the only differences are in the level of technology involved and how that technology is utilized. All it takes to decide between them is some research and common sense to find the best and most effective techniques to use in your plan for you, your business, and your budget.…

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Tips On How To Succeed In Mobile Marketing

Assembling a plan for mobile marketing may seem mysterious at first with so many options available, and you may not be certain where to start. This article will take some of the guesswork out of the process of promoting your business in the mobile realm.

Don’t send random messages to your customers. Every message you send them should be relevant and useful. Nothing will crash your marketing campaign faster than annoying your customers with random things. Customers like relevance, not jokes or other nonsense.

Short and sweet is an important key when it comes to appealing to all of your consumers. Your message must come across loud and clear to your customers. This allows them to understand, relate to and absorb it much faster.

If you are not an expert on designing for a mobile audience, then by all means, hire one. Giving a website a mobile device design can involve sophisticated skills. If you want the best results, spend the money on a professional with the appropriate expertise.

If you want to see your profits go up, try some mobile marketing. More and more people everyday are using their mobile phones to use social networking websites and download apps. Both of these are good ways to advertise and market your business. Make sure that you are bringing what you have to offer to the people, don’t make them have to find you.

When you get involved in mobile marketing, it is quite helpful for you to be somewhat familiar with the design and operation of mobile devices, so that you create user-friendly sites and advertisements. Start by getting different mobile phones and experimenting with them.

You always have the option of sharing apps with your customers, but were you aware that you can create the majority of these applications yourself? Your mobile marketing campaigns could be greatly enhanced by embracing this new piece of technology. Create an app that is unique to your business and offer it out. There are a lot of features to choose from; tailor your app to the kind of customers you are addressing.

You will get the best results from dedicated short code. While the price is higher, it can help your brand stay protected. You may also derive a bit of legal coverage from its use.

Make it simple for your customers to forward your mobile marketing ads to their friends. Ease of forwarding as well as incentives for doing so are great ways to ensure that your ad is packing all of the punch that it is capable of.

No matter how advanced smartphones get, remember that mobile web browsing is just not as easy as going online with a computer. If you are going to engage in mobile marketing, then your ads and other marketing materials need to be totally accessible on mobile devices. Sometimes this means that users on a computer may view a more simple page.

There are many different variations of mobile marketing methods, but they all share pretty much the same fundamentals. They only vary when it comes to technology and the applications used. All it takes to decide between them is some research and common sense to find the best and most effective techniques to use in your plan for you, your business, and your budget.…

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Take Control Of Your Destiny With These Great Leadership Tips

There are a lot of people who would love to be known as great leaders. Some people are just born with it and others must just work at it. A great leader needs to have plenty of skills, and leadership has plenty of different styles. If you would like to become a better leader, then continue reading to learn new ways to become a more effective leader.

Identifying talents in other individuals is essential to strong leadership. As you look for people to work for you, this will help you decide. That applies both to contracting people and hiring them.

Be open about any issues that arise in a timely manner. Unlike the old leaders who covered up problems, the great leaders of today are more upfront in their communication. Why the change? There’s a lot of ways the issues can surface because of all the communication built into our modern lives. The truth will come out either way. So, why not try to control the message that’s going out there instead of trying to react to it? It’s the path taken by great leaders.

When you are a leader, try focusing on the people while allowing the work to do well on its own. Inspire and encourage others for best results. Avoid micromanaging your team. Trust that you have delegated responsibilities appropriately and offer assistance in helping your employees reach their goals.

Make sure to show appreciation for those around you. A small thank you note goes a long way to making someone feel good. It’s free to do, and means so much to others.

Try your best to be an approachable leader. Some leaders think that making people fear them is the ideal way to show they’re in charge. In fact, being intimidating will just make people respect you less. Let your subordinates know that you are there for them if they need anything since it is your job to make sure they do well.

You should schedule some time every day to go over just how well things are running at work. Reflect on this yourself, or ask a few team members for input. Ask for suggestions and take what they say to heart.

Listening is more important than talking. Listening is crucial to being a successful leader. Pay attention to your employees’ opinions. Listen to what they’re griping about and praising the company for. Find out your employees’ opinions with regard to your products and customers. The amount of information you take away will surprise you.

As an effective leader, it is necessary to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. If you walk around overconfident in your abilities, that will make it much easier for you to fail. Make it a priority to work on your weaknesses.

There are many skills you will have to work on in order to become a good leader. You can always add your own unique ideas to the mix. By keeping the above information close at hand, you are sure to see how easily leadership skills can develop.…

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Real Investing Tips That Can Change Your Life

Real estate is very popular among investors, but there are things to watch for that you must know about. Whether you are experienced with investing or are new to it, it is important to understand the pitfalls. These tips will help you to become a successful investor.

Stay with categories in which you are comfortable. Limiting yourself to one market segment makes it easier to learn the necessary skills. Whether you’re buying and selling homes, only working with starters, or dealing in properties that cost low in the down payment department, stick with the things you are familiar with.

Learn all of the essentials involving investing in real estate before you throw down a ton of money to buy a piece of property. If you make a mistake when it comes to real estate, you could lose out on a lot of money when you’re not being careful. Taking time to learn all you can about it can help you stay protected.

Before digging, get a professional to make sure there are no buried lines anywhere. In certain areas, it is considered illegal to dig, and you don’t want to cause any property damage.

Never purchase properties in bad neighborhoods. Know the property before you buy it. The importance of research cannot be overstated. A good deal on a house that’s nice may be because the area it’s in is bad. It might be difficult to sell and runs the risk of being vandalized.

Lean the basics of bookkeeping. It could be an easy mistake to overlook simple things in bookkeeping, especially when you’re starting out. You will need to worry about a lot. Keeping records well is very important, however. If you develop the right bookkeeping skills early on, you’ll save yourself headaches and heartache down the road.

If you want to buy a lot of properties and hold them, be sure to choose a specific area to invest in. This will allow you to avoid major expenses in gas or time as you travel to your properties. It can also help you become an authority when it comes to the market in that particular area.

Subscribe to a good listing for foreclosures so you can be alerted to good opportunities when they become available. This will save you time as you will not have to contact the county courthouses, lenders and real estate agents. A good service will provide current listings that are ripe for the picking.

You are likely to experience ups and downs. Don’t let the lows get you down and make you want to quit. You have to stick with it to achieve success. Keep learning new things and trying again and you are sure to accomplish your goals.

Real estate investments shouldn’t take up lots of your time with managerial duties. Time certainly is money, and investors like you can quickly eat through those resources. Keep away from less than desirable neighborhoods, college rentals or vacation rentals. Work with properties that are solid and have a good history when it comes to tenancy.

As you delve farther into real estate investing, you will begin to see lots of things to watch for. Knowing all there is to know about these obstacles will serve you well. Keep this information in mind as you enjoy your successful real estate career.…

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When You Need Ideas About Real Estate Investing Fast, Read This

After all, real estate is not something to jump into impulsively. You have to get great information before you get started with it. You can make money from it once you get the hang of it. Review this information to give yourself a good starting point. Once your investment knowledge is strong, you will make decisions you are comfortable with.

Stay with categories in which you are comfortable. If you specialize in one area, it will be easier to be successful. No matter what type of investing, keeping with what you know will really help you succeed.

Do not make the assumption that property values always increase. It is dangerous to assume that any piece of property will rise in value. Your safest bet is to only invest in properties that provide a nearly immediate positive cash flow. The goal is to generate profit from the properties that you purchase.

Join an online investor group, or subscribe to the blog feeds of prominent real estate investors. You will find advice and encouragement and be able to benefit from those more experienced than yourself. You can learn a lot this way and even develop valuable working relationships.

Having a good handyman will facilitate the process when you buy an investment property. If you aren’t familiar with things that need repairs, it can end up eating into your profits. A handyman also helps when emergency situations arise.

Be mindful of the value of your time. You may enjoy rehabilitating properties, however is the amount of labor required worth your time? Maybe this isn’t the right property, perhaps there is something better out there? Outsource everything you can to allow yourself time to research the market. You will very much appreciate the free time that you will gain so that you can focus on other important things.

While it may seem like a great idea to diversify, you should try to stay local. You can find great deals in your own neighborhood, which you already have great knowledge about. This can be especially helpful if this is your first real estate investment.

Make sure that you are buying local properties. Because your knowledge of the areas will be strong, you can minimize risk in this way. Since you live close to the property, you can feel more relaxed because you will be able to check on it. This will give you more control during the investing process.

You never want your investments in real estate to start draining your liquid cash reserve. Investing in real estate can involve tying up large amounts of money for a long period of time. Don’t invest in real estate at the expense of daily living.

Investments are a type of risk, but this advice can help you minimize it. Take note of the facts presented here. Strong decisions are based on strong knowledge. You have initiated the process by reading this article. Be sure to stay up to date on all the latest developments in real estate investment.…

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Your Path To Home Business Success Starts Right Here!

Starting a home business is both rewarding and potentially frustrating. Your rewards will be defined by the amount of time you invest. Even with luck, it may feel at first as if your earnings are not worth the effort. As with everything in life, you will have to put plenty of time and effort into making your business a success.

Try hard to be at your personal best when you work from home. Working from home can be fulfilling, but it can also be depressing if you don’t approach it well. Take a shower each morning, limit snacks, and take time to get regular exercise. Doing these things will make you feel like a superstar and make others think you are a superstar!

Record all the money you spend on your business, and you will have the opportunity to get money back at tax time. Expenses, such as Internet service, business mileage and office supplies, should all be kept track of. When you’re self employed, there are many business expenses that become tax deductible. Keeping track of every nickel and dime is essential, because there is no reason to skip out deductions you are entitled to.

Affiliates can be used to help you to market what you’re selling. Trade affiliate links with other home business owners and help each other grow your business traffic. Joining other successful affiliate marketing opportunities within your niche can help you promote your own products. This will give you a great boost in profit without spending a lot of money.

Write a detailed business plan for your home business. You can make adjustments to this business plan as needed. You could also start another one from scratch if you see it is not working. But a business plan acts as an initial guiding light and a to-do list that reminds you of where you want to take your business. Frequently update the details of your plan as your business evolves.

Do your homework early on to figure out how to concentrate your efforts on your target market for your home business. Even if you are an expert on the product itself, you need to know all that you can on the people buying it so that you can choose the best marketing and business plans to succeed. You should also think about the preferences of your target audience when you are creating your website since they are the ones that will have to use it.

If your business will hinder you, and your family you should think about going with something else. Anything that might drastically disrupt family life in the house should be reconsidered. You want the type of business you run out of your home to fit smoothly into the household.

Your idea might seem like it’s taking too much time, but know that many successful businesses started that way too. It’s easy to think success may come overnight, but if that were the truth, everyone would be wealthy. Give yourself every advantage by working hard, doing your homework beforehand and learning everything you can about the business you want to start. Business is about competition and the hardiest survive.…