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Starting A Business

Starting a Business? You Need to Market Your Website, Too

Every new business needs a website, but simply posting a website and waiting for folks to find you doesn’t work. With the millions of websites floating around out there, simply uploading yours without marketing it is like leaving a business card on the moon — if nobody sees it, it might as well not exist.
Thus, it is essential that you incorporate constant marketing of your website into your day-to-day work. There are many free or cheap ways to drive traffic to your site, and the best methods fall under the term search engine optimization, or SEO. These tasks help the major search engines find and catalog your website under the appropriate search terms. Like most other marketing, SEO is only effective if it is an ongoing, consistent part of your overall marketing strategy. New business owners need to take the time to learn the basics, even if you ultimately decide to outsource the actual work.
One of the most critical outcomes of marketing your website is building linkbacks, as search engines place a lot of weight on good linkbacks. Linkbacks are live links to your website on other, reputable websites. Buying linkbacks is usually a waste of money — the link farms that take your money are identified and not counted by the search engines on a regular basis. Good linkbacks come from posting articles, responding to forums and chatboards, having other people love your site and linking to it from their website or blog, and trading links with relevant, appropriate websites. Writing and submitting articles on a regular basis is an excellent way to begin building linkbacks to your site.
Whatever your business is, there are plenty of topics to write article about. Think about what your customers need to know and use article marketing to get that message out. The better article sites will not let you submit pure marketing material (as in, you can’t mention your own company in the body of the article), but your website link can go in the resource box, along with a brief description of what you do.
Article marketing provides excellent linkback opportunities, especially if your articles contain useful information. Consider writing about how to select your particular type of product or service, what to look for and what to avoid. Describe how using a product or service like yours makes your customer’s life easier or better. Write about the features of a particular product. When those ideas are exhausted, dig into your target market research to see what other topics your potential customers are interested write about that.
Article marketing requires a steady, consistent effort. One or two articles aren’t likely to build much momentum, so schedule time to produce new articles on a regular basis. You can cover the same topic multiple times, as long as the final article is not a word-for-word copy of the others. Generally, writing a fresh article about the same topic will turn out different enough. Keep an eye out for new things to write about and keep a list handy to jot down notes as you go. Often, new ideas will pop into your head while you are they will be gone within a few minutes.
Marketing your website is a new necessity for every business, and writing articles is a good way to get exposure for your business while building a foundation of links back to your website.…

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The Business

Women “Need” Business Grants

Are you a “Woman” in (need of a business grant?)
I have something to tell you….
You know, sometimes people, especially men don’t respect women the way they deserve to be respected. This especially applies to professional representation. But you know what? Times have changed.
Did you know…?
“One of twelve big companies in the UK with a woman CEO has less than three females on its board. This company is Rite Aid, with two female members. The remainder have a healthy number of between three women board members through to as many as six at WellPoint.”
This is a great reason why [women business grants can be even more important]
The question you are asking yourself now is… “WHERE CAN I FIND A GOOD GRANT?”
I understand it’s not always that easy for women to just find grants, especially with the economy in the slump it’s in at the moment.
So what now? Well… just read the rest…
There are millions of dollars just waiting to be claimed for grants from the government and other little-known organizations. The problem is, “you” need to find the right grant for “you”, and also at the right place.
Did you know that businesses run by professional females are becoming more and more successful? This is another great reason why women business grants, and the right ones are out there for you to find if you look hard enough and if you are serious and willing to be apart of the chase! I mean, that’s fun right?
Sure it is!
“We are living through extraordinary times, and extraordinary times call for innovative solutions. I am convinced it is essential to accelerate the progress of women into senior positions, given the world’s need to deploy the best talent available. This need is greater than ever in the current economic climate.”
If you are a female, looking to do great things with your future, well I’m happy to say this is a great time for you! You can definitely be extraordinarily successful, and this is just the beginning! Times have changed, and will continue to change so it’s important that we all adapt.
Take some time and leave me a comment, or visit my blog…

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Small Business Ideas

Common Cents When Financing Your Small Business

“The Best Advice is always free”

Starting a small business requires bucket loads of wisdom. Financial wisdom offered through various media is not always inherently beneficial to the reader and their business.

The foundations for financial excellence are elementary and logical; here is a new perspective on financial insight to starting your small business. Making use of purely scenario planning this illustrated scenario would be a recommendation for all businesses that you intend financing.

The average cost of setting up a franchise and small business in U.S.A. is currently in the $300,000.00 to $ 474 000.00 marks, a sizeable sum taking into consideration the prevailing economic climate and business confidence levels.

Loans or Finance

In order to stimulate the economy, banks are eager to finance new business as this has a long-term stimulus on the economy and contributes to job and wealth creation.

Most individuals do not have the entire capital amount available to finance their new venture and financing becomes the preferred and logical route to market.

Taking into consideration the average price of a new franchise $474 000.00, the average cash portion of financing that particular business would be $ 153 000.00 which includes the initial, cash joining or franchise fee.

This would equate to a financing portion of $321 000.00 or 68% of the initial set-up cost of the business.

From a personal and statistical point of view, the gearing or debt ratio is too high and the minimum recommended debt ratio should never exceed 50%.

Why is gearing so important?

It is nerve-wracking and soul-destroying to build a business for you only to allocate the major share of your income and profits to servicing a loan and the commensurate interest payments. The strain on the cash flow and reserve funds is too great, and the business rapidly becomes a financial risk to the entrepreneur and the banks concerned.

“The Free Advice”

Total Cost

When using the above figures as our reference and benchmark, if the inclusive cost of the business is $474 000.00.

It would be prudent to assume that if shares were offered at $1.00 per share then the business would have 474 000 shares on offer.

Share Distribution

Taking my advice of a 50% gearing or financing ratio, the business when financed by the entrepreneur would allocate to the entrepreneur, 50%(237 000 shares) of the shares currently on offer (The portion he/she has paid cash for)

The remaining 50% of shares on offer would be the right and technical ownership of the banks or financing institution.

The Thinking Motivating This Strategy

As the entrepreneur pays off the loan, their ownership or share-holding increases exponentially.

Goals are easy to set, time and financing permitting the entrepreneur sees his/her goal of 100% ownership as achievable and desirable.

When the bank is essentially a partner in your business the relationship changes, the entrepreneur can take the banks perspective into consideration as they are a valuable share-holder, the logic of having a “you” and “me” approach becomes a “we” approach to the business.

Any extra funds available will inherently go toward servicing the loan on the business.

The Ultimate Lesson

That our thinking and approach has changed, it is a recommendation that one ignore financing by financial institutions and approach friends, acquaintances, and family to finance your business using this share-holding approach. The entrepreneur develops a fiscal policy that is easy to equate and calculate, profit distribution is just as equitable, and the entrepreneur has a clearer indication of the status of the business free of financing and interest costs and charges.…

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Profitability

How to Find the Right Opportunity Before Starting a Home Based Business Online

If you’re currently an employee, chances are at some point in your career you’ve thought about being your own boss! Entrepreneurship is the only way to become the employer, but it’s not for everybody, it takes hard work and dedication!
If you’ve decided to become an entrepreneur, starting a home based business online is the best way to be your own boss! Not only do you get to work from home and set your own schedule, but with the right opportunity you can establish a passive residual income that can have the potential to set you free financially. Before you begin, there are some important basic elements you must evaluate about the business opportunity you choose!
How “young” is the opportunity?
Is the company you choose a start-up? There are some advantages to starting with a company that is in the beginning stages, but you should still make sure they’ve been around long enough to establish a decent track record. Select an opportunity on the ground level, but make sure their growth has been stable for as long as they’ve been in business. Most online home based business opportunities have been around for a while, so be weary of brand new companies.
How will the company stand the test of time?
The long term feasibility of your business is very important. Top home based business opportunities not only adapt to changing times, they actually embrace these changes. With the myriad web 2.0 technologies emerging almost daily, companies capitalize on the internet and make it an integral part of their growth, choosing an online business opportunity is one of the best ways to ensure long term viability. Since the long term growth of your organization is determined by your effort, take the time to chose a company with a product or service that allows for your results to be easily duplicated.
How does the opportunity train its reps?
One of the keys to success in any business is training and support! The majority of people who start a home based business fail in their first year because of a lack of proper training, and a solid duplicable marketing system! The training and support the company has in place is essential to growth, it allows the business owner to learn from and network with top earners and executives. The Network Marketing industry is one of the best choices when starting a home business. Most companies in this industry take advantage of the internet for marketing and training, and focus more on self development, which is another key component to home based business success. It doesn’t matter how great your product or service may be, if you can’t market it you won’t sell it, and without a quality training system in place, getting your business off the ground can prove to be a chore!
How does the product or service stand alone?
When you start a home based business you commit yourself to provide prospective clients with a quality product or service, and a good way to determine quality is to chose the opportunity with a product or service you would use. The company with the right business model should have a superior
stand-alone product. If you provide true value for your customers they will continue to buy from you, especially in difficult times, which makes your opportunity recession proof, which ensures a passive residual income!
How much do you have to invest and how long will it take you to get it back?
We all know there’s no such thing as something for nothing, at least not in business, so if you’ve decided to start your own home based business online, then you know there will be a start up cost. High ticket items can be challenging to distribute, while cheap opportunities may not provide any real value. When you become an entrepreneur you guarantee your own income, so your return on investment will depend entirely on your effort. Make sure you invest what it takes to be able to pay yourself back in a reasonable period of time.
Starting a home based business online can be very rewarding, but there is no guarantee that you will be successful from the very beginning. Doing your due diligence before choosing the right home based business opportunity will save you a lot of headaches.…

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The Business

Women in Networking – Turn Social Networking Into a Lucrative Social Media Online Business

Women in networking know the power of social contacts and spheres of influence, and how they are integral in creating any movement, supporting any cause or generating new business. Few people, though, have the talent to organize, bring people together, or network with others to get things done. This is a skill, and a highly valuable one. The oftentimes difficult thing in life is to be able to take the talents that we have and to develop them to their fullest. If we can pull that off, not only do we individually benefit, but we help others to realize their own potential at the same time. What’s often missing, however, is a vehicle for those talents to blossom.
Online social networking is a relatively new phenomenon. For those of you with social networking skills, the vehicle for both business and personal growth may be just a steps away. Here are some tips that may generate some new ideas if you are in the market for starting a business.
The power of networking is often underestimated, but in some businesses it is not only important, it is the ONLY thing. Several companies, often called hybrid or network marketing companies rely solely on individual entrepreneurs to build business networks of customers and like-minded business owners. These companies have compensation plans that offer unlimited profits.
If you have a knack for networking and are willing to learn how to social network online, you can develop a business that far exceeds an income that is limited by the hours you exchange for dollars. You can start in a business on the internet with virtually no investment AND advertise it all over the web without paying a cent. Do some homework and think about starting a business online where you can turn your real world social networking talents into a lucrative online social media business.…

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Starting A Business

Business Building: Does In Person Networking Still Make Sense?

In a high tech world where it is virtually possible to survive and run a business over the web without ever leaving your bedroom, does in person, face to face networking still make sense?
Of course some will argue that in person networking is now obsolete and is completely unnecessary. Certainly with social networking and how comfortable people are now with doing business via their mobile devices you could still make great connections purely via the Internet and never have to step foot out of your home. In many ways you could say that it is definitely more cost effective and better time management not to do face to face meetings or attend networking events.
However, in a new business environment dominated by the web and Internet companies it is clear that those who do get out from behind the curtain and embrace real world engagement with other real people can gain a major advantage over the competition. You may have the best prices in world, the coolest outsourcing network set up that allows you to run staff on three different continents, 24 hours a day and the catchiest slogans, but at the end of the day people buy people, not slick websites. If you are the only one out there making a personal connection you could have a major advantage over the competition regardless of price.
You do need to be careful about budget when getting out and doing in person networking. If you aren’t watching the bottom line it is easy to blow a lot of money and time on unprofitable meetings, not to mention gas, fancy restaurants, bar tabs for entertaining and more. However, when people are able to put a face to a name they are much more likely to bite on big ticket sales items, forge new strategic partnerships and sign checks much faster, all which can mean much bigger profit margins and taking your business to the next level much faster than you thought possible.
So, yes in person networking definitely still makes sense in a lot of industries. Be sensible about it, but if you block out even a couple hours a week to attend networking functions at the Chamber of Commerce, put together mastermind luncheons or even hang out with the right crowd you will find it can have a huge positive impact on your business and enable great growth. Worst case scenario, getting out will at least provide a better balance in your life and open the door to new inspiration for fueling your venture to new highs.…

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The Business

Starting a Business? Successful Marketing Focuses on Your Customer’s Needs

The primary purpose of starting a business (at least in most cases) is to make money, and lots of it. Entrepreneurs pick a business idea they are sure will be popular, with product and service features they know will be irresistible to consumers. Their thoughts are filled with how many customers they need to meet their projections, how much traffic they need to draw, and how the operations can be streamlined. They are sure that once they have all the details worked out, the customers will show up in droves.
Very often, this confidence in their venture spills over into their marketing materials such that the messages they deliver are misfocused on how great the business, products or services are. Unfortunately, this classic approach is no longer effective. Today’s consumers are more knowledgeable and savvy than ever they are far more concerned with what your product can do for them. The new adage for defining marketing efforts must be Ask not what your customer can do for you, but what your business can do for your customers!
Every bit of your marketing effort, from the website to personal sales to follow-up contact, must be completely customer-centric. Everything you think about your venture needs to start and end with your target market. They don’t care what you need, what you want, or how you feel. They only want to know what your products or services are going to do for them. Just remember, it’s not about you, it’s all about the customer.
Define your venture’s marketing messages by the benefits your customers will receive by doing business with you. Know the features of your products, but reframe those into direct benefits for your customers. People want to know how your product will make them better, happier, more attractive, or solve some other problem in their world. For example, a mobile oil-change service has the feature of “oil changes at your home or office.” Better to focus on the benefit of “saves you time and keeps your car on the road.”
Identify your venture’s USPs (Unique Selling Propositions), or what makes your business stand out over the competition. Three separate USPs are good, especially if each of the three targets the primary needs of different market segments. Of course, to define your USPs as benefits rather than features, you will need to know your target markets inside and out, in order to define the benefit that will draw them in.
One way to improve your marketing messages is to personalize the appeals. Use testimonials from satisfied customers and anecdotes about situations that your products improved. Emotional appeals are much stronger than factual appeal, regardless of the audience. Of course, the facts and statistics about your product should be available, but a laundry list of data isn’t likely to sway too many consumers.
Focus on showing customers what your products will do for them and how it will make their lives better. We are all pummeled by hundreds of marketing messages each day — make yours stand out, strike a chord, tug on the heartstrings, and leave customers wanting more.…