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Business Owner

Defining the Distribution Channels For Your Business Startup

Whether you are still developing your business idea or already know exactly what you want to do, it is important to define the best distribution channels for your product, for your customers, and for you. The distribution channel is the way your product gets to your customer. Traditionally, businesses relied on a single distribution channel. These days, the most successful startups use multiple routes to reach a broader customer base.
For some products, the route to getting it into customers’ hands is self-evident. For specialized, service-only ventures, you or your employees will personally deliver to the client, either on-site or at your place of business. Selling retail products, on the other hand, allows multiple options for distribution — online sales, brick-and-mortar storefront, direct sales through sales reps, etc. Consider the distribution routes used by your closest competitors. Are they using the most effective channels? Is there any way to modify or improve on the standard methods that will still be appropriate for your product?
Your target customers also play an important role in the distribution channels you select. If you are selling directly to the end user, you probably have more options than if you are targeting distributors to market your product. Think about it from your target market’s perspective. What is the easiest way for them to access your product? Under what circumstances are they most likely to be looking for what you offer? If it is easier for your customers to buy from you than your competitors, they will come.
Your own work style and personality are also relevant in considering distribution channels for your product. If the idea of spending your days chatting up strangers is distressing to you, then a brick and mortar storefront is probably not the best option. If spending countless hours in front of your computer sounds agonizing, avoid any wholly web-based options. Be honest about your preferences — one of the greatest advantages of starting your own business is the freedom to choose how you get work done. Don’t sabotage yourself by choosing a business that requires you to be out of your comfort zone for every sale.
Many modern startups have a broad range of choices about how to distribution their products. Consider all three factors — your product, your customers, and yourself — before deciding the best routes for your business. If possible, consider developing multiple distribution channels within your startup, even if you only start with one initially. The more ways your product can get to your customers, the bigger your potential market.…

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Google My Business

Turning Your Hidden Talents Into a Business

Today, more than at any other time, with the uncertainty of job security it is important to have a “Plan B”. Even without the economic termoil, you may find some comfort in developing a secondary stream of income. But what can you do?
Almost everyone has hidden talents that are obvious to those around us but we do not recognize them ourselves. The easiest way to decide what your talents are is to look at your friends and ask yourself “What do my friends and family ask my advice about, or ask for my help with, most often?”
The people who know us best already know the hidden treasures within you. If you can’t figure this out yourself, ask for their advice on what they think you would be best at. Do they always come to you when they need some baked goodies for a party? Are you the one they come to to plan a family event? Are you the yard sale and thrift store queen? Do you love to shop and know the stores so well in your neighborhood that you can find virtually anything you need in one outing?
You may not see these as hidden talents or having a potential for income, but those very traits are necessary if you are considering a catering service, an event planning business, an eBay business or a personal shopper business. Not only can you make money from providing these services to others, you can have fun doing it! Obviously you already really enjoy these activities which is why you have gotten so good at it. Why not turn it into a part-time or full-time business?
Creating a secondary stream of income will take the stress of these economic times away as you will always have that Plan B in place.…

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Online Business

What Business Should I Start in 2013 and Beyond

There are several businesses you can start on the internet for little to no investment. You can do a lot of different things on the internet, selling advertising, selling products and other services. Whatever route you decide to use for making money online will depend a lot on your personality and the things you love to do.
Firstly, I am going to go through a few things you can do to make money on the internet and then at the end you can choose what direction you would like to take your business in.
Making Money by Advertising
A lot of the big corporations on the internet make money from advertising. These are companies you have heard of if you have ever been online; you probably use their services every day. Companies like Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, YouTube, Google all make the bulk of their sales from selling advertising. Now you don’t have to be a big company to make sales from advertising. You can simply perform advertising by doing something called blogging and attracting a lot of visitors to your personal blog.
The reason advertisers pay these corporations a lot of money for advertising is because these companies know how to get lots of visitors to their websites on a daily basis. Now you don’t have to be able to be able to drive millions of visitors to your site on a daily basis, if you can drive a few thousand visitors, that would be great. You want to do the same thing the big corporations are doing but you want to do it on a smaller scale.
The good news is that these companies will let you tap into their resources and profit with them. For example, Google has a program called ”the AdSense program” where they connect you with advertisers who want to advertise on your blog and split the revenues with you. Google also owns YouTube, a video sharing site where you can post videos for free under any topic under the sun. You can use this site to make a video on your subject matter and direct the visitors on there back to your blog. you can also use article directories like EzineArticles to write compelling content and direct the people from there to your blog. So this is how easy it is for you to make money from selling advertising on a blog. If you don’t want to partner with Google, you can contact website owners with information related to yours and offer to sell them advertising.…

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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.…

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Business Line

Secrets to Starting a Business Blog and Getting It Off the Ground

Are you just getting started with blogging for your business? This article is part of a series that will help you get your blog off the ground.
Choosing Your Post Length
There are differing opinions on this issue. Some expert bloggers suggest longer posts so that with each post, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and capture the reader’s interest in your topic. Others point out that some readers will click away from a post that seems really long before they have even had a chance to read it. They recommend keeping your posts short but informative.
I tend to side with the latter opinion. If it too short, readers may wonder if they have read anything of value, but I think it is even worse to make them too long, but the length will intimidate readers who otherwise might have stayed to read the post.
I suggest posts that are 200-500 words in length, especially if you are writing every day. If you would like to give more information that that you can write articles and provide a link to them in your blog post or create reports that you can offer your readers for free.
Increasing Traffic to Your Blog
Once you have your blog ready and have begun to post, how do you get people to find it? One way is to write articles, as I mentioned before, and post links to your blog at the end of them. Use an article directory, such as EzineArticles, and in the resource box, mention your blog and provide a link.
Another thing you can do is visit other blogs that have a similar topic and leave comments with a link back to your blog. Find the ones you enjoy reading and comment on them regularly. Other readers will want to know more about you and will follow you back to your own blog.
List Building
Ideally, your blog will help you find the customers who are interested in what you are selling. But if you can find a way to increase their exposure to you by adding them to your list, they get to know you better and you get a chance to persuade them to work with you or buy from you.
To add them to your list, you will need to have something on your blog that provides a reason for them to give you their name and email address. A sign-up box that offers a newsletter subscription, a free report or something else of value to them that they can only receive if they sign up for it. Place this sign-up box high on the page in an obvious place so that they will see it every time they visit your blog.…

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Financial News

Monetizing Lists – How to Make Money Online

Show me a marketer who has a great opt-in list, and I’ll show you someone who knows how to make money online. People who use opt-in lists know how to make money online, because they realize just how valuable opt-in lists are. Opt-in lists consistently earn revenue for their operators. If you don’t already have one, you definitely need to start an opt-in list. If you already have one, then focus on making it better.
There are a few important points to remember when building an opt-in list. First of all, make sure you build a strong relationship with your subscribers. This relationship should be based on mutual trust and respect. Only market high quality products, and ALWAYS be honest with your subscribers. This will earn their trust. In turn, they will be more likely to buy your products or visit your affiliates.
1. Utilize affiliate marketing through email lists. You can make a lot of money by promoting other people’s products. Make sure you always cloak your affiliate link, because cloaking provides added security and professionalism. Assess the product and its qualities. Don’t describe what a product is. It’s better to describe what a product does.
2. Market your own products to members of your list. Offer discounts to your subscribers. Your subscribers will love this, because they will feel that they are in on a special deal. Also, rewarding your subscribers will only help your sales. You can also increase your customer base this way. The members of your list will start to spread the word about your products and services.
3. As far as services go, you might want to provide service-based subscription discounts. People who buy services are always looking to snag a long term discount. In turn, this will generate more money for you.
4. Forge business relationships with select members of your list. You might want to offer some of your subscribers the ability to be an affiliate marketer for you. It’s standard to offer subscriber marketers about 50% commission. This will give them the incentive they need to aggressively market your product. It also helps them to earn an income. This means they will have an extremely positive association with you and your product. You will be able to generate a lot more sales this way.
These four guidelines will boost your Internet marketing campaign. Opt-in lists are great because they are very specifically targeted. Also, opt-in lists give you the chance to directly contact your customers and even receive feedback. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Utilizing the above steps will bolster your sales, and you will be amazed at how much revenue you can earn.
Remember that opt-in lists are customizable. You need to always improve upon your opt-in lists. Stay abreast of current trends in products and services so that you can make the best offers to your subscribers. You need to be known as a market leader, and you can show your leadership through your opt-in list.…

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Business Insider

Structuring My Business to Save Tax

Whether you are a new business or have been trading for some time, you will at some point wonder whether you should you think of incorporating your business. Is it best to trade through your own limited company rather than as a sole trader or partnership? It’s a very good question to ask for both business and potential tax reasons. In general, it makes more sense to incorporate for business reasons rather than just to save tax, as the tax regime changes and any planned savings may no longer be available.
In some sectors, such as IT contractors, it is hard to obtain contracts unless you trade through a limited company. The reasons for this are not always obvious; it is just the way things are. If you are taking risks such as in ordering large stock for an order that could be cancelled, then there can be a real benefit in the limited liability offered by trading as a company. Your own possessions are generally protected from any claim made against the company. However, in many situations, taking out a good insurance policy is all you need.
Perhaps most significantly though, a company structure makes it easier to involve outside investors in the company. Any business seeking to involve new investors will find it easier to structure the business by issuing or selling shares rather than complicated partnership agreements.
There can be tax advantages in trading through a company as there is also more flexibility in handling the owner’s remuneration in such a way as to minimise the tax liability. Limited Companies are taxed on their trading profits, in addition to other sources of income such as interest and rent, and corporation tax is assessed after any owner’s salary has been deducted. It is possible therefore to adjust the amount taken from the company in any one tax year, as well as the way in which it is taken out. Some profits can be retained in the company if the owner would otherwise be likely to pay higher rate tax personally.
For sole traders all income is taxable on their business profits, in addition to any other sources of income. There is little or no flexibility for deferring some of those profits to another year if you happen to have a particularly good year and are taxed at the higher rate. An additional advantage of a company is that shareholders can take profits as dividends which do not attract National Insurance Contributions. It may not sound exciting but significant savings can be made by an appropriate remuneration strategy.
The company will be regulated by Companies House, which has strict rules for reporting trading accounts and for the conduct of directors and other company officials. You will need to be satisfied that you can manage the additional administrative burden. You can always start as a sole trader and later incorporate. In fact, this is a common route when a new business is unsure of how large it will grow and whether the savings will outweigh the costs. It may be that there is also a potential tax saving on incorporating the company but this will depend on whether there is any realistic goodwill in the business.
To consider this and other issues properly, you will need to consult a professional advisor. Incorporating tends to be a decision business owners make a few times at most over a lifetime, and it makes sense to consult an experienced expert before acting.…