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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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Business Line

Why Starting a Business Is Like Slow Cooking

New business owners often want to create a business the way we prepare an instant frozen dinner. Pop into the microwave, press a button and enjoy dinner almost immediately. But for long-lasting business growth, think of starting from scratch, simmering slowly and waiting till you’re really ready to serve.
Now I am being biased here, but I refuse to eat frozen meals. They taste like cardboard. They tend to have lots of preservatives. Even the dog will turn up her nose when I offer her the leftovers.
When I take the time to cook a meal from scratch – stir fry, simmer or bake – I find the labor often isn’t much greater. The resulting meal tastes about 100 times better and you know exactly where the ingredients came from. It’s also more satisfying.
So how does this apply to business? If you look around the Internet you see all kinds of ads promising to get your business off to a FAST start. You hear stories of people who skyrocketed to success.
First of all, many people who jumped to success have a hidden X factor: a background in sales (the ultimate ingredient in copywriting) or a few years where they plugged away learning – usually some combination of luck and persistence that’s the 90% you don’t see.
But taking the longer path may be more desirable. Why would you ever want to do that?
(1) It’s a good idea to move slowly when you start without a lot of money. You may need to take a j.o.b. so you can invest in your business. This strategy makes better sense than starting a business without any resources. If you can’t afford $97 for an eBook or you’re watching the minutes on your cell phone, you won’t make a lot of progress.
(2) Sometimes you need time to figure out your business. If you don’t have a background in sales (or a business background where you had to get clients) you will need more time to find your way in this new world. “Margaret” spent nearly a year learning her way around her new field. She did lots of pro bono work, studied and began finding clients before investing in a web site.
(3) You’re forced to do one thing at a time. Work on just one eBook and promote that eBook hard. Work on one niche and build up your profitability.
Then take what you learn and start the next project. One step at a time, you’ll reach a more satisfying destination.…

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Business Checks

6 Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask About Every New Idea

I love entrepreneurs! Generally, I’ve noticed a drive and a determination that takes creative-minded, bootstrapping, do-it-yourselfers a long way. Those who show true ingenuity, persistence, and resilience inspire us all to have a brighter attitude.
I also love entrepreneurs because they ask me to help them with things like logo and graphic design, social media strategy, and web-based user experience. Oh, and I charge for those things, so it’s doubly-nice.
One thing I’ve noticed, however, about super-entrepreneurs is that their minds tend to race about 10,000 RPMs with cool, new ideas. I really wonder how many ideas are eventually left laying in the dust, not because they weren’t good ideas, but because not quite enough thought and planning went into them.
Having received tons of emails with ideas from entrepreneurs hoping to take an idea big-time, I thought I’d throw together this list of the six things I either say, or want to say in response. They are mostly questions, not recommendations, but the questions themselves are often overlooked.
Is it possible?
I know this one sounds obvious. If it weren’t would I be asking about the idea to begin with? And aren’t all things possible to those who believe? Certainly, but quite a few great ideas are laying in graves because the technology was either not ready, or too expensive.
Who else is doing it?
Use search engines and social networks to scout out the potential competition. Sometimes you wind up jumping into an arena filled with insurmountable competition. You’re probably not going to start the business that will topple an Amazon or Apple.
Can it be done well remarkably?
Doing something well doesn’t make it successful. Doing it well enough to get noticed does. Can you execute the idea in such a way that people will buy into it?
Do I have accesses to the resources to get it done?
This thought may sound strange, but some ideas are good (or noble) enough that you should consider handing it off to someone who can get it done. And every good entrepreneur knows that “resources” aren’t limited to the money in your pocket. It includes the money in other people’s pockets as well!
Is the idea something I’m passionate enough about to stick with over the long haul?
Pretty self-explanatory. Most of us have been there, burying an idea for which we had great enthusiasm, but didn’t see the gap between enthusiasm and real passion.
Can it be monetized?
This is the slimy question nobody thinks anyone should ask, but it must be faced. Why? Because if it can’t be monetized, it can’t be sustained or expanded. Sometimes that’s okay. Sometimes a good idea needs to piggy-back some other more profitable concept. Sometimes, the idea needs to go back into the incubator though.
These questions are seeds. You may have more to face. But at least face these and use them as a filter for every new idea. Let your genius lie asoak in the probing process. If an idea survives… wow!…

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Business Week

Tips For Choosing An Internet Business – MLM Vs Product-Service

Many people do not consider the amount of time that must be invested in a start-up internet business. If you are looking at business opportunities on the internet, narrowing down the opportunities may be very difficult. Many business opportunities look as though you will not have to invest time or money in the effort except for an initial start-up. However, starting a business on the internet is just as time-consuming as starting a land-based business and it will be important that you follow a few tips for deciding on the most lucrative and satisfying venture for you.
If you are the type of person who would not get involved with an MLM in a land-based business, you will probably not want to invest the time required to start an MLM online. Remember, that the basic structure of an MLM is the same whether you are doing it in your local neighborhood or doing it online. You must both sell products and recruit a downline to take full advantage of the financial opportunities available.
There are many MLM opportunities offered on the internet and if this is a business you are considering, it will be important to research the company carefully before committing to the business. Some MLMs on the internet walk a very thin grey line between being a legitimate MLM and being a Pyramid scheme. An easy way to tell if the MLM opportunity is legitimate is to look at the products. The products that are sold should be able to stand on their own, be tangible, and be made of quality materials.
The cost of joining an MLM will vary, but should not exceed the cost of the products that you receive. And, you should “receive” products. An MLM that sells “education” or “information” is not selling a tangible product and must be researched thoroughly to make sure your income will not be dependent on recruiting a downline.
Some people find that they can develop a very lucrative business by selling other people’s product through a web-store. When you are considering starting this type of business, you will make more money and be able to develop a greater customer base if you keep your products in a specific niche market. For instance, selling products that are related to your hobbies or interests will make marketing your website through articles and advertising much more enjoyable.
Marketing your website is critical in establishing your presence and visibility on the internet. Developing an effective marketing strategy is going to take time and, if you choose to use an article distribution service, money. Calculating your budget for your business and defining your goals before starting your website will help you to establish a good foundation for growth.
CONCLUSION
By thoroughly investigating business opportunities that are related to your areas of interest and passions, you can effectively incorporate those things you enjoy doing most with your business. The internet is a great way to reach a global audience that has the same interests as you and will benefit from the information you have to share about your products or services.…

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Business News Articles

Setting Up a Business: Knowing What Records to Keep

When setting up a business, it is important to know what records and accounts you need to keep from the very beginning. Starting up any business and dealing with the practicalities makes for a busy time, but neglecting your records can be costly and time-consuming. In the long run, staying on top of your records will ultimately help you to: keep track of your finances and cash flow; avoid penalties; hold accurate information about your business; plan for your business’ future.
The records you need to keep will depend on the type and size of your business, however all businesses must follow basic bookkeeping procedures.
All businesses
All businesses need to keep track of two areas: incomings and outgoings. For incomings, you will need to keep hold of any accounting records, till rolls, paying-in slips, sales invoices and bank statements acquired. Important outgoings records will be: receipts, cheque book records, purchase invoices and bank or credit card statements. These are basic essentials which any business must take care to record properly and keep safe.
Limited companies
If you are a starting up as a limited company (i.e not a sole trade), there are further records to keep. All limited companies must keep the following: dividend allocations and payments; articles of association; details of company share ownership.
Any company which is registered limited must also complete and return a number of documents each year. These include: Company Tax Return (with form CT600); statutory accounts; Corporation Tax; return to Companies House; a signed set of accounts to Companies House.
Depending on the nature of your company, there are number of other records which you may have, such as a register of members or directors.
Employers
All businesses employing workers will need to organise their documentation relating to employee payment. This is very important as it ensures that you are paying the right amount to your employees and allows you to keep track of these expenses. You are required by law to keep the following PAYE records: payments to employees; National Insurance, Tax and Student Loan payment deductions from wages; benefits and expenses paid to employees; statutory payments (sick or maternity leave).
VAT
All VAT registered businesses are required by law to keep the following records for at least 6 years: VAT sales and purchase invoices; a VAT account; all export and import documents.
VAT registered business will need to complete and return a VAT return form every quarter (4 times a year). This will include details of the following: what you owe or are owed by HMRC; what you have paid any supplier; what you have charged any customers.
Whatever kind of business you are setting up, getting to grips early on with your records can ensure that your first year of trade runs as smoothly as possible. With modern computing and accessible data programmes, it is easier than ever to produce a bookkeeping system which works for you and your business.…

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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.…