POSITION YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS, READ THIS!!
POSITION YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS, ENVISION IT.
YOU NEED CONFINDENCE TO MAKE IMPORTANT BUSINESS DECISIONS AND THE GUTS TO FOLLOW THROUGH.
THERE IS NO MYSTERY ABOUT IT, GGGENT IS GREAT.
Chapter 1: Starting as a Sole proprietary.
In the eyes of the law in Sole Proprietary (SP) is not legally separated from the person who owns it. This is a fundamental difference between a SP and an LLC
At tax time, a SP simply reports all business income or loses onhis or her individual 1040 tax return. This is called “pass Through” taxation. Along with a schedule C.
Creating a SP you do not need to file any special forms or pay special fees to start working as a legit SP. Complete the general registration requirements such as getting.
- Business License from county, city or get a seller permit from state.
- Business tax registration certificate.
- Register Business name. “Use your name as your register business name. Advertise as your brand name
- Publish in local newspaper.
Chapter 2: Business Names
Legal Name: Is the official name of the entity that that owns the business. The legal name of a SP is the full legal name of the owner.
Trade Name: Is simply the name a business uses with the public which may or not be the same as the businesses legal name.
In many transition such as opening a bank acct or applying for a loan you will need to provide the owners name, the legal name of the business.
Fictitious Business name: Is used when the trade name of a business is different from its legal name.
A fictitious business name is sometimes called “Doing Business As” (DBA)
Trademark: Is any word phrase design or symbol used to market a product or service. Owners of trademarks have legal rights under both federal and state law. Which gives them power and some cases to prevent others from using their trademark to market goods or services.
Allowing business to have exclusive use of certain names helping customers to identify and recognize goods in the Market place.
If you create a web page for a small home-based business your business is no longer local. You are launching a nation worldwide business that can compete with business everywhere. Web business with the same name pose just a great a threat of a trademark lawsuit such as a real life brick and mortar business across the street.
You have a business name in have been in business a long time and some other business opens up somewhere and they are using the same name as you. They have the trademark and are able to convince the court that it shares the same market as you the new guy might be able to force you to stop using that name. First thing you should understand is that general speaking your domain name will function as a trademark. Register your domain name with Paton trademark office P70 this will strengthen your trademark rights to it. But using it for a commercial purpose is all that as all that is technically necessary to establish your trademark rights.
THINK GLOBALLY EVEN IF YOU ARE JUST LOCAL.
WITHOUT A PLAN ?_? WITHOUT A PLAN YOU PLAN TO FAIL.
Comply with zoning laws, if a permit is needed getting one is usually a simple matter of filling out a form provided by the planning department and paying a fee.
Chapter 3: Drafting an effective business plan.
The purpose of a plan is simple. Bring together in one document the key elements of your business. Business plans are often written by business owners who want to barrow money. But creating a business plan is a good idea even if you don’t need to raise moneyto start. The process of creating a business plan will bring up issues and potential problems that you would not have thought of before.
-Describe your business to yourself .
All good business plans have two major goals.
- Describing the fundamentals of the business idea.
- To provide financial calculations to show it will profit.
When making your plan build confidence in your business idea, that confidence will carry your through the hard times. You do this by
- Stating the purpose of your mission.
- Detailed description of how your business will work.
- Analysis of the market.
- Analysis of your competitors
- Market strategy.
Any new business needs to introduce them self to as many people as possible. Suppliers, key customers.
Business Purpose. What will your product or service be? Why does the world need your product? Globally, nationally, city wide, small narrow niche. Answer these questions directly and as compellingly.
Describe the business. Once you have staed the need that your business will fill describe exactly how you will fill it. Outline in full detail how exactly your business will operate.
- How will you provide your product or service?
- Where will you be getting supplies from?
- Who will your customers be and how will they pay you.
- Employees and jobs they will perform (You will be taking care of every job role in the beginning.)
- How will customers find you?
- How many different services will you be offering?
- How will you attact customers and stay in touch with them?
- How will customers get your product?
Knowing the in’s and outs of your business and how it will be operating is a crucial aspect of being able to grow your business in the future. You will confidently be able to speak with customers generating smooth communication.
You will need to establish and keep a competitive edge in your big picture business description as well in your marketing strategy. If at any point you discover a flaw so big while making this business plan that you decide not to go through with starting your business. The business plan has done its job.
This is not a “Get out of jail free card.” Work through the obstacles if you are serious about starting your own business. If you are serious about starting your own business nothing will stand in your way. #GGGent_Life
Define your Market. Who is going to be buy your product or service? If you don’t find customers your business will not profit. Describe your “perfect” customer based by refining your blog post, news aricles, whatever data you can get your hands on.
- Smaller business have been successful because…
- Marketing surveys or demographic reports point to a growing need for your product or service.
- Media reports confirm popularity of and demand for your business.
- Your conversations with potential customers show a need for your business.
The more accurately you can show you know who your customer is the better you will be able to advertise your products and services and that much faster your profits will grow. Include a profile of your “perfect” customer Explain why and how this fictional person would need your product or service.
Analyze your Completion because you have a great business idea does not mean it will turn out to be a great business. Others have already may have already have a choke hold on the market. Try not to be intimidated, stay calm, have patience, Build consistency. Slow and steady wins the race.
-Detain your competitors strengths and weaknesses. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer who is about to buy from you or the other guy. Why should you buy from you other than the other guy?
Is it quality, access, reliability, price? The trick is for you to find where you can make your product or service stand out. Do something the competition is not.
Describe your Market Strategies. The goal is to reach as many people as possible with the least amount of money spent or work put in. Put the work in and spend the money this is how and where we get our customers, I mean profit from. What methods will you use? Radio, online (use online), guerrilla marketing? Be sure to explain why you think your strategy will work. Keep notes on why or why your strategy did or did not work.
Making Finacial Projects`or your fiancies may seem intimidating but in reality it is not. It consist of doing some home homework. And then making some educated guess on how much you will spend and how much you will make back in return. This will help you see what type of profits you will be making. Crunch the numbers. Many Entrepreneurs avoid crunching numbers because they may be wildly off base and only finding them self’s wasting their time. Don’t be one of these entrepreneurs. You will learn a great deal about what your financial side of the business is going to look like.
The best way to do your Financial Projections is to use a spreadsheet software such as Microsoft excel. As your business grows and develops it is a must to keep up with your accounts and inventory. Quickbooks is also a great tool to do this with.
Fixed Cost (overhead): All regular expenses not directly tied to your products or services. Rent, bills, outside contract work.
Variable Cost (Cost of Goods): Are directly related to products or services. Inventory, Packaging, Material, Labor. These are “variable” cost go up and down depending on volume you purchase or supply and demand.
Break Even Analysis is the point where everything you have work for is paying off your expenses. Your are bring in just enough. If you have a optimistically high evaluation of your pricing and you are only breaking even you must rethink something. To calculate a break even point on average you lets say on average you sell 20 products a month at $20 a piece making $4,800 a year. To make the produce it cost you $5 making you $15 profit. OK now calculate your profit percent which is your gross profit of $15. Divide that by your selling price $20. Your profit percent is 75% which makes 75cents of each dollar profit.
Figure out how much it cost to operate. Tools, monthly fees for example sake say they all add up to $600 per year (Lucky you). To calculate the Break Even Point you will divide your cost of operation “$600” by your gross profit percentage 75 cents. $800 Break Even Point. This mean to cover Cost of Operation it cost you $800 a year. Everything over that is profit (Good Job).
When making estimates you should include season changes. Most companies have an increase or decrease in profits depending on the season.
These are important to know, it is standard for categorizing expenses for accounting and tax reporting. If you are running a service business your profit depends on how many billable accounts, you have each month. You will be providing services every hour you are at work, but you will not be able to charge the customer/client for every hour. A sizeable amount of your time goes into your equipment, getting new clients. How much of your time will be taken up by non-billable activities and how much of your time will you spend actually producing profitable work?
How much does it cost to run your business? Add up any anticipated cost that does not depend on the product. Rent, bills, equipment, maintance, food. Then add and extra 10-20% on top of that for any unexpected expenses that always pop up. Keep your cost as low as possible. Most business take months if not years to become consistently profitable. These fixed cost eat up a lot of profit so remember there is no shame at all building your business from a backroom in your home, garage, bedroom.
How much does each product cost to make from start to finish. If it is a product take EVERTHING into consideration. You buy a package witch will make X amount of product. Add up everything you will make from one package. Once you have that number subtract it from the package price and then you will have a general profit margin to work with. Determine your profit margin margin for your products or service will not be simple
EVERY DOLLAR YOU EARN YOU HAD TO WORK FOR.
Profit/Lose Forecast will take your Break-Even Analysis showing you will be making a profit now you SHOULD use those numbers to make your profit Loss Forecast (P and L). To do this add together your variable cost (Cost of Goods) and your fixed expenses (Overhead) then subtract your profit margin projection from that. Hopefully you will end up on top.
The difference between a profit loss forecast and a break-even analysis look at profit yearly while your P and L will examine your profit monthly. This is telling you weather or not your business operations are generations enough income to cover expenses.
How to convert your Break-Even Analysis to a P and L
- Brake down the annual sales estimates into monthly payments.
- Figure your gross profit for each month.
- Enter your monthly fixed expenses by category, add them together to get your total.
- Subtract your total amount of expenses from your profit for each month.
- If the result is negative you are at a loss.
- Remember profit loses do not include the whole picture. These only reflect monthly earned and money spent as part of providing your product or service.
Start up Cost Estimate. The worst part of starting up is you have to pay for everything before you can even get started. It is important you understand for yourself how high this initial financial hurdle will be so you will know how to clear it. You do not need all of the bells and whistles to make a profit. Unless the item is obviously necessary to start generating profit don’t buy it. Finding start up cost is easy, add up everything you need, business registration, overhead, and cost of goods.
Cash flow projection will analyses whether the cash from your sales as well as other sources will be enough to pay bills on time. This is important because this shows how you will be living each month.
Funding your business. Start ups need to be creative when generating funds. Crowdfunding with social media are all geared to enabling users to raise money for various types of projects. When choosing what site is going to work for you be sure you understand whether the site is an “All or nothing” model or “Keep what you raise.” Crowd funding works best for business or people who already have a strong social media presence. Marketing online is not usually immediate or direct, keep a long term perspective when engaging in social media. Overtime the exposure, relationships and good will generate through your social media efforts will without a dought pay off.
Chapter 5: pricing, bidding, Billing
Desired Salary: How much would you like to earn each year.
Fixed Cost: How much will you spend each year on rent, bills, equipment.
Desired Profit: Should be at least 20% after salary and overhead has been paid.
Billable Hours: Basically it goes down like this. The fewer billable hours you have the more you charge and Vice Vesa.
With 52 hours weeks in a year 40 hours per week there are 2,080 potentially billable hours in a year.
Add together your desired salary, fixed cost,, desired profit divide it by total billable hours and that result will be the hourly rate you will need to charge to cover your fixed cost, make your desired salary and profit. If you don’t want to do all of that you don’t have to no body has a gun to your head. It is your business. State a price and make it work for you. Service businesses, freelancers typically have different billing options that will work for their clients. Flat rates, hourly or retainer agreements.
Bidding and creating Proposals is what many service businesses have to do to be considered for a big job. Once the client accepts a bid then the contract is written up to confirm the sale. In practice however, you should suggest that you sign a separate contract to finalize the agreement with the client. This is because it is on opportunity for both parties to understand the proposal with each persons responsibilities. There are things that you will cover in a contract that may not be covered in a proposal.
GET ALL OF THE INFORMATION YOU NEED.
Project Objectives and scope: offer detailed information about the project. Include all the different components of the project and how they will fit together.
Proposed approach: This is how you will approach the project and how you will achieve the clients goals. Be specific and don’t think the client anything. The client is a “Big Dummy”.
Specific Responsibilities: Outline what you understand your specific responsibilities are going to be.
Deliverables: This is a term for product based contract. Example 2,000 shirt delivered by date.
Time Table: Outline when you expect certain parts of the project will be completed by.
Fee and payment terms: You fee will be based by understanding of the job. You do not have to disclose how you came up with the price. Good to include that any extra work will be billed separately.
Expenses: Outline whatever agreement you and the potential client have established, who will take care of what.
Conclusion: Keep it professional wrap and up the proposal/ bid. Some proposals serve as a contract once the client accepts. But this is where is you would include you would like a separate formal contract.
Chapter 6: Federal, State and Local Strat Up Requirements
Before you can legally start your business, you will need to fill paperwork with the government agencies for example the city tax office. They can tell you what forms must be filed but will not tell you how to obtain a permit to retail goods. Your state tax agency may tell you everything you need to know about getting a seller permit but will not explain how to get a federal Employee Identification Number EIN. Are you ready for this? Why must you do all of this?
- To identify you- you must be responsible for your own actions.
- To Protect the Public- Government agencies issues permits and licenses to ensure that your business offers safe products or services for people and the environment.
- Mainly to keep track of your financial records for tax purposes.
Step 1 of 6: file organizational documents with your state, Corporations LLC and Limited Partnership Only. I am a SP so I skip this step.
Step 2 of 6: Obtain a EIN. Sole Proprietary do not need to explicitly “Create” their business by registering with any state. (refer back to chapter one notes if you are a SP THIS IS your 1st step in becoming a legal business.)
Step 3 of 6: Register your Fictitious business name. Any trade name that does not contain legal names of the owners (Chapter 2 Notes if needed) Most states require this and is taken care of at the county clerks office. Different county’s go by different name certifications, DBA filing, trade name registration.
DO NOT put off this or neglect step. With out proof of registration many banks will not open accounts for your new business. Also gives someone else the legal right to use your name. Once you have filed your name and paid for everything there is is one last task to this part. Publish your name in the newspaper in the county your are operating in. This is simple take a copy of your completed statement to publication of choice and let your ad run. You will need proof of publication for the county clerk or state agency to show publication has been completed. Save the receipt.
Remember fictitious business names DO have an expiration date on them.
Step 4 of 6: Obtain a local tax requirement certificate, you got to pay uncle Sam. Again depending on where you live the name may be different. Tax registration, business tax application, business license application, or tax certification. With this your business will have to pay annual tax as well.
Step 5 of 6: Obtain a sellers permit. No matter what type of business you are you must have a sellers permit if you are selling a physical product. This is just another way for Uncle Sam to take his cut. A sellers permit allows you to charge sales tax from customers to cover any tax you will have to pay back to the state. To obtain a sellers permit contact the agency in your state that governs sales tax.
Step 6 of 6: Obtaining specialized licenses or permits depending on what you and your business are doing. Some locations require special approval from local planning departments. These extra requirements are likely to apply to your business if there is any potential for harming the environment or public. Zoning and local permits deal with physical location of your business and business activities. City zoning laws regulate which activities are allowed or not. State and Federal regulations also focus on how you conduct your business.
Chapter 8: Paying Taxes
You don’t need to become a tax expert over night but you will want to know what taxes you will have to pay and how to pay them. Understanding your tax liability will help you with. Planning your finances, avoiding tax reporting’s and deposit errors which can cause expensive penalties. Also help you make good business decisions that will reduce your tax burden. Even if you are not making fast cash you will still have to pay something. The government will tax anything and everything they legally can. The 1st step in understanding small business tax is knowing who is taking what and why. The tax collectors.
Federal Taxes- The United States International Revenue Source. Top Dog of all tax agencies. They tax individual and corporate income, self-employment and payroll.
State Taxes- Collect the following taxes from businesses and their owners. Income sales, sales tax, retail goods or services, pay roll taxes. State also collect a special tax called excise taxes on gas, alcohol, cigarettes.
County and City taxes- Impose tax on business by several factors. Gross receipts, gross payroll, number of employees, these guys collect property tax. They also collect sales tax like the state.
A tax by another name is a fee.
Understanding deductions. When you deduct an expense, you subtract it from your taxable income. Which means you will have less money to report and pay taxes on. The International Revenue Code (IRC) states that any “necessary” business expense can be subtracted from business income for federal tax purpose. Product cost, rent, equipment, office supplies, computer systems, insurance, payroll, utilities are some examples of things that can be deducted. As long as an expense is in fact made for the business and not personal purpose.
THIS BUSINESS STUFF IS NOT HARD IT JUST HAS TO BE DONE RIGHT.
How are expenses deducted? You need to know the difference between current and capital expenses..
Current Expenses- Your everyday cost of doing business. Rent, utilities, supplies, these are all fully deductible for the year the occur.
Capital Expenses- Are not deducible in the year they occur. When you purchase an item with a useful life of at least one year called a business asset. Vehicles, furniture, heavy equipment, real estate. These deductions are spread out over a number of years.
A major exception to this is the 179 Deduction. This process is called “depreciation”, “amortization”, “Capitalization”. Different assets have different deprecation rules. Deprecation rules are explained in the IRS Publication 946, how to deprecate www.irs.gov Learn as much as you can on your free time to learn about tax deductions.
-Read: Deduct It! Lower your small business tax by Stephen Fishman.
Hobby business often fail to make any profit but love what they are doing so they continue because they have another source of income such as a full time or part time job. Good news for the hobby business is the loss can be used to offset that income at tax time. Deducting business loses happen everyday and can drop you into a lower tax bracket.
Tax shelters: An unprofitable business whose loses offset the owners taxable income from other sources.
To deduct expenses from your taxable income those expenses must have been with legitimate profit motive. You can prove to the IRS your hobby is a business with the “3-5 test”. If your business makes a profit in 3 out of 5 consecutive years it is assumed that your business is legit an is trying to make profit. This means if you claim a loss for the third straight year starting your business, you may be invited to be audited. That is something you don’t want.
Taxes for Sole Proprietary are one and the same as the owner. The business must pay state and Federal taxes on all profit. The owner files the business tax right along with his or her 1040 forms. You will need to file a schedule C that reports business profits and you will have to pay self-employment taxes based on the income. Self-employment tax is 15.3% , which half of it can be deducted from your taxable income at the end of the year. Sole Proprietary must pay their state tax the same as they would their Federal. Any profit made is personal income and must be reported on a separate Schedule C.
Business taxes- Refear to the tax your local government imposes on all business with in city limits.
Property Tax- A common requirement is for business to provide there local tax authority with itemized list of business property subjected to tax. Real Estate, equipment, furniture, vehicles.”
Keep track of your sales, once you get your sellers permit you are now obligated a sales tax return. KEEP all of your books, files, recording your sales and purchases. Bills receipts, invoices, contracts, other documents (documents of original entry). Schedules, working papers used in preparing your tax returns.
Chapter 9: Home business
If your home is your place of business you may be able to claim a portion of your home expenses such as rent, property tax, utilities, insurance for special deductions when reporting federal taxes. The IRS has two requirements for any business owner who wants to deduct expensises for part of the home as a business.
- You regularly use part of your home exclusively for business.
- Must be able to prove that your home is the principle place of business.
The home business space must be the main place where you do business with the exception of meeting clients. The rule is simple your home office will qualify as a principle place of business if it is used for administrative or management activities. You will not have an office or other business location outside of the home.
You are able to calculate the percentage of your home used for business by the square footage or Number of rooms.
Square Footage: simply divide the square foot of your business used bythe square foot of the whole house.
Number of rooms: If you have 5 similar sized rooms and you use one of them then business uses 20 percent of your home.
Categorizing and deducting expenses
Unrelated expenses: Expenses that are unrelated to your business are not deductible.
Direct expenses: You can fully deduct expenses that directly affect your business space.
Indirect Expenses: Expenses that affect the whole house are deductible partially
To calculate the portion of indirect expenses attributed to your business multiplied them by your business percent. With rent or mortgage, your business uses 25% of your home and your rent $1,000 monthly. Then $250 is a deductible home expense (Formula: percent of home used 25% X cost $1,000)
Chapter 10: Entering into contracts and agreements
As a business you will often enter into contracts with people and business. Contracts set up agreements with two or more parties to do a specific job. Most contracts will not need a lawyer these are standard forms and are easily available. If you fail to keep your end of the deal you can be sued.
The basic rule of contract law is the “offer and acceptance” rule. A legal contract exists when one party makes an offer and the other person excepts. Orally or written. Best to get it in writing. Writing down terms make both parties review them more carefully eliminating misunderstanding right from the start. Oral agreements “may be hard to remember” and there is plenty of room for miscommunication. Oral agreements are nearly impossible to prove in court.
Blank form contracts (standard contract)- Service, rental agreements, independent contractor agreements, contract for sales or goods, Licensing agreements. Drafting a contract is simple, clearly stating what each party is agreeing to do and the specifics of how they will do it (terms of contract).
What to include in a good contract?
- Title Get to the point “Embroidery for 2,000 shirts”
- A brief description of the background of agreement (called recitals) While not always included this frame’s up the contract agreements.
- Full description of what each party is promising sometimes called specifications.
- The price of the product or service.
- Payment arrangements, how payments will be made and by when.
- A warranty is essentially a promise made by one party to another that a product or service will meet certain standards.
- A statement whether either party may transfer the contract to an outside party.
- The contract term is how long the contract will be in effect.
- Description of any condition under which either party may terminate the agreement
- Outline of how you will deal with a breach of contract situations.
- Signatures, dates and addresses.
Chapter 11: Book keeping, accounting and financial management.
Generally, reports from your income and expense data will help you manage the cash and inventory that flows through your business. Correctly done this will dramatically improve your base profit margin.
Accounting: The process of tracking your business income and expenses to answer questions about your financial tax status.
Book keeping: is recording the amount, date, and source of all business revenue and expenses. Only with great book keeping can there be meaningful accounting.
Invoice: A written record of a transaction submitted to a customer or client when requesting payment.
Statement: Written summary to outline the details of an account used.
Ledger: Collection of financial information such as revenue, expenses, accounts receivable, and payable.
Account: A collection of financial information grouped accordingly to customer or purpose.
Receipt: Written record of a transaction.
Accounts Payable: Amount that your business owes “Bills”
Accounts Receivable: Amounts owed to your business.
Benefits of well maintained Financial Records
- You will be able to price your goods and services more competitively.
- Trim cost, having updated and categorized expense data will allow you to see spending patterns.
- You may be able to reduce taxes. If at the end of the year your records clearly show the year was to be profitable you should purchase “needed” supplies or equipment before the end of the year. Being able to write off these expenses reduces taxable income.
- Being able to avoid tax penalties. Accurate records will avoid unwanted trouble with the IRS.
Financial Management process
Step 1 of 3: All business sales and expenses must be documented and backed by proof, amount and date. Every time your business brings in money record it. If your business receives money from any where other than a sale keep that income filed separately.
The description is important because later when you enter your expenses into your book keeping software you will need each transaction into a category. Category such as rent, advertising, supplies, utilities, meals, travel, taxes.
Step 2 of 3: Entering receipts into book keeping software you will use the data you have entered to answer specific fiancial questions about your business. Are you making a profit? If so how much?
The more sales you make more often you will be entering this information which is a good thing you are making more profit. With all the extra sales comes more responsibility. It is a good idea to get the most up to date book keeping software you can.
A balance sheet shows the complete picture of your business financial situation by summarizing it, assets, liabilities, and owner equity (net worth) Generally broken down monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
Assets -liabilities= equity or assets = liability + equity
Assets: anything of Monterey value that your business owns. Balance sheets list your assets by how easy it is to convert the asset to cash. Current assets are those that can be converted to cash within one year. (cash, checking accounts, stocks, accounts receivable and inventory.)
Liabilities: Are things that your business owes to others.
Current Liabilities: Debt your company owes with in the next year. (Payroll, taxes, leans)
Non-Current Liabilities: Includes debt payable over more than one year. (Mortgages, debt.)
Equity: Is what is left over when you subtract liabilities from assets. This is the net worth of your business.
Capital Contribution: Many contributions by the owner and any stock sold to the public.
Retained Earnings: Total of all annual profit since the beginning of the business that have not been paid out to the owners.
Chapter 12: Small business marketing 101
I encourage good word of mouth and networking with in a well defined target audience. Still to this day word of mouth marketing is still by far the best form of advertising. Being on social media, Sending press releases, media coverage can get you better results then spending a fortune on advertising.
MARKETING AND ADVERTISING ARE NOT THE SAME. ADVERTISING IS PART OF THE MARKETING STRATEGY.
Effective ways to promote your business.
- Network with potential customers, other businesses, government officials, community leaders
- Create incentives for customers to pass on the word of mouth.
- Pitch stories about your business to local media.
- Organize and participate in special events. Parties, trade shows, informational seminars.
- Thoughtful email out reaches
- Positively engage with social media
- Distribute flyers and other forms of advertisement.
Marketing: Any promotional activity
Branding: Process of developing positive and specific association to your business produce or service. When a company has a well-developed brand, customers have an emotional tie to the company and feeling of connection with the brand.
Advertising: Buying print or digital space or air time to deliver your message.
Listing or Directories: Are available resources that can be used again and again. Phone book, business directories.
Public relations: Coordinating a “Campaign” to get your business message out to the public, sponsoring events, public speaking.
Media relations: Connection to the media, pitching story ideas in hope of obtaining editorial coverage, sending press releases to newspaper editorials, blogs, publicity, exposure to the media public eye.
Define your market, understand who and what your market is. This is fundamental. Know and understand who your potential and actual customers are. They are the people of your industry. Learn as much as you can about your industry, everything in it. You will better be able to tailor your product or service toward them.
Monitor market conditions, age, gender, income level, buying habits, occupation, material status, family, children or not, geographic location, ethic group, political affiliations, hobbies and interest.
Niche: A relatively narrow or specific market.
Focusing your market on a particular niche is very profitable. The key to defing a profitable niche is to find an area where there is an unmet demand, and to fill that need with your product or service.
YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT THE SAME AS YOUR COMPETIONS.
Customers: who are your target customers? What product or service do they want? How do they buy?
Competition: What do they offer? What do they charge? How do they provide there product or service? Who are there customers? What is their competitive edge?
Industry: What are standard practices? What are the latest trends? What does the future hold?
With Survey, questions, and interviews. What is it you want to learn? Your research questions are not the same as what you want to learn. Ask people their opionions. If you are starting a clothing line (tshirts with slogans or sayings) ask people what they would want on a tshirt they wanted to wear. Canvas people at locations where your target customers will be “Trade shows”. The key here is to be quick have a few short questions.
- What are the questions you want answered?
- What is the best way to get questions answered?
- The goal is to asked questions that will give responses that not only get you answer but get person talking.
- Identify and invite. Start with the people in your phone. Build and go from there. “Network.”
- What are your results. Analyze and study them. Or else all this will be a waste of your time.
Networking involves actively building relationships with people, business, community leaders and others who present possible opportunities for your business, not only potential customers. Network with vendors, investors. The goal of networking is to inform other business people about what you do in hopes they recommend your business to their circle of contacts. Forge relationships with contacts before you need anything from them.
Media relations with this goal is to get “editorial” coverage getting your business featured stories. This is buy far way more credible than advertisement of paid publicity.
Media relations: The process of attempting to obtain editorial coverage.
Step 1: Write a press release, capture the journalist attention make it easy for the journalist to write the story you want published.
Step 2: Make initial contact with the journalist by phone. So your release does not get lost in the shuffle. This phone call will help in building a lasting relationship with the reporter. Giving you greater chance of better coverage and a long term relationship.
Step 3: Send the press release by email, both as a PDF attachment and in the body of the email.
Step 4: Follow up later that day or the next to make sure it was received and to answer any question they may have.
Elements of a strong press release. Media people are flooded with press releases and story pitches, so you will have to be as exciting as possible.
- Start with the hook. A strong 1st sentence, what is the most important point you want to get across.
- Date, time, location of event should be very easy to find. Put the most important information first
- Include quotes from yourself or other key people.
- Create a news angle, tie your release into a topic that is currently in the news.
- Use statistics. Reporters love stats.
Some people are shy to contacting media. Journalist need to come up with interesting new stories every day, especially locally. Help them do their job. Be honest and reliable. Relationships with media people are Gold.
Special events are an easy hook particularly if there is any educational or public interest attached to your event. One reason special events are such effective tools is the must respond media faster to time sensitive activities. These events are usually a lot more fun as well.
Sponsorships are a lot like advertising in the sense that you pay money in exchange for having your business recognized in some way, display of your logo or a short marketing message. Sponsorships convey a sense of connection to whatever you are sponsoring creating a personalized connection to the community.
Free Samples, everybody loves free stuff. Around the community give it out, set up at a trade show give it away. If you are going to sell it try giving a few away. Others will notice the other person using your service or product. When giving away free samples make a powerful. Positive good impression, word of mouth reasons. Also, business cards and brochures give these away like candy.
Chapter 13: E-Business, selling and marketing online
Online bloggers and social media are transforming the way that online business interact and develop. Relationships through social media, developing strategies to grow your ranking SEO, websites that are often the centerpiece of a business online presence. Are how you make money online.
Blogging easy an effective way to communicate, comprised of chronologically ordered post much like like an online journal. The trick to a successful blog is to offer information that is interesting to your clients or customers. This is a great way to build your brand and solidify your relationship with your market industry.
Offer techniques and tips, encourage readers to submit photos of their results. Blogs that allow readers to comment develop a more loyal reader. Don’t ever turn your comments off. Links to external articles, studies, competitors even remember the best blogs offer helpful practical tips for readers. Blogging is to build your brand as reputable company. Your blog need to be updated regularly, good practice, is to start at twice a week and quickly move up to 3 to 5 times a week. Some successful blogs only post one great article a week. Your blogger needs to be well informed on the topic for when someone comments they will accurately be able to inform them of what to do or where to go get extra resources from.
KEEP YOUR BLOG UPDATED.
Social Media networking in your oline communities whatever ways are possible. There are endless way to do this. There is a strategy that goes into doing this. What social sites will work best for your business? What are your communication goals? Stay focused on your goals because it is very easy to get distracted in the world of social media.
Videos are the best, then picture, plain text. Be creative EYE APPELIG ATTENTION GETTERS.
Posting, commenting engaging in threads, forums, facebook groups and other discussions online is a way many business owners establish their expertise and spread the word of there business. The key is to share information as an expert not to hustle for business. If discussion groups exist within your business niche start there. If you can not find any start a forum on your website or create a Facebook group
THE KEY IS TO SHARE AS AN EXPERT. NOT OT HUSTLE FOR BUSINESS.
Your website is your home you made lets say from scratch. Before you have made your home you have made a blue print. Sketch out your general ideas of how you want your website to look before you start building. Your website content should be closely related to your goals and marketing strategy. Organinze a list of topics and subsections your site will need. On paper this will look like …
- On what your
- Business does
When planning your website you should have in mind your starategey and goals for your site. Defining content, information, look and feel of your site, how your site is going to be built, and the testig of your site to ensure it works smoothly before releasing it to the public.
DON’T WAIST YOUR TIME
Drive traffic to your site, business cards, flyers, ads, SEO. On your site or social media create content that other will want to share. Improving your sites SEO search engine optimization is always evolving but for basics start with inbound links and keywords.
Inbound Links: One of the most powerful ways to rank highly with search engine is to have lots of other sites linked to yours. “Linked Popularity”. Of other reputable sites find the content of a website useful, then that is a powerful indicator that the site is a quality one that deserves to be ranked higher for relative searches. Your website should be informative. Have how to articles, videos. Be content rich, “quality content rich”.
Keywords: When creating content, you will also want to use certain key words and pharses. Words that people type in when searching a site. When choosing keywords put your self in the mindof a customer. Identify keywords and put them in your site text so they read smoothly. Search engines also look for at page titles. Example: The home page title could be “The Joes Clothing supply.” Instead of homepage.
Facebook is still the primary channel for man y businesses and offer great opportunities to connect with customers. Other Tips for boosting traffic. Write for others. You may not get paid but you will be able to get your site linked to the article if you are willing to do online publications that are looking for writters.
For more information on SEO read:
“Search engine optimization: an hour a day.” By Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin. Their website is www.Yourseoplan.com
www.Searchengine watch.com a website devoted to tracking latest development tips and tricks for SEO
www.seogrowth.com website by leading online marketing expert. John Jantsch and Phil Singleton