Six Challenges Facing Business Owners

Having spent the last few weeks meeting with and chatting to small business owners around Essex, it became clear that they all seem to face similar challenges on a day-to-day basis.

As I expected, they are all time poor and there was an ongoing sense from these company owners or directors that they should be ‘hands on’ and across every facet of their business. But, as they told me, they may know all about their business but sometimes they need expert support and guidance to ensure their company grows and increases profitability.

Some of the challenges they faced included:

Customers 
Customers are at the heart of any business. Without customers and the revenue generated then the business becomes just a good idea. One of the main challenges they faced was how to attract, retain and maximise their customers?

For me, the key to winning new business and ensuring customer retention is providing not only great products or services but adding a great customer service experience. A strategy needs to be developed for ensuring this customer growth and maximizing revenues from existing customers.

Marketing 
Many business owners are not marketing experts and need strategic advice when it comes to developing a business positioning, a marketing plan, a campaign and thinking about the channels they wish to promote their business through.

The challenge is to enable the business to tell its story in a way that enables the business to grow and build customer engagement. Bringing an experienced marketer into the business either in-house or as a consultant to help develop this strategy can allow the business owner to focus on what he does best.

Time 
For many business owners there are simply not enough hours in a day. All owners are stretched for time. Creating more time means sometimes saying no and focussing on what is essential for the success of the business.

This is where business owner often seek external advice from a business mentor or consultant to get them to focus on what is critical for the development of the business.

Financial Management 
It is imperative for a small or medium-sized business to manage their cashflow effectively but sometimes managing the P&L seemed to be the third or fourth ‘order of the day’ for some business owners.

Getting good financial advice from a consultant who takes the time to analyse business performance, looks at aged debtors, analyses client profitability and puts effective financial planning measures in place mitigates the risk of the business getting into financial troubles.

Profitability 
Business Planning seemed to be a bit of an afterthought for some of the business owners I spoke with, they were working more ‘on the fly’. Annual Planning should start a minimum of four months before the end of the financial year and should start with a formal annual budget, understanding the profitability of each client/customer, growth opportunities, business development planning and an analysis of the overheads required to service those clients/customers, market and grow the business, generate a great customer experience as well as delivering a sustainable profit margin.

Successful business owners create wealth and grow their business because they understand how to build a culture where sustainable profitability is a given.

Processes 
Many business owners are not across all the processes involved in running a business so the challenge is to make the processes involved in running a business simpler. This is where an external consultant or expert support can prove highly beneficial.

Failure to manage processes such as sales, marketing, business development, building customer loyalty, operational management, HR and employee development can lead to businesses failing. Being stretched across business functions is not the best way for business owners to develop their business.

 

Critical Personality Traits Essential For Home Based Business Success

 

Aspiring to become a Home Based Entrepreneur is quite exciting; what with the pride of being your own Boss. But desire is one thing and having the right Personal Traits that can ensure the success of the business is another ball game altogether.

Some of these traits are innate while some can be learned. However I have enumerated them here for you to consider before taking the leap. This is not meant to discourage you but to bring them to your awareness in order to help you prepare properly and make a success of your dream. Do not be dismayed even if you lack some of these attributes because they can be learned or acquired through training.

So in this write up, we’ll discuss the personal character traits most successful Home Based Entrepreneurs always seem to have.

• Great Determination

Right from the beginning, you must make up your mind to succeed in your chosen endeavor. Having a “Can Do Spirit” is always an advantage. When the pressure builds up, it’s only that huge determination to succeed that will help see you through.

As the saying goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”

• Having Self Confidence

This is almost like having strong determination. Having self -confidence and believing in one’s ability is also very important in the potential success matrix needed by a Home Business Owner. The saying “self- confidence makes the man” must have come from this. Even the ordinary con man is able to perpetrate his activities through his self-confidence.

• Consummate Self Starter

A self-starter is a person who does not procrastinate. He does not wait for someone to prod him into taking necessary action.

A self-starter will not postpone to tomorrow what he’s supposed to do today. A self-starter is an action oriented person who attacks the task at hand and achieves set targets without being supervised or reminded.

• Being A Natural Risk Taker

In order to succeed as a Home Based Entrepreneur, you must be a natural risk taker. Some people are risk averse but almost all successful Home Business Owners are ready to take that risk, burn all bridges and do whatever it takes to succeed.

Fast Thinking And Flexibility

Having the ability to think fast and react quickly to unfolding situations is the hallmark of a successful Home Business Owner.

Threats can come up suddenly from new government policies and the ability to think fast and adapt to the new situation can make the difference between success and collapse of the business.

• Do What You Enjoy

You have to be totally obsessed with your Home Based Business. You eat and drink it every moment of the day.

You must be very passionate about your business or else you’ll cave in when the pressure builds up.

I recommend that you get involved with what you enjoy doing. Even turning your hobby into a Home Based Business could be the best decision.

You’ll work harder and succeed faster because you won’t see what you’re doing as work. Invest in that thing that you would enjoy doing even if there are no pecuniary benefits.

• Have A Good Business Plan

You must be able to prepare a good Business Plan and work the plan. It’s said that “He who fails to plan has already planned to fail”. Your Business Plan is like a Blue Print for your business. It must be flexible though to make room for adjustments as you go along. It’s like a road map that’ll lead you to the final goals set for your business.

• Good Money Management Skills

Having the right attitude to money is very essential. No matter the amount of cash available, a Home Business Owner without the right Money Management Skills will run the business aground.

You must have a Money Management Plan and stick to the plan. Knowing how to allocate resources to the most needed areas of the business is very important.

My advice is that you must be shrewd and frugal with your expenses- especially cash flow. This is to avoid running out of cash at an auspicious time.

• Good Selling Skills

Having the right selling skills can help you succeed in your business.

You must be able to explain to people why what you’re offering is the best solution for the problem they’re having.

• Create Authority Around You

If you want to succeed in your Home Business, you must be willing to learn new things. You must be willing to keep up to date with latest industry trends.

Being disposed to reading books, attending seminars and staying ahead of the competition is very essential.

Your ability to market yourself as an Expert and a reliable resource in your field is very important.

People will run to you for solution to their problems.

• You Need Good Marketing Skills

The ability to develop the perfect USP for your Home Business is very important. You must have a very good reason why I should buy your products/services instead of buying from the shop down the road. This could be the difference between growth and early bankruptcy.

 

• Be Organized, Be Disciplined!

You must not take for granted that you are your own boss and so wake up 10 am and decide to chill with a glass of wine and some music. No! You must maintain a high self – esteem and discipline. Wake up early, listen to industry news and get started with the day’s activities.

I mean you must have a positive daily routine

 

• Be Professional

Strive at all times to be professional in all your dealings. Maintain the highest ethical standards. Honesty must be your watch word!

Dress appropriately when meeting with clients.

Ensure you have a home office and a dedicated phone line for your business

• Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

Finally, this might sound weird but failure is part of the process of learning how to do it better next time. Do not be afraid to fail but remember to take away the lessons learned.

The great Thomas Edison who failed over 5000 times while trying to discover the incandescent lamp said that each failure taught him how to do it better next time.

 

What It Takes to Create an Award-Winning Business

Out of the blue, I received an email from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce one day notifying me that we were nominated for a 2016 Business Excellence award.

Say what?

Once I got past my shock and disbelief that they must have the wrong Susan… it began to sink in that someone out there thought we were worthy enough of this nomination. Wow, what an honour!

Part of the nomination process consisted of a 30-minute interview in front of a 3-judge panel. Imagine being forced to actually brag about yourself for a half an hour! Talk about squirming in my seat!

Fast forward to last week where the awards ceremony took place. Much to my relief, our category was up first so I could relax the rest of the evening.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that anxious – I knew the odds of winning was only 1 in 7 so I waited patiently for the winner’s name to be announced, not at all expecting it to be us.

But it was! We were declared the winner!

Say WHAT???

Shock and disbelief once again came over me as I took a moment to grasp what just happened. Walking to the stage was quite the blur but I managed to do it without tripping up the stairs to get our award.

In the aftermath of winning this wonderful recognition, I reflected some more about that judge’s interview and how they deemed us the winner from the other worthy nominees in our category.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the attributes I feel helped us win this prestigious award. Without further ado, here’s what it took for me to create an award-winning business:

1) Be Passionate About What You Do

We are not the first business I’ve created; there’s been plenty others ranging from creating craft pieces to faux finish painting. But no matter what I did, I was very passionate about it.

Don’t waste your time trying to run a business just to make money. You’re going to tire of it very quickly and it will be harder to make sales.

But when you’re passionate about what you do, others will immediately see that and will be drawn to you like a magnet.

2) Love Working With the People You Serve and Offer Exceptional Customer Service

One of the truest joys I receive is the knowing how much we are able to help a new business owner get their online presence up and running. Being a part of their joy at seeing their dream materialize into something tangible gives me just as much joy.

If you avoid answering the phone or responding to emails because you dread having to talk to a client, then you need to adjust your marketing so you attract the right people to work with.

If you don’t love who you’re working with, then it’s hard to establish a successful business that needs to cater to your clients by making customer service a #1 priority. And that means answering the phone, responding to emails in a prompt manner, and treating every person as if they were your only client. And when you’re attracting your perfect ideal client, then this should be easy to do.

Make your business about them, not you. Just remember, if you had no clients, then you’d have no business.

3) Know Your Stuff

Before even thinking about starting a web development/digital marketing business, I ensured I got the education I needed first. I attended the Vancouver Film School in their Multi-Media program and then later earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems (with an A+ GPA).

Not to mention the countless online courses I’ve taken over the years to ensure my skills are kept up-to-date with this ever changing industry.

Sadly, I see a lot of entrepreneurs wanting to start a business with not a lot of skills or experience under their belt and then they wonder why they’re struggling.

Reading a book or taking one on-line course is probably not enough to reach award-winning status. But if you’re passionate about building a successful business, you’ll find a way to ensure you become as qualified as needed.

4) Be Committed

Is working 15 hour days, 6-7 days a week committed enough? Yep, that’s what Daniel and I do every week. We have to in order to fulfil points 2 and 3 above.

It takes a lot of time and effort to ensure your clients are taken care of properly. You also need a “do whatever it takes” level of commitment.

You might not need to work such long hours as us and trust me, we’re continually working towards lessening that kind of volume but until then, we are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure our business is successful. Are you?

5) Be Consistent

Consistency shows up in many forms when running a successful business. For me, it’s being consistent with my message, my brand, my Social Media presence, my newsletters, my team management, and the level of quality we bring to our clients.

Do I miss sometimes? Absolutely. But being consistent in these areas are very important to me, and I do what needs to be done in order to show up the best I can for my team and our clients.

Without consistency, it’s hard to create brand ambassadors (such as the ones who nominate you for an award), loyal team members, and a steady flow of clients.

Whatever you have decided to commit to, be consistent at it and you’ll be amazed at how things start to flow your way.

6) Surround Yourself With a Dedicated and Knowledgeable Team

I started off as a one-woman show. Because of my educational background, I was able to do the design, build and marketing of a website quite easily. I’m what you would call a “generalist”, someone who knows a lot of about a lot of things and is a specialist in a few areas.

But my one-woman show was not going to create a successful business. Especially in this technologically-driven industry. It quickly became apparent my skillset was only going to get me so far.

So my first hire was someone who could offset my biggest weakness. Warren was a student at UFV and applied for my part time programmer position. He was a perfect complement to our company and the moment he came on board, I was relieved of having to do all the site builds myself. I could then take that time and focus on building the business instead.

It’s tough to try and do everything yourself when it comes to running a business. Sure, there are expenses involved in hiring but if you hire smart, keep an eye on your bottom line, and know when to let go of those that aren’t serving you best, your business will escalate far quicker than if you try to struggle with everything yourself.

This topic is worthy of a whole article itself so I encourage you to read How to Take a Solo-Entrepreneurship to the Next Level for more.

7) Have Honesty, Authenticity and Gratitude be a Part of Your Daily Life

It’s sad I even need to list this as an attribute but I’ve been in business long enough to know not everyone adheres to these principles.

To me, this is a no-brainer – I’m not certain I could live any other way?

But judging from the stories I hear from new clients about how they were treated by their previous web developer, it sounds like many people need to be reminded of this.

No business will thrive without honesty and integrity. And a little secret: gratitude will not only make your business thrive, but your whole life too. Give it a try and see what I mean.

8) Persevere

Every business, including ours, has its ups and downs. The key to success is to not let those “downs” overcome your enthusiasm. Pick yourself back up, learn from whatever lesson there was to be learned, and keep moving forward.

If we had quit when we only had $20 credit left on our credit cards at Christmas time just a handful of years ago, we wouldn’t be award winners now!

9) Invest in Your Business

Building the company has been one investment after another. It never ends really.

There’s always something that needs to be worked on. Here’s a short list of my recommendations on where you need to invest in your business:

a.Branding & Website

b.Marketing

c.Education

d.Building a Team

10) Understand You’re Running a Business, Not a Hobby.

I think this is an important distinction to make and one many entrepreneurs aren’t differentiating.

I’ve always looked at our company as a business and that’s mostly due to my business mind and having a business degree.

But for those that simply are passionate about something and have a dream to make money off of it, it’s hard to know exactly HOW to turn that dream into a business.

They end up blindly doing what they think they should be doing, all by themselves, in order to save money (or not spend money they don’t have) and hope for the best.

If this sounds familiar, I’m adding another business investment to consider as your top priority: A business coach or mentor. ASAP. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up just running a hobby.

 

5 Things You Need to Know About Business Phone Systems and What to Look For

Before you take on the task of researching the best business phone systems out there, here are a few general things you need to know to help you make the best decision for your business communication needs.

1. Premise-based PBX vs. Hosted PBX

For the most part, there are two types of PBX business phone systems: Premise and Hosted. A premise-based business phone system requires clunky equipment to be stored within your office and is usually seen in larger enterprises. Small business owners are recommended to use hosted business phone systems for seamless expansion and cost efficiency.

2. Expensive Equipment is Not Always Necessary

One way your PBX business phone systems save you money is by not requiring you to make expensive purchases on hardware. With BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), you can use your mobile phone or keep using your existing hardware without any issues. Wiring and cabling is also not necessary as hosted PBX business phone systems are powered using your internet connection.

3. It Can Boost Productivity and Help Retain Customers

You won’t have to worry about letting a message slip through the cracks. Many business phone systems have features in place like call continuity and voicemail to email to ensure you always stay on top of your messages. Cloud receptionist features like auto attendant are also available so you can offer an overall better customer experience and keep your buyers satisfied.

4. Promotes Workspace Flexibility

Modern systems provide users with the freedom to work from anywhere. These days, you don’t need to have an office to have a business phone system; all you need is a reliable internet connection and electricity (unless you’re using a virtual PBX and operating straight from your cell phone). It’s also easy to expand your team and add extensions, as well as move from one location to another with an easy plug and play solution.

As you search for business phone systems, you will come across providers ranging from those that have been around for decades and some that have sprouted in the last few years. Although we praise experience, it may not always be best to choose a provider solely on their shelf life. Go with a provider that focuses their efforts on business solutions (some providers go as far to make focus medium-sized and small businesses their main focus) to ensure that your business communication needs are being met. Check out their services and decide whether or not they have what your business needs.

5. Not All Business Phone Systems Are Created Equal

How A PBX Phone System Can Benefit Your Business
Don’t be fooled by the jargon and heavily technical literature you may find on PBX systems. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to learn how to operate a PBX system. If you’re purchasing hardware from a provider, you will most likely receive a pre-configured phone that is ready to use as soon as it arrives. This makes it possible to just plug in the device and start making calls with barely any set up. Cabling and wiring is not necessary with a hosted PBX system so installation fees and downtime is not something you would have to worry about.

All of these benefits lead to one thing: more savings. Without set up costs or expensive hardware, you can use the time and money you’re saving and invest it back into your business. For even more savings, you can choose a virtual PBX phone system that allows you to run your business from your mobile phone using your business phone number. It’s the simplicity and professionalism many entrepreneurs look for without the cost of a major PBX phone system provider.

Small Business Phone System Features to Look Out For
If you’re looking for any limitation that PBX business phone systems bring, it would be that they rely on an internet connection to function. As long as you’re using a reliable internet provider your system will stay up and running; however, many PBX business phone systems offer the ability to forward your calls to an external device, like your smartphone. It’s an added security feature that gives business owners peace of mind knowing that they won’t miss an opportunity regardless of unexpected circumstances. Just like this simple call forwarding feature, there are many services within a small business phone system that can save your business.

Call recording is a great way to keep voice records, just be sure to follow your state’s laws in regards to voice recording. It comes in handy with industries like travel agencies and medical offices when there is miscommunication or an incident regarding an exchange of information over the phone. It’s a way to meet compliance standards for certain industries and has been a crucial tool for business owners who rely on record-keeping for accountability and training purposes.

You can easily streamline your customer’s calling experience with an automated attendant and customized caller menu. These two features work together to give your caller relevant information, like new promotions or upcoming changes to your office hours, and direct them to the people they need to speak with. Your callers will appreciate the updates and their positive experience will encourage them to recommend your service to others.

 

Why You Are Limiting Your Small Business

It’s difficult to see the picture when you’re in the frame. When you are so focused on your business you don’t see what holds it back. Namely you! When all the decisions are based on your knowledge and experience, you are probably working from the same knowledge you always have. This means that unless you are constantly improving yourself (in terms of business) you are likely to fall into the trap many owners do.

What are your decisions based on and who do you go to for help? The problem with owning a business is that there is very little help available in your immediate circle for most people. Unless you are surrounded by other entrepreneurs, it’s more than likely that you look to help for people who are fall less qualified than you.

The Self Fulfilling Loop

The ability to work in your business and work on your business are two very separate things. You may be the best at working very hard, doing long hours and motivating your staff, if you have any. But this doesn’t translate to growing your business. Growing your business is something different. It takes a whole new skill set.

If you’re stuck in the process of being a ‘worker’ in your business, you’re not moving your business forwards. You must step out of the roles which worked when you were an employee. Things which make a good employee are: turning up on time, working hard, delivering to deadlines and thinking of ways to achieve the maximum output for your boss.

Things which make a good business owner are entirely different. Knowing how to grow your business is about marketing. You need a whole new skill set and new ways of thinking in order to do this.

The Skill Set Of Online Marketing

Online marketing is vital to grow your business. Whatever kind of business you have, you need some kind of marketing engine driving it forwards. With new technology comes a new type of marketing. Before the internet there was traditional advertising: yellow pages, newspapers, flyers, billboards, television and radio.

Online marketing is a fantastic opportunity for business owners. But with it comes a few problems. The main one is not just learning the skills to create online advertising, but rather our mindset, or more importantly our industrial age thinking.

Industrial Age Thinking

We have been brought up with a lot of baggage. Our minds hold ideas which our forefathers embodied in their lives. Many of us are limited by old thinking patterns which no longer serve us. This is true in many areas of our lives but none so much as with growing a business using online marketing.

A poverty mindset always thinks of reasons to cut back and avoid spending. It is based on a presupposition that ‘there is never enough’ – a self fulfilling prophecy! Of course this is often well founded based on the past. But as a business owner this can be your biggest limiting factor to forward growth.

If our very thinking is based on our past and what it has taught us in terms of our income, we hold back and tend to be careful with our money. This is for good reason of course. But with online marketing your long term plan should be to be spending more and more on advertising, not less and less. This is a major roadblock to business growth.

Gently Does It

I’m not saying you should spend all your cash on an online advert, just to see how it goes. Far from it. You can start an online advertising campaign for very little daily expenditure. Set your budget as low as you like. That’s one of the benefits of online advertising. One of the other major benefits is the ability to test and measure each of your adverts.

By testing and measuring the response of your adverts, you can determine, very accurately, how effective they are in making you a profit. However this should be based on your return on investment, not instant return. Think about the worth of a customer over the years of your business. How much is a customer worth? Not a sale, but a customer?

Looking at the long term benefit of a happy customer who buys from you again and again can give you a different perspective on your advertising costs. Write down a number which reflects the cash value of a long term, loyal customer. Now match that against what you were prepared to spend on your advertising.

Testing and Measuring – The Power Of Pay Per Click

Pay per click advertising is an amazing form of advertising and available to any business owner. However, I recently spoke to a business owner who claimed it was a waste of money, despite other people in his business niche using it. Perhaps, he thought that they were about to discover what he already “knew”!

Most people start an advertising campaign on pay per click, lose money and decide it doesn’t work. But this is a mistake. The real power lies in the ability to test and measure your paid advertising. There are many variables with pay per click. You can target people very specifically by their keywords using Google AdWords advertising. You can also target by location – which is ideal for a local business. By testing and measuring the responses of different target audiences, with varying keywords, landing pages and advert content, you can eventually determine the most profitable advert for your business.

Once you have discovered a way to spend half of what you stand to get back, you are in a very strong position to increase your daily expenditure and scale up. This is how to grow your business. By adding other paid advertising methods to your growing ‘portfolio’ and testing and measuring each one over time for maximum efficiency, you can scale up your business for maximum growth.

Depending on your business model, it is also possible to lose money initially on advertising, and make it back over the long term for the customers you have literally “bought”.

 

The Best Internet Business

What Is The Best Internet Business?

There are several Web Host giants on the internet that provide private label rebranding to small business owners. This might be the best opportunity to “piggyback” on well-established businesses if you are just starting out in internet marketing. This gateway for unlimited wealth is made possible due to the growing demand of digital marketing in regions that are outside the scope of these large corporations.

In order to gain a share of the market, these corporate web companies offer reseller plans to small businesses which take their products and services, rebrand them and sell to business owners at a profit. These products include domain name services, web hosting, online storage, business productivity software, and tools.

There is quite an advantage in being a small business retailer because one is able to customize their business at the local level and meet the demands of their growing market on the World Wide Web. Let’s look at the definition of digital marketing to understand why the demand has grown significantly over the past decades.

What Is Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing involves all functions that are geared toward promoting online business activities. This includes but is not restricted to products and services in subcategories such as Domain Name registration, web hosting, email marketing, web design and development, software applications, sales and marketing, social media marketing and consultation, and all medium through which businesses and individuals advertise and market their products online.

Retail Marketing

Retail Marketing refers to activities geared toward end users of a web-based business solution such as domain names registration, web design services, software apps for business and personal use, social media management, web hosting and other activities that promote online communication.

As the need for business solutions intensifies, business persons become increasingly concerned about meeting the demands of the online industry, and therefore the Pros and Cons of the internet business become relevant.

The Cons of Digital Marketing

One would think that the more customers you have, is the more profits you are likely to acquire but the truth be told, the more the business will become more challenged due to competitors, need for online bandwidth, web creativity, uniqueness, and need for customer service due to increase in customer queries and the need for technical support.

The Pros of Digital Marketing

Fortunately, some web hosting reseller business plan come with independent customer service team that manages concerns and queries of clients on their behalf. Another positive thing about being a domain reseller is the handling of payments and processing of sales. As a web hosting reseller, you are given the opportunity to re-price your products to earn commissions from your own business.

Another pro for being a reseller is the fact that starting your digital marketing business does not require an exorbitant startup cost nor high overhead expenses to operate effectively, nor initial products, compared to other online ventures. Products are sold through the distributors but your private label is displayed discreetly in the sales operation and therefore your business receives the credit!

How Do I Become A Web Hosting Reseller?

There are two ways to become a Web Hosting Reseller and Domain Name Registrar. One can sign up as an affiliate or an actual reseller.

  • An affiliate gets a commission from advertising online products that the Web company (suppliers) market, using links and codes on approved websites.
  • Reseller uses their own brand to market the Web Company’s products (supplier) and services at a higher rate of returns. End users see the reseller’s products and services as their company’s brand and not the Web Company’s image.

Affiliates display the name of the wholesaler or provider (Web Company) through banner advertisements and other forms of internet marketing, similar to a franchising arrangement.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Web Hosting and Domain Name Business?

It is very alarming to find out the actual cost of starting your own internet business. The subscription for a reseller license varies from $89-$499 annually and it depends on the provider or web company. Most persons prefer to do business with Web companies that offer a variety of affordable products and services. Once a business plan is purchased, one can start selling immediately online.

Some Web companies provide a retail storefront with the domain name search field. Other features include the following:

  • Dedicated customer service team support for your clients
  • Marketing software to assist in promoting their brand online. Resellers are expected to purchase their domain name to start promoting their retail internet business.

Start Up Cost

There is no mandatory startup cost for a Web Hosting Business, however, it is suggested to start with at least $300-$500. This would include the cost of the subscription plan, a domain name for your business idea, a web designer to customize the storefront (optional), business cards and other marketing paraphernalia to help provide greater access to your target market.

There is reseller’s support, community pages, manuals and online support to help you succeed in making your business profitable.

The process of starting an internet business is simple, and while there could be challenges in securing a viable market in your region, there are no geographical restrictions. Savvy business operators stand a greater chance to earn real attractive residual income annually, in a relatively short time.

What To Expect as a Web Hosting Reseller

Business owners are able to tap into the tremendous wealth of the digital marketing business industry as it is one that never sleeps! It has often been said that you can earn money while you sleep, and since the internet generates over a billion dollars per day, more and more persons have experienced this reality. Currently, there are Web Hosting Resellers who are making $10-30K (USD) per month.

Once you are patient, open to exploring online business opportunities, and enthusiastic about providing internet business solutions for individuals and companies, then you are ready to build your digital empire.

 

Small Business Marketing Hacks Every Business Owner Should Use

There’s a lot that’s changed recently with online marketing. Most people now go straight to Google to search for something they want. The phone book is out and Google, or search traffic is in. If you are a small business owner you can benefit from the internet as a source of business. What’s even better is that you can tap into this resource for free if you have a physical business.

Google Places

Google Places lets you advertise your local business for free in the search results. When someone searches for a local business in your area, your results will come up first for many searches. This is a simple cost effective strategy you should definitely be employing in your business. With Google Places, you list your local business and Google will send you a confirmation postcard with a Google verification code on it. Once you have verified your listing with this code, Google knows you actually reside at this address or run a business from it.

Google Places works wonders for small business owners who work from a certain location. If you’re not on it, you are definitely missing out on business. Plus, your competitors could be using it which means they could be taking your potential customers. To use Google Places just do a quick search for it on Google and it will take you through the setting up process.

Bing Places

Bing also offer this same listing on their own search engine. It’s just like Google Places so not much to add here really. Simply fill out your details on the online platform and verify your listing when you receive a code in the post. When you create your listing you will have to list your business within a certain category, or two. Look through the existing categories and find the one or ones which are the best fit for your business. This is the same as Google Places. By listing in more than one category, if the platform allows, you can benefit from a number of searches within your local area.

Other Listings For Free

Yell and Yahoo also offer free listings for businesses too. Also do a ‘Google search’ for local directories and free listings and you will find a range of sites which offer free business listings in your area. In some cases even the extra links back to your website can make a difference to your ranking, even if the link itself doesn’t bring you more business.

Blogging

You may well not have the time or inclination to start a blog. However, in some business areas blogging is a good way to increase your business reach online in a fairly cost effective way. Depending on your business, and whether it opens itself to a blog, you can get some good results by targeting some keywords in your business niche, or simply writing compelling content and sharing on social media.

Keyword Research

You can use Google’s free keyword planner to search for terms which are already getting hits on the search engine. By finding long tail keywords in your business niche and writing good content for them, you stand more chance of being listed on the search engine. If you can find untapped keywords which bring in customers to your business, you can write articles which will bring in customers for free for years to come for free.

Paid Advertising

After you have exhausted the free methods of advertising, you can start looking at paid advertising methods. Many business owners try and fail with paid advertising. This is why it is worth learning properly the do’s and don’ts of paid advertising.
Pay per click advertising can make a massive impact on your business. But you should also be very careful. Make sure you start out with a small budget and get properly educated on how to create adverts and which keywords to choose. In particular look at the different types of keyword matches. Get this wrong and you can easily burn through your budget and list your advert for entirely the wrong audience.
However, paid advertising is remarkably scalable. Once you have a campaign which works you can easily increase your budget and you are in a position to pay for new customers.

Return On Investment

When I started with pay per click I didn’t understand return on investment. I ‘dipped my toe in’ and dabbled very tentatively. If I didn’t see an immediate profit, I stopped altogether. This is a mistake. Initially there is a lot of testing and measuring to do with paid advertising. After a while you get an advert which successfully brings you customers. However, knowing the return on investment from successful doing this is a game changer. If your customer goes on to purchase again and again, how much are they worth to your business over a year, or 10 years? Knowing this is a huge key to having the confidence to put money into an advertising campaign. Even if you lose money in the short term, your new customers will bring you new business over the long term. Learn the average spend from each customer over a year and then 10 years. Then decide what each customer is worth in terms of advertising. Does this change your view on what you can afford?

Paid Advertising Methods

There are various paid advertising methods available to use for small businesses online. Start with one method and become good at that before moving on to the next. Facebook advertising lets you target potential customers down to their interests, location and other variables. Pay per click advertising lets you target intent driven adverts. With pay per click you start with the keyword your visitor is looking for online. Once you have tested and measured an advertising method and you have a profitable model, you can leave it running and scale it easily. Then move on to the next one.

Even if you only use a couple of the methods suggested in this article, you can dramatically improve your business with only a small amount of effort. Once you have learned all these methods, you will know how to scale up your business and increase your profits. You can then invest in other forms of advertising, testing and measuring as you go. Whether these are on the internet or offline, using the same strategy (which lets you measure the response of a customer) means you can gradually improve all your advertising methods over the long term, increase profits and grow your business.

 

8 Golden Success Secrets for Small Businesses

Running a small business is as challenging as trekking to Mt. Everest without having oxygen cylinder, prior practice, and a valid map guide. The challenges are only because there are no authentic rules that can lead a small business towards success while other major obstacles comprise: low budget, limited manpower, and lack of efficient resources. But as a small business owner, you must delve into the passcodes that help you decode the secret patterns of operating a successful startup or small business. It not only helps you to sustain your current growth but also excel your business planning’s to achieve higher objectives. There are a few suggestions based on real-world experiences, which can assist you to hit the bull’s eye.

1- Utilize the power of social media:

Nowadays, the entire world revolves around social media and if you are able to use its full potential, it can immediately help you increase your sales and brand reputation with very minimum resource and effort. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, help you connect with a large scale of users, where you can directly interact with them, thereby allowing you to convert them into your potential clients. It forms a two-way channel that not only allows you to put your message across but also, listen to what your targeted audience want, which eventually goes a long way in improving and growing your business.

2- Research and analyze your competition:

A business turns to be successful only if it runs on some finely grinned facts and figures. And competition analysis is one of the most important elements of the process. Competition analysis tells you the strength you will require to establish your brand in the market as well as it helps to prepare your business planning adequately so that you could avoid the chances of business failure. An additional benefit of competition research is it allows for designing and developing more feasible and user-oriented products that eventually help you attain a competitive edge over the current market.

3- Work as per your plan but be flexible too:

Efficient planning is a roadmap that drives your business to the top in the long run with predefined routes. It is always advised to stick with our planning even if we face a few hurdles while running our business given that the strategies are designed after in-depth analysis. And day-to-day challenges should not incline you to alter with whatever you planned. The winners always back their business plannings regardless of the stiff challenges, but on the other side, a successful business requires the owner to be flexible enough to embrace new changes. Adapting the new ideas and concepts not only makes a business owner take smart decisions but also, keeps their core planning intact and fresh.

4- Use informative materials to build trust and loyalty:

The Internet is the best medium to reach out to the huge audience with less effort, but you should keep the fact in mind that there is already a heavy flow of advertisements and endorsements all over the web. So, what can be an efficient way to create our presence with a significant impact?

There are definitely some better ways to do it like using informative online materials such as well-written blogs, well-designed infographics, animated videos demonstrating some set of skills, and presentation sheets, etc. Following such practices will attract a huge mass to our platform to learn and engage with us, which gives a sense of trust and ultimately convert them into our long-term clients.

5- Hire your weaknesses:

A small business consists of a team of limited dedicated professionals, having different skill sets of all the corners to tackle most of the business requirements. Small businesses, sometimes, compromise in some crucial areas since they can’t hire specific individuals due to the lack of budget. To get your business positioned to the top, please don’t bear with your inefficient area. Rush into hiring experienced professional(s) so that all parts of your business fire with the same intensity.

6- Be ready for mergers and acquisitions:

Even after working with your full potential, you may not generate enough force to compete with the leading competitors. Other small businesses with the same concept may face the same situations. Just find them and join in the talks to check the possibilities of the merger to form a combined force, which can provide the required pace and power to achieve the common business goals. Mergers have a long, rich history of producing successful businesses, so don’t shy away with it. Similarly, business acquisitions are a noble idea to inject more strength to our business if budget allows us to do so.

7- Keep the quality service always on:

Quality service is the most important source that keeps your client for a longer period of time and it spreads huge positive feedbacks in the mass, driving in a large number of new clients. There have been more than just a few businesses reaching to the top just on the base of excellent service and even without spending a bomb on advertisements and business promotions. While there are other businesses which have failed miserably because of giving no importance to the quality of the services they provided. All in all, having the sound quality of the products/services is the key to succeeding in today’s cut throat competition.

8- Don’t give up:

Running a successful business is not a child’s play since it requires a lot of guts, courage, and risk-taking capabilities. It, sometimes, shakes your ambitions when going through some rough patches, and you need to have the burning desires within you to keep it alive. Keeping patience is also an important character that the small business owner must have, as the formation of a business and climb the ladder of success, demands to wait for long period of time. So, as a business owner, you need to instill never give up attitude to see your dreams come true!!

Summing it up, though the above-mentioned points are not entirely foolproof but yes, following these points will definitely help you to become a smart small business owner who can defy all the challenges and get on the top of the competition. Of Course, the chances of success or failure of your business completely depends on your planning and execution.

 

Are You Leading Your Business With a Limp?

Do you find yourself leading your business with a limp?

Let me explain further…

For many women business owners, one of the biggest challenges in their business is learning to delegate.

Perhaps it’s one of yours as well.

They find it difficult to determine which tasks and projects should be delegated and who should take them. It’s stressful and frightening for them. I’ve been there and understand. Fortunately and happily, when they give up some control (typically the day-to-day operations of the business), they’re able to truly step up to the leadership and CEO role to grow their business.

Reluctance to delegate cripples not only your effectiveness as a leader, but also your ability to grow your business.

Determining the best course of action when it comes to delegation is a primary focus of a true Online Business Manager. Through effective delegation, an Online Business Manager will help you increase sales, boost productivity to increase ROI, save money, and create more time. You’ll finally be able to put a value on the time you spend on your business.

You may be wondering why an Online Business Manager would focus so much on delegation. Simply put, delegation is the best way to take a business to the next level. If your business generates multiple 6-7 figures, it’s time to delegate to grow.

Behind every successful business is a well-planned delegation strategy.

The CEO can’t do everything herself, and she needs her Online Business Manager and team to carry out the tasks and projects that bring her ideas to life.

As the CEO and Visionary, your job is to create and strategize, and delegating gives you time and energy to do that.

How does delegation help you grow your business and step into your CEO role?

  • When you delegate, you bring everyone’s strengths to the table and utilize them in the best way, including your own. You elevate your team by encouraging them to do what they do best and what they enjoy.
  • You also elevate yourself by getting out of those low-level tasks you’re not suited for and don’t enjoy. You create more time to do what you do best, just as your team does.
  • When everyone is performing to the best of their abilities, they love their jobs and go the extra mile. Everyone is more productive, sales increase, and your business can’t help but grow and prosper.
  • Your team, vendors, and clients have a clear picture of who plays which role in the business. They stop going to you for everything.

What happens when you don’t delegate?

  • No one’s strengths are utilized to the fullest, including yours. Everyone is simply trying to get everything done.
  • You stay stuck in those low-level tasks and feel burned out and overwhelmed. You have very little time to do what you do best, and your business stagnates – or worse, regresses because you can’t lead it as effectively as you should.
  • Nobody’s working to full potential and your team members don’t enjoy their jobs as much as they could or should. Productivity and sales suffer, which can cripple the business over time.
  • Your clients, vendors, and team go to you for everything, further adding to your stress and causing you to hit the ceiling. You’re working way too many hours on tasks and projects others should be doing.

I know it’s hard to give up a little control of parts of your company. Your business is a direct extension of you, and it’s your finest work. It’s hard to let go of something you’ve worked so hard to create, but when you delegate to an Online Business Manager, you’re free to create, generate revenue and have an impact in the world.

When you delegate, you free your business (and you) to move to the next level. You have the time and energy to move into your role as CEO and Visionary, and your business continues to grow and prosper.

 

Are You Winging It In Your Business?

Are you so busy that you feel like you’ve fallen off track?

Are your deadlines more like suggestions?

Do you feel like your business is struggling, has lost its focus, or is out of control?

Do you feel like you have no control over what happens day-to-day?

If so, you just might be winging it in your business.

If you feel like that proverbial chicken with its head cut off, you’re not working according to your plans and goals. You might be extremely busy, but are you productive? The two are not the same. Being busy may mean you’re simply going with the flow and doing what you need to at the moment to keep the business going.

Again, you’re winging it. You’re flying by the seat of your pants and don’t have the focus or the control you need to keep your business on goal. When you’re not in control, you’re not productive.

And if you, the CEO and Visionary, aren’t being productive, your business is simply treading water and not growing.

When your time is focused primarily on daily tasks and busy work inside your business, you don’t have time or energy to create goals and plans to help make your business thrive. All you do is put out fires, and you don’t have time to train your team to avoid setting fires in the first place.

You’re winging it, not working it. You’re wasting precious time doing things someone else needs to be doing. You’re not delegating effectively (or at all), and you’re mistaking being busy for being productive.

At the end of the day, you’re not helping your business to profit because you’re stuck doing everything but high-level, revenue-producing activities.

This is not a judgment. I’ve seen this too many times with my clients, and in the past I did my share of winging it. I was so busy dealing with emergencies and distractions that I couldn’t focus on my real job in the business, the CEO role.

I didn’t see a way out. Maybe you can relate.

I’m happy to tell you today there IS a way out, and it’s simpler than you think.

I love to help my clients discover the difference between working ON their businesses and working IN them. When you work on your business, you do the tasks a CEO should be doing, such as building strategic business relationship, delivering and engaging with your clients, writing marketing materials, and planning and creating new products and services. You work on your vision and your big plans for the future.

That’s your role, not putting out fires, dealing with customer service, solving operational issues, managing day-to-day operations and marketing management, creating manuals and procedures, or paying the bills.

You need to delegate all those tasks and get back to what you do best: finding new ways to grow your business that serves the world.

However, no one teaches us how to delegate when we go into business. You need support in deciding what to keep and what to delegate.

You need someone to run the day-to-day operations of your business so you’re free to grow the business. You need someone to help you stop winging it and start working it.

It’s time to bring in an online business manager. Not getting this valuable support will stall your business and burn you out. An online business manager will produce far more value than he or she costs. The time and energy you’ll regain will pay for your Online Business Manager several times over.

You became a woman entrepreneur to share your ideas, have an impact in the world and create a living for you and you family. When you hire a virtual business manager for your 6-7 figure business, you’re able to breathe and use your energy to plan the future of your business. You can create goals and plot the course to reach them.

Not knowing how to delegate and spending time and energy on the wrong things are just two ways women entrepreneurs find themselves stuck in their businesses.

When you have a professional online business manager to lighten your load, you quickly become unstuck.