Month: June 2019

About Entrepreneurship Knowledge Services

Since most companies are started with very limited funds, many entrepreneurs are reluctant to set money aside to pay for consulting services to fill in their knowledge gaps. For example, many create a website from the many templates available. Some are even free.

Where the company website is concerned I feel that the use of existing templates is a false economy. The website functions as an online calling card and needs to put your best foot forward. For site visitors, seeing a format that they have seen before can reflect badly on you.

The amount of time required for the entrepreneur to become proficient enough to develop a quality website takes time away from tending to functions relating to product knowledge, operations and management. Contracting with a website development company could be the solution.

Websites, to be noticed, must go through the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process. The purpose of SEO is to improve your website’s chances of ranking high in a search. The mechanism for doing this is complex and dynamic. This again is a very specialized function that is often beyond the capability of the business owner.

There are functions which may be grouped under the heading Entrepreneurship Knowledge Services that will present the company at its best. In addition to the website and SEO examples these can include Business Strategy Planning and Business Valuation Services.

Entrepreneurship Knowledge Services is a rich term covering what one needs to know to be a successful entrepreneur. There are other issues to be considered besides knowledge however. Do you have the right temperament? Do you have enough tolerance for risk? Can you acquire the funds to be a success?

My recent experience is that the cost of business services for the self-employed is going down. One of the reasons is the quality and economy of services from Indian consultants. My experience with two firms in India has been positive. This is simply my experience, and yours can be vastly different, but I got a substantial amount of website design for about $4,000 and SEO for about $2,000.

Your reaction may be that adding $6,000 to your startup expenses is prohibitive, but by farming this out the entrepreneur should find a quicker path to profitability.


Ultimate Profit Producing Formula

  • Improving enquiries – being creative in generating enquiries is the secret to customer attraction. The coffee shop offering a free muffin will win over the coffee shop next door without the free muffin. Find a point of difference… ask yourself “what will make a customer choose me over my competitor?” And when you find your unique selling proposition shout it out in every way you can possibly think of.
  • Improving the conversion of those enquiries – after all the cost and effort of attracting a customer it’s now up to you to sell them something. You need to answer every objection, have a strong risk reversal guarantee with a product and service range for all their needs. Often this area can be dramatically improved in many businesses. I ask businesses what they believe their conversion rate to be and they usually say around 50%… They are always shocked when they start to measure it and it is less than 20%. This is a good thing though, as it leaves lots of room for improvement!
  • Improving the average transaction size – your total sales over the last year divided by the amount of transactions will give you your average transaction size. Again it comes down to creativity – how can you get customers to spend more. The easiest way is to offer a freebie if they spend over a certain amount. Look at McDonalds with their “Would you like chips with that?”
  • Improving the average transactions per year – your customer may buy from you several times a year, once a year or even once every 7 years. So how could you encourage them to come in more often and buy from you? What other product or service could you offer them?

Whether you are a plumber, a salon owner or a dentist, focusing and improving on these 4 areas will guide you to business happiness and prosperity.


Digital or Physical Business

For a business with physical products or a physical location, it’s more than likely you’re going to need upwards of $100K to even get started. If you’re interested in a specific business, do the research to find out what it would take. But, if you don’t have money in the bank that you can afford to lose, then a physical business may not be the best idea for you.

If you need to work a normal full-time job while you’re starting your business because you don’t have savings to live on, then it’s possible that the best choice for you is a digital business. This is because you can start it in your spare time with nothing more than a computer and internet connection.

It sounds wonderful to start a food truck or a restaurant but what is the reality of that? Have you ever worked in a restaurant as a manager? If not, your learning curve will be extremely large. Even if you’re currently a chef at a restaurant, making money as an owner is a lot harder than you may think – although of course, it is possible.

If you’ve managed to sock away enough money to live for a couple of years on savings, you may make it work. But what if you instead took those skills and used them to start a digital business? You could start a YouTube channel cooking your favorite meals, teaching others to do it and make just as much money faster with no investment other than time.

If you don’t know how to create a website, run social media, or get online, you may have a higher learning curve with a digital business than if you did have those skills. But likewise, you’ll have to learn technology for a physical business – such as a point of sale system, how to pay your taxes online, and so forth.

No matter which you choose, there are technical skills you’re going to need to learn. In both cases, you’ll need to hire people to help but with a digital business, you can often find people to help you less expensively than if they had to come to your shop.


“Small Stuff” Can Have A Big Impact

Your Headshot

According to PhotoFeeler.com, if you don’t want to look out of touch, you must have a modern headshot. That means not only having a photo that actually looks like you, but your pose and the background can have a huge impact on your credibility.

Your Bio

When was the last time you read your own bio or professional profile? What’s changed since it was first uploaded to your Web site? What impact have you had in your work that you have neglected to share?

Your Social Media Profiles

Just as I stated above, these mini bios need to be current and relevant to your audience. Offer specific examples of your skills, experience, and the type of clients you work with or want to work with.

Your Offers

Take a hard look at what you’ve been selling over the past year. What sold well and what didn’t? If something has not sold well, such as a specific program or workshop you’ve been offering, is it time to enhance it or scrap it altogether? It may be time to step out of your comfort zone and create something new and exciting to make you stand out this year.

List Building

What are you currently offering as a free giveaway to grow your list? Is it working? If you are not seeing your list grow, perhaps it’s time to change that freebie. How long ago did you create it? Is it still relevant? What would entice people to join your list? You want to give your prospects something that answers a question they’ve been asking or help for a problem they’ve been enduring. If you’re not sure what that “something” is, ask your current customers or do an online survey.


Age of The Information Entrepreneur

It used to be the case that the task of writing a book was tantamount to embarking on a long and arduous journey, that required long periods of time, great planning and dedication, an agent, the approval and acceptance of a publishing house, and more. This is no longer the case… Anyone who has wanted to write, can… and you can get your book published and ready to sell in less than 48 hours after it’s written. And no, it doesn’t take a great level of skill or any secret or specialised knowledge… I’ve done it, and have helped others do the same just by following a few simple steps, and using more simple steps have gotten books to #1 ranking spots – for some of them, without even a review to reassure buyers, (though I wouldn’t recommend this). So, if it’s that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it, and why aren’t all entrepreneurs who have published online have booming businesses?

Well, in the answer lies what’s key… it’s not enough to simply write, what’s important is that you write content that others will find useful, and want to read, and more than that, essential for success is using that content in the right way. Let me expand…

  • Whatever your entrepreneurial niche, learn what it is that people want to know more about.
  • Write about this, keep it clear and simple… often short guides will get you further than long, complicated books.
  • Publishing is easy, get your books on Amazon.
  • Consider discounts and freebies… remember, it’s about exposure, publicity, and looping people back to you!
  • Build up a database of everywhere you can promote your books. Take the time to research the social media groups, blogs etc. Ensure that they’re appropriate to your niche.
  • Take the time to promote your discounts and freebies, and be honest and genuine about what your book delivers, and why people should get it.
  • In your books, direct people to your website, subscriptions, other books etc.
  • Always OFFER QUALITY & VALUE, and when you are looping people back to you, it should be to offer more value. Don’t use your books as a hook, only to steer people to an offer that isn’t worth the money or time they part with in exchange for it.
  • The more quality and value you offer, the more repeat customers you’ll gather.
  • Include snippets and tasters of your content on social media, blogs, forums etc.
  • Repeat… remember, if you are choosing to be an influencer through information, you have to keep at it.


Free Small Business Marketing

The first step in determining how to segment the referrers is to review that pre-show attendee list. Generally, referrers are more difficult to select by title than decision-makers, but sometimes you can use your industry experience to determine relevant selection criteria. Many of the pre-show lists will have “industry type” or some similar field you can select from; possibly your company has better luck in targeting leads by geography, so you can select in that fashion.

If the pre-show list has very few fields to select from, and you are promoting to a referrer base, then you may want to consider an alternative channel to deliver your offer to your prospects. You might place an ad in the trade show guide attendees receive, or produce a stand-alone insert to be placed inside the bags attendees are given. Or, you might purchase a sponsorship package which includes point-of-show signage.

Once you select your audience, you need to choose your offer. For the referrer, we recommend you utilize the chance to win a physical product via a drawing, rather than the guaranteed gift in exchange for the person’s time.

There are many giveaways out there, and about half of them are oriented toward the male-audience; typically golf. Of course, free electronics are perennially popular: a few years ago PDAs were the rage; lately, iPods are a hit.

But, there’s one element overlooked by most exhibitors giving away a product to entice people to stop by: Choice.

We don’t suggest you present a plethora of products for prospects to pick from; that can actually depress the response to your pre-show mailing. Choice is good; overchoice is overkill.

But what is overlooked at so many trade shows is the importance of women and non-traditional male-buyers. How many times have you seen a salesmanblow off a person stopping by their trade show booth, simply because that person doesn’t fit the buyer profile?

But, what about the referral profile? How many times do we focus on that? What is the profile of your referrals at a trade show? Do they have to understand in-depth what your product does? Do they have to repeat verbatim your sales shtick to their boss or to the person at their company who could buy your product?

Hardly. The person needs to:

  • Like your sales staff. (They did pay attention to her, right?)
  • Understand your brand’s key benefit to their company.
  • Leave her contact info to enter the drawing.
  • Know who to pass on the information to in their company. Booth staff should tell her the title of who that might be.

If you want her to refer, then follow-up after the show with a mail piece or an email or possibly a phone-call, if sufficiently pre-qualified at the show. Your sales staff needs to supply your potential referrers with a smile, a soundbite about your company, a warm handshake while repeating the person’s name, and just a couple minutes of good-natured, light-conversation.

So, what about that choice in giveaway we mentioned above? We suggest your offer be “Enter to Win Your Choice of Grand prize A or Grand Prize B”. Grand prize A might be golf clubs, B might be a complete high-end cookware set. Or A might be a vacation to Vegas, and B to Orlando. The key is to offer two different grand prizes to attract a wider audience.

You can offer a higher-priced grand prize if you target smarter. Pre-mailing actually helps you achieve far more bang from your marketing budget, because you can reduce your promotional costs by smarter, more focused prospect targeting.


Techniques For Entrepreneurship Development

Focusing on the key product

Your business revolves on the key product so focusing on your core product is the first step to create a business opportunity. A certain successful entrepreneur has stated that “Prospects buy when they trust your value is applicable to them and believe your company is stable” suggesting that an entrepreneur should focus on providing value to the customers. This suggestion is the key to the core plan. An entrepreneur of small business needs to differentiate from big business by concentrating on the core products. Specialization is the biggest asset of entrepreneurs.

Keeping it simple and short

One should be able to tell what their business is in few precise and concise words(I.e the patter or pitch) lasting for 30 seconds since any prospect can understand clearly about the business without being confused.

Staying true to who you are

You can reach your goals by knowing who you are and what gets you excited and not. Notably procrastination as human nature is can delay your growth plan so it’s better to not procrastinate and go for a perfect result oriented plan

Mapping it

The best way to determine your service strategy is by mapping your capabilities with your target clients’ needs. Hence the customers who do not need your particular expertise are also avoided. The urge to cast a wide net is one common trait among many entrepreneurs. However a small business flourishes since it has limited service offering. Specializing in distinctive top quality service is the value in having a small business. So in many instances, a small business flourishes. Significantly, while choosing a provider, a list of decision making criteria can be made, from which, your client can choose as per your expectation. Then categorize yourself honestly or evaluate intensely as to where you would be position in each category. After this, make sure that your patter or pitch is still on target.

Utilizing the best marketing tools that work for you

Implement the best marketing strategy that suits your personality and that of customers to be served. Identify the top two marketing tools that have worked for you in the past and then start adding new ideas from a fresh perspective. It’s also important to evaluate the selected marketing tools from cost basis. You have to take a decision as to which marketing tool will yield the best returns on your efforts. In one or another each tool should be result oriented or revenue productive.


Starting a Roofing Business

One of the main problems with starting a roofing business is the skills needed to be able to successfully put a new roof on a house. Another problem is that these skills are usually not taught in any school, so you have to find someone that is experienced in this area, and mentor under them for some time before you are able to perform the task on your own. Good employees can also be very hard to find to work in the roofing business. The job is very demanding, and has to be performed in extreme heat and extreme cold, so it takes a special type of person to be tough enough to perform this job.

As if these problems were not bad enough, another obstacle to starting a roofing business is trying to acquire enough capital to get started. Since many of these roofing businesses fail for the reasons above, banks and other lenders are sometimes wary about loaning money to a startup roofing business. Even if you are one of the lucky roofing businesses to get funded, you still have the problem of developing a customer base. Many consumers will not hire a roofing business unless they have quite a bit of experience and many references. It is hard to get experience and references if you can not get a job in the first place.


Greater Retail Success

It’s Getting Louder

The music was getting louder and louder as I approached the parking lot. It was coming from across the street. It was an automobile dealership, Mock’s Ford, and it was alive with action. There was a band playing, with folks of all ages dancing to the music, a barbecue filling the area with its popular aroma, and yes, people were buying cars. The excitement and activity drew me like a magnet to metal.

In front of the sales office, a local radio station, Cruisin’-FM, was conducting a live-remote broadcast allowing all in attendance to be involved. I located the dealership president, Don Carr, and during our chat he told me that they had sold almost as many cars so far that weekend as they usually sell in a month. To top it off he said, “We’re not giving these cars away.” Carr created a weekend partnering alliance with his community and won big.

And Still Making a Profit

How would you like to sell your products at that rate and still make a profit? You might be saying, “That’s great for selling cars, but what about me?” The answer is to get involved with your community in a way that serves people and created high-level exposure for your business. You’ll need to be creative and develop some fun, helpful, exciting community activities. Remember, being unique is not an absolute necessity, but it’s very helpful.

Creativity has always been, and will always be, the retailer’s call to battle. Creativity is also one of the key ingredients necessary to create value in the eyes of your customers. The way the national big box category busters (i.e., Wal-Mart, Circuit City, and Office Depot) develop perceived value is through selection and low price, not necessarily service. If you are an independent retailer and you’re trying to do battle in their arena, they will clean your clock. But, creativity is not necessarily a word that big boxes, at the local level, understand.

Generations

For years, Baby boomers have been the pig in the python in our economy. They were heavy-duty consumers in the 1980s, buying their first houses and filling them up, buying luxury cars and all the outward trappings of success. In the 1990s they traveled and purchased RVs. Now, with most of the Boomers having grandchildren, they will buy almost anything if they perceive it’s a good value. Also, determine what they perceive as value-added in how you run your business and give it to them–they’ll reward you with profits through their loyalty. Don’t forget about the X and Y Generations. While many were part of the dot com bust, they still seem to spend freely.

Create a unique position for your business in the minds of your customers and your competition in the marketplace is greatly diminished. Remember though, unique means one of a kind, (not just a bit different) and that’s what you must be if you plan to survive and prosper throughout this decade and beyond.

Creativity

Earl Nightingale, co-founder of Nightingale-Conant Corp., the worlds largest producer and distributor of audio and video learning systems continually offered this suggestion for creativity: take a yellow pad each morning and spend a quiet hour thinking about the major challenges for the day. He would go to work listing all ideas he could think of–no matter how crazy, impossible, wacky or boring the idea might appear. “Some ideas you’ll use and many you’ll toss out,” he would say. The important thing is to capture the ideas and take action on the ones you believe will assist you in achieving your goals.

So, how does all this creativity and uniqueness talk help you to partner with your community? You can’t just copy what others have done and make it work for you. You can, copy the process used but not the results. Your community is uniquely different, your neighbors have special needs, and you must use your creativity to find a winning combination.


Commercial Mortgages

Commercial mortgage borrowers should seek out long-term commercial mortgage loans that are not subject to recall or balloon payments. Commercial properties should not be financed with short-term funds. It is essential to obtain long-term financing of at least 15-20 years (and longer is even better). This is a prime example of using contingency planning to help commercial borrowers adapt to unknown future circumstances. Commercial borrowers should expect to encounter higher interest rates for longer-term financing (when compared to short-term traditional bank loans). However, most commercial borrowers will be pleasantly surprised when they see lower monthly payments in spite of a higher rate. The resulting improvement in positive cash flow can be the critical difference that creates a truly successful business investment.

Commercial real estate loans under one million dollars should be assumable. This strategy is primarily about flexibility and providing for a more orderly transfer of a business to someone else in the future. It is also an example of using contingency planning to select a commercial lender by anticipating future circumstances and selecting a commercial real estate loan that will help a commercial borrower adapt to those circumstances.

Seller seconds and other variations of subordinate financing should be allowed. This will permit the most aggressive Combined-Loan-to-Value (CLTV) for commercial mortgages, up to 95% of the property value. This is important if you are the buyer because it will provide another financial tool to help with financing. It is important to the seller because it might enable someone to buy the property who could not otherwise do so.

Commercial mortgage borrowers should seek out lenders using Stated Income commercial loans and limited documentation requirements. Very few traditional banks use Stated Income (no income verification and no tax returns) for a commercial real estate loan. Most commercial lenders will perform a thorough income verification as part of their underwriting process. This will typically include copies of tax returns as well as a requirement to sign IRS Form 4506 which authorizes the lender to obtain tax returns directly from the IRS. Many traditional banks will have loan covenants stipulating that the lender must receive financial data even after the loan closing and that the loan can be recalled if the audit of this data is not satisfactory to the lender.