10 Power Moves For Every Smalll Business

The United States loves small businesses – it’s official!

Why is this? Well, small businesses are seen as a positive influence “on the way things are going in this country.” But it’s more than that.

Small businesses are the “heartbeat” of creating value. Either through customer experiences, products, or services. This will be my value added proposition to your company in the form of 10 points… that I believe will be the most useful in establishing integrity, community engagement and a high level of customer service. When was the last time you called a small business and got put through to an automated call center? These seemingly small things come together to create a hugely competitive value proposition – and are the lynchpin of your brand.

1. Determine who needs or wants the product or service you offer.

Identify your target audience and develop ways to engage and interact with them. Ask yourself the questions to narrow down your prospective customer base.

The narrower the definition, the more successful you will be. And don’t stop with identifying your customer, but work to build a relationship and deliver a product/service for which they come back repeatedly. Retaining customers is equally as important as attracting new ones. So ask their opinion on your product/service via printed or online surveys or through conversations.

2. Make your customers/clients comfortable with you.

They need to have a sense that you’ll be creditable and competent. If you don’t meet this standard they’re not going to want to go any further with you. The art of the sale is not a matter of convincing people to buy what you have; it’s finding what hefty want and your ability to deliver.

3. Leverage social media and e-mail marketing.

Social media and e-mail marketing are important tools as a part of an overall balanced media mix for any type of business. It takes you where your customers are. Neither are magic pills, but intelligently and diligently capturing customer data and maintaining a database is a good way to build a foundation for e-mail campaigns. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are good ways to build a client/fan base, as well as engage existing customers. To be effective, however, it must be continually monitored and updated as well as organic in it’s approach.

4. Know what online resources are available to help you go global.

Find that outlet online that will allow you to plug your product or service into the global market either commercially or government sources. The key service elements that you should be looking for to assist your global expansion platform are market research, trade events, leads, and information on how to export. The Export-Import Bank of the United States provides export financing by assuming credit and country risk. Also, study the topic, Doing business anywhere: The essential Guide to Going Global by Tom Travis may serve as a step by step guide in this arena.

5. Secure capital in this economic climate.

Small business owners are always on the hunt for sources of capital and guidance on how to secure it. Whether hunting for venture capital or an angle investor, you need to have a solid plan in place to reach both types of investor. Know the ins and outs of your business and have at least an executive summary and have a thorough understanding of your business, your competitors, and be able to speak to your unique selling proposition. Build relationships with community banks and always follow the money. Position your company to meet the needs of those industries and sections with business opportunities on the horizon.

6. Develop strategic alliances.

Contractual or information agreements to work together with another entity afford small businesses the opportunity to, “Play with the big boys”, literally. Partnering to form a much larger business allows you to go after much larger contracts-with beneficial gains for both parties. Of course, the objective is to collaborate with someone who can supplement your own capacity.

7. Choose the proper system

If you are starting looking to start a business and you desire a systematic approach them consider franchising or private franchising (more commonly known as home based business). A franchise system provides ongoing support in marketing/advertising, training, and education. The emphasis is on marketing and advertising because while a franchisee can gain financing to stay in business, he or she will fail if potential customers don’t know that the business exists. The ideal franchise situation should provide additional training and support, an education on how to connect with people in your respective city, and how to access business resources in their community. They also help business owners learn about tax breaks and tax credits available.

8. Know your business credit score.

A common mistake new business owners make when seeking small business capital is failing to establish business credit separate from personal credit. Most lenders will not finance your business without a business credit history. Start by establishing bank accounts and securing business credit cards to be used exclusively for your business. Before moving to secure your business loan from a small bank, consider establishing lines of credit with your vendors. Ensure that all sources of business credit are reporting your payment history to the Small Business Financial Exchange. The purpose of this third party entity is to report to all of the business credit agencies on your behalf.

9. Create your own opportunities.

Entrepreneurs need to be a bit more creative and solution- oriented in today’s challenging market place if they want to acquire new customers. Now is the perfect time for idea generation. Target those sectors and industries that are most promising for growth as you utilize government resources to gain that competitive edge!

10. Rethink business

There’s no cookie cutter formula for finding the right balance of time and resources when it comes to focusing on improving your leadership skills, so every entrepreneur will have to determine what works best for them. But particularly when business conditions are poor and competition is fiercer than ever, it’s clear that the old rules of business are outdated. So be prepared to reinvent yourself and the organization. Read books, listen to audios, and commit yourself to daily growth.

Your Core Business Numerology Profile – Business Path (Part 2)

In business numerology there are three main numbers that make up the core profile of your business. They are your:

  • Business Path
  • Business Expression
  • Business Motivation

Today we will be looking at your business path. This is found from the registration date of your business and represents 35% of your core (business) profile.

Your business expression number also makes up 35% of your core profile, while your business motivation number makes up the remaining 30%. (We will cover those in more detail in parts 3 and 4 of the series)

You might be wondering why the three core numbers are not equally split across the board? What makes the business motivation number slightly less important than the other two numbers?

The reason is because the drive and motivation behind your business can be overridden by you, the owner or your personal numerology profile.

That is why it is so important your core profile aligns with your core personal profile. If not you may experience some unnecessary problems and obstacles.

Finding Your Path

To find your business path simply add together the numbers from the day, month and year you registered your business then reduce them to a single digit.

For example if your business was registered on the 27th July, 2010, your business path would be 1, worked out as follows:

Day: 2 + 7 = 9

Month: 7 (July is the 7th month)

Year: 2 + 0 + 1 + 0 = 3

9 + 7 + 3 = 19

1 + 9 = 10

1 + 0 = 1

Once you have found your business path number, read below to find out what your number indicates.

What Does it all Mean?

Your business path lets you know the inherent strengths your business has and the opportunities it will experience. The main strength and area of opportunity for each path is as follows:

  1. Innovation
  2. Cooperation
  3. Self-expression
  4. Building foundations
  5. Promotion/PR
  6. Nurturing
  7. Analysis
  8. Big picture strategists
  9. Compassionate tolerance

In the case of the example business registered on 27 July, 2010, the 1 path number would suit an innovative, forward thinking business that likes to be seen as the leader in its chosen field. This is also where the opportunities for this business are.

The good news is that if you are starting a new business, you have some control over the date you register it. You can choose to register it on a day that reduces to a number that best supports the function it will serve.

If you are already in business there’s not much you can do to change your registration date unless you register a new business name. In most cases this would be costly, impractical and not advised, especially if you have an existing customer base.

Instead, you can take note of the main strength and opportunity of your existing business and look for ways you can apply it in your day-to-day tasks/activities.

Bonus Tip – You can also use your business path number to help you find more clients using social media.

Recipe for a Successful Business Launch

Imagine staring at a table full of great mouth watering produce, fresh oven baked bread, herbs a plenty, local farm raised beef, chicken or fish, the best cooking equipment possible and perhaps a great bottle of wine or two. Your culinary vision includes creating a lightly spiced, yet full flavored appetizer followed by an entrée basked in flavors and aromas from hours of tedious preparation and then completing this extravaganza with a delectable dessert that leaves one satiated, yet wanting more.

There is one small problem with this vision, you are an extremely successful entrepreneur, but a novice in the kitchen. How then do you create this meal? Where do you start? Do you try the recipes once before making them for friends and loved ones? Who will teach you basic knife skills, how to pick the best ingredients for each dish and how to nurture each ingredient to its fullest potential? These are just a few questions you are faced with in your quest to create the perfect meal.

You decide to venture into the culinary world on a solo journey. After a minor burn, a small cut and a poorly executed recipe, you decide to hire a Chef to train you. The Chef starts you off with basic knife skills, cooking techniques and food pairings that she has honed over countless hours in the kitchen while mastering her craft. You practice the menu with her until it is perfected and then off you go to create a sensational dining experience for your guests. In exchange for her services, the Chef asks you for help in starting her business.

She has seen so many success stories and seeks your advice to prevent the all to often restaurant failure. She has a vision of a restaurant filled with happy patrons who crave her food and desire the great service. They come back again and again, but how does she start this business?

She is staring at a desktop piled high with how to manuals, various business plans and countless business books. She doesn’t have the first idea of where to start. What she needs is a recipe for success.

As the Chef walked you through the various challenges of preparing your glorious meal, you will guide her through the process of opening a business. This task may be daunting for some, yet it illuminates your strengths.

You and the Chef agree to a recipe, that when followed, should lead to a successful launch of her business. Here is your secret recipe:

1. Utilize resources that help get the idea onto paper. Plan, plan, plan. This is the most important, yet most frequently overlooked part of business creation. Can you ever remember hearing a successful business owner say, “I planned too much?” Countless resources are available which include business plan building software, free or paid for business counselors, business consultants, countless how to books and the often times underutilized mentor. It is vital for your success to have a clear and precise understanding of what your business will provide and who the target customer is. Have clearly stated operational objectives that include entrance into the business world and a clear exit strategy.

2. Create the entity. Decide on how to legally set up your business. Some choices included a sole proprietorship, a Limited Liability Company, a corporation, partnership or charity. Make certain to identify the pros and cons of each entity and all of the regulations associated with each including liability protection. Once the entity has been chosen, create the appropriate bank accounts prior to initiating any business transactions. Secure an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for proper handling of all tax matters.

3. Determine the legal requirements. Check with local, regional and state entities and request information on the minimum expectations that are required of you to operate your business legally. Requirements may include registering with a department of revenue for tax collection agency, operating permits or licenses, health or fire inspections.

4. Build Business Infrastructure. Review your business plan and decide what type of support systems and materials you will need to build the business. Are you starting your business out of the garage, the back of your truck or with bricks and mortar? You should have a budget created from your business plan for support materials such as office supplies, computer equipment and software, internet access, credit card processing, membership fees and other support services you deem as an important part of running your business.

5. Create vital assets. Website design, trademarks, logos, intellectual capitol, copyrights and provisional patents are just a few things to consider. Often times employment contracts and confidentiality agreements are part of this process. Once created, ensure that you have policies and practices in place to protect and retain these assets.

6. Acquire financing. The financial overview and objectives should have been clearly defined as part of the business plan. It is now time to get the financing into place. It could be your savings, partnership cash or outsider investment dollars. If possible, seek counsel to review any and all financial agreements you may enter into. Each party involved must be absolutely clear as to the financial expectations of each other.

7. Establish operational logistics. Many start up companies have limited resources for accountants, lawyers and insurance needs. Additional considerations include Information Technology staff, banking, E-Commerce and website design personal. Training and Human Resources are two more areas that are often overlooked. There are countless tasks for any business owner to contend with and creating a support team is vital for their success.

8. Hire people. Acquire the very best human capitol and retain them. Outside of sole proprietors, businesses live and die by the quality of the operations team. Hiring and training are two very large investments of money and time. Establish consistent hiring and training methods that yield loyal and long- term employees who will aid in the growth of your organization. Forward thinking employers find ways to tie in employee compensation to company performance.

9. Get the message out. Market your business! There are a myriad of ways to accomplish this task and remember to stay focused on your plan. Make sure your brand’s message is memorable, clear, precise and it differentiates you from your competition. Consider your web site design, mobile connectivity to supplemental sites and the numerous avenues to open communication channels with your potential customer.

10. Open the doors, execute and Sell! Market research has been completed and a research strategy has been implemented. You have identified your potential customer and their purchasing habits. Your goal now is to under promise and over deliver to ensure optimal customer satisfaction. Embrace feedback and create powerful recoveries as needed. Fabricate long lasting customer relationships through outstanding products and services; repeat.

Give five chefs the same ingredients and ask them to execute the same recipe. You will end up with five similar, yet very different dishes. The same would be true with five different entrepreneurs and these ten steps. There is not one sure-fire way to accomplish the arduous task of creating a business. However, just like a finely tuned gastronomic creation, plenty of planning, attention to detail, a lot of hard work, the right timing and a little luck go a long way towards the successful launch of a new venture.

Bon Appetite.