When I started my first business I didnt have a solid, well thought-out business plan. I threw together a rough one that I used to apply for a bank loan (which I didnt get, by the way). Ive found the best way to make sure a business is going to be successful is to create a business plan. It doesnt need to be pages long and take you days and days to complete. Below Ive created a quick 30 Minute Business Plan. A good business plan will help you figure out approximately what your business will cost to get off the ground. You dont want to guess at this. Knowing your costs will help you decide what youre going to charge. The 30 Minute "Business Plan" below also includes information about your competition. Dont forget about them. In one way or another they exist and youre going to want to get to know them. The bottom line most businesses fail because they dont have a clearly spelled-out business plan. Dont make that mistake.For those of you who have been in business for awhile, dont think a business plan cant help you. Your business plan should be taken out on a regular basis, reread and updated.Your 30 Minute Home Business Plan1.What is your business exactly? Explain in one or two sentences. (If you cant describe your business in a couple of sentences, rethink your business and focus your idea).2.Is your particular business needed? List the reasons that make you thinks so.3.Where do you see your business in one year? In three years? In five years? (Be specific.)4.How will you fund your business? Savings, credit cards, loans?5.What equipment/office supplies/licenses will you need to get your business started? Total Cost?6.What organizations and trade publications will you need? Total Cost?7.Who is your target customer? Describe them.8.What other businesses will you be competing with?9.What makes your business different from your competitors business? (Include price, quality, unique services, etc.)10.Where will you set up your home office? Is it going to cost me money to make a nice workable office? Cost?11.Will you use daycare everyday or once a week? Cost?12.How much money do you need to make each month to help my family survive?Once again, this is just a partial list, but there are enough questions here to give you a good idea of what youll be facing with a new business and the costs involved. A business plan is essential to your successful home business. As one great quote says, Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Author Unknown[ Submitted with ArticleSubmitter Pro - http://www.articlesubmitterpro.com]
You are most likely coming here as a follow up to my Part 5 of 5 articles on creating an online business. I hope you found part (1) one through part (5) informative and helpful. Today we are going to cover some advanced tips that can help you build a more efficient and profitable web site.I have gone step-by-step through the process that I used to build my "online business" . Obviously, I cannot cover every small detail, but you can email me at any time should you have any questions. I will be happy to help you if I can. Especially if you follow the same steps as I have taken. I am very familiar with this particular process.Now that your site is published and up and running, what do you do next?This is very important! You must monitor it real time to ensure your site is converting as high as possible. You will have some products and services that will convert better than others. After a decent sampling time, perhaps a couple of hundred click throughs, I would consider putting the highest converters in the hot spots on your site. You may not understand what a click through is. Lets back up a bit. To understand your site, you will need to know when someone comes to your site, how long they stay, what pages they visit and where they exit. You can find many free counters that will give you that type of data. In addition each program normally offers some tracking information as to how many clicks and sales you have gotten. You are going to need a couple hundred clicks on each link to get a fair comparison. Many people are getting about a (1) one percent conversions rate on most programs. I have some that have converted as high as (25) twenty five percent. I'll bet you can pick which ones are in my hot spots.After receiving a couple hundred clicks on your links, you can then adjust your site as required. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself on a regular basis and helpful hints on how to correct: * How many clicks are you getting from your advertising? If people are clicking on your ads in droves, but are not staying long, not visiting your other pages nor clicking on any affiliate links then you probably do not have a good match up between your keywords and landing pages. * How many people are staying around longer then 5 seconds on after coming to your site? If less then 2% are staying less then 5 seconds your either have poor traffic, probably free ads, or a poor keyword to landing page match up. I would suggest only using (PPC) Paid Per Click advertising until you get your website fine tuned a bit. Free ads often bring people clicking just because they are curious and not because they are looking for anything. * How many of your keywords are bring you good traffic. Many times what you are looking for are long tail phrases, which are more often two to three word phrases not just one. Typically the one-word keywords get a lot of clicks, but no results. Your goal is to be as specific as possible i.e., getting yourself the best possible customers as possible.Okay, enough for today, I can see that we are going to have to break this up into (3) three parts to get it all covered.See you in Advanced part two.Please feel free to read both this article or one of my many others by visiting my link in the resource box below. I always enjoy getting emails pertaining to my articles or my site. Your feedback is important to me.
This week as I traveled from our offices in Wilmington, Delaware to my home and field office in Aurora, CO, I had a chance to pick up the #1 Bestseller, a great business book that has sold over 2 million copies, Good to Great by Jim Collins.The book is about how to turn a good company or business into one that produces sustained great results.Your home based business might be doing pretty good, but are you just satisfied with just being good, or do you have the desire to move your home business into the rarified air of greatness?If I was still a Corporate Weenie, I would have made this book mandatory to my management team.I am certain that in Corporate America this book has been a topic of furious debate along mahogany row, as the leadership tries to determine whether the books rather controversial viewpoints should be applied to a company that from most indicators is doing very well both from a leadership and financial standpoint. The book would describe this company as simply a good company, not necessarily a great one.How about your business? You might not even think you have a good business. Well, in that case, you might be able to pass the good stage and go directly to greatness as you apply the principles in Jim Collins book.The book suggests that there are common denominators that are associated with his definition of great companies. In the absence of these common denominators, a company might be really good in all measurable aspects, but never ascend to the books definition of greatness.The author and his outstanding research team conducted exhaustive, academically sound research in establishing its criteria for greatness. A very strict criterion that resulted in a somewhat surprising and selective group of companies that met the incredibly strict criteria. You would be very surprised I think by the companies that made the list, and those who did not.As I continue to read this impressive novel I thought about the "home based business" marketplace and my own personal entrepreneurial efforts with Tiger Trade, LLC. I thought of some of the ideas the book promoted and how I could apply them to my business endeavors and transition from just being a good home based business, to a great one.Here is a list of the ideas and concepts gleaned from the book that I have decided to pursue to take my businesses to the next levela level of greatness. Be a Level 5 Leader- The companies that went from good to great did not have the personally dynamic, gregarious leadership you might expect to find. Firms that went from "good to great" all contained leadership who had a leadership style of personal humility and the professional will to do whatever was required to develop a great company, even if it impacted them financially. Its not about you; its about the business. First Who, then What- Good to great leaders did not develop great companies by creating a new dramatic vision or strategy. What they did was to get the right people onboard and the wrong people off-loaded. They flipped the script on the mantra that People are your most important asset. That is wrong. The right people are your most important asset. Surround yourself with the right people. Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet never lose faith)- Every good to great company embraced what is called the Stockdale Paradox. This paradox was derived from the former prisoner of war Admiral Stockdale. The idea suggests that you must maintain unwavering faith that you can prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. Do this in your life and your business in order to be great. Use the Hedgehog Concept- Refuse to just be competent. Transcend the curse of just being competent, even if it is your core business area. Find out what you can possibly be the best at, and then over time pursue that, even at the expense of curtailing something you might have done for years, but can never be the best at. Only what you can be the best at can be the core of a great business. A Culture of Discipline- In my business we will just not be disciplined, but our business will have a culture of discipline. When you combine a culture of discipline, with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance. Technology Accelerators- Do not rely on technology to ignite a transformation in the business, but use carefully selected technologies with the understanding that it will not be the primary cause of the businesses greatness or decline. The Flywheel and the Doom Loop- There is no single defining action or grand event that transforms a company from good to great. There must be a combination of numerous activities over time. The process is like pushing a flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum, until a point of breakthrough and beyond.These are some incredible ideas on how to transition your good home based business into a great home based business. A business that will be sustained for many years to come. A great home based business that will continue to be an asset for you and your children, and even your childrens children. The Bible says that a good man leaves a heritage for his childrens children. That is long term success and opportunities that greatness rewards.Get Jim Collins book. Read it over and over until the principles in the book become believable to you. Understand it, then confidently implement the principles in the book not only in your business, but also in your life.Warm regards,Kenny Anderson
Most of us can easily list off 5 professional, and consequently unprofessional, business experiences weve had recently. Our interaction with these businesses may have been in the form of an email, a retail shopping experience, or a telephone conversation. In several cases, the deciding factor between a professional and an unprofessional experience may have been something so small, so simple, yet so significant. Running a home-based business often means wearing the hat of everyone from order taker to customer service specialist. A stickler for a professional image, I believe it is essential I constantly make myself aware of how clients, contractors and the public are viewing my business practices. As the sole owner of my Virtual Assistant business, I have to nobody else is going to do it for me!Im a firm believer in the K.I.S.S. method of business relations Keep It Simple, Stupid. The following five points may seem clich, and ever so simple, but its surprising how often home-based business owners forget to take notice of them. 1. Spell check. Whether you are writing an email, creating a brochure of your services, adding text to your website, or writing a thank-you card, double check your work! Just about every program you work in will have a spell check function - use it! For projects such as text for my website or brochures featuring my services, I hire a professional editor to review what Ive written. You may ask, Isnt a professional editor going to cost me a lot of money? No! There are hundreds of Virtual Assistants who, for a surprisingly low fee, will edit your correspondence. It will save you the embarrassment of spelling mistakes, an error which may very well cost you a future customer.2. The telephone. Have you ever called your favourite retail shop or your local notary public to hear them answer, Hello? No? Neither have I. Businesses answer their phone stating their business name, as should you! Unfair or not, some potential customers have a negative preconceived notion about home-based businesses, so let them know from the moment they call that you are a professional organization. Ensure your answering machine or voicemail clearly notes your business name, and directions for leaving a message or alternate contact information. If your business line is also your home line, instruct others in your home how you want calls answered during business hours. Also explore the option of getting a smart ring number or a voicemail system with multiple mailboxes. 3. Professional documentation. Business cards, brochures, emails, website content, faxes, written quotes and RFPs. Always give out typed, clean-looking, professional documentation with your company contact information. If budget allows, hire a graphic designer to create your companys brand image so you keep a consistent branding with all of your correspondence. Lots of Virtual Assistants have a background in graphic design, and offer these services. Not in the budget just yet? There are easy-to-use software programs with template designs, which you can customize with your own information and flair. 4. Mind your manners. Smile when you are on the phone. Say please and thank you. Treat each and every phone call and email with this kind of care, and you will surely see repeat customers and referrals. Let customers know you appreciate their patronage. A sincere thank you for your business will go a surprisingly long way. Dealing with a home-based business is often a new experience for customers. Show them your level of professionalism by keeping your manners in check. 5. Know your policies, your product, your business. It is most unprofessional when the owner of a company does not know the answer to a question about their business. When someone asks for a quote, they are expecting an answer of how much your business will charge to provide them with a service. Potential customers dont want to hear how youre just redoing your pricing and youve never done this before but think $40/hr sounds fair. They dont want to hear that now you have people sign a contract because once upon a time you didnt sign one and you were never paid for that assignment. You are the professional. Give clear answers to the inquiries you receive about your service offerings, pricing, policies, etc. Just be mindful. Operating a new or home-based business of any kind is certainly a lot of work, and a continuous battle to gain confidence from customers who may well be used to dealing with larger, potentially more established businesses/industries. Step up to the plate, be mindful of your professionalism, and others will be confident in hiring your services, or purchasing your products.
In my 20 plus years of consulting small and medium size businesses it is rare that I find a business with a financial plan that is being monitored. Most "financial plan" s are generated to obtain a bank loan and once thatpurpose is served the plan usually finds its way to the lower bottom draw of the owners desk to collect dust. The other day I had an occasion to check one of these plans out with a client whose business was in trouble and sure enough, most everything in the plan had been ignored. If only partof the plan had been followed and monitored the business would have been profitable and not in need of any outside help. Usually when a financial plan or budget is first put together it is based on the business history, knowledge of the business and industry, and some valid assumptions about the business future. A flight plan is put together inmuch the same way, however as soon as the plane takes off and winds change, adjustments must be made in order for the plane to reach its destination. The same holds true for a financial plan. Once the business is put into operation, some things change either with the product or themarketplace, and adjustments must be made to achieve the profit objective. Therefore, a financial plan must be monitored to identify the variables as they present themselves. In a business these variables usually present themselves when a Profit and Loss statement is compared to a financial plan. Unfortunately, since most small business owners do not value their financial plan there is no urgency to check it against a P&L statement that tells you what actually happened inthe business for the particular period of the report. Since the plan is not being monitored it is very easy for the business to head off course and in the opposite direction of its profit objective. Comparing each item in the Profit and Loss Statement (What is actually happening in a period) to the Financial Plan (What you want to happen) will identify the variables and help you identify where problem(s) exist in meeting your profit objectives. However, identifying the problem is only the first step in solving it. You must research further to find what is really causing the problem and then make the necessary adjustments. Various solutions should be considered before picking the best solution, and after implemented, the new solution should be monitored to see if it really solved the problem. The importance of a Variance Report that compares a financial plan (budget) with a profit and loss statement cannot be overstated. These are two important management tools to control your business and reach your profit objectives. If you have a financial plan, start using it to control your business, and if you do not have one, create one, it could mean the difference between success and survival. Good Luck!
Copyright Donald N. Lombardihttp://www.HomeBasedBusinessWizard.com