Starting A Business? Here’s Your Checklist

So, are you tired of living off from your salary? Do you feel like you have been working too hard without being paid just as much? Or are you over with the thought of having to need more than just one job to be able to pay your bills? Or perhaps you are a student, trying to find ways to pay off your student loan as much as you could to lessen your parents’ burden?  Maybe you are a retired personnel wanting to invest money and make it grow? Or are you a homemaker whose kids have gone off to college and now has more time for yourself? In any case, today, to be able to survive, it is important to have an eye for business. Why business? Because business is the root of everything—the economy, supply and demand all rely on business and how it will grow. Even some academic institutions were built for the main purpose of profit. This is how important a business is. It is a part of the life cycle which may make or break the person. But just how do you start your business?

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Here’s your checklist:

1. An Idea That Sells. 

Before thinking of anything else, you have to know first, what it is that you are going to do. If you are good in baking, then you can probably start a bakery but with a twist—you wouldn’t want to be like the other bakeries! Maybe you can do something to lower your costs and then go for an everyday buy one take one, or a food truck that sells authentic dishes that cannot be found elsewhere. 

2. A Unique Name. 

To catch your customers or clients, you have to come up with a name that’s special and that speaks for your business. Remember, this name will carry your future. 

3. Investors 

You may or may not need investors because it depends on how big your budget is and your vision to the business. However, it would be better of course to have a partner to help you out with the chores and the errands. It wouldn’t hurt too, that they can lessen the money you will cash out. 

4. Target Market 

Who is your business for? This is in relation to the first item on the checklist. You have to know your bu
siness above anybody else. Your target market will help you in choosing your advertisements and even in the pricing strategy! 

5. Paperworks 

Now, you have to go on with the paper works such as the different permits you have to secure. In cases where the health may be at risk, be ready for an inspection in your area.

6. Headquarters 

The headquarters will serve as your playroom slash boardroom. It is where you will discuss things that you are not comfortable discussing with others such are the tedious tasks, the amount of taxes you have to pay, the multiple permits you need, and the likes.

7. Employees 

Unless you intend on a one-man job, you will need several employees to do the tasks for you.

8. Office Space 

To grow a business, you need to have a decent office. The difference between this and the headquarters is that, the headquarters can be as messy as you want it to be.The office space needs to be gleaming and presentable at all times. Choose furniture that’s elegant, classy and never goes out of style. Office furniture such as the sofa in the waiting area will show your prospective clients that you mean business. As what they say, “”First impressions last.” . Remember, your office is the reflection of your business. Treat it as your
home.

About the Author: Marie is an Interior Designer and Decorator who specializes in offering design consulting to various Business’s. She occasionally shops for office furniture from Only Office Furniture.

Quick Tips For Reducing The Cost Of Doing Business

No business can afford to pass up on any form of cost saving tips in this tough economy. There are always ways that you can cut back on your business’ expenses without sacrificing quality, but you need to look for them. If you are not actively searching for lower prices, how do you know that you are not paying too much?

coins
License: Creative Commons href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/meshal/40297406/sizes/z/in/photostream/” rel=”nofollow”>image source

Here are a few quick tips for reducing the cost of doing business:

Audit business expenses

Every company needs to analysis and justify each business expense a few times each year. Make it a part of your quarterly strategy or at least annually and always start by re-quoting your supplies. If you don’t find a better deal out there, you can always negotiate lower prices or better terms with your existing suppliers.

Increase staff productivity

In today’s modern world, the first step to improving productivity is searching for technological advancements. Manual entry is a thing of the past and there are now automated systems for nearly anything you need to accomplish in a typical business day. There are automated marketing systems, invoice generators, and automatic order processing, including payment. The less time your staff is spending on entering paperwork means more time they can be spending on innovation and growth.

Cut staff if needed

You may also discuss some positions are not as necessary as you think. For example, if you only need to process less than fifty invoices per week (which is typical for a small business), then you probably don’t need to hire a full-time bookkeeper. You could enter the transactions yourself in less than an hour and save a considerable amount on labor expenses.

Use video-conferencing instead of meeting in person

To save the expense of commuting between locations, try using video-conferencing whenever possible. If you also use file sharing program like Google Drive, you can both even work on the same document without having to email it back and forth.

Use less expensive forms of marketing

Social media marketing is being used by more big business as a way to connect on a more person level with potential consumers. It is relatively inexpensive, especially when you compare it to all other mediums for global advertising. Create an engaging website, an interactive blog, a fun Facebook page, and an intriguing Twitter feed.

 Reduce your paper costs

You can save time and money by switching to paper saving online solutions. Use email, online calendars, and online billing software to reduce the amount of paper you use. If you email invoices directly to your customers, you will save on both paper and stamps!

Take action and start saving money today by auditing your business expenses, increase productivity, take advantage of video-conferencing, use inexpensive marketing methods, and reduce your paper cost. These little things can add up to an incredible savings for your company.

About the Author: The article is posted by Gerwyn Wallto. You can find other related articles here.

Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Last

They say that if you want to earn unlimited income, you have to start your own business. No wonder that there are a lot of people who immediately resign from their jobs. Yes, that can be a great plan if you want financial freedom. However, it’s not that easy. You have to think twice, in fact you have to think a lot of times. If you will not plan your business right, you’ll end up bankrupted.

As much as you want to become your own boss, you need to prepare properly. You have to know the risks involved.

In this article, I will briefly explain some of the reasons why more than half of small businesses die.

They are too excited. This is one of the most common reasons why businesses falter in no time. We want to open up our own business even without careful research. Establishing your own trade doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, some successful business owners spent months, even years of preparation, so they can create a long running industry.

Your adrenalin might be at its peak. But don’t let that excitement push you to start something which you aren’t prepared for.

They usually join the ‘business trend’. It’s a big No for you to become a ‘copy – cat’. One business idea might be good in some locations. However, it might not be the best for you. You have to be original. You need to have fresh ideas.

Trends or fads are not forever. Are you going to establish a business that is just for a period of time? I don’t think you like that, right?

out of business
Image: AR McLin / Flickr

They lack promotion. In promoting your business, you have to be aggressive and personal. Don’t take this for granted. How can your business grow if no one knows it? I believe that most business fail in the first few months because they were not able to advertise it properly. You don’t have to spend so much. You can just send messages to your friends and I’m sure they would be willing to share the news with their friends too. Aside from that, you can maximize the social media. It would be nice if you will create your own business page in Facebook. You can also make a twitter account. There are so many ways to promote your business. Invest time for it if you want to be successful.

They don’t keep track of the inventory. Most business owners are busy counting their money. The problem is, they don’t check their inventory. That is very important. A lot of my friends who started their businesses thought that they were doing well only because they have money at the end of the day. But after few months, they realized that the money at hand is not equal to their inventory. And with further investigation, they found out that a clerk stole some items from them.

This can be avoided if you are strict in checking your inventory. Make it a regular habit.

They are not hands on. Even if you are the boss, it doesn’t mean that you have the license to be lousy. You shouldn’t depend the success of your business to your staff. You have to be on top of the game. Being a boss has a lot of responsibilities and being a couch potato is not one of those.

Now, you know what are the worst things you can do for your business. Plan carefully and be consistent so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in no time.

About the Author: Toni Okeson writes for a great welding school site. If you want to start a career or a small stick welding business, you should try reading their resources.

How To Create Your Own Business?

Creating your business is starting a life full of rewards and difficulties as creating your own business has pros and cons. Starting your own business requires focus and time because you have to make it grow and succeed. There are a lot of steps and advices on how to start a business. Here are some of the great ways on how you can get through the startup phase of a business.

Conceptualize and Start with Your Own Idea

Starting your own business may need your own idea on the products or services that you are going to offer. Starting with your own idea means that you take hold of your own business; you can have additional advices from other people, but your own idea is most important because it is what you are going to offer the public.

Do research

Since you are just starting, looking into business plans of other small and large companies will be helpful in assisting you start your business. Research for your possible customers, how much you need, where should you advertise, who are your competitors and how will you compete with them. Research is one of the steps in planning your own business.

Draft your business plan

After researching, make your own business plan, which you will use in undertaking your own business. Make a thorough financial planning as to how much you need in order to fund all the aspects of your business.

Identify sources of funds

You have to determine if you need financing from bank loans, credit cards or others. You can also self-finance if you have adequate funds. It is important to have in your business plan the probable expenses in order for you to produce the adequate funds you are going to need. It is also important to allot a sufficient salary for yourself in order to mind your living as you still enter into a new world of business where several possibilities maybe met.

Make complete and updated list of your clients

The customers are the best asset of a business because the income of the business comes from them.

Have a clean book

This does not mean having book to read, but a list of the finances such as the expenses of income of the business. Most of the small busies do not accounting of their finances, which is very hard for them to know if they are gaining or not.

Have an electronic credit card machine

Even how small your business may be, it is important to have a credit card machine because other customers always have to pay using credit cards and you don’t want to lose any clients just because they will not be able to pay you with their cards.
Find the purpose of your business

In every business, it is important that you know where you are going and what your mission is. In this way, you become more inspired to start and maintain your own business.

Creating your own business will never be easy, but what is important is you have the passion and inspiration to start it.

About the Author: Amarendra, the author likes to write on how to start and register a company. He is blogger, freelance writer and SEO.

The Challenges of Starting a Consulting Business

As in any case, starting a consulting business isn’t easy. It takes a certain character, drive and passion to be able to stick through the roughest of times. Starting a consulting business, however, is very different from simply being a consultant at a firm. At that point, you are no longer an employee – you are a business owner in charge of clients, business operations, finances, and much more. Consider these 3 obstacles before getting started.

“Strong expertise and solid reputation do not guarantee success in the consulting business. Never make the mistake in believing that your reputation can sell itself on auto-pilot mode and that you can simply sit and wait for work. As a consultant, you need to aggressively sell your product – you!” – PowerHomebiz.com

Getting Clients

The first hurdle you’re likely to encounter is getting clients. This is a difficult task, as it could take years to build a strong, profitable client base. However, coming into this business, you have likely had experience with clients via your old or current job. This will be a great starting point in tackling this first step of the process.

  • Old clients: Clients that are no longer with your current or old firm are your best starting place. Because they no longer have an attachment, it should be a non-issue to contact them in regards to your own business.
  • Partnering: You can consider partnering with your current or old company. If you’ve had great recommendations from clients and an excellent track record, you can make a case for why the two companies should come together, in a long distance working relationship. This will help with name recognition, as well as client attraction.

Being Unique

In any business, it’s a struggle to be unique. It seems as though everything has already been done, so it can be hard distinguishing yourself in a sea of other consultants. Regardless, there are a number of ways you can be sure to stand alone that is both effective and beneficial.

  • Be diverse: Don’t just do business consulting, change up your range of services so you will appeal to a larger audience. Some companies may need help with more than one issue, and you’ll be the person that can fix that.
  • Be open: While you may not advertise certain services, it’s critical that you are open to various needs. If a client is looking for you to aid in something different, consider it before saying no. This makes for a happy client, and great referral.

Marketing Yourself

One of the toughest transitions may be adding marketing to your list of duties. If you’ve worked in a well known firm, they have marketing and years of experience in place to attract new clients. You, on the other hand, have minimal experience as a business owner and perhaps very little experience in the field of marketing. Luckily, the online world makes it a cinch for newbie marketers to get their business out there.

  • Social media: You are already on Facebook and Twitter, so just cater them to your business or start new accounts. Be active, engage with potential customers or old clients, and build your reputation.
  • Email marketing: If you have been able to compile a list of emails from current or old clients, begin your email marketing campaign. This is a very effective way to reach potential clients and get some word of mouth marketing.

There are many challenges you’ll face when starting your own consulting business. However, there are always techniques and tactics you can use to side step them. Becoming successful as a business owner is all about remembering, “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” So take advantage of networking opportunities and old relationships to start off on the right foot.

About the Author: Sara Fletcher is interested in emotional intelligence in leadership and understanding her DISC assessment. She loves to explore psychology, business, and sports in relation to eq tests.

The Beginner’s Guide to e-Commerce

In the current economic climate where employment opportunities can be scarce at best establishing a small business can seem like a tempting proposition. Being self-employed can free an individual from the endless process of job hunting and provide much desired independence.

However, establishing a business is not as straightforward as some may presume. There is a lot more involved in creating and managing a business than may at first be imagined. The owner of the company is not only responsible for day to day operations but also for managing the business itself.

A working business idea

In many respects coming up with a working business idea can be the most difficult part of establishing a new business. The majority of entrepreneurs approach this problem from one of two very different directions: having a business idea and creating a business based upon it or simply having the desire to create a business with a working business idea yet to be created.

Either way, caution should be exercised. In the first instance the prospective entrepreneur must ensure that there is a market for the business and that they do not simply press ahead with the idea based upon passion and emotion. This would be a sure route to failure.

In the second instance the prospective entrepreneur should ensure that the business idea that is adopted is of course viable but they should also ensure that they have sufficient knowledge and enthusiasm for the product. This is essential to succeed.

The basics of e-commerce

Once the newly established business has a product with which it can proceed, the next challenge is to create the infrastructure necessary to sell the product. This generally starts with a website. For more sound business cases this may involve designing and building a professional website or having one created on the business’ behalf.

ecommerce basics
ECommerce 101

If the desire is to simply test the water before committing significant resources many companies have found eBay to be a good starting point. Products can be advertised and sold on eBay for minimum investment and maximum return.

Of course the business should ensure that it has sufficient stock to be able to sell to clients, whether using eBay or a professional website. Moreover, the business should consider supplies of consumables including cardboard boxes, jiffy bags and other packaging. The business should also consider the creation of address labels, packing slips and invoices.

Business development

It is always a fine balance between failing to take advantage of a market and overreaching too soon. The business should be ready to take full advantage of the market if it is available and the sale of the product is successful.

However, the business should also ensure that the infrastructure is in place to support this expansion to prevent overreaching. The company should aim to expand progressively in a controlled and calculated manner. By doing so, the owner of the company can ensure continued success and this will allow the business to grow naturally.

Everything You need to Know about Starting Carpet Cleaning Business

Many people understand the importance of using professional cleaning services and appreciate the solutions that carpet cleaning businesses provide. On the other hand, many people are in search of either full time or part time income earning opportunities. If you are considering starting this type of business, you have a good opportunity to generate an impressive income because plenty of opportunities are available in commercial and residential properties.

Business start-ups require entrepreneurs to do their homework well by researching on every aspect of the business and having a business plan prior to launching. Rug cleaning is no different. You are likely to have a successful business if you arm yourself with all the necessary information about the business.

carpet cleaning business
How to start a successful carpet cleaning business?

Business location

Most entrepreneurs who get into the business of cleaning carpets start their businesses from home. Some may eventually move to other business premises, but this implies additional cost. Before you decide to base your business in your home, find out about the local authority’s regulations that govern the running businesses from residential premises.

If you choose to rent commercial premises, identify a reasonably priced facility with ample space that meets your business operations requirements.

What do you know?

One of the best things about starting a rug cleaning business is that you hardly require any special skills or certification. However, you need to have good knowledge of professional equipment and products used for cleaning carpets in addition to learning skills necessary for running a successful business.

Hiring staff with experience in cleaning rugs is a good idea if you only have basic knowledge of the business. You will need to keep updating your knowledge about new cleaning equipment, supplies and invest in those that will add most value to your business.

Licensing

For this type of business, you will require to obtain a Business License before getting started. You may find it necessary to incorporate your business once you grow your assets.

Determine your clientele

Some businesses serve multiple clients successfully while others choose to target a niche market and focus on meeting their needs. Your research should guide you on which market you can serve best and create customer loyalty.

To franchise or not? 

Franchising is a good option when you are starting out. Your business gets support in terms of marketing, advertising and operations. It is much easier to work with an already established business with a known name. However, franchising may not work to your advantage once your business is established. 

Equipment

You will need to invest in cleaning equipment like steam and vacuum cleaners as well as cleaning supplies. You can start with light equipment and upgrade as your business grows. In addition, you have a choice between buying and hiring cleaning equipment. You may need to consider purchasing a van to transport equipment and staff.

Hiring Staff

Lounge cleaning businesses require workforce especially cleaners, assistants and administrative staff. The amount of work determines the size of workforce. Recruit staff with knowledge of using the equipment used in cleaning carpets.

Pricing

Draw up a reasonable pricing plan for your rug cleaning services. You are starting a business to provide a service in return for profit. Therefore, your pricing should allow you to cover your expenses and give you a profit.

Marketing

Getting your marketing right can mean business success. Establish and maximize on the most effective marketing and advertising strategies for your business.

Image: Frederick Md Publicity / Flickr

Choosing a Business Structure for Your New Startup

You’ve just started your small business and are a bit confused as to which structure you should choose. It can be very confusing for a small business owner to know which business structure will be best for them, especially for those that never took business courses. However, it’s important to know that the structure you choose can greatly affect your taxes. That’s why it’s important to make the best choice. Here is a bit of advice for choosing a business structure for your new startup.

Types of Business Structures

The first type of business structure also happens to be the most popular. The sole proprietorship is a business structure ran by one person, the owner. Many small business owners prefer this method because it is easy to setup and doesn’t require any special licenses, other than the license to run your business if your jurisdiction requires it. The second business structure is the partnership. There are two forms of partnership and the most popular is the general partnership in which the partners share the liability and profits of the business. A limited partnership requires one partner to take responsibility of the debt. The last structure is the corporation, which can be one of three types (C, S or LLC). This business structure is for major corporations and the exact requirements and definitions will vary from state to state.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each

For the sake of this article, we will focus on the sole proprietorship and partnership structures. A sole proprietorship offers many advantages. First of all, it’s easy to set up. Other advantages include being able to file your taxes on a Schedule C rather than having a drawn out form. It’s also the most popular methods among small businesses, especially those ran from the home. However, there are a few disadvantages. First of all, everything falls on the owner. This means that any debt the business acquires will be a personal debt. Last, but not least, it can be much harder to get financing.

The partnership also has many advantages. First of all, the business may be easier to run due to the fact that each owner may excel in different areas. There will also be someone to run the business should one of the partners become ill. Last, but not least, a partnership is easier to run because the liability of the business may be shared among owners. However, a partnership also has disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that a partnership is harder to set up. Another disadvantage is that the partnership may come to an end due to the partners becoming unhappy with each other. Last, but not least, one partner may end up being liable for all the debt.

Which Should You Choose?

The only people that can honestly help you make this decision is your attorney and accountant. There are a number of legal and financial issues that go with each business structure. This means that using the wrong business structure could end very badly.

As a new startup, you have the chance to pick your business structure, but you must do it carefully. Choosing the wrong business structure can lead to bad financial and legal consequences.

Best At Home Businesses For Stay At Home Moms

It’s tough these days to make all the ends meet in our financial lives. With everything becoming more and more expensive, and many employers actually offering pay cuts instead of pay raises, more and more families are requiring two incomes to stay above the financial waters. As a mother, however, you may desperately desire to stay at home with your children. Well, you can. Now, there are jobs for stay at home moms, but for the purposes of this article, I would like to focus a few home-based businesses that you can start with relative ease.

The first one is day care. Now, I’m not saying you need to do an overhaul of your house to convert it into a modern-day day-care facility. Simply watching a few children every day can easy bring in hundreds, even a few thousand dollars a month extra. Day care is very expensive, as you know, so if you’ve earned the trust of parents with young children, you can easily persuade them to allow you to take care of their children instead of some day care. You could charge dramatically less than the average day care, and still come out way ahead.

Another great opportunity that few moms consider is to be a freelance writer. You don’t need to be an experienced writer; you just need to have some knowledge in a given topic. Companies like About.com will allow you to write on topics at your leisure and pay you well for it. This is a great business to start because the work is provided for you, and you can do it whenever you like.

Now, as I mentioned, there are jobs for stay at home moms which you can certainly pursue as well, but being able to have your own business from home will allow you to have the maximum amount of flexibility to tend to the needs of your children and your home.

Start a Home-Based Business

Starting your own home-based business can be a fantastic opportunity. You have the chance to work for yourself, make all the decisions and major calls, and maybe even choose your own schedule to watch the kids while you’re working from home.

However, with the power and perks of a home-based business often comes responsibility. If this responsibility is not handled properly, it could land both you and your business in hot water. There are plenty of legal ramifications to consider with such an operation, and being prepared can help you avoid potential issues that could be costly both in time and money.

Legal Operation

One of the first things you’ll likely have to consider in a home-based business is whether your operation is indeed legal to operate. Many locales have a variety of zoning laws and restrictions. Even certain housing developments, apartment communities or condominiums may have guidelines governing the operation of a home-based business. Therefore, it is important that before you make any sort of sizeable investment to get your business up and running that you make sure you are in compliance with area zoning and business operation rules and requirements.

Insurance Needs

A home-based business can be convenient in that it allows you to work from the privacy and comfort of your own home. However, this also means that customers and clients may be coming onto or into your property on a regular basis. A simple trip and fall by a customer on your property could result in a lawsuit. By having the necessary business and liability insurance paid up and in proper coverage amounts, you could be better protecting yourself legally when it comes to the possibility of injuries or other issues that might occur upon your property.

Employees

Insurance can also be important if you are planning to have someone other than yourself working in and around your home. While many home-based businesses are sole-proprietorships and don’t have to worry about employees, should you have someone working for you on the premises, it can be critical that you take this into consideration when it comes to your policy.

It is also critical that you know and understand the state and federal laws governing employee/employer relationships in order to avoid lawsuits pertaining to discrimination, harassment, and other workplace violations. You can check with the SBA (Small Business Administration) or your state government to learn more about the rules that apply to your home-based business, ask questions or get advice.

Taxes

While you may have done your personal income taxes in the past, starting a home-based business may make tax season a bit more difficult. Not only might you have personal income taxes with which to deal, but you could have business taxes as well. If you have employees or are planning to delve into the realm of business deductions, property tax deductions for a home-based business, and similar tax areas, you may want to consider seeking the advice and assistance of a tax professional. Having your tax issues squared away can help keep you out of legal hot water when it comes to you and your home-based operation.

Billy enjoys informing his readers of their legal rights as US citizens.  He can help if you are looking for a criminal attorney in Houston that will fight for your legal rights as an individual. If you have been arrested for assault, then a Houston assault lawyer is available to protect you against any un-just accusations.