Author Archive: Steven Turner

Should You Buy a Business Opportunity?

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Many hopeful entrepreneurs can’t wait to get started doing business. They save up, for years so that they can afford to purchase the capital, licensing and permits that they need to get started. Some of these hopefuls, may come from a background of entrepreneurship and have experience in the field of business. They know how to start up their businesses in the most economical and efficient way to yield a profit. Others may be coming out of employment positions or just starting to work with little or no experience in business. This prompts the subject of purchasing an existing business or “business opportunity“. Many seemingly appealing features may come with these opportunities. So are they for you? Here are a few things to consider.

If you are someone who is interested in starting a business but has no experience in the field, you may be considering purchasing a business. Most “business opportunities” offer potential buyers their equipment, contacts and other resources. This may seem like a very opportune transaction that allows you to get straight into the business without having to worry about all the technicalities of starting up. However, this can come at a price, usually a very high one. You should remember that those selling their business are pricing it at the opportunity cost of them not being able to earn an income from the business. They not only lose their business, when selling it, they lose the opportunity for them to continue operating and profiting from it. So they must price accordingly. This may mean that the price for the business may be significantly higher than if you were to purchase the equipment, licensing and permits yourself.

Purchasing a business leaves for little flexibility. There may be some aspects of the business that you would like to forgo. A fully decked out store, with the latest technology, a full staff, and a prime location can be a bit much for someone looking to start small. However, this is not usually an option when purchasing a business. Many times, owners are looking to get the entire business off of their hands and do price accordingly. As a result, prices are usually firm and it becomes an all or nothing transaction. This could put you, unnecessarily out-of-pocket.

Finding the right business to purchase also has its difficulties. It is very hard to find an incentive to sell off a successful business opportunity, so many successful business are often not for sale. As a result, many of the businesses that are left for sale, may be on sale for a unfavorable reason. Oftentimes, owners will look to get out of a business because they are not bringing in enough revenue to profit. For whatever reason, they may choose to sell these unfavorable businesses and buyers may find themselves in the exact same bind.

To avoid this, it is important that you research the business carefully before you do decide to purchase. Researching the costs and strings that may be attached to purchasing these businesses such as, high rent rates, back taxes owed, consumer complaints, slow sales, and other information can save you a lot of time and money. Finding out the reason why the owner wants to sell, is a good way to start. Sometimes owners will look to sell because of health reasons, personal responsibilities and outside forces that prohibit them from continuing to operate the store. These are probably the best reasons that you will find. If the owner doesn’t give you a reason or complains about the business, these may be warning signs that you need to be aware of.

Before purchasing a business, consider the costs involved, your own ability to start from scratch the most cost effective way, and the reasons why owners are selling. Extensive research and pro activity can save you a lot of trouble when investing.

5 Challenges Facing Established Small Businesses

Here is news for all you start-up entrepreneurs: you may think that after you get things rolling for your small business that everything is a bed of roses. Beware! You can never give up your vigilance or your competition will slip in and grab your customers when you least expect it. There are five big challenges an established company faces every day, and in the end it will pay to include them in your daily tactical planning.

First Challenge

The first big hurdle you will face it trying to do everything yourself. Small business owners can get very possessive about their products and manufacturing methods. You can’t expect to grow if you don’t learn to duplicate yourself well and leverage your efforts by hiring employees. Remember that as you bring new people into the team, you gain the benefit of their skills and talents.

Second Challenge

You’ll become so busy going after new customers you’ll forget about maintaining your current clients. Never ever forget the people that have helped you build your business to this point. Nurture them by maintaining lines of communication. They will give you repeat sales and refer other buyers to you. They are the foundation of your company.

Third Challenge

Gaining a false sense that everyone knows you exist so you relax your marketing and promotional campaigns. The golden rule of being in business is you always must “promote, promote, promote!” Exchanging your products and services for cash is the life blood of the company. Without sales you’ll spiral down very quickly. So, keep up with the promotional campaigns that have been successful.

Fourth Challenge

You decide to modify your product or service because you have been itching to make improvements. Progress is a good thing, but you may be forgetting your consuming public that is accustomed to the way your product is now. Before you make any changes that shock them so badly they stop buying it, ask their opinion. Never make a move like this without surveying your market first.

Fifth Challenge

You’ve got a little cash flow going on, so now you think it’s okay to blow it by investing in some type of expansion. Don’t be so foolish as to use up your cash cushion – you’re putting your business in danger. If you want to expand, set aside a percentage of sales or find an investor that wants to work with you. Don’t allow your cash flow to dry up.

More from this contributor:

How to Stop Wasting Money This Year

10 Low Cost Ways to Advertise Your Business Locally

How Networking Changed My Local Economy

Why Teenagers Should Become Young Entrepreneurs

Using the excuse “because I am young” is a great opportunity to explore opportunities beyond your boundaries. Being able to explore past your boundaries because you are young is what can make a young entrepreneur ideal and fun.

The advantage of being a teenager is having less responsibilities and being able to waste time. This is what sets you apart from your parents. If you have ever watched or listened to your parents, you know they are trying to cram more ways into their life to make money for the family. Even though being young has the disadvantage of lack of experience and knowledge, you can use what you do know to start being an entrepreneur.

Being young between the ages of 16-21, and a new young entrepreneur, are showing more perseverance and vitality to jump into a marketing many industries that are profitable. The minds f teenagers are developing as fast as cell phone companies are rolling out their new brands of cell phones. For the above average teenager they can earn $50 a day in a hot business market.

Rather than using a product from the past to create a new line of something that is retro, think about what the group of people you hand around with are always talking about. Use what they want from these conversations and figure out how to make it become a reality.

Being a teenager with a curious mind and an enormous amount of determination and drive, you could become the next Bill Gates, Donald Trump, or Oprah. These people didn’t let anything get in the way of their dreams. Why should you as a teenager?

As a teenager, you should consider becoming an entrepreneur because you have the fast track to many new product and service ideas. You are aware what your friends and yourself are wanting in tech gadgets and other services, like youtube and facebook, that meet the needs of your generation.

Earlier I mentioned something about teenagers and wasting time. Think about what you do to waste time between classes, what you watch on TV, and what you do on the internet. Think about what you have a hard time finding and go from there with a business idea for yourself.

Keep track of what your friends and yourself want to see come to life in your real world. Make a business plan and make it happen. Taking action to complete the steps of your business plan can make your business come to life as a teenager. The hardest part of becoming an entrepreneur is completing the tasks needed to make your business dream a reality.

Small Business Grant Money: Get Your Grants for a Business Now

Small Business Grant Money: Get Your Grants for a Business Now

Small businesses are the backbones of the community. Even the government understands that. For this reason, several different kinds of grants are available for small business owners and entrepreneurs. These millions of dollars worth of grants are open for anyone to apply for, and they can be a valuable resource for a business owner or entrepreneur that needs a little boost with their business. By learning a few important tips, individuals will have a better chance of receiving small business grant money.

Contact the Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration or SBA can be a valuable resource and ally for individuals seeking small business grants. This highly reputed organization was created by the government as a way for individuals to stay in touch with the latest funding and grant opportunities available from the government. The SBA keeps individuals informed on the latest business grant opportunities and also offers low to no interest business loans that can really help put a business on its feet. The SBA has branches in each state, as well as an official website where individuals can learn more.

Consider Community Benefits

Those businesses that will offer benefits for their community may have a better chance of receiving government grants. Grant review panels look at all aspects of the business, as well as the benefits that will result. For instance, if a business will provide several more jobs for the community, it may have a better chance of receiving a grant than a business that will offer only one or no jobs for the community. Individuals should seriously consider the benefits their business will offer, so those can be conveyed to the grant review panel.

Write a Business Plan

A business plan can greatly help focus a business owner, and can be beneficial for conveying benefits as well as obtaining funding for the business. Business plans are like guide books to the business. They outline important information about the business, such as the products or services, target market, expected costs associated with the business, projected profits and much more. Business plans are often used in lieu of grant proposals for businesses and can be very effective in helping the business win a grant. Individuals can learn how to write business plans or hire a professional writer to take care of it for them.

Use the Internet to Find Grants

There are a number of helpful websites that allow individuals to find grants for business. While individuals should proceed carefully, as there are many scam websites on the internet, it can also be a valuable resource. One should never have to pay for grant information, since it is available for free on websites like Grants.gov and Business.gov. These websites maintain up to date listings of government grants for business and other needs. These should be book marked and checked often as new grants are posted and old ones are removed.

With the above information, individuals can find and apply for government business grants that will help them find success.

Small Business Key Points to Consider Before Borrowing Money

Small Business Key Points to Consider Before Borrowing Money

Borrowing money has been around for generations; back to when the banks and other financial institutions first came about. But unlike the present times, procuring a loan then was deemed a well-mannered negotiation.

Prospective borrowers made a formal appointment with the local bank manager in which few questions were asked and the debtor’s history with the bank was reviewed. The bank was much a part of the societal activity, and the process was accepted that way.

Recently, potential borrowers rarely set eyes on the bank loan manager. With the advent of the credit cards, and their proliferation, so much has changed that sometimes it hardly seems like people are borrowing at all, what with the credit cards that provide instant gratification. But whatever it is thought to be, there is no denying that it’s all about borrowing money.

 For the small business owners planning a business start up, immediate questions spring to mind when planning to borrow money, questions such as: How can I borrow money? Where can I borrow money? How do I get a small business loan? What are the loan rates?

Three Loan Options

Usually, the interest rate is expressed as a percentage per annum. Three Loan options are:

  • Fixed Interest Loan – does not change throughout the course of the loan
  • Variable Loan – the interest rate can be changed by the lender
  • Secured Loan – guaranteed by a mortgage or other assets.

List of Questions Small Business Owners Need to Ask Before Borrowing Money

  • Is it worth incurring this debt?
  • Will I have the cash to pay for it accordingly?
  • What percentage does this loan represent to my available cash outlay?
  • Have I clarified with my chosen lender the true/actual cost of the loan? (This might need to include, for example, charges that effectively add to interest payments)
  • Are there other expenses to be considered that I might have overlooked?
  • What are the contingencies I have allowed for in planning my business startup?
  • Have I taken a financial advice of the type of loan I’m going to avail?

Although borrowing money can present great opportunities for investment and financial growth, it is a roller-coaster ride with the possible nightmare of inability to pay off debt. Business owners, as well as personal debtors, often want to get their loans approved with a sense of urgency. The diversity of the kinds of loan and looking for the needs that best fit the business, should be carefully studied and weighed.

If uncertain with issues about borrowing money, small business owners should consult a business loans consultant who can assist with the lending application process and explain key points that banks will evaluate in lending money.

Starting Up and Running a Successful New Business Affordably

Starting Up and Running a Successful New Business Affordably

Becoming an Affiliate Marketer

A third and more affordable solution for the aspiring business owner is to set himself up as an affiliate marketer, selling the goods and services of other companies in exchange for a commission. Many top companies have their own affiliate program, such as Amazon and Ebay. Other leading brands are members of an affiliate marketplace network, in which the business owner can register for multiple companies and get paid in one regular commission check at the end of each month.

Similar to the business owner who wants to sell something they have expertise in, the affiliate marketer should choose products based on a niche and/or sub-niche they wish to explore. They will already have a computer and be able to do the research online to find affiliate programs they can join. Once they register and enter their bank details and are accepted to at least a couple of programs, they can start building links with their special code through the affiliate program. These links will be special only to them in order to make sure that they are credited for each sale they drive to the site/s they are affiliated with.

An affiliate marketer should also have a website of their own, a business bank account, and a PayPal account to be able to accept and process secure payments. Iceland in 8 Days is a perfect example of a fully operational and active affiliate site. They might also wish to have an email marketing program to help capture email addresses of people who visit their site, in order to send them a free newsletter and other promotions containing their affiliate links. They can also spend time rather than money by producing free special reports to give away in exchange for the email addresses. Finally, they may wish to write reviews of the products that they are selling, especially if they have personal experience of them.

Marketing a New Business Affordably

Marketing a new website usually takes more time than money, through link building, referral links they can post on forums, blogs and in their email signature files. For those who can afford a marketing budget, Pay Per Click through a large search engine like Google can help drive qualified traffic very quickly. This can help test the market and how well the sales pages on the affiliate site will sell.

For high-ticket items in particular, there may be a great deal of competition and the cost of the ads will be higher. Yahoo, Bing and Ask PPC prices tend to be a fair bit lower per click but there will not be as much traffic. However the key is conversions to a lead (email address) or sale, so if the sales letter page is not showing any results after a day or two, turn off the PPC, adjust the page and try again with new ads.

However, if there are still no sales, then try to re-write the sales letter to make it more compelling and post to one’s own site and drive traffic there instead of the affiliate’s sites, for better tracking of results.

A new small business can be an investment in terms of money and time but thanks to the opportunities offered by the internet, new business owners can get started running their own company quickly and affordably no matter what they decide to sell. They can certainly also market their company affordably by making the most of all the tools on the Internet to drive traffic and gain customers.

Get Government Grants for Small Business: Business Startup Grants Can Be Yours!

Get Government Grants for Small Business

Government grants for small business are a valuable resource for small business owners. With the money to purchase supplies, hire employees or advertise the business, small business owners will have an easier time with their start up. While they’re not widely advertised, there are many different government grants to help entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

Create a Business Plan

The first thing entrepreneurs should do regarding their business is create a business plan. A business plan highlights the company’s goals, mission, services and products, target market, and more. This can serve as a helpful guide when it comes to applying for grants and can often be used in lieu of a grant proposal, though both are helpful as well. A business plan should be well organized, factual, easy-to-read and understand, and free of grammatical and typographical errors. The Small Business Administration offers helpful hints for writing a business plan at the SBA.

Work with the SBA

The SBA or Small Business Administration has an official website as well as chapters in each state. It is a highly reputed organization that offers business grants and startup loans at lower interest rates than normal. The SBA also offers a number of tips, suggestions and other forms of help for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Individuals working with the SBA will have a better chance of finding grants that will help them start their businesses and make them successful.

Visit Business.gov

Business.gov is a direct link to the US government that can be quite helpful for entrepreneurs. They provide an up to date list of all startup grants and loans as well as other programs from the US government. There are many different kinds of advice, suggestions, and tips available on this website as well. This is a great starting point for anyone who is searching for government business startup loans or grants.

Consider Business Start up Benefits

Individuals should consider how their business will benefit the community and surrounding cities and towns. Those more likely to benefit the community will be considered differently than those that are not. For instance, if one business will create twenty new jobs in the city the business is started in, it will probably be more likely to get the grant than a business which will only offer one or two jobs. By considering the benefits of their businesses, entrepreneurs will have a better chance at receiving startup business grants.

Check out Government Grants at the State Level

It’s important for entrepreneurs to check at the state level for startup grants and funding. While there are business grants available from the federal government, entrepreneurs are much more likely to find a program or grant within their own state. Check with local organizations and associations that typically offer grants for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Learn more about checking at the state level at US Gov Info. By using the tips and information above, entrepreneurs can successfully fund their small businesses with start up grants or low interest loans.

Free Online Resources for Small Businesses

Free Online Resources for Small Businesses

Operating a small business is not easy, but you don’t have to do it all alone. There are excellent resources available through the internet that won’t cost anything but time. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of others who have put together guidance for small business success.

Business.gov from the Small Business Administration

This site offers a wide range of business information for businesses of all types to help them understand legal requirements and locate government services. Find out how to organize or form a corporation. Find out what business licenses are necessary for different industries. Get statistics and market research data. Learn to how to bid on government contracts. See what grants or loans may be available for your business. This website has links to many different government departments and agencies. Visit the website at Business.gov.

 Small Business Training Network

Another initiative from the Small Business Administration, this resource offers a variety of online courses on topics such as how to write a business plan, technology, marketing, and dealing with a slow economy. Courses require a simple online registration and take about 30 minutes to complete. The site also offers publications, podcasts, business forms, and newsletters. Visit the website at sba.gov.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

The more than 12,000 experienced and well-informed members of this volunteer organization are current and former business owners and managers with a wealth of knowledge to share. They donate their time to help small business owners overcome the obstacles to growth and profitability. Contact them online or make an appointment for a personal meeting. Attend a workshop or webinar. Sign up for a business newsletter. With more than 300 offices across the United States, SCORE is likely to have a branch near you. Visit the website at SCORE.org.

The Small Business Page at OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers guidance to small businesses about safety and health training and programs, guides for OSHA standards, and OSHA “eTools,” interactive Web-based training tools on safety and health topics. OSHA provides many publications that can be ordered online and compliance assistance to help business owners understand which OSHA standards apply to their businesses. Visit the website at osha.gov.

Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

The Internal Revenue Service provides information for businesses to comply with tax laws. View a virtual workshop to understand federal tax obligations. Download forms and publications for employers and employees. Register for a federal tax identification number. Find an A-Z index of tax topics to answer questions on just about any aspect of federal taxation. Visit the website at irs.gov.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses employ just over half the nation’s private workers and include almost 30 million individual businesses. The government wants small businesses to succeed, so it has created a variety of resources to help. Take advantage of these free resources to support and grow your small business.

Small Businesses Must be Tougher with Mobile Phone Suppliers

Small Businesses Must be Tougher with Mobile Phone Suppliers

A survey of 1,000 small business leaders reveals that many walk away from negotiations with mobile phone or cell phone suppliers without trying to haggle, despite ongoing needs to control costs. The new research suggests that SMEs and other smaller companies can do more to get a better deal from mobile phone companies if they are prepared to negotiate hard.

The survey, conducted by T-Mobile, and released on Wednesday May 5th 2016, shows that 63 per cent have walked away from a supplier who has quoted an unreasonable price and a third of small business leaders do not see themselves as natural negotiators. Added to this, 71 per cent of small business leaders believe suppliers often offer better deals to large enterprises

Opinium Research carried out the survey of 1,069 UK SME Business Owners/ Senior Managers from Thursday 18th to Wednesday 24th March 2016 on behalf of T-Mobile.

Businesses Need to Negotiate on Mobile Phone Contracts

Nearly a third of small business owners or managers do not see themselves as naturally strong negotiators while 38 per cent of small business leaders expect suppliers to quote an unreasonably high first price and 63 per cent of small business owners or managers have walked away from a supplier who has quoted an unreasonable first price.

Alexander Ehmann, Head of Enterprise Policy, Institute of Directors, in a press release issued with the findings: “UK commercial growth remains fragile and small businesses continue to face serious pressures. In order to survive and grow their companies, business leaders need to keep control of their costs, which often involves negotiating with suppliers. If this is not an option, then it is up to suppliers to offer the best deals possible to support small businesses, which form the backbone of the UK economy.”

T-Mobile’s Head of Business Marketing, Max Taylor, commented in an interview: “It is understandable that business leaders find negotiations a drain on their time. However, it must be frustrating for them to miss out on the best deals available. If we can sidestep the negotiations process, it relieves managers of this additional pressure. This is why it is important for suppliers to offer good value, upfront deals to the UK’s small businesses. At T-Mobile, we offer a mix of straightforward business plans that do not restrict people from doing business in the way that best suits them.”

Good Mobile Phone Packages are Available

Where they have been prepared to haggle, SME have got some good deals from mobile phone contractors. The most impressive business deals include: £1,500 worth of free photography, a saving of £5,000 on annual office rent, a conference room within a hotel negotiated from £200 for three hours down to £40, rent brought down by £7,000 a year, free printing of marketing materials worth approximately £400 and full hospitality at British Grand Prix.

With the effect of the recession still being felt by many small and large businesses and profit margins still narrow, it is clearly essential that companies get the best deal they can. This research clearly indicates that SMEs can get a better deal on their mobile phone or cell phone contracts if they work a little harder.