Dec 24, 2010


5 Tips on Building a Sound Business Plan
·         Write a business plan with a complete financial and marketing plan
·         Your marketing strategy should be built around your strengths, your competitor’s weakness and your customers’ desires
·         Think and Test the reality of your business – know why it will work and how you will make it work.
·         Allow at least four hours every week for thinking and planning. Do not allow anything to interfere with this time
·         Establish an annual operating plan.  Review it and update it monthly with appropriate employees.
5 Tips for Effective Business Planning
·         Clearly define your business idea and be able to successfully articulate it.
·         Examine your motives.  Make sure that you have a passion for owning a business and for this particular business.
·         Be willing to commit to the hours, discipline, continuous learning and the frustrations of owning your own business.
·         Conduct a competitive analysis in your market, including products, price, promotions, advertising, distribution, quality and service.
·         Seek help from other small businesses, vendors, professional, etc. Be alert, ask questions and LISTEN.
5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Business Plan
·         Take the long view and do long-term planning.  Map out where you want to be in 5 years from now and how you plan to get there.
·         Write the plan yourself.  You will learn more about your business by doing so.
·         Think of your plan as a living document.  Review it regularly to make sure you are on track or to adjust it to market changes.
·         Share the plan with others who can help you get where you want to go – such as leaders, key employees and advisors.
·         Understand that you might pay a price in the short run to obtain long-term business growth and health
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5 Tips to Jump Start a New Business
·         Create a brand. Spend a little money to create a professional logo, business card and stationary. Present a professional image.
·         Ramp up online.   Make creating a web site a top priority.  A web site is today’s calling card. You really shouldn’t   be without one. Give people a place to go to learn about  your  business.
·         Make your   first sale.  This is key. Get that first sale even if it’s friends   or family at a discounted rate. This counts as getting started, so go for it.
·         Promote testimonials.  Ger testimonials from your first sales. Start building   creditability for your business from day one.
·         Build Buzz.  Be creative. Look for special promotions, big event, email campaign or something out of the ordinary for your business to get people talking about you, your product   or service.
5 Tips on Developing a Marketing Plan
·         Determine specific goals and the time frame in which you want to achieve them.  Communicate the goals to your employees.
·         Decide what tools can best help you meet your goals and how they will be           used.  These can include internet, newsletters, and special events.  Advertising, etc. Come up with a budget that reflects your goals. Delegate responsibility for implementing each segment of the plan. Monitor the results and make adjustments as necessary.
5 Tips for Enhancing Sales
·         Educate your customers.  Entrepreneurs whose business is ahead of the curve need to help customers understand the value of their products or services.
·         Put prospect identification on the front burner.  Keep developing sales leads and cultivating the people or organizations most likely to become your customers.
·         Make an offer the customer can’t refuse.  One professional   organization offered $250 off next year’s annual conference if members signed up and paid now. Only $50 was not returnable if the member could not actually attend. A can’t lose deal.
·         Don’t give up. Persistence pays off – as long as it’s friendly and helpful and not overbearing.
·         Show customers that you are an asset to them.  Prove that you can improve their business or enhance their lives

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5 Tips for Improving Your Web Site
·         Visit the sites of other companies to find out what you like and dislike.  Do some sites seem to “work” while others don’t ?
·         Decide what objectives you want your site to meet. Do you want it to be fun, funny, educational, “cool” or all of those things ?
·         Consider your corporate culture and your company image. Your site should support both.
·         Design or re-design the site to meet your objectives.  Unless you have a real expert on staff, hire a consulting firm to do the job.
·         Get feedback.  Ask customers how your site can be more useful to them, and keep making improvements.
5 Tips to Creatively Search For Funding
·         Contact your state, county and local development departments.  Many offer funding programs to foster business within certain geographic areas.
·         Take advantage of organizations aimed at helping you. The National Organization of Women Owners offer special funding programs for women entrepreneurs, other organizations too.
·         Call on community banks in your area. These smaller banks pride themselves on helping small business owners.
·         Find out if there are any revolving loan funds (RLF) programs for which you might qualify. They provide “gap” financing” that your bank won’t or can’t offer.  Your banker should know of any RLFs available.
·         Visit, the financial section of U. S. Small Business Administration’s Web site.  It provides details on SBA’s many funding programs.  Perhaps you qualify for one.
5 Tips to Set Priorities
·         Use a paper–based, electronic or computerized list to keep track of your tasks, instead of relying on your memory.  A list will give you a clear idea of what you need to accomplish.
·         Which tasks could you handle another day? If you would face no consequences by moving a task forward, move it ahead another day or another week.
·         Know the difference between important and urgent.  Important means a task needs to be done while urgent  means it must be done immediately. Knowing the difference between the two will make prioritizing your tasks easier.
·         Realize that you can’t do everything.  This will help you to realistically prioritize your tasks.
·         Determine if postponing the task would affect other projects you are working on.  Tasks and projects can have a domino effect.  If you do one task, yet fail to do another, you may have wasted effort on the first task.
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5 Tips on Preparing for Change
·         Examine your corporate culture to discover any impediments to change.  Some traditions and practices may need to be revamped to meet new needs. Keep talking about change so that employees think in terms of change and help make it happen.
·         Make expectations clear.  Key employees should know that embracing change is part of their responsibility.
·         Monitor company procedures and systems to be sure they support change.
·         Plan far ahead for the biggest change of all.  Your retirement or exit from the company.  Develop new leaders.



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