5 Easy Tips for Small Business Proprietors to Achieve Greater Success

Most small business proprietors would normally close their financial account at the end of the year. This is usually the right time for them to reflect on their business performance for the past 12 months and set the base to achieve greater success in the following year and beyond. Here are 5 easy tips to achieve greater success in your small business:

1. Set goals

This may seem the most basic thing to do but in reality many small businesses have been running without any well-defined goals. Therefore, it’s important to take some time to start thinking big. Draw up a list of specific goals – both personal and business, that will optimize your resources and capability which you’re confident of achieving.

2. Have action plans

The goals you’ve set will mean nothing if you don’t have action plans to achieve them. Each action plan should consist of a breakdown of the various ‘step-by-step’ tasks for a specific goal. List out these tasks in a schedule and execute them diligently. Of course, you may tweak the schedule to optimize your time and resources to achieve each of your goals as you go along.

3. Get support

All businesses that are successful will have a support team to help them keep on track in order to realize their goals. Your support can simply be an assistant to help you look after the nitty-gritty or even a business associate to assist you in strategizing.

4. Action, action and more action

This is an important area where many business proprietors failed miserably. All your set goals, action plans and supports will come to zero if you don’t take any action towards reaching your goals. Make it a point to do just one step a day, even though how small it may look. Before you know it, you would have achieved a specific goal before the year is out and may even have started on other goals within the same year.

5. Reflect and analyze

An aspect of being a successful business proprietor is to be able to consistently adjust and adapt to unending changes in the business environment. Set aside time on a regular basis to reflect and analyze the performance of your business, whether your action plan is still workable and more importantly, if you’re on track towards achieving both your personal and business goals – even if it’s just a small percentage for the moment.

If you desire to achieve greater success in your small business, then implement these 5 easy tips today. You can start off with one goal, however small it may be. Once you’ve gained sufficient confident, just add other goals and scale them up as appropriate. You’ll soon discover that setting goals and working diligently on your action plans will help you realize them and achieving greater success in your small business.

Five Tips to Obtain Credit for Small Businesses

As many small business owners know, financing is crucial to the financial health of their enterprise. While some small business owners have the resources to launch their business, most look to the credit market for financial help. Indeed, the banking industry is an important source to gain necessary capital. However, many entrepreneurs may not realize that that applying for commercial credit requires a great deal of preparation. Here are five tips to assist entrepreneurs in improving their chances of getting credit approval.

Tip #1: Decide on the type of commercial loan that is needed. Loan options include short-term loans, intermediate loans, long-term loans, and lines of credit.

Short-term loans are usually for less than a year. They typically provide interim working capital for a business temporarily in need of cash.

Intermediate loans are often used for business set-up, the purchase of new equipment, expansion, or an increase in working capital. This loan can be anywhere from 1-3 years.

Long-term loans are for major capital improvements, acquiring fixed assists, and business start-ups. The loan term is usually from 3-5 years and repayment installments are on a monthly or quarterly basis.

A line of credit gives a small business the ability to borrow money repeatedly, up to the credit limit. The lender will usually perform a review once a year, at which time the borrower is asked to update financial statements.

Tip #2: Make sure all paper work is in order. Applying for commercial loans can be very tedious and requires much more documentation than applying for consumer credit. So, the key is to be prepared. In addition, entrepreneurs who have carefully put together the needed paperwork to include the loan purpose, the amount of money needed and for how long, and a repayment schedule proposal will be viewed more favorably by many lenders.

Tip #3: Develop a well thought out proposal. The proposal should include the loan purpose, the amount of money needed and for how long, and a repayment schedule proposal. Points to include are the business description that tells the nature of the business, product and service, a personal profile, and a business plan that outlines the corporate strategy for the next three to five years. Additional points to add are supporting documentation that supports the information outlined in the proposal, and collateral that will be used to secure the loan. Financial statements, both personal and for the business, are important as well.

Tip #4: Seek advice! It is important for entrepreneurs to talk with someone who has gone through the process of obtaining commercial credit before a lender is approached. This is especially important for the first time buyer. Entrepreneurs can approach mentors, qualified business counselors, business support groups, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. This step will increase the chances of getting a favorable credit decision.

Tip #5: Be prepared to pursue various options. Sometimes, financial institutions will say no. Once again, obtaining credit can be difficult, especially for entrepreneurs who are first-time borrowers. However, since financial institutions have different standards, an inability to meet the standard of one lender does not mean one fails the standards of all. It is highly possible that credit approvals can be gained with another lender. So, it is important to keep seeking until a lender is found.

Obtaining credit is necessary for many small businesses. Knowing what steps to take in this process can greatly increase an approval from a financial institution. Now, put these five tips into practice and be on your way to getting the credit you need for your business venture.

Copyright 2005 Monique Hawkins

Top 7 Bookkeeping Tips for Small Business Owners

Each business, no matter how big or small, must have some type of bookkeeping system in place. Keeping accurate records will allow the business owner to stay on top of company profits and losses. Businesses have been known to fail because the owner was unaware of how money was being spent, what revenue was coming in and what bills had to be paid.

When there is no accounting or bookkeeping system in place, it is very easy to overlook goals and forget important dates. Here are 7 tips that will help you get your financial records in order.

Stay Organized.

Staying organized is one of the most important bookkeeping tips for small business owners. It is a good idea to keep all of your receipts in one place. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to sort them just be sure to keep them all bundled together in a plastic container, briefcase or basket. It is recommended that you store all receipts, invoices and paperwork for a minimum of five years.

Keep Your Personal and Business Expenses Separated.

When storing your receipts, it is a good idea to keep at least two separate containers. One container should be for your personal expenses and another for business purchases. This will make the sorting process much easier later down the road.

Use a business credit card for business purchases.

Using a different banking or payment account is a great way to make expense tracking easy for the small business owner. This also cuts down on having to store individual receipt because you can save your monthly statements.

Realistic Budget.

Budgeting is half the battle in running a successful business. Creating a realistic budget will help you better manage your finances and track your marketing efforts.

Prepare for the unexpected.

You should always be putting money away for a rainy day. Unexpected expenses always come with business ownership and having emergency money will make it less painful.

Automate.

Using computer or cloud based bookkeeping software is a great way to simplify your bookkeeping. It also allows you to easily delegate this task to someone else so that you can focus on other projects like managing clients, creating new products or services and prospecting for new business.

Outsource.

Often times, small business owners find themselves focusing on activities that don’t directly affect generating revenue. Everyone wants to be a do-it-yourselfer but is it really helping your bottom line. Think about how much time you could save if this project was delegated to a professional.

Remember that keeping good records ensures that you comply with government regulations and helps you keep control over your finances.

3 Reasons Why Blogging Will Help You Grow Your Small Business

I have been intimately involved in building, growing and consulting many small businesses both online and offline for many years and what I have found is that entrepreneurs at all stages of growth and development are anxious to discover both strategic and cost-effective marketing tools that will help them attract new profitable customers in an ever-changing dynamic market place environment.

Increasingly, small businesses are smartly adding blogs as a key tactical online marketing technique for three important reasons.

3 Reasons Why Blogging Will Help You Grow Your Small Business

1. Blogging Is a Great Strategy To Help You Increase Visibility To Your Ideal Targeted Market.

The bottom line is that incorporating a blog into your online marketing strategy can help you improve your chances to increase sales and grow your business.

Do understand that this is not a quick or short-term sales success technique. Be committed to a long view of blogging and this technique will help you build value as a lead generation tool over time.

But if you have the determination to post consistently adding content that is fresh and helpful to your ideal target niche market, it will help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors.

The most important tip for you to follow when starting a business blog is to “Define The Purpose of Your Blog.” Just as any company must have a business plan, your blog must have a specific direction and purpose.

For instance, if your blog’s purpose is to help your customers and prospects with information that delivers tips, solutions free advice and/or adds value to your primary product or service, then make it clear.

If fact, make it very easy for any first time visitor to your blog to recognize what it’s all about. The key here is to write your blog posts with your end-users in mind.

2. Maintaining An Active Blog Will Help You Improve Your Websites Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Results.

If you do decide to develop a blog as a marketing tool to help you grow your small business, focus on building it around two basic criteria:

  1. Your most valuable keywords
  2. Continually adding new and informative content

If you do this, you can gain leverage allowing you to effectively compete against the big boy brands.

As search engines continue to shake up the way they rank sites for relevancy, adding fresh and regularly updated content will continue to be an essential marketing strategy for your small business.

A couple key tips here are to:

  1. Differentiate your blog and make it stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Make it “cool” for a lack of a better way to say it.
  2. Write your blog posts with your prospective searchers in mind. Put yourself in their shoes and use words and terms that they would be thinking in their heads when they are searching for what you offer.

Lastly, remember that as cliché as it sounds content is still king which means you should focus on delivering unique and helpful information. The reason is that fresh and relevant content is still the foundation of a smart SEO strategy.

3. Credible Content Will Help You Drive Traffic To Your Company Website.

If your objective is to build a blog that helps you generate sales leads and/or strengthen relationships with your existing customers, then you must realize that great content is what will help you build your reader and visitor base.

In fact, think of it this way, the content you deliver in your posts is like the food (or nourishment) you feed your readers and those who are searching the Internet for the information, tips and solutions you are writing about.

Plus, it’s the information that keeps them interested and hooked on your blog and will motivate them to share it with their friends and family. This helps to make it viral and valuable.

I stated it above and will emphasize here again that you should ask yourself “why am I publishing this blog?”

The answer to this question will lead you to creating great content. But continue to be diligent in keeping your focus on THEM (your reader).

In fact, paste this famous marketing saying on your computer screen as you write every post, “It’s all about them, it’s not about you.”

If you actually do this, you will create content your readers will be interested in and the by-product will be that you increase your competitive marketplace leadership, your SEO rankings, your sales leads and interested customer or client prospects.

One more tip when writing a business blog is to position yourself as the expert in your niche.

No one will actually come to you and crown you the expert but if you really do have expertise, experience and education in your area, then proclaim yourself the expert and share some of your successes and testimonials. This will increase your social proof helping to solidify the credibility of your blog enormously.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that incorporating a blog into your online marketing strategy will help you improve your chances to increase sales and grow your business.