3 Essential Tools for Starting and Maintaining a Small Business

We believe that there are 3 factors that drive the success of small businesses.

1) Acquiring start-up capital
2) Finding customers
3) Accounting for, budgeting and controlling sales and expenses

The following resources will help your small business achieve these success factors.

Acquiring Start-Up Capital

An adequate supply of capital is essential as many profitable businesses fail because they don’t have enough cash to pay their employees and suppliers. But what is an adequate supply of capital? The only way to tell is by doing a significant amount of research on your potential market and formally documenting this in a business plan. I’m sure you know that a business plan is a very important document that is crucial to convincing your banker to lend you money.

There are two ways to obtain a business plan.

1) Do it yourself by amending a business plan template, or
2) Hire a professional to do it for you.

Obviously obtain 1) will be a great deal cheaper.

Our research led to a website that has over 60 high quality and free business plan templates. We also found a directory that you can use to easily find a business plan writer in your city – where ever you live in the world.

Finding Customers

Finding customers is a difficult and expensive task for service business owners such as accountants, lawyers and plumbers. We believe that a cost effective marketing strategy for service business owners is to simply give all their personal contacts a few business cards.

Our research led to a few websites that have pre-designed business card templates. We felt that the diversity and quality of these designs was outstanding. In addition, we found that you can obtain a significant saving by finding a printing service on the Internet. We found that you could get 2,000 full color business cards for as little as US $150.

Accounting For, Budgeting and Controlling Revenue and Expenses

Accurate accounting is very important for small business owners. It’s essential that you have timely access to information that could make or break your business. If stocks are running low – you need to know about it. If a large proportion of your debtors haven’t paid – you need to know about it. If you do not react to these situations quickly you may have a situation where you don’t have enough money to pay your employees – or worse still someone is stealing cash out the till.

Our research led to a website that compares and reviews top accounting software for small businesses. The cheapest software cost US $89.99 and the most expensive software cost US $1,499. It was interesting to note that the top 3 ranked websites were not the most expensive and cost between US $250 - US $300.

Hopefully you now have an idea of some of the tools that you can use to grow and maintain your small business. If you would like to benefit from our research please visit our website. We do not charge for this research and offer the content freely on our website.

10 Amazing Ways To Jump Start Your Sales

1. Find a strategic business partner. Look for ones that have the same objective. You can trade leads, share marketing info, sell package deals, etc.

2. Brand your name and business. You can easily do this by just writing articles and submitting them to e-zines or web sites for republishing.

3. Start an auction on your web site. The type of auction could be related to the theme of your site. You'll draw traffic from auctioneers and bidders.

4. Remember to take a little time out of your day or week to brainstorm. New ideas are usually the difference between success and failure.

5. Model other successful business or people. I'm not saying out right copy them, but practice some of the same habits that have made them succeed.

6. Take risks to improve your business. Sometimes businesses don't want to advertise unless it's free, sometimes you have to spend money to get results.

7. Include emotional words in your advertisements. Use ones like love, security, relief, freedom, happy,
satisfaction, fun, etc.

8. Ask people online to review your web site. You can use the comments you get to improve your web site or you may turn the reviewer into a customer.

9. Out source part of your workload. You'll save on most employee costs. You could out source your secretarial work, accounting, marketing, etc.

10. Combine a product and service together in a package deal. It could increase your sales. If you're selling a book, offer an hour of consulting with it.

You May Have A Successful Small Business Idea

You surely know that a small idea can lead to a great business success. The first movement is to think of an idea that would be suitable for the business market. After coming up with the idea, the next step is to put that idea into action. Of course, this is a very difficult step and having the idea is only the start of the journey. After that you will have to face many obstacles before being able to carry on with your business project. This is just the beginning of this process and there is a lot of questions you will have to answer before even start.

Some of the main aspects you have to concentrate on when you have business ideas are the abilities and gifts you can pour into the business. It is very important for you to be identified with your business project. Those ideas should be based on activities and actions you take pleasure in doing. For example, if we suppose that you dislike working in the open, landscaping business would not suit you. On the other hand, if you like working with children, setting up baby-sitting or tutoring business would be an excellent idea. In this case, without any doubt you business will be more successful because you will have put your mind, effort and also your heart on it.

Another vital step is to analyze the needs of a specific product or service in your region before setting up your business. Do people of your area need your product? Are there other business like the one you are planning to start? You should ask yourself whether or not you are the only one offering that service or product. If you are not, you will have to analyze the competence you will have to face. You have to think whether the service you are offering is one that customer would repeat, or if it is a one-time specialized service. Obviously, the former are more likely to succeed than the latter.

There are other aspects you have to take into account. These aspects are described below:

- One of them is that if the idea is unique, you will reign the market. But if there is much competition, it will be difficult to enter into the market.

- A second point would be if you can offer quality from the very beginning, otherwise, you won't succeed.

- Finally, you have to think about your capital to start your own business. There are many business ideas that require little investment and bring great profit. Some demand research, such as daycare service, and others need a large amount of money to begin the business. So take this recommendation into account before investing all your money in a small business idea.

Why Online Presence Is Essential For Small Business Success

If you are any kind of small business or home operated business, online presence is essential. Majority of web site visitors are from the English speaking population due to the high levels of internet penetration in that category, online presence for all small enterprises cannot be overemphasized. The research data in the US about online connectivity reveals the following facts which may help to understand the importance of the web presence for businesses especially the small enterprise.

70 % of the US households have web connectivity.

In 2004 worldwide online population was 801 million worldwide.

Of these 36% used English as the language. Of this U.S. alone accounts for close to 200 million.

The next major group was European languages with 38 % and major single language next to English was Chinese accounting for 14%.

Home web users were generally affluent, literate, and belonged to the younger age profile. This means the web presence for any business is necessary if you want to succeed in promoting your products and services to a population who can afford them and also willing to purchase them online.

The household that did not own a computer or who were were not connected to the web, generally felt it is not useful or needed and cost too much.

What this means for a small business owner is that they are better off promoting their products to people who were online.

You small business success is undoubtedly linked to your online presence

What Software Do You Need For Your Small Business

When running a small business there can be several jobs and
tasks to take care of. Obviously knowing where the money is
coming from and going is essential to running your business.
That's why it is good to find out which small business
accounting software is best for you to help you run a well
organized and efficient small business.

There are hundreds to thousands of small business accounting
software out there to help you with reports and tools needed to
use your financial data. Depending on the one you go with will
depend on how much you're going to pay for it. The more you
pay, the more accessories and programs there will be that come
with it. Some come with a billing and time module, various
amounts of financial and management reports, and more. You can
choose to get it in different editions from basic, online, pro,
or premier for your computer.

One small business accounting software that is recommended is
the 2014 Peachtree Complete Accounting. This is a multi-user
ready system that provides you with all the features needed.
You'll have features including in-depth inventory, job costing,
time and billing, fixed assets and more. With all these great
features the price of this runs between $165-$290 as it is sold
by different merchants. You can shop for this product through
the different merchants here:


Another feature that is offered with certain software is the
capability to scale as your business grows. That is just one of
the many features that the high end Microsoft Business Solutions
Small Business Financials North America Edition offers. Also
included in this program is the capability of keeping record of
financial management, sales, purchasing, inventory, payroll, and
reporting. This is software that will easily allow you to run
an organized small business and keep track of the people in it
and all of the numbers associated with running a small business.

This software will give you everything that you'll truly need.
With this high end software is a hefty price as it runs between
$995-4,500, so you'll have to decide how big your small business
is going to get. If you're going to be running a large small
business, then this will be worth it to help keep track of all
the payrolls and inventory and more. On the website listed
below, you'll also see a free 60-day CD demo that you can try it
out first to see if you like it.


There is plenty more software to choose from, but there's a high
end software and a cheaper software to check out. If you go to
http://www.2020software.com/default.asp you'll find a list of
what this website claims the top 7 software out there. Included
on this list is the Microsoft software I have briefly talked
about just above.

This list is going to consist of the more expensive software out
there. All of the software on the list is priced at above
$1,000 with some of them reaching the $100,000 mark. While it
is pricey, it will install very easily, be very secure over the
internet and computer, and offer all kinds of features you
wouldn't even consider such as a built-in report writer to help
deliver the content in the format you need.

Now you know the general price range for accounting software and
the features you'll get for what you pay for. In order to get a
good quality software for your small business it's going to be
pricey, but it will help keep your business organized and in
tact. So don't be afraid to drop some money on software that
will help expand your business in the long run.

What's the difference between successful businesses and struggling businesses?

Have you ever noticed how some businesses seem to do extremely well, and go from strength to strength, whilst the majority just seem to muddle along?

Since starting my own business I've met many small business owners and what I've noticed is that the vast majority of them seem to just about get by, but few reach the level of success that they're actually capable of. Some of them end up failing altogether, some lurch from project to project, and some do OK, but never really achieve the success or lifestyle they envisioned when they started their business.

On the other hand, I know a handful of extremely successful service business owners, who are making high 6 and 7 figure incomes every year (and rising) - and yet they don't work longer hours, their products and services are not magnitudes better than their competitors and they aren't geniuses!

So what is the difference between the successful businesses and the struggling businesses?

In a word: Marketing

Whilst there can be other factors that affect the ability of a business or practice to be successful, such as the economy, trends, cashflow and product/service quality or innovation, the number one difference between successful high-flying businesses and their struggling counterparts is good marketing.

Here is the lament of one survey respondent which is typical of the angst felt by service business owners who know they do a good job, but who don't understand why they don't have a queue of clients at their door:

"We know our products and services are good - we get great feedback from those clients we've worked with - but we still have trouble getting potential customers to purchase in. Our services offer real benefits to clients but we are not as successful as we should be when we see what other companies offer (not as much) and yet are still very successful."

If you offer a quality service or product that produces great results for your customers or clients, and yet you're still struggling to get all the clients that you want or need, or to charge the fees you deserve, you probably have a marketing problem.

What do highly successful business owners do that others do not?

The first thing that they do is to realise that their primary objective is to build their practice or client base. In the words of Michael Gerber (who wrote The E-myth) they "work ON their businesses, not IN their businesses". What this involves is making the time to work on the business - in particular on marketing and product or service development, rather than spending all of their time handling clients, delivering services and dealing with administration.

They also look for areas where they can gain "leverage". Simply put, this means gaining maximum return for every hour they work. Instead of trading hours for pounds or dollars, they find ways to do the work once and get paid for it many times. They find ways to market their services one to many, instead of one to one (thus reducing marketing and sales effort and time). They delegate those activities which take up a lot of time (but which don't add much value in terms of moving the business forward) or which they are not skilled in such as admin, accounting, website maintenance and copywriting.

They also develop a success mindset, understand their strengths and weaknesses, take risks, innovate, hang out with other successful people and build a support network around themselves.

But above all, they learn how to market their businesses and create a marketing system that keeps a steady stream of prospects knocking at the door, without taking up all of their time!

What it Takes to Succeed in Business!

Business if tough in today’s world! Most small businesses go bankrupt or are closed abruptly in the first five years. Over the course of the next five years many of the remainders also “pack up” shop and lock their doors. Why do so many businesses fail?

The reasons lie in three main spheres. Those spheres of influence can be labeled personal, customer, and operations.

The Personal Sphere deals with the owner’s personal motivation to start a business. For example, if an owner wants to start their own business, but isn’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make it thrive, then they are at a disadvantage when compared to other motivated businesspeople. When a business starts for the first time often it doesn’t have a lot of money. Owners are required to sacrifice time, money, and happiness to succeed. If you can’t do that, it is unlikely that such a business will flourish. Many times owners thought they could handle the hardship but once the novelty of “being your own boss” wears off they close the door.

The Customer Sphere is one of the most important components of your business. Without customers you do not have sales, without sales you do not have money and without money you do not have a business. Many factors go into generating a good customer base. In the beginning you must have a cost effective marketing strategy that targets your intended purchaseers. This can be done by developing a psychological profile of your customer and then advertising in those places that they frequent. Because it is more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep one you must make sure they are satisfied with your business and product. Keep in touch with them by sending them a follow-up letter with a survey.

The Operations Sphere is only second to the Customer Sphere. In operations you must have an appropriate method of reducing costs, keeping track of paperwork, and maintaining improvement. Operations can also take into effect the tax paperwork, accounting, scheduling of workers, benefits or any non-producing functions.

If all of these three components are well thought out and are appropriately designed you will increases your chances of survival. Failure to understand the integral details of your business and what it takes to succeed may mean failure in the long run. If you are having difficulty putting all the pieces together then consider a small business consultant.