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Starting A Business

How to Recognize Small Business Ideas

Business ideas are everywhere if you know how to recognize them. Often they simply go unrecognized because the thing that you are looking for and isn’t there, will often represent an opportunity for someone wanting a business even if that someone isn’t you.
Recognizing a potential small business opportunity is fifty percent of finding a small business. Not all opportunities will be for you as a person, or on further investigation, be a viable business proposition, but all you need is the one thing that meets all the criteria.
Business is all about “supply and demand”. If you are looking for a business to supply you with something that you are after at a time that you are after it, but there is nowhere that you can buy it, then that is an opportunity for a business. Whether it would be a viable (or prosperous) business needs further investigation, but it does represent an opportunity. This is how a person wanting a small business will start their evaluation process.
How do you evaluate a small business opportunity?
There is no point in starting a business unless you plan on making some money. After all, no one likes to work for nothing. As the bible says “the laborer is worthy of his hire…”
The way to evaluate a small business is through using tried and true accounting for small business principles. Over the millennium, there are criteria that have to be present if a small business is to survive by making an income. These solid accounting practices have to be followed in order to assess the potential and then to keep track of the progress of the enterprise towards the end goal.
The first thing any business needs is a goal and a plan on how to achieve it.. If you don’t have an end goal in mind and are frequently reminded of it, then the business will either sink into oblivion or grow like “Topsy’s House”. This is not beneficial for long term business success and there is no point in becoming another failed small business statistic. There are already too many of them.
If you haven’t recognized a business opportunity by finding something that is missing and needed, then there are many other opportunities waiting for you to investigate.
If this is investigation is something that interests you, then I would suggest a beginning to be a self-assessment. In this case, you will need to do a S.W.O.T analysis on yourself first.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
You need to be realistic about all your strengths. No modesty, no ego but assessing what your strengths really are. We all have some even if we don’t always or frequently use them.
Weaknesses are part of being human. They are not often acknowledged but believe me, they are present. If you refuse to accept yours, ask an honest friend.
Opportunities are what the above two will reveal about you and how well you use this self-assessment.
Threats are what is represented by not doing anything at all once you have done this self-assessment. The downside to doing nothing can be bottomless depending on your circumstances.
The beginning of recognizing any small business idea is in knowing yourself first.…

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Business Week

A Detailed Business Plan Template for Your Home or Small Business

A Guide to Your Business Plan

So you want to start a new business! Be it online or offline, a business plan is an essential ingredient to the success of your venture. The trouble with most business plans is they are to difficult to understand and appear overwhelming to most small business entrepreneurs. I have made the job easier by providing a format with self explanatory sections for you to follow. It’s a simple business plan with a lot of power when you need to source funding or show clients, among a host of other benefits.

What does my business plan look like?

Executive summary

type of business

company summary

management

product / service, competition

funding, use of funds

financial statement & projections

legal & financial structure

risks & exit

ad hoc swot

1. Background and purpose

1.1. product/service: what is your business? detailed description.

1.2. history: when did you start? how has the business been developing? achievements.

1.3. vision: what do you want to become? what path makes your company better than its competitors?

1.4. mission: the core values of your business. why this business and how you want to shape it?

1.5. milestones:

1.5.1. long term: a way to measure the vision

1.5.2. short-medium term: stages & goals, measurements

1.6. resources required:

1.6.1. critical resources: to back up key success factors

1.6.2. overall resources: to guarantee you can deliver

1.6.3. funding and use of funds: the proposal

2. Objectives

2.1. short term:

– outcomes which can be achieved within one year

– quantitative measurement: efficiency

– example: sales, gross margin, market share

2.2. long term:

– outcomes which require more time to be measured

– can be quantitative and qualitative

– effectiveness will show the sustainability of the business proposal

3. Market and industry analysis

3.1. overall & specific data

3.1.1. type of industry / service

3.1.2. mainstream / niche: market potential, demographics

3.1.3. stage of growth: emerging, growth, maturity

3.1.4. existing similar markets: other regions/countries

3.2. competitive analysis

3.2.1. statement of opportunity: sustainable competitive edge, resource based competitive analysis

3.2.2. review of your competitors strategies

3.3. five forces

3.3.1. bargaining power of buyers

3.3.2. bargaining power of suppliers

3.3.3. threat of relevant substitutes

3.3.4. threats of new entrants (entry barriers)

3.3.5. rivalry among firms (influenced by the other four factors)

3.4. macro & micro factors

3.4.1. global & international: trade agreements, war

3.4.2. national: taxation, regulations, patent protection

3.4.3. local: incentives, infrastructures

3.5. key success factors, a review of your strategic management

4. Production & Operations

4.1. processes & procedures

4.1.1. input, process, output

4.1.2. logistics: store, warehouse, deliveries

4.1.3. equipments, tools, it infrastructure

4.1.4. organization charts: responsibilities, information flows

4.2. thresholds

4.2.1. output capacity: measurement, peaks

4.2.2. stages of output increase: bottlenecks

4.3. resources

4.3.1. technical resources: equipment, software

4.3.2. physical resources: raw material, power supply

4.3.3. human resources: non substitutable for the output

4.4. quality assurance

4.4.1. prototyping, testing, approvals

4.4.2. incoming qc: sampling procedures

4.4.3. outgoing qc: sampling procedures

4.5. customer service

4.5.1. technical support: call center, on-site

4.5.2. warranty: policy, returns

5. Marketing plan

5.1. overall concept & orientation

5.1.1. target customer group(s)

5.1.2. customer awareness

5.1.3. customer satisfaction

5.1.4. customer loyalty

5.2. strategy

5.2.1. price strategy (leadership, differentiation, focus)

5.2.2. distribution strategy

5.2.3. communication strategy

5.2.4. perceived value

5.3. 4 p’s (can be combined with 3.2.)

5.3.1. product

5.3.2. price

5.3.3. place

5.3.4. promotion

5.4. sales forecasts

5.4.1. short term: detailed (month, region…)

5.4.2. long term

5.5. market share

5.5.1. short term

5.5.2. long term

6. Financial plan

6.1. financial projections (1st year monthly, 2nd year quarterly)

6.1.1. p&l (income statement)

6.1.2. cash flow (justify for variations)

6.1.3. balance sheet (yearly)

6.1.4. investments plan

6.2. source & use of funds

6.2.1. present situation (shareholders, loans if any)

6.2.2. requirements (need in working capital + investments)

6.2.3. proposed funding (shareholding, loan, bridge loan)

6.2.4. use of funds (destination & schedule)

7. Human resources

7.1. management team

7.1.1. individual / team (resumes in appendixe)

7.1.2. education, experience, skills & know how

7.2. skilled resources (key personnel)

7.2.1. hired

7.2.2. identified but not yet hired (funding)

7.2.3. to be found (head hunting…)

7.3. unskilled resources

7.3.1. issue about turnover rate (cost…)

7.3.2. issue about continuous hiring (training…)

7.4. packages & salaries

7.4.1. overall policy (market rate, yearly increase…)

7.4.2. incentives (commissions, bonus…)

7.4.3. specific packages (stock options)

7.5. hr strategy

7.5.1. set of values (refer to mission)

7.5.2. internal communication (intranet, group events)

8. Ownership

8.1. legal & financial structure

8.1.1. form of business

8.1.2. shareholding (equity position)

8.1.3. proposed deal structure (if any)

8.1.4. next round of financing (if any)

8.2. Exit strategy

8.2.1. independent growth (self financing)

8.2.2. ipo

8.2.3. bought over / merging

9. Critical risks

9.1. risks factors

9.1.1. categories (what if? and answers)

9.1.2. plan(s) “b” & book value (if …

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Money

Profitable Small Business Ideas For Women

With today’s economy, starting a new business of your own may seem unattainable right now. But with these small business ideas you will be your own boss in no time. These are specially geared toward women entrepreneurs.
The opportunities are out there for profitable small business’s to make it in this market today. You just need to know which ones will work and which ones will not. If you are a true animal lover and responsible as well as reliable then starting your own pet sitting service is a prime small business for you.
Pet owners are everywhere these days and when they travel they would much rather pay you to stay with their animals in their own homes than to place them in a strange kennel.
More and more on-line business’s are starting up now. These consist of many things. The best ones to think about starting are in the gift markets or antique/collectible markets. Hand made gifts seem to be prized above all others and also the additions of gifts for people’s pets as well.
Become a consultant on something you know a lot about or can do very well. These can include weddings, floral arranging, shopping, decorating, clothing, crafting etc. The list can go on. The cost for starting a consulting business is very low as it will just cost you the price of a box of business cards printed with your information on them. Then hand out to everyone you know and meet.
Are you an excellent cook who love to spend time in the kitchen? Then a small business for you would be as a caterer. Start out with fliers or brochures put in local businesses and also give your friends and acquaintances some business cards you never know when a new catering job will come from. Soon your catering business will be booming as people are always in need of great, tasty foods for many occasions.
If you are a wonderful house cleaner than make that into your own business. Ask around and pass out fliers in your local businesses and supermarkets and soon your phone will be ringing. Many women today also have jobs outside the homes and do not have enough time to work, care for the kids and clean the house so your services would be needed. This would give them more time to spend with their family than on chores once they get home from a long day on the job. These are all great small business ideas for any woman to start in.…

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Business News Articles

So You Want to Start a Small Business!

That’s great. It shows you have ambition and initiative. People start their own small business for any number of reasons, but usually they have a product, service, or an idea in mind that they would like to develop.
Once you have decided what you would like to do it is imperative that you do your own thorough research to see if it is practical and that there is a market for it. You need to look at the competition and see what they are doing. You can do this by looking at their websites, business premises, brochures, adverts, etc.
When you have gathered as much information as you can, use this to develop a plan of action. A good illustration of this is to imagine you have just moved into a new house which has a large rear garden. What would you do? Draw out a plan of the area and put in some measurements so that you can decide where you would like to locate things, such as patio area, paths, trees, plants etc.
You could make a few sketches of how it will look when it is finished so that you have something to work towards. You need to do this with your small business idea. Write it out a few times, correcting it and adding details that you have overlooked. Guess what? By doing this you are creating a business plan!
It does not need to be elaborate, you can always enlarge on it later, the important thing is to get your ideas down in writing and it will help you to clarify your thoughts and sharpen your ideas. This is going to be vital as you progress towards starting your small business.
There will be many decisions you will need to make as you work through the preparations necessary to starting up, but having a plan written out will give you something to reference your thoughts with, it will be like having a map so that you can check your progress along the way.
This is just a basic outline for starting your own small business, obviously some start-ups are much more complex than others, it really depends on the technical nature of the product or how elaborate your idea is. You may need to seek professional help both in the field of product and market research; perhaps you could consider the use of a template to help you prepare a business plan.
You will be able to find all the help you need by searching our website. There are articles you can read that will get you up to speed. There are also videos you can look at that can be very useful when you are taking the steps that will lead to establishing your small business.…

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Small Business Ideas

Small Scale Business Ideas – Starting Your Own Internet Business

Did you know that starting your own internet business, instead of an offline business, is one of the best small scale business ideas that you can explore?
Less costly to start up than a traditional offline business – often thousands of dollars less – an internet business can start small and blossom into a 6 or 7 figure a year venture. How successful it will be depends on many factors, including the skills and resources you acquire, how well you apply up-to-date strategies and tactics, and how much and how fast you can outsource.
The first step is to learn the basics of how to set up an internet business, including how to do market research, set up a simple website with quality content and drive traffic to the site to (hopefully) generate sales.
Unfortunately, there are too many tales of people who spend thousands of dollars on training and ‘how to make money online’ products with little or no results to show in their bank account. Therefore, the most important thing you can do to avoid this trap is to find a reputable teacher who teaches the basics in a clear, step-by-step fashion, and ideally also offers advanced training.
There is a lot of valuable free information about how to start an online business. But it will take you weeks, or months or even years to collect everything you need to know for free. It’s also important to get feedback about what you’re doing right and wrong. So do your due diligence to find someone who seems trustworthy and is definitely a success online to learn from.
Easier said than done? Ask around, on blogs and online forums, to narrow down your choices. Contact the marketers who offer courses to see how they respond to you before you put any money down. Are they receptive and prompt about answering your questions? Can you find positive reviews by other people about what they offer? Can you contact the reviewers to ask more questions and feel sure that you are being given answers that aren’t motivated by commissions they get if you sign up?
There is a lot to consider when choosing the right course and mentor, but it’s well worth your time and effort to find reputable teachers who truly want to help anyone who is keen about starting their own internet business.…

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Business Ideas

Small Business Success – Don’t Let Your Big Customer Sink Your Business

A big, repeat customer for a new small business can be both a blessing and a curse. The positive side is more obvious-the business establishes an early recurring source of revenue. Since revenue is the lifeblood of any business, what could be wrong with that? Nothing, if you don’t stop there.
Any new small business owner will tell you that there is never enough time to do everything he or she knows they need to do to grow their business. In addition to fulfilling customer orders, there are personnel issues, the website and other marketing activities, and an unbelievable number of administrative tasks that must be done even if they don’t help to grow the business.
It seems perfectly logical to focus on just that one big customer when keeping up with that customer’s orders is taking all of your time. After all, you have too much work to do now. Why go out and look for new customers? Wouldn’t it be better to just take care of the business you have? The answer is ‘absolutely not.’ Don’t fall into that trap.
Of course you want to take care of your big customer. But you cannot stop there even for a short time. Doing so becomes a habit and a way of life for too many small business owners. Remember, if you only have one customer, no matter how big, you don’t have a business, you have a job. Eventually it will become clear that you have no leverage and no control even over the fate of your own company.
To drive this point home, imagine that your new business gets off to a great start. You land that big customer that everyone would want and you take care of them like no other. Your business grows, you’re hiring people, taking on more office space, profits are strong and you’re living the American dream. Then, after three years, they still account for 80% of your business and suddenly something changes. For any of a hundred reasons, you’re notified that your number one customer will be your customer no more.
Within 90 days, you lay off more than half your staff, take a pay cut and are negotiating with an unsympathetic landlord to take back some of the office space. As you sit in your office alone at night with your head in your hands, you say to yourself, ‘If only we had gone after other customers when we had the chance.’ This story and this pattern are far too common among small business owners. It leaves previously successful small business leaders feeling betrayed, humiliated and defeated.
Regardless of your success with any given customer, it is essential that you build a broad base of customers as if your business depends on it-because it does. To ensure that your team gets behind this goal include “number of new customers” as a metric in your incentive compensation or bonus plans. As the business owner, delegate less important tasks and stay involved in both the ‘big’ customer account and the effort to bring in new customers. If you’re just starting a business, be sure that in your business plan outline you demonstrate how you will pursue a broad customer base.
Be sure that your small business plan and operating plan make a commitment to developing a diversified base of customers. This is a winning long term strategy. In doing so, you’ll even out the ups and downs in revenue and profitability. This will serve you well if you ever seek a small business loan or line of credit. You’ll be creating a business with a higher valuation and one that delivers stability and peace of mind to its employees and owners. Make sure your small business plan includes a commitment to building a broad base of customers.…

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Business Checks

Great Small Business Ideas For 2012

Small Business Ideas
If you’ve been considering starting your own small business, you will be happy to know that there are an amazing number of great small business ideas for 2012. Starting a new business is exciting, but you need to make sure that you are choosing a business that is going to be able to sustain your expenses and provide a profit, and that it is something that you know you will be able to do, and that you want to do. Choosing a business that offers something that people need and want is an important factor as well.
Small Business Ideas for 2012 for the Web
Selling things online is more popular than it has ever been, and you will find quite a few ways that you can get in on the action. You could sell items on eBay, which has been a popular small business opportunity for many years. You could also make and sell your own products, such as soap or jewelry. Another option is to write and sell e-books online. You will find plenty of different types of items that you will be able to sell on the web.
If you know a bit about SEO and web marketing, you could offer your services to companies that need help in this area. You could consult with the companies, create content, and guide them in the right direction.
Look Beyond the Web for Small Business Ideas for 2012
You will find plenty of great offline small business ideas as well. Becoming a makeup artist and hiring your services at a salon or spa can be lucrative. You could also offer cleaning services for homes, pools, garages, commercial buildings, and more. If you enjoy helping and taking care of people, consider starting an elder care business. You don’t have to be a nurse in many cases, since some people only need help with errands, groceries, and the like.
You can even go green and start a recycling business. If you have a pickup truck or similar vehicle, you can offer to pick up the recycling that people don’t know how to dispose of and take care of it for them. You could charge to pick up certain types of items, and you can receive money from recycling centers for other items.
Choose the Best Small Business Ideas for 2012
Some businesses are going to be better suited to you than others are, so you should take your time and make sure that you find something that you will enjoy. There can be a disconnect between the abstract idea of following your bliss and the often painful realities of starting and successfully operating a new enterprise.
While there are plenty of great small business ideas and opportunities are out there, the single most important factor determining your success is you choosing the right one.…