Small Business Development And Marketing Strategies

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Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:

* Advertising
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals

For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.

There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:

* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals

Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.

An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.

Small Business Computer Consulting Additional Qualifications For The Sweet Spot

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To find the ideal clientele for your small business computer consulting, you want to target small businesses by their number of PC’s, (10 to 50) as well as their revenue. Generally, companies that have anywhere from 1 million to 10 million in revenue are the sweet spot of small business computer consulting. In this article, you’ll learn why you should target this type of business. {Tip: Of course if you’re located in Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, or any of the other more than 21 nations around the globe where our training has been adapted, be sure to convert this to your local currency. (See )}

Beware of the high end of this range
Once small businesses get to the high end of that revenue range, where they start having substantially more than 50 PCs, or substantially more than $10 million in annual sales, often the small business owners lean towards putting a real, salaried IT person on payroll instead of using a small business computer consulting professional. That’s when you start running into some tough competition. At this point, your client will add up your services invoices and try to figure out if they can do it cheaper or more efficiently in-house.

Look for clients that need a real server
Another important aspect is to find small business clients that are big enough to need a real dedicated server. Once small businesses need a real server, they need a ton of other professional services to go along with it. And it’s very unlikely they can handle it on their own, with just an internal guru. Bingo-you become their outsourced IT department!

Multiple locations are a bonus
Sometimes a sweet spot client has one location. A lot of times there’s a main office and some branch offices. The branch offices present a big opportunity for your small business computer consulting because there’s usually a HUGE need for sharing data in real time among employees in different locations.

The Bottom Line about Small Business Computer Consulting
In this article, you’ve been learned more about how to find the sweet spot in your small business computer consulting business.

Small Business Computer Consulting Appropriately Setting Your Rates

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In small business computer consulting, $100 an hour can be a reasonable and livable rate. Why can setting your rates at $100 an hour make all the difference in the world?

Take the $100 an hour and multiply it by 1,500 hours a year. This is reflecting a 75% utilization rate; or 75% of a typical forty hour work week as billable time. Now youre at $150,000 a year gross.

Salary and Affordability

As a small business computer consulting firm, you will want to take a third of the gross and plow it into sales and marketing. Therefore you can afford a $40,000 base salary for your sales account executive. So, of that one third of your gross small business computer consulting income, $40,000 can go to the base salary and $10,000 can go to related marketing expenses.

Additionally, one third will take care of taxes, insurance and overhead items for the most part, and you have a third of it or $50,000 left to pay a technical staff salary.

Surpassing $100 an Hour

You may be considering exceeding a rate of $100 an hour for your small business computer consulting firm. At that point, you can hit what we call the not-so-imaginary-hourly-billing-rate ceiling.

Needless to say, if your small business computer consulting clients are paying $110 to $125 an hour, it gets even easier to be able to afford really bright, motivated, highly qualified sales and technical staff.

Higher Rates Equal Bigger Businesses

However, if you want to charge above $100 an hour in your small business computer consulting firm, youll almost always need to move above and beyond sweet spot small business clients into really large small businesses, medium size businesses and enterprise-sized accounts that require a different business model and technical skill set.

Once you do that, youre going to be operating under a completely different type of business model. And you will need even more polished and seasoned salespeople to be able to handle those accounts.

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Small Business Owners Business Best Practices Ideas

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Small businesses are often beaten out by larger competitors because the bigger business has better practices than the small ones do. The good news is that there are many of the business best practices that are used by big companies that can be translated for small businesses.

These business best practices are some of the best kept secrets and will in the long run make a business more successful. Here are a few ways you can use these business practices to fit your small business.

One: Borrowing ideas from other companies is one business practice you can use in your small business. This is known as best practice benchmarking and it can lead to vast improvements in your business structure if it is done the right way.

Most small businesses have a tighter budget than the big businesses do so the business practices that you learn can save money and can be even more beneficial to you than it would be for the big business. When you emulate another business and how they cut costs, you will be able to do the same thing they have done in a much shorter time period.

Two: You have to have a clear understanding of business methods if you are going to borrow their business practices. You need to do some heavy research and ask questions. This will help you figure out how others were able to get the job done to get them to their goals.

This is imperative if you are going to have success using these practices with your small business. One helpful way to find out the information you need is to send surveys to businesses that are successful in the business field you are looking at.

Three: Once you have studied the business best practices and you know how that business uses them, you will need to translate them to fit your small business. Before they will work for your business t want business practice you can use in your small business is borrowing ideas from other companies here may be some crucial modifications that need to be made.

Four: One business practice that is imperative to the success of any business of any size is to have good communication in your business. This means that you need to communicate on a regular basis with your employees.

You have to do this to make sure that everyone is on the same page business wise. Otherwise, you may find problems cropping up that you will have to deal with.

Emulating business best practices is fine but you want to make sure that you don’t steal their practices outright. Always do your research and use the business practices that you can modify to fit your small business. Don’t do anything to get your business in trouble in the future.

Small Business Blog Tips That Can Make A Big Difference.

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Blogs have revolutionized the way that people do business. It seems that all the big companies are making use of blogs to promote themselves and market their products. However, corporate blogs aren’t just for big companies. Blogs can also be utilized by small businesses with great effect.

Setting up a small business blog is easy and has many benefits. They are powerful promotional tools and a great way to communicate with clients.

Here are some tips on using a small business blog:

1. Write Naturally and Honestly

Small business blogs can be more personal than large corporate blogs. It’s best to write in way that feels natural to you. Avoid writing needlessly complex posts filled with technical jargon. Doing so will endear customers and promote conversation, which is what a blog is for, after all.

As with any blog, you must always tell the truth. Blogs should address all issues, be it good or bad. This will ultimately beneficial as it helps builds trust the customers.

2. Post often and Respond to Comments

Remember to post frequently. Provide readers with plenty of content, so that they will keep coming back to your blog.

Comments are a vital part of blogs, providing useful feedback. Respond to reader comments often to build strong ties between them and your company.

3. Promote your business, Promote yourself

A small business blog is an innovative way to promote a business.

A good technique is to document your projects. This is good way to show how capable you are at your profession and to garner trust. This is especially important with small business, where reputations can make a big difference.

Blogs allow for unparalleled interaction with customers. Use this to get closer to clients, and to build bonds of trust. The information gained from readers is invaluable for improving your small business.

4. Be Informed and Informative

Read plenty of other blogs to gain useful information. Post comments and promote your own blog. Be an active part of the blogosphere.

Post links of related information on your blog, and use technology like RSS/Atom feeds to constantly provide your blog with interesting content. This is a great way to promote your business and be informed of everything concerning you industry. Besides informing your readers, it can lead to interaction and possible collaborations with other businesses, all of which will benefit a small business.

5. Search Engines

For those who wish to achieve higher search engine rankings, a blog can be an invaluable asset. The constant updating combined with the right keywords can raise search engine results dramatically.

Unsecured Small Business Loans Easy Financing Without Collateral!

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Statistics prove that the demand for unsecured small business loans have been rapidly increasing over the past few years. The idea of an unsecured loan creates new financial horizons for individuals that may not have collateral. This is also of special interest to new business owners that are interested in entering a new business venture. Potential business owners are always interested in a business loan to provide working capital for their new endeavor.

The paradox when applying for most unsecured small business loan programs is that a new business owner does not yet have any collateral. This can quickly shatter a business dream. The only other consideration such an individual can have is to use his or her personal assets to secure a loan. But new business ventures have a risk associated with them, once that many people are not willing to transfer to their hard earned assets.

Collateral is often the biggest obstacle to the prospective business owner. Not only does a new business not yet have any commercial collateral to provide; but it is asking a lot for an entrepreneur to put his hard earned personal assets at risk in order to start a new business venture. Yet, without collateral, getting a business financing can sometimes seem impossible.

Small entrepreneurs, who do not have collateral to offer, find unsecured small business loans as an alternative, which help them expand their business to new horizons. They are only required to make regular repayments to the creditor without any apprehension of their business assets being repossessed by the lender in case of defaults. At the same time, small businessmen who opt for unsecured small business loans should be prepared to pay a little higher interest as compared to other credit options. However, interest rates may vary depending upon the credit history of the businessmen.

No collateral unsecured small business loan products are now available through select lenders, although they can still be relatively difficult to find among traditional banks and lenders. The revolutionizing force is coming from a plethora of web based lenders that are offering innovative new financial solutions, including no collateral loans. A variety of unsecured loan products for business and personal needs can be found via web based financial companies.

Applying for unsecured small business loans is easy, all the business owner need to do is just go on line and submit their loan details. Then the lenders will refer back to you with the loan decision in a few days.

The Urgency in Deploying Network Security Appliance for Small Business Networks

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Information is business assets, like other valuable business assets, that must be protected against any threats. In medium to enterprise business networks, the management of the information security is a must. In small business networks, generally the organizations lack of competent security experts that should manage the information security. Therefore the choice of the deployment of small business network security appliance is a must for small organizations.

In large enterprise networks, they have many layers of security protections including the endpoint security, the management of information security and policies which must be enforced to all business unit groups. Unlike large scale business or enterprise networks, in small organizations – generally they do not develop the management of information security in place.

This is generally due to lack of IT security expertise which does not compare to the assets that must be rotected. Any layers of security that should be deployed, depends on how critical your information assets is. Therefore, they mainly focus in securing the endpoint security.

The entry point of the private network generally where all the internet threats are coming from, the intruders or the hackers as well as the malware will start to attack the vulnerabilities they found. Therefore, small business network security should concentrate in protecting the entry point by any types of secured firewall appliances. There are many security appliances available in the marketplace you can consider to use for your organization.

The following are some of the small business network security appliances you can consider to use for your small organizations. DSD-150 is designed for home or SOHO networks that use broadband internet connection.

DSD-150 Security appliance

D-Link DSD-150 internet security adapter is an all-in-one small business network security which is designed for home and small business networks. With this single device connected in the entry point of your broadband internet connection, you have a complete protection including network protection, firewall protection, virus protection, spyware protection, identity protection, pop-up blocker, SPAM blocker, and parental control – all in a palm-sized box.

DSD-150 is suitable for home and SOHO as small business network security which has 4 computers or more. installation and configuration is easy, DSD-150 has 2 Ethernet ports, WAN port must be connected to the modem (RJ-45 LAN port), and the LAN port must be connected to the wireless router.

CheckPoint Safe Office 500

CheckPoint Safe Office 500 is a small business network security a total internet security appliance for small to medium sized business networks. If your organization is lack of security personnel, dont worry trust the network security to this CheckPoint Safe Office 500 that can protect a network of up to 100 users from any types of network threats.

Great Small Business Event Marketing

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For more going on fifteen years, I have been helping business owners and organizations hold events. The events ranged from races, to fairs, to concerts and dinners. Though the attendance varied greatly between them, the goals of management were often met and exceeded.

Events are the best way to:

get prospects to visit your store for the first time

build upon existing relationships with customers and vendors

grow existing lines of revenue

rally and motivate workforce and volunteers

expand branding

grow online presence and position

have a great time!

Events are very community oriented, and driven by the same. Bringing people together creates buzz.

There are three major areas of an event: event marketing (getting the brand out), event management (making sure the day is planned well and executed successfully), and event planning (getting all the details together to meet the event vision). Working together, these three items, thought out and coordinated, make great events.

I am often asked questions related to any of these three items. The questions I hear range from band and entertainment to how to use Facebook. Small businesses can do a lot with a little encouragement and direction. They can go really far with a little help from someone in the event industry. Small businesses and Organizations have a lot of gusto. They are ready to go all the time. And when they can see that something will get them further, they often grab the opportunity.

Small businesses are flexible. They can have a simple, low cost event marketing schedule coordinated with other ongoing marketing. Pairing an event with current expenditures creates broad public awareness. With current promotions are paired with a chance to experience a business or product, customers have incentive to participate.

I have often seen this occur. In one case, a restaurant advertised their foods as well as an evening with live music. Some monies from the night would be donated to the city fireworks fund. This night brought some business and money for community fireworks. The result was the night of the fireworks show, the restaurant was full to the brim. They had one of their best nights ever.

The power of small business event marketing is understated. Giving customers a reason to experience a small business in the form of a party invitation has leverage. As a small business owner, having an event can be fun, rewarding, and valuable to sales overall.

Small Business Bank – How Specialized Banking Works for You

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If you’re opening a small business, you need a small business bank, pure and simple. Using your regular bank won’t net you the benefits that a specialized banking account can come with. No matter who you choose as a host for your banking needs, you always need to open a new account for a business. Never use your personal bank account as this can make it next to impossible to discern your business income and expenses from more personal sources. Always choose a new account, and look for a specialized bank whenever possible. The right bank will have a deep understanding of your business needs.

One of the most important features of a small business bank is an assortment of affordable banking solutions. Money is usually tight when you’re starting out. You don’t want to have a high minimum amount on your account that you can’t possibly sustain. If you need to make a large withdrawal for business purposes, you should know that you can do so without jeopardizing your bank account. It’s also important that you’re able to make deposits and withdrawals without a lot of fees. The right business bank will work with you so that you can maximize your profits early on.

Small businesses today are far different than what they were in the past. A mom and pop shop used to be a brick and mortar store with an easily-defined address and actual location. Today, many businesses are run online. You could be running your business from locations all over the country, or all over the globe. You can’t always work with the bank down the street. You need a small business bank that will go with you everywhere you happen to be. Online banking, mobile banking, and more are essential for a business banking account. You don’t want to be tied down to one location, and with the right account you won’t be.

When you’re getting ready to open a new banking account for your business, it’s important to take the time to do your research. Look into a variety of banking opportunities to find the small business bank that’s right for you. When you look at other offers, you’re sure to notice where the best deal really lies. It’s important to understand what’s out there so you don’t get sucked into the first well-worded advertisement you see. Compare your options and look for a small business banking account that provides all the services, benefits, and convenience you need to make your company a success.

Three simple and affordable advertising ideas for your small business

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When running a small business, marketing your products and services is an important aspect your must consider and plan for. No matter what industry you play in you will no doubt have competition. Even if you provide a better service or product you still need to stand out so consumers know. Marketing can be a big cost but there are also many affordable alternative to advertise your business.

Here are three simple advertising ideas and suggestions to give you high visility.

Vehicle back windows

A rear car window covererd with a sticker of your business is an affordable option to promote your business. Whenever your car is being driven around your business is being seen. For as little as one hundred and fifty dollars this is a small investment. Depending on how many years your sticker last, the breakdown cost of purchasing you rear window sticker works out to be even less.

Don’t overload the sticker with too much details. Keep the sticker bright and colorful. Avoid a cluttered look with too much details. Keep it simple. Don’t put more than three items of information. Your logo with business name, phone and tagline is all you need.

Car magnets

Large car magnets are another cheap alternative. These magnets are strong enough to withstand high speeds. To repeat – keep the design simple. Order many at a time and hand them out to your friends for their cars. You can purchase four magnets for as little as fifty dollars.

An alternative to magnets is use multiple smaller sized ones. A stack of twenty five magnets can be bought for about thirty dollars. Get people to take notice by scattering you car with these. When people take your magnets you know they’re working.

Outdoor banners

Ask your signwriter to print you a large banner. The cost of a small banner can be as little as one hundred dollars. We’ve even seen banners from as low as six dollars.

Use the small banners effectively by parking at the front of a busy event or location. Hang the banner from the side of your car. Your car and banner can’t be missed.

These are three simple advertising ideas to kick start your marketing on a budget.

Click Here to see Ryan Johns working these advertising ideas