Vesta Digital Blog

Archive for August 2010

success in businessAlthough there is no one answer that fits all businesses, there are a number of practices followed by successful, happy business owners. No matter what you sell, you’ll be ahead of the game if you live by these ten essential rules for succeeding in your own business.

1. Be true to yourself.

No matter how much money someone else makes, if you don’t enjoy the business, wouldn’t be proud to show your relatives what you are doing and how you are doing it, then don’t do it. If you run a business you don’t like or don’t believe in, even if you have temporary success, it will come back to haunt you one way or another.

2. Find a need and fill it.

Yes, you’ve heard that a million times. But it still works. The easiest business to run is one that produces products or services that people already know they need. The reason: you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money convincing prospects they need what you sell. You can focus on why you are the best source to satisfy their need. Just be sure the “need” is one people will spend money to satisfy.

3. Choose products or services that you can sell for a lot more than it costs you to make or buy them.

If the difference between your cost and selling prices is too low, you will have difficulty growing the business. When profit margins are too low, you won’t have enough money to hire employees, pay for rent (when you need to move the business out of the house), advertise more, and do other things needed to expand.

4. Make realistic estimates of your expenses… then double them.

Most new businesses either forget about marketing, fulfillment, overhead costs, income taxes and self-employment or greatly underestimate them.

5. Be true to your customers and prospects.

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Don’t lie or exaggerate the benefits of what you sell and always deliver a quality product or service. Word-of-mouth marketing has always been one of the primary ways small businesses find customers. The Internet and social networking sites spread the word (good or bad) to even more potential customers.

6. Understand the importance of marketing and learn how to do it effectively.

The world won’t beat a path to your door just because you build a better mousetrap or write a great ebook about how to grow tomatoes or teach a child to read. To get customers you will have to market your products or services effectively and continually.

7. Treat your vendors, manufacturers and service providers with respect and let them know you appreciate them.

They are an important part of your team and your success. If you speak down to them, pester them with questions you could answer yourself, imply that they don’t’ do a good job, nickel and dime them to death, or are an ongoing pain in the neck, they’ll never go out of their way to help you — and might drop you all together. No business needs picky, annoying, time-consuming customers.

8. Embrace the web.

No matter what you sell or to whom, there’s a good chance your customers will turn to the web in one way or another to make their purchase. They may turn to online yellow pages to find a florist in Florence, SC; or go to Google, MSN or Yahoo and search for a phrase like “Elder law attorney Farmington Hills MI”, or “plumber weekends Astoria NY” If customers can’t find you in their queries, they are likely to give their business to one of your competitors.

9. Don’t expect miracles.

Yes, people do make money in their sleep or while they’re away on vacation — the Internet makes that possible. But only after they’ve invested a lot of time , effort, and money in building the business and building the team that keeps it going and growing.

10. Remind yourself that one is the loneliest number in business.

One product, one service, one main client, and all your records stored on one computer hard drive without regular off-site backups is a recipe for failure. If you only have one product or service you’re missing out on the chance to profit by selling more things to people who already know and trust you. If you have only one main client, you ‘re up the proverbial creek if they decide to change vendors or run into cash flow problems. And if all your records are on your computer and you don’t have always up-to-date backups of your important files, a hard drive crash could destroy your business.

successful business ownerIf you are a business owner and you’ve seen your business grow to a level where you can manage a team to help steer the business towards profit, you may be at a turning point. Management techniques should always be adapting with time. Many small businesses may reach the level of $1-3 million in annual sales, or 5-15 employees. This is the perfect time to revamp your management techniques.

A manager of a business must evolve from technical thinking and expertise to a manager of people and strategy. It is critical to learn how to manage your company in a way that will grow long-term.

There are 3 aspects of successful business owners listed below that will help you succeed in business, in relationships, in life, and in whatever you choose to put effort into.

Positivity, Persistence, and Patience

Successful business owners have a level of commitment to their goals that is difficult to find many places. The dedication it takes to nurture your projects will not just be handed to you, it must be earned. Entrepreneurs are one breed of a few that understand there is not too much of a difference between an obstacle and an opportunity. Successful entrepreneurs know how to turn both to their advantage.

Strategic Business Plan

Having a business plan is great, sticking to it is even better. Many of you reading this post will feel reassured; of course you have a business plan. However, when was the last time you updated it? Obviously if you are going to change your managerial tactics, your whole business strategy needs to be updated with the times as well. Stagnant businesses are the ones who fail.

Organized Company Structure

According to Robert A. Normand, a writer for Business Know-How this system should have policies and procedures that encourage all associates to perform to their utmost capabilities. It should reward those who excel in proportion to their contributions. It also disciplines those who deviate from acceptable behavior. Positions, tasks, duties and responsibilities are defined and communicated and performance is routinely measured. Training, job enrichment programs and incentive compensation plans are designed to encourage each associate to excel. Successful owners view their associates as their most valuable asset and resource.

In conclusions, successful business owners have a positive outlook on their business and their lives that helps them stay persistent, committed, and patient. They have a living strategic business plan that they stick to, and update as times change. They also have an organized company structure that helps their associates perform and excel, all in the best interest of the business.

successful business ownerIf you are a business owner and you’ve seen your business grow to a level where you can manage a team to help steer the business towards profit, you may be at a turning point. Management techniques should always be adapting with time. Many small businesses may reach the level of $1-3 million in annual sales, or 5-15 employees. This is the perfect time to revamp your management techniques.

A manager of a business must evolve from technical thinking and expertise to a manager of people and strategy. It is critical to learn how to manage your company in a way that will grow long-term.

There are 3 aspects of successful business owners listed below that will help you succeed in business, in relationships, in life, and in whatever you choose to put effort into.

Positivity, Persistence, and Patience

Successful business owners have a level of commitment to their goals that is difficult to find many places. The dedication it takes to nurture your projects will not just be handed to you, it must be earned. Entrepreneurs are one breed of a few that understand there is not too much of a difference between an obstacle and an opportunity. Successful entrepreneurs know how to turn both to their advantage.

Strategic Business Plan

Having a business plan is great, sticking to it is even better. Many of you reading this post will feel reassured; of course you have a business plan. However, when was the last time you updated it? Obviously if you are going to change your managerial tactics, your whole business strategy needs to be updated with the times as well. Stagnant businesses are the ones who fail.

Organized Company Structure

According to Robert A. Normand, a writer for Business Know-How this system should have policies and procedures that encourage all associates to perform to their utmost capabilities. It should reward those who excel in proportion to their contributions. It also disciplines those who deviate from acceptable behavior. Positions, tasks, duties and responsibilities are defined and communicated and performance is routinely measured. Training, job enrichment programs and incentive compensation plans are designed to encourage each associate to excel. Successful owners view their associates as their most valuable asset and resource.

In conclusions, successful business owners have a positive outlook on their business and their lives that helps them stay persistent, committed, and patient. They have a living strategic business plan that they stick to, and update as times change. They also have an organized company structure that helps their associates perform and excel, all in the best interest of the business.

business successYou will never succeed at anything unless you believe you will. Of course your initial reaction to that statement may be “how is the power of positive thinking going to help my financial statements?” 

There are concrete steps you can take to make your business succeed follow them diligently and with dedication, you will see growth and positive results in your business and in every aspect of your life. 

“We are what we repeatedly do”

-Aristotle
Here are a few tips you can use to take control of your life and business practices and see yourself on the road to success.

Pursue Your Passion

If you are not passionate about what you are doing, you will not succeed. It really is as simple as that because in the same industry, people ARE passionate about what they are doing. They will in turn, achieve more than you because they are more motivated and driven to work for their end results.

If you thought it was your passion and you feel yourself losing that spark, keep going. Resilience and perseverance will undoubtedly feed into your passion.

Prioritize

As humans, we naturally get distracted. However, the most important exercise to practice is getting the harder tasks out of the way right off the get go. Say for example, you are dreading working on your company website, do as much work as you can in the very beginning. It will dramatically increase your motivation when you start seeing your workload decrease. You just have to get to the halfway point.

Research

Simply put, the more informed you are, the more equipped you are. You need to do your research about the market to help your marketing strategy. You need to research your competition to see their sales approach. There is a lot of effort to be put forth and you will continuously need to make adjustments as you progress.

Give Yourself a Break

Relax after an intense effort. You will feel revitalized and motivated to do it all over again if you simply take time to reflect on the amount of progress you made by simply focusing for designated periods of time.

In order to truly succeed in business and in life, it is important to deliberately dedicate yourself to your practice. You will improve, you will see progress, you will succeed in your business, as long as you implement discipline, dedication, and focus.

infatuation with technologyHaving an online presence is the most important thing your small business can do to gain exposure, build a customer base, and establish credibility. Most businesses have an online presence to make themselves available to consumers who turn to the Internet for all of their resources.

Michael Cohn, a writer for Focus.com  wrote an article about how important it is for a business to engage in online communities. Below is an excerpt from the article. Follow the advice and watch your business flourish.

There are many reasons why being a part of online communities contributes greatly to the success of your business.

Universal exposure

As part of an online community, you are able to reach people around the world and it is as though you are all in a room together, interacting on issues that are important and interesting to all of you. It is incredible that you are now capable (through social media) of reaching numerous people at once from one location. This allows you not only to market your business easily and successfully but also lets you do a large number of other things connected with your business. Remember that connecting with your online communities does not mean that you should be giving those people a hard sell. You should be sharing valuable information with them.

Learning from others

As a member of an online community, you have the opportunity to learn new ways to market your business  to other marketers. You should take advantage as much as possible of the expertise of other people who are members of your online communities and put their principles into practice, where appropriate.

Strategic partnerships

You will have many opportunities to form strategic partnerships with other members of your online communities. There will be a lot of synergies between you and others and if you find that your skills and expertise compliment those of people in your online communities, you should approach them and see how you can work together most effectively.

Build your online relationships

It is very important to continue to develop relationships with those people with whom you interact online. A good way to do this is by continually sharing information with them that you feel they will find valuable and that will help them in some way. Not only will your online connections want to interact with you but they will also speak favorably about you to others online. 

Cohn’s article is especially important for aspiring entrepreneurs starting up small businesses. It is not difficult to recognize the importance of having a presence in the online community. The trick is to make your online presence work for you.

infatuation with technologyHaving an online presence is the most important thing your small business can do to gain exposure, build a customer base, and establish credibility. Most businesses have an online presence to make themselves available to consumers who turn to the Internet for all of their resources.

Michael Cohn, a writer for Focus.com  wrote an article about how important it is for a business to engage in online communities. Below is an excerpt from the article. Follow the advice and watch your business flourish.

There are many reasons why being a part of online communities contributes greatly to the success of your business.

Universal exposure

As part of an online community, you are able to reach people around the world and it is as though you are all in a room together, interacting on issues that are important and interesting to all of you. It is incredible that you are now capable (through social media) of reaching numerous people at once from one location. This allows you not only to market your business easily and successfully but also lets you do a large number of other things connected with your business. Remember that connecting with your online communities does not mean that you should be giving those people a hard sell. You should be sharing valuable information with them.

Learning from others

As a member of an online community, you have the opportunity to learn new ways to market your business  to other marketers. You should take advantage as much as possible of the expertise of other people who are members of your online communities and put their principles into practice, where appropriate.

Strategic partnerships

You will have many opportunities to form strategic partnerships with other members of your online communities. There will be a lot of synergies between you and others and if you find that your skills and expertise compliment those of people in your online communities, you should approach them and see how you can work together most effectively.

Build your online relationships

It is very important to continue to develop relationships with those people with whom you interact online. A good way to do this is by continually sharing information with them that you feel they will find valuable and that will help them in some way. Not only will your online connections want to interact with you but they will also speak favorably about you to others online. 

Cohn’s article is especially important for aspiring entrepreneurs starting up small businesses. It is not difficult to recognize the importance of having a presence in the online community. The trick is to make your online presence work for you.

search engine optimizationSearch engines are getting smarter. In order for your website to appear higher on any search engine, you need to optimize your website with the right keywords and phrases. The problem is, how do we know which words will work and which ones won’t?

The keywords you use must contain keyword phrases that people use to search for you in addition to words that serve to inform your audience as well. Simply put, stuffing your content with keywords may help, but using tact and discretion with the right words you choose is the most effective way to have higher page rankings.
Here are a few tips to follow to boost your position in search engines.

Separate Keywords with Punctuation

When search engines crawl through a website, they do not register punctuation, bullet points, line breaks, capitalization, and other stylized forms of writing. They only rank letters. This will help you use more keywords without disrupting the flow of content

Example:

In order to boost your exposure, dive into the world of social media. Marketing towards individual consumers through social networking sites will help build your brand equity.

Put Keywords into Bullet Form

Using lists are great for your readers specifically because they are easy to read and draw the readers’ attention. They are less cluttered than big blocks of text. So by expanding on the frequent viewership of bulleted lists, insert keywords into the list because again, search engines do not register style, only letters.

Use the Opposite of Your Keyword

By talking about the opposite of the image you’re trying to convey, you can still use keywords and also discuss important points with your readers.

Example:
Some people find using a complex content management system to be time consuming and inefficient. So the most important thing to remember when choosing your website platform is how easy it is to use.
These are just a few tricks to integrate more effective and seamless keywords into your content. Instead of stuffing your content with repetitive phrases, you can use these tricks to manipulate your keywords and boost your search engine optimization.

search engine optimizationSearch engines are getting smarter. In order for your website to appear higher on any search engine, you need to optimize your website with the right keywords and phrases. The problem is, how do we know which words will work and which ones won’t?

The keywords you use must contain keyword phrases that people use to search for you in addition to words that serve to inform your audience as well. Simply put, stuffing your content with keywords may help, but using tact and discretion with the right words you choose is the most effective way to have higher page rankings.
Here are a few tips to follow to boost your position in search engines.

Separate Keywords with Punctuation

When search engines crawl through a website, they do not register punctuation, bullet points, line breaks, capitalization, and other stylized forms of writing. They only rank letters. This will help you use more keywords without disrupting the flow of content

Example:

In order to boost your exposure, dive into the world of social media. Marketing towards individual consumers through social networking sites will help build your brand equity.

Put Keywords into Bullet Form

Using lists are great for your readers specifically because they are easy to read and draw the readers’ attention. They are less cluttered than big blocks of text. So by expanding on the frequent viewership of bulleted lists, insert keywords into the list because again, search engines do not register style, only letters.

Use the Opposite of Your Keyword

By talking about the opposite of the image you’re trying to convey, you can still use keywords and also discuss important points with your readers.

Example:
Some people find using a complex content management system to be time consuming and inefficient. So the most important thing to remember when choosing your website platform is how easy it is to use.
These are just a few tricks to integrate more effective and seamless keywords into your content. Instead of stuffing your content with repetitive phrases, you can use these tricks to manipulate your keywords and boost your search engine optimization.

Business StrategyIf you are an aspiring entrepreneur, your biggest question may very well be: “How do I get to the next level?” Many entrepreneurs make common mistakes, so I have compounded several insightful details from a Harvard Business Review article series about Advanced Entrepreneurship.

Follow the tips below to set yourself apart from other good entrepreneurs, and become a great entrepreneur.

How to Generate Income

Entrepreneurs need to begin focusing on how to generate income, as opposed to how to raise seed cash to start their business. Fund-raising is important of course; any entrepreneur understands the importance of raising cash to keep the business alive until there is self-sustaining cash flow. Generating income however, is the proof that a business contributes long-term value to the marketplace.

What Makes a Great Entrepreneur?

The three factors all great entrepreneurs have in common are scalable business models, effective distribution methods, and genuine consumer engagement methods that directly contribute to their revenue. 

Great entrepreneurs also exhibit frugality. By limiting their spending and using their money within boundaries, great entrepreneurs exercise patience and discretion, which will ultimately be the winning combination resulting in a successful business.
Great entrepreneurs follow the steps that all entrepreneurs are trained to take. They conduct their market research, create pro forma income statements, raise start-up capital, and nurture a solid ROI for their investors.

Great Entrepreneurs Take Risks

However, what separates an entrepreneur from a great entrepreneur is that great entrepreneurs recognize that business plans are good for illustrating assumptions, but they aren’t truly useful for projecting the realistic outcome of future events.

Great entrepreneurs operate under the understanding that they control how much they are willing to risk in conjunction to what resources are available. They are the ones who confidently choose to allocate those available resources and start generating profitable income. 
The most successful entrepreneurs have one very important commonality, the ability to turn setbacks into assets. By addressing consumer complaints and actually taking initiative to solve consumer issues, you will make your business scalable and successful.

professionalismBuilding your brand is the most essential component of gaining customer loyalty and driving traffic to your website. As e-commerce grows, so does the mistrust of shopping online. For Internet consumers, certain brands are more trustworthy than others.

So the question is how do you build brand recognition? Many businesses don’t even have the cash flow to build brand awareness with brand management and advertising. The greatest tool any business can use to increase their brand value, is Internet marketing and sales tools.
Here are some tips from an article written by Julie Weishaar, a marketing professional.

A good image doesn’t always equate to good service. 

Some retailers provide excellent service but don’t communicate it in their image, and vice-versa. Branding is often misaligned with sales and operations. A small update to the company’s online image, brand, or information design can communicate a luxurious, simple or fun shopping experience. Your brand sells the experience of doing business with you before someone does (just as a menu sells the food before someone orders it), so communicate clearly. 



Show some trust toward the customer and the customer will trust you. 
Online, trust-building methods such as offering free samples, free consultations and assessments, helpful product reviews, and professional advice without pushing sales show honesty and trust in the customer’s preferences. Amazon.com revolutionized online shopping by offering a public rating system for the products they sell, allowing anyone to post a review, whether positive or negative, as a way to help customers with their purchasing decisions. 


Be alert and ready to help. 
You can show outstanding salesmanship online by offering multiple ways for a customer to contact you – e-mail, e-mail form and phone number. An extra bonus to your customers would be to add a live chat service to your Web site. Live chat allows customers browsing on your Web site to get questions answered immediately without the hassle of sending emails or inconvenience of calling. 
Make it easy for the customer. 
Someone who showed interest once might still be a potential buyer in the future. Handing over a business card leaves all the work up to the customer to keep in contact! Be proactive by asking, “Would you mind if I added you to our mailing list?” On your Web site, ask in pop-in windows or offer freebies online in exchange for e-mail addresses to build up your database. Permission e-mail marketing is a great way to follow up with your potential customers and keep your name in front of them. This is better than general advertising because you are speaking to a captivated audience – your subscribers are already interested in you!

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