Vesta Digital Blog

Posts Tagged ‘financial

How To Raise Startup FundsBudding entrepreneurs are often faced with the ultimate barrier – having money to make money. While most mentors encourage entrepreneurs to use family, friends, savings accounts, and credit cards for startup capital, there are other alternatives to raising funds.

Here are a few options you have as alternatives to maxing out your credit cards or bumming funds from family and friends:

Do not pull out from your employer

If you are one of those budding entrepreneurs who finds opportunity inspired by a lack in your day job, you may have heard that it’s important to pull out from your employer in order to focus on your business plan. However, if you’re struggling to find capital to start up your business, your most prudent option is probably to keep your day job. You may have to work long nights as it usually takes just as much focus and work to finalize your business plan as it would to work 9-5 day job.

Just make sure your new venture isn’t getting in the way of your day job because scattering your efforts can lead you to mediocre performance in all areas rather than excellent performance in one main focus.

Pay your employees first

If you have already pulled out from your employer and have a fledgling company already up and going, it might be your best option to use the income from your acquired clients to finance your business expansion, rather than to seek external financing. Bootstrapping is an effective way to use your cash flow, at least temporarily. In order to put your company profits back into the business rather than your bank account, you’ll need to cut your expenses and really focus on acquiring leads.

There are many ways to cut expenses, like working from home rather than an office or even exercising deferred compensation with your suppliers.

As you are starting your own business, raising capital can be your number one priority as a business owner. Make sure you’re doing everything possible to cut expenses. You can easily cut your marketing budget by using social media marketing as your main channel for lead generation and brand awareness.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

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How to Create a Marketing PlanThere are several ways to create a marketing plan. Once your small business is up and running, you need something concrete and on paper to refer to when reviewing your marketing efforts throughout the year. Many small businesses can get away with having just a half-dozen sheets. As long as you’re paying attention to the correct information, your marketing plan will work.

Your Marketing Plan

Have a three-ring binder with your marketing plan (on paper) in it. Leave room for monthly reports on sales and costs. Constantly updating your marketing plan is extremely important because it allows you to track your progress and adapt for the future. Many marketing plans fail because people have a tendency to stubbornly stick to a plan and attempt to carry it out even if it isn’t working.

Your plan should cover one year of marketing. Give yourself a couple months in advance to write your marketing plan, even if you only start with an outline. When writing your marketing plan, try to get feedback from as many people as possible. It is important to discuss marketing potential with the finance people in your company, the supply people, etc.

How your Marketing Plan Works with your Business plan

Your business plan is much more in depth and discusses the inner workings and ultimate goals of your entire business. Your documents must coincide. If your marketing plan starts deviating from the ultimate structure of your business plan, you need to change your business plan. It is important that the two work parallel to each other because your business plan is the backbone of your company’s functionality.

Your marketing plan should include research of your target markets, a competitive analysis, budgeting, your timeline of execution, and any other details that pertain to your marketing efforts. You should know in advance exactly what channels you intend to use, whether it be social media marketing, email marketing, or direct marketing – or all of them for that matter.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

Give Yourself a Chance to Succeed in the Business WorldThere is no secret formula to succeeding in business. I can’t say follow these steps and you will reach the elusive world of financial freedom. However, there are certain aspects that most successful small business owners all have in common. If you work on these aspects, you’ll certainly have a better chance at success.

1. Positive Attitude

Always have a positive attitude, no matter what. I don’t need to site any statistics about various studies that show how a positive attitude reaped better results than a negative one. It’s common sense. Your attitude affects everything you do, the people around you, and how effective you are as a leader.

2. Use Effective Marketing

You need to market to a small niche of people. Your marketing efforts should be spread out among a few different channels, and you also need to be aware that the results of marketing take time to surface. Marketing is a long-term investment. It is about building the reputation of your company name – not sales returns.

3. Always be professional

Have a professional online presence, have a website that is e-commerce capable with quality content that keeps browsers interested. Be professional when you engage with social media. Choose your words, images, and actions with discretion and care as everything you do will reflect on your business.

4. Have a call to action

Have a blog subscription available to your clients with RSS feed compatibility. Or have visitors to your site fill out their name and email addresses to receive email newsletters. While it is important to attract traffic to your website, it is even more critical to have those visitors coming back again, and eventually, refer you to others.

If you follow these tips, you will be able to see a difference. These tips may seem like common sense but it really is amazing how many people don’t spend time on marketing, or are unprofessional and turn customers off, or have everything great but don’t convert enough customers. Keep these tips in mind and you will see yourself focused, energized, and motivated to see your business flourish.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

mind of an entrepreneurMany people are diving into the world of small business ownership. Whether this has to do with the state of the economy and job market, or the innate desire to “be your own boss,” the result is a boom in people wanting to own their own business.

There is a difference between a small business owner and an entrepreneur. Steve Smith, a mentor for small business owners and entrepreneurs for the consulting team OneCoach International, wrote an informative brief on Focus.com

The brief discusses the qualities that separate small business owners from entrepreneurs. Read the excerpt below and learn how to transcend the booming market of small business ownership and dive into the world of entrepreneurship:

The term entrepreneur simply means: one who has an idea and takes the financial risk and accountability for the outcome of their pursuits. The real meaning can be better understood in the characteristics an entrepreneur should possess in order to achieve the results they desire.

Desire to succeed

The true entrepreneur never gives up in their quest to reach the benchmark of success they have set for themselves. The real test is not in being successful but in being willing to do it again if the 1st, 2nd or 3rd attempts fail.

Determination & work ethic

Their relentless desire to succeed is fueled by a ‘dogged’ work ethic. They think nothing of putting in 15+ hours a day pursuing every aspect of their idea. While this level of determination is all but a requirement in the early phase of getting your idea off the ground, it can also be a blind spot in terms of being able to set priorities and stay focused on specific activities that drive accomplishment.

Having an innovative mindset

Few business ideas today are truly revolutionary. Most are an adaptation of an existing idea. The entrepreneur will frequently borrow an existing business model and make significant improvements to it in order to create a niche that they can grow. They are constantly looking for ways to realize their dreams by innovating what’s already in play, even when they’re not sure that the market is ready for it.

Willingness to go it alone

Entrepreneurs see opportunities differently than most people and will pursue a course of action that maybe unclear to close friends or family members. Frequently, their community will question their motives, ambitions or even sanity in an attempt to keep them from being hurt by their unshakable quest to see the venture to completion. The true entrepreneur understands this level of ‘loving scrutiny’ and presses forward despite the lack of perceived support for what they see very clearly as their road to financial freedom

Acting on creative ideas and solutions

This is one of the key factors that separate entrepreneurs from all other well intentioned business people. Entrepreneurs have an ability to find creative solution to situations that appear daunting and take action on them; sooner rather than later. Their ability to see unique approaches to the opportunities they take on enables them to act on decisions that are critical to the project’s continued momentum. The downside of this ‘go-getter’ mentality can be a pattern of frequent and unneeded ‘trial & error’ because not enough consideration is taken to research and test an idea before jumping into it with all four feet.

Making decisions in the absence of complete information or solid data

At the beginning of an idea, there may not be enough information available to comfortably decide on a particular course of action. The entrepreneur knows this and is confident in making decisions under these circumstances. They recognize that intuitive thinking or ‘gut feelings’ play a role in forging ahead into the unknown and see this as exhilarating as pursuing the idea itself. The entrepreneur knows that there is no better way to kill a promising idea in the early stages than to become paralyzed in the decision making process.

Jack of all trades

The entrepreneur knows how to do many things. They also know how to improvise and find others who can fill in their knowledge or skill gap with whatever is needed to keep moving forward. And while this ability to juggle and assimilate to a variety of situations enables to entrepreneur to keep things in motion, the downside is often an inability to accurately assess a true area requiring expertise outside the entrepreneur’s capabilities. In some cases, critical decisions may be made hastily or incorrectly causing unintended setbacks.

start small businessYou can find great business advice all over the web. You can learn how to start a small business, market your business, and expand your business. Some of the best tips I’ve personally learned have been tips from small business blogs and forums.

If you are interested in starting your own business, the most comprehensive list of startup tips can be found at SCORE, Counselors to Americas Small Business. For example, SCORE offers a 6-step strategy to succeeding in small business.

Below are the 6 steps to setting up your small business for success:

1. Start Smart.

Identify a niche. Don’t compete to be the lowest cost provider. Look for what makes your product or service unique and adds a special value for the client and charge for that value. Every business has many facets. Start with what you know and like; start a business that has meaning to you. Keep in mind that we don’t know what the future holds, many of the jobs and businesses of tomorrow don’t exist today. You can create your own success.

Now is the time to dream. To start smart, you should like the idea of the business. The way to earn a good income and build wealth is by serving clients well, making their life better in some way—it’s more than filling a need in the marketplace. To succeed you want to test the idea to make sure your potential clients like the idea too.

2. Set up Systems.

The most basic system every business should have is a good financial system. Ask yourself how am I going to generate enough income to support my family and myself? Begin here. Put together a personal budget, so you know what it costs you to live. Now, you can move on to the business budget and sales planning, so you can see how many sales you need to break even and make a profit. The start-up expense plan, operating budget and your accounting software are vital to your success.

3. Seek out Sales.

The daunting question is how do you go about seeking out your first sale. Recognize that since you don’t have a big ad budget to be seen by everyone, you need to target a niche and get connected in your market community, be it local, regional or national. You need other people selling for you—not employees—affiliates. Get out and talk to as many people as you can. Join organizations that would have clients for your product or service. Become a visible part of your market, and then ask for the sale. You begin the sales process with people that you know. Yes, it’s okay to start with friends and family as your first customers, and then broaden from there.

4. Aim for Growth.

The basic tenant of creating a company is that you own the company. You are not just creating a job for yourself. It’s less risk and less investment to get a job. Building a business is creating a company that is more than the job itself. Think about the future. How large do you want the company to be in terms of sales, net profit and employees? Your answer to each of these questions will influence how you grow. There are varying costs and profits associated with growth. It’s important to make a deliberate choice early about how you want to grow your company.

5. Leverage Opportunities.

Good luck. Good fortune. Good timing. All play a part in business. As a business owner, be very clear about your core focus for the business and how it serves clients. Your core business is what pays the bills. Then, as an entrepreneur you are about opportunity. When you see a potential opportunity or stroke of luck measure it against your core business focus. Good fortune is great, when it matches your vision for the business. Always consider if a good opportunity is the right fit for your business. If something looks great, but it’s not in sync with your long-term plan and budget, think carefully before committing your company’s resources.

6. Plan Your Exit.

Someday you may want to sell your business or retire from business. Today, ask yourself what’s next? How can I have an asset in the future that someone will buy? If you are going to sell someday, you have to have something to sell—a plan, vision, business on the books, equipment and systems. Whether you have been in business for one week, one year or 15 years—look ahead to what the business itself will be as an asset. Your business has value, value you are creating today. To sell or distribute equity in the business you need to have it down on paper and keep good financials. Know the worth of your business, so you can know the value it can bring to your future wealth and/or retirement.

small businessHow can you tell if your small business is efficient enough? Yourbusiness needs to be functioning in a way that allows you and yourassociates to be making the most effective use of your limited time. Ifyou are not delegating your time and money correctly as a businessowner, you will surely encounter hardships both financially andpersonally.

Starting a business can be stressful enough. Use the following tips to build your business effectively; by using the most efficient business methods you can, so you can save time for the important things – family and friends. After all, your business should be dedicated towards improving the lives around you.

Here are a few tips to manage your money and time as effectively as possible.

Start tasks and finish them

Distractions are so common and so dangerous. If you have something extremely important to accomplish, like updating your business website, you need to sit down and finish it no matter how long it takes or how difficult it is. It is easy to be swayed by other happenings within your business, but by finishing one task at a time, you will come closer to ultimate efficiency.

Rely on your associates

It may be tempting to do everything yourself as a small business owner. However, you simply don’t have time for it all. You should make sure to hire competent employees that you can rely on to carry out tasks you give them. Your staff should be able to competently complete tasks you give them. Check in on them as well; teach them how to be more efficient. After all, you are responsible for their actions.

Consider outsourcing

Your workload will fluctuate throughout the year. During busy times of the year, consider outsourcing work to hired experts to help you efficiently manage your workload. For example, if you are working on improving a new product, hire an external social media marketing team to help you spread the word about your existing line.

Practice focused communication

Communicating with your staff is vitally important to the efficiency of your business. Your staff relies on you to know exactly what needs to be done and how. If you skip out on anything that needs to be communicated, some tasks may need to be redone. This mistake can be very taxing. Make sure there is a clear goal for every conversation, and stay focused until your staff understands everything thoroughly.

To-do lists are awesome

Enough said, really. Many people condemn the power of to-do lists, but those are the people that lose them or have trouble sticking to them. Making a list is truly the only way to visually perceive exactly what tasks need to be completed, which has more priority over others, and how long it will realistically take you to complete everything. Without a list, you can easily become overwhelmed and may even skip a task or finish one haphazardly. Manage your tasks efficiently, your business success will soon follow suit.

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.