Running A Small Business Online

Running A Small Business Inc: Are You Standing Out?

Running A Small Business Online - Running A Small Business Inc: Are You Standing Out?

Online Interview With Squidoo Master Skeffling

Skeffling Interview

Skeffling Interview

I am thrilled to have had the honor to do a question answer session with the Squidoo master herself, Skeffling.

Below you will find 5 questions that I asked her about her experiences and advice she had for anyone looking to make money online.

Not only does she dominate Squidoo, but she also runs her own website where she graciously gives away all the information she uses to make her profits.

If you would like to check it out, take a look here at Skeffling’s Make Money Online blog.

Her total earnings last month were over $6000.00. With over 90% of those earnings coming directly and/or indirectly from Squidoo, Skeffling is our Squidoo master of the month. She is also known in many online corners as someone who is always helping out with an awesome winning attitude.

We are fortunate to have her helping us here. So without further ado, here is our interview.

Online Interview with Skeffling

Anthony – How did you get started online?

Skeffling – “When I was in dental school, around 1999, one of my elderly patients, who was an antique dealer, told me about eBay. She was selling fine bone china on there and after I graduated as a dentist, I started selling items from local auctions on eBay part-time in the evenings. It was fun, and gave me some spending money, as all my earnings were going to student loans. We evolved to selling antique linens as the shipping was low and they didn’t break in the mail. I taught myself how to ID and restore them to sell, and was able to start buying my stock on Ebay. I never knew what was more fun, looking for linens to sell or selling them for way more than I paid.”

Anthony - Was there anyone who helped you with your online business or someone who you followed that inspired you?

Skeffling – “I guess there wasn’t anyone specifically, no mentor or anything. For succeeding online, I knew I could do it myself as I had done well with the Ebay before and knew the research, analysis and creative work itself suited my skill set. I have an awesome friend, Marcin in Poland, who has helped me this summer with ideas for my blog and helped with WordPress and Aweber.

I am not really a follower of anyone in particular, but I have learned a lot from Chris Guthrie on selling Amazon products. His method of diversification of income is one I intend to pay attention to and pick and choose the income streams I enjoy dealing with. I did start to listen to podcasts like Chris Guthrie’s. Adsense Flipper’s, Spencer Haws’ and Pat Flynn’s this summer once I knew it was time to diversify, and those have helped open up the big picture. You realize there are many ways to make money online and it is just a matter of choosing the ones you think have the best odds of working, are the most stable and that you will enjoy.”

Anthony - What is your #1 tip for people starting out trying to make money online today?

Skeffling – “Pay attention to your successes, however small. You have to try something, then look for patterns in your results and do more of the things that are earning for you. If you increase your success and efficiency in what you are doing, you will earn more, faster. Why keep inventing the wheel, when you can fine-tune the one you have.

Don’t be intimidated by other people’s success, allow it to motivate you to work hard on your own way of making money. Those looking to buy the answers from “gurus” will end up losing over time as you need to take action yourself. You have to be willing to evolve your own way to earn online if you can. It is not easy and is a ton of work, but if you can enjoy the process as well as the results, you will go far and do well online.”

Anthony - What online platform would you suggest as the best place to make money at?

Skeffling – “I have to say Squidoo at the moment. I am averaging about $16 per article per month, so it is a decent place to start. People will want to diversify and if they learn to do well with Amazon, Seekyt is another great little platform with an attentive, accommodating, admin that is a good dual Adsense and Amazon earner. For diversifying to straight Adsense income, Infobarrel is the best bet, as their media pages allow for higher click-throughs and better earnings. Generally article income will be lower per article there than Squidoo, but it is another diverse source and having your earnings coming from many platforms and affiliate programs is wise.”

Anthony - What is one thing that you wish you knew before you started your online business?

Skeffling – “I wish I had realised how much fun it was going to be, I would have started much, much sooner. It was much harder to get the earnings momentum going than I thought it would be, at least 1000 times harder, but it is way more addictive to get those results, so it evens out.”

*** Thank you goes out to Skeffling for spending time to do this interview. It is a great benefit to us all. And a special thanks to all of you who are following my blog. Here is a link to her site one more time if you missed it Making Money Online.

Please share this with everyone you know.

Cheers!

 

August Online Earnings Report

Earnings

Earnings

August was a break out month for me because I decided to try some new things that revolved around active income.

Basically, I signed up for Zery’s and got to writing.

I have a close friend, Capstonetrends, who got me hooked on the site and convinced me to try it out.

 

He is an avid online writer and very smart when it comes to making money online. We sort of egged each other on in order to see how much money we could make. (Check out Capstonetrends site here.)

Since I already had a Textbroker account, I was able to start picking up jobs there pretty quickly. It took me about a week to get my Zery’s account submitted, rated, and ready to go.

Online Writing Profits For August

Zerys.com – $92.82
Textbroker.com – $51.34
———
Total – $144.16

I put together 13 different Squidoo lenses this month based off of Skefflings model for “Making money on Squidoo.”

Since I had only used Squidoo for a few backlinks in the past, I didn’t really know if I had a chance to make any money. But I thought that following Skefflings model was the best chance I had to make anything.

Honestly, I did not expect to make any money on Squidoo this past month because all my Lenses were less than 30 days old. Here are a the lenses that earned me money and how much they earned.

Online Profits For Squidoo and Links to Lenses:

Best Stainless Steel Cleaner For Sinks – $4.41
Bake Bakeware Organizers – $1.13
Best Stainless Steel Cleaners For Grills – $0.43
———-

Total –    $5.97

I am pleased with those results because because those Lenses are less than a month old. So out of 13 Lenses, 3 produced some earnings.

During the month of August, I decided to put up some extra Niche Sites and see if I could make some magic. I followed the Adsense Flippers guide for making Niche Sites and pumped out 4 different ones.

All together, I have 15 different sites with Adsense on them. They are ranging from small niche sites to larger small to mid authority style sites. I also have 103 articles on Infobarrel. My writing on Infobarrel was some of the first that I ever did online so my earnings from Infobarrel are not very high.

This month Adsense was a little down than I am used to but still made some money.

Online Profits For Adsense:

Niche Site Adsense – $20.94

Infobarrel Adsense – $4.69
———-

Total – $25.63

So those are the different areas I am currently using to make money with. I have not put anything up on Hubpages or Seekyt. Not that I have something against them, I just have not gone there.

Here is the complete total of money I made in August 2012:

Total Online Earnings For August 2012 – $175.77

Goals for September:

  • I would like to create 10 Lenses on Squidoo
  • I would like to post 8 articles on my mini authority site, The Fire Finder.
  • Post 4 interviews of successful online entrepreneurs on Running A Small Business Online.
  • Write 1o articles for Infobarrel.

Explode On The Scene: How To Win Traffic And Influence Readers

You are reading the first post for the new blog THE FIRE FINDER! Thanks for coming. I decided to write this post about breaking out of the pack and exploding on the scene. I want you to feel like you got the royal treatment with this post. I want you to leave feeling full of information. Here are the things we will be going over:

  • What it means to, “Go Over-The-Top”
  • The psychology behind website and blog traffic
  • How to use “appreciation” to get mass amounts of views
  • Lists of physical actions you can take to get more people to your site
  • Bio’s of top bloggers that use “appreciation” as a technique and an explanation for each one
  • How you can use social media to drive traffic to your blog or website without having a prior community
  • Call to action

I want to thank you for coming to The Fire Finder and please enjoy our first article!

- Anthony/TheFireStarter

Over at thinktraffic.net, Corbett Barr recently featured an article written by Peep Laja from ConversionXL.com. What is interesting about this article is it talks about getting 50,000 views on a brand new blog launch in the first month. The reason I bring this up is because at The Fire Finder, we are all about going Over-The-Top on blogging.

And this is definitely OVER-THE-TOP!

Can you imagine having that much traffic in your first month? In a nut shell, it is all about delivering the most possible content and information to your readers as humanly possible in one post. Corbett Barr calls it “Epic Shit“. I love that post. Corbett really does a great job about writing posts that truly blow his audiences away. Then, letting social channels take the information and run with it. Person after person re-tweeting and passing it along to more people until it goes viral.

I bring it up because in this post we are going to discuss how to explode on the scene by winning traffic from the multitudes of searching souls out there in internet land.

  1. Grab as many readers as possible
  2. Do it as fast as possible
  3. Make all of them happy and anxious to return

I believe that if you are going to blog and be on the internet with tons of other people, why settle for second best? Let’s not leave anything in the bag, go for the gold. Winning traffic IS THE GOLD to put a finer word on it. As we discuss this further, remember 3 things:

  • Traffic equals people – Even though we look at numbers on a screen, those numbers are people and should be treated as such. That means go the extra mile for your people. If you do, they will give it back 10 times over.
  • People Want To Feel Important – Above all else, people want to feel important. To quote Dale Carnegie, “If a man or woman can make people feel important, they will hold the world in their hand.”
  • Go Over-The-Top – At every chance you get, go over the top for your readers. Nothing is worth doing if you don’t do it with some flare. If you go over-the-top, you will make people feel extremely important.

I know when I first started blogging, I had no idea what to do. It would have been nice to have a blueprint for blogging, as Robert Dempsey puts it. Something that gives you a step by step approach. Robert does a really nice job in that article and really gives a lot of information away.

But I didn’t have that. So I had to learn a lot from trial and error and the help of some great blogs which I will talk about later. The key to all this and what I am driving at, is in order to get more traffic than you ever dreamed of, I mean really kill it, you need to do something that not a lot of other people are doing.

You need to go Over-The-Top. If I have beat that saying over your head enough I am sorry, but it is super important that you get it. So let’s get to bones, shall we?

Goals

Let’s define some goals that you may have as a blogger.

*  Deliver your ideas, experiences, and thoughts to people online

*  Make the internet a better place, as Pat Flynn always says.

*  Have fun

*  Make money (This is a nice blog by Sunil. I have been following it for awhile)

*  Get loads of traffic to your blog

*  Meet new people and make lasting relationships

All of these things or maybe just some of them are goals by many bloggers all over the world. They are the backbone to why we do what we do. Whether we want to sell something online or convey a simple message, we want to get people to come to our blog.

If you look above again, you will see that all of those things that we want to do, takes people to accomplish. We have to find a way to influence people to come to our blog.

There are so many mechanical ways to get traffic to your blog. But the real challenge is getting those people to REALLY come to your blog. How can you make them want to devour your information? Why should they?

How To Influence People

The key to all traffic online, I mean everywhere, falls under one single umbrella; a simple desire to be awesome as Santu Mahapatra puts it. That desire to be special may be social gratification, money, sex, etc. But everyone wants to fulfill some desire to feel unique.

This is important because since we know that all people want to feel unique (If you don’t believe me, just ask yourself what you want the most, and then ask yourself would you still want it if all the people in the world, including your loved ones, were suddenly gone? You will get your answer.) all we have to do to get those people to our blogs is satisfy that desire.

I know the picture is a little funny, but it speaks the truth. All those people are running towards being special. If they are searching for it, let’s give it to them. Since we are aware of where all the traffic is heading, we can make the adjustments to really explode our traffic numbers.

Here is a list of things that you can do to make people want to come to your blog.

Over-The-Top Impression #1: Give Appreciation

  • Social media is a great place to get started with this. If you are on twitter (Nice article by Christina Ansbjerg on using twitter and growing followers) and Facebook, simply find people you don’t know, read up on what they are doing, and give them some positive feedback. It really takes very little time but you will find that your twitter followers will jump and your Facebook friends will grow by leaps and bounds. All these people want is to feel special.

  • Post your praises on their blogs under the comment sections. Send them an email thanking them for their hard work. It will set you apart from all the rest. That person will want to come see you and recommend you to his or her readers. Check this short and nice compliment by Sergio Felix at Marketing With Sergio. This makes makes me want to check this guy out.

  • Give praises away in your blog posts. There is nothing that people like more than getting free compliments. If they see it in your blog posts. There is a story about a newspaper who was really falling behind on sales so they came up with the idea to start mentioning peoples names from the community in the paper. There sales tripled. Everyone was buying the paper to see their name or someones name they knew in the publication.

Giving praises away in your blog posts or simply mentioning someones name is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get people to come to your blog and and tell all their friends about it come. It should be at the top of your list when you are writing.

Feature Writers and Blogs

I want to give you four blogs that I really believe go Over-The-Top when it comes to content, delivery, and a people first mentality.

Pat Flynn is the owner and author of Smart Passive Income. I have been following him for about a year now and he impresses me at every turn. Here are some of the things that Pat really does well. Most blogs have a ton of information and not a lot of directions on how to use it.

I know that when I go to websites for the first time, I am usually overwhelmed. Something that Pat does really well is lead people exactly where he wants them to go from the beginning. Here is the link to his beginning page. It really is thoughtful of him to make sure that people finding him for the first time know exactly where to go. It is considerate and it is smart. He not only helps people know where to start, he controls what they see first.

Corbett Barr is the author of Think Traffic. Think Traffic is all about helping people with getting traffic    to their blog. He really goes the extra mile in all his posts.

Corbett does a really good job going Over-The-Top with his long posts full of links. His blog posts are really something special.  Out of all the blogs that I have read, I really enjoy reading his the most.He really try’s to help his readers by showing them everything about writing, all the way down to article structure and how to form the articles so people can optimize their information. Another thing he does well is feature a lot of different people who are being successful. He takes praising people and their accomplishments to a new level.

Tim Ferris is the author of the Four Hour Work Week. Tim has come up with some really amazing information for people who are really interested in moving their online and offline lives to the next level. What I like about Tim is that he has dedicated his whole blog to helping people work less and earn more.

Everything he writes about is geared around a Four Hour Work Week! You may say, “That is what he should be doing, nothing special there.” I think he is amazing because most blogs say one thing and do something else. He actually delivers.

Adam Baker is the author of Man vs Debt. I have been following this website for awhile and you will be hard pressed to find a better writer and overall blogger. He really is special.

Adam’s blog is about overcoming personal debt. He writes about his experiences and how they can help you overcome your problems. What he does that is Over-The-Top is he discloses all of his personal information. All his finances, purchases, money uses, all go on his blog. Through that, he holds himself accountable and really makes a difference.

I am reluctant to write about financial blogs because I used to be involved in writing for financial websites. But he is truly worth it. If you get a chance, check out his Everything We Own page and you will understand what I mean by full disclosure.

Let’s Put It All Together

Now we have an idea of what it means to go Over-The-Top and who is doing it. These people get mass amounts of traffic. The traffic comes because they are overly appreciative to their readers by giving making them feel special, which in turn gives them repeat traffic.

Here is a list of some things you can do to be appreciative:

Make sure people have access to your contact information at all times.

Have an about page, detailing what your blog is about. Make sure you have a way to sign up for your email on that page.

On your comment section, make sure you reply to EVERY comment with useful feedback.

Have a way for people to find you on Facebook and Twitter

Try to give something away each month; Contests, Features, Unique Content all work well.

Disclose something real. If you are not real with your readers, they will not be able to identify with you.

Give away lots of links and resources for free.

Find out who your readers are and go to their sites. Leave comments and feedback.

Let your readers feel apart of your blog; i.e. best commenter’s and add them to a blog post with a link back to their site.

All of these things will make your readers feel as though they are important by giving them information, but more importantly, giving them access to you and all the things you are about online.

To your readers, they want to be apart of your blog and what it represents. Your blog should represent a community and it should say “We want you to be apart of it”.

What Now

I hope you enjoyed this article. I would like to ask your help. In order to make this launch successful, we need to get the word out about the blog and what we are doing here.

If you liked the information, would you please tweet this and share with as many friends as possible and like us on Facebook? Also, please leave your comments below. Your feedback is everything here. I look forward to meeting you all.

- Anthony/Running A Small Business Online

Tips For Helping Your Online User See Your Brand

In today’s over crowded and impersonal market, branding is more important then ever. When we dig into what makes a brand online, we have to consider that the user is often forgotten in the interaction and transaction.

The online world is often faceless. With millions and millions of websites and billions of products, the gap between “user experience and brand” is wide.

How can you build a brand and not include the user at the same time? It seems like a no brainer, right?

The reality is, businesses online do it all the time. Many believe that a fancy website, great colors, a catchy phrase, and a bunch of content about this and that will win them customers.

It simply doesn’t work. In order to bridge the gap between the online user and your brand, you have to move away from the traditional idea that your design and appearance is more important then the user themselves.

Online User Experience: Example

Let’s say you are searching for a new golf club. Pretty straight forward. You know you need a new putter, but you don’t know where to go online to find what you want.

So you type into the search box “new golf putters” and 1.5 million sites pop up. The first site you see in the search engine is “new-golf-putters.com” (Not a real site). You click on the site and the first thing you see is a guy with a putter and lots of reviews.

You click on a picture of a putter that looks nice and it takes you to a page that has a review of the product that you see.

Seems pretty good right? The customer is on the page where you want them to be. They are reading your review that is designed to get them to buy the product, and next thing you know, they go to a larger website to buy the product you told them about.

What happened? The “user experience and brand” were all in tune right? The title, the colors, the reviews, and the products all seemed to make the customers experience fulfilling, right? Then why did they leave?

They left because there was a “gap” between their experience and your brand. They were afraid to buy from you, they didn’t trust you.

Trust is the hidden secret to the successful online user experience.

User Experience and Brand: Tips On Bridging The Gap

  1. Personal vs. Vague – Be more personal. How? Be real. Tell your readers and online audience who you are. Let them know what you like and what you do for fun. Tell them why you like what you do and why. Show them a real picture of yourself. Set up a forum so you can talk to your customers. Let them in on your life experiences and what you do. Be open.
  2. Context vs. Hypothetical – Give your users real data. Show them what “YOU” have done and the real statistics you have created. Publish graphs and charts that show how one action you did affected another. Give them real information from a real person. Don’t get it from another webpage, do it yourself.
  3. Give It Away vs. Charging For It – The perfect “user experience and brand” development revolves around value. What is the value “you” are giving to your customers? Don’t forget the word “you” because it has to come from you to make it valuable. Information that you have come up with that was hard and took a long time to complete should be the first thing you give away. Why not sell it? Because you want to build a brand THROUGH user experience, not through user abuse.
  4. Be Social vs. Closed Down – Be there for your customers. How many times have you gone to a business online and felt like it was just a page on the internet? Yes, it is just a page on the internet. But it is your job to make your users believe that it is more than that. It is a place they can go to talk to someone real who understands what they are going through and has an answer for their question. Be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and actually be there for real to talk to people “FOR REAL”. That is the key. Be social and available.

Improving user experience builds your brand naturally. You accomplish this by being real. Everything you do, including these tips, should be approached from the thought process of, “How can I be more real with my customers when I am trying to do … ”

If you make your users have the very best experience at each point of their interaction with your business, then you will build a brand that they will trust and they will reward you by coming back again.

How to Improve Health & Wellness in the Workplace


Working can get the best of us, and if we don’t strive to create a healthy working environment, our employees will become sluggish, which decreases productivity.

Health and wellness programs are widely available to all companies, whether you enlist the help of a professional health and wellness company or if you opt to create a plan on your own.

Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness

Making your workplace better through health and wellness programs is a smart idea, and improving the overall health and wellness of your employees is as simple as implementing the following tips.

Educate your employees.

We live in an ignorant world, and most of your employees may not realize that they are investing in unhealthy habits. One of the best ways to improve overall health and wellness is to educate your employees and treat them to healthy perks.

For example, hang up posters in your kitchen or cafeteria that discuss healthy food options versus unhealthy food options. Some of your employees may not realize how bad their brown bag lunch really is until they see the poster.

You can also bring in motivational speakers or health professionals to provide a lunchtime seminar to your employees that discusses ways to stay healthy while in the workplace.

If you want to treat your employees to a perk, you can always bring in a yoga instructor and offer weekly classes. Once you get your employees educated in how to live a healthier lifestyle, they’ll be able to practice on their own.


Schedule health screenings.

As adults, most people will only visit the doctor when something is wrong, and this is not smart. Rather than force your employees to take time off work to visit the doctor and pay their copay for a checkup, bring a doctor into the workplace and provide free health screenings as well as vaccinations such as the flu shot.

When you offer this to your employees, you’re allowing them to get an overall picture of their health without having to go to the doctor, and you’re also providing them with preventative methods to keep them healthy during flu season.

Start an exercise group.

If you have the space and the resources, placing a gym inside your facility is a great way to increase health and wellness in the workplace because your employees can workout before or after work or during their lunch break, and they don’t have to leave work to do it.

This makes working out so much more convenient to your employees, and it gets them more interested in actually doing it.

If you don’t have the space, start your own exercise program. Get a few employees together to take walks during your lunch breaks or sign up for a Weight Watchers program together. When you have a group of people depending on you, it makes it harder to quit.

 

Offer an incentive program.

There are plenty of incentive programs that you can create to get your employees on track to being healthy. Check with your healthcare provider and see if you can reduce the amount of insurance premiums if your employees are tobacco-free. This not only provides a benefit to those who are already healthy, but it also gives an incentive to help those employees who are currently using tobacco to quit.

Provide healthier food and drink items.

If you have vending machines in your office, make sure to have them stocked with healthier food and drink options instead of the normal unhealthy snacks.

If you remove the bad food and drinks from the workplace, it forces your employees to make healthier decisions.

If you have a cafeteria in your office, make sure that the food you’re serving on a regular basis to your employees is also healthy. Try and refrain from the deep fried foods and keep menu items as healthy as possible.

Improving the overall health and wellness of your office is a smart move to make.

Not only will it make your employees healthier, but it will improve their morale, which will increase their productivity and make them enjoy coming to work.

Provided by Elizabeth Evans a corporate wellness plans professional with over twenty years of experience in providing consultative services to Fortune 500 companies.


LASER IN – Small Business: Write A Small Business Plan For A Big Result


Write A Small Business Plan For Big Results

Write A Small Business Plan For Big Results

Laser In Series #1

The LASER IN series was created to show you how to laser in on a way to succeed in business by less effort, small actions, and a preparation for large success.

You might think this is counter intuitive.

Getting smaller sounds less like succeeding and more like failing. I admit, it does look that way and I used to think the same thing. Everything that I did was all about how big can I make it.

The reality of thinking, planning, creating, and growing your business to be the biggest it can be actually requires you to be as small as you can be.

If we think of small as nothing more than making our tasks easier, smaller, and less obtrusive in our lives, we have a business model that can grow to endless bounds.

Large Business Plan

Let’s assume that you have an idea for a business. Good for YOU!

The first thing you want to do is write a business plan. The normal business plan can be anywhere between 20 to 100 pages long.

Some business plans are even larger than that.

What is the point of having a business plan that big? Let’s look at some benefits:

  1. Complete Financial Plan – Business plans generally have a five year financial plan.
  2. Description of Business – The very nature of a business plan is to at least describe what your business is about.
  3. Research and Development – Many pages of your business plan is taken up by research on your product, market, and the development of both.
  4. Structure of the Business – This outlines the structure of the internal makeup of employees, management, and how they each interact with each other.
  5. Marketing and Advertising – Another large chunk of a business plan is the detailed description of a marketing and advertising plan.

There are many other sections that can be added to a business plan and different businesses require different things.

I specifically left out the part of the business plan that talks about money. We will get to that later.

Go With A Small Business Plan

The actual amount of business owners who have a business plan of any sort is estimated to be around 80%.


That number is stagering to me. 8 out of 10 business owners never have a business plan. It could explain why so many people fail in business.

But that also means, that the people who do succeed rarely have a business plan too.

So it is better to have a small business plan, that clearly outlines your business in a nutshell, than to have nothing at all.

In all my travels and meetings with people telling me about their businesses and ideas, the ones that really worked, I mean the businesses that were the best of the best, took less than 30 seconds to describe.

“Most People prepare to fail by failing to prepare”

UNKNOWN

1 Page Business Plan

Our goal here is to make sure that our business has a singular direction; a defining element that makes your business stand out from the rest.

If you don’t have that, are people really going to come and buy from you?

Let’s look at exactly what I mean:

“How can you expect people to come to you and buy your product if there are 20 stores just like yours?With online stores and shipping to the 4 corners of the earth, why you? What makes you special?

Would someone go out of there way to buy from you when they could go somewhere closer and get the product they need?

When I bought my first restaurant, I was so excited to be running a small business, and a restaurant to boot, that I didn’t even consider the hard facts about my location and the industry.

I chose a decent spot, right in the middle of a huge business park, but the problem was, so did everyone else. I convinced myself there were plenty of people around so I could do the business the same, and make it big.

It was a coffee/cafe shop. Right down the road, a block from me, was a large coffee/cafe shop that had been there for awhile.

On top of that, there were 5 Starbucks in a 3 mile radius. And, fast food chains just started going after coffee beverages.

The whole time I ran my cafe I thought, “If I just made the food better, more people would come.”

The truth is, the better I made the food and coffee to keep up with the other coffee/cafe shops, the worse it got.

All I was doing was slipping down a hole that I could not escape. As soon as someone launched a new product, I went to their cafe and bought it. I would study it and try my hardest to duplicate it.

I noticed the same thing happening to me. Part of my coffee shop was frozen drinks. We did ours from scratch and did not have automatic equipment like Starbucks.

We had an espresso machine and blenders, but we did not have the systems in place to be very fast at it. During lunch rush, it was a nightmare trying to keep up with the customers and fix frozen coffee drinks with the wait staff running around like crazy.

I came up with a play on a frozen drink to go, sort of like a Frappacino, only it was made everyday and with our secret mixer.

But, as soon as I thought I had something going, the coffee shop down the road came out with a similar product.

The issue wasn’t that they stole a drink idea they had, the issue was I was trying to be so much like the other coffee/cafe shops that I was getting lost in the fray of everyday business. No one looked at my business and thought, “Wow, that is so different I am going to go to them instead of the other 15 coffee shops in the area.” - Anthony/CEO

 

Its like if you were driving down a beautiful road in France and on both sides of you were cows.

The picture is like out of a book.

The beauty of France, the scenery, and the cows. For miles, you would watch the cows and not move your eyes.

But after awhile, you would stop looking at them because once you see a cow, let’s be honest, you’ve seen them all.

However, if you were driving along and saw a purple cow, would you stop?

Of coarse. Purple cows don’t come along every day. Standing out in business is the same thing. You got to be different to be seen. It is exactly how you put it. Make the content of what you are doing special, not the promotion.

If the meat of your business is really different, then the viral machine will do all the work you could never do.

PUT THIS IN YOUR

BUSINESS PLAN

Simply put, your business plan needs to be the uniqueness of your business on a piece of paper.

What I want you to do is only work on what sets your business apart from all the rest. Take your business idea and list 5 things that make your business so different than other businesses in your field that people would come to you no matter where you were located.

Make those 5 things very definable so that you can write them down in no more than 2 to 3 sentences each.

Once You have those 5 things, I want you to write down how you are going to pay for it, how you are going to sell it, and how you are going to tell people about it.

These 3 things need to be written in 3 sentences or less.

Be concise. It is more important to write down in simple, uncomplicated terms what you are going to do than write page after page about each little turn you plan to take.

Trust me, none of those turns will turn out like you think.

After you have those three things down, you need to write down in 1 sentence how long you want to give yourself to do those three things.

And lastly, write down 5 to 7 sentences with each sentence being an action to get you closer to your goal.

Now your done: You have a definable vision of what makes your product unique. You have 2 to 3 sentences on how your going to pay for it, sell it, and how you are going to tell people about it. You have 1 to 2 sentences on how long you will give your self to accomplish it, and 5 to 7 sentences of a step by step process that leads you to your opening.

RECAP

  1. 5 sentences - on your unique selling point/what makes you completely different from everyone else.
  2. 2 to 3 sentences – On how you are going to pay for it, sell your product, and how you are going to tell people about it (Be very clear and the less writing the better)
  3. 1 to 2 sentences – On how long you want to take to start and run your business and a date.
  4. 5 to 7 sentences – Write down a step-by-step guide, using one sentence to describe each step, on how you are going to get to that date ready to go.

DON’T WAIT

This business plan is small but don’t underestimate the magnitude of this plan. The simplicity of the plan is its strongest power.

The best part about this plan is it can be used for any business. Whether you are starting a business online or on the corner next to the gas station, you can can benefit from a small and clear business plan.


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Tips For Creating Amazing Sales Proposals

One simple sales method to dramatically boost the probability of closing your strategic deals, is to make certain that your proposals illustrate the real value of the product you’re offering to your customer. Often times, salespeople do not invest enough time to prepare professional looking and comprehensive proposals. I’ve seen it many times, where salespeople want to use a spreadsheet as the method to present multi million dollar proposals which is almost always inadequate and will certainly not properly demonstrate the entire value of their particular product or solution. Winning proposals include common elements that will help you demonstrate how your product is the most beneficial one available for your customer. By simply following these repeatable steps, you will save substantial time preparing professional looking and compelling proposals which in turn will enable you to enhance your sales results.

The Benefits Of Social Media Manchester

Through social media Manchester business firms have the ideal opportunity to create awareness of their existing products. This is a highly beneficial tool since the world is connected to form a global village. The technological breakthrough in designing smart phones, laptops and other accessories has ensured that people are connected to the internet.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Business Development Consulting Services

Business development consulting services are a growing area of business. They are specialized consultants who can help your company to develop and grow. There are several companies offering this type of service. Some are national, whilst others are more local. Several large international companies have their own consultants who perform this role. These consultants cover all types of businesses. Prices will differ widely, as they depend on the amount of involvement you need.

Start A Small Business In Massachusetts

Starting a small business in Massachusetts has lots of benefits. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has implemented a new plan called the Growth Districts Initiative.

Growth Districts Initiative

What this means for small business is a simplification of the “starting a small business” process. These sites will be considered development ready with a small business being able to get streamlined licenses and permits.

Instead of the constant delays that happen when trying to get permits and licenses, you will have the support of your local and state level governments.

This should make starting a business in certain places in Massachusetts very attractive. For more information about this program and to see if your area is participating, call the Permit Regulatory Office at (617) 788-3662.

Starting A Small Business Forms and Processes

The state of Massachusetts suggests that the first thing you do is pick a business entity type. Look here for information about the business types and what are the regulations for Massachusetts.

The next thing you want to do is file all your papers with the Secretary of State. You can find all the forms you need look at the Massachusetts Corporation Division. The great thing about Massachusetts is they allow you to fill out a lot of these forms online.

Check here for business licenses and permits. While you are waiting for your licenses and permits, you need to get your EIN from the IRS here. After all of that, you need to finally register your business with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

After you do all of this, you will get a certificate of good standing. Look here to apply for one. The reason you want to do this is that many financial institutions look for a certificate in order to loan money.

Infrastructure

As a business owner, you want to know what kind of traffic and growth you are going to have at your business location. Look here for information on your area.

 

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