Building Your Home-Based Business From Scratch

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Building a home-based business takes a lot of time and effort. You might have the passion and professionalism necessary to create your own business, but it takes more than that to achieve success. You need a strong business plan, above all else. Remember, you’re not just an employee anymore – you’re the employer, too. As a freelancer, you have to be able to run your own business, so this is much more than a career. So, let’s talk about what it takes to start building your home-based business from scratch. The following points should help you out.

Find your avenue.

First of all, you have to figure out how you’re going to make money. You might have many skills, but you have to decide which skill you’re going to turn into a profitable business idea. Most importantly, you have to decide which skill you’re going to turn into an exciting business idea. So, your goal is to find your avenue. Perhaps you could sell your old belongings, or perhaps you could write marketing articles for online clients. Some people even use freelancing sites such as Fiverr to sell bizarre services; there are freelancers who sing birthday messages in silly voices and so on. You could also become a blogger to make money from adverts and sponsored deals.

You should make a list of possible business ideas to help you find the right fit. You might want to use skills that you’ve developed in the working world, or you might want to focus on personal skills that you think could be turned into viable business services. Maybe you’re a creative person who could become a freelance photographer, for example. Finding the right avenue is about finding your strengths. Just remember that it should be enjoyable. You’ll struggle to build a successful company if you don’t enjoy what you do. As your business’ sole employee (for the meantime), you’re responsible for its success.

Start shaping your office.

You might have a great business plan and a laptop, so nothing’s stopping you from getting started. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a good home office. Your environment has a big effect on the way you think and feel. If you want to build your home-based business from scratch, then you should also start shaping your office from scratch. You might already have a room with a desk that you’ve set aside for your company and its activities, but you need to make it feel professional. It should feel separate to the rest of your house; there needs to be a division between home and work. You might even want to get a skip bin if you’re going to have to declutter the room or even your entire house to make the place look good. Clearing out your old possessions to create a new design for your home-based office could help to freshen up the place.

Research the market.

If you want your home-based business to be successful, then you need to research the market. Your company is entering a competitive landscape, so you need to find your place. That’s why entrepreneurs always talk about gaps in the market. If you can find problems that your competitors haven’t solved, then you’ll have found opportunities to differentiate yourself from other businesses in your industry. Make sure you keep doing your research. Keep talking to existing and potential customers to figure out what they want from companies such as yours.

Thinking Of Starting Your Own Business? Be Sure To Steer The Ship Away From These Icebergs!

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For many of us, especially the millennial generation, climbing the career ladder can be inherently frustrating. When young people emerge from the world of education and enter the world of work, they often find that the assumed truths on which they were raised wither under the lights of experience. The hard work and endeavor they’ve been conditioned to believe would live to success and fortune are barely enough to get them on the bottom rung. In an era where graduates outnumber vacancies, undergraduates are often being trained for jobs that don’t actually exist. Thus, bright and talented individuals can spend years wasting away in cubicles while their skills atrophy. Is it any wonder that entrepreneurship is an increasingly attractive to young people?

For a number of reasons, millennials make great entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, starting a business, even one with relatively low startup costs is a risky business. If you wish to set sail on the path of business ownership, be sure to steer the ship away from the following icebergs…

Lack of market research

When you have an idea for a business that you’re passionate and excited about, it’s easy to assume that everyone will share your passion. But even if your business mentors, business angels, prospective vendors and everyone else you show your business plan to get excited about your business… Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers will.

This is why your business plan needs to be backed by meticulous market research. The qualitative and quantitative data you glean from this can allow you to refine your idea to ensure that it resonates with your target market. If you don’t take the needs of your consumers into account, you can’t expect them to get excited about your brand.

Crippling startup costs

In a lot of ways, applying for startup funding is like applying for a mortgage. Just because you can borrow a certain amount doesn’t mean you should. Securing business startup funding can be tricky and if you are allowed to borrow a large amount you may well be tempted to go for the maximum possible amount you can for the betterment of your business. But this can hobble your new startup with debt.

The repayments and interest rates can place a stranglehold on your cash flow, meaning that it can take years for your business to become profitable.

Under investing

While new entrepreneurs do well to be conscious of the purse strings, they should also be wary of under investing. Under investment in your business can curtail the quality of your products or services and make your life a whole lot harder. If you under invest in outsourced help, you can find yourself doing too much by yourself  and this is a recipe for burnout.

Don’t be afraid to invest in managed IT services like https://www.arnettechnologies.com/ as these are usually much cheaper than managing your own IT infrastructure. Likewise outsourced HR and digital marketing can also generate significant returns on your investment.

Assuming your customers’ loyalty

Finally, as dangerous as it is to assume “if you build it they will come”, it’s even more dangerous to assume that they will come back. It costs a great deal more to attract a new customer than to retain existing customers. Make sure that you offer a rewards system or loyalty scheme that incentivizes customers to return to you rather than taking a chance on your competitors.

Brand Busting Online Tips

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You don’t just have to be good at creating your product or delivering your service when you’re in business for yourself. Half of the very real battle for many entrepreneurs is selling themselves and their offer and creating a presence online that is accessible and recognizable while also building brand awareness.

For many of us who already have an online active social presence, separating the personal and business can be problematic, so in this blog we take a look at how to make sure you build your brand online successfully.

Create a business persona

The types of posts you write and the pictures you put up do not need to be the types of posts you write to your friends and family, in fact they very much shouldn’t be. Instead you’re going to want to create an avatar for your business that is very separate. You may have the same face but the nature of your posts will be very different and entirely targeted to your audience. If it makes sense to you, create another public face of your company to help you better make that separation.

With this in mind, the first thing you’ll need to do is consider your target market. If you have put in some time conducting your market research you should already know which social media platforms your customers use and when they are most likely to be accessing them.

Be targeted

Although it might seem that you should be on all platforms at once it makes no sense in terms of your time or money to spend precious time creating posts that won’t speak directly to your customer.

So, if your customer is an avid Instagram user concentrate your efforts there and don’t spend nearly as much time on Facebook. The same for Twitter. If you’re targeting the professional market then something like LinkedIn is going to serve you better, as it has for Philip McTigue of NY.

When you’ve target your social media platforms, you need to start building a deliberate strategy. Don’t think random postings, even daily postings will not do the job, you’re talking about building a message, character and identity around your brand, not a series of posts that don’t appear to be linked.

Think very carefully about how you use images and steer clear of posting anything personal, stick with genuinely clever memes and GIFS that fit into your corporate online identity.

Setting up your profile isn’t hard but making it and keeping it relevant is, so make sure that you know what you’re doing before you start hitting the post keys. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you have your customer research in place that shows you who and where you should be concentrating your time and efforts.

Get your killer social media strategy up and running and you’ll soon be raising your brand awareness and hopefully generating traffic to your site. Start incorporating updates and responses into your everyday morning work routine and you’ll be on your way to social success in no time.

Great Ways To Expand Your Business

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When we run a business however big or small, the one thing which we always want to do is be able to grow and expand our business to the max and make an impact on the world. Today we are going to have a look at just some of the different ways that we can expand our business and make more of a profit for growth this year.

  1. Make a sales funnel.

When you want to make a change to your business and allow it to grow quickly one of the things to do is get organised. If you want to make your business easier to run and automate a lot of your processes, one of the things you can always look to do is create a sales funnel. A sales funnel can be a handy tool to have when you want to grow your brand and it will allow you to automate your business and make more of a profit in the long term.

  1. Build a website

If you feel as if you need a push in the right direction for your business this year, one of the best things which you can do is build a website and build an online presence for yourself. These days, if someone wants to find a brand or look up information about them, they will choose to search on google and find answers there. This is where you need to be present so that people can see your brand and engage with you. Make sure to build a great website which is clear and concise to grab people’s attention.

  1. Research the competition

One of the things which you may not have already considered when you are looking to build your brand is looking at others. Take a look at the current market and research your biggest competitors. It is incredibly important for you to make sure that you know who you are fighting against and how they operate. Look at their website, social media, prices… gain an insight into the way they run their business and see if you can make the same impact on your followers. This is always a great way to build a better reputation and help you to be seen amongst the sea of content.

  1. Loyalty scheme

If you fancy trying something a little bit different when it comes to your brand this year, one of the greatest ideas you can have is to build a loyalty scheme with your customers. You can create a card which they can earn points from and these points can translate into prizes and discounts or allow them to get free products. This is always a good thing to bring into your business because if a customer has a loyalty card with you, they will be more likely to get what they need from you rather than from someone else.

  1. Identify new opportunities

As a business owner you need to always keep one eye on the ball and one eye on the future, and there is no better way to do this than look for opportunities in the world and take advantage of them. For example you could look into the pros and cons of expanding your business overseas to reach a new audience. Perhaps you could look into new products which can be created and sold for profit and new markets you could enter into. There are so many great ideas you can try and all of these will help you hugely to grow your business.

  1. Have an email list

When it comes to keeping in touch with your customers and keeping them interested in your products, the key word which you need to use is consistency. It is incredibly important to be consistent with everything that you do whether it be social media posts or updates on your website. The easiest way to stay in your customers mind is to email them every week or every few weeks with new offers and products which you want to sell. This is a simple and effective form of marketing and one which you should definitely consider using this year.

  1. Collaborate

There is nothing which can change the flow of your business and excite your followers more than collaborating with an influencer or another brand. If you want to expand your audience you can get in touch with another brand or an influencer and come up with a collaboration together which will mutually benefit you both. They will gain exposure to your audience and you will gain exposure to theirs and this can bring up your numbers by a huge mile.

  1. Use Amazon and eBay

A lot of us likely think that amazon and eBay are only for the use of small sellers online, but they are actually used by big brands all the time to sell off old stock and end of range products. To expand your reach again and also get rid of these items without suffering a heavy loss, it is a good idea to start selling on these international platforms.

  1. Can you franchise it?

If you are looking to expand your business and perhaps open up more locations this year, one of the best things you can consider is franchising your business. This will allow people to buy a location from you and run it with your brands name on the front. It can be a quick way to gain a good reputation and some real cash.

  1. Stick to your niche

The main thing which you need to remember as a business is that you should be a master of one trade and not the Jack of all. It is always good to expand your product lines now and again to reach a new audience however it can also make your customers a little confused if you go too far with it. Make sure that you always stick to within your niche so that your customers always know what to expect from you. This can make a massive different and it will allow you to be successful.

  1. Create an event

One of the main challenges you will always have to face as a business is engaging with your audience in a meaningful and real way. When you want to build a business which is trustworthy and that people love you need to be aware to engage with people as a person and not just as a business this is why it can be a fun idea to create an event in which you meet up with your customers and engage with them in a real life setting. If you are a cookware brand you could host a cookery class and workshop, and you can really create an event which suits you and everyone else too.

  1. Spend less

The most obvious way to help you expand a business this year is to learn to spend less money on other things. When you run your business make sure that you think about spending as little as you can on things such as your supplies and your software in the offices there are so many ways you can find second hand furniture, free applications and other tools which can be exactly what you need for your business to thrive and make a bigger profit. Only spend what you have to, and only invest in things which will genuine make an impact on the way you work and your ability to work.

Your Business Doesn’t Stand Out Enough

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Your business is going to be something that you no doubt pride yourself in. it was your baby to begin with, and just like with a baby you will have raised it into the blossoming business it is today. But is it really blossoming? Like with everything you could raise in life, sometimes it just doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, and this couldn’t be more true than it is with business. The more time you spend running a business, the more you realize that nothing is the way that it seems. Nothing will turn out the way you ever thought it would, and things will be changing pretty much constantly. But we think it’s the unpredictability of business that just makes it so exciting. One minute you’re dealing with one problem, and the next you’re expanding your business in ways you didn’t think you could. But, you will often find that your business just doesn’t stand out as much as it could. All of the excitement you feel from expanding your business doesn’t come often, because it’s just so hard for your business to be noticed. Well, this is where this article is going to come in use for you. We’ve got some top tips that will definitely help your business stand out!

Spreading Your Brand

Your brand needs to be everywhere. Your brand needs to be something that people recognize straight away. Think of McDonald’s or Cadbury’s. You’d know the brand anywhere because it has just become so well established. Whilst we’re not saying that everyone is going to notice your brand instantly, you can put the wheels in motion to ensure that eventually, people will begin to notice your business. Just take the simple things that would get your name out there. If you use vans or trucks for work, have your brand printed on it. Even just purchasing a person van and using to drive around and spread the word of your business could pay off. You could have a mini picture advert created that showcased what your business does, and where to find or contact you. People all around you would take in the information, and eventually your brand will be so stuck in their minds that they know who you are. Word will then spread and spread, and your brand will stand out in all of the areas you travel you.

This next tip is both going to help your production, as well as getting your brand to stand out a little bit more. You could give your employees uniforms, and have your brand attached as a badge. It gives your employees a sense of belonging to have the uniform, and if they wear it out in public they will stand out so much more. You can read more about how you can get badges perfect for your uniform through that link. You just need to make sure that your employees are setting a good example when they are wearing the uniform in public. Any antisocial behavior will be tied right to your company, and it can so easily give you a bad name in no time!

Pleasing The People

If you want to stand out then you have to realize that it’s all about pleasing the people. The more people you please, the further your business is going to go. In fact, you’ll get to the point where you realize that everything you do is about pleasing the people. But there are so many different ways you can do it, and so many different ways that it can go wrong, that sometimes it just never goes right. To really please the people you have to really know them. The best way to do that is to interact with your customers as much as possible. Do a bit of market research and find out what it is they like, don’t like, and feel like the market you’re in is missing at the minute. You can then use this information to make sure that you’re truly pleasing the people by giving them the things they really need. You can also show that your business is friendly towards the world as well. This won’t apply to you if you sell services as much, but it will to those of you who sell products. If you just try and be a bit more eco-friendly you’ll realize how many customers you can please. There are so many companies out there who have activists campaigning outside of their factories and warehouses because of how harmful they are to the environment. It’s the little things that you want to try and keep in mind.

Need To Be More Lively

The more lively you are, the more people are going to take notice of you. You can’t just be that business that is kept in the dark because there’s no life to you, but trust us, there are businesses out there. Some companies just don’t have the energy that others do that gets the attention of so many people. So, how do you do this? Well, you have to start by making your brand interesting, even if this means you have to do a bit of a rebrand. You could make everything brighter, including the colors you for your office. You have to have a more inviting looking business for all. The benefits of having a brighter office will be that your employees are more motivated when they do work. It’ll make it less doom and gloom, and you can then make sure that the office environment is fun rather than strict to keep it a light atmosphere.

Everywhere & Anywhere

You definitely need to make sure that you’re everywhere and anywhere if you want your business to stand not more, is that not the point of this article after all? To do that well and truly, we definitely think you should hire a marketing consultant to get you the right campaigns, as well as the right exposure. They might be a little bit pricey, but at least they’ll be worth it in the long run.

Modern Ways to Sell More to the Right People

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Are you sure that you’re using the best and most up to date selling methods in order to sell as much as possible to the right people? If you’re not, it’s time to take a step back and look at what you could be doing differently in order to improve selling outcomes for your business going forward. It might sound like a lot of hard work, but it’s more than worth the time and effort that should go into it. Here are some of the most important modern ways to sell more to the right people.

Help Them Make the Decision on Their Own

One of the things that can really get in the way of your efforts to sell to more people is the fact that many people are wary of sales techniques. No one wants to feel like they’re being pressured into buying something, and that’s why the hard sell so rarely works these days. People know the tactics and they push back against them. That’s why you need to focus on gently suggesting things so that customers arrive at decisions by themselves.

Try Active Listening During the Sales Process and Then Improve From There

The selling process doesn’t have to just be about selling. It’s also a chance for you to listen to what your target customers want. So adopt an active listening approach, and make the most of these chances to find out about the wants and needs of the average customers. You can then make changes that will help you appeal to people better.

Carry Out Modern Research

There are so many modern market research methods that can provide you with greater insights into the people you view as your target customers. This allows you find out exactly who the right people are you’re looking to sell to, and what you should do to appeal to them more in the future. You  should check out these market research companies if you want to get started with this.

Take Advantage of Demonstration Opportunities

These days, people like to see the thing that they’re thinking of buying working in front of them before they purchase. That’s why more people attend events and shows to see products up close. You should make the most of this fact by demonstrating your products at such events.

Become a Thought Leader

When you grow a reputation for yourself as a thought leader in your field, people will be more likely to want to buy from you. People always want to buy from people who look and sound like they really do know what they’re talking about, so you should make the most of this. It can begin with you starting a blog and providing useful content to people that way.

Selling is never as easy as it looks because there is so much going on below the surface that most people never understand. So make the most of these modern selling ideas and concepts if you want to make sure that you sell more of your products to the right kinds of people when you’re running your company.

At A Crossroads? Which Marketing Avenue Should You Go Down?

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Marketing is an industry that could take your career in several different directions. There are so many avenues, niches and roles within marketing, that if you tell someone that you work within marketing you’re being too generic! You will always find that there are many opportunities within the field of marketing and a career in marketing can open so many doors for your future.

Marketing is used in every single company out there. It’s the practice of putting the brand name of the company into the world in the hope of generating customers and a solid profit. The career potential is unlimited, so the only question that you should be asking yourself is where you want to place your pawn in marketing as an industry? You’ve got to start somewhere, and when there are fields like education marketing and digital marketing to choose from, you have a seemingly unlimited choice laid out for you. You can learn more about education marketing at MarketingWorks and decide whether it’s for you. You could also do some research here about digital marketing and the different roles within it. It’s not just about getting on a computer and making some pretty branding designs. It would be in your remit to push forward an entire brand strategy with the view to drumming up social media interest and getting clients and customers interested in the company and what they can do. The following categories are full of opportunities in marketing, and you should get some research done in these areas to make your decision:

  • Market Research: This is a career that encapsulates the intended target market. Before a company can market their wares, they need to understand what people want. There is no such thing as a successful product without rigorous market research. Studies, cold-calling, surveys and focus groups are all popular in market research.
  • Brand Management: If you love to spend your day on social media and learning about how to hone a company website and image, you’ll love working in brand management. This is everything to do with the brand and the name of the company that you work for and as a brand manager, you are the person in charge of the whole image of the company. You would also be responsible for the guidance of the market research.
  • Advertising: Advertising has so many different jobs within it that you would be spoilt for choice. Account managers, planners and media buyers all work under the umbrella of advertising. You’d be involved in a huge variety of tasks that involve putting the name of the company that you work for out there on all platforms and all avenues. You would also be responsible for new campaigns for marketing a new product or service to the masses.

Marketing is such a broad spectrum, but it’s all a necessity for every company out there in the world! It provides a huge number of job opportunities to those out there who want to be involved in an industry full of progression!

Important Changes To Make To Your Business

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With the end of the year drawing to a close, you need to start thinking about some important changes that you might need to make to your business to improve it. Some of these changes you need to do by law, some are just going to improve the overall running of your business. Without them you’re either going to face fines, or fall behind your competition. You should always be striving to be the best you can be, so follow the advice below to make sure you enter 2018 the right way.

New Laws

As a business owner you might feel invincible, but there are certain laws that you need to follow if you want to avoid facing some serious fines. Take Steve Jobs and Apple at the minute. Apple is being investigated for tax fraud as there are claims being made that billions of dollars worth of tax payments have been dodged by going through overseas accounts. But why would such a big wealthy company avoid paying their tax payments? Well, it’s all down to greed. The more money they can pocket the better. But as soon as they get found out they face enormous fines, as well as having to pay the dodged tax back. So, if you’re a business owner and you’re think, I might try and get a bit of extra money here and there, then stop! You will be found out eventually. There’s also new changes being made the IRS rules, if you need information on this you can find it through Corporate Direct. It is an important matter, and it does need to be addressed before the 31st of December. Getting tax right in business is so important so make sure you’re clued up about it, especially if you’re a new business.

Improvements

So, from the essential to the non essential. If you want to stay ahead of the game you need to keep things fresh. Try making some office improvements to try and boost productivity. The one thing that makes the mood drop in an office is the atmosphere. If things are too regimented it can make the working day go a little slower. Bring in fun working policies such as dress down every day. Some people like dressing smart for work, but being able to come in wearing what you want (to an extent) creates a much more relaxed atmosphere. Even something like a longer lunch hour to give your staff time to recharge will boost productivity. You need your employees to be happy in their job for your company to succeed. You also need to look at how you can do better than your competitors. Where they’re failing you can succeed. If they’re bad for customer service, use this to your advantage and thrive in this area. If they’re selling cheaper, yet better products you need to find a way to reduce your production costs and do the same. No customer is going to chose you over a cheaper, more reliable product.

Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow The Market

Follow your passion. Follow your heart. Monetize your hobby.

Trust me, I’ve heard it all.

In an ideal world, you’d find your ideal clients and sell to them like crazy, but that’s not realistic.

I’ve learned over time that is has less to do with passion, but more about identifying what’s thriving in the market.

Now thriving isn’t a code word for trendy. It means industries that have staying power.

Just like there are very few new ideas, don’t be overly concerned with competition. The same reason why gas stations and fast food establishments purposely open locations near each other proves this point.

Each industry tends to have a giant or market leader which signifies a strong want (perceived need) in society. With so many options to choose from, positioning your idea boils down to uniqueness.

In most instances it’s your brand story, featured benefit or “patented” process.

Whatever your unique selling proposition (USP) is, it’s much wiser to bring to a visible market than an invisible one.

Take for instance coaching. I’ve been doing it for 10+ years, but it’s still not part of a thriving market. Coaching is more of a “how” than a “what” therefore I’m more focused on ideas that utilize coaching in the process, but it’s not the main offering.

Coaching is an example of being in an invisible market because every time you approach a prospective customer you’re faced with a “double sell” proposal. That means the initial sell is educating what you are selling, then you have to follow up with a secondary sell to get paid. It’s not an ideal situation to put yourself through.

Market research becomes invaluable since you want to enter an area that’s already hot. No matter how great your idea is, the uphill battle of trying to educate people about what your product/service does isn’t worth your time or investment.

We’re fortunate to live in a time where information is readily accessible at our fingertips, so take advantage of it! Don’t be discouraged about developing your idea, but before moving forward make sure there’s a clear market for it’s entrance.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, it’s already been created.