Tag: Great

21 Great Small Business Blogs #business #management #jobs

#business blogs

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21 Great Small Business Blogs

If you’ve ever searched for small business blogs, you know how ubiquitous they are—everyone, it seems, is blogging about small business (as well as entrepreneurship and startups). Most of these blogs are just marketing tools their creators try to lure you in with a few bits of generic information and advice and then comes the pitch for whatever they want to sell to small businesses.

There are some blogs, however, that do provide guidance, insight and advice for small business owners about how to build successful ventures.

Here are twenty-one of the best blogs out there for small business owners—providing education, information and inspiration:

BizSugar
A blog with small business news and tips that is crowd-curated. BizSugar’s community of readers share business blog posts, videos and other content from which readers of the blog can learn something, For those that share content, they are reinforcing their reputation and brand and bringing online visibility to their content. The community votes on member-submitted tips, advice and information, advancing the most popular (and what’s considered by the community to be most useful) posts to the home page. Top posts are pushed to the top or can make it into the BizSugar Top 10 list.

Kabbage
Kabbage is redefining how small business find and apply for loans online and their blog is full of tips to grow, manage, fund, or innovate your small business.

Social Triggers
A blog from Derek Halpern, who writes about sales, marketing, entrepreneurship and the world of social media. Halpern was called “the master of social media” and the world of online communications by Inc. magazine.

DIY Marketers
Small business owners are often limited by their marketing budget. DIY Marketers focuses on those creative marketing strategies that help you reach more customers for less money and Ivana Taylor makes it fun.

Penelope Trunk
Raw, funny insights from the entrepreneur Penelope Trunk about starting, running and marketing a business. You’ll also find advice on productivity, management, blogging and other business-related issues, as well as life lessons—all of them Trunk’s, of course, but useful nonetheless.

Marketing Profs
If you re looking for a digest of the latest and greatest marketing tips and news, Ann Handley s got you covered. Her aim with Marketing Profs is to educate the modern marketer using real world data and examples. With the PRO membership, you get access to their best content.

Both Sides Of The Table
A blog written by Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who sold one of those companies to Salesforce.com and then became a venture capitalist. (Get it? Both sides of the table?) He’s a general partner in Upfront Ventures and blogs about startups, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, management, leadership and more.

Copyblogger
The mother of all content marketing blogs. Copyblogger will help you advance your content marketing skills across the board. They produce some of the most valuable content resources on the web and their topics cover a wide range. Writing well is a skill that requires frequent studying and practice and Copyblogger can be an excellent guide to improvement.

AVC
A blog written by Fred Wilson, managing partner of two venture capital firms, Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures. Wilson is a leader in the entrepreneurial community and has been a VC for more than 20 years. He has been writing on the blog everyday since Sept. 2003 and the topics are wide-ranging but related to starting and running a business (while also trying to live a somewhat normal life).

Small Business Survival
This blog has been around since 2006 and is geared toward rural and small town small businesses, with how-to articles and an emphasis on social media marketing, plus a chance for business owners to share good news in the blog’s weekly “Brag Basket.”

Business Banter
A blog written by small business experts on a wide range of business challenges. Business Banter has great content on the hard part of business to motivate you to keep going. They also write a lot about internet marketing.

Adrian Swinscoe
Blog of consultant and speaker Adrian Swinscoe, which features interviews with business people and posts about customer experience, building a customer-centric business, service, social media as well as employee and customer engagement.

Buffer
All social everything! What I love the most about Buffer is their transparency. They are not afraid to share their data, what they ve failed at, and what they ve learned. They have a buzzing community of people who want to discuss what they ve learned from the Buffer blog. Chat with Buffer s content creators and grow in a fun, exciting community!

The Franchise King
The blog of Joel Libava, otherwise known as The Franchise King®. Libava is a franchise ownership advisor and the author of Become a Franchise Owner! The Star-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money and Owning What You Do (John Wiley) Everything you ever wanted to know about researching, choosing and buying a franchise.

Evergreen Small Business
Written by Stephen L. Nelson, a Seattle-based CPA who specializes in serving small business owners, this blog is focused on the details around running a small business, like tax issues related to LLCs, a review of do-it-yourself incorporation kits, Affordable Care Act information for small businesses and how to handle past due tax returns.

Mixergy
Mixergy interviews entrepreneurs on their successes and failures. Learn from a wide range of passionate business leaders who not only had a business ideas but a mission. Mission is #1 at Mixergy.

Google Small Business
This is Google’s official blog for small business owners, where the company discusses new releases, new Google tools and how to make the most of them, and instructional information like how to set up your first data feed, and experts weighing in on how to make the most of social media. The blog is somewhat promotional—after all, it’s mostly about Google products and tools—but it’s still very useful.

Duct Tape Marketing
John Jantsch is his name, and the World s Most Practical Small Business Expert is his game. He runs Duct Tape Marketing, providing reliable marketing advice to small business owners and marketers.

Farnam Street
Have you been meaning to read up on the great philosophers but don t have the time? Farnam Street will teach you how to think, read, and perceive the world around you the way the famous big thinkers do. Become a better leader and go to bed smarter than when you woke up.

Fast Company
So there s Fast Company and then there s the Fast Company blog. They do things differently by using Tumblr as their blog platform filled with beautiful pics, gifs, and that same digestable information we crave from Fast Company. They cover leadership topics as well as design, productivity, business, and useful life topics.

Richard Branson
Because who doesn t like the dude?

Content Marketing Playbook




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Antique Rugs NYC, Tabriz Rugs, Tribal Rugs, Caucasian Rugs, Heriz Rugs for Sale, New

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Welcome to A. Davoodzadeh & Son – Antique Rugs NYC.

We invite you to browse through our extensive inventory of primarily antique Persian, Caucasian, Turkish, and Chinese origin.

We are proud to have the opportunity to show you our collection of antique carpets and rugs predominantly from late nineteenth century to early twentieth century. A collection that includes one of a kind pieces from such renowned weaving areas as Heriz. Sultanabad. Southwest Persian tribal regions, Tabriz Rugs. Ferahan. Kerman. Kashan. as well as antique Caucasian and Kazak rugs, and antique Oushaks from Turkey.

Whether you need further information regarding any of our rugs, or in the event that you don’t find the piece that you are searching for, please contact us by e-mail or phone, and we will gladly assist you with your inquiry and make it a positive experience for you.

Here at Davoodzadeh Fine Antique and Decorative Rugs we don’t just have a fantastic selection of Antique Carpets and Rugs, we also offer professional cleaning and stain removal, as well as repair and maintenance. We can offer to our clients, long and short term storage and for all their needs as well we also offer rentals of our carpets.

Our selection of Antique Rugs NYC varies in size from 2 x 3 prayer rugs to large room rugs measuring greater than 20 feet by 30 feet. We also have a large array of runners for hall ways that can exceed 34 feet long.

Much of our inventory comes from estate sales and auctions (sometimes up to 90%), and we are able to purchase them at a reduced rate, and of course we pass these savings onto you. Our inventory changes often so keep a daily eye out for our New Arrivals.

For our professional clients, decorators, interior designers’, dealers and wholesalers we offer consignment sales and also a wide variety of commercial grade carpets.

Whatever your needs are we at Davoodzadeh Fine Antique and Decorative Rugs have the carpet to meet it. Come visit us either online or at 25 West 31st St. in New York, NY 10001.

Tags: antique rugs nyc, tabriz rugs, heriz rugs, serapi rugs





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10 Ways to Identify a Great Business Idea #unsecured #business #loans

#business idea

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10 Ways to Know If You Have a Great Business Idea

Good Ideas

Ready to take on the world of entrepreneurship? In order to find startup success, you need a great business idea. But a winning business idea is more than just something you’re excited about or good at — you have to make sure your idea is actually viable.

Business News Daily asked experts how you can tell if your business idea is poised for success. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before pursuing your business idea.

Does it solve a problem?

Entrepreneur and co-founder of the Web design school The Starter League Mike McGee thinks the best business ideas are those that solve a problem in some way.

If there is a problem that affects you, your friends, family, co-workers, etc. then the chances are high that it affects people you don t know as well, McGee said.

Will people will pay for it?

It s paying customers who validate an idea and determine which ones have the greatest chance for success, said Wil Schroter, co-founder and CEO of Fundable .

An idea is just an idea until you have a paying customer attached to it, Schroter said. Anyone can discredit a simple idea, but no one can discredit paying customers.

What’s your price point?

Credit: Profit Growth Image via Shutterstock

Charlie Harary, founder and partner of investment firm H3 Co., said that while there are many ways to solve problems, great business ideas do it in a way that is less expensive than what the market will endure.

Once you have determined that you are solving a legitimate problem in a scalable way, you need to determine not only the value that it delivers to the world, but what people would pay for that value, Harary said. Once you determine the price, then you can assess if your solution is businessworthy or not.

Is there a sizable niche market for it?

Without a large enough market, your business idea may never get off the ground. Ruben Soto, CEO of shapewear company Hourglass Angel. said your business should cater to a strong niche market.

“Start by focusing on a niche market you know that can be served better,” Soto said. “Make sure the market is large enough and that you can serve those customers better than the alternative. Large companies won’t focus on niche markets, so there is room to compete and exceed customer expectations.”

Are you passionate enough about it?

Credit: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

Your business will likely take up all of your time, so make sure you’re passionate enough about it to make it successful.

“Since starting a business requires an inordinate amount of time, energy and patience, ideally, the idea will be one that you are passionate about, as well as one that you have skills or experience [in],” said Melissa Bradley, executive-in-residence and director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Kogod School of Business at American University .

Have you tested your idea?

Credit: Michael R Ross/Shutterstock

You won’t know if your business is viable until you test it on strangers.

“Test it not just with friends who will be too polite to tell the truth, but with honest people who would make up your ideal target audience, and then listen to the feedback,” said Lisa McCartney, chief “PLYTer” at educational math board game company PLYT. “

“If your target sample is saying [your idea] is fantastic and [asking] where can they get it, you know that you’re onto something, but if they are less than enthusiastic, it’s probably not as good an idea as you thought.”

Are you open to advice?

If you’re not open to changing or adapting your idea to fit what your customers will want, your business idea might not be worth pursuing.

“Success happens when you are willing to listen and consider others’ advice,” said Angie Yasulitis, CEO and managing partner at YaZo Marketing and Business Development Strategies. “Most good ideas take some tweaking to get to market. Being closed-minded is a business killer.”

How will you market your business?

Many entrepreneurs think about the problems their business will solve but not about how they intend to market their business to their target customers. Jesse Lipson, corporate vice president and general manager at cloud company Citrix Cloud Services. said that your marketing strategy can determine if your business idea is a good one.

“If you have a solid go-to market strategy and a decent product, you’ll probably be successful,” Lipson said. “But if you have a great product without any idea how to reach your potential customers, then it’s going to be really tough to make it successful. Thinking through that as early as possible is really key.”

Are you being realistic about your goals?

As excited as you may be about a new business idea, it’s important to stay grounded and be realistic about it. Thomas J. Gravina chairman, co-founder and CEO of cloud services company Evolve IP said you shouldn’t have a “Field of Dreams” mentality when starting your business.

“Just because you have a vision and decide to build it does not mean the rest will follow,” Gravina said. “While you may have an idea that is original, revolutionary or ahead of its time, there should be a real, solid market opportunity to ensure it is successful. Any new business case or new endeavor has to have a viable market that you believe you can sell now not theoretically or on the premise that there is a future for this market.”

Can you explain your idea in the simplest terms?

Your business may solve a complicated problem, but you should be able to explain it in simple terms so that anyone can understand it, said Kris Duggan, CEO of goal management company BetterWorks. Duggan suggested using what he calls “the grandma test.”

“When you typically hear someone pitch their idea, it’s usually chock-full of important-sounding jargon that rarely makes sense,” Duggan said. “When you think about your new business idea, ask yourself, ‘Can it pass the grandma test?’ In other words, would your grandma understand what you do? Perhaps your business is solving a complicated problem, but early on, come up with a way to explain it that makes sense to the masses.”

Updated Jan. 13, 2016. Business News Daily Senior Writer Chad Brooks also contributed to this story.

More Countdowns





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21 Great Small Business Blogs #on #line #business

#business blogs

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21 Great Small Business Blogs

If you’ve ever searched for small business blogs, you know how ubiquitous they are—everyone, it seems, is blogging about small business (as well as entrepreneurship and startups). Most of these blogs are just marketing tools their creators try to lure you in with a few bits of generic information and advice and then comes the pitch for whatever they want to sell to small businesses.

There are some blogs, however, that do provide guidance, insight and advice for small business owners about how to build successful ventures.

Here are twenty-one of the best blogs out there for small business owners—providing education, information and inspiration:

BizSugar
A blog with small business news and tips that is crowd-curated. BizSugar’s community of readers share business blog posts, videos and other content from which readers of the blog can learn something, For those that share content, they are reinforcing their reputation and brand and bringing online visibility to their content. The community votes on member-submitted tips, advice and information, advancing the most popular (and what’s considered by the community to be most useful) posts to the home page. Top posts are pushed to the top or can make it into the BizSugar Top 10 list.

Kabbage
Kabbage is redefining how small business find and apply for loans online and their blog is full of tips to grow, manage, fund, or innovate your small business.

Social Triggers
A blog from Derek Halpern, who writes about sales, marketing, entrepreneurship and the world of social media. Halpern was called “the master of social media” and the world of online communications by Inc. magazine.

DIY Marketers
Small business owners are often limited by their marketing budget. DIY Marketers focuses on those creative marketing strategies that help you reach more customers for less money and Ivana Taylor makes it fun.

Penelope Trunk
Raw, funny insights from the entrepreneur Penelope Trunk about starting, running and marketing a business. You’ll also find advice on productivity, management, blogging and other business-related issues, as well as life lessons—all of them Trunk’s, of course, but useful nonetheless.

Marketing Profs
If you re looking for a digest of the latest and greatest marketing tips and news, Ann Handley s got you covered. Her aim with Marketing Profs is to educate the modern marketer using real world data and examples. With the PRO membership, you get access to their best content.

Both Sides Of The Table
A blog written by Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who sold one of those companies to Salesforce.com and then became a venture capitalist. (Get it? Both sides of the table?) He’s a general partner in Upfront Ventures and blogs about startups, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, management, leadership and more.

Copyblogger
The mother of all content marketing blogs. Copyblogger will help you advance your content marketing skills across the board. They produce some of the most valuable content resources on the web and their topics cover a wide range. Writing well is a skill that requires frequent studying and practice and Copyblogger can be an excellent guide to improvement.

AVC
A blog written by Fred Wilson, managing partner of two venture capital firms, Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures. Wilson is a leader in the entrepreneurial community and has been a VC for more than 20 years. He has been writing on the blog everyday since Sept. 2003 and the topics are wide-ranging but related to starting and running a business (while also trying to live a somewhat normal life).

Small Business Survival
This blog has been around since 2006 and is geared toward rural and small town small businesses, with how-to articles and an emphasis on social media marketing, plus a chance for business owners to share good news in the blog’s weekly “Brag Basket.”

Business Banter
A blog written by small business experts on a wide range of business challenges. Business Banter has great content on the hard part of business to motivate you to keep going. They also write a lot about internet marketing.

Adrian Swinscoe
Blog of consultant and speaker Adrian Swinscoe, which features interviews with business people and posts about customer experience, building a customer-centric business, service, social media as well as employee and customer engagement.

Buffer
All social everything! What I love the most about Buffer is their transparency. They are not afraid to share their data, what they ve failed at, and what they ve learned. They have a buzzing community of people who want to discuss what they ve learned from the Buffer blog. Chat with Buffer s content creators and grow in a fun, exciting community!

The Franchise King
The blog of Joel Libava, otherwise known as The Franchise King®. Libava is a franchise ownership advisor and the author of Become a Franchise Owner! The Star-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money and Owning What You Do (John Wiley) Everything you ever wanted to know about researching, choosing and buying a franchise.

Evergreen Small Business
Written by Stephen L. Nelson, a Seattle-based CPA who specializes in serving small business owners, this blog is focused on the details around running a small business, like tax issues related to LLCs, a review of do-it-yourself incorporation kits, Affordable Care Act information for small businesses and how to handle past due tax returns.

Mixergy
Mixergy interviews entrepreneurs on their successes and failures. Learn from a wide range of passionate business leaders who not only had a business ideas but a mission. Mission is #1 at Mixergy.

Google Small Business
This is Google’s official blog for small business owners, where the company discusses new releases, new Google tools and how to make the most of them, and instructional information like how to set up your first data feed, and experts weighing in on how to make the most of social media. The blog is somewhat promotional—after all, it’s mostly about Google products and tools—but it’s still very useful.

Duct Tape Marketing
John Jantsch is his name, and the World s Most Practical Small Business Expert is his game. He runs Duct Tape Marketing, providing reliable marketing advice to small business owners and marketers.

Farnam Street
Have you been meaning to read up on the great philosophers but don t have the time? Farnam Street will teach you how to think, read, and perceive the world around you the way the famous big thinkers do. Become a better leader and go to bed smarter than when you woke up.

Fast Company
So there s Fast Company and then there s the Fast Company blog. They do things differently by using Tumblr as their blog platform filled with beautiful pics, gifs, and that same digestable information we crave from Fast Company. They cover leadership topics as well as design, productivity, business, and useful life topics.

Richard Branson
Because who doesn t like the dude?

Content Marketing Playbook




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How to Choose a Great Name for Your New Business #online #home #business

#new business names

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How to Choose a Great Name for Your New Business

February 5, 2015

In their book Start Your Own Business , the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer smart tips to help you choose a name that really works for your new business.

When choosing a name for your business, start by deciding what you want it to communicate. To be most effective, your company name should reinforce the key elements of your business. So the first and most important step in choosing a name is deciding what your business is knowing what makes your business unique will help you choose a name that communicates that.

Remember, the more your name communicates to consumers, the less effort you must exert to explain it. According to naming experts, you should give priority to real words or combinations of words over fabricated words because people prefer words they can relate to and understand.

Naming experts also caution about choosing a name that s too narrowly defined. Common pitfalls are geographic names or generic names. Take the hypothetical name San Pablo Disk Drives for example. What if the company expands beyond the city of San Pablo, California? Or what if it diversifies beyond disk drives into software or computer instruction manuals?

Specific names make sense if you intend to stay in a narrow niche forever. If you have any ambitions of growing or expanding, however, you should find a name that s broad enough to accommodate your growth.

Before you start thinking up names for your new business, try to define the qualities you want your business to be identified with. If you re starting a hearth-baked bread shop, you might want a name that conveys freshness, warmth and a homespun atmosphere. Immediately, you can see that names like Kathy s Bread Shop or Arlington Breads would communicate none of these qualities. But consider the name Open Hearth Breads. The bread sounds homemade, hot and just out of the oven. Moreover, if you diversified your product line, you could alter the name to Open Hearth Bakery. This change would enable you to hold on to your suggestive name without totally mystifying your established clientele.

Namestorming

Begin your brainstorming search for a business name by looking in dictionaries, books and magazines to generate ideas. Get friends and relatives to help if you like; the more minds, the merrier. Think of as many workable names as you can during this creative phase.

The trials you put your names through will vary depending on your concerns. Some considerations are fairly universal. For instance, your name should be easy to pronounce, especially if you plan to rely heavily on print ads or signs. If people can t pronounce your business name, they ll avoid saying it. And nothing could be more counterproductive to a young company than to strangle its potential for word-of-mouth advertising.

Other considerations depend on more individual factors. For instance, if you re thinking about marketing your business globally or if you re located in a multilingual area, you should make sure your new name has no negative connotations in other languages. On another note, if your primary means of advertising will be in the telephone directory, you might favor names that are closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Finally, make sure that your name is in no way embarrassing. Put on the mind of a child and tinker with the letters a little. If none of your doodling makes you snicker, it s probably OK.

Naming firm Interbrand advises name seekers to take a close look at their competition: The major function of a name is to distinguish your business from others. You have to weigh who s out there already, what type of branding approaches they have taken, and how you can use a name to separate yourself. If any of your potential names is too close to that of your competitors , you should probably eliminate it.

After you ve narrowed the field to, say, four or five names that are memorable, expressive, and can be read by the average grade-schooler, you re ready to do a trademark search. Must every name be trademarked? No. Many small businesses don t register their business names. As long as your state government gives you the go-ahead, you may operate under an unregistered business name for as long as you like assuming, of course, that you aren t infringing on anyone else s trade name.

But what if you are? Imagine either of these two scenarios: You are a brand-new manufacturing business just about to ship your first orders. An obscure little company in Ogunquit, Maine, considers the name of your business an infringement on their trademark and engages you in a legal battle that bankrupts your company. Or envision your business in five years. It s a thriving, growing concern, and you are contemplating expansion. But just as you are about to launch your franchise program, you learn that a small competitor in Modesto, California, has the same name, rendering your name unusable.

Enlisting the help of a trademark attorney or at least a trademark search firm before you decide on a name for your business is highly advisable. After all, the extra money you spend now could save you countless hassles and expenses further down the road.

Final analysis

If you re lucky, you ll end up with three to five names that pass all your tests. How do you make your final decision? First, recall all your initial criteria. Which name best fits your objectives? Which name most accurately describes the company you have in mind? Which name do you like the best?

You could just go with your gut. Or you could do consumer research or testing with focus groups to see how the names are perceived. You could ask other people s opinions. Or you could doodle an idea of what each name will look like on a sign or on business stationery. Read each name aloud, paying attention to the way it sounds if you foresee radio advertising or telemarketing in your future.

Once your decision is made, start building your enthusiasm for the new name immediately. Your name is your first step toward building a strong company identity, one that should last as long as you re in business.





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10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks: Starting a business advice and

#start up business ideas

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10 great start-up business ideas to launch in weeks

Take a look around you this morning as you drive or catch the train to work.

From the window cleaner who arrives on your street as you close the front door behind you to the coffee cart serving cappuccinos and lattes at the station, the world is full of thriving and profitable small businesses that have been set up for relatively little initial outlay.

These are not ‘clever’ businesses trading on the strength of innovative new products and nor do they require the backing of deep-pocketed investors to get them off the ground. They succeed because their owners are responding to genuine demand for tried and trusted services.

And with a low initial outlay and overheads, many of these small-scale ventures can be profitable within weeks or months and over time provide their owners with a good income.

So how do you get started? Well, to give you an idea of how it’s done, here are 10 great businesses ideas I’ve come across that you can get up and running within weeks.

1. Mopping up – household cleaning

The lower your outlay, the faster you turn a profit and that’s one of the big attractions of launching a domestic cleaning business. For instance Millie Dark, founder of Sussex cleaners, Mrs Muscle started her company with no real investment. “My customers supply all the equipment and cleaning products,” explains Millie.

Millie worked part-time for a few months before advertising in the local press and word-of mouth generated enough work to go full time. Today she employs 12 part-timers. “It’s taken me a couple of years to get that stage,” she says.

2. On cloud K9 – dog walking

A dog walking and pet sitting service can also be set up with minimal investment. For instance, when Catherine Cleaver started her business – Catherine’s Pet Services – all she needed was £500 for a couple of garden kennels.

Catherine placed a few ads in shop windows. Over time – and with the help of word of mouth recommendation and ads in the local magazine – what started as a part-time activity became a full time job.

“I was earning enough to live on after about three months,” she says “and after about a year I felt I had a sustainable business.” She succeeds by offering a range of services, including dog walking, pet visits and boarding.

3. Cutting it – home hairdressing

Many hairdressers dream of starting their own businesses but are deterred by the cost of renting a salon. Setting up a home visit service can be an ideal way forward.

There is a significant outlay on brushes, tongs, dryers, mirrors and products. “You’re talking several thousands rather than hundreds,” says Ela Lapus, founder of Home Hair and Make Up.

“And customers expect to see the same products they find in a salon. Customers will also expect evidence of recognised skills. I have Level 2 and Level 3.”

The key to profitable success is effective marketing. Hairdressers can use local ads and web directories to publicise their services. Social Media can also be effective. “About 50% of my work comes through Facebook,” says Ela.

Once the initial investment had been made Ela was able to start earning immediately but the present business, operating across several counties has taken a number of years to build.

4. A caffeine hit – mobile coffee bar

We’re a coffee hungry nation and beyond Starbucks and Costa there are thousands of small mobile barista carts selling lattes on the go.

“A coffee maker will cost about £5,000,” says Beth Baxter, co-founder of Camper Cafe. “And then you have to pay for the cart or a van to put it in.”

Prices vary but carts or trailers can cost anything between £5,000 and £10,000. The founders of Camper Cafe were given a Volkswagen van which they kitted out to become their visual signature. Training is an additional cost. Courses for coffee making can be had for between £50 and £200.

Finding pitches is the most challenging aspect as you are often in competition with other vendors. “It took us a year to find out about the market,” says Beth. “After that we took off.”

5. Juiced perfect – mobile juice bar

The rise of coffee carts has been matched by the emergence of juice bars in markets, shopping malls, public thoroughfares and events. The set-up costs are similar to coffee in terms of equipment and training.

6. Bright idea – window cleaning

If you have a car with a roof rack you can start a window cleaning business for a few hundred pounds (bucket, ladder, clothes, etc).

Alternatively you might invest in high pressure pure water sprays, water tanks (around £2,000) and a van to carry them (say £15,000). This is increasingly common.

The challenge then is to build a customer base and that tends to be up close and personal. “Initially the most effective way to do it is to knock on doors and ask,” says Guy Lupton, co-founder of Khameleon Window Cleaning Ltd.

Building a solid base can take time. “We spent about three years of trial and error to get it right,” says Guy. “We’ve been going about five.”

However, when you do get it right the business can grow rapidly. “We still knock on doors,” says Guy. “But we get a lot more business by word of mouth.”

7. Showing drive – ‘Man in a Van’ business

Advertisements for ‘Man in a Van’ and ‘Light Removals’ services are a common sight on shop window advertising boards.

The pre-requisite is a van, probably a Luton-style box van with a tail lift and that’s also the main expense. You’ll need public liability insurance (as is the case for all the businesses listed here). The ongoing costs include petrol, servicing, MOT, and repairs.

The main challenge is building a customer base and most operators use flyers, shop window ads and online directories. Man or woman in a van businesses can be quick to establish but work is required to build a market and perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the pricing right.

8. Highest bidder – an eBay business

Launching an eBay business allows you reach a national and occasionally an international market. You can auction goods or sell at a fixed price.

Most eBay businesses will pay at least £19.99 per month as a subscription fee (rising to £59.99 for a featured shop and £349 for an ‘Anchor Shop’) and on top of that you will pay fees for each auction or fixed price insertion and each sale.

To succeed on eBay you usually have to find goods that can’t be bought elsewhere or offer popular products at knock-down prices. For some it’s a part-time source of pin-money, for others a full-time business. Posters on eBay include Nasty Gal and six years after starting to sell vintage clothing on the auction site it’s now a £60m business .

9. A gem of a business – jewellery and crafts

Many small businesses are based around the skills of their founders. For instance, if you have training as a jeweller or sculptor, an obvious way to sell your work is to market direct to the public via web, craft fairs or through shops.

Tools can cost anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds but you can keep costs down by working from a home studio. Ongoing costs include materials, rental at craft fairs (from as little as £20 per day to more than a £1,000).

Jane Faulkner, a jeweller based in Sussex, sells via the web and craft fairs while also having shelf-space in a local co-operative (Billingshurst Creatives) where craftspeople and artists can display their goods in return for taking turns manning the store.

“Craft fairs are my biggest source of income while the shop provides a regular cheque every month,” says Jane. Teaching is also part of the business.

With these revenue streams Jane feels she has a sustainable business, but it has taken around eight years to establish.

10. Snappy work – photography

Photography is another skills-based business. Go to almost any event – from music gigs to vintage car rallies and weddings and you’ll find photographers hard at work.

As Art Hutchins, a freelancer photographer trading as Artseye points out, it’s a business that requires investment in time and money. “Being a serious pro photographer requires a high level of financial investment in good quality equipment and time to acquire the knowledge and skill to use it.”

Starting from scratch would mean buying pro-quality cameras (around £2,000) lenses (£100-£1,000), tripods and lights but many photographers who set up their own businesses will already have acquired some of the equipment over time.

According to Art Hutchins, the best approach is to decide on a target market – in his case small businesses, editorial and family portraits. “The best marketing is word of mouth,” he says.

Very different businesses but all can be started quickly and easily using readily available equipment or existing skills. Importantly most of these businesses take payment either at the point of sale or soon after and that’s great for cashflow.

Demand is there but the key is to market effectively and at the right price.

John Fagan is the head of RBS branch business, England Wales and direct banking. His team work with businesses to build a bigger support network inside the bank and beyond with partners and fellow customers. www.rbsbusinessconnections.co.uk

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6 Great Sources for Cheap and Beautiful Business Cards You Can Print #memphis #business

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If you’re a freelancer or you run a small business, you know that having a great is a valuable asset. However, when you’re just starting out, printing business cards can seem a little out of reach pricewise. It doesn’t have to be like that though. These days, there are dozens of low-cost printers who will do a print run of a modest amount of cards for you. All you need to do is choose your card style, add your details and put in your order.

There are even places who offer a free trial for your first batch of cards, online business cards to give you a stylish virtual presence and a great deal of variety for printed cards if you’re willing to pay a little. Check out these great options for cheap business cards that we found!

1. VistaPrint

VistaPrint have patented a way to do small runs of business cards cost effectively, thus allowing them to offer cards at a very cheap rate (normally £17.99 for 250 cards). In order to let you try them out, they also offer a 250-card print run for free if you are a new customer (but you pay for shipping). You can’t beat that!

If you’re taking up their free trial, they offer a decent range of designs to choose from and allow some personalisation. If you’re paying for a premium run, you can choose from thousands of designs, plus it’s possible to upload your logo and photos.

2. Moo

Moo has made quite a name for itself as a way of creating business cards from social media services like Facebook and Flickr. Moo specialise in creating unique cards for each customer, allowing everyone to design their own cards with their own photography and artwork or to work with templates. Moo also let you use different images on different cards, meaning that in a pack of 50 cards you can have different images on each one!

We’ve previously reviewed Moo’s quality MOO MiniCards Review and Giveaway MOO MiniCards Review and Giveaway Today, we’ll be taking a quick look at what MOO is all about and we placed several test orders with them to find out how great their print quality is. We’ll also be giving away. Read More. so we know it to be excellent. Business cards can be purchased for £10.99 for a pack of 50 and are offered in a variety of order sizes up to 600 cards for £101.97. If you want to check out Moo’s quality yourself, order a 10-card sample pack for free. It will be exactly like the premium product, but with a Moo logo printed on it as well.

3. Business Card Star

Using Business Card Star is more about the design process than anything. They allow users to design cards for printing at home, which is a real money-saver as you design and print your cards for free. Of course, they also offer a printing service with high quality cards, which will probably look more professional than the homemade variety.

There are plenty of designs to choose from, plus it’s possible to add your own photos and logos. If you’re printing at home, they charge a fee of US$10 to save a PDF of cards with your own photos and logos on them. If you are having your cards printed by them there is no extra fee for using your own images. Print runs start at US$22.95 + shipping and can be shipped to the US or Canada.

4. Business Card Land

Business Card Land works in much the same way as Business Card Star, as you can download free PDFs of your business cards for home printing or order professional printing via Business Card Star. The design process and the choice of templates are different though, so it’s worth checking out if you want a little variety.

5. Biz Card Creator

Biz Card Creator is yet another free online business card design company, but it has a more limited selection of card styles available. However, if simplicity is your thing, it may be worth trying. They do not offer printing services – in fact, they send you back to VistaPrint if you’re looking to print your cards.

6. Virtual Business Cards

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21 Great Small Business Blogs #grants #for #small #businesses

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21 Great Small Business Blogs

If you’ve ever searched for small business blogs, you know how ubiquitous they are—everyone, it seems, is blogging about small business (as well as entrepreneurship and startups). Most of these blogs are just marketing tools their creators try to lure you in with a few bits of generic information and advice and then comes the pitch for whatever they want to sell to small businesses.

There are some blogs, however, that do provide guidance, insight and advice for small business owners about how to build successful ventures.

Here are twenty-one of the best blogs out there for small business owners—providing education, information and inspiration:

BizSugar
A blog with small business news and tips that is crowd-curated. BizSugar’s community of readers share business blog posts, videos and other content from which readers of the blog can learn something, For those that share content, they are reinforcing their reputation and brand and bringing online visibility to their content. The community votes on member-submitted tips, advice and information, advancing the most popular (and what’s considered by the community to be most useful) posts to the home page. Top posts are pushed to the top or can make it into the BizSugar Top 10 list.

Kabbage
Kabbage is redefining how small business find and apply for loans online and their blog is full of tips to grow, manage, fund, or innovate your small business.

Social Triggers
A blog from Derek Halpern, who writes about sales, marketing, entrepreneurship and the world of social media. Halpern was called “the master of social media” and the world of online communications by Inc. magazine.

DIY Marketers
Small business owners are often limited by their marketing budget. DIY Marketers focuses on those creative marketing strategies that help you reach more customers for less money and Ivana Taylor makes it fun.

Penelope Trunk
Raw, funny insights from the entrepreneur Penelope Trunk about starting, running and marketing a business. You’ll also find advice on productivity, management, blogging and other business-related issues, as well as life lessons—all of them Trunk’s, of course, but useful nonetheless.

Marketing Profs
If you re looking for a digest of the latest and greatest marketing tips and news, Ann Handley s got you covered. Her aim with Marketing Profs is to educate the modern marketer using real world data and examples. With the PRO membership, you get access to their best content.

Both Sides Of The Table
A blog written by Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who sold one of those companies to Salesforce.com and then became a venture capitalist. (Get it? Both sides of the table?) He’s a general partner in Upfront Ventures and blogs about startups, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, management, leadership and more.

Copyblogger
The mother of all content marketing blogs. Copyblogger will help you advance your content marketing skills across the board. They produce some of the most valuable content resources on the web and their topics cover a wide range. Writing well is a skill that requires frequent studying and practice and Copyblogger can be an excellent guide to improvement.

AVC
A blog written by Fred Wilson, managing partner of two venture capital firms, Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures. Wilson is a leader in the entrepreneurial community and has been a VC for more than 20 years. He has been writing on the blog everyday since Sept. 2003 and the topics are wide-ranging but related to starting and running a business (while also trying to live a somewhat normal life).

Small Business Survival
This blog has been around since 2006 and is geared toward rural and small town small businesses, with how-to articles and an emphasis on social media marketing, plus a chance for business owners to share good news in the blog’s weekly “Brag Basket.”

Business Banter
A blog written by small business experts on a wide range of business challenges. Business Banter has great content on the hard part of business to motivate you to keep going. They also write a lot about internet marketing.

Adrian Swinscoe
Blog of consultant and speaker Adrian Swinscoe, which features interviews with business people and posts about customer experience, building a customer-centric business, service, social media as well as employee and customer engagement.

Buffer
All social everything! What I love the most about Buffer is their transparency. They are not afraid to share their data, what they ve failed at, and what they ve learned. They have a buzzing community of people who want to discuss what they ve learned from the Buffer blog. Chat with Buffer s content creators and grow in a fun, exciting community!

The Franchise King
The blog of Joel Libava, otherwise known as The Franchise King®. Libava is a franchise ownership advisor and the author of Become a Franchise Owner! The Star-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money and Owning What You Do (John Wiley) Everything you ever wanted to know about researching, choosing and buying a franchise.

Evergreen Small Business
Written by Stephen L. Nelson, a Seattle-based CPA who specializes in serving small business owners, this blog is focused on the details around running a small business, like tax issues related to LLCs, a review of do-it-yourself incorporation kits, Affordable Care Act information for small businesses and how to handle past due tax returns.

Mixergy
Mixergy interviews entrepreneurs on their successes and failures. Learn from a wide range of passionate business leaders who not only had a business ideas but a mission. Mission is #1 at Mixergy.

Google Small Business
This is Google’s official blog for small business owners, where the company discusses new releases, new Google tools and how to make the most of them, and instructional information like how to set up your first data feed, and experts weighing in on how to make the most of social media. The blog is somewhat promotional—after all, it’s mostly about Google products and tools—but it’s still very useful.

Duct Tape Marketing
John Jantsch is his name, and the World s Most Practical Small Business Expert is his game. He runs Duct Tape Marketing, providing reliable marketing advice to small business owners and marketers.

Farnam Street
Have you been meaning to read up on the great philosophers but don t have the time? Farnam Street will teach you how to think, read, and perceive the world around you the way the famous big thinkers do. Become a better leader and go to bed smarter than when you woke up.

Fast Company
So there s Fast Company and then there s the Fast Company blog. They do things differently by using Tumblr as their blog platform filled with beautiful pics, gifs, and that same digestable information we crave from Fast Company. They cover leadership topics as well as design, productivity, business, and useful life topics.

Richard Branson
Because who doesn t like the dude?

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Business Plan Sample – Great Example For Anyone Writing a Business Pl… #business #plans

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How to Choose a Great Name for Your New Business #start #up #business #loans

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How to Choose a Great Name for Your New Business

February 5, 2015

In their book Start Your Own Business , the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer smart tips to help you choose a name that really works for your new business.

When choosing a name for your business, start by deciding what you want it to communicate. To be most effective, your company name should reinforce the key elements of your business. So the first and most important step in choosing a name is deciding what your business is knowing what makes your business unique will help you choose a name that communicates that.

Remember, the more your name communicates to consumers, the less effort you must exert to explain it. According to naming experts, you should give priority to real words or combinations of words over fabricated words because people prefer words they can relate to and understand.

Naming experts also caution about choosing a name that s too narrowly defined. Common pitfalls are geographic names or generic names. Take the hypothetical name San Pablo Disk Drives for example. What if the company expands beyond the city of San Pablo, California? Or what if it diversifies beyond disk drives into software or computer instruction manuals?

Specific names make sense if you intend to stay in a narrow niche forever. If you have any ambitions of growing or expanding, however, you should find a name that s broad enough to accommodate your growth.

Before you start thinking up names for your new business, try to define the qualities you want your business to be identified with. If you re starting a hearth-baked bread shop, you might want a name that conveys freshness, warmth and a homespun atmosphere. Immediately, you can see that names like Kathy s Bread Shop or Arlington Breads would communicate none of these qualities. But consider the name Open Hearth Breads. The bread sounds homemade, hot and just out of the oven. Moreover, if you diversified your product line, you could alter the name to Open Hearth Bakery. This change would enable you to hold on to your suggestive name without totally mystifying your established clientele.

Namestorming

Begin your brainstorming search for a business name by looking in dictionaries, books and magazines to generate ideas. Get friends and relatives to help if you like; the more minds, the merrier. Think of as many workable names as you can during this creative phase.

The trials you put your names through will vary depending on your concerns. Some considerations are fairly universal. For instance, your name should be easy to pronounce, especially if you plan to rely heavily on print ads or signs. If people can t pronounce your business name, they ll avoid saying it. And nothing could be more counterproductive to a young company than to strangle its potential for word-of-mouth advertising.

Other considerations depend on more individual factors. For instance, if you re thinking about marketing your business globally or if you re located in a multilingual area, you should make sure your new name has no negative connotations in other languages. On another note, if your primary means of advertising will be in the telephone directory, you might favor names that are closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Finally, make sure that your name is in no way embarrassing. Put on the mind of a child and tinker with the letters a little. If none of your doodling makes you snicker, it s probably OK.

Naming firm Interbrand advises name seekers to take a close look at their competition: The major function of a name is to distinguish your business from others. You have to weigh who s out there already, what type of branding approaches they have taken, and how you can use a name to separate yourself. If any of your potential names is too close to that of your competitors , you should probably eliminate it.

After you ve narrowed the field to, say, four or five names that are memorable, expressive, and can be read by the average grade-schooler, you re ready to do a trademark search. Must every name be trademarked? No. Many small businesses don t register their business names. As long as your state government gives you the go-ahead, you may operate under an unregistered business name for as long as you like assuming, of course, that you aren t infringing on anyone else s trade name.

But what if you are? Imagine either of these two scenarios: You are a brand-new manufacturing business just about to ship your first orders. An obscure little company in Ogunquit, Maine, considers the name of your business an infringement on their trademark and engages you in a legal battle that bankrupts your company. Or envision your business in five years. It s a thriving, growing concern, and you are contemplating expansion. But just as you are about to launch your franchise program, you learn that a small competitor in Modesto, California, has the same name, rendering your name unusable.

Enlisting the help of a trademark attorney or at least a trademark search firm before you decide on a name for your business is highly advisable. After all, the extra money you spend now could save you countless hassles and expenses further down the road.

Final analysis

If you re lucky, you ll end up with three to five names that pass all your tests. How do you make your final decision? First, recall all your initial criteria. Which name best fits your objectives? Which name most accurately describes the company you have in mind? Which name do you like the best?

You could just go with your gut. Or you could do consumer research or testing with focus groups to see how the names are perceived. You could ask other people s opinions. Or you could doodle an idea of what each name will look like on a sign or on business stationery. Read each name aloud, paying attention to the way it sounds if you foresee radio advertising or telemarketing in your future.

Once your decision is made, start building your enthusiasm for the new name immediately. Your name is your first step toward building a strong company identity, one that should last as long as you re in business.





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