Tag: Steps

How to Market a Home Party Business: 6 Steps #business #credit #cards

#home party businesses

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How to Market a Home Party Business

Start with your friends and family.

  • Nobody can help you market yourself and your business better than those that know you the best. Let your friends and family know you are looking for hosts and hostesses for your business and let word-of-mouth take its course.
  • Ask your friends and family to host your first parties to get the ball rolling. They can benefit from the hostess rewards and you can get valuable experience at the same time. You also may be able to get some of their guests to book future parties.

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Befriend local business owners.

  • Not only can they pass on your information to their customers, but they also may let you post fliers or set out your business card in their place of business. Consider offering them a free product or service in return for use of their already established client base.
  • Be sure to select businesses that appeal to the same type of clients that would be interested in your home party business.

Connect with potential clients through social networking.

  • Social networking has spread beyond the traditional networking happy hour after work. Social networking can now be done online. There are many web sites through which you can connect with old friends who can be the source for a wider client base. These web sites can also lead to whole networks of people with specific interests in your niche.

Combine your efforts.

  • Join forces with other in-home party consultants to throw a one-stop-shopping party. Clients who may come with an interest in another home business may end up finding an interest in your party business. Choosing businesses that are different, yet, that compliment each other can make for a very interesting mix of customers.

Use your mailing options.

  • Electronic mail (e-mail) can cover quite a large territory. Distribute e-mails detailing the hostess special for a month along with an attached flier of the benefits of being a host. Send the note to your whole address book and ask recipients to forward it on to anyone they think might be interested. This is a cheap and quick way to market your home party business.
  • Although regular mail costs a little more, it appeals to a different set of people. Many of these potential clients that are not computer savvy, so a flier in their mailboxes is more likely to do the trick. If you have the time, you can hand-deliver the fliers.

Offer incentives.

  • Create your own incentive plan beyond the company’s offerings. Even if you just throw in an extra lipstick or a small food storage container, it gives your clients a great incentive to want to spread the word of your private party business.

How to Open a Domino’s Pizza Franchise in the U.S.

How to Send Certified Mail (USA)

How to Calculate Food Cost

How to Write a Business Profile

How to Check if a Company Is Genuine

How to Start a Catering Business

How to Start a Private School

How to Check a Business at the Better Business Bureau

How to Write Business Emails

How to Invent a Product





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Follow These 10 Steps to Starting a Business #small #business #owner

#how to start a business

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Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business. Click on the links to learn more.

Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.

Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.

Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.

Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.

Register your business name with your state government.

Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.

Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.

Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

Contact your local SBA office to learn more about how SBA can help.

Startup Resources

There are a number of available programs to assist startups, micro businesses, and underserved or disadvantaged groups. The following resources provide information to help specialized audiences start their own businesses.





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How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps Tutorial #business #partner

#business pages

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How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps [Tutorial]

It’s no longer a “good idea” for most businesses to be on Facebook. With 829 million people actively using Facebook every day, it’s become a go-to component of almost any inbound marketing strategy.

Thing is, as more and more Facebook features change, so does the process of setting up a Page.

Don’t waste another day poking around aimlessly on Facebook, trying to figure out what the heck to do to get your Facebook Page up and running like a social networking pro.

The following presentation provides a visual tutorial to help you get your Page up in no time (you can also read the transcription below). Over 600,000 have found this tutorial helpful, hopefully it proves beneficial for you or a marketer you know, too.

How To Create a Facebook Business Page

Step 1: Choose a Classification.

To begin, navigate to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php . This page will showcase six different classifications to choose from:

  1. Local Business or Place
  2. Company, Organization, or Institution
  3. Brand or Product
  4. Artist, Band, or Public Figure
  5. Entertainment
  6. Cause or Community

Each of these classifications provides more relevant fields for your desired Page.

For this tutorial, we’ll select the second option: company, organization, or institution. After selecting our desired classification, we’ll be asked for an official name for our Business Page. I recommend carefully selecting your name. Although Facebook allows you to change your name and URL once. it’s a difficult and tedious process.

Step 2: Complete Basic Information.

Facebook should automatically walk you through the following four basic sections to complete the fundamental aspects of your Page.

Finish “About” Section

The “about” section will serve as the main 2-3 sentence description for your company. It will be on your main page, so make it descriptive but succinct. Be sure to include a link to your company website as well. Also ensure that this information differentiates your brand, making your page even more appealing to potential followers.

This is also where you can select your unique domain (that, as mentioned above, can only be changed once). For example, the Sidekick by HubSpot Facebook Page employs the URL facebook.com/getsidekick.

Upload Profile Picture

Next you’ll be asked to upload a picture. This will serve as the main visual icon of your page, appearing in search results and alongside any comments you publish. While any perfectly square image will work, the recommended size is 180 x 180 pixels.

Add to Favorites

Every individual Facebook user has a vertical navigation bar to the left of their News Feed. You can add your Business Page as a “Favorite” item here — similar to bookmarking a web page in your web browser — for easy access.

Reach More People

Facebook will prompt you to create an advertisement to draw attention to your Page. Whether employing paid tactics is a part of your strategy or not, I recommend avoiding starting any ads at this stage — there’s no compelling content on the Page yet that would convince them to ultimately “Like” your page.

Step 3: Understand the Admin Panel.

The basic skeleton of your Business Page is now live. Facebook will ask if you’d like to “Like” your Page. Again, I recommend avoid doing so at the moment. This activity will appear in News Feeds of those you’re connected to personally to on Facebook. Without any content on the Page, we want to save that organic Timeline story for when you’re really ready for people to view the Page.

In the top navigation, you’ll see an option for “Settings.” Click that. Along the left side, a vertical navigation bar with different sections should appear. We’ll focus on three core ones now:

  • Page Info: This is where you can add additional details about your business. This section will also unveil different fields based on the classification you chose in Step 1.
  • Notifications. This section allows you to customize when and how you’d like to receive Page alerts. Set a frequency that fits your social media marketing schedule.
  • Page Roles. Whether or not you’ll be the main manager of the Page, there may be others at your organization who need access to your Facebook Page. Here, you can invite other colleagues to make changes to your Pages. Some common use cases here include:
    • A public relations manager who needs to respond to any delicate questions.
    • A support representative who can assist those asking technical questions.
    • A designer tasked with uploading new photo creative to the Page.

Step 4: Populate Page With Content.

Now it’s time to actually publish content to your Page and then invite users to be a part of your growing community. Let’s start with the basic content needed to get your Page kicking.

Posts

The rest of your Page will populate over time as you publish more updates. Facebook currently provides six different posting options:

  1. Plain text status
  2. Photo with caption
  3. Link with caption
  4. Video with caption
  5. Event page
  6. Location check-in

When posting on your page, just be sure to use a variety of content. What images would your audience like to see? What stats would they like to read? What links would they like to click? You can also click the little grey arrow in the top-right corner of each post and then click “Pin to Top” to move one of your posts to the top of your Page’s Timeline for seven days. Use this feature for product announcements, business anniversaries, and other major events pertinent to your brand.

If you want to dive deeper into Facebook posting best practices, check out this blog post.

Cover Photo

This is the large, horizontal image that spans the top of your Facebook Page. Typically, this is a branded image to help attract people to your Page. The official photo dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels. To help you create these cover photos, we have free PowerPoint templates here pre-sized for the right dimensions.

Now that there’s content on the Page, we can start strategically inviting users to Like it. I recommend inviting users in the following cadence:

  • First, invite colleagues to Like your page and its content to build some initial activity.
  • Second, invite supporters in your network. Encourage them to engage.
  • Third, invite customers. With some activity now on the Page, they’ll be more interested.

With content published and users invited, you can go to the “Activity” tab in your Page’s top navigation to monitor how people are engaging with your Page and content.

Step 5: Measure Your Growth.

Finally, we need to measure our efforts to ensure we’re making valuable marketing decisions on Facebook. Fortunately, Facebook has embedded in some decently helpful metrics for us to take advantage of. Simply click the “Insights” option in the top navigation to see the following:

  • Overview. This tab shows a 7-day snapshot of your metrics such as Page Likes, post reach, and overall engagement.
  • Likes. This tab shows your overall fan growth and losses. If you’re employing paid efforts, you’ll be able to see the breakdown of paid versus organic growth.
  • Reach. This tab highlights the raw number of people your Page is reaching every day. If you notice spikes on a specific day, try cross-checking what you posted that day to see if you can replicate that reach.
  • Visits. This tab indicates where on Facebook your viewers are coming from. You can see the difference in visits on Facebook Timelines, your information tab, reviews, and others.

And if you really want to spend time perfecting your Facebook content strategy, watch this brief tutorial on how to analyze exactly that .

And voila! You have a Facebook business page. Now go post interesting content and amass a loyal base of fans!

Want to see how HubSpot uses Facebook? Like our Facebook Page here .

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2010, and it’s since been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.





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How to Qualify for a Small-Business Loan in 5 Steps #vending #machines #business

#sba loan requirements

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Credit Cards

Banking

Investing

Mortgages

Loans

Insurance

Credit Cards

Banking

Investing

Mortgages

Loans

Insurance

How to Qualify for a Small-Business Loan in 5 Steps

You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here’s how we make money .

Qualifying for a small-business loan is easier when you’re prepared. Below is a to-do list that will help you qualify for the cash you need to grow your business.

Whether you end up applying for an SBA loan through a bank or opt for an online small-business loan, you should be familiar with the requirements of each lender. Knowing whether you meet their criteria before you apply will save you time and frustration.

How to quality for a small-business loan

1. Improve personal and business credit scores

Your personal credit score ranges from 300 to 850 (the higher, the better), and evaluates your ability to repay debts. The score is typically weighed more heavily by small-business lenders if your business is new and lacks credit history. It’s based mainly on three factors: your payment history (35% of your score), the amounts owed on credit cards and other debt (30%) and how long you’ve had credit (15%).

Paying your bills on time is, of course, crucial to improving your score. But even if you pay your bills like clockwork, credit report errors could be damaging your score one in four consumers has damaging credit report errors. However, four out of five consumers who filed a dispute got their credit report modified, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission. You can get a copy of your credit reports for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com and dispute any inaccuracies you find through each of the credit bureaus’ websites (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).

Businesses that are more established and applying for bank loans can check out their business credit scores (which generally range from 0 to 100) at the three business credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Dun Bradstreet. Check out these five steps to building business credit, and if you see any mistakes on your reports, contact the bureaus.

More than likely, you’ll need an excellent business credit score as well as good personal credit to qualify for an SBA loan or traditional loan from a bank, although this will depend on the individual lender and factors such as your business revenue and cash flow. In general, online lenders look at personal credit scores but are a bit more lenient when it comes to credit score requirements, as they place more emphasis on your business’s cash flow and track record.

2. Know the lender’s minimum qualifications

There’s no way around it: If you don’t meet a lender’s minimum qualifications, applying is a waste of time.

Borrowers typically need to meet minimum criteria related to credit scores, annual revenue and years in business. And lenders generally frown upon recent bankruptcies and other past delinquencies.

To qualify for SBA loans, borrowers also must be current on all government loans and can’t have any past defaults. So if you’re late on a federal student loan or a government-backed mortgage, you’ll be disqualified. You also can’t be on the SBA’s ineligible businesses list. which includes life insurance companies and financial businesses such as banks.

Qualifying for online lenders can be easier. While these lenders typically underwrite loans based on traditional factors such as credit scores, annual revenue and cash flow, the loans carry less stringent requirements than banks.

3. Gather financial and legal documents

Banks and other traditional lenders typically ask for a wide range of financial and legal documents during the application process. They include:

  • Personal and business income tax returns
  • Balance sheet and income statement
  • Personal and business bank statements
  • A photo of your driver’s license
  • Commercial leases
  • Business licenses
  • Articles of incorporation
  • A resume
  • Financial projections if you have a limited operating history

These requirements can make getting a bank loan time consuming. That may not be an issue if you’re in the market for a long-term business loan to finance a major investment.

However, if you need money faster, online lenders may be a better fit, as they can provide a streamlined online application process with fewer documentation requirements and faster underwriting. But they may come with higher borrowing costs. If you have good credit and business finances, however, some lenders may provide rates comparable to those of bank loans.

4. Develop a strong business plan

Lenders will want to know how you plan to use the money and will want to see that you have a strong ability to repay. They may require a solid business plan that details the purpose of the loan and how you expect it to increase profits.

Your business plan should include current and projected financials, and clearly demonstrate that your business will have enough cash flow to cover ongoing business expenses and the new loan payments. This can give the lender more confidence in your business, increasing your chances at loan approval. Your p lan should include :

  • Company description
  • Product and/or service description
  • Management team
  • Industry analysis
  • Facilities and operations plan
  • Promotional, marketing and sales strategy
  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

5. Provide collateral

To qualify for a small-business loan, you may have to provide collateral to back the loan. This refers to an asset, such as equipment, real estate or inventory, that can be seized and sold by the lender if you can’t make your payments. It’s basically a way lenders can make back their money if your business fails.

SBA loans require “adequate” collateral for security on all loans, plus a personal guarantee from every owner of 20% or more of the business. A personal guarantee puts your credit score and your personal assets on the hook.

Some online lenders do not require collateral but may want a personal guarantee. Others may also take a blanket lien on your business assets essentially another form of collateral giving the lender the right to take business assets (real estate, inventory, equipment) to recoup an unpaid loan. Each individual lender has its own requirements, so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure.

If you don’t have collateral to get a loan or don’t want to take on the risk of losing personal or business assets, unsecured business loans may be a better option.

Find and compare small-business loans

If you’re looking for financing, NerdWallet has created a comparison tool list of the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged lender trustworthiness and user experience, among other factors, and arranged them by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

This post was updated. The post was originally published on Dec. 1, 2015.

Image via iStock.

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3 Steps to Find a Business Mentor for Free #business #phone #systems

#find a business

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As a newly single person, I get excited when someone asks me out to dinner. Then I hear, “I’m treating!”

“Wow, that’s promising. Someone really likes me!”

But, my enthusiasm is dampened when I hear this…

“I’m treating because I want to pick your brain .”

Now, at my age, I’m thrilled that anyone wants to pick a piece of my body, but my least favorite part to give away for free is my brain. Isn’t that called intellectual prostitution? I’m whoring my brain away for a filet of salmon.

Therapists get this all the time. Someone, under the guise of friendship wants you to solve their problems over a cobb salad. Isn’t that why you have an office?

I understand why I get approached this way. After all, I’m a former standup comic turned speaker and one of the few people who actually gets paid to do what I love — to stand in front of others to entertain and inspire. Most people who consult with me on improving their presentation skills want to learn the necessary steps so they can quit their day job and get paid to speak.

I know that the comic or speaker who asks me out for a date has good intent, but there’s a better approach to get information than to offer a meal. It’s not like I have a sign on my door that says, “Will consult for food.”

After all I’m sure you, just like I, have spent a lot of money filling your brain with marketable skills and professional know-how. We’ve gone to college, attended meetings, got CPU credits, not to mention years of therapy to correct a dysfunctional childhood so we can go days without Xanax.

And you want me to tell you how to get paid to speak for a slice of pizza?

Now, I do give stuff away. But, it’s usually when someone approaches me with a message that I believe in. Then I don’t even care about the meal. I WANT to help because the person has ENROLLED me in their message. They get a “piece of my mind” and a boatload of my talent when they offer me to be a part of something I believe in.

I have donated speeches to cancer, children, veterans as well as assisting with writing TED talks for discounted fees because I believe in the message. That’s what happened when Muslim scholar, Dalia Mogahed asked me to write her TED talk, which resulted in over 1.5 million views. I’m proud to be a part of that.

So, when you need help that you can’t afford, think about how you approach someone. Rather that paying them with a Falafel, know how to enroll someone in your message.

Here are three steps to enroll a business mentor:

1. Forget “I” “My” “Me”

Describe your business without using “I” “My” or “Me.” Rather, describe what you do in terms of the RESULTS you create for OTHERS.

2. Identify the problems your business solves.

When Dalia Mogahed came to me, rather than telling me all about herself and the TED talk she wanted to do, she told me of her concerns about the stereotyping and discrimination of Muslims. Although I’m not a Muslim myself, I got fully onboard as I wanted to join her in making a difference.

3. Clearly state what you want fixed.

Create a simple statement that contains the problem you want fixed, the audience your business addresses, your credentials to fix the problem and the results you can create.

Master these simple 3 steps and you will not only enroll a business mentor, but interns, followers and especially customers. The secret to being a successful entrepreneur is that your message is NOT about you and how great it would be to promote your services, while you get paid to speak!

For tips on how to make a living from speaking go to https://TheMessageOfYou.com





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7 Steps To Selling Your Small Business #government #business #grants

#selling a business

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7 Steps To Selling Your Small Business

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Selling a small business is a complex venture that involves several considerations. It can require that you enlist a broker. accountant and an attorney as you proceed. Whether you profit will depend on the reason for the sale, the timing of the sale, the strength of the business’s operation and its structure. The business sale will also require much of your time and, once the business is sold, you’ll need to determine some smart ways to handle the profit. Reviewing these seven considerations can help you build a solid plan and make negotiations a success.

1.Reasons for the Sale
You’ve decided to sell your business. Why? That’s one of the first questions a potential buyer will ask. Owners commonly sell their businesses for any of the following reasons:

  • Retirement
  • Partnership disputes
  • Illness and death
  • Becoming overworked
  • Boredom

Some owners consider selling the business when it is not profitable, but this can make it harder to attract buyers. Consider the business’s ability to sell, its readiness and your timing. There are many attributes that can make your business appear more attractive, including:

  • Increasing profits
  • Consistent income figures
  • A strong customer base
  • A major contract that spans several years

2.Timing of the Sale
Prepare for the sale as early as possible, preferably a year or two ahead of time. The preparation will help you to improve your financial records, business structure and customer base to make the business more profitable. These improvements will also ease the transition for the buyer and keep the business running smoothly. (Make sure the business you built continues to thrive long after you’ve left the helm by reading How To Create A Business Succession Plan .)

3.Business Valuation
Next, you’ll want to determine the worth of your business to make sure you don’t price it too high or too low. Locate a business appraiser to get a valuation. The appraiser will draw up a detailed explanation of the business’s worth. The document will bring credibility to the asking price and can serve as a gauge for your listing price.

4.Selling on Your Own vs. Using a Broker
Selling the business yourself allows you to save money and avoid paying a broker’s commission. It’s also the best route when the sale is to a trusted family member or current employee. In other circumstances, a broker can help free up time for you to keep the business up and running, keep the sale quiet and get the highest price (because the broker will want to maximize his or her commission). Discuss expectations and advertisements with the broker and maintain constant communication. (For more insight, read Do Your Need A Real Estate Agent? )

5.Preparing Documents
Gather your financial statements and tax returns dating back three to four years and review them with an accountant. In addition, develop a list of equipment that’s being sold with the business. Also, create a list of contacts related to sales transactions and supplies, and dig up any relevant paperwork such as your current lease. Create copies of these documents to distribute to financially qualified potential buyers.

Your information packet should also provide a summary describing how the business is conducted and/or an up-to-date operating manual. You’ll also want to make sure the business is presentable. Any areas of the business or equipment that are broken or run down should be fixed or replaced prior to the sale. (For related reading, see Prepare To Sell Your Business .)

6.Finding a Buyer
A business sale may take between six months and two years according to SCORE, a nonprofit association for entrepreneurs and partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Finding the right buyer can be a challenge. Try not to limit your advertising, and you’ll attract more potential buyers. (To learn more, read Finding The Best Buyer For Your Small Business .)

Once you have prospective buyers, keep the process moving along:

  • Get two to three potential buyers just in case the initial deal falters.
  • Stay in contact with the potential buyers.
  • Find out whether the potential buyer prequalifies for financing before giving out information about your business. If you plan to finance the sale, work out the details with an accountant or lawyer so you can reach an agreement with the buyer.
  • Allow some room to negotiate, but stand firm on the price that is reasonable and considers the company’s future worth.
  • Put any agreements in writing. The potential buyers should sign a nondisclosure/confidentiality agreement to protect your information.
  • Try to get the signed purchase agreement into escrow. (For related reading, check out Understanding The Escrow Process .)

You may encounter the following documents after the sale:

In addition, the buyer may have you sign a noncompete agreement, in which you would agree to not start a new, competing business and woo away customers.

7.Handling the Profits
Take some time, at least few months, before spending the profits from the sale. Create a plan outlining your financial goals, and learn about any tax consequences associated with the sudden wealth. Speak with a financial professional to determine how you want to invest the money and focus on long-term benefits, such as getting out of debt and saving for retirement. (There are several areas you should research when seeking professional financial help. Learn more in Advice For Finding The Best Advisor .)

Conclusion
Selling a business is time-consuming and for many, an emotional venture. A good reason to sell or the existence of a “hot” market can ease the burden, as can the help of professionals. It may also be possible to receive free counseling from organizations such as SCORE, and your local chamber of commerce may offer relevant seminars and workshops. When all is said and done, the large sum of money in your bank account and your newfound free time will make the grueling process seem worthwhile.





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How to Market a Home Party Business: 6 Steps #registering #a #business

#home party businesses

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How to Market a Home Party Business

Start with your friends and family.

  • Nobody can help you market yourself and your business better than those that know you the best. Let your friends and family know you are looking for hosts and hostesses for your business and let word-of-mouth take its course.
  • Ask your friends and family to host your first parties to get the ball rolling. They can benefit from the hostess rewards and you can get valuable experience at the same time. You also may be able to get some of their guests to book future parties.

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Befriend local business owners.

  • Not only can they pass on your information to their customers, but they also may let you post fliers or set out your business card in their place of business. Consider offering them a free product or service in return for use of their already established client base.
  • Be sure to select businesses that appeal to the same type of clients that would be interested in your home party business.

Connect with potential clients through social networking.

  • Social networking has spread beyond the traditional networking happy hour after work. Social networking can now be done online. There are many web sites through which you can connect with old friends who can be the source for a wider client base. These web sites can also lead to whole networks of people with specific interests in your niche.

Combine your efforts.

  • Join forces with other in-home party consultants to throw a one-stop-shopping party. Clients who may come with an interest in another home business may end up finding an interest in your party business. Choosing businesses that are different, yet, that compliment each other can make for a very interesting mix of customers.

Use your mailing options.

  • Electronic mail (e-mail) can cover quite a large territory. Distribute e-mails detailing the hostess special for a month along with an attached flier of the benefits of being a host. Send the note to your whole address book and ask recipients to forward it on to anyone they think might be interested. This is a cheap and quick way to market your home party business.
  • Although regular mail costs a little more, it appeals to a different set of people. Many of these potential clients that are not computer savvy, so a flier in their mailboxes is more likely to do the trick. If you have the time, you can hand-deliver the fliers.

Offer incentives.

  • Create your own incentive plan beyond the company’s offerings. Even if you just throw in an extra lipstick or a small food storage container, it gives your clients a great incentive to want to spread the word of your private party business.

How to Open a Domino’s Pizza Franchise in the U.S.

How to Send Certified Mail (USA)

How to Calculate Food Cost

How to Write a Business Profile

How to Check if a Company Is Genuine

How to Start a Catering Business

How to Start a Private School

How to Check a Business at the Better Business Bureau

How to Write Business Emails

How to Invent a Product





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8 Steps to Create Your Business Strategy – Lighthouse Visionary #home #party #businesses

#business strategy

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8 Steps to Create Your Business Strategy

Featured Column in Whistler Question newspaper January 28, 2014

You may have noticed that almost everywhere you looked at the start of January, there was something about the importance of setting goals. It’s enough to turn you off of planning for the future but at the very least, it is particularly important to set out direction for your business.

Strategic planning is described as “an organization s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy.”

Simply put, strategic plans create a road map to determine where an organization is going, how it s going to get there and how it will recognize success.

This segues into an opportunity to create not only a direction for the organization but also to craft a team vision. What kind of team do they want to be? Allow them to identify their team values and define what they want to achieve. Business is moving away from isolated mentalities and has a fresh perspective of a team.

Following are eight phases for the strategic planning process.

  1. Preparation. Identify reasons for planning and determine what outcome your organization wants from this process. Involve a cross-functional team to ensure the plan is realistic and collaborative.
  2. Mission, Vision and Values. Create them if you don’t have them and ensure they are still relevant if they already exist because this is the foundation of your business.
  3. Assess Your Situation. Often referred to as a “SWOT” (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), this is a tool to examine internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) elements of a business. By reviewing all these factors as they relate to your business, you are able to create key objectives to leverage strengths, minimize weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities and evaluate threats.
  4. Agree on Goals and Objectives. A great definition is “the difference between where we are (current status) and where we want to be (vision and goals) is what we do (target objectives and action plans). In other words, goals are a statement of the visions, specifying accomplishments to be achieved if the vision is to become real. Objectives are statements of specific activities required to achieve the goals, starting from the current status.
  5. Create Action Plans and Timelines. Action planning typically includes deciding who is going to do what and by when and in what order for the organization to reach its strategic goals.
  6. Write the Plan. Complicated plans will collect dust on a shelf. A simple, user-friendly format will encourage those responsible for implementation to refer to it frequently.
  7. Implement the Plan. This is often where things fall apart so it’s imperative to specify the plan’s implementation roles and responsibilities with clear action plans for at least the first 90 days. Also, integrating the plan’s goals and objectives into performance reviews creates a powerful incentive.
  8. Evaluate and Monitor the Plan. Strategies are not set in stone and can be modified based on progress made, obstacles encountered, and the changing environment.

Paving a path is a key ingredient to business success. As Jack Kinder said, “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”





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How to Write a Business Proposal: 13 Steps (with Pictures) #cheap #business #insurance

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How to Write a Business Proposal

How can I write a proposal for maintenance for air conditioning systems?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • State the problem and tell whoever you are writing to about why the A/C system needs maintenance, Then state your proposed solution to the problem. After that, double check everything that you wrote down to make sure you like how it looks, then sign your name and you’re done!

How can I produce a business proposal 1000 words specifically looking at the communication process of a chosen organization?

Where can I read a sample Sales Proposal?

A proposal for a rental property for an equine rehab. Brand new 4-5 bedroom house in West Palm with animals including riding horses. How would I write that?

How do I write proposal offering to solve a persistent problem?

How do I write a problem for solving a business proposal?

Video Edit

Tips Edit

Do not overuse similar words.

Check spelling and grammar.

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How to Qualify for a Small-Business Loan in 5 Steps #business #consultants

#sba loan requirements

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Credit Cards

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How to Qualify for a Small-Business Loan in 5 Steps

You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here’s how we make money .

Qualifying for a small-business loan is easier when you’re prepared. Below is a to-do list that will help you qualify for the cash you need to grow your business.

Whether you end up applying for an SBA loan through a bank or opt for an online small-business loan, you should be familiar with the requirements of each lender. Knowing whether you meet their criteria before you apply will save you time and frustration.

How to quality for a small-business loan

1. Improve personal and business credit scores

Your personal credit score ranges from 300 to 850 (the higher, the better), and evaluates your ability to repay debts. The score is typically weighed more heavily by small-business lenders if your business is new and lacks credit history. It’s based mainly on three factors: your payment history (35% of your score), the amounts owed on credit cards and other debt (30%) and how long you’ve had credit (15%).

Paying your bills on time is, of course, crucial to improving your score. But even if you pay your bills like clockwork, credit report errors could be damaging your score one in four consumers has damaging credit report errors. However, four out of five consumers who filed a dispute got their credit report modified, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission. You can get a copy of your credit reports for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com and dispute any inaccuracies you find through each of the credit bureaus’ websites (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).

Businesses that are more established and applying for bank loans can check out their business credit scores (which generally range from 0 to 100) at the three business credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Dun Bradstreet. Check out these five steps to building business credit, and if you see any mistakes on your reports, contact the bureaus.

More than likely, you’ll need an excellent business credit score as well as good personal credit to qualify for an SBA loan or traditional loan from a bank, although this will depend on the individual lender and factors such as your business revenue and cash flow. In general, online lenders look at personal credit scores but are a bit more lenient when it comes to credit score requirements, as they place more emphasis on your business’s cash flow and track record.

2. Know the lender’s minimum qualifications

There’s no way around it: If you don’t meet a lender’s minimum qualifications, applying is a waste of time.

Borrowers typically need to meet minimum criteria related to credit scores, annual revenue and years in business. And lenders generally frown upon recent bankruptcies and other past delinquencies.

To qualify for SBA loans, borrowers also must be current on all government loans and can’t have any past defaults. So if you’re late on a federal student loan or a government-backed mortgage, you’ll be disqualified. You also can’t be on the SBA’s ineligible businesses list. which includes life insurance companies and financial businesses such as banks.

Qualifying for online lenders can be easier. While these lenders typically underwrite loans based on traditional factors such as credit scores, annual revenue and cash flow, the loans carry less stringent requirements than banks.

3. Gather financial and legal documents

Banks and other traditional lenders typically ask for a wide range of financial and legal documents during the application process. They include:

  • Personal and business income tax returns
  • Balance sheet and income statement
  • Personal and business bank statements
  • A photo of your driver’s license
  • Commercial leases
  • Business licenses
  • Articles of incorporation
  • A resume
  • Financial projections if you have a limited operating history

These requirements can make getting a bank loan time consuming. That may not be an issue if you’re in the market for a long-term business loan to finance a major investment.

However, if you need money faster, online lenders may be a better fit, as they can provide a streamlined online application process with fewer documentation requirements and faster underwriting. But they may come with higher borrowing costs. If you have good credit and business finances, however, some lenders may provide rates comparable to those of bank loans.

4. Develop a strong business plan

Lenders will want to know how you plan to use the money and will want to see that you have a strong ability to repay. They may require a solid business plan that details the purpose of the loan and how you expect it to increase profits.

Your business plan should include current and projected financials, and clearly demonstrate that your business will have enough cash flow to cover ongoing business expenses and the new loan payments. This can give the lender more confidence in your business, increasing your chances at loan approval. Your p lan should include :

  • Company description
  • Product and/or service description
  • Management team
  • Industry analysis
  • Facilities and operations plan
  • Promotional, marketing and sales strategy
  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

5. Provide collateral

To qualify for a small-business loan, you may have to provide collateral to back the loan. This refers to an asset, such as equipment, real estate or inventory, that can be seized and sold by the lender if you can’t make your payments. It’s basically a way lenders can make back their money if your business fails.

SBA loans require “adequate” collateral for security on all loans, plus a personal guarantee from every owner of 20% or more of the business. A personal guarantee puts your credit score and your personal assets on the hook.

Some online lenders do not require collateral but may want a personal guarantee. Others may also take a blanket lien on your business assets essentially another form of collateral giving the lender the right to take business assets (real estate, inventory, equipment) to recoup an unpaid loan. Each individual lender has its own requirements, so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure.

If you don’t have collateral to get a loan or don’t want to take on the risk of losing personal or business assets, unsecured business loans may be a better option.

Find and compare small-business loans

If you’re looking for financing, NerdWallet has created a comparison tool list of the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged lender trustworthiness and user experience, among other factors, and arranged them by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

This post was updated. The post was originally published on Dec. 1, 2015.

Image via iStock.

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