Tag: Steps

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

#business proposal

#

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.

Related wikiHows

How to Write a Resignation Letter

How to Make an Authorization Letter

How to Write a Letter Requesting Sponsorship

How to Write a Letter of Intent

How to Write a Problem Statement

How to Write a Complaint Letter to a Company

How to Address a Letter to an Embassy

How to Write a Standard Operating Procedure

How to Write a Letter of Complaint to Human Resources

How to Write a Business Thank You Note





Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

4 Steps to Starting an Online Business #business #licence

#start online business

#

4 Steps to Starting an Online Business

In many ways, starting an online business is similar to starting a brick-and-mortar store. You’ll plan your business, organize your funding, produce your product, and get to work. But, there are unique aspects of running an online-only business that would-be entrepreneurs need to consider.

I’ve laid out a few of the various types of online businesses that you might be interested in starting, both those based around existing platforms like Etsy and eBay, and self-hosted eCommerce sites. We’ll also go over the process for starting an online business, and the steps you’ll need to take to get your business up and running.

In addition, you’ll find links throughout this article to other Bplans articles, which you’ll definitely want to check out. They’ll help you go into more detail about the different aspects of starting your online business, such as setting up your website and how to register your business name.

The different types of online businesses:

Wondering what type of online business to start? There are a few different options, and the best type to start will largely depend on your specific business, and what it is you’re selling.

An eCommerce site:

An eCommerce site is the most direct form of online business you can start; with a self-hosted eCommerce site, you will be selling your goods and services directly to your customers, without a “go-between” such as eBay or Etsy (we’ll get to those more later).

The best part about a direct eCommerce site is the level of control you have over your store. You’ll be able to customize virtually all the options when setting up your own eCommerce site, such as the complete look and feel of your store, but this flexibility makes the process that much more complicated, too.

Your biggest considerations with an eCommerce site will be setting up your website to offer the best user experience. Choosing the right web design is crucial, as is making sure that your shopping cart software is well-suited for your business. Be sure to check out the various shopping cart options available—from Shopify to X-Cart and many more.

An Etsy store:

An Etsy store is, by comparison, relatively easy to set up. The format of an Etsy store remains relatively similar store to store, though you will have the ability to customize your layout a little. However, all customers will buy through the Etsy interface, and the legwork to get your site up and running is minimal. This may be a positive or a negative to you, depending on how much control you wish to maintain over your site.

The biggest consideration, aside from the lack of flexibility? Etsy is a site for creative types, and focuses on handmade items. Now, if you sell handcrafted goods, resell vintage items, create and sell your art, and so on, you’ll fit in on Etsy no problem—in fact, it might be perfect for you.

But, if what you’re selling will be mass-produced, you’ll want to steer clear; although Etsy has recently made it clear that while they allow their sellers to potentially partner with outside businesses to make their products, mass-produced goods are not welcomed on Etsy.

An eBay store

Similar to Etsy, starting an eBay store has some significant advantages, which are also at the same time potential downsides. As with Etsy, you won’t have to set up a website, customize your online storefront, or choose a shopping cart software—when you use eBay to sell your products, that’s all included.

However this means, like Etsy, that your customers will have to go through eBay to buy from you, and you’ll also have little control over the visual layout of your store. As with Etsy, this may be a pro or a con for you, depending on your business.

Unlike Etsy, there is no stipulation with eBay stores that the goods be handcrafted or vintage resale. However, there are still certain items that are prohibited, so make sure to look into the details of selling on eBay before you decide that it’s the right choice.

A site with no physical goods sold

That’s all fine and good, but what if you’re not selling physical goods, but rather consulting or other services?

If your business still needs to accept payment via your site, you’re most likely better off setting up your own website, with a very simplistic shopping cart software. However, Etsy is home to plenty of web design businesses, for example, so this platform isn’t altogether out of the question.

Steps to starting an online business:

1. Plan your business

Like any business, you’ll need a plan. Your planning process should include thorough market analysis, plans for how you’ll fund product production, and perhaps a SWOT analysis to begin your planning process.

2. Write your business plan

Once you’ve done a bit of preliminary planning, it’s time to write your business plan. Unless you’re asking for funding from the bank, an investor, or have a similar “business plan event” coming up, you’re better off sticking to a lean business plan. A lean plan is quicker and easier to write, and distills your plan down to the essentials.

3. Register your domain name and set up your website

If you’ve chosen to set up your own eCommerce site outside of a platform such as eBay or Etsy, you’ll want to make sure your chosen domain name is available and ready for use. Once you’ve secured it, the process of setting up your business website begins. You can choose to outsource this to a professional, or DIY it with our handy guide.

4. Make it legal

There are a few steps you’ll have to take to make sure your business is legal. While generally speaking, the same rules apply for online businesses as brick-and-mortar businesses, there are a few subtle differences:

Read up on online business regulations

The most important distinction when it comes to doing business online versus in person is online business law. These laws regard the distribution of your customers personal information, as well as other privacy and intellectual property regulations. The SBA gives a thorough rundown of the specifics of online business law, so make sure to brush up on them before you start your online business.

Visit your secretary of state’s websitefor state-specific requirements

State specific requirements will, naturally, vary state by state. For instance, you’ll be required to collect state sales tax from your customers. Visit your local secretary of state office’s website for more information on compliance at a state level.

Learn about tax obligations for running an online business

Do you operate your business from your home? If you run an online business, it’s likely. As such, you may be eligible for certain tax deductions. You’ll additionally be required to pay income tax, so before setting up your online business, it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer and make sure that you’re all covered going forward.

Ultimately, starting an online business is very similar to starting a business with a physical storefront. The planning and legal aspects remain similar; while you may not be faced with the prospect of finding a retail location, you’ll still want to make sure you’ve got a solid plan for your business, a great website, and have dotted all your i’s and crossed your t’s before you start selling.

However, while starting an online business does involve some initial legwork, the low cost of overhead and flexibility of the platform make starting an online business a great choice for many entrepreneurs.

Do you have questions on starting an online business, or tips to offer fellow entrepreneurs?

How LivePlan makes your business more successful

If you re writing a business plan you’re in luck. Online business planning software makes it easier than ever before to put together a business plan for your business.

As you ll see in a moment LivePlan is more than just business plan software though. It s a knowledgable guide combined with a professional designer coupled with a financial wizard. It ll help you get over the three most common business hurdles with ease.

Let s take a look at those common hurdles and see how producing a top notch business plan sets your business up for success.





Tags : , , , , , ,

3 Steps to Find a Business Mentor for Free #service #business #ideas

#find a business

#

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





Tags : , , , , , , , ,

7 Steps To Selling Your Small Business #business #presentation

#selling a business

#

7 Steps To Selling Your Small Business

Loading the player.

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.





Tags : , , , , , ,

Addressing cloud computing security issues #cloud #computing #implementation #steps

#

Addressing cloud computing security issues

Abstract

The recent emergence of cloud computing has drastically altered everyone’s perception of infrastructure architectures, software delivery and development models. Projecting as an evolutionary step, following the transition from mainframe computers to client/server deployment models, cloud computing encompasses elements from grid computing, utility computing and autonomic computing, into an innovative deployment architecture. This rapid transition towards the clouds, has fuelled concerns on a critical issue for the success of information systems, communication and information security. From a security perspective, a number of unchartered risks and challenges have been introduced from this relocation to the clouds, deteriorating much of the effectiveness of traditional protection mechanisms. As a result the aim of this paper is twofold; firstly to evaluate cloud security by identifying unique security requirements and secondly to attempt to present a viable solution that eliminates these potential threats. This paper proposes introducing a Trusted Third Party, tasked with assuring specific security characteristics within a cloud environment. The proposed solution calls upon cryptography, specifically Public Key Infrastructure operating in concert with SSO and LDAP, to ensure the authentication, integrity and confidentiality of involved data and communications. The solution, presents a horizontal level of service, available to all implicated entities, that realizes a security mesh, within which essential trust is maintained.

Research highlights

► This paper attempts to evaluate cloud computing security. ► A solution is presented which attempts to eliminate unique threats. ► This paper introduces a Trusted Third Party. ► TTP is tasked with assuring security characteristics within a cloud environment. ► The solution employs Public Key Infrastructure in concert with SSO and LDAP.

Keywords

Cloud computing security





Tags : , , ,

Follow These 10 Steps to Starting a Business #business #gifts

#how to start a business

#

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.





Tags : , , , , , , ,

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

#business pages

#

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.





Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Steps to Starting an Online Business #business #analytics

#start online business

#

4 Steps to Starting an Online Business

In many ways, starting an online business is similar to starting a brick-and-mortar store. You’ll plan your business, organize your funding, produce your product, and get to work. But, there are unique aspects of running an online-only business that would-be entrepreneurs need to consider.

I’ve laid out a few of the various types of online businesses that you might be interested in starting, both those based around existing platforms like Etsy and eBay, and self-hosted eCommerce sites. We’ll also go over the process for starting an online business, and the steps you’ll need to take to get your business up and running.

In addition, you’ll find links throughout this article to other Bplans articles, which you’ll definitely want to check out. They’ll help you go into more detail about the different aspects of starting your online business, such as setting up your website and how to register your business name.

The different types of online businesses:

Wondering what type of online business to start? There are a few different options, and the best type to start will largely depend on your specific business, and what it is you’re selling.

An eCommerce site:

An eCommerce site is the most direct form of online business you can start; with a self-hosted eCommerce site, you will be selling your goods and services directly to your customers, without a “go-between” such as eBay or Etsy (we’ll get to those more later).

The best part about a direct eCommerce site is the level of control you have over your store. You’ll be able to customize virtually all the options when setting up your own eCommerce site, such as the complete look and feel of your store, but this flexibility makes the process that much more complicated, too.

Your biggest considerations with an eCommerce site will be setting up your website to offer the best user experience. Choosing the right web design is crucial, as is making sure that your shopping cart software is well-suited for your business. Be sure to check out the various shopping cart options available—from Shopify to X-Cart and many more.

An Etsy store:

An Etsy store is, by comparison, relatively easy to set up. The format of an Etsy store remains relatively similar store to store, though you will have the ability to customize your layout a little. However, all customers will buy through the Etsy interface, and the legwork to get your site up and running is minimal. This may be a positive or a negative to you, depending on how much control you wish to maintain over your site.

The biggest consideration, aside from the lack of flexibility? Etsy is a site for creative types, and focuses on handmade items. Now, if you sell handcrafted goods, resell vintage items, create and sell your art, and so on, you’ll fit in on Etsy no problem—in fact, it might be perfect for you.

But, if what you’re selling will be mass-produced, you’ll want to steer clear; although Etsy has recently made it clear that while they allow their sellers to potentially partner with outside businesses to make their products, mass-produced goods are not welcomed on Etsy.

An eBay store

Similar to Etsy, starting an eBay store has some significant advantages, which are also at the same time potential downsides. As with Etsy, you won’t have to set up a website, customize your online storefront, or choose a shopping cart software—when you use eBay to sell your products, that’s all included.

However this means, like Etsy, that your customers will have to go through eBay to buy from you, and you’ll also have little control over the visual layout of your store. As with Etsy, this may be a pro or a con for you, depending on your business.

Unlike Etsy, there is no stipulation with eBay stores that the goods be handcrafted or vintage resale. However, there are still certain items that are prohibited, so make sure to look into the details of selling on eBay before you decide that it’s the right choice.

A site with no physical goods sold

That’s all fine and good, but what if you’re not selling physical goods, but rather consulting or other services?

If your business still needs to accept payment via your site, you’re most likely better off setting up your own website, with a very simplistic shopping cart software. However, Etsy is home to plenty of web design businesses, for example, so this platform isn’t altogether out of the question.

Steps to starting an online business:

1. Plan your business

Like any business, you’ll need a plan. Your planning process should include thorough market analysis, plans for how you’ll fund product production, and perhaps a SWOT analysis to begin your planning process.

2. Write your business plan

Once you’ve done a bit of preliminary planning, it’s time to write your business plan. Unless you’re asking for funding from the bank, an investor, or have a similar “business plan event” coming up, you’re better off sticking to a lean business plan. A lean plan is quicker and easier to write, and distills your plan down to the essentials.

3. Register your domain name and set up your website

If you’ve chosen to set up your own eCommerce site outside of a platform such as eBay or Etsy, you’ll want to make sure your chosen domain name is available and ready for use. Once you’ve secured it, the process of setting up your business website begins. You can choose to outsource this to a professional, or DIY it with our handy guide.

4. Make it legal

There are a few steps you’ll have to take to make sure your business is legal. While generally speaking, the same rules apply for online businesses as brick-and-mortar businesses, there are a few subtle differences:

Read up on online business regulations

The most important distinction when it comes to doing business online versus in person is online business law. These laws regard the distribution of your customers personal information, as well as other privacy and intellectual property regulations. The SBA gives a thorough rundown of the specifics of online business law, so make sure to brush up on them before you start your online business.

Visit your secretary of state’s websitefor state-specific requirements

State specific requirements will, naturally, vary state by state. For instance, you’ll be required to collect state sales tax from your customers. Visit your local secretary of state office’s website for more information on compliance at a state level.

Learn about tax obligations for running an online business

Do you operate your business from your home? If you run an online business, it’s likely. As such, you may be eligible for certain tax deductions. You’ll additionally be required to pay income tax, so before setting up your online business, it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer and make sure that you’re all covered going forward.

Ultimately, starting an online business is very similar to starting a business with a physical storefront. The planning and legal aspects remain similar; while you may not be faced with the prospect of finding a retail location, you’ll still want to make sure you’ve got a solid plan for your business, a great website, and have dotted all your i’s and crossed your t’s before you start selling.

However, while starting an online business does involve some initial legwork, the low cost of overhead and flexibility of the platform make starting an online business a great choice for many entrepreneurs.

Do you have questions on starting an online business, or tips to offer fellow entrepreneurs?

How LivePlan makes your business more successful

If you re writing a business plan you’re in luck. Online business planning software makes it easier than ever before to put together a business plan for your business.

As you ll see in a moment LivePlan is more than just business plan software though. It s a knowledgable guide combined with a professional designer coupled with a financial wizard. It ll help you get over the three most common business hurdles with ease.

Let s take a look at those common hurdles and see how producing a top notch business plan sets your business up for success.





Tags : , , , , , ,

Three Steps to Finding a Business Mentor #sample #business #plan

#business mentor

#

Three Steps to Finding a Business Mentor

November 14, 2011

Great business mentors can have an enormous impact on early-stage startups. Their connections can open doors that would otherwise be closed and their experiences can save entrepreneurs from suffering from the same startup mistakes they ve already made.

But finding the best mentor for your business isn t as simple as picking a name from a hat. You ll need to be able to recognize what makes a great mentor, know how to approach one and then how to maximize the relationship. At TechStars. the mentorship-driven seed stage investment fund I co-founded in 2006, we ve seen all types of mentor relationships, successful and not.

Here are three steps for finding the most experienced mentor to help bring your startup idea to the next level:

1. Recognize what makes a great mentor.
At TechStars, we ve found that the best mentors are those who ask a lot of tough questions and challenge you to exceed your goals. In doing so, they should share their own experiences and help you uncover new opportunities.

But the best mentors shouldn t tell you exactly what to do. They understand their role as an advisor and that it s your company to run, not theirs. Those who tell entrepreneurs what to do, and become upset when their instructions aren t followed, often cause more damage than good.

Sometimes a mentor may ask to be compensated for his or her help and advice. But the best mentors will usually never ask for compensation and will be satisfied just by helping out.

2. Find a good fit.
A common mistake we ve seen is going straight at the busiest, most well-known, most visible mentors. While this may occasionally work, it s often more productive to analyze your own close network and look locally for mentors whom you respect with relevant experience.

Think about approaching the founders and key executives of companies in your space who you admire. Those people are usually more likely to invest time in your business than those with crushing demand from strangers.

To make that first connection, you might try sending a short email explaining what your startup is doing and why you are reaching out. Avoid form emails and always make it relevant and easy for the prospective mentor to help. Take a few minutes to read the person s blog or Twitter account and learn about his or her background so you can personalize your note.

Most of the cold emails I receive from entrepreneurs start off by requesting a meeting over coffee. While this might seem like a good first request, it isn t always. For example, I m an introvert who doesn t drink coffee. Even if I did, I d have to leave my office to meet with the person and most busy mentors won t initially have time to meet.

Build up to that first meeting by establishing a rhythm of interesting and thought-provoking email communication. Demonstrate that you re making regular progress on your product and close the feedback loop so the mentor knows you re listening, analyzing and reacting. When you do eventually ask to speak face-to-face, request a 15-minute meeting at his or her office.

Approaching a smaller number of mentors who have an actual connection to your business or your market and making sure they understand that connection early on usually leads to better long-term engagement between the mentor and the mentee.

3. Maximize the mentor relationship.
Once you ve established a connection, and there is interest from both sides, it s important to build a relationship over time. One way to do this is to check in regularly by email. Mentors should love to see your progress and take pride in knowing that their input has been helpful. Send a monthly email that reminds them of your past conversations and updates them on your progress.

Ask one new question in these emails to ensure the conversation continues. It s important to keep these check-in emails short and to the point and not ask for too much at a time. For example, requesting a two-hour phone call once a week is probably going to be an unrealistic demand. Getting together at the mentor s office for 30 minutes once a quarter can be an easier request to be fulfilled once you ve established a real relationship.

While mentors shouldn t ask for financial compensation, if they are consistently spending a considerable amount of time helping you get going, you might consider granting them a small amount of equity in your company to offer a long-term incentive.

Great founders intuitively understand the importance and role of mentors. They recognize that startups are difficult, but realize that a great team paired with the presence of experienced and engaged mentors can make an enormous difference — and is often a strong indicator of future success.





Tags : , , , , , ,

How to write a perfect professional email in English in 5 steps – Global

#business emails

#

How to write a perfect professional email in English in 5 steps

For most of us, email is the most common form of business communication so it s important to get it right. Although emails usually aren t as formal as letters, they still need to be professional to present a good image of you and your company.

How to write a formal email

Follow these five simple steps to make sure your English emails are perfectly professional.

  1. Begin with a greeting
  2. Thank the recipient
  3. State your purpose
  4. Add your closing remarks
  5. End with a closing

Download our free ebook: Everyday English Vocabulary 38 pages which points useful words and English phrases to help you have a better understanding of what’s going on around you.

Begin with a greeting

Always open your email with a greeting, such as Dear Lillian . If your relationship with the reader is formal, use their family name (eg. Dear Mrs. Price ). If the relationship is more casual, you can simply say, Hi Kelly . If you don t know the name of the person you are writing to, use: To whom it may concern or Dear Sir/Madam .

  • Thank the recipient

    If you are replying to a client s inquiry, you should begin with a line of thanks. For example, if someone has a question about your company, you can say, Thank you for contacting ABC Company . If someone has replied to one of your emails, be sure to say, Thank you for your prompt reply or Thanks for getting back to me . Thanking the reader puts him or her at ease, and it will make you appear more polite.

  • State your purpose

    If you are starting the email communication, it may be impossible to include a line of thanks. Instead, begin by stating your purpose. For example, I am writing to enquire about … or I am writing in reference to … .

    Make your purpose clear early on in the email, and then move into the main text of your email. Remember, people want to read emails quickly, so keep your sentences short and clear. You ll also need to pay careful attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation so that you present a professional image of yourself and your company.

  • Add your closing remarks

    Before you end your email, it s polite to thank your reader one more time and add some polite closing remarks. You might start with Thank you for your patience and cooperation or Thank you for your consideration and then follow up with, If you have any questions or concerns, don t hesitate to let me know and I look forward to hearing from you .

  • End with a closing

    The last step is to include an appropriate closing with your name. Best regards . Sincerely . and Thank you are all professional. Avoid closings such as Best wishes or Cheers unless you are good friends with the reader. Finally, before you hit the send button, review and spell check your email one more time to make sure it s truly perfect!

  • Aren t you an EF English Live student yet? See the general and business English course in action by requesting a one month for only one dollar* trial. Find more information about essential professional English tips here .

    Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.

    Wil





    Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,