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Here at Webs, we are passionate about small business marketing. And while Webs family of products offers the tools small business owners need for great online marketing, we know that sometimes tools alone are not enough. Sometimes, you also need the instructions.
That s why we created the Webs Small Business Resource Center, where you will find informative articles to help your small business succeed from branding advice to website tips to infographics. We also have advice for various small business types, to address their specific marketing challenges. We hope you ll find this information helpful, and best of luck with your small business!
Marketing a Small Business
You’ve started a small business, and now you need to tell the world! Whether you need advice on email marketing, branding, or social media strategy, you’ll find it here.
Running a Small Business
Running a small business can be incredibly rewarding it can also be tricky. Here you’ll find tips on running a business, some helpful infographics, and more.
Small Business Websites
These days, a small business website is an essential for success. Check out some example websites, get tips for making your own, and learn about strategies like SEO.
Small Business Types
Every small business type has its own specific set of rewards and challenges. Here you ll find tailored advice for industries from art to real estate and more.
Business Etiquette You Should Know
What s the difference between the rising star whose career is picking up speed and his counterpart who can t seem to get the engine to turn over? Often, the star has mastered the nuances of business etiquette — the subtle but critical behaviors that can make or break an important meeting, influence a first impression or impress a potential client.
According to Hilka Klinkenberg, director of Etiquette International, a business etiquette firm, the basics of professional etiquette are really quite simple. First, understand the difference between business etiquette and social etiquette. Business etiquette is genderless. For example, the traditional chivalrous etiquette of holding the door open for a woman is not necessary in the workplace and can even have the unintended effect of offending her. In the work environment, men and women are peers.
Second, your guiding principle should always be to treat people with consideration and respect. Although this may seem obvious, Klinkenberg cites this basic decency as a frequent casualty in today s workplace.
Here are a few of the specific dos and don ts of business etiquette you are likely to encounter during your workday.
The proper way to make an introduction is to introduce a lower-ranking person to a higher-ranking person. For example, if your CEO is Mrs. Jones and you are introducing administrative assistant Jane Smith to her, the correct introduction would be Mrs. Jones, I d like you to meet Jane Smith. If you forget a person s name while making an introduction, don t panic. Proceed with the introduction with a statement such as, I m sorry, your name has just slipped my mind. Omitting an introduction is a bigger faux pas than salvaging a botched introduction.
The physical connection you make when shaking hands with someone can leave a powerful impression. When someone s handshake is unpleasant in any way, we often associate negative character traits with that person. A firm handshake made with direct eye contact sets the stage for a positive encounter.
Women take note: To avoid any confusion during an introduction, always extend your hand when greeting someone. Remember, men and women are equals in the workplace.
Email, faxes, conference calls and cellphones can create a veritable landmine of professional etiquette. Just because you have the capability to reach someone 24/7, it doesn t mean you should.
Email is so prevalent in many of today s companies that the transmission of jokes, spam and personal notes often constitute more of the messages employees receive than actual work-related material. Remember that your email messages are an example of your professional correspondence. Professional correspondence does not include smiley faces or similar emoticons.
Faxes should always include your contact information, date and number of pages included. They should not be sent unsolicited — they waste the other person s paper and tie up the lines.
Conference-call etiquette entails introducing all the participants at the beginning of the call so everyone knows who is in attendance. Since you re not able to see other participants body language and nonverbal clues, you will have to compensate for this disadvantage by communicating very clearly. Be aware of unintentionally interrupting someone or failing to address or include attendees because you can t see them. And finally, don t put anyone on speakerphone until you have asked permission to do so.
Cellphones can be a lifesaver for many professionals. Unfortunately, if you are using a cell, you are most likely outside your office and may be preoccupied with driving, catching a flight or some other activity. Be sensitive to the fact that your listener may not be interested in a play-by-play of traffic or the other events you are experiencing during your call.
Even if you have impeccable social graces, you will inevitably have a professional blunder at some point. When this happens, Klinkenberg offers this advice: Apologize sincerely without gushing or being too effusive. State your apology like you mean it, and then move on. Making too big an issue of your mistake only magnifies the damage and makes the recipient more uncomfortable.
Read more about business etiquette in the following books:
- At Ease Professionally
- Letitia Baldrige s New Complete Guide to Executive Manners
- Executive Etiquette in the New Workplace
#small business tips
11 Success Tips From Small Business Leaders
Whether it s about how to use social media, getting through the early dark days of a startup, or about marketing your business, getting advice can help you succeed.
The video below contains success tips from 11 business leaders. It was shot at ICON14 in Phoenix, Arizona. ICON is the Infusionsoft customer conference that attracts 3,000 attendees, most of them small businesses or serving small businesses like yours and mine.
I was there on behalf of Small Business Trends capturing some man on the aisle interviews from presenters and attendees.
And out of all the success tips, what s my favorite? Well, it s from Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, who sat down and talked frankly about the brutally tough early days of the company he co-founded over a decade ago. Infusionsoft, which got $54 million in venture capital from Goldman Sachs, bootstrapped its way for years before earning that large injection of growth capital.
Mask says that in the early years, every single day was a struggle for survival. And while cash flow and business experience matter, the real secret, he says, starts in your head with your success mindset, attitude and positive thinking. This is what gets you through the struggle.
Below is the video (accompanied by a brief recap of key quotes):
Tip 1: In Social Media, Be Where Your Customers Are
“Know where your customers are hanging out online. You don’t have to be everywhere. Be where your customers are … and communicate with them there.” Laurie McCabe, Partner SMB Group, SMB-GR.com
Tip 2: Never Stop Networking. Don t Give Up
Never stop networking, never stop pushing. It’s easy to give up when everybody around you is telling you ‘you can’t do it’. You have to be around positive people. Then push on. (Starts at 1:08) Tom Force, Owner, ICE Keytags
Tip 3: Twitter Provides Powerful Market Research
Twitter is the best thing that ever happened to small business owners. You can listen to your competitors or customers, and they don’t even know you’re listening. (Starts at 2:01) Melinda Emerson, Author of Succeed as Your Own Boss
Tip 4: It s all About Mindset and Positive Thinking
Our first three years were brutally tough… every day was about survival. Then I remembered a lesson from my father. Your mind is everything, yet it’s not what you know, but rather how you deal with it. It is about your mindset and positive thinking. (Starts at 2:43) Clate Mask, Founder and CEO, Infusionsoft
Tip 5: Wearable Tech Keeps You Fit
The ‘wearables’ tech trend is keeping people fit, keeping them active, and keeping them in toe with their fitness goals. (Starts at 7:10) Tishin Donkersley, Editor in Chief, AZTechBeat.com
Tip 6: A Handwritten Thank You Note Will Wow Customers
One simple way to ‘wow’ customers is thank-you cards a handwritten note, a thank-you card saying ‘thank you for buying from me’. (Starts at 8:09) Ramon Ray, Technology Evangelist, SmallBizTechnology.com
Tip 7: Share Information on Facebook That is Great for Your Customers
“Having a Facebook presence as a real estate professional is vitally important. Buyers and sellers are there. Make sure you are sharing information that is great for the consumer, not just real estate people.” (Starts at 9:09) Bill Harney, CEO, Keeping Current Matters
Tip 8: To Get PR, Offer Yourself up as a Thought Leader
If you are a local small business, look at local media for PR. Read those publications, forge relationships, find out what types of stories the journalists are covering, and offer yourself up as a thought leader on a topic. (Starts at 9:49) Laura Collins, PR at Infusionsoft
Tip 9: Put Processes in Place in Your Business to Ask for Referrals
“Put processes in place in your business that ask for referrals. And make sure the customer experience is above expectations.” (Starts at 11:21) Jonathan Graves, President, Graves Organization, Inc.
Tip 10: Your Sales Pipeline Should Qualify Leads at Every Step
“You need to set up a process to convert the most leads possible. Put them in a sales pipeline and add checkpoints to determine those who are qualified, versus those who aren’t.” (Starts at 11:52) Justin Roberts, Infusionsoft Expert, Infusionsoft
Tip 11: Entrepreneurship is Lonely. Reach out to Mentors and Peers
“Entrepreneurship is one of the loneliest professions in the world. The entrepreneurs that are really successful reach out in networking groups and peer associations or just to one person. They need that thought partner.” (Starts at 13:00) Jeff Mask, Vice President, Infusionsoft
Deborah Shane is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, Top Small Business Podcast, Top 50 SMB Influencers on Twitter 2015 (Dunn and Bradstreet), career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly and her book, “Career Transition: Make the Shift” is available through all major book sellers.
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#small business tips
21 tips from small businesses that are killing it
STARTING a small business is a dream for many Australians, but it can be daunting.
Here, entrepreneurs who are killing it in a range of industries share their best piece of advice for making your company a success.
1. Deliver a consistent customer experience.
Damian Cerini, owner of cycling tour business Tour de Vines, says you need your business to almost run itselfbefore you look at growth. The thing about working for an employer is that the business model is already set, it s about the execution of the idea, whereas a new business is about testing the idea first and developing the systems.
2. Add a personal touch.
Angus Askew, co-director of commercial asset financing company Magnolia Lane Financial Services, says: In our industry like most service industries everyone is essentially selling the same thing, you ve just got to do it better. Our number one goal when dealing with a new client is to establish a relationship and make them feel special. Make sure you are remembered. We make it our priority to see all of our customers face to face. Create a rapport as this is what will result in repeat business and an income stream for life.
3. Leverage social media.
A strong marketing strategy is essential in every industry, says Anthony Kittel, director of manufacturing firm REDARC. That means social networking on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or all of the above. Our brand is everything, so whatever we can do to promote that brand and consumer awareness is critical.
Author and Flying Solo editor Kelly Exeter says a less frantic life made her more productive.
4. Write your own business bible.
Matthew White, whose firm Ergoflex sells memory foam mattresses, says the volume of information available can be overwhelming. He recommends writing ideas and tips in a notebook or tablet as they come up. It has helped me make some major decisions, and also saved me hours of searching for something I ve read somewhere.
5. Focus on your specialty.
In the first few years, there can be a lot of pressure to diversify your offering, says Paris Cutler, director of cake decorating company Planet Cake. Stick to what you do best and do it better and with more focus than anyone else.
6. Outsource the things you don t do.
Resist the temptation to chase work outside your offering, and use a specialist to fill in any gaps, says Rhys Roberts from accountancy firm Viridity. I outsource my HR, my IT, much of my marketing and more. The time you free up you can spend doing what you are good at.
7. Aim high and be persistent.
Determination is one of the vital qualities needed when you start on the long road of setting up a small business. Rochelle Miller, co-founder of fashion retailer Another Love, says: Believe in yourself and your strengths. Don t take no for an answer. There will be bumps along the way, but everything has a solution or another option.
Consultant Andrew Griffiths thinks about ways to improve his business each day.
8. Embrace a life less frantic.
Kelly Exeter, author and editor of small business community Flying Solo says it s all about finding the right balance for you. I am learning that I don t just need physical space to thrive, I need mental space too.
9. Follow your own path.
Designer and illustrator Beci Orpin says she s not naturally business-minded, but has always worked really hard and built up a strong folio of work. My business is all about me: my style and what I create, so an important part of developing that was staying true to myself not worrying about what other people were doing.
10. Take time out to think about how to improve.
Use your best hour in the day to consider ways of moving forward, advises Andrew Griffiths, a small business author and consultant. He does this first thing every morning. Then, each Friday, I find a quiet place and ask myself a question: How is my business better this week than it was last week?
11. Harness your keystone habits .
Entrepreneur and blogger James Clear says we should find the one or two habits or routines that make everything else fall into place. Improving your lifestyle and becoming the type of person who has their act together isn t nearly as hard as you might think.
Life coach Kathryn Hocking researches what competitors are doing.
12. Practise mindfulness.
Freelance journalist and editor Jodie Macleod says it increases productivity, reduces stress and improves memory and focus. Mindfulness is when you are aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, breath and everything occurring in the present moment, without attaching judgment to those observations.
13. Every setback is a stepping stone to success.
Lucinda Lions from branding agency Slogan Creator says it s important to stay positive wherever possible, and see feedback, not failure. I remind myself tomorrow is a brand new day, a new opportunity to think differently and make better choices.
14. Hire from within your networks.
When Sarah Wilson from I Quit Sugarbegan feeling overwhelmed with work, she decided to get an assistant. She put a call out to her community, knowing taking someone on would involve sacrifice. Five years later, they still have a successful working relationship. Start out small and then leave the invitation open for expansion.
15. Keep it manageable.
Kate James, start-up coach at Total Balance, says it s important to remember that it s not all about non-stop growth bigger isn t better if you ve stopped enjoying what you do. You need to define your own version of success. Mine is that I need to love my business.
Sarah Wilson says you need to know when to ask for help. Source: Supplied
16. Know when to work for free.
Vanessa Emilio from Legal123, says sometimes working for free is worth it. Free doesn t mean offering an entire job or product for free. It could mean a free initial consultation, free component of a project or complimentary muffin with every coffee.
17. Stay excited and believe in your business.
SEO copywriter and consultant Kate Toon says start-ups should think about clients needs and possible issues and create rational responses to persuade them your business is the solution. Inject warmth, professionalism and even humour, where appropriate. Being human beats boring every time.
18. Learn to say no.
Recognise when a client has unrealistic expectations and nip it in the bud early, or consider referring them on, says author and media commentator Andrew Griffiths.
Try a formal, structured response and keep returning to it. Try, Thank you for the opportunity, but we are so heavily committed we can t give your project the time and attention it needs.
If you re on a tight marketing budget, think about how you can trigger word-of-mouth interest. Warren Harmer of The Business Plan Company mentions a small florist that did this brilliantly by 1) Offering quality; 2) Providing value; 3) Inspiring team members to love their job and clients and 4) Creating a physical environment that excited their market.
20. Turn competition into inspiration.
Life coach Kathryn Hocking suggests you research what competitors are doing to help identify what makes you unique. Your relationship doesn t have to be adversarial: they could be a mentor, partner or friend. Focus on your own purpose and connect with peers that have similar values and who inspire you to greater levels of success.
21. Know when to take a dream detour .
Sometimes it s hard to know whether to grab a fresh opportunity or stick to your path. Business mentor Lynda Bayada says you need to outsmart your head so you can listen to your heart. Give yourself space and trust yourself. And you ll find that s half the battle won.
7 Tips for Network Marketing Success
You probably have an image firmly planted in your mind of what network marketing (also known as direct sales or multilevel marketing) is all about–housewives buying and selling Tupperware while gossiping and eating finger sandwiches, or a high-pressure salesperson trying to convince you how easily you can become a millionaire if only you and your friends and their friends and so on would buy and sell vitamins with him.
Both of these images couldn t be further from the reality of network marketing. It s neither a hobby nor a get-rich-scheme but an opportunity for you to earn money running your own part- or full-time business.
But what does it take to succeed in this industry? Vincent J. Kellsey, director of member services for the Direct Selling Women s Alliance. an organization that provides a variety of resources to women and men in the direct-selling industry, offers these tips for making it:
Choose wisely. There are six key elements you should be looking for [when selecting an opportunity]. Number one: stability. How old is the company? Number two is excellent products or services that consumers will use and need more of.
Number three is the pay plan–how even and fair and generous overall is the distribution? This is really crucial as the pay plan represents exactly how you ll get paid–or not get paid. There are really only two questions to ask [regarding this]: How many pennies out of each sales dollar get paid back to the distributors each month, and how fair is the distribution of these pennies between the old members and the new members?
Number four is the integrity of the company and the management. As much as possible, [investigate] the experience of the CEO, [their] experience in the network marketing industry, and their background. [Have] they been successful in other companies in the industry? Do they have a good reputation?
Number five is momentum and timing. Look at where the company s at, what s going on with the company, and if it s growing.
Number six is support, training and business systems. You may have [chosen] a great company with excellent management, products that make a difference, a pay plan that s uniquely fair and very generous, and momentum and stability, but if you don t have a system in place that works, all of that [doesn t matter]. Most companies will have a transferable training system that they use, and that s where mentorship comes in.
Practice what they teach. [To succeed,] you need to be willing to listen and learn from mentors. The way this industry is structured, it s in the best interests of the [MLM veterans in your company] to help you succeed, so they re willing to teach you the system. Whatever [your mentor] did to become successful, it s very duplicatible, but you have to be willing to listen and be taught and follow those systems.
The higher-ups. It can be called various things, but the general term is the upline, meaning the people above you. How supportive are they? Do they call you? Do they help you put a plan in place? Are they as committed to your success as they are to their own? You should be able to relate to [the people in your upline] and be able to call them at any time to say I need some help. How much support there is from the people above you in the company is very important.
Take up the lead with your downline. There s a term in the network marketing industry called orphans –when somebody is brought in and then the person who brought them in is just so busy bringing in other people that they don t spend the time to teach and train [the new person]. You should be prepared to spend at least 30 days helping a new person come into the industry–training them, supporting them and holding their hand until they feel confident to be able to go off on their own. You really need to ask yourself, are you willing to do that? Are you able to do that? This is really about long-term relationship building. It s not about just bringing people into the business and just moving forward. It s about working with these people and helping them to develop relationships.
On the net. People are utilizing [the internet] as their main marketing tool. [You can set up your site] with autoresponders so when you capture leads, the autoresponder can follow up with that person. One of the greatest keys to success in this industry is follow-up. Many people will have someone call them who s interested or they ll call the person and say they re interested, but then they don t follow up with it. Automation on the internet has allowed a much more consistent method of following up.
The only drawback with the internet is people who utilize it to spam. If there was one thing I could put forward to say, Do not do when utilizing the internet as a marketing tool, it s spamming because that can give a very bad reputation not only to you but also to the company you re working with.
Taking care of business. This is a business, and just like if you were running a franchise or a storefront, you [should have an] accountant. You have all the same write-offs tax-wise that you have with running a [full-time] business, so it s very important to [do your research] prior to getting involved, before you start making money from it. How is that going to affect you tax-wise? What are your write-offs?
It s important to set up a [support] team around you. I d suggest seeking out lawyers who deal in network marketing, so they re very versed in all the laws and how that affects [your business.]. There are also accountants who specialize in dealing with homebased businesses specifically in the direct-selling industry.
Don t quit your day job. yet. Never leave your full-time position unless you re absolutely certain that the income that s coming in with this company is going to be there. [Be sure that] you ve been with the company [for awhile] and that you know it s a stable company, and the income that you re earning is equal to or greater than the income you re earning from your job before quitting.
Tasty tapas, enticing entrées, and delectable desserts – if the sounds of these dishes whet your career appetite, then employment in catering might be right for you. If, in addition to being a virtuoso in the kitchen, you’re an expert event organizer, then perhaps you can do more than just work for a catering company. That skillset is just what a catering business entrepreneur needs to be successful.
Launching your very own catering business can be incredibly rewarding but also requires a lot of hard work and careful planning. Before you start working on your catering business plan, make sure you take into consideration these four factors as advised by professional business plan writers .
Investing in Logistics is Key
Glossing over the logistics in your catering business plan won’t suffice. Being successful in the catering industry requires a keen understanding of the logistics involved in the delivery of your catered dishes. A simple miscommunication between you and a supplier, for instance, can result in a botched wedding and a very unhappy clientele. Therefore, invest in logistics technology that suits your needs and learn all there is to discover about lead times, transportation, handling, etc. These skills will go a long way in keeping your business afloat.
Reach out to Dependable Suppliers
Even if you have all your internal ducks in a row logistics-wise, having an unreliable supplier can just as easily doom your business as if you yourself were a shoddy caterer. This is especially true when the goods being supplied are food. Since you’ll be working with perishable items, stocking up your inventory for the long-term is not an option for the most part. You’ll need to partner with suppliers who can deliver fresh meat, fish, dairy, produce, and more in a timely fashion. Moreover, you’ll need suppliers that you can trust are handling and storing food safely and properly. A bout of food poisoning – though not caused by your kitchen – can ruin your business nevertheless. So, do your research and ask for references when you’re on the hunt for a dependable supplier.
Save on Space
Depending on the needs and requirements of your business, you might be able to save on rental or leasing costs. Instead of leasing a commercial space on your own, you can share it with another caterer to reduce overhead. Other options include working out of your home or renting a restaurant’s kitchen after closing. A little creativity in your catering business plan can go a long way to saving money!
Competing in the Catering World
According to IBISWorld. the catering industry in the U.S. is a $9 billion industry with over 11,000 businesses. Revenue growth is mediocre, however, with annual growth between 2009 and 2014 measuring only 2.0 percent. With the industry as a whole experiencing little growth, new entrants in the catering space have a difficult time getting their share of the catering pie. If you want to compete, finding a speciality might be your best option. For example, you may choose to cater solely for corporate parties and events. Likewise, you might become the first gluten-free or organic caterer in your city. By gaining insight into the industry on a national and local level, you’ll be more prepared to come up with a unique strategy for your catering business.
Creating a successful catering business plan does not have to be difficult, The Plan Writers can help your business flourish. Fill out our online form for more information on building your business.
8 Tips For Starting a Photography Business
I am often asked for advice by those starting out in the photography industry. And if there’s one thing I have no shortage of, it’s advice. So with that in mind, I present you with my 8 Tips for Starting a Photography Business.
#1. You Are But One of Many
People will ask you what you do for a living. When you respond with, “I’m a photographer,” 9 out of 10 people will reply, “Oh! I’m a photographer, too!” If not, they will respond by informing you that one of the following people they know is also a photographer: husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, niece, nephew, next-door neighbor, co-worker, mailman, mailwoman, doctor, roofer, midwife, pharmacist, grandma, or their Corgi.
“Oh my gosh, my former brother-in-law’s next door neighbor’s estranged ex-daughter-in-law is also a photographer.”
Brace yourself for this. It will happen almost every time. You will have to smile and pretend to care.
#2. If You Are Making Money, It’s Not a Hobby
A bona fide business needs to be bona fide. As in, legitimate. This will require applying for and receiving all the necessary paperwork one needs when conducting a legitimate business: business license, tax identification number, register for state and local taxes, register your business name, etc…
If you accept money for your services, Uncle Sam needs to know about it. And this is one Uncle that will not be swayed with cries of, “But this is just a hobby.” Uncle Sam is not known for his sense of humor, so don’t try to get cute with him.
#3. Being Your Own Boss is a Blessing and a Curse
When you are your own boss, no one will make you do anything. This is both a good and bad thing. When you own your own business, you are the boss, which means if YOU don’t make something happen, it never will. You will have to push yourself to be organized, motivated and on top of things. Sounds easy? It’s not. Not by a long shot.
You always have to be thinking 6 months down the road. You have to learn to be pro-active rather than re-active. It also means that you can make Casual Friday every day if you want to. And if you have no employees, it means that you are always the most popular in the office.
#4. You Must Sell
It doesn’t matter how great of a photographer you are, if you can’t sell your work, you won’t make money. This is not to say that you shouldn’t strive to put out quality work you should. It’s much easier to sell beautiful work than it is to try to sell work that has to be explained.
“I know you can’t see their faces. See, the reason the background is bright and the subjects are so dark is because this session is from my signature “Silhouette Series.”
Yeah, try to sell THAT.
The ability to sell your photography to clients is paramount to your financial success. And don’t tell me you can’t sell. I shan’t hear it. No, I shan’t. Listen, if you have convinced a grumpy toddler to eat his vegetables, you have sold. If you have persuaded a hesitant spouse to purchase new living room furniture, you have sold. If you have spoken to a client and based on your conversation, they decided to book with you, you have sold.
#5. Stuff Will Hit the Fan
In your business, there will be things that go so spectacularly wrong that you could sell tickets; situations that you in no way could ever prepare for; things that come out of left field and leave you scratching your head, saying, “What fresh hell is this?”
Because unexpected situations WILL occur, you need to enter into your business as fully prepared as possible. I read an advice column once that urged readers just to “go for it,” because there’s no way to prepare for everything. That’s like telling a swimmer to “just jump in” and figure out how to swim along the way. That’s just crazy talk.
This should need no explanation.
#7. There Will Be Days You Won t Like Being a Photographer
This will happen. It might not feel like it now, but it will. There will be days you feel no enthusiasm for what you do. Zip. Zero. Zilch. There will be days you get more excited about a new episode of “The Walking Dead” than you do a new session. There will be days you sigh. A lot.
Yes, there will be days like this…and you know what? That’s okay.
That doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad photographer. It makes you human. I mean, I love my children with all my heart. They are my life and I would gladly die a thousand fiery deaths for them, but there are days I want to sell them to the gypsies.
For no matter how much you love something, some days you won’t like it. You could be feeling under the weather, have a lot on your plate, or going through some other sort of struggle that robs a bit off the joy from something you really love including your photography.
It doesn’t mean you throw in the towel or dissolve into a puddle of tears, declaring to the world, “I CAN T DO THIS.” It means, instead, that you have to push yourself through, armed with the knowledge that EVERYONE feels like this at one time or another, which leads me to my last tip…
#8. Don’t Believe Facebook
You are working hard. You are struggling some days; soaring others. You feel pretty good about yourself and then you open Facebook. And you are hit smack dab in the gut with photographers’ tales of success. They are everywhere. Your newsfeed is crawling with them. They are like ants at a picnic.
Stories of utter business bliss where every sale is HUGE, calendars are booked up 3 months in advance, workshops left and right. Sometimes they are out in the open; other times, they are encased in a clever humblebrag:
“I’m always so embarrassed when my clients tell me how great I am. I mean, when someone says, You are the best photographer on the planet, how are you supposed to respond? It’s truly humbling.”
And you look at yourself, sitting in your yoga pants, feeling as though you are barely holding on and you feel defeated. Discouraged. Ready to throw in the towel. You see a photo of the top of a baby’s head gets 4K likes, and you wonder what YOU are doing wrong.
Allow me to tell you: what you’re doing wrong is reading Facebook. Well, not so much reading Facebook, but believing it.
Anyone can be anything on Facebook. Remember that.
So, enjoy the cat videos, the photos, the humorous graphics and the heartwarming stories. Cheer for your friends doing well, but when it comes evaluating your life based on others’ Facebook posts, beware.
The only place a business is perfect is in a Facebook status.
Now…pick up your camera and go do this thing.
Note. There has been some confusion as to whether #6 can be substituted with another adult libation. I checked the rulebook and the answer is “Yes, of course.” Sorry for the confusion.
About the author. Missy Mwac is a photography satirist, a lover of bacon, a drinker of vodka, a lover of sparkle, and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can connect with her on Tumblr and Facebook. This article was also published here .
Hello, photographers. For the last two months, I’ve been doing market research for my project Photolemur and looking for different tools in the area of photo enhancement and photo editing. I spent a lot of time searching, and came up with a large organized list of 104 photo editing tools and apps that you should know about.
The Beauty Dish is revered by many photographers for having a soft, but contrasty quality of light. The classic design puts the flash tube behind an opaque or translucent tube cover, which helps eliminate a central hot spot. Like umbrellas, beauty dishes are available with white or silver interiors and can be fitted with a “sock” or grid to control quality and spread of light even more.
Business Search – Search Tips
The following tips may be used to refine or modify searches for a particular entity by entity number or entity name:
Entity Number Search
- The entity number is the identification number issued to the entity by the California Secretary of State at the time the entity formed, qualified, registered or converted in California.
- If searching for a corporation, enter the letter “C” followed by the applicable seven-digit entity number.
Example: Searching for C0254285 will return X,Y,Z CORPORATION. Searching for 0254285 will return no results.
Example: Searching for 200100410071 will return RESEARCH RETRIEVAL, LLC. Searching for 0100410071 will return no results.
Entity Name Search
- Punctuation should be omitted. If the entity name includes initials followed by periods, remove the periods and group the initials to form one word.
Examples: Searching DARE will return entity names containing DARE and D.A.R.E. Searching D.A.R.E. will not return entity names containing D.A.R.E.
If the entity name includes initials and/or a string of characters followed by periods and spaces. remove the periods but do not remove the spaces.
Examples: Searching A. B. C. ESCROW CO. or ABC ESCROW CO will return no entity names and searching A B C ESCROW CO will return the entity A. B. C. ESCROW CO.
Examples: Searching E PLUMBING HEATING will return the entity “T E PLUMBING HEATING CO.” Searching “T E PLUMBING HEATING CO.” will return no entity names.
Examples of distinctive words: compensatory, hickory, metrix.
Examples of nondistinctive words: data, systems, services.
Note, including a word that is not part of the entity name may result in no matching record. Examples: Searching ADVANCED DATA will return all entity names containing both words such as ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS LLC and ADVANCED DATA PROTECTION SERVICES, INC. Searching ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS will return only those entity names containing all three words such as ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS and ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS LLC
Examples: Searching SIMPLE will return all entity names containing the word SIMPLE such as SIMPLE INC. SIMPLE DESIGN, INC. and MAKE IT SIMPLE, LLC.
Examples: Searching AAA SIGNS will return AAA SIGNS, INC. Searching AAA SIGN or A A A SIGNS will not return AAA SIGNS, INC.
- To find: A.B.C. Enterprises, LLC. enter abc enterprises
- To find: A. C. T. Computers. enter A C T Computers
- To find: X,Y,Z Corporation. enter x y z
- To find: Friends of Yosemite Center. enter friends yosemite
- To find: A.H. Alumni Association. enter ah alumni
- To find: Research Retrieval LLC. enter research retrieval
- To find: 2333 E. 4th St. Inc. enter 2333 4th
- To find: L.A. Data Systems, LLC. enter la data systems
- To find: All names with “Auburn,” enter auburn
If you are not able to locate an entity record, you may request a more extensive search by ordering a status report. For information on ordering a status report, refer to Information Requests .
Disclaimer: This tool allows you to search the Secretary of State’s California Business Search database for abstracts of information for domestic stock, domestic nonprofit and qualified foreign corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships that have filed with this office. This search tool groups corporations separately from limited liability companies and limited partnerships and returns all entities for the search criteria in the respective groups regardless of the current status.
Although every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained in the database is accurate, the Secretary of State’s office is not responsible for any loss, consequence, or damage resulting directly or indirectly from reliance on the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of the information that is provided. All such information is provided “as is.” For information on ordering copies of the official business entity records for a particular entity, please refer to Information Requests .
15 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know
Author and Managing Partner, Invisor Consulting
November 24, 2015
The biggest problem founders and small business owners have is that they re experts in their field and novices in what it really takes to effectively run a business. That s what usually trips them up, sooner or later.
Don t let that happen to you. Admit that you don t know what you don t know about business, starting with these 15 tips guaranteed to help keep you and your company out of hot water. Some are straightforward, others are counterintuitive, but they re all true. And some day they ll save your butt.
Always make sure there is and will be enough cash in the bank.
Period. The most common business-failure mode, hands down, is running out of cash. If you know you ve got a cash flow or liquidity problem coming up, fix it now.
You can t fire bad employees fast enough.
You just can t. Just make sure you know they re the problem, not you (see next tip).
The problem is probably you.
When I was a young manager, my company sent us all to a week of quality training where the most important concept we learned was that 90 percent of all problems are management problems. When things aren t going well, the first place to look for answers is in the mirror.
Take care of your stars.
This goes for every company, big and small. The cost of losing a star employee is enormous, yet business leaders rarely take the time to ensure their top performers are properly motivated, challenged, and compensated.
Your people are not your kids, your personal assistants, or your shrink.
If you use and abuse them that way, you will come to regret it. Capiche?
Learn to say yes and no a lot.
The two most important words business owners and founders have at their disposal are yes and no. Learn to say them a lot. And that means being decisive. The most important reason to focus to be clear on what your company does is to be clear on all the things it doesn t do.
Listen to your customers.
It boggles my mind how little most entrepreneurs value their customers when, not only are their feedback and input among the most critical information they will ever learn, but their repeat business is the easiest business to get.
Learn two words: meritocracy and nepotism.
The first is how you run an organization by recognizing, rewarding, and compensating based solely on ability and achievement. The second is how you don t run an organization by playing favorites and being biased.
Know when and when not to be transparent.
Transparency is as detrimental at some times as it is beneficial at others. There are times to share openly and times to zip it. You need to know when and with whom to do one versus the other. It comes with experience.
Trust your gut.
This phrase is often repeated but rarely understood. It means that your own instincts are an extremely valuable decision-making tool. Too often we end up saying in retrospect and with regret, Damn, I knew that was a bad idea. But the key is to know how to access your instincts. Just sit, be quiet, and listen to yourself.
Protect and defend your intellectual property.
Most of you don t know the difference between a copyright, trademark, trade secret, and patent. That s not acceptable. If you don t protect and defend your IP, you will lose your only competitive advantage.
Learn to read and write effective agreements.
You know the expression good fences make good neighbors? It s the same in business. The more effective your agreements are, the better your business relationships will be.
Run your business like a business.
Far too many entrepreneurs run their business like an extension of their personal finances. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Construct the right business entity and keep it separate from your personal life.
Know your finances inside and out.
If you don t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits (gross and net), debt, cash flow, and effective tax rate among other things you re asking for trouble. Big trouble.
You don t know what you don t know.
Humility is a powerful trait for leaders, and that goes for new business owners, veteran CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. More times than not, you will come to regret thinking you knew all the answers.
Behind every failed company are dysfunctional, delusional, or incompetent business leaders. The irony is, none of them had the slightest idea that was true at the time. Even sadder, most of them still don t. Don t end up like one of them.
Small Business Tax Tips
Can You Claim Business-Use-Of-Home Expenses?
Many small business owners have home offices, but having a home office isn’t enough to be able to deduct business-use-of-home expenses from their income tax.
The Canada Revenue Agency has strict guidelines about who can and can’t claim this deduction. To deduct business-use-of-home expenses, you have to either be:
- Using your home as your principal place of business; or
- Using the space only to earn business income and using it on a regular and ongoing basis to meet your clients, customers or patients.
What Can You Deduct?
Common business-use-of-home expenses include a portion of:
- Your property taxes
- Your home insurance
- Capital Cost Allowance
- Utilities such as heat and electricity
- Cleaning supplies
- Mortgage interest
How do I calculate the percentage of use?
The Canada Revenue Agency recommends that you “use a reasonable basis such as the area of the work space divided by the total area of your home”. Also, if you use part of your home for both your business and personal living, calculate how many hours in the day you use the rooms for your business, and then divide that amount by 24 hours. Multiply the result by the business part of your total home expenses. This will give you the household cost you can deduct. If you run the business for only part of the week or year, reduce your claim accordingly.
You can’t use business-use-of-home expenses to create a business loss. In other words, your business-use-of-home expenses can’t be more than your business income. (However, you can use any expense you weren’t able to deduct in that tax year the next tax year, as long as you still meet the business-use-of-home expenses conditions.)