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Tag Archives: Magazines and E-zines

5 Tips to Maximize your Short-Term Savings

Small-Business-Owner

Being a small business owner rarely means having to budget millions of dollars and having to make decisions that please a bunch of stockholders. Yet, what unites a fair number of small business owners is that they are dealing with another kind of very stressful responsibility: building up their own retirement savings. Although this is a long-term goal, it has to be kept in mind throughout the process of building and running a small business. Achieving it inevitably calls for an incremental approach which seeks the maximization of short-term savings. Here are five tips just to do that.

1. Pay off debt faster

Small business owners, no matter their field of activity, generally have to get loans in order to start off (and sometimes to improve) their business. These loans can be small or big, depending on many factors. Since paying off debt can take a long time, the interests that a small business owner pays to the institution which financed the project can add up to a huge amount of money in the long run. For that reason, paying off debt faster than what was initially planned could result in substantial savings by the time a given small business owner retires.

2. Improve the areas that cost you too much

Small business owners have many items of expenditure: rents, employee pay checks, energy bills, furnishings, office supplies, etc. After one’s small business has been running for a while, it becomes easy to notice where some money could be saved on a monthly basis. If saving money entails spending some… a business owner should not hesitate to do it. For instance, if buying a new software could be improve the overall effectiveness of one’s company and help reduce the number of working hours that have to be paid each month, buying the software with short-term savings ought to be considered. Same thing if a new printer could reduce the cost of every copy: the upfront cost may be intimidating, but the long-term gains will easily offset it.

3. Pay a subcontractor

Sometimes, a small business owner can spend too much time working on some things just because he or she is not an expert in the field. This can be the case for accounting, for instance. If such obligations keep a small business owner from better investing his or her time more efficiently in another crucial area of the business, then he or she should consider hiring a subcontractor to carry out those overwhelming tasks that divert his or her attention from other things. Subcontractors are experts in their field; they work effectively and – generally speaking – at a reasonable cost. This could maximize the time the owner spends working and, in turn, minimize the costs of running the business.

4. Put some money aside

Short-term savings do not necessarily have to be spent! In effect, stocking them in order to benefit from an emergency fund when it is needed could be very useful. Planning for year-end tax payments also is essential and can be done through good management of short-term savings. Moreover, putting money aside as part of a long-term business strategy that seeks to eventually make a big, well-planned investment also is another logical way to deal with short-term gains. 

5. Think carefully before undertaking a new business venture

Sometimes, when money is coming in at a good pace, it is easy to get carried away and to become overly optimistic. In those moments, short-term savings can become a justification to constantly try to expand the scope of one’s business. Yet, good times eventually come to an end… Therefore, it is important to properly plan the expansion of one’s small business: short-term savings, if they are not meticulously invested, could turn out to be long-term losses.

About the author:

Alexandre Duval is a blogger for Standard Life, a company which offers many quality financial products and services.

 

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Five Marketing Activities for the DIY Small Business Owner

A small marketing budget doesn’t have to stop you from promoting your business on a widespread scale. If you’re a small business owner, you probably already know that the DIY method can save you a lot of money and increase your profit margins. There are also a lot of great DIY marketing activities, and here are five suggestions.
Locally Publish Articles

By writing an article related to their niche, small business owners get a chance to show off their expertise in the area; that’s one of the big benefits of maintaining a blog. You don’t need a blog, however, to maximize the marketing potential of a well-written, helpful article. Offer to write an article for a local newspaper. Small local newspapers or magazines in particular are often more than happy to accept your content because it’s free and will benefit their readers. These papers are great vessels for reaching hundreds or thousands of local customers.
Start a Joint Venture

Small business owners have the potential to help each other increase sales with joint venture marketing. A mutually beneficial business relationship can be very successful. Get creative, and think of ways you and another local business could help each other. You might make a proposal for collaboration, and you can refine the plan together. You might offer a special discount to customers of your partner business, or you might offer to split the profits of referrals to each other. A good arrangement will expand your business’s reach and promote sales.
Sponsor Something

Becoming a sponsor of a local event is a great way to promote your business to residents and show your commitment to the community. Think about popular yearly events, and talk to town hall or the organization that holds them about becoming a sponsor. You might contribute money, for example, and be rewarded with your name printed on all promotional materials, or a special booth at the event. You could also offer your products or services instead of cash if they’d be useful for the event. If there are no relevant events, host one yourself. Hold a charity fundraiser; partner with local schools to sponsor an activity for children; there are many possibilities.

Give Away Samples

If it would be possible for your business, use free samples for promotion. People love free stuff, and they’ll rarely ever turn it down. Hopefully you can convert some of those samplers into customers based on the quality of your product. Give away samples at local events, schools, local businesses and organizations, and anywhere else that’s appropriate. Also consider sending samples to area journalists, radio personalities, bloggers in your niche, or anyone who could potentially mention your product a large audience if they think it’s deserving.
Start a Customer Program

Word-of-mouth will always be one of the best ways for any business to get new customers. To encourage your customers to spread the word, start some type of referral program that will reward them when their friends make a purchase. You could also consider a loyalty program that will reward frequent shoppers. When you ask people to sign up for any type of store card that could benefit them, it’s a great opportunity to collect their personal information and ask to add them to your mail or email list so you can stay in touch.

This article was researched and prepared by the marketing experts at SEOMap with the intent of helping business professionals succeed.  Check out their latest SEO book focusing on keyword anaylsis.

 

 

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FREE BEER! That Got Your Attention

What makes a great graphic? Honestly, there are a thousand and one different answers to that question. It can depend on many things including what the graphic is for, who the graphic is for, where the graphic is for, when the graphic…you get the idea.
For the purpose of the post, we will have a look at what the graphic is for.
Technically speaking, reproduction of graphics is at quite an advanced level. Think about it; graphics can be created and placed onto just about any surface or platform we can get our hands on. A couple of great examples of tried and tested platforms for printed graphics are magazines and billboards. Both of these platforms have the ability to be seen at any time and by anyone. Information can be presented and then examined selectively at the reader’s leisure which allows for a very high level of creativity in the graphic. A key point with these platforms, however, is realising that the media may not necessarily have the viewers’ full attention. How often do people go out purely to check out a billboard? Exactly! Billboard images are a great example of trying to create graphics that instantly attract the attention of passers-by who probably don’t care that it is there.
Magazines differ as they generally attract the attention of people who hold an active interest in their content. Needless to say, every item within the magazine, from articles to adverts, will be geared towards the active interest of these interested people and therefore the graphics should follow suit. As with billboards the graphics should be striking, after all they will be competing against every other graphic in the publication. The big problem is you’ll never know what else will be in the publication and this is where the creativity comes into play. Creative, striking graphics will attract readers; simple!
There is no magic formula to creating a graphic that is exactly what you need. There will be a number of external influences that will affect what you can, can’t, should and shouldn’t do but considering what your graphic is for in the first place is a great start and a great platform to build off. It may take a while to put together, it may come to you in a dream in the middle of the night or it might even just accidentally come together! Whatever happens, considering all possible factors is the only sure-fire way to guarantee the creation of something that you want and more importantly, your intended target public want.
And if you’re still stuck at the end? You could always just offer the free beer?

Austen Moss writes on behalf of Colour Graphics

 

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Starting a Small Business: Ways to Help You Succeed

by zizinyalu

Getting a small business up and running is often more difficult than many people think. And even if you go in with a plan of attack, it isn’t guaranteed that you’ll come out smelling like a rose at the end of your startup period. There are however, things you can do and plan for to give yourself a better chance at success with your new operation.

Have a Plan

Whether it’s a well thought out budget, a marketing plan, an outline for startup costs, or all of the above, having a plan to help you through the new small business transition can be critical to you and your business’s success. As some like to say, it’s often safer to hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Have a Backup Plan

Even heading into your small business venture with a great plan, doesn’t mean that things will go accordingly. Having a backup plan or two can leave you prepared just in case something goes awry in your preparations. A backup plan may also help you avoid having to improvise, which could lead to costly mistakes along the way.

Know Your Market

You may have a great idea for a new business, but if you don’t know your market well, that idea could fall upon deaf ears. Doing research, understanding your customer, and knowing how to market your product or service can make a significant impact upon your overall chances of success with a new business.

Be Realistic

While occasionally we hear of someone hitting it big with their business idea right away, in most cases it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and effort to make a go of your small business. Being prepared and realistic when it comes to the amount of work you will likely have to put in to your new business can keep your hopes up in the face of adversity.

Count Your Pennies

Watching every dollar when you’re just starting out can help ensure that you have sufficient funding to weather a storm, outlast a dip in the economy or survive a drought in your particular market niche.

Constantly Look for Opportunity

After a small success with your business, it’s easy to get a little complacent. While it’s fine to reward yourself a little bit, you don’t want to let it go to your head. Remaining on the lookout for new opportunities to grow and improve your business can help keep your business from stagnating.

Reassess and Re-evaluate Regularly

Things can change quickly in the life of a small business and not constantly looking for way to keep up and keep current could have you lagging behind the competition. While in the regular workforce, you may have had a boss to keep you on your toes and evaluate your progress regularly, this aspect of your job and career may be left completely in your own hands as a small business owner.

Be Willing and Open to Change

You may not get your business, product or service right on the first shot. But by being willing and open to change, you may be able to save your business by trying new methods, products, service or niches in order to find the right spot for you before it’s too late.

Balancing Risk

It’s often difficult as a small business owner to know exactly how far to invest yourself into a business. In many cases, you have to put enough of an initial investment into the operation to give it a chance of success, but you may not want to put yourself so far out there financially that should the business fail, you are left with nothing or are deeply indebted. There is where planning ahead and analyzing your business and business plan can help you know how to limit the risk to yourself and to your operation.

Know When to Pack it in

Sometimes it’s hard to give up on your dreams of small business ownership. However, beating a dead horse can be counterproductive and only add to your losses. While it’s often hard to give up or give in, sometimes you have to pack it in, cut your losses, and move on with your life.

Alex is a Houston based Enterprise Project Management consultant, or SharePoint Consultant, that spends his times developing actionable strategies to help enterprise level companies make their internal processes more efficient.

 

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