bookmark_borderStart a Service Business

First clients

You should understand that getting your first client is your first milestone. What you need to do is serve your first few clients very well. They should be happy. Moreover, if you want to develop a strong relationship with the clients, make sure you give them a discount.

Find a Focus

You should be different from other service providers who offer similar services. If you don’t be different, you won’t be able to make a difference. As a result, your product will not entice the potential buyers. Your clients should be able to differentiate your products from those of your competitors. This is what we mean by finding a focus.

Blogging and social media

For marketing, blogging and social media are your best tools. You should create and publish content that can validate your expertise. Today, your marketing is a lot cheaper than it was a few years ago. In the past, people had to get through strict editors and publishers in order to get the word out about their expertise. They had to write books and articles as well. Nowadays, you can post on Twitter, Facebook and your own blog. So, you don’t have to rely so much on editors and publishers nowadays.

Logo and look

We suggest that you choose your logo wisely and spend on it after a lot of thinking. Actually, your website and logo should be professional and this is really important. Nowadays, it’s not about stationary or business cards anymore. This is your representation.

Don’t overspend

It’s not a good idea to spend the money you don’t have. As a matter of fact, you will get tons of suggestions that can help you make more money later on, such as marketing programs and mail lists.

bookmark_borderBest Way to Promote a Business

Plan your attack. Define who your best prospects are, and then determine the best way to reach them. Be as specific as possible. Is the decision maker the CTO of the company, the director of human resources, or a 37-year-old working mom? Will you find them on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or Facebook? What about in-person networking at local business meetings? Will they be searching for your type of product on Google or Bing? Do you want to start promoting your business to them at the start of their buying cycle, or when they’re about ready to pull out their credit card and make the purchase? Write your answers down, and refer to them before you start any new marketing tactic.

If you don’t have a website, get one set up.┬áIf you can’t afford to have someone custom-design your website, put your site up using one of the companies like SiteSell.com, E-business Success. Simple. Real or Get a site, Get found. Get customers. That provide templates and tools that make it easy to create a basic website.

Set up a listing for your business in search engine local directories.

Google and Bing both offer a free listing of local businesses.

To get listed on Google, go to Google My Business.

To get listed on Bing, go to Bing Places for Business

bookmark_borderConstruction Management

Planning is a general term that refers to a roadmap, a clear path that should be followed in order to complete a project successfully. In construction management, planning is about breaking down a project into definable, identifiable, and measurable activities. The next step is to establish the logical interdependencies among these activities. The planning stage usually deals with the following three questions:

  • What is going to be done?
  • How are things going to be done?
  • Who will be completing various activities?
  • What will be the expected cost?

Construction projects involve many technical factors that should be given due attention. Only specialized project managers can carry out a project efficiently. A construction task may involve a number of stakeholders with varying priorities and interests. For instance, plans can exist at different levels: short-term construction plans, long-term construction plans, pre-tender plans, corporate strategic plans, etc. All these plans deal with the following four major steps:

  • Dividing the work into various activities
  • Defining the sequence by which all the activities should be carried out
  • Activities representation
  • Making rational estimates of resources, time, cost, etc.

Every project is different in nature. It is possible that a single person can handle a simple project which only involves few defined activities. However, most of the construction projects are complicated; managers have to define and organize thousands of activities. The more complex a project, the greater the number of activities. Sometimes it becomes humanly impossible to handle thousands of activities without software capabilities.

When a project manager has to deal with numerous activities, it is recommended to develop a communication platform where all the stakeholders can easily access information and develop an understanding throughout the various construction stages. Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a common example of how a large plan can be effectively organized.

How do we carry out scheduling in a construction project? There are many techniques and methods to conduct scheduling. Some of them are task matrix, network diagram, and line-of-balance scheduling. Matrix scheduling is a simple way of handling small projects. Other techniques are designed to handle complex tasks and activities.

It is recommended to have a reputable third-party project management service on board in order to complete complex projects with great efficiency.

bookmark_borderPractical Money Saving

Internet Access – Every online business owner must have access to the Web. But consider this. The market is so flooded with ISPs that you have a lot of room to dicker. Start by searching the Internet under keywords like “cheap internet access” or “discount isp” to bring up lists of possibilities. Then, do one of two things.

  • Try some of these independent ISPs. Smaller companies can have high quality service and support just like the “big boys”. One business owner I know recently switched from Prodigy ($21.95/mth) to a smaller ISP that only charges $12.50/mth with no contracts. She actually liked the new provider better and it costs her about half as much. [Savings of $113.40 per year.]
  • Renegotiate with your existing ISP. Most larger ISPs know you have a choice of a thousand other companies. Because of this, they are normally more than willing to renegotiate your costs. Be honest. Tell them you are a small business owner and you need to cut expenses. Explain that you’ve been pleased with their service but will be forced to go with someone else if some sort of arrangement isn’t worked out. Another friend of mine did this and received 6 months free! Most will offer 2-3 months free and/or a discount with an annual agreement. NOTE: When you approach your ISP, be fully prepared to switch to someone else if your offer is rejected. [Savings of $105.80 per year with 3 months free and reduced, annual rate.]

Switch From A Merchant Account To A Payment Service – If you have a low volume of credit card transactions, it might benefit you to switch from a merchant account to some sort of payment service like Pay Pal or ClickBank. Statement fees, monthly fees, discount percentages and the like can all add up to big money.

While payment services normally have reduced fees, they do have higher “per transaction” costs so you’ll have to do some math to find out if this is a good idea for your business. Just take an “average” invoice amount from a sale and multiply it times 12 to get a base total to work with. Now, add in your 12 months worth of fees for statement, monthly access, discount percentage, per transaction cost, etc. This is your “example” total. Do the same with several payment services using their costs to see which one, over time, would be less expensive for you.

If you were paying a $15 statement fee, $20 monthly fee, 3% + $.35 per transaction and $25 monthly gateway fee, your annual expenses would be $742.20 for an average transaction of $50.00. Your annual fees for a payment service with 3.5%, $1.00 per transaction and a one-time $50.00 set up charge would only be $83.00 per year. [Savings of $659.20 per year.]

Re-evaluate Your Long Distance Costs – Competition is the small business owner’s friend! With hundreds of long distance companies out there, you can drastically reduce your charges instantly. Again – use the ‘Net to search for inexpensive long distance service. A business owner I know changed from a MCI “program” to one of those 10-10 companies and reduced her per minute charge from $.07 to $.05. Depending on the volume of calls you make, some programs offer rates as low as $.03 per minute. [Estimated savings of $20-$30 per year for 1,000 minutes.]

bookmark_borderBusiness Building Tools

Well, the problem isn’t a shortage of dreams. Most entrepreneurs have more of them than they can count. The problem is the challenge of turning those dreams into reality. Oh sure, every entrepreneur starts their business with the best of intentions, but somewhere along the way they loose sight of their dreams as they become more and more consumed with the daily grind of running their business.

After years of helping people build their companies, I’ve come to realize that growing a business comes down to two main things… people and time. If you can learn to properly manage both, you’ll eventually be a success.

To do this properly, you must design your business to function independently from you. It’s the necessary goal of any organization that wants to achieve success. Without this, you are stuck. You are doomed to forever bump your head against what we call the “glass ceiling” You’ll recognize the symptoms if you ever find yourself running out of time to get your work done, complaining about your employees work ethic, or feeling frustrated with your customers’ seemingly unreasonable demands.

There are four basic tools you can use to confidently give your business the independence it needs to grow.

  1. Business Manual
  2. Employee Manuals
  3. Analysis Manual
  4. Business Calendar

Used properly, these tools will form a solid foundation for your growth. They are designed to give your business its independence, so you can focus your efforts on guiding it to the next level. There’s a little work involved, but I’ve never met a lazy entrepreneur. And besides, owning a successful, thriving business is more than worth the effort.

The first business tool is your Business Manual. It functions much like an operations manual does for your car. It houses your strategies, your policies, your systems, and other basic information. Basically, everything you might need to run your company is located here in one central location.

The value of a well documented Business Manual is significant, to say the least. Not only does it help smooth out the daily management of your operation, it gives tremendous confidence to a potential investor or purchaser, helping to raise the value of your business in the process. Why? Because a business that runs on its own is a much more solid investment. In fact, it’s a critical factor in determining its market value.

The second business tool is really a group of tools. These are your Employee Manuals. Employee Manuals are the most common of the Four Business Building Tools, but rarely do they provide the value they should. A good Employee Manual should serve double duty as a Training Manual. This means it should contain not only your important company policies and contact information, it should also contain a detailed job description, complete with applicable systems. In other words, it should show an employee not only what is expected of them, but how to do it as well. The goal is to make the process of bringing in a new employee as smooth as possible and then empower them to take ownership of their work.

The third business tool is your Analysis Manual. Think of this as your “business dashboard”. Here you will keep all the relevant numbers that you want to review on a regular basis concerning the status of your business.

Certainly this includes your financial statements, but those aren’t the only numbers that are important. For example, you may want to track the amount of overtime your employees are putting in per month, or the number of new prospects your salespeople are meeting with each week. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be useful, so take a little time to identify the numbers that mean something to you. Then, share these numbers with your employees.

Not only is an Analysis Manual a powerful goal setting tool (helping to keep you on track), it can also warn you of potential problems before they arise. For example, if you know that you need sales of $200 thousand next month and you know that your salespeople tend to convert 33% of their leads into sales, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got at least $600 thousand worth of quotes in place for next month. Now you’ll know with some certainty if you’re on track for a great month, or if you’ve got some work to do to reach your target. And you can do this with all sorts of numbers from your business.

The final business tool is your Business Calendar. This is simply a place for you to track the annual cycle of your business.

For example, there may be times of the year when you want to run various marketing campaigns… times of the year you want to review your budgets… times of the year you want to have employee reviews… and so forth.

It’s not rocket science, but a good Business Calendar is an essential tool for keeping things from falling through the cracks. After all, when was the last time you had an employee review? When is your next employee review? Do your employees know this date? Can they count on it happening on a schedule, year after year? If you implement a Business Calendar you’ll be able to confidently answer these questions and more.

Recently I met a fellow who grew his business from $10 thousand to $100 thousand per month in just under 6 months. Know where he was in month 7? He was bankrupt. He couldn’t keep up with his customers’ demands and his business simply imploded on itself. It’s a sad story, but his problem wasn’t new. The number one killer of small business today is unmanaged rapid growth. That’s not to say that rapid growth is bad. Growth isn’t the problem, all businesses need to grow… it’s the unmanaged part that can kill a good business.

So take a little time to get your business in order and then grow like crazy. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to building the business of your dreams.

bookmark_borderBusiness Realm

The Importance of a Business Plan:

  • Mapping the Future: One of the biggest reasons you need a plan is that it helps you in preparing for the future. You can set goals, develop techniques to achieve and set a mission statement for your business. This helps you to set your business on the right track.
  • Building the Foundation: A business plan helps in building the foundation of a company. You have a detailed summary of what you need to follow and how you are going to run your business. Once you know the way you want to run a business, the rest becomes quite easy.
  • Regular Performance Check: Creating a plan can help you in keeping the regular performance of your business in check and changing your operational methods accordingly.
  • Secure Funding: One of the main reasons why idealistic businesses build a plan is because it is a secure way to protect your funding. You can calculate the previous spending, diving your funds on different tasks and take out an estimate of what you will earn in the future.

What Kind of Business Plan Do You Need?

There are mainly two types of businesses – one which already exists and a newly established. For a newly started business, the best way to develop a plan is to aim for a one-page business plan.

A robust and detailed plan will just take your attention of the other important things you need to take care of in the initial start-up stage, for example, marketing strategies.

On the other hand, an existing business needs to sketch out how they performed in the past and then build a detailed plan for the future, with a vision to achieve an objective.

The Final Verdict:

Having a business plan is one of the most important steps a firm might take, in order to keep a track of the present performance, and sketching out what the company needs to achieve in the future. Business plans can help a firm create a mission statement and then follow it until they stand on a firm foundation and years of experience.

Darren McAllister has many years of hands on business and internet experience and utilizes these different skill to give a fresh outlook to how to become the best you can.

bookmark_borderStart A Business From Scratch

Businesses Fail

The main reason we start at the customer and solve his or her problem is because we need the foundation of a product that will sell for a profit. One that will continue on for years to come. Without that, there is no business. If you go all out and start a business without this kind of product, the business is likely to fail. In fact, even if you come up with a great product, you still have a high risk of business failure. But without a great product, it is almost a certainty.

The Customer’s Problem

Finding a problem to solve is finding an opportunity. You add value when you uniquely solve a customer’s problem with a product they can buy.

What is a product?

A product can be a physical product such as a shovel, a digital product such as an eBook, or a service such as business consulting. It could also be a method of distributing that adds value, or a way of organizing or combining existing product lines. Really the product is up to whatever you can imagine.

Trial Sales

Initially you can sell under your own name, which is the same as a sole proprietorship. If you find that your product sells, you can always sell your sole proprietorship to your corporation or LLC. But until you find a product that really sells for a profit, you should continue using trial sales.

What problem do you have?

After finding a product that sells for a good profit, evaluate your own business problems. Evaluate how you can serve the customer better, your concern for liability from damages or injuries, potential cash flow pitfalls, and so forth. Incrementally improve your business as you discover your own problems, especially focusing your attention on the customer. At this point you will probably want to consider business structure.

Have you run across a customer problem to solve? Can you create a product that will solve it?

bookmark_borderMarketing Automation

Monitor your staffing costs:

Optimized efficiency is the key to any company, be it a start-up or any larger organization. An automation software can enhance the productivity of one employee to compete with a 50-person marketing and sales department by optimising the criteria for any given campaign. It saves time and efficiency both by creating personalised automated content for emails every day.

Return on marketing investments:

With the help of these software, you can automate your cross-sells, up-sells, and customer follow-ups. It also helps in evaluating marketing programs and their performance, based on their investments, demographics and behaviour (among other criteria). This helps in increasing the customer lifetime value too. You can also make an informed decision on where to invest, by changing the course of a program.

Alignment with marketing & sales teams for better accountability:

With this process, it is very easy to find the bottlenecks in your company and provide qualified leads at the right time. Its birds-eye view reporting helps to effectively capture leads and improve accountability of staff and departments. It also provides instant and impartial feedback to improve their nurturing campaigns.

A Personal Communication:

Everyone loves a personalised email. Using automated process, helps you get rid of impersonal, ill-timed, or just completely irrelevant emails and making it more relevant. Its behavioural filters help you target customers based on their internet behaviour and enhances its lead generation value.

Refining Marketing Processes & Campaign Management:

Automation provides you with the ability to run and manage a multi-channel campaign to communicate with audiences, simultaneously measuring its entire effort. You can also change and reconfigure your campaign to brand new landing page if in case your marketing plan changes. This tool helps you create solutions to support these real-world scenarios.

Do Away With Repetition:

These tools spare time for your staff to work on more creative tasks once they get done with manual repetitive work. It enhances staff productivity and effectiveness in a much simpler way.

Target Potential Customers And Segmentation:

Certain tools provide options other than email, postcard, text message, tweet, or a phone call with their multichannel targeting on various stages of the customer journey. It provides the ease with which you can target and segment your prospects and customers. It allows you to capture right actions of people to convert them into customers.

bookmark_borderMotorizing for Profit

  1. Powered nail guns for roof shingles.
  2. Powered brooms on Bobcat loaders for sweeping.
  3. Powered wheelbarrows and concrete pumping trucks.
  4. Powered sander/vacuums for drywall finishing.
  5. Powered post hole diggers.

Other trades have put motors to work in their businesses, too.

The lawn spray applicators use powered sprayers for operators who stand up and ride to apply chemicals.

Lawn mowing services have moved away from those large walk (or run) behind mowers and have upgraded to stand or sit behind and ride mowers.

People power wash, power rake and power grind their work. “Hand work” is considered a punishment by some employees.

In retailing, we see touch screens on cash register terminals adding speed to retail transactions. In our vehicles, motors change our stack of CD’s, open the car windows and lock the doors.

I don’t care to comment if the motorization trend is good or bad. My observation is that to keep employees, employers are putting motors on everything. Gone are the days of most hand labor in construction. Similarly, office staff demands the “motor” of a computer to sort and print, manufacturing industries use both motors and computers to create near perfect parts and keep close tolerances.

The entry-level work force has grown up in a remote control world. Use, abuse then it’s refuse. They can’t repair anything because the only age they know is the push button and throwaway era.

This week’s burning business question: Is your business “motorized?”
If not, the hand tools and methods you use are destined for the museum.
If you don’t figure out how to put a motor on your business’s tools soon, your competitors will.

bookmark_borderBiblical Entrepreneur

They labor in vain that build it – literally, “In vain toil its builders in it.” The idea is, that they are entirely dependent on God. No matter what their skill, their strength, their industry may be – all will be in vain unless God shall assist them. They are dependent on Him for life, for health, for strength, for practical wisdom, for a disposition to continue their work, and for success in it.
Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].Whether you are an inspiring entrepreneur or a CEO of a major corporation, the Bible
is the ultimate source for valuable, pertinent advice and guidance; it provides you with the keys to your future successes. Jesus used scriptures by quoting passages as He taught. He used Isaiah’s prophecies to bring to disruption the Pharisees’ false piety (Mark 7:6-13). In Luke 24:25-27 he explained that the things concerning Himself had been written by Moses and the prophets. Most notability, when being tempted by the devil, Jesus used scriptures, (Matthew 4:4 – KJV), “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. Also, read Matthew 4:7 and Matthew 4:10.

So, what is a Biblical Entrepreneur, (also in some circles the term Christian Entrepreneur is used. To fully understanding the meaning (and heart) of a Biblical Entrepreneur, you must understand how the world God views business and entrepreneurship.

In college I studied business on several levels, both undergrad and graduate programs. Both taught (by definition) that an entrepreneur’s main concern is the generation and accumulation of wealth for shareholders and stakeholders. The success of the business is determined by that end goal. Everything about the business from the customer to the employees, finances, product, marketing, and management team worked to reach the goal to accumulate wealth (grow the business).

Although, making money is a key objective for all business ( no profit, no business), the focus of a “Biblical Entrepreneur” (by definition) is someone (a Christian) who uses their talents, treasures, and time to operate a business, in which God has place them as a steward, in a manner that will bring Him glory, as well as be a blessing to his or her community, nation, and world.

Why is this distension important? As a Biblical Entrepreneur you will have many ups and downs. Knowing the “why” you are in business will give you the strength, courage, and tanistry to face the hard times. Knowing the “why” is the start of building a successful business based on the Kingdom Principles.