Don’t Waste Time: Five Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business

Don’t Waste Time!

If you have a small business and you are looking for ways to come up with marketing ideas, you should look into advertising and promotion of your business on the Internet. The web is not going anywhere and is only going to get more vast. Think about the possibility of getting new customers who find you through your online presence alone.

If you are similar to most small business owners, you most likely don’t know where to begin to attract new customers online. There are different ways to achieve this, but we are going to talk about five ways that anyone can do to promote their new company. If you try to do too much, you most likely will not get anywhere.

Here are a few marketing ideas that can be used by small business owners:

Create a website, blog and YouTube video
You want to make sure you have an online presence on the Internet. If you don’t have a website or blog how can you expect people to find you online? Google is replacing the Yellow Pages, and with everyone carrying cell phones that have access to the Internet, more and more people are using the search engines to find a business just like yours. For some information on marketing with Youtube, check out the following video:

Get customers email addresses
The next thing is to get your future customers to leave you their name and email address. Getting this information is not as hard as you may think; all it involves is putting a small form on your site where people can type in their name and email address. This action alone can be very profitable as you can send them valuable information about your company and inform them of new products or sales. Building a customer list will help your business make more money than not.

Use pay per click service
Another small business marketing idea is to advertise your business using a service called pay per click. Pay per click uses a little ad that you have to pay a certain amount for every time somebody clicks on your advertisement. If no one clicks, it does not cost you anything, and it only costs you money when an actual click to your site occurs. But you have to be careful because it can get expensive fast if you don’t watch things closely.

Use Facebook, and other Social Media
Everyone talks about Facebook these days and putting up a page there makes good business sense. They get all kinds of people visiting their site every single day, so if your page gets popular, you could get a lot of visitors to your website. Not only that, people are your best source of marketing as they share pages with all their friends. Don’t forget Pinterest, Linkedin, and Twitter for your social networking purposes. To see a nice way of linking to each property in a way that doesn’t trash space, see the Waste Focus website lower right footer area. The icons are individual graphics, each with a link out to the appropriate social media page.

Use of article marketing
A promotion method you can use that is not expensive is called article marketing. You just have to write simple three to five hundred word articles and get them out there on the web. Most of the places you publish these articles are free to join, and you get to put a link back to your site at the end of the article.

You can help improve business income dramatically by marketing on the web. These are only a couple basic ideas. For more information, do a little online research and see if you can find answers to your nagging questions, as well as answers to concerns you didn’t know you had. There is an abundance of small business marketing ideas out there if you keep your eyes open.

Five Things to Consider When Running a Pizza Shop

Consumers love pizza, but you cannot achieve guaranteed success in this industry without knowing how to run a successful pizza shop. There are a few key factors that help you succeed in a pizza business:

Your unique pizza recipes are essential in attracting customers. You have to be able to make your pizzas with somewhat of an unusual twist. Customers prefer a broad range of pizzas, from thin to thick crusts and from mild to spicy sauces and toppings. Your pizza shop may also offer some popular side dishes like breadsticks, chicken wings and salads. You have to adapt your menu to accommodate your specialty food items for cohesive meals. For instance, if crispy crust pizzas are popular, you have to offer that on your pizza shop’s menu primarily, then secondarily you can list your sides.

Promotion is essential to your pizza shop success. You may print up magnets with your phone number, fliers with your menu and other promotional material that you can offer to your customers. You may also place an ad in the Yellow Pages, insert coupons in local newspapers, create a local web page for your pizza shop and a mobile app as well. Here’s a video about how to market your pizza shop using videos:

Your pizza shop success may depend in great measure on the number of competing fpizza restaurants in your area. Opening your pizza restaurant in the suburbs or a small rural town could mean that you just have two or three competitors in the area. But if you have many competitors in your location, you will need to find ways to differentiate yourself from the crowd by offering better quality, better service or lower prices.

Having good employees can be a major factor in the success of your pizza shop. Because your staff provides the first point of customer contact, they can significantly influence the customer’s experience. Treat your employees fair to make them loyal to your restaurant. Offer them discounted or free pizza. This will help them to offer suggestions for customer orders as well as increase their job satisfaction.

For a pizza shop, it is important to be able to offer a delivery service for your customers. This way, you can great increase your number of your loyal clients. Through a good team effort, your pizza restaurant should aim to offer friendly delivery service, promptly. If you rank among the fastest delivery pizza shops in your area, this could be a major factor in increasing your sales.

Here’s an article from Fortune magazine about how one man started his pizza shop after dropping out of Business school. Great inspirational piece. Enjoy!

3 Points to Consider for Determining Legal Structure

Before one thinks of settling on a particular business legal structure, there are some factors which an individual should put into consideration. The main aim of these concerns is that when one chooses a legal structure, it costs time and money to change it. So, it’s vital to research before you make these types of big decisions.

Below are three factors to be considered when selecting a legal structure for your new small business:

1. Control/Management
An individual’s personality can’t be separated from his/her business. The type of person you are will largely determine a legal structure for your business. If you are the owner, and one in control, the best choice is to run a sole proprietorship. Whenever you pay another person to manage the business, you increase the chances of finding investors who have an interest in securing equity in your company. The more organized and thought out your game plan, the more likely to convince others to support you.

2. Liability
Most businesses come with risks. Every entrepreneur is a risk-taker though the degree of the risks differs. For a sole proprietorship, the owner takes the responsibility of the liabilities of business in case of an eventuality. Whenever the liabilities of the business cannot be paid off by the assets, then you’re responsible. In the case of a partnership, the liabilities from the businesses are shared among the partners and according to partnership deed. If your business or company has been registered as a limited liability company, then the debt will be limited to the share amount in the company. Even if the company’s assets can’t pay off the liability, then you can simply pay using your personal property except in a situation whereby you have pledged it as collateral for a loan.

2. Taxation
Tax planning depends on the choice of an appropriate legal structure. Every business owner should understand that businesses are taxed differently under each legal structure they choose. A sole proprietor doesn’t pay tax on profit, but instead, they are taxed on the income derived. The same happens to partnership businesses. In case your business is incorporated as a limited liability company, the profit will be taxed under Company Income Tax Act unlike the sole proprietors and partnership businesses which are taxed under Personal Income Act – so they have different tax rates. Therefore, choosing an appropriate legal business structure can give you some tax benefits.

In conclusion, it is a significant decision to adopt an adequate legal structure for your business. You need to consult an experienced business lawyer to ensure that your business structure suits both your personal needs as well as those for the business.

Here is more information on business structures:

Tips on Running a Successful Small Business

As a part of the business world, you may have heard or read in many related books, magazines, and newsletters about the recommendations on how you can make your business more efficient and successful.

The efficiency of any business means making the most out of what you have, while learning the fundamental discipline and methods of running a company. If you are running a small business, the key assets you will likely have include cash, vehicles, employees, premises, and access to products and services. It is necessary to check often if your systems are delivering at maximum efficiency for your business.

Below are some simple tips on running a successful small business:

Set your goals
For establishing a business, setting your goals is the first thing which includes your vision and mission. Goal setting is very pivotal to run a successful business. Setting your business goals in advance, no matter how little it is, helps you to be focused. Once you are focused, you can achieve whatever you want to do. The goals you establish should be the kind that will enhance your efficiency and effectiveness as well. Goals that are realistic, measurable, sensible achievable and timely are wise suggested.

Every business has its own and different principles, keep studying the pros and cons of the business you are involved in. You can follow some professionally written books, magazines, and newsletter related to your field.

Establish a good customer relationship
The regular rush of customers is one of the major factors that impact your business growth, so they must be given utmost regards. Treat your customers like they are the backbone of your business. Keep a good relationship with them by sending messages, emails on weekly, monthly or yearly basis regarding what kind of business you do and show them care occasionally, this simply leaves you with them a lasting impact.

Enhance the availability of products and services
Make sure that your products and services are readily available for your esteemed customers all the time. Obviously, no one would like to spend his time and money in traveling a long distance just to acquire a product then be told that it is not available. But in case a product is not available at the time, the tone of voice and use of words should be polite, and efforts should be made to reestablish the trust of your client.

Keep prices reliable
If your product’s price is too costly, it can neither attract nor drive customers. So keep pricing stable and affordable as much as you can, and of course, it will not affect your business negatively, as you will gain customers through having a good reputation.

In conclusion, whatever your small business may be, try to market it in any way possible to make it profitable without compromising your reputation of your name, or the quality of your services. Here’s a great article from Entrepreneur about how succeed at your small business.

Learn some mistakes to avoid in your business, check this out:

How to Build a Business Network

With any business, both online and off, you will need to work hard on building your network. The larger your network in the business world, the better chance of success. The more people you are in contact with the better your chance of growing a profitable and thriving company. Having an extensive network is crucial for any business, as this network can be used for word of mouth advertising, newsletters, special offers, and sales as well as trading services.

Luckily today we have the use of the World Wide Web. This makes it immeasurably easier to get a large network built in next to no time at all. This is great considering that not so long ago we had to make endless phone calls and spend lots of money advertising to build our network. It is a proven fact that the bigger your network, the better your profits.

It is essential for any business to have records and contact details of every person who has ever bought something from them. It is far easier to sell that customer something again than try and find a new customer.

There are several ways to build a network of people online. Here are just a few of them:

This is an excellent way to build a network for your brand and your company. Facebook allows you to create fan pages that you can use to get interested people to view your product on a continuous basis.

Twitter is another great way to build a list of interested people that you can send short messages to and build interest.

Article Marketing
Article marketing is a smart way to bring people to your company’s website. Simply write articles about things that you know about and people will then click on your link if they want to find out more information. Article writing is a perfect way to build a brand as an expert in your field.

Use a Good Auto Responder
Once you have a website, you need a way to capture your visitor’s details. This is where an Auto responder comes into practice. It does cost a monthly subscription, but this is well worth it in the long run. Once your website has captured your visitor’s details, you can send them information about your products and specials any time that you like. To get your visitors to leave their details on your website, you will need to offer some incentive or gift that will entice them to do just that.

Use Press Releases
These are quick and easy to write up, and you can get tons of exposure if you use these to announce major launches or events. There are both free and paid sites that you can use for this.

Use Google +
Google + is also a great way to build up a list for your business. You will get access to it by simply opening a Gmail account. This is a straightforward way to build up a list of contacts quickly. All you need to do is share useful information, and people will seek you out.

In conclusion, treat building your list or network as a top priority, as once you have a large list to market to, the world will be your oyster. Here, Forbes has a plan for developing your business network. Check it out.

How to Make a Business Plan

We all are well aware of the reality that good planning can save us a lot of productive time and aid us in successfully executing all the tasks associated with the achievement of our goals. Those who intend to do business economically always look forward to learning how to make a sound business plan. Planning is essential for the start of any business and also for established businesses to look back to and see where they’re lacking and what they are required to do to achieve the objectives that they have written in the early planning stages.

Listed below are a few important factors which need to be kept in mind while learning how to make a business plan effectively.

  • Everyone attempting to lay down the ground rules of the business needs to have knowledge at defining the result which is predictable from the execution of the plan. Also, knowing the products or services that are being offered by the rivals is another factor which is of crucial significance when we set up a business plan.
  • During the business plan formulation meeting you will have to make sure that all of the significant elements related to the marketing of the product, the advertising budget, and most significantly the allocation of resources for the R&D (Research and Development), need to be stated.
  • If you expect the needed amount of capital to be raised, then you require mentioning exactly your plan of raising the capital. Remember there is no scope of procrastination as far as the “fund raising” aspect of the business plan is concerned.
  • Understanding the needs of your targeted audience is another factor which is very important for the success of your business plan. You’ll have to make sure that your company has done the appropriate amount of research about the feasibility of producing and distributing the commodity or service that you intend to market.
  • Before finalizing your business plan, ensure you look at some fortune 500 companies, and the like, whose plans have been strategically designed by specialists, and who have proved to be successful in the past. There are some fundamental standards which are maintained while making a business plan, but a little innovation in your presentation will guarantee you capture the attention of the targeted investors.

In conclusion, these factors are the most vital aspects you should keep in mind while writing a business plan. There are other aspects such as the time of year in which you like to launch your product. For instance, if you plan to launch a new range of woolen garments, it’s significant to mention that you want to manufacture the product during the summer and spring so that you can be able to launch the product before the actual winter season begins.

5 Things Every Small Business Owner Should Do

Running a business is challenging, and sometimes it is hard to figure out what to do next. To stay afloat in the vast business world, small business owners need to keep up with latest business trends. Here are five things that every small business owner should do:

1) Hire smart and focus on training your team.
One of the most important points in running a successful business is your hiring and training. If you are running it alone, then, of course, there’s an exception, but you need to hire staff that is going to help you to reach company goals. It is also important for business owners to take the time to strengthen their knowledge and skills, as well as that of their teams. E.g. by attending a one-day conference or other training courses.

2) Network.
Business owners and managers who network will find opportunities that they did not know even existed. It is important to join business networking groups and any other group that will help in giving you the chance to be around others who may want to learn more about your product or service.

3) Watch expenses.
Small businesses most often get themselves into trouble when they are not keeping a close watch on the budget, invariably spending more than they are making. If you cannot afford to buy all new furniture for the office, then buy used furniture just to get started. Or, if you can’t swing a large space, start with something small that is less expensive. It is crucial that business owners know about their financial situation as much as possible. Reviewing their financial statements will help them plan.

4) Keep it legal.
It is crucial that your business is operating legally. You want to make sure you have limited your liability and that everything you are doing is legal. You can do this by seeking advice from a professional business advisor such as a lawyer. Meeting these obligations is not only a way of obeying laws, but it also ensures integrity in your business. Failing to comply with business laws may lead to action being taken against the business owner. This may include being issued with a warning letter, or other criminal action being taken against the business owner.

5) Join social media sites e.g. Google+, Facebook, Twitter etc.
These outlets are a great and inexpensive way for small businesses to interact directly with their customers and advertise their brand to potential customers. Time invested on social media platforms can greatly pay off to small businesses. It also gives small business owners the power to learn more about their audience, their interests, and collect their feedback.

By keeping the above suggestions in mind, then small business owners will be on their way to having a business that is not only going to survive but will also be in a good position to thrive.


Things to Consider When Starting Coffee Roasting Business

First off, how hard is it to start a small coffee roasting business?
Since starting a coffee roasting is less common than the opening of, say, a pizza shop in your city, you’ll have to do a little more research to find out what legal requirements and regulations are going to be required. This research is the first step to starting any business in your region. There are different rules depending on where you live; so a perfect plan on the East Coast may not get off the ground out west.

After that step is complete, you’ll want to consider these next issues:  

Workspace, or your roasting shop
Now, you may not find a facility with the following list of items already in place, so you’ll have to make changes to include them. If that’s the case, do the research to learn the costs of these updates beforehand:

  • You will need gas, electric and very importantly – ventilation for your bean roaster.
  • Cleaning and storage area
  • You will need wipeable ceilings and walls
  • A 3-compartment sink
  • Racks or a place for space enough for racks to keep bags of beans off the floor, and additional racks for the different stages of beans (green or roasted)
  • Light bulbs that covered in plastic casing
  • A space for your commercial scales
  • Countertops for shipping supplies and bagging
  • Workstation with your pour-overs, drip machines, and other small scale goods to sample and test your blends

Regarding your roasting procedures, you’ll want to consider the sanitation upkeep of your equipment. Include in your budget the costs for regular cleaning – again you’ll need to check on the commercial shop legal regulations in your area. You will also want to do regular pest control and prevention.

Once you check with the local business bureau, you will find out how many, or which permits you will need to run your coffee roaster. There are different permits relating to varying issues such as environmental, or food safety and selling permits.

Bank, insurance, and business legal structure
You will need to find good, local bank that you like and open a business count and obtain a tax ID number. Also, you will need to purchase liability insurance and talk to a business lawyer about getting your business set up with the right legal structure that will work for your type of business while giving you the greatest tax benefits.

Obtain adequate skill
Obviously, all those listed above need to be considered and implemented as a foundation to running a successful coffee roasting business. Next, comes the education and experience of your trade. There are conferences, training videos, online classes and of course book study to get you up to snuff with your understanding of bean roasting. You’ll want to talk to experienced and successful coffee roasters to get their tips and resources regarding the purchase of good green coffee beans.

When you are confident you have enough knowledge, you need to practice, practice, practice your roasting. Come up with what you love, and sell your expertise as part of the business. Experiment at making different blends and try and find something unique that sets your roast apart.

Business and Marketing Plans
It’s best to start small and scale up as you go. Since there is so much to learn initially, and you’d be wise, unless you have a boat-load of start-up capital, to keep things very simple at the beginning by gradually roasting small batches and giving them, or even selling them to friends and family. You can purchase smaller roasting machines to get started, then after you are comfortable with all the aspects of the business, trade up for a large and more profitable machine. You can pay 3k to 60k for coffee roasters. (You may be able to find some good deals at eBay) So there is a vast spectrum and a lot of space to grow in knowledge before investing a significant amount of money. So get a plan, make some goals and research and invest in a website and whatever marketing materials you will need to begin.

There’s no doubt that you can succeed if you remember a couple of things: Be honest in your dealings, start humble, don’t be afraid to ask guidance from multiple sources, help others along the way, study and commit yourself to working until you succeed – i.e., don’t give up.

We found a great little video to aid in your research on starting a coffee roasting business. Happy Roasting!

What Makes A Good Business Idea

Great, you have now generated some ideas, but how do you know which ideas are good business ideas? The sort of things you are looking for to identify good business ideas include:


A business with a completely unique product or service will have no competition. However, this means that potential customers will not even be aware that your product exists, so you will need to do a lot of marketing to make customers aware of your product or service and to promote its benefits to stimulate the desire to buy your product or service. (before you read on, check out this Business News article for tips on the viability of a business idea)

More typically the product or service will have one or more unique features, such as …

  • Faster
  • Higher quality
  • Reliability
  • Local
  • Personal service

I recommend (before investing time and money in your start-up business) that you confirm whether or not there is a demand for your product or service. Family and friends can assist in filtering out the worst business ideas that would never sell. Another way to investigate whether something is a good business idea or not is to get feedback from potential customers who have the appropriate knowledge and personal experience.

If you can potentially offer your contacts a better product or service than they already have, they’ll probably be willing to spend some time to discuss it with you. This input can be invaluable because it may assist you to improve elements of your idea to make it more attractive to potential other customers. Or, you may discover that it is actually a bad idea and is best dropped!

How do you propose to charge for your product or service? A fantastic idea that will be useful to a lot of people is not a good business idea if, for some reason, it is not possible to charge the customer sufficiently enough to make a profit. With products, simple per-unit pricing is often used. Services allow for more creative pricing often with multiple price points for different service levels. Whatever your method, be sure there’s a benefit to all involved.

Filter out any ideas where it is obvious that costs would be excessive and/or customers would not be willing to pay enough to make the product or service worth doing. At this filtering stage, I would just do a few “back of fag packet” calculations. If you take the idea further, a detailed spreadsheet will be required to develop P&L and Cash Flow. At this stage, simply drop ideas where it is evident that the product or service would not make a profit and brainstorm what you could put in its place.

Business Model
What would be the most appropriate business model for your business idea? A few examples of business models that could be employed by start-up companies include:

Direct Sales
Cut out middleman
Business to Business (B2B)

At this stage, you are only trying to decide if an idea is a good one. So it’s only necessary to consider the business models that would be appropriate to employ at a much later stage in the game. You can then filter ideas in or out based on whatever criteria you decide. For example, keep ideas with a business model in which you have had previous experience and a good potential client list. Also, keep the ideas that have a low start-up cost.

The above should help you to filter out the best business ideas, but there will be other factors including things that are unique to your ideas. The next step is to work on a more detailed business plan for one or more of the ideas.

If you decide to enter a market and compete directly on price, then you risk starting a price war. As a start-up business, you risk competing with the mature competitors with deeper pockets, pricing YOU out of the market. Ultimately, the price war may drive value out of the market as the market price for the product or service reduces.
A price war is good for consumers but as a business owner, not so good! And ultimately it may not be good for consumers if suppliers drop out of the market because of the reduced margins leaving a small number of big suppliers who without competition may reduce the quality of their service and increase their prices. This is an extreme scenario, but the bottom line is that I recommend you think carefully before competing only on price.