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Small Business Development And Marketing Strategies

Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:

* Advertising
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals

For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.

There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:

* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals

Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.

An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.

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VoIP 5 Tips to Improve a Small Business

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a method of electronic communication that is rapidly increasing in popularity. Used to make phone calls, VoIP technology uses a computer’s internet connection, rather than a cellular wireless or traditional wired telephone line. This technology is used not only by personal consumers, but also by businesses small and large. Here are 5 tips for using VoIP to improve a small business:

1. Use One Company for Internet and Phone – Any modern small business has a website and is likely already paying an internet service provider (ISP) for access to the internet. Rather than negotiating prices and dealing with customer service for two services, a company can save time, effort, and money by using their internet connection as their phone service provider as well.

2. Save Money on Long-Distance and International Calls – Unlike traditional telephone companies, VoIP services work regardless of the distance of the call, so pricing is not dependent on the number of local, long-distance, or international calls. This means that international calls, which can be especially expensive, can be handled without incurring additional costs. For small businesses that do business internationally or have business partners overseas, this can mean an enormous cost savings.

3. Better Voice Quality – Because of the nature of the medium and the wires that transmit the signals, VoIP services can provide cleaner, better-sounding phone calls than traditional phone companies. While it might not seem like a big change, having crisper more professional phone calls can be the edge a small business needs to win over customers or seal a big deal. Dropped calls or poor-quality calls, on the other hand, can devastate a company’s business.

4. Simplify Things for the Technical Staff – For small businesses, the internal technical staff is usually stretched thin at all times, and should be outsourced when possible. Keeping a business up and running smoothly 24/7 is no small task. Consolidating one’s internet and phone systems can provide a significant advantage, in terms of time and sheer number of technologies to monitor, to a company’s technical support and services team. For small businesses that don’t even have a dedicated technical staff, having a single number to call for technical support, rather than multiple numbers, can simplify things considerably. Prompt service and skilled technicians are key.

5. Additional Features Included At No Extra Cost – For starters, useful calling features like conference calls, call forwarding, and caller ID are all included for free. Additional features like video calls and video conferencing are also easy to add to VoIP services.

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Title Nigel Mayne And The Small Business Franchise In 2011

As February rushes by, those New Year resolutions may be turning into distant memories if not forgotten dreams. Except for that one significant promise, to become master of your own destiny and invest in your own business.

If you are dreaming of owning your own business, there are some trends in your favour. Slow to moderate overall economic growth in many countries hard hit by the recession is forecast to continue through 2011. In the US, the small business sector remained in recession in 2010, lagging in recovery, and is now predicted to see stronger demand and better business conditions this coming year. Key trends seen as driving the growth of small business are
small manufacturing businesses in niche markets aided by technology making barriers to entry lower,
the weak dollar aiding US manufacturing cost competitiveness,
the internet becoming more widely known to small business as a low cost way of sourcing and selling goods and services.
Small business growing more familiar with and making greater use of social media in their local marketing efforts -think Groupon Inc and its highly successful coupon business supporting local deals!

When time is not on your side, the resilient and proven franchise business model allows you a faster and often comparatively risk adverse track to generating positive cash flow. Although its your own business, you don`t have to go it alone making a proven franchise operation a smart choice. Strong viable franchise opportunities are there for the qualified buyer, so how to join that select group?

Access to financing from traditional sources is expected to remain tight in the US throughout 2011, in spite of the Governments continuing efforts to support small business through tough times. We recommend that potential franchise buyers be cautious when selecting companies to do their 401(k) rollovers or when selecting a financing company with all of the fraud that has occurred in the banking sector over the last several years, finding a reputable company to provide your financing is more important than ever and a winning point in your favor with franchisors.

MatchPoint Franchise Consulting Network was founded in 2006 with a mission of helping companies expand their franchise networks and improve their system. The advice offered freely to franchise buyers by MatchPoint consultants is vital to the buyer in making a better, prudent, buying decision. The advice offered by our consultants does not make us lawyers; it is there to help the investor with a high quality due diligence process.

MatchPoint consultants know the red flags in the investment field. It takes the very few promoters that practice business fraud to taint the dream of the franchisee and their family.

That`s where seeking the independent advice of an expert franchising consultant is prudent and invaluable.

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Small Business Resources Every Business Owner Needs

Seeking out small business resources doesnt have to take long if you know what your business needs. Small business owners can find a wealth of resources on the many websites that cater to the tools, services and employer information that every business needs to run efficiently. By using the right small business resources to find everything they need online, small business owners can save themselves time that could be used in that business.

Business Tools Online

No business runs well without the right tools available to employees. Small business machines such as computers, printers and labelers are all used in the typical office, and staying on top of the latest innovations in those machines can mean staying on top of the competition. Whether its postage meters that a business needs or a simple calculator, employees cant use them if they dont have them. Software, office furniture, printing paper and more can be found at low prices online, and shopping for them takes less time when its done on a website.

Hiring Employees and Contractors

Every business needs employees to keep it running. To find those, business owners dont have to place a newspaper ad any longer. They can use one of the many websites that can assist them in finding productive employees. Some sites allow you to read the profiles or resumes that are posted by job seekers. This is an easy way to find qualified candidates for the open positions.

Another type of site is one that allows business owners to put up an advertisement for a job opening. Many employers prefer to post an ad because they want fresh employee leads and want to post the job specifications. Using these jobs, business owners can seek out employees, independent contractors or even interns. Owners can choose popular sites that will yield hundreds of applicants or more specialized sites that will attract candidates within a specific field. Other job sites, such as bidding sites, allow employers to post specific projects and to receive bids from multiple contractors.

Financial and Legal Services

Sometimes, its the services that a business owners uses that determines how successful that business is. The business must have an effective payroll system to keep employees and contractors paid in full on time. It may need legal services for drawing up contracts and protecting the company against liability. Finding out which services you need and where to go to get them can both be done through sites that provide these business resources.

In some cases, the services can be provided through websites. In others, the sites connect business owners to local professionals who can provide those vital services. For owners who simply need information about which services are important and how they can be integrated into the business, there are plenty of educational resources online as well.

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Mobile Marketing and Advertising for Small Business

The mobile marketing and advertising news-wires are abuzz and more and more companies are jumping into the game on a daily basis. Powerhouses like Google and Apple are building their arsenal for the mobile advertising phenomenon that is all the talk right now.

Companies large and small are jockeying for position within their target markets and local niches in an effort to get a first mover advantage in the inevitable transformation to the Mobile computing tsunami that is already taking shape.

What this means to the Small Business owner and in-house marketers is that the mobile marketplace has gained momentum. A solid mobile strategy can provide a huge advantage and be your secret weapon for success among a targeted niche audience or in a localized small to medium size metropolitan area.

You see, we understand that you don’t have the time to keep you ear to the ground on all of this Mobile mayhem, because you are busy with your two hands on the wheel with your companies. What we also know is that you rely on other small businesses to provide you with the knowledge and the tools to make sure that you are keeping you marketing and advertising efforts relevant and effective. In the ever evolving multimedia e-marketplace, you need solutions and you either need them to be service based and low cost, or you need them to be extremely easy to understand and integrate on a do it yourself basis.

After all, one of the coolest things about being a small business owner is the adventure of wearing a variety of hats and learning the latest and greatest techniques to stay ahead of the competition. Today, Mobile Marketing might be one of the most effective and efficient means to push your business out ahead of the pack. Whether you are a retail shop, professional service, restaurant, hotel, craftsman or independent artist, you can engage your customers like never before.

The tools, knowledge and abilities to put this into motion for your specific marketplace are right at your fingertips. Although this might seem like a complicated technological maze, you’ll be pleased to find that many other small companies within the Mobile Marketing industry have brought forth some interesting and easy to understand guidelines and tools that you can utilize today in efforts to launching your company into the Mobile arena.

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Small Business Computer Consulting Additional Qualifications For The Sweet Spot

To find the ideal clientele for your small business computer consulting, you want to target small businesses by their number of PC’s, (10 to 50) as well as their revenue. Generally, companies that have anywhere from 1 million to 10 million in revenue are the sweet spot of small business computer consulting. In this article, you’ll learn why you should target this type of business. {Tip: Of course if you’re located in Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, or any of the other more than 21 nations around the globe where our training has been adapted, be sure to convert this to your local currency. (See )}

Beware of the high end of this range
Once small businesses get to the high end of that revenue range, where they start having substantially more than 50 PCs, or substantially more than $10 million in annual sales, often the small business owners lean towards putting a real, salaried IT person on payroll instead of using a small business computer consulting professional. That’s when you start running into some tough competition. At this point, your client will add up your services invoices and try to figure out if they can do it cheaper or more efficiently in-house.

Look for clients that need a real server
Another important aspect is to find small business clients that are big enough to need a real dedicated server. Once small businesses need a real server, they need a ton of other professional services to go along with it. And it’s very unlikely they can handle it on their own, with just an internal guru. Bingo-you become their outsourced IT department!

Multiple locations are a bonus
Sometimes a sweet spot client has one location. A lot of times there’s a main office and some branch offices. The branch offices present a big opportunity for your small business computer consulting because there’s usually a HUGE need for sharing data in real time among employees in different locations.

The Bottom Line about Small Business Computer Consulting
In this article, you’ve been learned more about how to find the sweet spot in your small business computer consulting business.

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Small Business Start Up Planning and Success The 7 Vital Keys

With over 20 years experience and exposure to small business, we have learned an enormous amount on what to do and what to avoid. You don’t need to go through all the problems we experienced trying to start-up a small business. We’re happy to share our secrets with those who’d like to listen. Yes, we’ve made mistakes. Some only small, others took us to the brink of bankruptcy! But the great thing is we learned from them and took away important lessons each time.

We took these lessons, and combined with our formal Business Management and Development Training, have developed our 7 Vital Keys To Small Business Success. These are the very same Quick and Easy Systems we used to grow our Successful International Franchise Network.

Yes! We went from our garage to franchise in under 12 months, and International Franchise in just over 2 years. We later sold our interests, and profited further from our systems. Our processes are easy to understand , with clear methods to follow. By following our 7 Vital Keys To Small Business Success program, you could quickly establish your own small business, helping you enjoy the lifestyle you desire and the freedom to be your own boss. We know it works. We have seen these processes repeated over and over. Small Business should be about working smart, not working yourself into the ground.

Starting a Small Business can be risky. About 80% of small businesses fail in the first 2 years. So why do people keep doing it, you ask? Why put your money, family and reputation on the line, just to follow your dreams? Because it’s such a wonderful feeling to start-up and run your very own successful small business. You don’t need to go it alone, though. There is help. Overcome the statistics and be one of the successful few. Start your small business with the right help and know how. You will achieve amazing results in the best possible time, with less headaches, and saving you hard earned dollars along the way.

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Small Business Blog Tips That Can Make A Big Difference.

Blogs have revolutionized the way that people do business. It seems that all the big companies are making use of blogs to promote themselves and market their products. However, corporate blogs aren’t just for big companies. Blogs can also be utilized by small businesses with great effect.

Setting up a small business blog is easy and has many benefits. They are powerful promotional tools and a great way to communicate with clients.

Here are some tips on using a small business blog:

1. Write Naturally and Honestly

Small business blogs can be more personal than large corporate blogs. It’s best to write in way that feels natural to you. Avoid writing needlessly complex posts filled with technical jargon. Doing so will endear customers and promote conversation, which is what a blog is for, after all.

As with any blog, you must always tell the truth. Blogs should address all issues, be it good or bad. This will ultimately beneficial as it helps builds trust the customers.

2. Post often and Respond to Comments

Remember to post frequently. Provide readers with plenty of content, so that they will keep coming back to your blog.

Comments are a vital part of blogs, providing useful feedback. Respond to reader comments often to build strong ties between them and your company.

3. Promote your business, Promote yourself

A small business blog is an innovative way to promote a business.

A good technique is to document your projects. This is good way to show how capable you are at your profession and to garner trust. This is especially important with small business, where reputations can make a big difference.

Blogs allow for unparalleled interaction with customers. Use this to get closer to clients, and to build bonds of trust. The information gained from readers is invaluable for improving your small business.

4. Be Informed and Informative

Read plenty of other blogs to gain useful information. Post comments and promote your own blog. Be an active part of the blogosphere.

Post links of related information on your blog, and use technology like RSS/Atom feeds to constantly provide your blog with interesting content. This is a great way to promote your business and be informed of everything concerning you industry. Besides informing your readers, it can lead to interaction and possible collaborations with other businesses, all of which will benefit a small business.

5. Search Engines

For those who wish to achieve higher search engine rankings, a blog can be an invaluable asset. The constant updating combined with the right keywords can raise search engine results dramatically.

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Auto Attendant – Make Your Small Business Sound More Professional

As a small business owner, it is very important to project the best of your business and impress your callers. The auto attendant VoIP phone system can make your small business sound more professional. It has extensive advanced call handling features incorporated into it to manage all your business calls efficiently and make your business look like a Fortune 500 company.

Sphisticated Call Handling Service

Without the support of a live telephone operator, the auto attendant can perform all call handling functions reliably and efficiently. Callers are greeted with professional sounding welcome messages. These messages can be personalized to present your business in a professional manner. Calls are managed through interactive, impressive voice responses as their calls are connected to extension lines.

As an initial interface in call management, it is possible to connect calls to the required extensions using a menu of options including dial by extension, dial by name, dial by department or zero out to live operator. With these professional phone services offered by the virtual receptionist, the callers will feel like they are interacting with an established company.

Useful VoIP Auto Attendant Solutions

The auto attendant offers impressive call management features which include:

Find-me/Follow-me call forwarding If you are traveling or in some distant location, the calls to your office will be efficiently redirected to the given cell numbers, home phones or other personal numbers. Calls to a certain phone extension will be routed through the predefined list one by one, until someone attends the call.
Voicemail to Email If any calls are unattended, they will be automatically directed to the voice mail boxes of these phone systems. These voice messages will be further forwarded to your email account. The call forwarding system of the PBX system offers your workers a lot of independence as they can work from home or any other convenient location.
Music on Transfer You can upload music-on-hold facility to facilitate your callers, when the calls are being transferred to a different extension.
Features and functionalities are not just limited to these. Other functionalities include groups, conference rooms, call queues and much more. The auto attendant phone system to makes your small business sound more professional and credible.

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How To Sustain Small Business Growth

Many small businesses often ignore the minor glitches which cause major problems in their small businesses. There are people or situations which we often get used to and ignore, without realizing that they may be the main cause of a crisis situation. You could be strangling your small business growth without even realizing it.

Organizational growth demands updated strategies every quarter. It does not matter whether you are self-employed, running a home-based business or an employer. Leaders have to implement organizational updates every now and then in order to enhance growth strategies and speed up the entire growth process. Some hire help, while others acquire business cash advance in order to progress and expand.

We have created a list of how you can upgrade your growth strategies and take your small business to the next level. Firstly, you should

Remove the outlived
There might be services being offered and products being produced which may not be of any value to your business. You need to make a list of such services which no longer add value to your small business growth and have outlived the market demand.

Re-organize and strategize companys strategic goals
Reevaluate whether your mission statement matches your goals or not. You will know how much work being done is irrelevant to your small business needs and market demand. Redefine your objectives in pragmatic measureable terms.

Distractions and competitions among your employees is another point which should be considered. Other issues may have distracted them from your small business goals. There may be continuous concerns hampering growth among the employees and creating problems in their professional relationship and everyday work.

Create different ways to leverage employee talents
Work efficiency can only be improved by leveraging employee talent in different areas. Set meetings with them; ask them what they want to do and how they can add value to your companys goals. Help them review their skills in order to sharpen them. There might be unproductive or negative employees, but firing them may not be the solution. Hence, move them to positions and projects where their skills can be utilized effectively.

Check the Budget Lists
In many cases you subscribe, acquire business loans, purchase and hire help which may not be required by the company anymore. And all these might be charging you a lot of cash without you even realizing it. To save your working capital, these budgetary leaks should be evaluated and diminished. Conducting a quarterly review is extremely useful, knowing where your money is going will help you fight the unnecessary charges involved and will help you improve your credit score. Check your taxes and be ready for the upcoming TAX season.