Small Business Tips

small business failure rate

SURPRISE! 95% Failure Rate – Small Businesses

What shouldn’t be a surprise is that the number of small businesses are currently seeing hyper-growth!  There are millions of people out of work that are trying to figure out what their “plan B” is and that often means starting a small business.

Unfortunately, if 1,000,000 people start a business such as a technical SEO firm, this year only 50,000 will come out victorious.  There are several factors for these numbers but I think the biggest is the lack of knowledge and training, and an awareness of the best ways of improving the profitability of your small business.

“Old School” Vs “New School”

Old School

I started my first business over 10 years ago at the age of 21. I had a good idea – I asked all the people I knw what they thought of the idea and they also thought it would work. Many of my good friends and all of my family were encouraging about my business idea because they wanted to make me feel good about myself. But they weren’t giving me honest feedback – perhaps not surprising really.

But I thought it was a good idea, I was encouraged to think that by friends and family and when it didn’t work I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Surely everyone needed this unique product/service – I bet many of you have been there yourselves – not understanding why you’re not selling such a great product/service.

New School

As I’m sure you have probably figured out I was not very successful at building my business using the old school approach.  I worked my butt off for 16 months, spent thousands of dollars on products and training materials and produced a total of (drum roll please)…..ZERO profit for my business.  Needless to say, I felt like a complete failure and I quit.   At the time, I never thought I would start another business again.

It was not until early 2011 that I finally realized that anyone can be successful in business if they know how to market themselves using the internet.  The philosophy was fairly simple.  It is called Digital Marketing and the idea is to attract attention for your product or service from all over the web.

Needless to say, after applying this methodology and philosophy to my new business I started seeing tremendous results.  Currently, my business organization is close to surpassing 200 employees!  On top of that, I have increased my product offering so that I have spread my risk and have different income streams into my business.

Final Thoughts

If you are struggling to get your business off the ground you need to start applying online marketing methods to your business.  Learn the technique and grow your business using the power of the internet.  Yes, you still can build a business using the “old school” methods but why waste your time?  There are millions of people searching the web every single day for leaders in every industry.  Position yourself as a leader and start helping others all over the world with their businesses!

As more and more people start to realize that you can successfully build a business using the power of the internet you can bet that the 95% failure rate will continue to drop.

home-office-couple

The Secret To Successful Marketing

The Secret to Successful Marketing

Whether you are new to online marketing or having been in the industry for several years you have probably struggled at some point.  The number one reason why most individuals fail is because they do not know how to properly market their business. But get that right and the sky if the limit. Take, for instance, the project management training company Parallel Project Training – with astute business development leadership and a dedicated digital marketing company on board, they have grown ten-fold in just a few short years. Their success has been based on a highly active online presence – on their own blog and on other reputable blogs, on social media, on YouTube with their videos and on iTunes with their lively podcasts.

The majority of marketers are still using old school methods to try and grow their business.  This includes face to facenetworking events to build a list of contacts.  If you want to be successful in any industry you need to rethink your approach and adapt to new ways of doing business and marketing.  The secret to successful marketing in the 21st century is adjusting your way of thinking to match the social networking world.

Adjusting Your Mindset

As with any industry in this world, you need to adjust your marketing and mindset to keep up with the times.  The main reason why people fail in business is because they are trying to use the techniques from 10-20 years ago.  Sure, these techniques can still be used to build a business but you are going to have a very difficult time growing that business and who wants a business that is just ticking over?

You need to adjust your way of thinking.   Sorry to burst your bubble but, unlike using an SEO consultant, good ol-fashioned networking just doesn’t cut it anymore.  The people who attend those events don’t care about your product or service because they are probably only there to sell their own product or service.  Honestly, you will make little progress if you keep marketing your business this way.  In fact, one of my close friends tried this approach on Facebook and her friend count dropped dramatically because of it.

In order to build a successful business you need to be there to assist with people’s problems.  Be a genuine individual that truly cares about helping people.  This strategy applies to both online and offline marketing.  If you think your company sponsored website is going to make you millions you are sadly mistaken.  You need to have a blog or a website that helps people solve their problems.  Help them find answers to what they are searching for.  In addition, you need to be there for your friends and family members during these tough economic times.  You will be amazed at how many people will ask YOU about your business if they see that you are successful and you are not shoving it down their throats.

Are you passionate about your company and the product or service that you offer?  Would you purchase that product if you were not a distributor?  Once you build trust with your prospects and they start asking you about your business you need to make sure that you are passionate about your company and the product that you offer.  If you have a bad product or a sub-par company it is going to be difficult promoting your opportunity – even after they approach you!

Once you have a company and a product that you honestly believe in you should have no problem building a thriving business if you apply the philosophy above.  Simply put your need to build trust and be a leader ahead of trying to sell a product or service and you will be successful. Good Luck!

What Documents Should I Never Archive?

We all know the importance of archiving your documents and the benefits of doing so, but are there some instances where archiving shouldn’t happen?

Every day, your business generates information and data. It can be anything from petrol receipts to the information you collect when customers buy online. You have legal responsibilities to keep some of this data. However, many companies hang on to information “just in case”, a state that could lead to document archiving costing you far more money than it needs to even if you have chosen to use an offsite cheap storage unit rather than expensive office space to store the documents. It is increasingly common for small companies to make use of self storage rather than waste valuable office space for storage. The costs are generally low, especially with all the good self storage deals around but it may still be money that your business doesn’t have to spend if you are storing documents that you don’t need.

Knowing the law

In many ways knowing what you should not or don’t need to keep is fairly straightforward – you just need to be aware of what the law says in relation to your business sector and industry.

As a general guide, you should always keep documents, data and information relating to:

  1. Business documents – in other words, anything that establishes you right to conduct your business. This could be anything from articles of incorporation to business permits, licences, certifications etc.
  2. Financial data – this is the one that people worry about most and in many ways, it pays to keep detailed as well as accurate financial data and information. Check how long you need to hold on to financial information as part of your archiving documents
  3. Business agreements – this may be the policies and procedures that tie your company into contracts with clients, suppliers and so on. It will also include staff agreements, such as contracts and health benefit packages etc.
  4. Executive decisions – you will also have company minutes, along with annual reports, health and safety documents that relate to how your business is run. Ensuring you hold on to these is important.
  5. Compliance – there may also be documentation that relates to your company complying with specific legislation, regulations etc.

What documents you don’t need?

However, in spite of having these five points relating to documents you must keep, many businesses still hang on to information that they really don’t need. On one hand, you may think that you may need the information or document but on the other, it makes archiving documents a cumbersome and heavy process.

To help you understand whether you need the documents or not, ask yourself these four questions;

  1. Are the transactions or decisions that rely on this information been concluded?
  2. Have you met all the regulatory and statutory requirements for keeping this information, e.g. have you kept the information for X number of years?
  3. Is there a statutory or regulatory reason why you should hold on to the information longer than required?
  4. Are there litigations proceedings that will affect holding on to certain records or information?

Telling a story

Your business records essentially tell the story of your business, charting its rise from humble beginnings to the thriving business that it is today. Keeping documents safe is important, and not just for the regulatory or legal reasons. Backing up data is important too but a separate activity to document archiving.

If you are unsure what to keep, for how long etc., a professional document archiving service can help.