Importance of Insurance in Making the Small Businesses Successful

Small businesses encounter scores of issues which affect their profitability. There is risk of diverse sort which influence businesses sometimes in their favor and sometimes against. Such risk of uncertainty can be mitigated by purchasing insurance.

Insurance covers risk of uncertainty
By purchasing insurance, small business can offset the losses incurred on different counts, say, public liability, personal injury, professional indemnity, natural calamities such as flash floods, blizzard, earthquake and the like. As small businesses cannot afford to face the financial losses posed by these uncertainties, they should consider taking insurance.

Insurance helps you stay confident and secure
Your business is associated with other people’s life and property, presumably, clients, customers, vendors, suppliers, warehouse owners, employees. Members of any of these groups could get wounded accidentally on your business premises, suing your business for bodily or personal injury, damage to property, professional liability or public liability. All these claims can entail heavy losses that may prove debilitating for your business. Purchasing insurance protects your business from the aforesaid liabilities and thus, you stay confident and secure.

Safeguards capital – can help you better control costs
Small business insurance protects against diverse sorts of liabilities. This is because, any sort of liability for a small business entails heavy loss in the form of costs of litigation, the expenses involving financial compensation to the third party, coupled with the anxiety it brings forth. Consequently it will safeguard the capital invested, and also brings costs under control, which otherwise escalate.

High deductible – lower premium plan
Small business insurance is available at reasonably low premium, provided it is purchased with high deductible option. By opting this, you can get the insurance at lower premiums.

Focus on claims made by third party
As a small business owner, you can probably face claims of liability depending on the kind, size, proximity of the business to the public and the hazards therein while carrying on the business. By purchasing small business insurance, it will reduce substantially the loss incurred from claims of the third party. While purchasing a liability insurance, you can opt for public liability, professional indemnity and/or others as per your requirement.

Promotes economic growth and development
Small business insurance protects businesses from losses and liabilities because of different reasons. Consequently, businesses thrive well and contribute to economic growth in terms of generating employment and income.

Insurance protects business owner’s family
In the event of untimely decease of the owner of the business, the insurance takes care of the financial needs family. It also relieves them from the burden to pay taxes. Thus, by purchasing the insurance you can stay rest assured, as the members of your family will face no financial hardship.

Your employees will feel secured and will help in productivity
Small business insurance helps improve employees’ productivity. This is possible because, the insurance protects the employees from risks involved and hence the employees would be more focused on to work hard.

Conveys that you take care of your employees
The insurance covers risks of everyone participating in the business including employees, owner(s), and other groups that are associated with the business. This conveys to the employees that you take utmost care of them, which would raise their morale for better productivity.

Small business insurances are, thus, useful for businesses. They protect all from the top to bottom in the hierarchy and also the business assets. Hence, small businesses should purchase the insurance in the greater interest of business therein.

Tips to Successfully Publicize Your Small Business

Small businesses need to get to know with all visitors and customers, alike. It is important to have good publicity among all to promote your business. By getting publicized well, you can sell more of your products/services.

Publicity by newspapers, radio, magazine
Small businesses can use the medium of local newspapers as they are inexpensive and easily accessible compared to national and regional newspapers. Further, small businesses focus on locals as they consider them to be their potential targeted audience. Hence, newspapers would be more suitable for the purpose.

Despite revolution in the communication technology, radio occupies significant place as a means of communication and dissemination information. Small businesses can live rage radio to publicize themselves to local audiences. The advantage of radio is that it can reach the audience in remote and inaccessible terrain. It is economical and fast. You can schedule the publicity advertisement as per your requirement.

Local magazines are another means of publicizing your small business. They are more expensive than newspapers and radio. Local magazines are an important means of publicizing your business. They are effective and easily accessible. Even if your business is located in an urban center you can target the audience in remote towns and villages.

T-shirts with your company logo printed on it for the employees
Publicizing your small business using t-shirts involves printing the name, logo, etc., on the shirts and distribute them among the members of your staff, prospective clients, etc. While using t-shirts you should first have a plan regarding who to give the shirts, where to give, when to give and so on. The t-shirts thus, handed out should be of reasonable quality. You can use t-shirts as gifts to clients and prospective clients to publicize your business.

T-shirts are helpful in spreading awareness of your business among all. T-shirts are also an inexpensive way of promoting your business.

Create impressive business cards
Business cards are another way to publicize your small business. You could target them at potential customers. While getting designed, see that the cards should be a bit unusual and unique. Thus, you could use synthetic paper for the purpose to impart an elegant look to the cards. Mention name, logo contact details, location of business on the cards. Though creating impressive cards is a bit expensive, it yields good results to publicize your business.

Contact schools, colleges and business organizations
Using schools, colleges and business organization to publicize your business. These community benefit your business by publicizing the business among their clients. Educational institutions including schools and colleges can spread brand awareness among potential users of the product/service. Likewise, business organizations could also be approached to popularize the product/service among their staffs.

Telephone customers – who are likely to be interested in buying your products/services
Call people who you think, are potential customers. That is, ones who are more inclined to listen to you on your new business. You can call them and take an appointment, if they need at a specific time. By this, you will loss neither your time or theirs.

Offer free samples of products to your customers
To publicize your business, and to attract existing and potential customers, offer free samples of the product. Ask them to review and give feedback. Likewise, if yours is a service, conduct seminars, consultations, camps to attract potential customers. You should be ready to visit customers and conduct demo, if they want. Take care that the demo is not too long. It is better to close it within five minutes.

Promote your business online –attract your target customers
The Internet has turned out to be a highly effective tool to promote small businesses. It offers a wide range of options to choose to publicize your business. Email marketing, pay per click campaign, SEO on search engines and so on are one of the most inexpensive ways of publicizing your business. Advertising and publicizing on the Internet is fast, effective and can target your local audience by customizing the ad campaign depending on the audience.

Adequate and effective publicity is a part of doing business. This becomes more important if yours is a start-up enterprise. As users feel that your product/service is reliable they would start using them. To retain the existing customers, to render timely and correct information and to attract prospective ones publicity is indispensable.

Things to Consider Before Starting Small Business to Thrive Successfully

Starting a small business takes considerable time and effort. It requires comprehensive planning and the ability to execute the same for your business. Therefore, before starting a small business, owners should have a complete knowledge of various things to ensure successful running of business. If anything goes wrong, it may affect your business plan. Following are basic things you need to follow before you start a business.

Self evaluation
The starting point for a business is, you need to identify your skills, talents, expertise and weaknesses; you need to evaluate your ideas. Examine the issues – Is there a real market for the product or service? Will your income be adequate? Is your product or service competitive with others? Do you have the required expertise? You need to consider with extreme care before you get started.

Do some research
Analyzing the market from the beginning is one of the most important things to consider before starting up a business. You need to do a thorough research about your target customers, your competitors and your industry. You also need to identify potential market and understand which products and services are in demand.

Be ready with a business plan
Business plans are important for a start-up small business owners. Your business plan should be properly structured and should focus clearly on your business goals and objectives. Depending on your business type, you need to describe which products or services you are selling, it should also include company description, market analysis, financial plan and management plan.

Create an initial budget
Creating an effective budget is the most challenging aspect of a small business. Depending on the size of your business, you need to structure the initial budget that includes start-up costs and weekly or monthly maintenance expenses. While budgeting you need to know how to manage your financial arrangements.

Choose location
Finding the right location is the key to success for small business. When you are looking out for a location, you must consider a few things like – Is the site located near potential customers? How safe is the area? Is the location convenient and accessible to traffic? How long have the competitors been in this area, and how strong are they? These are the things that you need to keep in mind before choosing a spot for your business.

Legal issues
Before starting a small business, you need to get the appropriate business licenses and permits. You should also look into legal matters such as registering your business, taxes and potential legal liabilities. Take the help professionals for advice in legal matters, if required, to protect your business.

Do frugal shopping
Small business owners should cut down their budgets on office expenses and go for seconds in terms of equipment, machines and furniture. Be frugal and just buy what you require for your business at the cheapest prices. It will save your money and you will be able to build a budget carefully later.

Every small business owner should take into account these points before starting a small business to thrive as a successful business.

Online Presence is Must for Small Businesses to be Successful

Online presence is the first step in exposing your small business to the world. These days, it is estimated that one third of the world’s population is using the Internet. It is very essential to understand the value of online presence, as the Internet is one of the best marketing platforms to target tremendous potential customers for your business. You can ignore this only to imperil the prospects of your business.

According to the Internet World Stats report, in 2011 there were 2.26 billion Internet users out of the seven billion global population. Hence, with the increasing number of Internet users globally, business owners should not ignore the effectiveness of online presence. And, before it is too late on losing valuable business opportunities, you should consider having a website for your business. This article discusses the importance of online presence for small businesses.

Online presence educates customers on your products/services
Through online presence, you can educate and advise the users/clients/prospective clients about your services/products. By furnishing specific details of the product/service, location, contact numbers, way of delivery and so on, will not only help your consumers make the right choices, but also build your brand identity, which will ultimately lead to increase of your sales.

Can target local audience
One of the advantages of having website for your business is, you can target the local audience. Through online presence people will get to know about your business – the products, offers, discounts and other information related to your business. In this way you will not only reach the local audience, but also get global exposure. This will lead to your business growth.

By targeting the local audience first, you can know the response of the users. Look for their feedback and considering the feedback, you can make changes in the product/service accordingly. This will show what way to proceed in the markets other than local ones.

Brand Building
Customers are increasingly purchasing through the Internet. Creating a website for your business and keeping the same accessible to all will, therefore, help potential customers access your products/services online. Also, good advertisement of your business online builds brand awareness.

If your product/service is up to the expectations of user in quality of products/service offered by you, it forms a positive impression on your business in the minds of customers, which will increase in productivity and profitability. This will also lead to brand building, thus making more popular among the users.

Open for business 24/7
Online presence makes it possible for your business to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This will allow potential customers accessible to your product/services at any given time. And if your business has an e-commerce option, then the customers can even purchase your products/services at their own convenient time.

Credible image
Having online presence will present a credible image of your business among customers, clients and prospective ones. With an attractive website that is accessible without developing technical errors, you can engage the attention of the visitors. Further, using quality content that is fresh, updated regularly, original and unique, you can make sure that customers decide to buy your product/service online. This way you will be ahead of competitors and there will be more chances of you generating business.

Customer feedback
Through online presence you can also know about your existing and potential customers and it will make it easy for your customers to give their valuable feedback or pose queries related to the products/services of your business website. This helps the business to improve and build good customer relationship.

Less expensive
Being present online for your business is inexpensive compared to any other means of business promotion. Selling through online presence is much cheaper compared to traditional media. Further, it is economical to promote your product/service online. User, customers, clients all take the advantage of presence of your business online.

For small businesses, online presence is, thus, significant. Small business owners need, therefore, to have strong and effective web presence and adopt marketing strategies, to convert customers into loyal customers in their business.

Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Successful Business Plan

The chances of a business surviving and succeeding are more when it has a well-written and well-researched business plan that can guide in every step of business process. But, unfortunately, many small businesses don’t realize the importance of having a well-written business plan.

This article focuses on common mistakes that small business owners make when writing a business plan and how they can be avoided.

No proper research

The purpose of writing a business plan is to include all the necessary things that are required for your business process. For which, you need to do proper research to get adequate and accurate information that will validate your business plan. Before you start drafting your business plan, think about all the critical factors that should be included in the plan, make a note of them and accordingly structure your business plan.

Incomplete information

Never write a business plan that has incomplete information, because it may lead to failure of your business. A business plan should have clear and detailed information about your business and should cover all the areas including finance, administration, marketing, operations, accounting, etc.

Overestimation of revenues

While framing a business plan, see the real market for your products/services and the potential growth of sales and the revenues thereof. This is significant, as any overestimate would lead to loss of investment.

Look out for actual user experience and feedback for other products/services, if any. If there are none, it is sensible to keep the revenue expectations at modest levels to start with.

Detailed business plan

While it is important to detail the diverse aspects of the plan, you should ensure not to include trivial details which are tacit in course of business. If the information furnished by the plan is not straight forward and definite, later it becomes hard to implement the same. Such plans make business unsuccessful.

Neglecting competitors

Make a realistic estimate of competitors and potential competitors. Use relevant statistics including demographics, income-expenditure, inflation, industry and others that are necessary to get a clear picture of the competitors, present and potential.

No proper hiring

Clearly define in the business plan the number of professionals you will hire for each department. You need to hire professionals who have expertise, knowledge and experience to make the enterprise a success. Right attitude, good leadership qualities, personal integrity, ability to adjust to change and new circumstances are some of the qualities that a professional should poses. So, make it clear in the business plan about these attributes that you are looking for in a professional.

Superlatives and hype

Presenting the business with a hype without taking into account the ground reality is another mistake small business owners generally make. Your business may have reasonable turnover and growth, overtime. Be realistic while presenting data of your business.

Avoiding these mistakes, would lead you to a successful enterprise over a time span. It depends upon your ingenuity to grasp business trends and the ability to foresee the opportunities and threats to your business.

How to Choose a Name for Your Business – First Step to Give a Successful Start for Your Business

Choosing a successful business name is the most important step in starting a business. A name that rightly fits your business, brings forth success to your business. The name of your business contributes to your image and identity. Following are tips to help you choose the right name for your business.

Name that is unique
The chosen name should be unique and should reflect the type of product or service you offer to your potential customers. It should present a professional image in the minds of people. For example, if your products are for the younger generation, then you should go for a trendy name, as they are more likely to remember it.

While picking a name, consider the values it can inculcate. Examine if it fits your business and reflects your brand identity.

An effective business name conveys the uniqueness and value of the products or services. To make sure that the name you choose is unique, check if it is owned by others, whether online or offline.

It should be descriptive
The name of the business should be descriptive and should communicate what your business does – this helps your potential customers understand what product or service your business sells. It should also be memorable, appropriate and effective in making good impression of users. It should say about your business, products and services. Be focused on the values your business follows – quality, service, loyalty to customer and the like. It is better not to use irrelevant and unfocussed business names. This is, however, not to deny the simplicity and easy-to-remember aspect of the name.

Make it easy to spell and pronounce
An effective business name should be easy to spell, pronounce and remember. If your business name is easy for the customers to remember, than it is good for your business promotion and sales. Use short names as they are easy to remember and avoid using long names. It will also distinguish you from your competitors. Most important, it will spread word of mouth, if your customer recommends it to someone else.

Should have positive connotations
The name can give a connotation that is positive, negative or neutral. It is, however, safe to choose the positive connotation while naming your business, as it will convey the positivity of the business. A successful business name should have positive connotation. Avoid using a word with a negative or misleading connotation, as it may effect your business. In any case, it should impart prospective clients’/customers’ positive impression on the business for better business prospects.

Search on the Internet
Getting the right business name requires a lot of research and patience. The best solution is to search on the internet, as there are a number of names and suggestions available just a click away. It not only saves your time, you will also get to know if someone has the same name that you are thinking of naming your business. This will avoid you from being a copycat.

Consult experts
If you find it hard and complicated to come up with a good business name, consult experts. Consult professionals in the domain of your business. They can suggest a suitable name, logo etc.

Consulting experts entails cost, as they would give your business a name, the design of logo, caption for the logo and so on. Check with different experts online as well as offline to find the most suitable one.

Finding a good business name may be brainstorming for you. It is the step to start with. It is, however, indispensable, as it will target potential customers to your business. Hope you find a business name that will do good to your business.

Ways to Find Quality Hires Who Contribute to Small Business’s Success

For small businesses, it is important to have quality workforce. To get quality workforce, they have to search considerably in order to find the best. If the workforce is mediocre or less efficient, they find it hard for them to survive in the real competitive world. This article seeks to discuss the channels by which small businesses can find quality workforce.

Have an effective job description

To attract good quality candidates to your company, you need to advertise the job position in different means such as, news dailies, television, radio and the Internet. You should, however, see to it that it is effective to attract the best candidates. For this, you should make the job description attractive by stating clearly the job requirements, benefits, etc. briefly.

Hire skilled and experienced candidates

It is advantageous to recruit skilled and experienced applicants, because unlike freshers, experienced recruits have better grasp of work environment. Also, you need not train the new recruits to make them get to know the work culture. While evaluating candidates, frame a quality attribute measuring matrix with different criteria that are essential for the job.

Use the social media

Social media has become one of the most effective ways to publicize small businesses. They are cost effective and far reaching. Through social media, you can also contact other small businesses regarding the recruitment to different positions. Using social media, you reach more respondents than through any other means, online or offline. Reaching more people you would have a set of larger and diverse candidates’ profile.

Post ads on the Internet

The Internet is an effective medium to propagate small business news. The Internet is finding increasingly used in diverse sectors. Small businesses can leverage it to their advantage. Post your recruitment ads on the Internet to reach the target audience faster, and at low cost. It will enable you to reach the local audience easily.

Publish in local news papers

Publishing your recruitment ad in daily news papers, would attract applicants from different localities. For this, you need to get the ad published as many times as you need. Make an effective description of the job to attract skilled and experienced new applicants. If you are looking for people exclusively from the locality your business is in, you should opt for local newspapers to advertise the job.

Referrals from friends, relatives or previous colleagues

When recruiting candidates for your company, reliable sources you can approach are friends, relatives or previous colleagues. You can judge the essential attributes of the candidate like the suitability, caliber and the social and criminal background of the applicant by approaching them easily. It is also helpful when you desperately need candidates for a job role. Word-of-mouth could also help.

Search into local colleges and universities

Locals are considered to have more acquainted with business ethos in a particular geographic location. In this respect, make arrangements with local colleges and universities to cull out suitable candidate(s) for your business. Choose these sources to recruit freshers with good and consistent academic record for your company.

In the process, choose some suitable candidates who are in the final stage of their learning for the job. Impart some training related to the job and make them work for a brief period. By this, they would get the minimum skills. When they finish the studies, you can train them and take them as full employees.

Job portals

Use job portals for employers on the Internet. You can get linked to many agencies with pool of candidates, from which you choose the suitable one. You can get a suitable candidate effortlessly by posting your ad on job portals. You have, of course, to screen the profile including past experience of the candidate. If you feel the candidate is fit enough for personal interview, go ahead. Placing the job ad in job portals is economical.

Job portals enable you to post the job in several websites in one go and hence is fast.

Consider outsourcing to consultancies

Human resource consultants are another source to get a pool of recruits from which you could select. These consultants have candidates who are done with preliminary scanning which weeds out the less competent people. Thus, they give a set of candidates with the requisition skills and experience. When the set comes to you, choose the best one(s).

Getting quality hires for your small business is critical to its efficient management. You should have a workable plan regarding the job profile, posting the ad with different media, planning the interview to finally offering the job to the best candidate. (more…)

Essential Components of a Successful Small Business Marketing Plan

By: Sophia

Planning is essential for small businesses, especially, for start-up enterprises. The marketing plan for a small business is a document that throws light on your business goals and strategies. You need to have a well structured plan based on thorough research, with the single object – to target your potential customers. Before starting your business you should follow a strict business plan and include most of the key elements to achieve your goal.

This article discusses the essential components of successful small business marketing plan.

What the product is all about?

Describing the product is one of the most important components of a small business marketing plan. Your plan should have a detailed description of your products/services, and the market it will serve. The plan should also include how your products/services are different from competitors, and why customers should buy your product and how you will promote your business.

Analyze the market

In this section, you should describe the marketing strategies of your marketing plan. You need to identify your competitors who offer products/services that are similar to what you offer. You should list a few things while analyzing the market such as, things that make you stand apart from your competitors and the features and benefits of your product. This will help you develop your own marketing strategy, which will help you reach the target audience.

Financial analysis

While implementing your marketing plan, you need to describe the pricing of products/services. The prices should be set in such a way that they will allow your business to earn profit, but if the prices are high, customers may not be interested in purchasing your product. It is, therefore, important to create a detailed analysis of the costs associated with the products/services, the pricing strategy and the total cost of production to get the final products/services to the market. This will help you have a clear account of sales, cash flows, profits and return on investment.

SWOT analysis

An effective SWOT analysis will help you in identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business. You can view all positive and negative factors for your business that affect the success. Strengths include characteristics of business and the state of the art technology you use in your business, while weaknesses are limits on your budget or your employees not being familiar with the technology.

Opportunities are possibilities of higher profitability, while threats are your competitors who offer products/services as same as yours at more or less same price as you do. A SWOT analysis will make you aware of where your business currently stands and where it needs to improve, and how to move ahead in future.

Take help of different marketing methods

Every business requires different marketing methods to promote their products/services. Some of the cost effective methods are flyers, brochures, business cards, newsletters and word-of-mouth. You can also consider traditional marketing methods such as TV, newspapers, radio, etc. These are, however, expensive and initially it might be difficult to spend on these, keeping your budget in mind.

Of the many marketing methods, Internet marketing is preferable as it is less expensive and is an ocean of different online marketing strategies like social media, article marketing, blogging, press release, etc.

Internet marketing gives your business global exposure, targets a wider range of potential customers, is a fast way of promoting your business, gives quick results, educates customers about your products/services, promotes products/services 24/7 and last, but not the least, allows you to measure the number of sales generated. Therefore, considering all these advantages, it is evident that Internet marketing forms one of the best methods of small business marketing strategies.

Thus, the marketing plan for a successful small business should involve a comprehensive strategy to survive the challenges encountered in business. (more…)