Senin, 30 Maret 2009

Create Real Magic And New Customers

by: Robert Smethers

Do you want a small business opportunity that could create more business for you? It is a chance to sell to the government. Bring in new customers is always the number one goal of many business owners. It is the life blood of any operation and if you want your business to stay healthy then you must bring in fresh new customers and keep them coming back with a great service or product.
I would like to introduce you to the 59.005 Business Development Assistance to Small Business program.
This program is excellent for bringing in new business and revenue. Get help from this program to sell to the government. They will assist your small business in obtaining a "fair" share of contracts and subcontracts for Federal government supplies and services and a "fair" share of property sold by the government.
What an excellent opportunity this is! I would rather sell a lot more to meet my goals than to have to get a small business loans or small business grants.
What they can do for your company is:
(Restriction of bidding/award to small business only)

(1) Your application will set-aside the chance to increase the Federal procurement and disposal requirements awarded to small business for a great small business opportunity;
(2) You will receive consultation with procuring activities on structuring of procurement and sales planning to optimize small business participation;
(3) They will also review and analyze you small business capacity, credit, integrity, perseverance, and tenacity when challenged by contracting officers and certifying competence of such firms to perform as prime contractors, as appropriate, and monitoring performance of certificate of competency holders throughout contract life;
(4) They will also review of subcontracting plans and programs of large prime contractors to determine the extent that they are providing subcontracting opportunities to small businesses, veteran-owned businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, HUBZone qualified businesses, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small businesses;
(5) When they give you consultation and advice for small businesses requesting assistance on government procurement or property sales matters, you must keep in mind that all consultants are not the same. It is very important to get one that you like and is passionate about their job.
(6) They will also help you with specific contract administration problems;
(7) They will see if you qualify for the SBA's procurement and financial programs;
(8) By doing this they want to breakout of items from a the same old stale source of buying in favor of full and open competition in order to achieve savings;
(9) One of the goals that they have is to review small business programs at Federal buying activities to evaluate effect on small business participation and recommend changes; and
(10) management of the Central Contractor Registration's Dynamic Small Business Search, a nationwide Internet database of information on small business, a marketing tool for small firms and a "link" to procurement opportunities. It pays to at least get registered and listed in this data base.
Existing and potential small businesses are eligible to apply. A small business is a business entity organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States and which makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes and/or use of American Products, materials and/or labor.
Generally, an employee based size standard not in excess of 500 employees is used for manufacturers for wholesalers, average employment not in excess of 500 is used; for general construction, a revenue based size standard not over $28,500,000 is used; for specialty trade construction, revenues not over $12,000,000 is used; for retail and services contracts, revenues not over $6,000,000 is used; and for agricultural enterprises, gross annual sales not over $750,000 is used.
Self-certification of documentation is sufficient for representation as a small business, women-owned small business, veteran-owned small business and service-disabled veteran-owned small business. SBA certification is required for status as a HUBZone small business, 8(a) small business, and Small Disadvantaged Business.
The range is about 15 days for certificate of competency; no approval is required on other programs for this .small business opportunity.
The government grants that guarantees this small business opportunity programs for small business grants totaled: FY 04 $4,606,675,000; FY 05 est $3,250,000,000; FY 06 est $3,000,000,000. Administrative Expenses: FY 04 $38,013,000; FY 05 est $34,188,000; and FY 06 est $36,406,000
In fiscal year 2004, $11.2 billion in government grants for prime contracts was set-aside for procurement limited to small businesses to give you an excellent small business opportunity.
Title 13, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 125; "Government Contracting Programs;" Government Contracting and information for this small business opportunity from SBA offices. Forms to obtain necessary assistance are provided by SBA field offices. To find where they are listed you can go to Associate Administrator for Government Contracting, Small Business Administration, 409 3rd Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416. Telephone: (202) 205-6460
Other small business opportunity programs that are related to selling to the federal government are:
17.301, Non-Discrimination and Affirmative Action by Federal Contractors and Federally Assisted Construction Contractors can use this small business opportunity;
17.303, Wage and Hour Standards;
36.001, Fair Competition Counseling and Investigation of Complaints;
39.001, Business Services is another small business opportunity;
43.002, Technology Transfer is the chance to participate in another small business opportunity;
59.006, 8(a) Business Development is a good small business opportunity that you should consider.

About the author:
I am a college student and single parent who relies on federal grants everyday.
I built this free information and education website that helps find federal grants to promote economic development.

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Sabtu, 28 Maret 2009

Consolidate Student Loans and Shop Online

by: Nick Smith

If you run a home business, you know that budgets can be pretty tight. Saving money wherever possible can be the difference between the business that succeeds and the one that fails. This article represents a broad survey of things you can do, from consolidating your student loans to getting small business deals on supplies, that will help you spend less each month.
Next Time You’re Online, Buy Something

Billions of dollars are spent each year online. Rather than suggest that you hurry and move your business online, I’d like to suggest that you add some of your dollars and cents to those billions already spent. Companies who move operations online reduce their overhead costs and often pass on those savings to you. Computers, airplane tickets, even student loan consolidation, can be purchased or arranged online. It has been my experience that I can find almost everything I want online for less than I can find it anywhere else. Next time you’re thinking about biting the bullet and making that big purchase, spend a little time shopping around online and see if you can’t save a few dollars.

Consolidate Student Loans and Get Your House in Order

Chances are good that you’ve been out of school for a while, but don’t skip this paragraph. If you consolidate student loans or other financial obligations, you will typically save a great deal of money each month on your monthly payments. Running a home business often blurs the line between personal expenses and business operating costs – do yourself a favor and make sure you have your personal financial affairs taken care of before you find yourself overwhelmed with past obligations. The government might not have cared about your credit score when they gave you those student loans, but banks looking to give business loans are a whole different story. Making sure everything is taken care will keep financial doors open that, once they’re closed, are very difficult to reopen.
Score One for the Little Guy

Believe it not, most people want small businesses to succeed. There are a lot of people willing to give you a break on prices because you own a home business, but you might need to ask about it. Office supply retailers and computer distributors sometimes offer discount prices to registered small business owners. The savings are not always monumental, but even the smallest savings multiplied over a year or two start to add up to pretty substantial amounts. Shop around to see if the suppliers you use are willing to offer you a discount on supplies or equipment.
Do Without…For a While

I’m probably not the only person that drove a car that was older than I was during college, or who ate Ramen noodles more than once almost everyday. Don’t forget the lessons you learned while you were a poor college student – the same ability to make do with what you have can save you a lot of money in the long run. I had just graduated from college and I wanted to get a new computer to replace the older, though fully functional one I was using. This was before I took my own advice to consolidate student loans, so money was still pretty tight. I wanted to kick myself when I saw that the price on the computer I bought dropped $300 in three months. Some expenses are necessary and unavoidable. For everything else, look to see if you can manage with what you have for a while longer.
Don’t Do It Alone

Nobody likes data entry – it’s time consuming, boring, and time consuming. If you find yourself spending too much of your day punching numbers into spreadsheets, consider hiring someone or outsourcing it to another company. If you think that you can’t afford the part-time salary, do an inventory of your time and see if what you would pay someone is worth the amount of time you’ll be able to invest into the meatier matters of your business.

I know I’m risking sounding like your father giving you a lecture about money, but remember that a penny saved is a penny earned. A successful business minimizes costs while maximizing profits.

About the author:
Nick Smith is a client account specialist with 10x Marketing - More Visitors. More Buyers. More Revenue. For information about how to consolidate student loans, check out Agilix GoBinder.

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Kamis, 26 Maret 2009

Business Meeting Etiquette

by: Jeff Schuman

What makes up proper business meeting etiquette? How do you have
a meeting everyone can leave feeling good about? Meetings have
become an inevitable part of doing business for almost every
business owner. There are meetings with clients, meetings with
employees and meetings with peers or associates.

Almost everyone has suffered through meetings that take up your
valuable time and accomplish very little.

In fact, you may find that you yourself have now become numb to
that fact that your meetings aren’t as good as they could be.
And everywhere you look, it seems as if somebody has another
idea about how to fix your meetings, and make them more focused,
more productive, and – dare I say it? More fun!

So what can you do about it? Simple business meeting etiquette
can help you put on a quality meeting. Here are a few tips and
ideas for meeting planning –

1. Schedule your meetings at the best times -

2. Make sure your meetings all start on time - (and whenever
possible, avoid scheduling meetings when someone is up against a
deadline, or on a tight schedule).

3. Maintain a consistent focus on what topics will be covered –
(use an agenda).

4. Ensure there is a good level of rapport in the group –
(people can talk to each other and exchange ideas about what is
being discussed).

5. Arrive at a decision - (find new ways to avoid covering the
same ground, and ask for input to help create a plan of action.)

6. Use parliamentary procedures - (so that the correct methods
for amending or making a motion, following the agenda and taking
turns before speaking are being followed).

7. Choose the best location and environment for your meetings -
(for example, trying to fit 15 people into a closet-sized room
that doesn’t have windows or a proper ventilation system is poor
planning on your part.)

8. Do not schedule meetings to go over routine topics - (you can
send a memo or email for this.)

9. Talk to your group and make your meetings interactive -

10. Alwaysr ask for feedback from participants and allow them to
present ideas or get involved.

These ten simple business meeting etiquette tips that
guarantee a better meeting for everyone. Follow these and you
will see results on what you covered as well as a better
attendance at future meetings.

About the author:
Jeff Schuman's small business resource website has the
best of everthing to help you run your own small business.

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Minggu, 22 Maret 2009

Business Goal Setting

by: Jeff Schuman

How many times have your decided to set a goal for your business
and set it aside because the task seemed too huge or difficult
to begin? I have seen this happen over and over so I decided to
write and article on business goal setting.

When setting your business goals it is interesting to see that
the thought process is no different than personal goal setting.
You have to clearly define your goal and write it down. Here are
7 steps that will help your business achieve th goals you are
setting for it.

- Think about the goal you want to set for business

- Write the goal down as soon as you visualize it. Writing the
goal on paper for posting on a wall or desk where you may review
it daily is very important.

- As you develop and write your goal, make room for changes and
put it on a type paper that can be easily updated as needed.
This just means you will need to be ready to revise and change
the written procedures as you move forward with the
implementation of your goal. Change is inevitable a necessity of

- Start taking the steps neccessary to implement your goal.

- Be sure to write down the date you want the goal to be
completed! Also write down the time and day of the week you will
start working toward the goal!

- Begin reflecting on how you are doing working towards you
business goal. You can always make adjustments as needed.

- Develop an attitude of I will do whatever it takes. Too many
business owners set goals and then give up do to laziness or
they just get to busy to follow thru.

Business goal setting is a long term process and you are going
to have to work at it to make it happen. It's your business so
you determine the success and failure. Business goal setting is
one step that will help you fall into the success category.

About the author:
Jeff Schuman's small business resource website has the
best of everthing to help you run your own small business.

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Jumat, 20 Maret 2009

Business Entities – What Are The Choices?

by: Neil Clarkin

When you decide to start your own business, one of the most important decisions you will make is determining which business entity is right for your business. This decision will have a huge impact on how the business is operated, how taxes are paid, and your personal liability. Different types of entities have different advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into consideration, but you should start with an understanding of exactly what each type of business entity is.

The sole proprietorship is the choice for most business startups, but it isn’t necessarily the best choice. What makes this type of business structure attractive is that it is the easiest and fastest way to set up a business. All that is required for a sole proprietorship is a business license, which can be obtained in about an hour by visiting your local court house, paying the fee and filling out a short form.

A partnership is just like a sole proprietorship, except that there is more than one owner. Again, a business license will be required, and while not required, a legally binding partnership agreement is highly recommended. The agreement should include the rights and obligations of each partner, how profits and losses will be divided, and how the partnership will be dissolved should one of the partners want out. There are actually two types of partnerships – a general partnership, and a limited partnership. The main difference between the two is that in a limited partnership, the limited partner’s legal liability is limited to the amount of their investment, but this limited partner does not have an active role in running the business.

Corporations are more complicated to set up, but they also offer individuals the most protection. There is additional record keeping and administration work that must be done, but the business owner is not legally liable for the actions of the corporation. Should be business get into financial trouble, creditors cannot come after the individuals assets. There are two types of corporations – C corporations and S corporations. C corporations have tax disadvantages, such as double taxation, and most businesses that incorporate choose the S corporation structure, which allows income to pass directly through to the individual shareholders.

The limited liability company (LLC) is an alternative to corporations that many small business owners look to. Like a corporation, the owners of the business are protected from liability, but the business is taxed as a sole proprietorship or partnership. There is typically less paperwork and expense involved in setting up an LLC, as opposed to setting up a corporation. This is the most feasible choice for many small businesses.

For the most protection, a small business owner should opt to either incorporate the business, or form a limited liability company (LLC). Even though a sole proprietorship or partnership is easier to set up, and doesn’t cost as much to start, it just will not offer the business owner or owners an adequate amount of protection, and in the end, could cost the owners more money than the cost of setting up a corporation or LLC in the first place.

About the author:
Neil Clarkin is a contributing writer at Incorporation Services Guide. You can find further information on business entities and learn how to form your corporation or limited liability company (LLC) online at

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Kamis, 19 Maret 2009

Business Disaster? Won't Happen to Me

by: Denise OBerry

Copyright 2005 Denise OBerry

As fast as you can say business disaster, your business can go up in smoke. That's what happened a while back to Castle Carpet One. Gone were thousands of dollars worth of equipment and carpet, plus two smaller businesses that were housed in the same building. Luckily the owners, Larry and Diane Cox, had plenty of business insurance to cover their physical losses. But they lost their most important business asset - customer records - because of failed back up systems. Rebuilding their customer base will be tough and the long-term revenue impact is hard to measure.

With disasters like hurricanes, tornados, fires, floods and terrorism, to name a few, it's critical for small companies to have a disaster plan. And for companies with only one location, it's even more important. One location companies have the potential to lose the entire business if disaster strikes. For a home-based business, it's even worse. You could lose your home and your business in one swoop. Any small business owner can minimize the damage by simply having proactive strategies in place to deal with an emergency when it happens. What if:

- You arrive at your business to find it vandalized and all of your customer records missing?
- Your most critical employee becomes ill and requires an extended absence?
- Your computer hard drive (or network) crashes?
- You become the primary care giver for a sick family member?
- You become ill and can't manage your customer commitments?
- Your business becomes inaccessible because of an emergency on your street?

What would you do? Would your business survive? What would you grab if you had to leave your business quickly? After the emergency, how would you communicate with your employees? Customers? How long would it take to get back to business as usual?

Without a disaster plan, you'll have a harder time getting back to work. Most businesspeople think it will just take two or three days. That's tough to do if you have no plan for action and little money to move forward. The reality, experts say, is more like several months and at least 25 percent of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen.

But most small business owners just don't make time for planning. We think it's "never going to happen to us." It could. The time to formalize a game plan for an emergency is before it happens. Do it now.

About the author:
Denise O'Berry is a small business consultant located in Florida. For disaster planning tools and tips, visit

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Rabu, 18 Maret 2009

Database Marketing: Using Point-of-Sale Data to Improve Profitability

by: David Frey

Not long ago I made a trip over to the local Radio Shack to purchase an electronic plug for my cassette recorder.

As I paid for my item the retail clerk asked me for my name, address, telephone number, birth date, and even my email address (something every retailer should be asking for today!).

Although I felt a twinge of discomfort giving out my personal information, I went ahead and gave it to him and went on my way.

Driving home I reflected on Radio Shack’s checkout process and was reminded of the power of information gathering at the point of sale.

I had just given Radio Shack three ways to contact me, not to mention, information on what I had purchased. In the hands of a skilled marketer, this information is powerful.

Database Marketing

The recent economic slowdown has brought increased competition to small businesses. And with that, retailers across North America have described their sales as "flat." Small businesses should be looking for low cost, high impact marketing activities to drive prospects to their business.

One of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to add profits to the bottom line is the use of database marketing, which uses information collected at the point-of-sale.

Using personal data, purchasing data, and contact information from a customer database, a spa and pool retailer can make offers to customers for complimentary products and services and engage in loyalty marketing activities.

Database marketing has four key elements, (1) gathering customer data, (2) building a customer database, (3) creating targeted offers for specific customer groups, and (4) tracking results to improve responses.


Step 1: Gather customer data.

The easiest way to begin this process is to develop a simple form for customers and salespeople to fill out every time a customer purchases a product or service. Include personal information such as names of spouses, children, profession, and birthdays, as well as, product information such as manufacturer, make, and model.


Step 2: Build a database to store your customer information.

Start simple using off-the-shelf software such as Microsoft Access. Later on you can begin to modify the database to either include different types of information or to print special reports.


Step 3: Start sending offers and personal messages to your customers.

Don’t wait until you have a large mailing list. Begin sending notes to customers right away thanking them for their purchase, to celebrate birthdays, share holiday messages, and inviting them to come in and take advantage of special offers.

There is an old saying that goes, "Business goes where business is invited, and stays where it is appreciated." A personalized invitation to drop by the store to take advantage of a specific incentive is sometimes all that is needed to keep your customers coming back into the store.

Instituting a program of personal, hand-signed notes that coincide with birthdays or special events addressed to the customer's significant other that offer gift ideas, can have surprising results.


Step 4: Track the results of your database marketing efforts.

By knowing who you sent offers to and who responded will help you identify your best customers, allow you to more effectively allocate your marketing dollars, and help you tweak your marketing pieces to get higher response rates.


What Information Do I Collect?

It’s important to determine in advance the type of information to collect. To do this, make a list of common special offers you might be presenting to your customer.

For instance, if you sold a product in the health industry and many of your customers have lower back problems you could joint venture with other businesses to develop special promotions on products that help to relieve lower back pain.

To capture the fact that your customer experiences lower back pain, simply place a check box on your form that says, "Do you experience lower back pain?"

If your customer has small children, consider presenting follow-up offers for products targeted for small children.

Imagine being a consumer and receiving a letter from your business with an enclosed birthday card for little Joey who just turned eight years old and a discount offer for a basketball hoop or other relevant products. You think to yourself, "What a great gift. Joey would love that!" This is the power of database marketing.


Collecting Accurate and Consistent Information

Database marketing all starts at the point of sale. Without accurate, complete, and consistent data this type of pinpoint target marketing can’t be done.

To ensure that your information is accurate and consistent, help your customers fill out the data collection form and review each information form for completeness.

You might experience a hesitancy from your customer to give out all their personal information, similar to how I felt at Radio Shack.

However, after explaining that the information will only be used to send out special offers during important events, is completely confidential, and will not be shared with anybody else, you’ll find that most of your customers won’t have any problem giving out their personal information.


Cost Effective Loyal Customers

Marketing to your current customers is one of the most effective and cost-efficient strategies you can do to reduce your marketing costs, enhance your customer / retailer relationships, and produce long-term loyal customers who, over a period of months or years, become your biggest source of referrals.

About the author:
David Frey is the author of the best-selling manual, "The Small Business Marketing Bible" and the Senior Editor of the "Small Business Marketing Best Practices Newsletter." To get your free lifetime subscription visit

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Does my small business need a budget?

by: Melody Campbell

Copyright 2005 Melody Campbell

"I only have a small business, I don't need a budget."

"I don't have enough money to budget."

For many small business owners, the word "budget" is something for the bigger company - maybe they'll have one when their business "grows up."

What is a Budget?

The simple explanation is a budget is a plan for how you will manage all financial resources and all expenses for your business. The basic equation that you want to demonstrate in a budget is as follows:

(estimated )Sales minus (estimated) Expenses = Profit (or loss)

How to create a Budget

If this is your first time to work on a budget for your small business, you might work from the perspective of having to list cost of goods or services plus all of your operating expenses to start the process.

How much does it take to operate your phone line? What is the cost of other utilities? How about the cost of a company vehicle, or what is the cost of transportation if you're using your personal vehicle to also serve as a company vehicle. Do you need any supplies or inventory to operate your business? How about any employee payroll, payroll taxes or independent product or service providers? Remember to include everything you spend money on to operate your business even if you allocate some of the expenses to "petty cash" expenses, such as parking or bridge tolls while traveling to see clients.

I recommend that you create annual budget, as opposed to a monthly budget, so you can identify any expenses that you may have that come up only once or twice a year such as insurance and include them in your list of expenses. This allows you to amortize or spread the cost of this out over several months so that you can plan ahead for the expense.

As you work on your list of expenses keep in mind that these are the expenses that are necessary to operate your business. These should not be your "wish list" unless you want to budget in some expansion or growth. You may want to create a budget with just the necessities and another version of your budget with expansion expenses listed so that you can see the cost of both separately.

With a dollar figure to work with of your total expenses you are able to set the standard for or evaluate your sales figures. If you are new to your business you may need to use the dollar amount of your expenses to help you determine what your sales need to be in order to cover all costs and show a profit. If you have been in business for a while you can evaluate whether or not you are producing a profit by looking at historical sales figures.

As you conduct business during your budget year you should compare your actual income and spending with what you estimated. This will allow you to manage your spending so that you don't over spend and cut into or eliminate your profits. You will also be able to see if sales have met expectations in order to cover expenses and still remain profitable.

Who should Budget?

Every small business owner should budget, no matter the size of business. I have heard some small business owners say their business is too small to budget, but that is not true. If you don't have a written plan for what your financial obligations are and how your revenue will cover those obligations and leave some money unspent, then your business will never grow. In fact, you may out-spend your revenue and put yourself out of business.

Why Budget?

Budgeting for your small business gives you control over your finances. By looking ahead to what you know or can reasonably estimate what your expenses will be, you can then make financial decisions that will keep you from over-spending, or give you the freedom to invest in the growth of your business.

When Budget?

Every small business owner should have a budget to start their business and then review it annually. I recommend that small business owners review their budget several months before the end of their fiscal year. When I say review the budget I'm talking about comparing projected budget with actual. In the comparison you can see if your estimates were realistic. You and your CPA can also plan for last minute tax strategies, or plan to implement strategies in the up coming year's budget.

The Goal in Budgeting

Remember, the goal of having a budget is to stay in control of your finances in advance. Setting the standard for your spending and revenue and having a tool to compare with actual will give you the control that you need to stay profitable. At the very least it will give you an indication of whether or not your business is actually profitable and not just busy.


Throw away all your receipts!
Yes, you can throw them all away after you've scanned them into NeatReceipts. This handy tool is operated by scanning all of your receipts using a portable scanner into your computer or laptop. The software can produce expense reports or you can import the information from the receipts into your accounting software such as Quicken or QuickBooks. Once the receipt has been scanned into your computer you have a digital copy so you can through the receipt away. No more shoe boxes full of receipts!

About the author:
Melody Campbell is The Small Business Guru. You can view more Small Business Owner Resources at The Small Business Guru website. Educate yourself for Success in the Core Competencies to becoming a Master Small Business Owner. New monthly membership trial for only $1 for the first 30 days!

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