Small Business Development And Marketing Strategies

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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.

Why Small Business Needs Accounting

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According to the NY Times, one of the ten reasons small businesses fail is due to improper or lack of accounting. Corporations spend a significant amount of money and hire accountants to report on the status of the company and maintain day to day operations. Yet, many small businesses end up failing to maintain proper accounting.

Accounting Helps with Operating Your Business
Proper Accounting helps pay employees and vendors; helps with customer invoicing, helps post payments; tracks your business assets and liabilities, and most importantly, it calculates any profits and losses. Small businesses cannot operate if they can not pay their employees or ignore vendors bills and continue receiving materials for their products. Often, those functions are ignored by small businesses due to lack of time thus resulting to work stoppages.

Accounting Provides Feedback
At the end of every period, may it be monthly or yearly, as small business owners, you have some idea of how you performed and accounting provides you the validation you need. It will tell you if you made a profit or loss. If you happen to have a loss, it will determine where your biggest expenses are coming from and if you did make a profit and still left with a small cash balance, it will probably tell you which customers havent paid and which customers are now delinquent. Small businesses fail when what they think is not true and this is the most important reason why small businesses need accounting.

Accounting Helps Comply With Legal and Contractual Obligations
The IRS, other government agencies, and banking covenants require businesses to provide a detailed accounting of their revenue and expenses. Depending on the size and entity type, it also requires you to have a balance sheet or listing of assets, liabilities, and equity. Accounting provides you with that information easily. It provides business owners the right amount of withholding, deductions, and back-up just incase they get audited.

Accounting Provides Non-Financial Insights
Many small businesses fail to realize that accounting is not just financial information. It has information on timing, customer information, employee information, and other information that may not necessarily be part of your financials. For example. a key non-financial trend that small business could pay attention to is their customer demographics, you can identify what your customers age, location, and how they order products and services and you can zone in on advertising to that demographics thus increasing revenue and could lead to increased profit. Another, key non-financial trend small business can pay attention to is monthly sales figures, when a small business realize that a continuous trend of slow monthly per year. A small business could either ramp-up advertising 30 days before as anticipation of the slow month or they could plan a family vacation.

Computer Support Virginia Services for Small Business

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Computer support Virginia services can allow you to fix any kind of hardware or software related problems of your PC. For small businesses, such services are quiet beneficial a sit can allow them to gain cost effective services.

Easy and fast way of carrying business is by means of using computer as it can assist in smooth running of business. For people running small scale business computer support Virginia services are essential as it can assist in resolving technical problems associated with your computer. In order to solve technical problems you need to have good set of skills and for people running small business it is not possible to carry out all activities single handedly. If you want to prevent your PC from sudden breakdown then it is essential to opt for reliable computer support services. Sudden break down might create problem for you as you might loose all your previous data.

Proper diagnosis of problem is essential to come up with suitable solution related to computer repair. Hiring professional services can make it possible for you to analyze problem and accordingly work over it without spending extra bucks on problem which actually do not exist. Small problems related to installation of anti virus software or corrupt software can be solved by you but when it comes to major problem, you would need computer support Virginia services. Opt for the services which say no to guesswork. Guesswork in technical errors might sometime not work in your favor and can further create more problems related to your PC.

While hiring such services for your small business see to it that professional IT expert is available to identify the problem and provide with solution accordingly. Don’t let the employee of your business assume the problem and apply their own mind to solve it. This might sometime work in your favor but can sometime invite more problems. Also it will waste lot of working time and so hiring professional services can help you to save considerable amount of time. Apart from time factor you also have to look after cost factor. Try to resolve problem as soon as possible before it gets too big and invite spending more amount of money.

Computer support Virginia for small business can be very fruitful in terms of services as well as cost. Look for the service provider who is located near to your business location so that you can save time involved in traveling. Look for the IT professional who can find it easy to resolves different problems related to hardware as well as software. Troubleshooting procedure should be aptly carried out so that further you can find your computer easy to maintain.

NTConnections provides fast data networking services, best it consultants online & exceptional business technology solutions. Opt for more comprehensive technology & Computer Support Virginia.

Can My Small Business Afford Franking Machine Prices

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An Efficient Mailroom Can Help Grow Your Small Business

Enterprises often waste money on mail even though franking machine prices are low, and its computer interface can streamline a mailroom.

Every enterprise needs an efficient method to track costs: how much is spent, and where. Small, medium and large enterprises must all do this and most have franking machines.

Inefficiency wastes money, time and always means additional costs. Even medium and large enterprises often run inefficiently; this is an unnecessary drain on resources especially when renting a franking machine prices can be as low as 15 per month. And in addition, franked mail is 30% cheaper than stamped mail.

Lets Talk About Performance

Franking machines are quieter and more efficient than ever. The technology is neater: they are no longer the hulking eyesores that people expect. They dont take up as much space – for small businesses a franking machines can be a sleek desktop device.

The latest generation of franking machines are a wide range of models to suit any business. Franking machine prices have to reflect a businesss budget and are graded by the quantity of mail the business sends out per month.
A weighing platform makes sure you never pay more postage than you need to, which is one reason why a lot of stamped mail costs the sender more than it should. The weighing platform is controlled from the password protected control centre; here you allocate mail into pre-programmed accounts, eg: public relations department, and can review their account history over a 13 month period.
Franking supplies – ink toner and labels – are as inexpensive as franking machine prices, but you can reorder them using the control panel.

Small Businesses With Low Requirement
If youre a small business with a low budget and requirements you can find franking machine prices as low as 5 per week. Often these include a free trial. NeoPost offer trials of their award-winning Autostamp 2, for example.

Small Businesses With Medium Requirement
Small businesses sometimes send more mail than larger companies – it depends on the nature of their work.
For medium requirements, the U40 is not a bad option at all. It uses digital inkjet technology so can frank a clean logo onto your mail, which is useful for marketing purposes. And if your requirements increase you can attach extra parts many franking machines are scalable, and come with scalable franking machine prices too.

VoIP 5 Tips to Improve a Small Business

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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.

Three simple and affordable advertising ideas for your small business

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When running a small business, marketing your products and services is an important aspect your must consider and plan for. No matter what industry you play in you will no doubt have competition. Even if you provide a better service or product you still need to stand out so consumers know. Marketing can be a big cost but there are also many affordable alternative to advertise your business.

Here are three simple advertising ideas and suggestions to give you high visility.

Vehicle back windows

A rear car window covererd with a sticker of your business is an affordable option to promote your business. Whenever your car is being driven around your business is being seen. For as little as one hundred and fifty dollars this is a small investment. Depending on how many years your sticker last, the breakdown cost of purchasing you rear window sticker works out to be even less.

Don’t overload the sticker with too much details. Keep the sticker bright and colorful. Avoid a cluttered look with too much details. Keep it simple. Don’t put more than three items of information. Your logo with business name, phone and tagline is all you need.

Car magnets

Large car magnets are another cheap alternative. These magnets are strong enough to withstand high speeds. To repeat – keep the design simple. Order many at a time and hand them out to your friends for their cars. You can purchase four magnets for as little as fifty dollars.

An alternative to magnets is use multiple smaller sized ones. A stack of twenty five magnets can be bought for about thirty dollars. Get people to take notice by scattering you car with these. When people take your magnets you know they’re working.

Outdoor banners

Ask your signwriter to print you a large banner. The cost of a small banner can be as little as one hundred dollars. We’ve even seen banners from as low as six dollars.

Use the small banners effectively by parking at the front of a busy event or location. Hang the banner from the side of your car. Your car and banner can’t be missed.

These are three simple advertising ideas to kick start your marketing on a budget.

Click Here to see Ryan Johns working these advertising ideas

What More You Need to Know About Small Business Cash Advance

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Small Business Cash Advance is almost similar to a small amount of business loan your business house applies and receives the funding and can utilize the funds for various uses in the business and your business house needs to repay the advance. However, there are substantial differences.

The Small Business Cash Advance is by nature, unsecured. The approval for business cash advance is not subject to the investigation or scrutiny that is undertaken in the case of a small business loan. You do not need to prove your credentials or demonstrate your plan.

Additionally, Small Business Cash Advance does not require any kind of share in equity ownership in the business house and the business house is free to utilize the funds in any manner whatsoever, as is required. The lenders of Small Business Cash Advance determine the amount of Small Business Cash Advance based on the amount of cash flow from the monthly credit card charges.

The approval rates of Small Business Cash Advance almost ten times higher than that of a regular bank loan. This is mainly because of the multiple barriers and the long winding application cycles and processes banks thrust upon the loan applicant.

If you want to procure a Small Business Cash Advance from any of the institutional lenders, your business house will have to accept the credit cards as a standard mode of payment.

The applicant of the Small Business Cash Advance will have to process a minimum amount as credit card sales every month, and additionally, the business must have been operational for a period of at least a year. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.

The biggest advantage is that the funding is made steady and is always consistently available to the applicant business house so that at no point in time, lack of cash becomes a hindrance in the development of the business and puts the business house in difficulties.

Small Business cash advances can be repaid by credit card sales and the repayments are usually processed through the merchant account of the business house. All other kinds of payments received in the form of check, cash or any other means are not accepted for repayment. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.

The biggest advantage with the small business cash advances is that they are hassle free and the business houses can procure such loans or advances very easily and with minimal documentation. The only downside is that these advances are unsecured and unsecured business cash advance can tend to become a liability.

Small Business Computer Consulting Appropriately Setting Your Rates

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In small business computer consulting, $100 an hour can be a reasonable and livable rate. Why can setting your rates at $100 an hour make all the difference in the world?

Take the $100 an hour and multiply it by 1,500 hours a year. This is reflecting a 75% utilization rate; or 75% of a typical forty hour work week as billable time. Now youre at $150,000 a year gross.

Salary and Affordability

As a small business computer consulting firm, you will want to take a third of the gross and plow it into sales and marketing. Therefore you can afford a $40,000 base salary for your sales account executive. So, of that one third of your gross small business computer consulting income, $40,000 can go to the base salary and $10,000 can go to related marketing expenses.

Additionally, one third will take care of taxes, insurance and overhead items for the most part, and you have a third of it or $50,000 left to pay a technical staff salary.

Surpassing $100 an Hour

You may be considering exceeding a rate of $100 an hour for your small business computer consulting firm. At that point, you can hit what we call the not-so-imaginary-hourly-billing-rate ceiling.

Needless to say, if your small business computer consulting clients are paying $110 to $125 an hour, it gets even easier to be able to afford really bright, motivated, highly qualified sales and technical staff.

Higher Rates Equal Bigger Businesses

However, if you want to charge above $100 an hour in your small business computer consulting firm, youll almost always need to move above and beyond sweet spot small business clients into really large small businesses, medium size businesses and enterprise-sized accounts that require a different business model and technical skill set.

Once you do that, youre going to be operating under a completely different type of business model. And you will need even more polished and seasoned salespeople to be able to handle those accounts.

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Auto Attendant – Make Your Small Business Sound More Professional

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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.

Top 4 Credit Card Benefits For A Small Business

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A business credit card offers many benefits to a small business. A business credit card helps to keep business and personal expenses separate. Having a credit card solely for business use can make a lot of difference in the business finances. Many small business owners do not understand how beneficial a business credit card can be.

Establish Credit And Creditworthiness

Just as you personally want to establish credit, your business needs to establish credit. It is common for small business owners to use their personal credit for their business credit, but this can get rather tricky. When it comes to taxes and financial liability it is much better for the business owner to keep personal and business credit separate.

Easier Accounting Saves Hassles

A business credit card will help simplify accounting. There will be no need to sort through papers to figure out business form personal expenses. Using a credit card, the purchases for the business are all in the statement. These figures can be easily transferred to the books. This helps to make accounting much easier by keeping expenses streamlined.

Simplified Spending

A small business owner may find himself having to okay purchases or write out checks for purchases made by employees. With a business credit card, the owner can get additional cards for those who have spending power. This will help cut down on time wasted getting purchases approved and also save money because far less checks will have to be written. It will make the business more efficient.

Reward Possibilities

There are many credit cards that offer rewards for purchases. With a rewards card a business owner can get an additional incentive by earning things like free airline miles, gasoline and even cash back on purchases. This is something that can be very helpful to a small business. Rewards are earned through purchases, so a business is earning something for money they would have spent anyway. It is like getting double for your money.

Business credit cards are a great idea, especially for small businesses. Many small business owners do not understand just how beneficial they can be, but as you can see they offer many perks. A small business owner would be very smart to get a credit card that will make it much easier on them in the long run. They will find they save money, save time and make the business more efficient and run smoother.