Archive for

Business Success: Why You Need A Plan Of Action

In this article I am going to talk about why you need to have a plan of action in place for business success. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for then how are you going to achieve an unknown?

I believe one of the best ways of coming up with a plan of action is to look at your business as a whole. If you know your overall business plan and you know how everything fits together, then you will be able to break things down so that you have a plan that you can execute.

Let’s take Internet marketing as an example. If you are wanting to market your business on the Internet then you need to understand Internet marketing. So in this case your goal would be to market your business effectively on the Internet. You need to have a clear picture of what that means and the various aspects of it.

Here are some things you would need to consider:

  • who is my customer?
  • where is my customer online
  • how can I target my customer
  • how will I generate traffic
  • how will I communicate with my customers
  • how will I set up payments online

You can see that there are many aspects involved in marketing any business using the Internet. I have only written a few examples above but there are plenty more things that you need to think about.

Until you have a clear picture of the overall process of your business you will not be able to break it down enough for you to take action.

If you think about it every little action you take is like a step closer to your ultimate goal. If you don’t know what that ultimate goal is and how will you know the little steps that you need to take to reach it?

When you are able to see your business overall and you can see where you are now and where you want to be, you will be able to backtrack and identify all of the steps that need to be taken in order to get to where you want to be.

This is what I recommend. Look at specific areas of your business and what you want to achieve, what your goal are in that area. Then write down all the steps you need to take to achieve that goal in that specific area. Once you have done this for all areas of your business then you can begin to put things in a particular order.

For example, which area or aspect of your business would you need to work on first? When you have completed that particular area what part of your business would you need to work on second? You will find that there are many areas of your business that actually overlap and therefore you will have to work on them simultaneously. However if you have a plan of action in place for each specific area it becomes far easier for you to take that action and for you to see the progress that you want to see.

Managing the Financial Risks, Investing in Your Business

As you have likely realized by now the risks of starting, owning and operating a business are significant and numerous. As such a significant part of the strategic planning for any business owner involves managing these risks properly, in order to ensure that the best balance between cost of mitigation, and exposure is struck. And whether you are a small or large business, it is essential that you have, and maintain, a solid strategy for managing those risks.

In terms of establishing a proper plan for investing in your business, I would suggest that you at least consider some of the aspects for managing those risks, including:

1. Investing with a plan.

Though investing in your business will not often be the largest of the exposures you will encounter in your business life, if not managed carefully it could potentially prove disastrous to your financial wellbeing. One of the key things to consider is that throwing money at your business for the sake of investing, is a pointless exercise. So it is very important that when you do invest, you actually invest with a specific purpose in mind. And in terms of this I am not suggesting some generalized idea of a purpose, but an actual purpose with an objective, budget and complete spending plan. Applying this approach will ensure that the money is put to good use, and not just wasted on trivialities.

2. Calculate the cost of your investment.

A second consideration specific to investment in your business is an accounting of the loss of earning potential possible from alternate sources. Asking yourself whether the investment would yield a better return elsewhere, would most certainly help you make a more balanced decision on how, and how much you invest. Recognizing of course that often the returns from investment in your own business are more long term, I would suggest that you do the actual math. If your plan is a 5 year plan, calculate the interest lost, versus the amount you expect to get in return, from your business investment. Consider the risks of both, and then weigh your options carefully. And do remember the value of your business growth is also technically a return.

3. Invest in assets.

Although not always possible, one of the best ways to mitigate investment risk is to invest in assets. In other words buy things that you can sell in order to recuperate your loss, if the business (or specific investment) fails. Resalable inventory would prove a better investment than furniture for your office. Thus buying an expensive leather chair with the money you invested is probably not the best idea. And of course investing in assets that could generate direct profit would improve your odds of getting a decent return.

4. Hire an expert

More often than not I have noted that business people invest in intangibles like marketing and branding, thinking they will get huge returns from this. The unfortunate thing is that more often than not, the returns are not what they expect them to be, and the money ends up being wasted and lost. In order to mitigate your risk of loss, I would strongly urge you to retain the services of an expert in what you are buying. For example, it will prove well worth your while to hire a marketing guru, rather than going at it on your own. It will most definitely increase your success and rate of return.

Of course there are many other potential exposures, all of which could have a significantly impact on your return on investment and business success overall. Realizing however that planning, based on proper research, is key to not making large mistakes in this arena, it is important to spend the time to ensure the best possible outcome.

I wish you all the best with your ventures, and invite you to share your ideas and stories here.


Link Building Ideas for Small Businesses

If the time is right for your small business, a basic search engine optimization strategy can do a world of good. Not only will it help you get found by people searching the web, but it will go a long way in defining your business to the major search engines. This has some great long term implications.

Getting indexed properly with sites like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing can really be the make it or break it for a website. This couldn’t be truer for a small business that probably cannot devote too much time or money to these search engine optimization efforts. Becoming relevant for the keywords that both define your business, and those used by customers to search for your offering is extremely critical.

Having this setup correctly at first will set your site and search engine optimization work up for success in the future. The added bonus is that you will be coming up closer to the front page of search results more often, and landing more clicks. I think we can all agree that would be very helpful.

So the details of building links aside, what are some effective ways for small business to actually get links. It’s well known that it is essential to actually reach out and ask people for links back to your site. But who should you reach out to?

Obviously it depends on both your business and industry, but if look in the right places there are many opportunities to start building links for your site. Not all of them will have the high authority and ranking that we all probably want, but traffic is traffic and you got to start somewhere.

Here are some great ideas for people to contact and where to begin looking for some basic links.

Maybe your business has some connections or partners within your industry. Simply ask them to include a link on their own business’ site back to yours. It doesn’t need to be overly promotions, just something saying you are affiliated.

If you can expand on this relationship and really use it your advantage even better. Take the reciprocal route and offer to link to their site in return. It doesn’t cost you anything and will show your relationship from both sides.

Look and see if there are blogs related to your offering or industry. Even if they are not directly related, blog authors are always looking for fresh ideas for a story or new blog post. Use this to your advantage and propose some content to them that relates to you.

There are two ways to approach this situation, depending on what their typical blog is about. Either make it promotional and explain the rest benefits of your product or service, or evaluate a topic with your opinion, given your industry knowledge.

Both of these angles would be deserving of a link back to your website, and with the traffic blogs are getting today it can be hugely valuable. But don’t settle for a single author, keep trying to expand your network, meet new people, have content repeated, shared, and new posts added.

That way your links will be building up, but so will your own business’ awareness which will hopefully lead to more sales.

Are you connected to any distributors or stores? Their websites can be great places to find links. A brick and mortar location with a website or just a simple e-store will always want to provide more information to their customers. Take advantage of this fact and ask to be linked back to your site to provide just this.

Maybe they are having a promotion or just featuring your offering. Make sure people can find you site and learn everything there is about you, once they visit your seller.

If you product or service is tangible or reviewable, consider sending our some free samples, sneak peaks, or free trials to people. Look around the web for people willing to try things out and right comprehensive, good reviews about them online.

They will likely have a blog and be more than willing to do so if they get your product for free. Because after all, everyone likes free stuff. Make sure they include a link back to your site in their review so you get credit where it’s due. If you have faith in your offering and know what your provide is good, then have no fear and send some samples away for review.

Many times these reviewers can have huge audiences that are likely interested as well, so you might even receive some great traffic from using this option.

Check out local news sites like the Patch for some coverage of your business. Use any advantage you have at the time and pitch that as a part of your whole story. Maybe your business is new and looking to reach more customers in town. Sell that fact and hyper local news sites like this will be happy to help you out.

Just like bloggers, they are always looking for fresh content and new stories. Giving them exactly this with a local perspective will almost guarantee you a spot no the site. This will come with a link that hopefully will bring you some good local traffic as well.

Sites like this are highly reputable among the search engines, since they are basically very local online newspapers and get great traffic.

Give some of these ideas a shot and before long you will hopefully be seeing increased traffic and better results among search engines. You have to start somewhere, and taking a grassroots search engine optimization approach is perfect for a small business.