8 Do's and Don'ts of Starting a Business

8 Do’s and Don'ts of Starting a Business

1.     Do seek advice from other with more experience. Remember it is impossible to be an expert in every aspect of your business. Rely on others with various experiences to help you form your decisions.

2.     Do plan carefully. A business plan can help you identify potential pitfalls.

3.     Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Business is a matter of trial and error. You will make mistakes, however this is all part of the learning process.  Even the most successful corporations make mistakes, however it’s the ones who learn from them that continue to grow. A good practice to incorporate is writing down your mistakes also noting the affect that they have had on your business and what you learned from the mistake. By doing so, you can put systems and procedures in place to limit similar mistakes from happening again.

4.     Don’t over plan. It is simply impossible to account for every situation and encounter that you will have.

5.     Do be flexible. As things change, so will the needs of your customers. The products/services that you make or provide today may not be the products/services that you provide 5 or 10 years from now.

6.      Do encourage feedback from your customers.  Feedback can be a key ingredient to your businesses success. Customers often have great ideas on ways to improve your business and I’ve found that they are more than willing to share those ideas for free.  If you decide to take such feedback from your customers, be careful to do so in an organized manner. Unsolicited feedback whenever you interact with a customer can be overwhelming. 

7.     Don’t reinvent the wheel. While the age-old saying doesn’t apply to all businesses (especially for technology companies or start-ups that look to be innovative), for many it is okay to simply find a successful model and imitate it.


8.     Do continuously improve your business model. Whether it’s annually, quarterly or daily, look for ways to improve your services, products and/or processes. Use the feedback from your customers as well as your own innovative thinking to improve your business.


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Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations

By Antonietta Dankel

Your organization's financial health depends upon sound financial management. Nonprofits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. Nonprofits should use their financial resources to accomplish their missions in an effective and efficient manner. In addition, an organization is accountable to its board, staff and the general public to know how much revenue it is receiving and how that money is being spent. It also needs to ensure that grants and all other income are spent in the manner intended. Establishing clear policies and practices to regularly monitor how funds are used will make managing your organization's finances simpler and easy to account for.

A great place to start is creating and following an annual budget. Look at your budget as a plan that identifies the financial resources to achieve your objectives. Once constructed, this plan assists staff and board in managing the organization financially throughout the year. Unique accounting standards require that nonprofit organizations report contributed income in one of three categories unrestricted, temporarily restricted, or permanently restricted. It is a good idea to track the revenues by fund category.

 It is important to plan ahead for difficult financial times. The demand for services is increasing at the same time that traditional sources of funding are shrinking and changing. Nonprofit leaders know that it will take creativity, innovation, and focus to weather this period. Adapting to these challenges also demands leadership and an open mind. A wise choice would be to develop a reserve fund as well as an investment policy for your organization.

Auditors have always considered the quality and sufficiency of internal controls as a component of an audit. When weaknesses in internal controls are observed, audit firms are more likely to highlight organizational shortcomings by submitting a management letter to an organization's board of directors citing weaknesses and recommending action. Establishing appropriate internal controls will help prevent improper use of funds and to ensure that costs are controlled. Establishing these controls will also assist your organization in an audit or financial review

Financial Management will help you understand basic practices and build the basic systems and practices needed in a healthy business. For more information visit the Center for Nonprofit Success website at www.cfnps.org



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How Can Your Business Get More Web Exposure?

How Can Your Business Get More Web Exposure? How Can Your Business Get More Web Exposure?
By Vanessa Dubon
Businesses often struggle with getting online exposure. Having a beautiful, amazing website doesn't necessarily result in exposure. Here are a few tips that can help your business and website get more traffic!
Using Social Media to Gain Exposure
Social media alone can help your business get the exposure it needs. First, you will want to create a business profile on a variety of social networks. Start by inviting your family and friends and business associates to follow you. Second, you will maintain your profile, and continue to post fresh content. You can share your latest product, special promotions, or articles related to your industry. The point is to ensure that your followers are continuously reminded that your business exists.
Increase Your Business Website's Traffic
You will want to focus your efforts on obtaining not just traffic but quality traffic. Quality traffic refers to visitors who may actually be interested in what you are selling or your website's content. Quality traffic is more likely to browse different parts of your website. This will reduce bouncebacks, increase your pageviews, and increase the amount of time they spend on your website. This will help you rank higher on search engines. You attract quality traffic by sharing your link on websites visited by your target market.
The use of backlinks also helps increase quality traffic. Backlinks refer to the incoming links to your website. You can increase backlinks by placing an advertisement, writing a blog as a guest, or becoming a sponsor. Your website's reputation and exposure increases with the use of backlinks. This also helps you rank higher on search engines.
You can also add your business to directories, such as Yelp, Google Places, and Yellow Pages. People are always looking for products or services, and this helps them find you.
SEO Content
Last but not least, you will want your website to have search engine optimized (SEO) content. The content must be engaging and include keywords related to the content. For example, if your business is focused on arts and crafts, you will use keywords related to this. You can provide tutorials on how to do certain crafts, also. Original tutorials are informative and often include good use of keywords. Furthermore, they are related to the type of business. You will want to make sure that the images are also SEO by adding Alt Text.
Remember that having a website or social profiles alone will not get you exposure. It requires time and dedication to get quality traffic. Lastly, you will want to ensure that your web design is easy-to-use.
To learn more about effective web design and how to increase your business exposure visit http://www.CaliImage.com
Cali Image provides high quality web design solutions and search engine optimization services.
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Five Easy Steps in Using Discount Vouchers in Fundraising

Discount vouchers have become popular tools in fundraising in Australia. Below are the five easy steps in using discount vouchers in fundraising for your non-profit organizations or local groups and clubs.

1. Enroll businesses and advertisers in your fundraising event

The first thing you must do if you want to use discount vouchers in your fundraising event is to enroll businesses and advertisers to believe in your cause or advocacy to make them give you the discount coupons. Most businesses are concerned on how they will benefit in being part of your event. Moreover, most of them are after exposure and advertising to make their brand known. Fundraising event organizers should be able to sales talk the benefits that businesses will get upon supporting or sponsoring your event. Explain carefully how your members and supporters will be able to help their business grow.

2. Collect and layout discount vouchers in a booklet

It is of vital importance to choose which businesses to call when planning to use coupon books as a fundraiser. There are several considerations that must be met to make your booklets sellable to your members and supporters. First, it is important to choose business within your locale for accessibility. Proximity is the key to make sure that people will go to the business. It is very unlikely that your members and supporters will go to a business far away just to use the discount voucher.

Fundraisers should also consider the lifestyle of their members and supporters in deciding which businesses to tap. For example, if your members are mostly mothers, go for businesses that offer discounts on essential household items. Grocery and hardware stores, bakeries, coffee shops, dry cleaning, and spas are some of the businesses where mothers will enjoy most of the discount vouchers. If your non-profit organization has working women for supporters, you should aim for restaurants, hotels, coffee shops and salons for their discount vouchers. Knowing the profile of your members and supporters will make it easier for you to market the coupon books.

3. Earn funds from advertising fees

One of the advantages of making your own coupon books is you will be able to earn additional funds from advertising fees. Businesses and advertisers will pay a considerable amount for whatever media exposure they can get. The advertising fee paid by businesses varies and depends on how big your fundraising event is.

4. Contact company offering discount coupon booklets

In order for you to save time and effort, there are companies your non-profit organization and local clubs can partner with for the coupon books. They will provide you with ready-made books loaded with discount vouchers from their business partners. The company will just give the organization a fair share on the sales of the coupon books.

One of the companies offering this type of service for fundraising in Australia is MyPhoneVouchers. The company offers a sweet deal to organizations. Instead of the old-fashioned coupon books, the company offers a subscription service that gives users access to a myriad of discount vouchers from the company's hundreds of business partners. The subscription is valid for a year; thus, enjoy discounts and perks for a whole year. MyPhoneVouchers gives organizations $20 for every member signing up for $39.99 subscription. Moreover, the company will give the charity group 50% of the subscription fee every time their members renew their contract.

5. Encourage your members and supporters to buy the booklet

One of the crucial parts of the fundraising event is to encourage your members and supporters to buy the discount vouchers book or avail the subscription. It is important to have a clear message of your cause, activity or advocacy on why you are raising the funds.

Mark Nugent is an expert in writing articles for fundraising and advertising fields in Australia. He has been working for Discount Vouchers in Australia for years.

 
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