20 Business-Building Practices

Business BuildingYou have nurtured your idea, created a business plan, and secured financing. Now for the make-it or break-it question: How do you continue to grow your business year-after-year?

Building a better “mousetrap” doesn’t guarantee that the world will beat a path to your door. And, contrary to the inspiring message in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” there are no assurances that, “If you build it, they will come.” Increasing demand for your products/services and growing your business is realized by the creation and implementation of well-defined strategies.

Two major factors of marketing are the recruitment of new customers (acquisition) and the retention and expansion of relationships with existing customers (customer relationship management). Once you have converted the prospective buyer, customer relationship management (CRM) takes over. The process for CRM shifts from that of being the marketer, to that of being a builder of relationships. Building customer relationships involves nurturing the links between you and your customer, enhancing the benefits that sold your customer in the first place, and continuously improving the product/service in order to protect your business from competitive advancements.

The marketplace is ever changing; therefore, a marketing strategy that works today does not necessarily mean that the same strategy will work in the future. These changing environments necessitate the need to continually analyze and measure the results of each and every one of your promotional efforts. A system that tracks and monitors incoming sales inquiries, by the lead source, is imperative.

The basis of your business development strategy is the recognition of the concept that marketing is a process and not an event. Building a business is, in fact, building a brand. Building your brand is a process that consistently broadcasts your message through a number of different channels to a targeted audience. The trap in event marketing is that it creates the effect of start and stop marketing and produces gaps in the frequency of your promotional efforts.

The need for a written marketing plan is critical. The American Marketing Association (AMA) states, “Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives”. Your marketing plan is your road map that guides you through the marketing process.

There is a variety of ways to generate greater demand for your business. Whether you are starting a new business or jumpstarting an existing one, you need to identify at what stage of the business life-cycle your company is currently in. This information will impact your choice of strategies.

Here are twenty (20) effective business-building practices:

Review your unique selling proposition: The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is your biggest marketing weapon and the key to differentiating your business. What is a USP? In essence, it is a simple statement that sums up the unique features, benefits and value that you provide, that no one else can. You arrive at your USP after you identify the features, benefits, and advantages of your company’s products/services. After you apply the same process to each of your competitors’ products/services, then compare and isolate the elements that distinguish you from your competition.
Establish a marketing communication budget:: Determining and allocating a specific amount of money to fund your marketing strategy cannot be overstated. Whether you use the affordability method, percentage-of-sales method, competitive-parity method, or objective-and-task method to determine the amount of your marketing budget, you must pre-establish an amount of money that you will spend on marketing activities to achieve your sales/revenue projections.
Incorporate integrated marketing communications: A management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing must work together as a unified force. In practice, the goal of IMC is to create and sustain a single look and message in all elements of your marketing campaign.
Utilize indirect marketing: Needless to say, putting more “boots-on-the-ground” in your sales and marketing activities can pay huge dividends. Some of the more popular indirect marketing methods are networking, strategic alliances, independent sales representatives, affiliate marketers, and dealers/distributors.
Ask for referrals: You know the importance of referrals. But, if you do not continually ask for referrals, you will not generate them. It makes good business sense to always ask for referrals. Just ask your customer if they may know of other companies that could utilize your products/ services. You may be pleasantly surprised by their reply.
Explore different markets: If your products/services are presently being sold to one or two different markets, then it is time to explore the opportunities that may be available to you in other markets. A little brainstorming with your staff about this often produces a good “hit list”. As they say, “think outside the box”.
Consider additional channels of distribution: There are a number channels of distribution that may work for you. For example, selling direct, such as via mail order, Internet and telephone sales. Companies also use sales agents who sell on their behalf and/or
distributors (also called wholesalers) who sell their products to retailers. And finally, there may be possibilities of selling direct to retailers and end users.
Expand your geographic reach: Additional channels of distribution are often needed for you to expand geographically. You may want to consider the possibility of franchising or licensing others to promote and sell your products?
Increase product/service offerings: This is a very common method to increase sales/revenues. Important considerations when evaluating a new product/service offering are: Can the new product/service be sold to your existing customer base? Does the new product/service complement your existing products/services?
Differentiate your business: Differentiating your business means that you define your company in relationship to the competition and that you communicate to your customers the value added benefits of doing business with you, versus doing business with your competition. Differentiating your business also means that you continuously make improvements to sustain a leadership position.
Identify your customers’ competitors: A great source for new prospective customers is your customers’ competition. In most cases, these competing companies have the same or similar needs as that of your existing customers.
Survey your customers: In order to effectively differentiate your business, you need to look at your business from your customers/prospects’ perspectives. A customer survey is a great avenue for your customers to express their opinions, to air their complaints, and to voice their satisfaction with your business. The information collected from a customer survey provides the foundation for your marketing strategy.
Profile your competitors: A competitive analysis lists your leading competitors. It summarizes their products and services, promotional strategies, distribution methods, strengths and weaknesses, locations, offerings, prices, and branding. A competitive analysis also outlines strategies for gaining an edge and defines a course of action to take in order to keep competitors out of your market. The analysis helps you expose the competitor’s weaknesses and areas of vulnerability. With this information, you are better equipped to craft competitive and marketing strategies that you may choose to fine tune your brand and your messaging.
Acquire new customers: This is a given…your business cannot sustain itself without the addition of new customers. New customer acquisition is a process that combines market data with direct marketing tools to identify and reach high-potential prospects and convert those prospects into customers.
Mining your existing customers: It is far less expensive to generate additional business from your existing customer base than it is to generate new business from new customers. A regular review of your customers’ buying history and frequency of purchases can reveal some interesting facts about your customers’ buying habits.
Create customer loyalty programs: As the marketplace continues to be more competitive, more and more businesses are offering loyalty programs. These programs help to transform first-time customers into repeat customers by rewarding them with incentives, coupons, certificates or discounts.
Up-sell: Capitalize on the untapped value of your existing customers by promoting related or more expensive products/services. As an example, your customer who regularly buys golf balls is a strong candidate to purchase golf clubs, apparel and other golf accessories. Make a routine practice of recommending additional items that can be added to your customer’s order.
Merge or acquire a competitor: The benefit of combining your company with another company creates an immediate sales growth opportunity simply from the acquisition of their existing customer base. And everything else being equal, the new “combination business” should have the potential to become even more profitable than the two businesses operating independently. This potential for increased profitability comes as a direct result of both sales increases and operational efficiencies (opportunities to reduce total costs) that accrue from combining the two businesses.
Use SWOT analysis: SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is an assessment technique that paints an accurate picture of how your business stacks up based on those four factors. SWOT can identify your venture’s pros and cons, so that you can align internal strengths and weaknesses with external opportunities and threats. This exercise is essential to sound strategic planning. With SWOT, you can identify and prioritize the issues that will accelerate success.
Revisit lost customers: According to the research in the book, Customer Winback How to Recapture Lost Customers and Keep Them Loyal, written by Jill Griffin and Michael Lowenstein, a firm has a 60% to 70% chance of successfully repeat-selling to an active customer. A 20% to 40% chance of successfully repeat-selling to a lost customer and only a 5% to 20% chance of successfully closing the sale on a brand new customer. These statistics suggest that a key opportunity exists for businesses to increase or maintain a customer base by mining and evaluating their database of defected customers. Bernd Stauss and Christian Friege make this argument even more convincing in a case study entitled, Regaining Service Customers. Their findings show that the net return on investment from a new customer obtained from an external list is 23% compared with a 214% return on investment from the reinstatement of a customer who has defected.
Bonus Item. Dead prospect files: Dig out your old prospect files and make a “hit list” comprised of all of the old prospects that you think may still have life. Contact each one of them. Express your wish to discuss their present-day wants and needs, as well as, the opportunity to explore the possibility of you servicing their needs.

Which of the above business-building practices have you, can you, or will you implement in your business development strategy?

Tips To Set Up Your Internet Home Based Business

Home Based Business

What are the top three things you should concern yourself about when starting an Internet home based business? Here are some tips to make it in the online business environment.

Setting up an Internet home based business is like starting an actual business. Some people may think that since a business is operated online and from home, it is a smaller-scale venture compared to real businesses. This, however, is a misconception. Some Internet home based business are even bigger and are experiencing more growth than real ones. Starting and operating an online business venture may be a bit challenging when you are new to the field and is used to the conventional business and marketing world. However, there are also many resources on the Internet that you can get your hands on in the actual setting. The difference lies on how you take advantage of these unique Internet resources and make them work for you. Here are some tips on how you can successfully set up your Internet home based business.

PLAN AND SET GOALS

As in any business venture, the key to a successful Internet home based business is to plan. Set goals; determine what you want your business to achieve, and prepare concrete action plans on how you will achieve your business goals. Plan what you are going to need, in terms of investment and tools. In terms of investment, you might need to upgrade your computer for a better one, or you might need to purchase another computer to sustain your business operations. The investment requirements will differ based on the nature of your Internet home based business. In terms of tools, since there are a lot of resources available to you on the Internet, plan which resources can help your business. Do you need to set up a blog site, or join forums to advertise your site? If so, in what way should you advertise? These are just some of the things you should already lay out in detail before you even get started.

PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE

Once your Internet home based business is under way, the next thing you need to do is to advertise! There are plenty of ways to advertise on the Internet. You can set up a blog and write articles about your products. You can join forums and post website ads in various sites that your target customers often visit. You can exchange links with other sites to drive traffic to yours. You can post pictures and videos of your products on your site, your blog, and in forums. Also, master the art of search engine optimization to lure people to your website, and thus, to your product. The more visitors you get, the more potential customers you have!

BUILD A CUSTOMER BASE

Just as any actual business will not succeed without a loyal customer base, you also have to build a customer base for your Internet home based business. It is important to build a relationship with those who transact business from you. Chances are that they can even bring in more customers because of their contacts. Social networking is yet another concept that is very popular on the Web, and it will pay to take advantage of the social networking sites and communities online. There are a lot of social networking sites on the Web, such as Facebook and Myspace, which can help increase your customer base. When you have a loyal customer base, coupled with a social network that continues to bring in more and more customers, your Internet home based business will be unstoppable!

The arena where your Internet home based business will perform in may be different from the conventional marketing world, but the same rules applies. No business will be successful without careful planning, focused goals, a loyal customer base, and a source of customers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that once you put your business on the Internet, it will grow on its own. The Internet is as wide as the world we live in, and your Internet home based business will only be successful if you’re ready for a challenge

Small Business Start Up Costs

Small Business StartSmall business start up costs can prove to be frustrating and stressful for a beginner business owner. Several entrepreneurs are intimidated by small business start up costs and choose to avoid even trying their knowledge in a small business for fear of not achieving success. Because starting a small business involves many expenses, they often think that having such a business will just lead them to failure. Fortunately, there are various ways to finance start up cost for a business; the ones that can help you some of the mounting business costs.

A business plan is an important catalyst of any successful business. In the absence of business plan, you can not easily get an access to business startup loans offered by banks and investors. Letting them know about your business plan can give them confidence. If you have professional business plan, you are providing a blueprint for successful business because you are making a change for your own business to be showcased to potential business startup funding providers. However, in doing this, you must strive to design a business plan that is really convincing and that pictures your abilities to manage such business reflected in your plan.

A business plan, for the purpose of acquiring a loan for business start up costs, has numbers of components. The first few pages showcases the Executive Summary and the Table of Contents. This is followed by the company descriptions- one of the most essential portion of business plans because this explains the short history, the company backbone, as well as the future plans, to the potential investors. The company description sections also mirrors the plan for business possible expansion. In other words, in this section is where the loan providers are most interested to know.

In the company description, you will need to steer clear of discussing that your business is a startup business. Startup businesses are categorized risky investments by most investors. Instead, convey what you have poured to the industry that you are presently in or plan on entering. You can also discuss the things you did that made others become successful. Another is, you shall discuss the growth of your business in the recent months or years and your forecast growth. You have to be sure that during your business plan presentation, you must be in full enthusiasm and passion for your new business venture and so you will be able to acquire a loan for your business start up costs.

Marketing analysis, in a well-written business plan, must be included. This explains your feasibility/ demographic study regarding your potential clients- this can help to convince your potential investors for your start up costs for a business . This portion of your business plan also tells your potential investors on how you are going to promote your business to clients in your target market. This also must show how intense your marketing research to ensure that your product would hit a great demand.
In order to acquire a loan for your small business start up costs , comprehensive financial plan must also be included in your business plan.

Numbers of new and small businesses struggle with the enormous quantity of small business start up costs incurred in order to materialize their business plan. Many entrepreneurs design a professional business plan to help them offer potential investors with their roadmap that shall poise them for success in their new venture.

Become an Extraordinary Leader

Being a leader, of course you are familiar with the term “With great power comes great responsibility”, by becoming a leader then we become a person who carries a mandate and a very big responsibility. The greater the power a leader has, the greater the responsibility it carries.

In this world there are two kinds of leaders, ordinary leaders who tend to only run the technical SOP as a manager, and extraordinary leaders who are not only bound by the technical routine. He moved beyond expectations as a technical manager. He carries out his mandate and responsibilities not only for the company’s progress but further contributes to building the culture and progress of the nation in a much better direction.

There are at least three things the uncommon leader must possess. First is the purpose. In a television talk show, I stated that I will continue to work until there is no poverty in Indonesia anymore. I am aware that the condition is very difficult to happen, or it may never happen. But I also realize, that as a human being who was born, grew up and tried in Indonesia, I must be part of the building of Indonesia. As much as I can, as strong as I am. That’s what I can give to Indonesia. A country that has given me so many opportunities.

As a CEO with trust and responsibility, I would like to answer the following question in person, “What is my purpose of life?” The question is very important to be answered solemnly and honestly. I quote Steve Jobs’s words, “If today is the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

Time is precious, the time we have is precious because our time is all limited. It is important to ensure that what we do from day to day, draws us closer to our purpose of life. It’s the best way to give thanks for the life God gives you.

The second thing an extraordinary leader must have is a sense of mission. Great people have one thing in common, they have a very strong sense of mission. Leaders are great people, who are given a great mandate to lead. Trust to take the company from this moment into the future. Trust to make things better. Making Indonesia more advanced, fair and prosperous.

Angela Duckworth, an American psychologist introduced the term “grit” as a determinant of success. Grit is a combination of purpose, passion, and perseverance. The existence of grit makes people will be consistent, test-resistant, and tireless in realizing its mission. The existence of grit makes us wake up most early, come home at night to ensure disciplined and militant execution. Grit that sets you apart as an extraordinary leader with ordinary leaders.

Make or break the company or organization you lead is in your hands. The same is true in the context of the nation and state that the make-break of this nation is also the responsibility of you and all of us as leaders. Humans who have a sense of mission is a man who has finished with him. Placing a more noble interest above self-interest. Mother Teresa is an almost perfect example of a sense of mission. His whole life is dedicated to humanity.

The third thing an extraordinary leader must have is values. I quote the words of the late Mr. Benny Subianto, “We have to change with changing time, but we have to hold on to unchanged values.” Great power without strong values ​​makes people greedy, cruel, ethically disabled, and defective in integrity. Power without values ​​dwarfs, weakens, can even be deadly.

Families fall apart because of the insignificance of values. Many companies are not sustainable because of their fragile values. The state is destroyed and does nothing because it ignores the importance of values. Many problems of the Indonesian nation, which also occur because of the unequal values.

I, you, we all have the same responsibility to live the values ​​within our own sphere of life. Strong values ​​must start from the harmony of words and deeds of leaders. No more, no less. We must be leaders who become role models. Leaders who walk the talk.

Building a business is building values. Businesses built without values ​​are undoubtedly messy and will not last long. Our responsibility as a leader not only stops producing exceptional financial performance but also becomes a part of the nation to build a generation with strong values. Values ​​that begin with integrity.

We all have moral responsibility. How much easier will our nation’s entire development effort, if all business players are also called and take a real part in the cultivation of values.

Less for self, more for others, enough for everybody. Being a leader is not easy. It contains a great and noble mandate, not merely to pursue and prioritize personal interests, but to have a positive impact for many. That is the reason of being from true leader.

I will close this paper by writing down a sincere and simple promise about values. This promise is also a guiding principle for all leaders in this country we love. Today, I promise to live life transparently and honestly, to give more than expected, under any circumstances, to put humanity and a nobler purpose above personal gain, to be a humble person, to open up, and to keep improving self. This promise I declare sincerely and wholeheartedly to myself, family, company, Indonesia, and God Almighty.

From detik.com

World Economic Forecast from IMF boss, China to Donald Trump

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), reveals many things happening in today’s world. Starting from the forecast of world economic growth, China to various policies taken by the President of the United States (US) Donald Trump.

The IMF has just revised its projected world economic growth, from 3.5% to 3.6%. In the midst of global uncertainty there is still an optimistic projection.

“What we see is that recovery is very strong,” Lagarde told a seminar in the series of IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington on Thursday (12/10/2017) local time.

Recovery has happened quite rapidly since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007. This is driven by investment, consumption and trade. When divided by group of countries, the world economy is not only sustained by developing countries. But also developed countries.

The US is projected to grow 2.2% this year or higher than the realization of 2016 which amounted to 1.7%. Europe with 2.1% (from 1.8%), and Japan 1.5% (out of 1%).

“But the recovery is not really done yet,” he said.

Last year, Lagarde stated that 47 countries experienced negative growth, coupled with a row of countries that fall into the fragile category. Over the issue, some countries even hit social and political conflicts and harm the general public.

Therefore, according to Lagarde, this good condition must be perfected with long-term policy. So if there is turmoil in one country, whether because of economic or geopolitical problems, the impact received by other countries is not too big.

“It’s a good time to take a useful policy for society in general and recovery can take place on a sustainable basis,” Lagarde said.

There are some policies recommended by Lagarde. Among other things, the certainty of the run of recovery. As with the monetary side, there are policies that support sustainable recovery, while also managing the risks that can occur in the financial sector.

From a fiscal perspective, according to Lagarde, a country must be ensured in a sound financial account. Government spending should be directed to productive ones, such as infrastructure, social security, education and women’s access to employment.

“The state must also take advantage of this good situation by maintaining the ratio of debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said Lagarde.

Lagarde realized, the recovery is also full of challenges from within the country. For example, protecting the progress of financial regulatory reforms, addressing climate change, improving the global trading system to the impact of technology on employment.

 

China

China’s economic forecasts changed from 6.7% to 6.8%. The fiscal stimulus policies pursued by the Chinese government are beginning to have a positive impact, as the main factor.

Consumption economy is China’s priority for investment-based and exports. This is in line with efforts to cut the trend of economic slowdown from above 10% and then to 6% level due to the decline in global trade.

Lagarde reminded China to be quicker to prepare a policy of anticipation of high credit growth in recent times. The ability of parties to pay off matured debts must be carefully considered in order to avoid turmoil in global financial markets.

“SOEs’ reforms and continuing to keep pace with credit to control China’s financial risks are well-received by all,” Lagarde said.

 

Donald Trump

As President of the United States (US) the presence of Donald Trump, bringing a great policy in the field of trade. Upon exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trump announced to review the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA involves Mexico and Canada.

First, according to Lagarde, negotiations will definitely continue in this issue. The right position as a solution will be taken each side through the various maneuvering space available.

Secondly, Lagarde explained, NAFTA has been going on since 20 years ago. So that does not mean there should be no evaluation of the countries involved. According to him need to record things that have been achieved and also miss the goal. Moreover, the trading system is now experiencing significant changes.

“Yes we 20 years ago communicate with mobile phones using digital for various activities? Maybe not, so when there is this negotiation, then please proceed,” he concluded.

Overcoming Business Loan and Commercial Mortgage Finance Problems

One of the most difficult business loan scenarios occurs when a commercial borrower is rejected for either a commercial mortgage or commercial loan. There are five specific reasons that account for a healthy majority of business finance rejections. These common business financing application problems are particularly applicable to commercial real estate investment property financing.

Commercial borrowers are likely to be confused when their commercial loan application is turned down and will probably be unsure as to why it happened and what to do next. For each of the five major reasons that a bank might decline a commercial mortgage, a practical strategy is provided for converting the declined commercial real estate loan into an approved business loan.

Two reasons (tax returns and business plan requirements) could impact virtually all businesses. Many business loan officers will begin their business loan and commercial mortgage review process by stating “We will need to see at least three years of tax returns” and “Can you show me your business plan?” before proceeding.

Commercial projects are frequently too unique for traditional commercial banks. In these situations (even if a commercial borrower has favorable tax returns and an adequate business plan), it is not unusual for the business owner to be declined for a commercial mortgage loan by a traditional commercial lender.

The reasons described do not involve unusual issues. It is likely that two or more of the reasons will be applicable for many commercial loan situations.

Commercial Mortgage Rejections: (1) Special Purpose Commercial Real Estate –

Reason Number One for commercial mortgage rejections: The bank does not generally make business loans for the type of business involved or imposes special requirements that make the commercial loan impractical for the commercial borrower. For example, fewer banks are making commercial mortgage loans for restaurants.

In a similar fashion, an auto service business is often given expensive and unnecessary environmental stipulations. There are many special purpose commercial properties such as golf courses, campgrounds, churches, funeral homes and gas stations that most traditional lenders have eliminated from their commercial lending program.

Strategy Number One for converting the disapproved business loan into an approved commercial mortgage loan: For most business owners, there are reasonable commercial loan options beyond traditional commercial lenders.

There are action-oriented non-traditional commercial lenders that will offer commercial mortgage loans for most special purpose commercial property situations. The best business loan could be available only from a non-traditional lender when a traditional lender won’t provide the necessary commercial real estate loan.

Business Loan Disapprovals: (2) Tax Returns Required –

Reason Number Two for business loan rejections: A loan underwriter finds an issue on tax returns that disqualifies a business borrower under the bank’s lending standards. This “issue” will often be inadequate net income, but when commercial loan underwriters analyze income tax returns, there can be a wide variety of other possibilities which produce the same disapproval.

Strategy Number Two for converting the rejected commercial real estate loan into an approved business loan: Commercial borrowers will never have this reason to worry about if they have applied for a “Stated Income” commercial mortgage loan. Very few traditional lenders use a Stated Income process (no income verification, no tax returns, no IRS Form 4506) for a commercial loan.

Borrowers should search for commercial lenders using Stated Income commercial mortgage loans. Unfortunately, this suggested solution will not work for all commercial loans because of a normal maximum loan amount of about $2-3 million for a Stated Income business loan.

Commercial Loan Rejections: (3) Cash Out Limitations –

Reason Number Three for commercial mortgage loan and business loan disapprovals: When a business attempts to refinance their commercial property loan and wants to get significant cash out, it is normal for a traditional bank to restrict what the funds are used for and to severely limit the amount of cash received. Even though the bank is willing to make the commercial loan, if they won’t provide the cash required by the commercial borrower, this is similar to rejecting the loan.

Strategy Number Three for converting the declined commercial mortgage into an approved commercial real estate loan: As mentioned above, there are other commercial lending options available. The commercial borrower’s mission (and it is not impossible at all) is to use a commercial real estate lender that will allow them to get much larger amounts of cash out of a commercial refinancing without restrictions on what they do with it.

Commercial Real Estate Investment Property Loan Disapprovals: (4) Cross Collateral Requirements –

Reason Number Four for commercial mortgage loan and business loan disapprovals: The bank will not make a commercial loan without sufficient collateral such as a lien on personal assets.

Strategy Number Four for converting the disapproved business loan into an approved commercial mortgage loan: Business borrowers should seek out commercial lenders that will not “cross collateralize” assets as a stipulation for getting business financing. This will result in more flexibility for the commercial borrower and preclude unwise (and unnecessary) connections between business and personal assets.

Commercial Real Estate Loan Rejections: (5) Business Plan Requirements –

Reason Number Five for commercial mortgage loan and business loan disapprovals: A bank’s loan officer determines that the business plan does not support the needed commercial loan.

Strategy Number Five for converting the disapproved business loan into an approved commercial mortgage loan: Commercial borrowers should save money and avoid possible delays by working with a lender that does not require a business plan due to these primary advantages:

(A) Reduce commercial loan costs by thousands of dollars. A common range for an average business plan (prepared to typical bank specifications) is $5,000 to $10,000.

(B) Shorten the business financing closing period. Business plan preparation is likely to take 1-2 months or more.

(C) If the lender does not require a business plan, there is one less item standing between the commercial borrower and their approved commercial loan.

How To Run An Ameriplan Business Online

Starting an Ameriplan business is a very popular opportunity right now and many people are interested in giving it a try. Opening a restaurant or another traditional business can cost thousands of dollars and requires a business license; along with a great amount of knowledge about the field you are getting into. Ameriplan is cheap to start and doesnt require a license, so its a great way to get your feet wet in personal business. They deal with discount health and dental programs, so there is a great need for what they provide. This all sounds great, until you actually get started and realize that you have no idea what to do next.

There are thousands of different ways to advertise and most people stick to the basics, like flyers and business cards. Finding customers is the most difficult part of any business and success or failure depends on your ability to find them and close the deal. The most common way that beginners get customers is to go get them one by one, but when you advertise they begin to come to you. Everyone is familiar with the internet, but few people know how to run their business with it. Like regular advertising there are thousands of ways to advertise online, and finding the way that works for you can launch your business to all new heights.

I cant possibly describe all the ways to advertise online, so instead I will describe some of the ways that worked in the past. The best thing to remember is to go where the people are, but most other IBOs havent gone yet. Years ago, an IBO named Bill Bertha began using Pay Per Click advertising on Yahoo and Google and made a killing. He paid for a sponsored result spot under the Ameriplan keyword so that when people went to a search engine and typed in Ameriplan they found his website right at the top. To this day he has signed up more members than almost anyone else ever has, but other IBOs eventually caught on to this method and its no longer cheap or easy to try this.

Craigs list and other free classified ads were big for awhile, but now they are flooded with spam and other business opportunities. One of the ways that I have seen recently is to purchase a banner ad in your local area online newspaper. There are still many opportunities to use this method if you are willing to pay for the banner ad but as soon as you have to compete with another IBO in your local area, the price will go up. Another way that still works is social networking sites like the many work at home mom websites. On these websites, many people come together looking for good ways to make money from home and save money on their families benefits. Finding new websites where future entrepreneurs come together will work perfectly for people just getting started, and they are free to talk to people on.

As old ways of online advertising go out of style, there are always new ways replacing them. Millions of people are currently obsessed with sites like My space and Twitter, but its only a matter of time before someone figures out how to use them. Having a good feel for where people are flocking to on the internet can give you the upper hand, but if you dont use the internet much you may want to stick with what you know. Advertising in the real world always works, but the internet changes every day. If you see a good opportunity to advertise your Ameriplan business online, jump on it because it may not work tomorrow!

The Evolution Of Business Analysts

Software application development has only been around since the late 1970s. Compared to other industries and professions the software industry is still very young. Ever since organizations began to use computers to support their business tasks, the people who create and maintain those “systems” have become more and more sophisticated and specialized. This specialization is necessary because as computer systems become more and more complex, no one person can know how to do everything.

One of the “specialties” to arise is the Business Analyst. A Business Analyst is a person who acts as a liaison between business people who have a business problem and technology people who know how to create solutions. Although some organizations have used this title in non-IT areas of the business, it is an appropriate description for the role that functions as the bridge between people in business and IT. The use of the word “Business” is a constant reminder that any application software developed by an organization should further improve its business operations, either by increasing revenue, reducing costs, or increasing service level to the customers.

History of the Business Analyst Role

In the 1980s when the software development life cycle was well accepted as a necessary step, people doing this work typically came from a technical background and were working in the IT organization. They understood the software development process and often had programming experience. They used textual requirements along with ANSI flowcharts, dataflow diagrams, database diagrams, and prototypes. The biggest complaint about software development was the length of time required to develop a system that didn’t always meet the business needs. Business people had become accustomed to sophisticated software and wanted it better and faster.

In response to the demand for speed, a class of development tools referred to as CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering) were invented. These tools were designed to capture requirements and use them to manage a software development project from beginning to end. They required a strict adherence to a methodology, involved a long learning curve, and often alienated the business community from the development process due to the unfamiliar symbols used in the diagrams.

As IT teams struggled to learn to use CASE tools, PCs (personal computers) began to appear in large numbers on desktops around the organization. Suddenly anyone could be a computer programmer, designer and user. IT teams were still perfecting their management of a central mainframe computer and then suddenly had hundreds of independent computers to manage. Client-server technologies emerged as an advanced alternative to the traditional “green screen,” keyboard-based software.

The impact on the software development process was devastating. Methodologies and classic approaches to development had to be revised to support the new distributed systems technology and the increased sophistication of the computer user prompted the number of software requests to skyrocket.

Many business areas got tired of waiting for a large, slow moving IT department to rollout yet another cumbersome application. They began learning to do things for themselves, or hiring consultants, often called Business Analysts, who would report directly to them, to help with automation needs. This caused even more problems for IT which was suddenly asked to support software that they had not written or approved. Small independent databases were created everywhere with inconsistent, and often, unprotected data. During this time, the internal Business Analyst role was minimized and as a result many systems did not solve the right business problem causing an increase in maintenance expenses and rework.

New methodologies and approaches were developed to respond to the changes, RAD (rapid application development), JAD (joint application development), and OO (object oriented) tools and methods were developed.

As we began the new millennium, the Internet emerged as the new technology and IT was again faced with a tremendous change. Once again, more sophisticated users, anxious to take advantage of new technology, often looked outside of their own organizations for the automation they craved. The business side of the organization started driving the technology as never before and in a large percentage of organizations began staffing the Business Analyst role from within the operational units instead of from IT. We now have Marketing Directors, Accountants, Attorneys, and Payroll Clerks performing the role of the Business Analyst.

In addition, the quality movement that had started in the 70s with TQM, came into focus again as companies looked for ways to lower their cost of missed requirements as they expanded globally. The ISO (International Standards Organization) set quality standards that must be adhered to when doing international business. Carnegie Mellon created a software development quality standard CMM (Capability Maturity Model). Additionally, Six Sigma provided a disciplined, data-driven quality approach to process improvement aimed at the near elimination of defects from every product, process, and transaction. Each of these quality efforts required more facts and rigor during requirements gathering and analysis which highlighted the need for more skilled Business Analysts familiar with the business, IT, and quality best practices.

Future of the Business Analyst Role

Today we see Business Analysts coming from both the IT and business areas. In the best situations, the Business Analyst today has a combination of IT and business skills. Each organization has unique titles for these individuals and the structure of Business Analyst groups is as varied as the companies themselves. However, there is a core set of tasks that most Business Analysts are doing regardless of their background or their industry.

The Business Analyst role becomes more critical as project teams become more geographically dispersed.
Outsourcing and globalization of large corporations have been the driving factors for much of this change recently. When the IT development role no longer resides inside our organizations, it becomes necessary to accurately and completely define the requirements in more detail than ever before. A consistent structured approach, while nice to have in the past, is required to be successful in the new environment. Most organizations will maintain the Business Analyst role as an “inhouse” function. As a result, more IT staff are being trained as Business Analysts.

The Business Analyst role will continue to shift its focus from “Software” to “Business System.”
Most Business Analysts today are focused on software development and maintenance, but the skills of the Business Analyst can be utilized on a larger scale. An excellent Business Analyst can study a business area and make recommendations about procedural changes, personnel changes, and policy changes in addition to recommending software. The Business Analyst can help improve the business system not just the business software.

The Business Analyst role will continue to evolve as business dictates.
Future productivity increases will be achieved through re-usability of requirements. Requirements Management will become another key skill in the expanding role of the Business Analyst as organizations mature in their understanding of this critical expertise. The Business Analyst is often described as an “Agent of Change.” Having a detailed understanding of the organization’s key initiatives, a Business Analyst can lead the way to influence people to adapt to major changes that benefit the organization and its business goals. The role of a Business Analyst is an exciting and secure career choice as U.S. companies continue to drive the global economy.

Training for the Business Analyst

The skill set needed for a successful Business Analyst is diverse and can range from communication skills to data modeling. A Business Analyst’s educational and professional background may vary as well–some possess an IT background while others come from the business stakeholder area.

With backgrounds as diverse and broad as these it is difficult for a Business Analyst to possess all the skills necessary to perform successful business analysis. Companies are finding that individuals with a strong business analysis background are difficult to locate in the marketplace and are choosing to train their employees to become Business Analysts in consistent structured approaches. First, organizations seeking formal business analysis training should examine vendors who are considered “experts” on the field with a strong focus on business analysis approaches and methodologies. Second, you will want to examine the quality of the training vendor’s materials. This may be done by researching who wrote a vendor’s materials and how often they are updated to stay abreast of industry best practices. Third, matching the real-world experience of instructors to the needs and experience level of your organization is critical to successful training. Business analysis is an emerging profession and it is critical that the instructors that you choose have been practicing Business Analysts.

Ways To Grow Or Expand Your Business

In these tough economic times, it is more important to look at different ways in which you can grow business wisely. This can be done in a variety of different ways. In growing your business effectively, it will be important to look at several different aspects of your existing business. Are you financially sound to take on this new project? Have you sought out the perfect location? Do you have a plan of action in place? All of these questions are integral in assuring that your business will be a success. Lets go into a little bit more detail on the ten best ways to grow your business.

The first step is to know your market. If you are looking at growing your business and possibly adding other locations, it will be important to know who you are catering to. Make sure that the products or services that you are offering will be adequate for the needs of the consumer.

Second is to know what your financial availability is. Often, the business owner may have the right intentions, but it may not be feasible for the moment to grow or expand the current business. There is the possibility that waiting and planning will actually be in your best interests.

Third, you will need to make sure that your employee needs are covered. Can the existing staff accommodate an increase in work? Will you need to hire more staff? Have you trained the existing staff to take leadership roles if need be? These are all answers in which only you can provide.

Fourth is to know whether your location will suffice for the growth. Will you need to add a location? Would it be better to buy or lease a larger location or should you add on to the existing location?

The fifth best way to grow or expand your business is to make sure that your support staff is in place. You will need people who are organised and professional in order to build the base on which you can make your business a success.

Sixthly, you need to keep up to date with all your financial obligations and ensure that they are all being dealt with and upheld in a professional and timely manner.

The seventh item would be to look at your procedures and if need be create a new organizational structure. This can be done through joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions which can help grow and diversify your business. Eighth

The eighth way to improve your business is to analyze all aspects of your business, products, suppliers, clients, areas, etc. Try to phase out any areas that are not making a profit and incorporate more of the successful areas into your business.

Ninth is to look at the value of your company as a whole and try to increase its market share and diversify your client base and increase in areas that have been previously unexplored.

And last but certainly not the least is your time! Do you have the time that it is going to take to make this happen? Often, during the expansion of business, the owner will find themselves devoting just as much or more time to the growth process.

Recession-proof Business Ideas

Even during a recession, business keeps getting done. The question really is whether or not you are going to shift your mindset to one who leverages opportunity instead of someone victimized by the winds of chance. If youre like most people, you would rather shift than suffer.

Here are some tips on how you can identify great business opportunities and begin to apply them to your life so you can enjoy success because of, instead of in spite of, the economic challenges of the day.

Look for industries that everyone needs regardless of their economic situation

By identifying industries that need help providing the day to day services that everyone needs  food, shelter, clothing, day to day amenities of sustenance, and health care  you will likely find ways to either find a job or identify a market you can serve with your talents.

Find companies that offer products for managing tough economic times

Look for companies that supply temp workers, handle business liquidations, or provide comfort items such as counseling services. They are all going to need help for the extra business they are flooded with.

Try brokering excess inventories through barter or trade

Act as the liaison between people who want to buy excess inventories and people who have them. If you build a network, you can end up getting some of the things you need directly easily.

Offer education, retraining, and tutoring

With people out of work, sometimes from industries that wont rebound due to shifts in technology, you can offer paid classes that help retrain an obsolete workforce.

Package your own products in a new and interesting way

If youre already in business selling products, try bundling them in a new, creative way. Make working with you more convenient, more complete, easier and more efficient than working with someone else.

Establish joint venture relationships that provide synergy

By partnering with another business person to offer both of your client bases more value, you both win and all of your clients win too.

Become a consultant

Many people who get laid off can go back to work as independent contractors for their old employers. It saves the employer benefit costs and you can often charge even more per hour than you used to get paid via a salary

Get online

For a very small amount, you can launch a website, sell products, promote your site and begin making money. Lots of people want to try something new during tough times  you could sell them what they need to make a change.

Dont forget the needs of the wealthy

Affluent individuals who were more in cash than debt are open to finding great bargains and continuing to live their lifestyle. They see this economic time as an opportunity to get in low. You can cater to that.

Invest in you by starting your own business

By investing in your own business, instead of being subjected to the whims of an employer who can lay you off, you can choose your destiny. Bu establishing an additional revenue stream that allows you choices, you have more freedom.

Why A Business Model Is So Important

A business model explains the rationale of how a company establishes, provides, and captures value. It includes the product or services offered, sources of revenue, customer base, organizational structure, strategies, operational process, and financing. Basically, the methodology and infrastructure of a business combine to form the business model. This model should be created long before a business opens its doors.

Before starting a business, an entrepreneur should be aware of the basic process for building one. This knowledge proves valuable when creating the business model. Certain aspects of infrastructure, operations, and strategic thinking have proven successful, while others are destined to fail. Being able to distinguish one from the other enables a business owner to avoid the pitfalls. A business with a model that maximizes opportunities and avoids threats is positioned for long-term success.

Sales are an important aspect of the business model and this is where proven methods really shine. By learning how to quickly generate income from sales, any business can get out of the growing pains stage much faster. The sooner a company can pass through this phase, the less likely it is to become a statistic. Quick success is especially important in the online world, where competition is particularly fierce. When a company becomes financially independent, so will its owners, and this is a much more comfortable way to live.

Closing a sale successfully is what leads to income so a business model should include information regarding closing techniques. These should be based on success achieved by other businesses and should be shared with the entire staff. Every employee serves as a mouthpiece for the organization so it only makes sense that each staff member be skilled in closing a deal.

Prospects have many excuses, especially during times when money is tight. They may be fearful of making a purchase because they do not want to spend their hard-earned money. Some of them convert this fear to aggression, placing pressure on the business. Staff should be trained in handling these situations and know how to convert negatives like this to positives.

Leaders in business know what it takes to achieve and maintain a high level of sales. It is not unusual for them to have salaries into the seven figures. By incorporating what they do and how they do it, any business can realize similar results. A sound business model can result in an entrepreneur making more money than ever anticipated.

Is It Better To Buy Or Lease Commercial Space For My Business

Your business location should be tailor-made to fit with your company budget, spacing requirements and ease of operation. For some business owners, leasing affords a sense of freedom and relieves the financial burden of a down payment, yet may be too restrictive for some kinds of operations. The decision to buy a piece of commercial property offers its own set of risks and rewards, and should be considered carefully before entering into a mortgage contract.

Leasing Commercial Space

1. Cost Effective

Leasing a commercial space will usually require a one to two month move-in deposit, making the rental space a cost efficient way to do business. New business owners may be strapped for cash, and by leasing, rather than purchasing, your storefront or office is cost effective to set up shop with minimal funding.

2. Flexibility

Leasing a commercial space gives the entrepreneur plenty of room to grow, downsize or change locations. Although once you sign a lease, you are locked into a fixed amount of time to make the lease payments, the terms may be only a matter of months to be released and start over in another location.

3. Freedom

Setting up shop without the burden of a mortgage to pay allows a sense of financial freedom. Albeit, a purchased piece of commercial property could be leased or sold to another, there could be months before the owner receives any income from the property. A hefty mortgage may also interfere with business profits and may demand downsizing of personnel.

4. Maintenance

A leased office or shop has a landlord to lean on, taking away tedious responsibilities with the plumbing, electricity and security. In a leasing situation, any repairs or legal liabilities are left in the hands of the building management team.

5. Subletting

In some situations, you may sublet your leased office space to another. However, this must be cleared in writing from the management office, and careful attention given to their rules and regulations for renting out the space.

Buying Commercial Space

1. Secured Location

Buying a piece of commercial property adds assurance that the space is secured and cannot be given to someone else. In a leasing situation, when the lease expires, the renewal process may not have the same initial terms, thus proving unfavorable to renew. However, when you purchase, your prime location is secured.

2. Equity

As with a residential piece of property, a commercial owner may take out cash against the mortgage. In an emergency financial crisis, having a mortgage to borrow from lends a sense of security and provision of funds. Most commercial purchases will require 20 to 25 percent down on the purchase price, giving instant equity to the business owner.

3. Remodeling

When you have bought a property, it is your to do with as you wish. Remolding, expansion and reconfiguration are yours for the taking. The ownership allows the business structure to be molded around the enterprise for a perfect fit and usage of space.

4. Tax Deductions

The interest on a commercial loan is tax deductible, with allowances for deducting any depreciation.

5. Lease Your Excess Space

If you own the property, you may lease your excess space without any restrictions from a third party over your head.

Reasons That You Should Choose Glossy Business Cards

When you are getting ready to order business cards there are some things that you should think about. First consider what you would do if you were to get two business cards from two of the same types of businesses. One of these business cards is going to be black and white and have the basic information while the other is going to have the same information and be colorful and glossy. It is likely that you are going to be more impressed with the glossy business cards. This is something that you should remember because both of these are going to contain the same basic information like the contact person, website, email address, phone number, and physical address. Plus they are going to announce the business and what the business is known for. If you are more likely to pick the glossy version than that means that a lot of other people are going to be keeping your business cards if this is your choice as well.

Today the glossy business cards are one of the more popular choices because the economy is not doing well and there is so much competition for businesses and jobs. So if you do not have much money to invest in advertising for your business then this is one upgrade that can really help you to improve your business and get your investment back. They are going to get you far more business than the plain or standard versions are and they are going to get you noticed more. In fact it is important to know a few statistics when it comes to business cards like that twenty percent of them are thrown away within twenty four hours of when someone gets them. This can be a problem for your business because it can cost a lot of money for you that is basically being thrown away. When you choose the glossy coated ones they are likely to last longer than the normal version and they are going to be more impressive to those who receive them.

There are two different versions of glossy business cards. Some of these are just regular business cards that have been printed and then covered in a glossy coating making them thicker and causing them to last longer. Others are just printed on glossy paper and these are not going to last as long. In fact the first are going to be resistant to water and sun and will actually keep from aging but the others are going to still have problems with fading and yellowing and will not hold up against water. So if you are going to spend the extra money you should make sure that you are choosing the ones that are coated with the glossy coating.

Finally remember that this is going to help you to be able to get the most color on your cards as well. You will find that this is going to help the colors to be more vibrant and more noticeable. Plus it is going to help you to have the best overall effect for your business so that you will be happiest with the purchase that you have made when you order business cards.

Potential Pitfalls of Business Credit Cards

Although business credit cards emphasize their many benefits to small business owners such as record keeping, rebates on business expenses, and travel related perks, there are also some potential pitfalls related to using a business credit card for small business owners. Below are a few common risks associated with using a business credit card:

Potential for Abuse: Many business owners find the possibility of instantly funding their start up business with a credit card to be very appealing. However, when there is very little or no cash available to a business owner, the potential to abuse credit cards is great. During a business start up, an entrepreneur usually has difficulty obtaining loans or other ways of financing their business, and they turn to credit cards to purchase the items needed. As with many small business start ups, it sometimes takes several years to begin to see a profit. Therefore, they stay in debt, adding financial burden to the new business.

High Interest Rates: Business credit cards, like other credit cards, often charge high interest rates. The accumulation of these interest rates when the card is not paid off monthly can add a large amount to business expenses. This occurs most frequently with cards that offer low introductory rates. Card holders may not be aware of the amount this rate will increase after the introductory period ends. Because of this, and due to low minimum payments, business credit cards may take longer than expected to pay off completely.

Risk to Reputation: Just as with personal credit cards, if business credit cards are not used responsibly and carefully they can lead a new business into a large amount of debt as well as damage the reputation of the business by lowering it’s credit score. This can make it even more difficult to get credit or loans with suppliers in the future. It can even put an owner out of business.

New businesses can be very expensive and the cost of doing business can be very high. However, with effective and careful credit card management and careful planning when choosing a business credit card, most of the downsides of business credit cards can be controlled or avoided altogether. Using a business line of credit rather than a credit card is the best way to avoid many of these pitfalls. Business lines of credit usually have more flexible and also more favorable financing terms.

Today's Business Professional

The term “Business Professional” evokes a certain persona. We think of the person in a business suit, with a brief case, going to an office to do business. The vision includes ‘in person’ meetings with business colleagues and clients, reporting to a boss or supervisor or in some way being accountable for one daily output or production.

This is not necessarily the persona today. Many business professional are now working from home, in their causal clothes, even, sometimes, their pajamas. They are accountable to no one but themselves. They carry no brief cases and their business meetings are conducted via the phone, video connections and the Internet. This is today’s new business professional.

What is necessary to conduct business in this fusion? Well, almost certainly, an Internet connection and a phone (although the phone may be an adjunct to your Internet connection). You’ll need a business plan/strategy and the knowledge to implement it. You won’t have to devise all these plans and strategies yourself, there are many business opportunities already researched and laid out for one to follow. Some opportunities require a great deal of thought and implementation. Others just require you to follow a plan.

It is helpful to have an array of business tools and skills. Or, at least, access to resources that can provide the tools or skills needed for one’s business transactions. The best business people have learned to utilize other people’s skills to carry out certain aspects of their business. One need not be a “super sales person” to sell their own products. One need not be a “great” graphics designer to produce that “great” promotion piece. Need an article directed at a particular niche, you don’t have to be a “great writer,” you’ll find an abundant supply of PLR (Private Label Rights) articles oriented toward virtually any niche you can imagine. And so it goes with almost any aspect of today’s business.

Virtually all skills, tools and resources one needs to conduct almost any kind of business are available on the Internet. Need someone to “sell” your products — create an affiliate program and enlist the help tens to thousands of willing and able “sales people.” Need graphic design for a promotional piece or a web site design? Run a simple Google search for the type of project you have in mind and you will find many qualified associates to work with.

Want to promote your own product, then maybe you need an SEO (search engine optimization) consultant to help you be found by your target market. Or do you even know who your target market is? There are many researchers available on the Internet who can help you define and find just the right market segment.

Many “New Business Professionals” do want to do all or most of the actions making up their business themselves. Whether you want help with the actual actions comprising your business or want to do it all yourself, the Internet can increase your reach and the perception of your size. People want to deal with the largest, best business they can find. With the proper plan and strategy, your business can fit the bill. Having as much business knowledge and as many business tools possible will help create the success you desire