March 26, 2008

Small Business Loans

If you are a small business, then you probably already realize that it can be very difficult to get your business off the ground without financing. Many small businesses would succeed if only they have a few thousand dollars in order to buy inventory, advertise to the right markets or were able to hire a few helpful hands. If you are a small business owner and would like your business to succeed, here are some tips on acquiring small business loans.

There are many different types of small business loans. There are federal small business loans and commercial loans. Most people usually try for a commercial loan. Before you think that the government gives away free money, think again, there are plenty of criteria that must be met on your business, markets and products. While there are plenty of sites that advertise easy federal loans, federal small business loans can be difficult to be approved.

Commercial loans are far easier to apply for and to be accepted. However make sure that you have a business plan and have plenty of records available to show the bank or loan agency that you know how to conduct a business and that their money is in good hands. So if you are looking for financing opportunities check out small business loans.

March 22, 2008

Your Logo Speaks a Thousand Words

Close your eyes and think about logos that you associate with products. All of us can name several such products in just a few seconds. The most popular logos for me are the golden arch of McDonalds and the Chevy emblem. Both have stood the test of time, allowed the company's to change with market demands, and stay imprinted in the minds of consumers all over the world. Coming up with a logo for your business can be very difficult. You want it to be original and relative to the type of business you have. You will need to be creative, as well as make sure your logo isn't too similar to that of another product or service on the market.

Where to get a logo
If you have a medium or large sized business, you might be able to have the marketing department come up with several ideas for a logo, with the creator giving a sells pitch for their design. Another good strategy for businesses of all sizes is to have a contest open to all employees. Offering a great prize for the winning logo will entice entries to be more creative and competitive. You may also choose to simply outsource the job, then choose the best logo from what they have to offer you. If you choose to outsource, make sure it is with a reputable company who fully understands the product or goods you sell as well as the goals and mission statement of the business.

Cost increases with complexity
You will want to think about marketing strategies before you make a final decision about your logo. Since businesses spend so much money each year on advertising, do you really want to go with the logo that has three colors? If so, then be prepared for the cost of your letterhead, business cards, etc. to increase because most printers will charge you for each color.

What can the logo be?
Logos can be a symbol, group of symbols, or simply a neat graphic to go beside or underneath your company name. For some logos, the company name is written in unique script, giving it a new twist that works well as a logo for them. Having the right logo for your business can influence sales, and people tend to purchase products from businesses who have a logo that convey a positive message.

Keep it simple
While it sounds silly to mention it, keep your logo simple. It will stay with the consumer longer. Think long term when selecting a logo. You plan to be in business for a very long time. You want to make sure your logo still fits the business 10 or 20 years down the road. That being said, you want your logo to be versatile. Not only to cater to the various markets you will be dealing with now, but the changes that the market will lead your business to over time.

A logo is a visual reminder of your business to the consumer. It offers name recognition and appeal. Consumers like what is familiar to them. The goal of every business is to become so vital to the market that your logo will be associated with quality products or services.

March 14, 2008

PPC Advertising

If you are starting a new business or have a small advertising budget pay per click (PPC) advertising is one of the best ways to showcase your business, service, product or web site to the masses. If you would like to reach a select audience of people, PPC can be extremely effective. Here are some tips.

PPC advertising can be purchased from a host of companies, but is usually supplied by either Google or Yahoo. Google is the leader of PPC with their service called Adwords. Adwords is a simple way to advertise. You create a text based ad and include your web site link to your site. Choose a few keywords that you would like your advertisement to show up when that term is searched for and bid on the amount of money you will pay for each click by a visitor to your site.

With Google Adwords, you can advertise to thousands of people within minutes of starting a campaign and you can pay as low as $.05 a click for a visitor to be delivered to your site.

Google Adwords can have a profound effect on a business and increase visitors by thousands of times the normal rate each month. If you are looking for a low cost way to drive traffic to your site, check out pay per click advertising.

March 10, 2008

Buying a Business

Buying a business is a big step in your life. Owning your own business may be one of the most rewarding experiences when things are going well, and one of the most stressful experiences when things are going bad. The majority of people interested in buying a business have never actually owned one before.

First, you will have to examine the reasons why you want to buy a business. Perhaps you have not had much luck working for others in your life, or you may simply want a better life for you and your family. Owning a business is not just a job, but it is a literal way of life. At a typical job, once you leave to go home, you will not have to think about work until you return the next morning. When you own a business, you may leave, but have to return that night because one of your employees is having a problem, or you may be so overloaded that you not only have to work when you are in the office, but you will also have to work once you get home as well. It will take a lot of your time and effort. You have to ask yourself if you are ready for such a change.

After you decide that you are up for the challenge of owning a business, then you have to start looking at what interests you. Just because a business is successful for one person, does not necessarily mean that you will be successful as well. You have to find something that you will dedicate as much time as needed. If you do not like it, then you will not give what it needs.

You will need to know what to look for when you start looking at businesses.
Here are a few essential things:

1) Good documentation. A good business owner keeps clean, information books, which will allow you to easily track their success, lost, profit, and inventory. If the business owner does not keep good books, there is a higher chance that their way of doing business is not great as well. You do not want to inherit a mess for a business.

2) How long has the business been operating, and how long has the current owner owned it? It is important to find a business that has a long track record. This ensures you that you are getting a business that is well established and has a good client base. The time period in which the current owner has owned the business may give you some insight on the stress level involved in keeping the business. If the current business owner has only owned the business for a couple of months, then you may want to start asking questions.

3) Take a look at how they are doing business currently. Owners who are selling their business have a way of starting to neglect their business towards the end, whether it be by closing early, or allowing their inventory to diminish. This may be alienating customers and may hurt your business in the future.

After you find a business that you are interested in, you must then submit a written proposal to the current owner. If you have never owned a business before, this may be a daunting task. If you are unsure, you may want to review your proposal with a lawyer before submitting it. Your proposal should not only contain the amount in which you are willing to pay, but also the stipulations that you have for the sale. The buyer will review it and get back to you about it. Do not be surprised if the buyer returns to you with a counter offer. You will have to haggle with the owner so that the terms work for both of you. It may take several tries, but once it is all over, you will be the proud new owner of a small business. This is where the adventure begins.

March 1, 2008

Hiring Part Time Help

If you have a small business and looking to expand or to make your business more efficient, you will probably need to find some part time help. Many small business entrepreneurs would love to hire part time help, but sometimes can have reservations on whether the person they hire will do a good job, work effectively and help the business grow.

Many small business owners have a difficult time letting others have control of their business. Small businesses work very hard to acquire customers and don't want to lose them over a small snafu that a part time worker can commit. If you are a small business owner, you have to choose carefully who you will have working for you.

There are plenty of great places to find part time help. Many people usually ask a friend or an acquaintance if they need a part time job. If you don't know anyone personally, then it is probably a good idea to either put an ad in the paper or post your job online. Usually offering a person more money will increase the likelihood of a good job. Many small businesses also offer incentives to their employees to continue to do a good job or meet expectations. So if you are a small business owner and you want to expand your business, hire part time help.