If you thinking of starting a new business then the following 10 tips by will definitely help.
1) Do what you love.
You're going to devote a lot of time and energy to starting a business and building it into a successful enterprise, so it's really important that you truly deeply enjoy what you do, whether it be running fishing charters, creating pottery or providing financial advice.
2) Start your business while you're still employed.
How long can most people live without money? Not long. And it may be a long time before your new business actually makes any profits. Being employed while you're starting a business means money in your pocket while you're going through the starting a business process.
3) Don't do it alone.
You need a support system while you're starting a business (and afterwards). A family member or friend that you can bounce ideas off and who will listen sympathetically to the latest business start up crisis is invaluable. Even better, find a mentor or, if you qualify, apply for a business start up program such as The Self-Employment Program. When you're starting a business experienced guidance is the best support system of all.
4) Get clients or customers first.
Don't wait until you've officially started your business to line these up, because your business can't survive without them. Do the networking. Make the contacts. Sell or even give away your products or services. You can't start marketing too soon.
5) Write a business plan.
The main reason for doing a business plan first when you're thinking of starting a business is that it can help you avoid sinking your time and money into starting a business that will not succeed.
Remember, you don't have to work through a full scale business plan for each new business idea you come up with; a simple Business Plan, for instance, will let you test the potential of your business idea much more quickly.
6) Do the research.
You'll do a lot of research writing a business plan, but that's just a start. When you're starting a business, you need to become an expert on your industry, products and services if you're not already. Joining related industry or professional associations before you start your business is a great idea.
7) Get professional help.
On the other hand, just because you're starting a business, doesn't mean you have to be an expert on everything. If you're not an accountant or bookkeeper, hire one (or both). If you need to write up a contract, and you're not a lawyer, hire one. You will waste more time and possibly money in the long run trying to do things yourself that you are not qualified to do.
8) Get the money lined up.
Save up if you have to. Approach potential investors and lenders. Figure our your financial fall-back plan. Don't expect to start a business and then walk into a bank and get money. Traditional lenders don't like new ideas and don't like businesses without proven track records.
9) Be professional from the get-go.
Everything about you and the way you do business needs to let people know that you are a professional running a serious business. That means getting all the accoutrements such as professional business cards, a business phone and a business email address, and treating people in a professional, courteous manner.
10) Get the legal and tax issues right the first time.
It's much more difficult and expensive to unsnarl a mess afterwards. Does your business need to be registered? Will you have to charge VAT? Will you have to have Liability Insurance or deal with payroll and taxes? How will the form of business you choose affect your income tax situation? Learn what your legal and tax responsibilities are before you start your business and operate accordingly.
Following the advice on starting a business above will make starting a business both a smoother, less stressful process and go a long way towards ensuring the business you start lasts and thrives.
By Susan Ward. To read more interesting and informative articles visit www.taxaffinity.com/blog. Tax Affinity Accountants are expert in helping businesses succeed. Based in Kingston upon Thames they come highly recommended due to their fair pricing and outstanding business support and service.
Tips For Increasing Your Sales
Walk into any McDonald's, order a burger, and the cashier will ask, "Do you want fries with that?" Each yes adds £1 or more to that particular sale. If just a fraction of McDonald's' 54 million daily customers say yes to that question, that's millions of extra dollars in the owners pocket.
The same strategy is important for startups. You may not yet have built a large customer base, so you need to coax as much money as possible from each person who does show up. It's the old story: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The issue at this stage isn't market share but wallet share. Boost the Pound value of your average sale, and you boost your cash flow and bottom line. Here's how you can bring in more of those sales.
1. Crunch the numbers. Begin by figuring out the Pound value of your average sale. If you have 20 customers and total sales of £1,000 on a typical day, your average sale is £50. Then you can set a new target and plot your strategy to hit it.
Depending on your business, you might also want to calculate your average sales per hour, day of the week, employee, location, marketing campaign or other variables. Frequently the answers will lead directly to a plan of action. If your numbers are low on Mondays, for example, you can plan special Monday promotions. If one ad typically brings in a £2 sale and another weighs in at £12, you can adjust accordingly.
2. Change your product or service mix. Adding or subtracting to what you sell can help grow your typical ticket size. Take the case of a bakery that had an average sale of just £5. The problem was they offered virtually no higher-priced items. When they added specialty cakes and other premium goods, that figure jumped to £14.
The same effect can sometimes be achieved by dumping lower-priced products. If you sell three different toasters, drop the £35 model and the customer will spend £45 or £55 instead.
3. Bundle your offerings. Encourage customers to spend more by giving them a package deal on multiple products or services. At McDonald's, the bundles are Extra Value Meals that include a starter, fries and a drink. At a car repair shop, it might be a tune-up and lube job rolled into one visit.
You can also bundle your time. One computer repair company that wasn't making enough money charging by the hour started selling services in 10, 20 or 30-hour blocks. That new option yielded higher average sales and ensured return business.
4. Go for the add-on sale . "Do you want fries with that?" is a textbook example, but the same approach works for any business. One lawyer I know started asking whether every client had an up-to-date will. Two out of three didn't. The result was an extra £4,000 in average weekly billings. Later he repeated the feat with living wills.
Another way to drive add-on sales is to create a checklist of related products for a particular kind of purchase. If you're a hardware store, a paint customer might also need brushes and drop cloths. Hand him a checklist and he'll likely walk out with more than a can of Satin White.
5. Create weekly or monthly sales challenges. Focusing your sales team on a particular area for a week or a month can also generate add-on business. When I owned photocopy shops, we pushed colored paper one week and banners the next. Some grocery stores offer specials at the checkout counter to trigger impulse sales.
6. Take hidden products or services out of the shadows. I once coached an insurance broker who sold only 1.27 policies per customer despite offering more than 14 types of insurance. A survey revealed that most clients didn't know he sold those products. He was failing to show his entire hand. Signage, newsletters and other tactics can help.
7. Train your staff to make the higher pound sale. Sometimes simply making staff aware of your target sale value will help you get there. If they're just selling what the customer came in for, you're not going to hit your numbers. Tell them what you're looking for, and then give them the tools to achieve it.
8. Raise your prices. If you're just opening your doors, price your products or services on the high side and figure out how to offer more value. Being the cheapest isn't necessarily going to pay the bills, and you'll be left high and dry when a competitor beats your price.
If you've been in business for a while, don't be afraid to bump up your prices by 5 or 10 percent. Most customers won't care (You don't stop going to your local Starbucks or your hair salon when they raise their rates.) And you'll increase your margins, so a few lost customers won't make a difference.
By using tactics like these to maximize every transaction, you help keep the cash flowing while you're getting your business off the ground. Once you're airborne, these same strategies can develop your flight plan for generating peak profits. Master the art of supersizing your sales early, and it will pay off many times over.
By Brad Sugars writer for Entrepreneur magazine. To read more interesting articles like this visit www.taxaffinity.com/blog. Please feel free to comment and share this article with your friends.
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