Ideas For Growing Your Business

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If you have already successfully started a business and are ready to take the next step, you may be wondering what you can do to help your business grow. The Small Business Administration recommends ten ideas for growing your business. Choosing ideas for growing your business will depend on the type of business you own, your available resources, and how much money, time and resources you’re willing to invest all over again. If you’re ready to grow, review these ten tips.

1. Open Another Location. This is often the first way business owners approach growth. If you feel confident that your current business location is under control, consider expanding by opening a new location.

2. Offer Your Business As A Franchise Or Business Opportunity. Franchising your business will allow for growth without requiring you to manage the new location. This will help to maximize the time you spend improving your business in other ways, too.

3. License Your Product. This can be an effective, low-cost growth medium, particularly if you have a service product or branded product. Licensing also minimizes your risk and is low cost in comparison to the price of starting your own company to produce and sell your brand or product. To find a licensing partner, start by researching companies that provide products or services similar to yours.

4. Form An Alliance. Aligning yourself with a similar type of business can be a powerful way to expand quickly.

5. Diversify. Diversifying is an excellent strategy for growth, because it allows you to have multiple streams of income that can often fill seasonal voids and, of course, increase sales and profit margins. Here are a few of the most common ways to diversify:

o Sell complementary products or services
o Teach adult education or other types of classes
o Import or export yours or others’ products
o Become a paid speaker or columnist

6. Target Other Markets. Your current market is serving you well. Are there others? Probably. Use your imagination to determine what other markets could use your product.

7. Bid On A Government Contract. One of the best ways to grow your business is to win business from the government. Work with your local SBA and Small Business Development Center to help you determine the types of contracts available to you.

8. Merge With Or Acquire Another Business. Two is always bigger than one. Investigate companies that are similar to yours, or that have offerings that are complementary to yours, and consider the benefits of combining forces or acquiring the company.

9. Expand Globally. To do this, you’ll need a foreign distributor who can carry your product and resell it in their domestic markets. You can locate foreign distributors by scouring your city or state for a foreign company with a U.S. representative.

10. Expand To The Internet. Very often, customers discover a business through an online search engine. Be sure that your business has an online presence in order to maximize your exposure.

Source: Ideas For Growing Your Business. Small Business Administration. https://www.sba.gov/managing-business/growing-your-business/ideas-growing-your-business

If you have questions about starting, growing, protecting, understanding business taxes, or selling your small business, please contact us. As a CPA, Certified Business Advisor, Small Business Consultant, Certified Business Profit Consultant, and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, we specialize in working with small business owners and provide tax, accounting, financial analysis, business planning, and small business advisory services. For more information, call (727) 391-7373 or else visit us on the web at http://www.LindaStortzCPA.com.

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Are You Building A Business Support Network?

networkingWhether you are just starting your business or have been running your business for several years, it always will be of benefit to you to have a supportive network around you. Owning a business can not only be stressful but can be lonely. Not every family member or friend will understand or emphasize with your entrepreneurial journey. The key is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who can offer advice, share opportunities and listen to your big ideas. Go beyond your typical inner circle and broaden your network of support.

Consider the following strategies in either engaging with people you hope to connect with or need to re-engage to strengthen the support around you as well as to look for new business opportunities.

1. Alumni. Reconnect with college and/or high school staff and classmates by letting them what you are doing now and what you have accomplished or plan to accomplish in your business. There might be opportunities to collaborate with university or community college by speaking at the school, hiring seasonal workers or bidding on a project.

If you have children or are engaged in your local community, this strategy applies to reaching out to the parents and teachers association (PTA) or a similar group within the school.

2. Chamber of Commerce. Join a local or state chapter and meet and support business leaders. Becoming an active member can expose you to other industries, opportunities and like-minded contacts.

3. SCORE. Supported by the SBA, SCORE is a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their business. There are SCORE locations throughout the U.S. Between workshops and mentorship business owners can access professional support year-round.

4. Faith-based community. Your spiritual relationship with the members at your place of worship can have a positive effect on your personal life and business goals. Lean on faith-based organizations and activities that promote a healthy, productive lifestyle.

5. Extracurricular groups. It’s easy to forget that we form bonds with people we meet through leisure activities like sports leagues, volunteer and travel groups. When not working on or in your business, it’s essential to have a release.

6. Former co-workers. If you’ve shared ideas or worked well with previous coworkers and staff, re-engage them to share your current business venture. Their skillset might be useful in your next idea or they can provide insight or contacts that you may have not consider.

7. Professional organizations or conferences. Depending on the nature of your work and business, there might be an established network of professionals who meet annually. Conferences and professional groups are instant support systems because they bring together small and large crowds of people who are similar. You can get a lot of inspiration and information by not only attending events but potentially sponsoring or speaking at one.

8. Online groups via forums, private Facebook groups or social media communiities Thanks to the internet and social networking, interfacing with other business owners across the world is reality. Building connections that go beyond day-to-day business matters, can provide new ideas and a different perspective.

As you can see, the opportunities for building support and for networking relationships are all around you.

Source:
Nwatu, I. (2016). 8 Tips for Building Your Business Support System. Retrieved from https://www.sba.gov/blogs/8-tips-building-your-business-support-system

If you have questions about starting, growing, or selling your small business, please contact us. As a CPA, Accredited Small Business Consultant, and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, we specialize in working with small business owners just like you and provide tax, accounting, financial analysis, management, business planning, and small business advisory services. We can help you to start, manage, and grow a successful small business. For more information, call (727) 391-7373 or else visit us on the web at http://www.LStortzCPA.com.

Have You Tried EMail Marketing To Promote Your Business?

emailmarketingEmail marketing is just one of many ways to engage customers and ultimately lead them to purchase a product or service. Building and maintaining a healthy email list is important in learning more about your customer base and how they respond to your business, as well as generating potential new business. If your business has not explored nor maximized the possibilities of email marketing, you should learn more about how to leverage your existing and future contacts. If you are a small business owner looking to try a different tactic or introduce something new, why not use a change in season to test new ideas.

Get Permission
First, your email marketing campaign or listserv should have the option to opt-out of emails. Subscribers may have their reason for removal from your list and to capture their explanation, add a comment section before they officially remove themselves. By having permission to be in the electronic inboxes of your customers, you can better target content and offerings to be the people who want to remain on your list. If you want to incentivize your email list or a special campaign, consider adding a discount code, flash sale or customer appreciation message.

Test And Then Test Again
Once you focus on the subscribers who remain on your list, regardless of how many subscribers, there is an opportunity to experiment with different type of sales copy, promotions, visuals, etc. A simple way to test subject lines or a specific merchandise is to test a call-to-action, time of day, or even the email’s layout. Send two emails to similar groups within your email list but hold a variable for testing. Make sure to have predetermined goals and review the analytics of open and click through rates of hyperlinks, especially those tied to your website.

Incorporate Seasonal Trends
If weather or the time of year affects your sales or potential new business, tailor email marketing accordingly. For example, if you manage a summer camp for teens, then you may target different groups to include school staff, parents, and community officials to inform them of your offerings, cost and availability. A common example of seasonal emails is small businesses and big brands using holidays like Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day to generate sales and customer interest about their products and store specials.

Integrate EMail Marketing As Part Of An Entire Plan
A small business may not have a lot of marketing resources but to maximize your efforts, it’s important that email marketing and subsequent campaigns are connected to other business goals and marketing objectives. Think about social media, advertising, events, SEO, and other strategies that can work in tandem with your email marketing.

Email marketing can have many layers and may require knowledgeable staff or additional resources. Starting with the basics can help small businesses take advantage being present in their customers’ inboxes. Don’t lose sight of the chance to engage them, delight them and to make a sale.

Source:
Nwatu, I. (2016) E-Mail Marketing Basics For Small Business. Retrieved from https://www.sba.gov/blogs/email-marketing-basics-small-business

If you have questions about starting, growing, or selling your small business, please contact us. As a CPA, Accredited Small Business Consultant, and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, we specialize in working with small business owners just like you and provide tax, accounting, financial analysis, management, business planning, and small business advisory services. We can help you to start, manage, and grow a successful small business. For more information, call (727) 391-7373 or else visit us on the web at http://www.LStortzCPA.com.

Have You Tried Mobile Marketing To Advertise Your Business?

mobileMobile marketing for a small business involves marketing messages and promotions that are delivered to consumers using mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices. Marketers use mobile marketing to reach and interact with customers anywhere, anytime, and anyplace by promoting a business relationship. The widespread adoption of mobile devices and the increase in mobile web traffic have mobile marketing a growing trend in today’s digital age.

A mobile marketing campaign could involve placing ads, search ads, or videos on relevant mobile websites and online social media such as Facebook and YouTube. These ads can create a substantial impact and viewer involvement. A mobile marketing effort could be as simple as inviting people to text a number, or texting promotions to consumers – such as retailer announcements of discounts, coupons, gift suggestions, and contests. Some marketers have even created their own mobile websites, that are optimized for specific phones and mobile service providers.

If you have questions about starting, growing, or selling your small business, please contact us. As a CPA, Accredited Small Business Consultant, and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, we specialize in working with small business owners just like you and provide tax, accounting, financial analysis, management, business planning, and small business advisory services. We can help you to start, manage, and grow a successful small business. For more information, call (727) 391-7373 or else visit us on the web at http://www.LStortzCPA.com.

THINKING OF STARTING A NEW BUSINESS?

openforbusinessWith the year 2015 fast coming to a close, maybe you’re thinking of starting your own business in January, 2016. You know that you have the experience and the passion to launch a business of your own. But before you do, here are 20 questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re thinking about the right key business decisions.

1. Why am I starting a business?
2. What kind of business do I want?
3. Who is my ideal customer?
4. What products or services will my business provide?
5. Am I prepared to spend the time and money needed to get my business started?
6. What differentiates my business idea and the products or services I will provide from others in the market?
7. Where will my business be located?
8. How many employees will I need?
9. What types of suppliers do I need?
10. How much money do I need to get started?
11. Will I need to get a loan?
12. How soon will it take before my products or services are available?
13. How long do I have until I start making a profit?
14. Who is my competition?
15. How will I price my product compared to my competition?
16. How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
17. What taxes do I need to pay?
18. What kind of insurance do I need?
19. How will I manage my business?
20. How will I advertise my business?

Source: https://www.sba.gov/content/20-questions-before-starting-business

If you have any questions about starting your own business and need help in clarifying your business plans, please call our office today. As a CPA, Accredited Small Business Consultant, and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Linda specializes in working with small business owners and provides tax, accounting, financial analysis, management, planning, and small business advisory services. She can help you to start, manage, and grow a successful small business. Call her today at (727) 391-7373 or else visit her on the web at http://www.LStortzCPA.com.

10 NO-COST WAYS TO IMPROVED BUSINESS AND PROFITS

profitIt’s a constant struggle in any small business to improve operations, keep customers satisfied, grow revenues, and increase profits. But, many times these very things that are so important to a small business cost money–just what a small business doesn’t have! Here are 10 no-cost ways to accomplish these very important results.

1. One Chance–Customers can be finicky. Businesses have to make a good (or great) first impression because they never get a second chance to make that first good impression. Of course, we’ve all heard that before, but it is especially important when dealing with customers. Impress them the first time, so they return. No cost, but a little effort.

2. Market Segmentation–Different markets take different market approaches. Segment your business’s marketing efforts for maximum penetration and effectiveness. Dividing and conquering takes the same amount of dollars but produces much greater results.

3. Act–Don’t Delay–When a prospect is ready to act, strike while the iron’s hot. Be prepared to “close the sale” by returning a call, having paperwork completed, be able to deliver, or whatever it takes. Wait until tomorrow, and the prospect might be your competitor’s newest customer.

4. Selling What?–Buyers don’t care about how a product is made or the intricate details of how a service is performed. Buyers care about satisfying needs, solving problems, and feeling good about a purchase. Make sure your pitch hits the right mark with customers, and sales become much easier.

5. Customer Connection–Customers love attention from owners and managers. A few seconds, a few minutes, a short note, or a quick phone call can turn a customer into a company advocate. A little time and energy today versus long-term loyalty tomorrow is a great trade-off.

6. Creative Ideas–Form a “no name group” with business associates to discuss whatever topic might come up. No set time or place, no agenda, nothing formal…just spur of the moment invitations to participate in an informal small business “think tank.” Possibilities for positive ideas are endless–maybe just for the cost of a cup of coffee.

7. Goodwill Ambassadors–Other than you, the owner, who knows your business better than anyone? Maybe, it’s your customers. Ask what they think, receive honest feedback, and build loyalty as a result. Expand your marketing with loyal customers as goodwill ambassadors with this no cost investment.

8. Changing Attitude–Ever notice the difference in some businesses how you’re treated one way as a prospect and another way as a customer? Which do you prefer? Which do you think your customers prefer? When you treat customers as prospects, they see the difference–the same as you. Don’t lose customers over an attitude. Take the reverse approach and increase customers because of an attitude change.

9. Customer Satisfaction–Do you treat customers the same whether they spend $20 or $2,000? You should. You never know when the $20 customer is going to turn into a $2,000 customer, or how many $2,000 customers the $20 customer knows. Keeping all customers satisfied is the name of a no-cost game.

10. Rearrangement–Customers love change and seeing something new. Change what you’re doing in your business to make it better and different. It’s like building something new every year with the discarded parts from everything old. Let your competition remain the same while your business streaks into the future, all by just appearing to be modern and up-to-date.

If you have questions about how you can improve your business and be more profitable, please call our office today.

Source: Weinberger, Richard (2015). Retrieved from http://www.allbusiness.com/10-no-cost-ways-to-improved-business-profits-101504-1.html

As a CPA, Accredited Small Business Consultant and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, we specialize in working with small business owners and provide tax, accounting, financial analysis and management, and small business consulting services. We can help you to start, manage, and grow your small business. Call us today at (727) 391-7373 or visit us at http://www.LStortzCPA.com.

SHOULD YOU BUY A NEW TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN NAME FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

domainNow it’s easier than ever before to buy a branded URL for your business. With the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ rollout of more than 1,400 themed domain extensions over the course of the year, you can now buy the website address of your choice with a .bike, .coffee, or .lawyer top-level domain, to name just a few of the options.

If the .com website address of your choice isn’t available, a themed domain extension may seem like an attractive option — but is it worth building your online brand around it? Consider the following points.

.Com Domains Still Dominate

There are more than 100 million registered .com domains, according to statistics from VeriSign, which far exceeds the use of any other domain extension. On a practical level, that means most people will default to including “.com” when typing in your URL unless you make a major branding effort to get customers to remember your custom domain.

What if You Can’t Find a .Com Domain That Suits Your Brand?

Domain names ending in .com are generally preferable, but what if your top choice — or even your tenth choice — isn’t available? That’s a common occurrence for small-business owners. In a study conducted by  Wakefield Research, 55 percent of respondents surveyed said they believe  they have lost business because of their domain names. If a suitable .com URL isn’t available, it may make sense to move to a themed top-level domain. For instance, if you own a business called Sunrise Coffee and can’t purchase sunrisecoffee.com or any suitable variants, consider purchasing sunrise.coffee instead.

You May Need to Buy More Than One Domain Name

Many businesses strive to protect their brand by purchasing numerous relevant domain names. But with the new business-themed domains, this can get quite expensive. If you own a chain of coffee shops, for instance, you may want to purchase a .com, a .biz, and now, even a .coffee domain name. ICANN has launched a trademark clearinghouse that allows brands to protect their trademarked names, with trademark registration available for between $95 and $150 per year. Keep in mind that this service sends a warning to those who purchase trademarked domain names, but it does not actually prevent anyone from buying them. To fully protect your brand, you’ll need to actually purchase the relevant domain names.

If you want to check on the costs and availability of brand-related domain names, a service like GoDaddy can help at no charge. If you haven’t even decided on a business name yet, try Panabee, which can help you come up with potential choices for a business name.

Written by Kathryn Hawkins, Intuit Small Business Blog, 7/17/2014

Read more: http://blog.intuit.com/marketing/should-you-buy-a-new-top-level-domain-name-for-your-business/#ixzz37jEVj1oR