No More Excuses for Small Business Owners for Not Growing Their Businesses

When talking about business related issues, solutions, and technologies, you will almost always group businesses as small and large. While the separation is there, it won’t be wrong to say that in a modern where digital technologies prevail, it should not be a problem for small businesses to compete with large ones. The large corporations have the advantage of having more resources without a doubt. However, there was not a time in the past when growing and expanding was as easy for small businesses as it is today.

Digital Marketing for Everyone

Digital marketing starts with a website today. When it comes to website designs, more money does not always mean a better design. If you are working with the right people and are clear about your requirements, your website can be just as impressive as the website of a large business. In fact, internet users today are more in favor of simplistic websites with a focus on the information they are looking for rather than the glitter and sparkle.

As for social media marketing, there is no difference in the size of the market that small and large businesses have to target. They are both targeting global audiences and how good they are at it is not defined by how much money they put in their marketing efforts. Social media marketing is free marketing, so there is no excuse as to who has more resources.

And if you believe that the large corporations make it to the top of the search engine results, you always have a better and more effective niche to compete within – local. With local search engine optimization, small businesses can compete with the medium and large businesses head to head. In simple words, regardless of the size of the business, everyone has access to the same market and same people today. What matters is who does it better.

Digital Solutions Are Available Specifically for Small Businesses

When it comes to software solutions for businesses, the focus is not on large corporations anymore. Today, all types of software solutions have their versions built specifically for small businesses. These digital solutions allow small businesses to cut down their costs and make use of the same technologies that large companies are using.

Take the example of CRMs. At one point, there was a notion that customer relationship management software are only for large businesses, but the things have changed quite a bit today. Web-based CRM are a revelation for small businesses. First, these CRMs provide great marketing, database, customer service and sales solutions to the businesses. Second, they are unbelievably affordable. If you own a small business, you don’t even have to worry about software integration, hardware compatibility, updates, and upgrades, etc. Keep in mind that with in-house solutions, these are the costs that make it difficult for small businesses to grow financially.

With web-based solutions designed for small businesses, you can now have access to a world-class CRM at a fractional monthly or yearly cost. Other affordable digital solutions available include invoicing software, bookkeeping software, payroll software, etc.

Customers Have the Power in Hands

The Internet has empowered customers like never before. You can’t say that just because a business is in multiple countries, it will be impressive enough for people to buy its products. The amazing thing about today’s economy is the power that customers have in their hands. Online reviewing websites, YouTube videos, blogs, etc. are among many platforms that allow customers to know more about businesses. In fact, even Google now puts business ratings and customer reviews right within its search results.

What this means is that when a customer searches for a business today, he/she is already able to see the reputation of the product they are going to buy. Furthermore, negative reviews from customers can greatly affect the sales of business, giving other businesses a chance to make their name.

Furthermore, it’s not just the quality of products that matters today. In the modern world, businesses are competing for better customer experience. If your business can give customers the experience they are looking for, your growth is inevitable despite the small size of your business.

Funding Is No Issue for Startups

It is always the starting days that matter the most for business. When you are a startup, you are looking for ways to fund your business so you can materialize your idea and polish your product/service according to the requirements of the customers. Finding a platform where you could connect with investors was a challenge in the past. This is not an issue anymore.

With like our websites, it is easier than ever for small businesses to get in touch with investors and get the right amount of investment that sets them on the path of growth. These are websites that act as a bridge between investors from all around the world and startups. With traditional banks and lenders, you are only limited to a local audience of investors. When you can’t find an investor in your local market, your hopes are almost dead.

With online funding websites, all you have to do is create a convincing pitch that explains the viability of your startup to the investors and its scope. Your pitch along with all the necessary information that you think investors should see goes on the website where it is visible to hundreds and thousands of investors. If you have done your homework and have a team of right professionals on board, getting the right investment is just a matter of hours or days.

Final Words

You can see that a small business can overcome almost all of their challenges much more efficiently today. Starting a business has become so easy that even students can be entrepreneurs today. They can lay the foundation for a business using just their pocket money. From connecting with the right investors to cutting down operational costs, all can be done from the comfort of a person’s home. The only thing that makes the difference today is if you are confident enough to take the first step.

Growth Consultant: Giving New Direction To Your Business!

Earning substantial profit is the main objective of every business and for this it is imperative that your business grows in significant direction keeping pace with changing scenario. Because, if a businessmen continues to follow conventional methods of conducting business he might not be able to stay even in competition with his contenders and may lag in competition.

For the continuous growth of business it is indispensable to keep a strict eye on every change taking place across the business world. The relevance of keeping an eye on changing scenario increases more today’s age because today as an impact of globalization business operators are blessed with vast opportunities of exploring their business throughout the world in short span of time.

Days have gone back when business operators centralized their activities within a limited region, but now the time has arrived when they need to move ahead by eliminating cultural and demographic traits and transfer their orthodox business model into customer centric, best in its segment, broadening potentials of growth with feasible profits from business.

To assist the business owners in moving their business according to changing environment, growth consultants can play an incredible role in getting the infrastructure of their business keep changing in accordance to global market.

The growth consultants provide their expert advice and suggestions to business groups and may even help them in getting those suggestions implemented in organization in determined strategy. These consultants make business operators understand the drawbacks of orthodox business concepts and make them realize the changing role of not so recognized sections like women and youth in growth of an organization. They make business owners understand the contribution which they can make in exploring their business.

Moving ahead they also make them realize the changing nature of consumer behavior and how they can succeed in offering varied services and products to their multicultural consumers located in different regions of world.

The consultants of growth help business groups in:

1. Re-evaluating the core targets and models of their business

2. Identifying the gaps in their value delivery systems

3. Make them understand whether their strategies of VP communication are misfiring or not;

4. Generating the identity of their brand in accordance with values, beliefs and strengths of new worlds market place (NWMP)

5. Selecting and strengthening their value propositions and competitive differences

But sharing business details with an unknown person is not an easy task for any business operators and therefore it is necessary to get assured that information shared with consultant will stay restricted only with him and not affected by any kind of elusion. The selection of growth consultant should be done after proper research about his past experiences and knowledge.

As a general practice need of a growth consultant is felt when:

1. Growth of your business has stagnated

2. You are not able to make appropriate use of the available sources

3. When you are speculating to introduce a new initiative in market

How do growth consultants assist the business groups?

The growth consultants conduct an intensive study of every aspect related with your business on your behalf and then point out the pros and cons of your business comparing with your contenders.

After analyzing your business they find potentials of your growth keeping the changing atmosphere and making system approach for your business according to recent trends. They also help you in assessing the results and difference in your business after implementation of their recommendations. This strategy will help you in achieving desired success in your business in appropriate direction.

Epilogue: To enjoy substantial profit on their investment every business owner expects his business to grow in significant direction. But, sometimes as they are not able to analyze the marketing atmosphere or competition they face from their contenders they are deprived from the success which they deserve to enjoy from their business. It is the time when they need someone to guide them and let their business move on the path of success. Growth consultant could play an incredible role in making their dream come by analyzing their business and suggest them necessary measure which they should adopt in making their business a huge success.

Writing Your Business Plan (Traditional or Online Business)

In my previous article, I talked about how you can plan your business startup. I defined a business plan as a written description of the future of your business. This is a document that indicates what you intend to do and how you intend to do it. I further explained that if all you have is a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the beginning of a plan. I also said that a business plan consists of a narrative and several financial worksheets.

I mentioned that the ‘writing of a business plan’ as one of the pivotal steps involved in setting up a successful business. By now you should understand the need for writing a business plan. Writing a business plan, for a traditional brick and mortar business, will probably take a lot of time. It may take up to 100 hours or even more. For obvious reasons, a new business needs to carry out a lot of research before a business plan can even be developed.

For an online business, a detailed and in depth business plan is usually not necessary unless you are trying to combine your online business with a traditional business. For most online business startups, the detail involved with planning a traditional business is not required. However, it would still be beneficial to you if most of the topics were still covered, even if only briefly. Having a written plan in front of you will help you to focus on important aspects of the business.

You may not have thought much about your competition or outsourcing some of your work, but things like that will impact your ability to make a profit. And you will find this especially so in the beginning phases of your business. Even you are just opening a lemonade stand in the front yard, you will still need to know what Susie is selling her lemonade for on the next street over!

So, although a detailed business plan may not be required for an online business, I am going to include it here so you can at least look at and consider each section and determine yourself if it applies to your business.

Here I shall be discussing the basic steps involved in writing a business plan:

1. Executive Summary: The first step involved in writing a business plan is the executive summary. Here, include everything that you would cover in a five minute interview.

Explain the fundamentals of the proposed business: What will your product be? Who will your customers be? Who are the owners? What do you think the future holds for your business and your industry?

Make it enthusiastic, professional, complete, and concise.

If you are applying for a loan, state clearly how much you need and be precise in how you are going to use it. Also include detail about how the money will make your business more profitable, thereby ensuring repayment of the loan.

2. Business Description: After the executive summary, you need to write a short description of the business you are going into. You need to give a general description of the industry your business belongs to. You will write about your company’s mission statement, goals and objectives, business philosophy, as well as its legal form of ownership (sole proprietor, corporation, LLC, etc.).

Describe your most important company strengths and core competencies. What factors will make the company succeed? What do you think your major competitive strengths will be? What background, experience, skills, and strengths do you personally bring to this new venture?

3. Marketing Analysis/Strategy: The next thing to write (after the general description) should be your marketing strategy. For new or existing businesses, market analysis is an important basis for the marketing plan and will help justify the sales forecast. Existing businesses will rely heavily on past performance as an indicator of the future. New businesses have a greater challenge – they will rely more on market research using libraries, trade associations, government statistics, surveys, competitor observations, etc. In all cases, make sure your market analysis is relevant to establishing the viability of your new business and the reasonableness of the sales forecast.

4. Location: Writing down the location of your business is very important. Locations with greater customer traffic usually cost more to buy or rent, but they require less spending for advertising to attract customers. This is especially true of retail businesses where traffic count and accessibility are critical.

If an online business, you need to go into detail how you will attract customers to your website. General statements like “I will use Face Book ads and email marketing” will contribute almost nothing to helping your cause unless you have detailed statistical analysis of tests you have conducted or of another similar business you have been associated with. If you do not have any data upon which you reference your estimates, it could show lack of proper thought to the remainder of your business plan.

5. Competitive Analysis: Business by nature is competitive, and few businesses are completely new. If there are no competitors, be careful; there may be no market for your products. Expand your concept of competition. If you plan to open the first roller skating rink in town, your competition will include movie theaters, malls, bowling alleys, etc.

6. Management and Operations: Because management problems are the leading cause of business failures, it is important to discuss management qualifications and structure. Resumes of the Principals should be included in supporting data. If your business will have few employees and rely heavily on outside professionals, list these key people and their qualifications. If you are seeking financing, include personal financial statements for all of the principals in the supporting data section.

7. Personnel: The success of any company depends on their ability to recruit, train and retain quality employees. The amount of emphasis in your plan for this section will depend on the number and type of employees required.

8. Projected Financial Statements: These statements are usually helpful, but not necessary. You will develop and describe your strategies for the business throughout your Business Plan. In the financial section, you will need to estimate the financial impact of those strategies by developing projected Income Statements, Balance Sheets, and Cash Flow Statements.

It is usually recommended that these projected statements be on a monthly basis for at least the first twelve months or until the business is projected to be profitable and stable. Activity displayed beyond the monthly detail may be in summary form (such as quarterly or annually). The forecast period for most business plans is two to four years.

9. Summary Section: This section is where you will be able to attach or explain any detail not applicable to the previous sections. This section should be used to provide the financial statements of the Principle’s involved in the business and any other data you think an investor would be interested in seeing.

The main thing to remember in this section is not to provide new data, but to explain in detail data that has already been provided and to provide the support for that data.

When you sit down to compile all of the elements of your business plan, make sure you have each section able to stand on its own merits. This means you should not reference other sections sending the reader (your potential investor) back and forth between sections.

Do not try to write your business plan in one sitting. As I mentioned in the beginning, for a traditional brick and mortar business, it could take in excess of 100 hours to compile all of the information needed into a comprehensive but yet understandable document. For online businesses, probably not that long. But your final product should be well thought out, well documented and easily understandable.

Are You Stuck in the Day-To-Day Operations of Your Business?

Business Operations is the compilation of all the activities carried out inside a company that keep it running and generating revenue.

In standard business plans, the operations section is dedicated to helping business owners understand what systems, tools, people, and processes will be needed for the company business model to function.

A few examples of business operations:

  • Creating and maintaining key systems needed to run a business, including customer service, billing, communications, marketing, deliver, and backup
  • Creation of processes, tools, and players for key systems within the business
  • Management of systems that control access and login information
  • Establishing decision-making guidelines for team members
  • Creation and maintenance of your Standard Operating & Procedures (SOP) guide
  • Setting up effective backup systems to control company information
  • Creation and management of systems that process payments
  • Implementation of business tools and software to manage multiple systems
  • Managing the process of delivering products and services to customers

The operations area is a constant segment of your business and requires daily attention.And this where most women business owners get stuck!

In the beginning stages of your business, it was just you. Just you making all the daily decisions and executing the many tasks that must be performed each day to accomplish goals and strengthen your business model.

As your business model proved successful, the endless task list began to increase exponentially. Business decisions and responsibilities increased. Quiet, creative, and productive time to focus on growing the business was more and more limited and many times downright non-existent.

As women in business, we must stay focused on those areas of business that ONLY we can do – everything else must be delegated to a team!

The Visionary and CEO role in the business at this level needs to stay focused on very high-level leverage tasks that will grow your business, such as:

  • Big Picture Vision
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Delivery of Services
  • Content Creation
  • Creating New Products
  • Partnerships
  • New Sources of Traffic

Everything else you need to get off your plate – much of this lies in the day-to-day operations of your business.If your business has reached six figures, hold on to your seat belt because your company has taken on a life of its own.

And this is the point where you are most likely feeling that you’ve hit a ceiling and are even feeling a bit burned out. You may not see how you will be able to grow past the current challenges.

Bad news… good news…

You won’t be able to break that ceiling when you are the only one in charge of everything. The good news is that it does not have to stay that way.

A seasoned online business manager is the perfect second-in-command to pull you out of the day-to-day operations and marketing management of the business. You’ll have the time, energy, and focus you need to work on those high-level leverage tasks that will grow the business.

You can’t possibly expect to grow if you don’t position someone else in your business to be your “Mini-Me” – to take the day-to-day operations and management of business off your plate with the support of a team. Your business is now bigger than you are, and in order for it to continue to grow, you must have your operations running smoothly and cost effectively.

Isn’t it time that you are LIFTED out of the day-to-day activities so you can work ON your business instead of IN it?

About

Brenda Violette is Founder and CEO of Violette Business Services, a business management company that partners with entrepreneurial woman who have built a multiple six-figure online business and are stuck in their ability to create new revenue with them being the only one in charge of everything! They struggle and lose traction as they are buried in the “DOING” of the business.

Being a seasoned woman business owner herself, Brenda understands the struggles of other women trying to build a viable online business, balance work and a personal life, and contribute to the world through the business.

A Compaq Guide About Business Setup in Dubai

Dubai is the one of the fastest growing business hub with the state of the art facilities available for local and international business. Dubai is an integral part of business world and is leading with innovation. Dubai is politically stable and has strong economic culture and government of Dubai offer friendly business regulations which attracts the investors from around the world. This article will provide you a Compaq guide regarding business setup in Dubai. Before you start your business in a unbeaten economy like Dubai first you need to under the culture of it. Dubai being an international city is a multi-cultural city, people from all around the world are present in Dubai. After familiarizing yourself with the cultural you must learn about the rules and regulations and kind of the business you can start.

Legal structure of business setup in Dubai is according to UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1984, and after the amendment in Federal Law No. 13 of 1988 – the Commercial Companies Law, and its by-laws regulate the function of foreign business in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In wide terms the requirements of these regulations are: The Federal Law requires a total local equity of not less than 51% in any commercial business and describes seven categories of business organizations which can be established in the UAE. This regulation explains the requirements in terms of shareholders, directors, minimum capital requirements and business incorporation processes. This law further lays down the requirements of governing conversion, merger and dissolution of companies and businesses.

In Dubai, you are given plenty of opportunities; you get benefits of best economy based on strong administrative foundations. Authorities of Dubai have divided the city in different economic jurisdictions. You can start different types of businesses in Dubai bases on type of business and location; types are divided in three main categories which are Mainland, Free Zones and Offshore. Another thing to remember is that Dubai welcomes foreign investment but there are rules and regulations that must be followed. In order for you to enter in Dubai, UAE you need to have sponsor, a sponsor will take your responsibility. Importance of a sponsor can be determined by the fact that for any purpose if it is business or you are just visiting you must have a sponsor. When it comes to start a business in Dubai you are require having a sponsor, any kind of business needs a sponsor or service agent. In mainland a local resident or a of United Arab Emirates based company act as a sponsor, for professional service you need service agent as sponsor and for setting up a free zone business you also need a sponsor, in this case free zone acts as your sponsor.

Business setup in Dubai mainland requires you to have a valid license issued by the administrative authority. The name of the authority is Dubai Economic Development (DED); it is a government agency responsible for issuing the business licenses. Renewal of the license, cancellation and up-gradation are also handled by Dubai Economic Development (DED). To ease the investors Dubai Economic Development (DED) operates for different localities, thought scrutiny process of the application is strict but department ensures the quick application processing. In Dubai mainland, Dubai Economic Development (DED) issues four types of licenses, commercial, professional service, Branch office and industrial license.

To setup your business in Dubai mainland under commercial license you are by law mandated to have the help from local UAE resident which is also called local sponsor. Local sponsor is by law hold the 51% shares of your business and you will hold only 49% of shares. However you are given full administrative rights. You can draw contracts with local sponsor and allocate a yearly fee for being a sponsor. Local sponsor sometimes work as silent partners. Local sponsor can be an individual or it can be a UAE based company or group.

However, if you are setting up a business which involve professional services you don’t need to have a local sponsor, in that case you only need a service agent. Service agent works on your behalf and helps you deal with the local administrative authorities to start your business. You are allowed to hold 100% of your professional business and service agent will only be paid once for the service he offered.

Free zones are special economic zones in Dubai which are specially designed to attract the foreign investment. Free zone based business are fully owned by the investor and there are plenty of options to choose with. Every free zone in Dubai has a governing authority or free zone authority. For business setup in Dubai you would need deal with the free zone authority. You may be asked by the authority to provide different legal documents before you finally give the go ahead in form of license by that authority.

Free zone offers different attractive options for foreign investors such as you are given 100% of ownership of your business. There are many options free of tax you can avail like no personal income tax, corporate tax exemptions. There are different types of business setup options in Dubai free zones like you can start of your business enterprise as a limited liability company or service provider organizations, there are different licensing options. Business setups in free zones are allowed to perform international trades. When time comes you can easily wind your business. There is less paper work involved when it comes to end your business from a free zone.

Offshore is another type of business setup offered in Dubai and has been very famous. Offshore means a business entity setup outside of the resident country in an offshore jurisdiction. Dubai offshore jurisdiction provides number of benefits to your business in terms of asset protection, tax optimization and business expansion. Businesses setup in Dubai offshore jurisdiction must abide the offshore companies rules and regulations and is not allowed to trade inside the offshore jurisdiction.

To sum up, after making decision with the kind of business you are willing to start in Dubai you need to deal with the concerned authority. The best way is to hire a professional help. You will be able to find number of consulting firms who are willing to help you deal with the paper work and the authorities. You will be asked by regulating authorities to provide different documents and submit paper work.

Here are few steps you may follow, first of all do research and decide the type of business you are willing to embark, choose jurisdiction and follow through. It is recommended to get the help from a professional when it comes to business setup in Dubai. Ready your paper work for the licensing and get a guide on licensing terms and conditions as there are certain activities you are allowed and certain activities you are not allowed to perform. There are license you can choose which allows multiple business activities.

Brenda Cagara is an experience content supervisor at Riz & Mona Consultancy. We help people in business setup in Dubai, Mainland and Free Zone company formation across all states of UAE. Other services included offshore formation, visa processing, product registration, bank account opening and many more. Visit our website for more info.